all you need to know – Wahoo KICKR V6 (2022) smart trainer

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Wahoo kickr v6 2022 heroWahoo KICKR V6 (2022) turbo trainer

 

TL;DR – Wahoo has improved last year’s KICKR by adding fast WiFi connectivity, easing how big resistance changes are applied after a pause and logging those miles with an odometer.

Other than a 10% price rise, replacing the red ANT+ LED with WiFi LED, and adding automatic firmware updates…that’s it.

Q: What else do I need to buy?

A: Nothing. You get a cassette plus adapters and there’s no need for a riser block for the front wheel.

With similar pricing and similar features, you could instead consider the Tacx Neo 3 (TBC), Saris H4 and Elite Justo but the Wahoo ecosystem for indoor training is the most complete, slightly more so than Garmin.

USD $1,299.99
GBP £1,099.99
EURO €1,299.99

Wahoo KICKR V6 2022 Review – Not sure I’ll do this as it’s highly similar to last year’s model

What’s new: Wahoo KICKR V6 (2022) – in detail

Not much has changed of any significance with the Kickr V6, except these two things

  1. Erg Easy Ramp – This solves the problem of too high resistance when you resume a workout that you’d unexpectedly stopped. Erg Easy Ramp progressively applies resistance over 10 seconds as you move from zero watts to whatever the target is. Elite Justo is the only competitor with a similar feature. Verdict: Great.
  2. 2.4GHZ Wifi Connectivity – This gives you a more robust connection to your existing home WiFi. Latency is lowered and data throughput is increased, so Zwift will be faster and there should be no signal interference. No competitor offers this at the moment. Verdict: Meh for some, a life-saver for others.

Minor changes include the following

    • Odometer – this tracks the total mileage ever ridden on the trainer assuming a 700×23 wheel size. Perhaps handy for servicing or determining the resale value. This is not offered by any competitor. Verdict: Meh.
    • White WiFi Connectivity Light – A solid light indicates a fully connected WiF status with a blinking light indicating discovery and connecting states. Verdict: Necessary.
    • Automatic firmware updates – Almost no one does manual updates, so Mr Wahoo has intervened to keep us all nicely up to date. Verdict: Good
    • Red ANT+ LED removed – The sad demise of the ANT+ LED light is complete. No longer shall we be able to revel in its red glory. It probably had to go to make space for the new white one 😉 Verdict: Not worth mentioning. But, hey!

Wahoo kickr v6 2022 wifi white led

Specification Highlights – Wahoo KICKR V6 (2022)

 

 

  • KICKR Ride Feel
  • KICKR AXIS Feet (included)
  • Auto calibration & updates
  • KICKR CLIMB & Headwind compatible
  • MAX POWER 2200w
  • ACCURACY +/-1%
  • MAX GRADE 20%
  • CONNECTIVITY WIFI, BLUETOOTH, ANT+, FE-C
  • COMPATIBILITY APPLE, ANDROID, WINDOWS
  • REAR WHEEL SIZE ROAD: 24”, 650C, 700C MTB: 24”, 26”, 650B, 29”
  • CASSETTE (INCLUDED: 11-SPEED 11-28T, COMPATIBLE WITH SHIMANO, SRAM AND CAMPAGNOLO 11
  • Wahoo X (RGT and SYSTM) compatible

 

 

Wahoo KICKR – A Potted History

The indoor training market evolved from dumb trainers and manually controlled spin bikes into a standards-based, high-tech environment that brings precision and fun to our pain caves.

The first KICKR was released 10 years ago and is perhaps the single product that most positively impacted Wahoo’s phenomenal growth. Wahoo went from a maker of heart rate monitors to a leading cycling brand with smart trainers ranging from about $400 to $4,000.

Early growth in the market saw simple compatibility with ANT+ bike computers and speed & cadence sensors. That has expanded to cover multiple Bluetooth connections to TVs and gamified training platforms as well as supporting devices that can raise your bike to simulate gradients or increase fan speeds to simulate road speed and the need to evaporate sweat.

Bike technology has also changed to give us 12-speed cassettes, disk brakes and thru axles. Wahoo and other trainer companies have risen to the challenge to support every change in the world of bikes with a catch-all smart trainer.

Dumb trainers with manually controlled resistance have gone the way of the dodo and now we are left with

  • High-end – smart indoor bikes that do everything [KICKR Bike]
  • High-end smart trainers – take off your back wheel and put your road bike on. All the features [Wahoo KICKR V6, 2022, this review]
  • Mid-market smart trainers – take off your back wheel and put your road bike on. Limited features but still able to give a full experience [KICKR CORE, review]
  • Mid-market smart rollers – put your bike on as-is and ride but you need a power meter on the bike [KICKR ROLLR, review]
  • Budget smart trainer – just clamp your back wheel onto the trainer [KICKR SNAP]

What was new last time

The 2020 version of Kickr added

  • AXIS feet that give some lateral motion
  • Auto calibration
  • 1% accuracy

Older versions add silent operation, power transmission and provide all of that over BLE and ANT+/FE-C standards with 3 BLE connections. Every platform from Zwift to Wahoo SYSTM/Wahoo RGT is supported.

 

Wahoo KICKR – The Future

KICKR 2022 has it all. Well, almost.

It certainly has everything that just about everyone would ever need.

Perhaps the next iteration could add estimations for speed, cadence & left/right power? Perhaps it could add some form of battery power. Perhaps it could slightly increase its limits on accuracy, gradients, flywheel weight and maximum power resistance levels. Perhaps.

Other than that the only material change could be to change the way resistance is controlled and applied ie electromagnetically. But that’s a big change for minimal benefit.

Wahoo KICKR V6 – The Competition

KICKR’s main competitor is the Garmin-owned TACX Neo 2T (NEO 3). KICKR V6 is slightly better than NEO 2T in my opinion and cheaper. However, I don’t yet know the improvements for this year’s iteration of the Neo 3. Most likely it will be near identical to KICKR in features and very slightly more expensive.

Tacx Neo 2T is an excellent product but it’s slightly more expensive and doesn’t include a cassette. It has the same level of accuracy as Wahoo but lacks the new features that Wahoo adds with the V6 KICKR. Set against that, Neo does support cobble simulations but doesn’t support KICKR CLIMB and it can be used without a power cord.

 

Source: Wahoo

The Elite Justo slightly undercuts the price of the KICKR V6 and pretty much matches it feature-by-feature. It also supports a slightly higher maximum rider power of 2400w.

The Saris H4 represents the best bang-for-your-buck in this part of the market, coming in at $999. It addresses key shortcomings of its predecessor and now supports 12-speed, has 1% stated accuracy, supports gradients up to 25% and can handle 2300w of rider power. Saris doesn’t have multiple BLE channels and keeps a quirky calibration…the company is in the process of being sold. I’d guess to Zwift but I don’t know.

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Summary

One of the very best smart trainers just got a tiny bit better.

if you buy the KICKR V6 or the TACX NEO 3, you won’t regret it. Neither will you regret it if you buy last year’s Wahoo Fitness KICKR V5 or Garmin’s Tacx NEO 2T.

Sales of smart trainers peaked over the Covid years. With inflation and a looming recession, you have to think that sales in the smart trainer market have peaked…at least for 3 or so more years. That must have a downward pressure on real terms pricing be that directly or via bundled deals. Wahoo is particularly adept at offering bundles simply because it has the products to bundle together when no one else does to the same degree.

 

Price & Availability

Wahoo’s product prices are tightly controlled and you very rarely get discounts specific to one retailer. Your favourite retailer probably already offers the best price

 

Also, consider

 

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