How to Perform an Advanced Factory Spindown on Your Wahoo KICKR

How to Perform an Advanced Factory Spindown on Your Wahoo KICKR

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:

  1. A 3-minute warmup, riding at a “comfortable speed”.
  2. Accelerate to 22.4 mph, then stop pedaling and let the KICKR coast down until the spindown completes.
  3. Repeat step 2

Once completed, the screen will display “Spindown Complete”. All done!

Questions or Comments?

Post below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Mark C
Mark C (@rdcyclist)
7 months ago

Yet another great post! Thanks for the tip, Eric! Truly appreciated…

Paul
Paul (@jpaul-alexander)
7 months ago

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

JJCD
JJCD
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul

I was wondering whether this applied to the Snap as well and:..we have an answer, thanks !

Eric Fernstrom
Eric Fernstrom
7 months ago

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?

Bryan
Bryan
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Fernstrom

This is a great question that I was also wondering. Do you do spindowns in both? Does one overwrite the other?

Miguel
Miguel
7 months ago
Reply to  Bryan

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.

Eric Fernstrom
Eric Fernstrom
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

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).

Garth
Garth
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Fernstrom

Hi Eric,

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.

J.C.
J.C.
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Is it ok to use the Zwift spindown? I often use it to calibrate, seems easier sometimes than calibration through my wahoo app.

Derek
Derek (@dpr4473)
7 months ago
Reply to  J.C.

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.

Simon
Simon
7 months ago

Why wouldn’t they want you running it too often? Any cautions needed here?

Lee
Lee
7 months ago

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 ?

Lee
Lee
7 months ago
Reply to  Lee

#Brake … autocorrect😬

Benjamin
Benjamin (@benjamin_pitt)
7 months ago
Reply to  Lee

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.

lee
lee
7 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin

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?

Benjamin
Benjamin (@benjamin_pitt)
7 months ago
Reply to  lee

No, that’s the reason for the 3 min riding at a set wattage.

Andrew Sheppard
Andrew Sheppard
7 months ago

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?

Andrew Sheppard
Andrew Sheppard
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Yes makes sense! Thanks Eric.

Tim S
Tim S
7 months ago

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!

Johan Ek
Johan Ek
7 months ago
Reply to  Tim S

I have the same issue on my android device!

Johan Ek
Johan Ek
7 months ago
Reply to  Tim S

But I did find an alternative solution, using the wahoo utility app instead:
https://wahoofitness.yonyx.com/y/conversation/?id=c6c33100-be88-11e7-b908-bc764e10c19d

Works for me!

Tim S
Tim S
7 months ago
Reply to  Johan Ek

Perfect, Thanks Johan!! I’ll give that a try tonight before my session 🙂

Tim S
Tim S
7 months ago
Reply to  Tim S

Johan – i just wanted to give an update on your alternate solution. It worked perfectly for me!! Thanks for your assistance 🙂

Tom
Tom
7 months ago

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.

Benjamin
Benjamin (@benjamin_pitt)
7 months ago
Reply to  Tom

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.

Renato Nardello
Renato Nardello (@renato-nardello)
7 months ago

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?

Lee
Lee
7 months ago

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 »

Fons Vandamme
Fons Vandamme (@fonsv)
4 months ago

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:

https://wahoofitness.yonyx.com/y/conversation/?id=c6c33100-be88-11e7-b908-bc764e10c19d

Kris K Fransen
Kris K Fransen
4 months ago

Does the Wahoo spindown replace the Zwift FTP calibration?

Josh V
Josh V
3 months ago

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.

Lisa
Lisa
2 months ago

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 »

bikerider
bikerider
2 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

@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 »

Simon
Simon
2 months ago

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.

Stewart Howell
1 month ago

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

Brian Brackemyre
Brian Brackemyre
1 month ago

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!

Mandy
Mandy
1 month ago

What about the new kicker with auto calibration?

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