Wahoo’s KICKR is the most popular direct-drive smart trainer in the world, and for good reason. The latest versions are quiet, super solid, and provide accurate power readings within +-2%. The KICKR’s little brother, the KICKR Core, is hugely popular as well.
The KICKR and KICKR Core do require calibration in order to maintain that stated power accuracy. Wahoo’s documentation says:
A spindown is recommended every 2 weeks or after transporting your KICKR to a new location. Though some 3rd party apps like Zwift can perform spindowns, Wahoo always recommends using the Wahoo Fitness app for best results.
We second Wahoo’s recommendation to use Wahoo’s utility instead of Zwift’s for performing the spindown calibration. In fact, this is what we recommend for all trainers, as it seems sensible to trust the trainer manufacturer’s own calibration tools over Zwift’s.
Performing a spindown calibration is quite simple: here are Wahoo’s instructions for doing so. But sometimes, KICKR owners may need to perform a “Factory Spindown”, also known as an “Advanced Spindown”. Wahoo says:
A factory spindown is used to determine brake strength, and is only required if a significant error exists in power after performing a regular spindown.
It’s worth noting that some Wahoo documentation has stated that doing factory spindowns often can cause some damage to the internals of your KICKR, so you should only do one if requested by Wahoo support, or if the regular spindown doesn’t resolve your issue.
Wahoo has hidden the advanced spindown utility in its mobile app, presumably to avoid users accidentally running it too often. They’ve even removed mention of it from their own website, as far as we can tell! Sometimes, though, an advanced spindown is exactly what a KICKR needs. So here are precise instructions for accessing and completing a KICKR factory spindown. (The instructions below apply to the standard KICKR as well as the KICKR Core and KICKR Snap.)
Before you Begin
You will need at least 6 minutes to complete the Advanced Spindown on your KICKR, assuming you’ve already got the app installed.
Make sure your KICKR isn’t connected to any other devices such as Zwift or your bike computer. (If another program is controlling your KICKR’s brake the spindown may not complete properly.)
Step 1: Connect to your KICKR
This is done via the Wahoo Fitness App on iOS or Android. (Screenshots in this post are from iOS, Android may differ.) Make sure your KICKR is powered on and Bluetooth is enabled on your phone, then from within the App tap “Settings” and “Sensors”.
If your KICKR isn’t listed, tap “Add New Sensor” to add it to your list of sensors. Click “Done” on the list of workout profiles, using the default selections.
Step 2: Select Preferred Profile(s)
We need to make sure the KICKR is linked to one or more workout profiles in the app, so we know which profile(s) we can use to perform the spindown. Chances are you’ve already got this set up correctly, but to double check, tap your KICKR on your list of sensors, then tap “Workout Profiles”.
By default, Cycling, KICKR, and Exercise Bike are all checked. Just make sure at least one profile is checked, as this is the one we’ll use for the spindown.
Step 3: Begin Factory Spindown Routine
Tap “Workout” and make sure one of your KICKR-enabled profiles is selected at the top. Then tap “Start Workout”. The app will count down to the start of your workout. After the countdown, tap the sensor icon in the upper left, then the wrench and hammer icon next to your hammer in the list of sensors. This will bring up the standard spindown dialog. Here’s where the magic happens!
Tap 5 times on the instructions (the paragraph above the “Perform Spindown” link). New Factor Spindown instructions will appear below. Viola! You’ll see the factor spindown description:
“The factory spindown is used to determine brake strength, and is only required if a significant error exists in power after performing a regular spindown.”
Tap “Perform Factory Spindown” to begin.
Step 4: Complete the Factory Spindown
The factory spindown consists of three simple steps:
- A 3-minute warmup, riding at a “comfortable speed”.
- Accelerate to 22.4 mph, then stop pedaling and let the KICKR coast down until the spindown completes.
- Repeat step 2
Once completed, the screen will display “Spindown Complete”. All done!
Questions or Comments?
Yet another great post! Thanks for the tip, Eric! Truly appreciated…
I had been having some major power/resistance issues on my Snap for the last week or so. I don’t know what caused it but this process was exactly what my setup needed. (Weirdly I found these instructions deep in a forum somewhere last night and did it this morning before this article even came out.) riding this morning was exactly like it should have been instead of the surgey nightmare I’d been having
I was wondering whether this applied to the Snap as well and:..we have an answer, thanks !
So, if you only do the spindown in the Wahoo app, and not in Zwift, then when Zwift is launched it looks at the Wahoo app to get the correct, current data for calibration? i.e. a Zwift spindown is never needed so long as Wahoo spindowns are done at the recommended intervals?
This is a great question that I was also wondering. Do you do spindowns in both? Does one overwrite the other?
Do spindowns in the original app instead of zwift. The settings in spindown will be stored in the trainer. So if you open zwift for a ride you’re good to go.
Zwift spindown is never needed as long as you do the Wahoo spindown, correct.
The spindown calibration works like other smart trainer calibrations do… it sets a value which is stored in your KICKR’s memory, regardless of how the calibration is done. Then your KICKR spits out the correct power numbers to any programs its connected to, based on that calibration.
Thanks for the info guys. I always assumed that each app saved its own little log. I never would have guessed that the smart trainer saved new data after any spindown.
I would routinely do the Wahoo spindown and then the Zwift spindown right after because this seemed to make the Zwift spindown more likely to succeed (it used to ‘timeout’ because I wasn’t tightening the roller against the wheel enough on my Snap).
The calibration is used by the trainer itself to report accurate power. The application (e.g. zwift) does not need to try to read it to correct the power reported by the trainer. So although it is convenient that Zwift added support for in-game spin down, you don’t need to use it. If you are doing them using the Wahoo app that is all you need to do.
Correct, Garth. That’s what I tried to explain in my reply…
Is it ok to use the Zwift spindown? I often use it to calibrate, seems easier sometimes than calibration through my wahoo app.
Please don’t. I used the Zwift spindown option with my Cycleops H2, and it ruined the trainer. I actually had to return it to Saris.
J.C., it’s OK as far as I know. I just trust Wahoo to know how to best calibrate their trainer, over Zwift. Same with any trainer maker. But I haven’t heard of Zwift’s spindown messing up KICKR calibration, either.
Why wouldn’t they want you running it too often? Any cautions needed here?
I really don’t know. You shouldn’t need to do the advanced spindown much anyway – the normal spindown does the job just fine unless something gets really out of wack.
I normally warm the kickr up for ~10 mins before i calibrate it as i find it gives more accurate results (tends to read high compared to my quarq power meter), is that necessary or is the 3 mins really enough? Also curious why it shouldn’t be run too often or why this might damage the breathe vs the normal spindown ?
#Brake … autocorrect😬
10 mins is the recommended warmup for the regular “spindown”. The 3 mins mentioned is the process you go through in the “advanced spindown” – you don’t have a choice but to ride for 3 mins as part of the process.
you missed my point … would it be better to warm the kickr up for 10 mins before then going into the factory calibration and subsequently doing the additional 3 mins … or is the 3 mins enough on its own to get the kickr up to temp?
No, that’s the reason for the 3 min riding at a set wattage.
Hi Eric thanks for the useful post!
Quick Question – I have already calibrated my Kickr Core in Zwift (so didnt use the wahoo app) – do you know if there is a way to remove the Zwift calibration within Zwift?
When you calibrate a trainer, the trainer itself stores the calibration values. It’s not stored in Zwift.
So the way to “overwrite” a calibration is to do another calibration… in Wahoo’s app, or Zwift. Make sense?
Yes makes sense! Thanks Eric.
Unfortunately i was unable to get this to work, as i wouldn’t get the wrench and hammer icon in the sensor drop down 🙁
I even uninstalled the Wahoo Fitness app and tried again.I see the mention of the screenshots being from IOS and not Android, is there something else i need to do because i’m on the Android OS? Thanks!
I have the same issue on my android device!
But I did find an alternative solution, using the wahoo utility app instead:
Works for me!
Perfect, Thanks Johan!! I’ll give that a try tonight before my session 🙂
The tap 10x thing didn’t work. Another idea?
Johan – i just wanted to give an update on your alternate solution. It worked perfectly for me!! Thanks for your assistance 🙂
For a couple years now my kickr snap has been 20-30+ watts too high in the usual range and even more at higher wattages. I’ve been looking for something like this to try, thank you! I usually use a power meter but for eng this would be a great thing to fix.
Let us know if it fixes your issue!
why can’t you use your power meter for ERG workouts? It would be exactly the same, you assign the power meter, then assign the kickr as trainer.
You can certainly use your power meter for ERG workouts, although it’s not quite as responsive as using the trainer itself. You have to decide between responsiveness and having power that matches the rest of your training, basically…
Great article, thanks. I discovered there was a firmware update waiting. However, when I try the spindown it does not show any speed (no speed sensors connected on the stationary). Any clue?
Make sure the KICKR isn’t connected to any other devices. Reboot the app. Restart the KICKR. And contact Wahoo support if you still can’t get ‘er done!
Based on this, my findings: 1) The method here didn’t work for me (no spanner/hammer icon, android app), but the one linked in comments below worked fine … https://wahoofitness.yonyx.com/y/conversation/?id=c6c33100-be88-11e7-b908-bc764e10c19d 2) 3 min as part of this process would seem enough to warm the kickr (core) up (ie as per my comments below, don’t need to do a 10 min warmup then do this, just do this from cold and it works) 3) I’ve used zwiftpower to compare the results based on readings from quarq power meter and kickr core, did it many before and compared two rides since … before… Read more »
I did a full service on my wahoo kickr core and put in new bearings. Now the flywheel is aligned again and the vibrations are gone.
After starting zwift i could hardly push over 150 watt (ftp is around 285).
A normal calibration did not resolve the issue and the steps above did not apply to the wahoo app on Android.
This post and steps resolved my issues:
Does the Wahoo spindown replace the Zwift FTP calibration?
There’s no such thing as an “FTP calibration”, but Zwift can do a spindown calibration of your KICKR.
Whenever a spindown is done, it replaced the previous spindown calibration… whether it’s done by Zwift, or the Wahoo app, or something else.
The secret wrench icon does not seem to appear in the Android app. Maybe it does for Apple apps. My Kickr Snap is so screwed up right now I can barely get 100 watts out of it.
After not riding my kicker for ~6 months, when I went to use it two days ago and do a spin down it recommended doing a factory spin down. I had never seen that before but chose to do it. After that, everything went downhill. Erg mode seemed (at least not absolutely terrible). If I was in any other mode, my power could barely get passed 100 no matter which gear combo I was in. Not sure I somehow did the spin down incorrectly. I tried to ride nice and easy and steady during the intervals, like they said. Any… Read more »
@Lisa Morgan after the 3 min warm up you should have to increase your speed to 22.4 then stop pedaling and wait until it drops below 10 mph and then it directs you to pedal a second time to 22.4 and then it will spin down a second time (only quicker). At that point the factory spindown is done. After that, I believe it should be set, but if you wanted to follow up with a normal spin down you should be back in business. This is just speculation, though, on my part as I missed the second pedalling effort… Read more »
Hi, should the Advanced spindown be done only after a 3 minutes warm up? So not as warm as it would be after a 10 minute warm up.
The method of invoking the factory spindown on the Wahooo App for Android has changed.
Here are some screenshots I made of the current method…. https://stew.snaps.info/kickr-snap-factory-spindown
Great write up Eric. You may want to elaborate on what the spin down results mean – ie offset and time. I have seen many confusing answers to question about this. Thanks!
What about the new kicker with auto calibration?
I have not figured out a way to access the factory spindown with the KICKRv5.
Found it. Instead of tapping on the text, I had to tap on the whitespace underneath it…weird.
Did it work? Any difference?
I am struggling to perform a spindown and then a factory spindown
when i go to the workout screen and tap the sensor icon on top left my kick doesnt appear but my other sensors only
it says its connected and the blue light is solid
I am frustrated with this damn thing
please assist me
I taped workout and made sure my KICKR-enabled profiles are selected at the top. Then taped start workout. The app did not will count down, it is simply started the workout. There was no sensor icon in the upper left, no wrench or hammer icon . So was not able to get to standard spin down dialog. There were no magic, I am using the wrong app, I did try use both iPhone and google phone, I did download wahoo fitness app?? there was no wahoo utility app??
any help please??
Thanks for posting this. I had only been using the Zwift app for spin downs on my Snap. Eventually it got out of whack even with repeated spin downs to where I couldn’t complete a single interval in an over-under session. I could ride outdoors and hold 50+W more for longer efforts than I could on the Snap. I haven’t done this advanced spin down yet but even just using the wahoo app and doing the spin down there instead of Zwift fixed my issue and I am rolling again indoors. 300W feels like 300W again! Without this forum I… Read more »
I think this is not true. I think calibration data is only storage in app not in trainer. I made spindown of my kickr core yesterday, today I instaled wahoo app on other phone conect to trainer and I have info last spindown- never but on second phone I have info last spindown 1 day ago.
Nope. It’s stored in the trainer… and if you’re seeing that data on a second phone, it’s because it’s reading it from your trainer.
It has to work this way – otherwise, you would have to recalibrate your trainer every time you used it with a new device!
Hi I am having issues with the Kickr resistance and I hope I haven’t done too many factory spindowns. My question is does it matter what gear you are in when performing the spindown or even big or small ring?
Doesn’t matter. Spindown is just about getting the flywheel up to a certain speed, then letting it spin and timing it as it slows.
Step 3 is no longer up to date with the current app (since at least half a year ago), now you have to tap the trainer icon on the settings screen (middle screenshot in step 2) about 10 times in a row instead to get the factory spindown and firmware downgrade options.
Similar to others I’m getting insufficient resistance in standard workout mode on my kickr. Completed the factory spin down today, exited the app and then went into a workout. Spin down had no impact. Ended up spinning at 120 rpm in 53-11 with speed indicating 49 mph while generating no more than 120-130 watts. Factory spin down seemed to go well with no problems. Purchased this unit two years ago but life got in way and last week was the first time I was able to set it up. Are people having more trouble using the kickr and wahoo app… Read more »
Trying to do my own factory reset. Found your comment finally! I am on the Wahoo app and click like you mentioned- this does indeed pop up a “firmware” line that can be clicked on where you can download old versions of software. But nowhere does a factory reset option pop up. Has anyone been able to figure this out? This is completely maddening. Thanks!
Help! Android phone. Lost at wrench
icon! Doesn’t appear per instructions!
Did you ever find an answer to this? I am on iOS and this is driving me crazy!
My girlfriend and I share the KICKR SNAP; we each use our own bike and alternate days on the trainer.
Since we are using different bikes (presumably with different tire pressures / rolling resistance in the system), should we perform a spindown in the Wahoo app each time we mount our own bike to the trainer?
I have had my Kickr Snap for approx 3 weeks. It replaced a Tacx Flow Smart which went faulty. This week my Kickr Snap also stopped working. The Kickr connects fine via bluetooth but it will not register a speed on the Wahoo app when turning the pedals. Basically it will not perform a ‘spindown’ at all – the speed is blank. I have re-installed the Wahoo app, I have for used the ‘forget sensor’ and set up again. All to no avail. I contacted the retailer who suggested I perform a ‘factory spin down’. I have tried this too… Read more »
Eric. My new Snap has always shown me as way more powerful when I ride in Zwift than my Kickr. 50% more! I performed this calibration at the recommendation of Wahoo and I am now riding at my known power output. Nice, but I miss ridding with the animals
I have also lost power output from by Kickr. Wahoo support have told me to do a factory spin down as per this article but when I tap the wrench icon I get “Your Kickr supports auto calibration. Manual spin downs are no longer needed. Please refer to the link below for more information”
how can I force a spin down as suggested by support despite the update in the wahoo iOS app?
Just follow the instructions above. Tapping 5x on the paragraph about auto calibration will bring up the factory spindown dialog. I just tried it here with my latest-gen KICKR….
I have a kickr core. Recently the resistance has dissipated.I cannot perform a spindown or factory spindown as the resistaince is too low to get to 37kph. I know the kickr is not connected to any other devices. It all used to work fine. Any advice
Hi Eric, do you stop pedaling after the 3-minute warmup before the first spindown? Do you also let the speed get to 0.0 before the second spindown? Thanks for posting this!
Been a while since I did one, but I don’t think you need to stop pedaling before starting the first spin down. Then once it spins down enough and tells you do do the next, you can start pedaling again. I think that’s how it worked!