Wahoo Announces the Most Accurate and Comfortable KICKR Yet

Wahoo Announces the Most Accurate and Comfortable KICKR Yet

Wahoo’s KICKR is the most popular direct-drive smart trainer on the planet, and for good reason: its road feel is second to none, the build is bombproof, and Wahoo stands behind their products with top-notch support. (Then again, I’m a bit biased: I’ve logged over ~22,000 Zwift miles on a KICKR trainer!)

Today Wahoo launched the fifth generation KICKR which includes three key upgrades from the previous KICKR ’18 model:

  1. Power accuracy improved to +/-1% (previously +/-2%)
  2. A proprietary auto-calibration process (no spin down required!)
  3. AXIS feet allow the trainer to tilt up to 5 degrees side-to-side for a more realistic motion

Buy now at wahoofitness.com >

Accuracy and Auto-Calibration

Wahoo’s press release for the new KICKR states that it “refines power accuracy to +/-1% from +/-2% by using a proprietary auto-calibration process.” So it doesn’t appear that any power sensing hardware has changed – rather, Wahoo has integrated an auto-calibration which improves the overall power accuracy. Fair enough. Zwifters don’t care how it’s done – we just want accurate power! And having it without the need to manually calibrate is even better.

The KICKR’s #1 competition is the Tacx Neo 2T, which has always demanded a higher price tag because it claims +/-1% power accuracy without needing calibration. With this update, Wahoo’s KICKR now offers the same industry-leading accuracy and calibration-free experience at a price tag that is $200USD below the Neo.

AXIS Feet

Many Zwifters praise the Neo’s ability to allow for a bit of rocking from side to side, and the new KICKR addresses this as well with its new AXIS feet. Wahoo says:

These feet allow a bike installed onto the trainer to smoothly tilt up to 5 degrees from side-to-side with each pedal stroke in a controlled, realistic motion.

Three stiffness options let you tune movement to your unique riding style, and the AXIS feet can be purchased as an aftermarket replacement for older KICKR models.

As a big fan of rocker plates, I support more movement! I’ve got a review KICKR arriving in ~10 days, which will replace my KICKR 18 on several weeks of Zwift sessions so I can put the new feet through their paces.

A Wired Option?

Wahoo isn’t mentioning it in their marketing, but the new KICKR includes a direct connect wired option – an RJ11 port (aka, telephone jack port). There are no devices or apps which work with that port… yet. But this looks to be the first move toward a wired setup which Zwifters have been requesting for years!

Zwift would need to implement the software changes, while Wahoo would need to release the wire dongle which converts from the RJ11 port to a network plug, so you can plug your KICKR directly into your ethernet. Will it happen? I’d say chances are good, but it may take a while.

Iterating to Win

Here’s a quick walk down memory lane to look at what each new KICKR model brought us:

  • KICKR V1 (2012): the first “open” direct-drive smart trainer, capable of working with multiple software platforms
  • KICKR V2 (2016): quieter than V1, more responsive
  • KICKR V3 (2017): KICKR Climb compatible (usually), more thru-axle compatibility
  • KICKR V4 (2018): even quieter than V3, integrated cadence, up to three simultaneous Bluetooth connections
  • KICKR V5: (2020): power accuracy improved, auto-calibration, AXIS feet, RJ11 wired connection port

This latest KICKR is far from a major revamp – but why should it be? The KICKR name is proven, profitable, and trusted worldwide. It makes sense for Wahoo to continue iterating on this already-refined platform, finding ways to match or surpass the competition so they can maintain their position as industry leader.

And that’s only good news for us consumers. If the new KICKR lives up to its accuracy claims, it will force Tacx to reduce its Neo pricing, or improve the product significantly!

Where To Buy

The new KICKR is available today at wahoofitness.com for the same price as previous generations: $1199USD. (Pro tip: make your purchase through this link and you’ll help support the Zwift Insider site!)

I’ll update this post with links to additional distributors once I’ve confirmed they are shipping the new KICKR.

Review Coming Soon

I’ll publish an initial review after using the V5 KICKR for a few weeks. Stay tuned! Until then, DC Rainmaker’s review has just been published.

Questions or Comments?

Share 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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Philippe Gelinas
Philippe Gelinas
9 months ago

Interesting! Owner of a V4 (KICKR’18), I wonder if the Axis feet will be available for a retro-fit?

JWIFFLE
JWIFFLE
9 months ago

I believe I read elsewhere that you would be able to retro fit the feet

Will
Will
9 months ago
Reply to  JWIFFLE

Yes, they’ll be $79 but the DC Rainmaker review notes that they make little difference, particularly if you already have a mat.

Joel
Joel
9 months ago
Reply to  Will

🤖 That’s a bummer…An DCR has always been spot on!

Benjamin
Benjamin (@benjamin_pitt)
9 months ago

I don’t understand the hype over the feet. Nothing of note tbh. I’ve been using a gen 1 on yoga mats for ages and get the same movement. Their is also a school of thought on zwift that sprint power is actually higher if you don’t have this movement, no idea if it’s true – but it’s not a desirable feature for those people.

thewannabeironman
Super Member
thewannabeironman (@wanna_b_ironman)
9 months ago

I’m with you on Wahoo support. Never had any issues with the Kickr however the Kickr Climb let me down, twice. Both time, I got a replacement (once the power unit, once the Climb unit).

Rob Martin (Killing Joke)
Rob Martin (Killing Joke) (@rob_f_martin)
9 months ago

Thanks Eric. I ordered using the above link

Duncan Putman
Duncan Putman
9 months ago

Interesting post. The movement option sounds a good feature to have. It should help improve wattage when sprinting. Seems more like an iteration as opposed to huge leap.

Hopefully the reliability will be good out the box. I’m on my 4th kickr v4. Early models had huge reliability problems with excess vibration and noise. The customer service has always been great though with wahoo and I got the replacement units quickly. The last one had been good for the last year so hopefully they have learned and their design is more robust

Andy
Andy (@da_andreas)
9 months ago

Does it work with Campagnolo free hub/cassette?

Bobby Mac
Bobby Mac (@rmacdowell1)
9 months ago

I’ve had my Kickr Gen1 for 6 years and 8 months (bought Jan 2014) and never had a single issue. Have only removed the cap and cleaned the sensor twice. I do have a super minor issue with the base legs creeping forward after a hard sprint. Maybe I’ll try the new adapter feet.

Simon
Simon
9 months ago

Plugs are sexy! Great to see a wired smart trainer; I could never understand why make something stationary wireless.

Brandon Johnson
Trusted Member
Brandon Johnson (@brandon_j_585)
9 months ago

Like the wired option, but RJ11? Why not RJ45? There must be some reason . . . anyone have ideas?

Todd Norbury OAM (Self isolation world champion)
Member
Todd Norbury OAM (Self isolation world champion) (@norbs)
9 months ago

So they can sell you a $50 cable. 🙂

Sam
Sam
9 months ago

My exact same thought!! Can’t see any logical reason why they’d confirm RJ11 over a RJ45 socket.

Rob Lester
Rob Lester
9 months ago

My kickr has barley done any work from new, you gonna do me a sweet trade in please?

Dan Connelly
Dan Connelly
9 months ago

When power is measured, it’s torque times speed. Speed is fairly easy for a smart trainer (the flywheel is moving quickly, so frequent sampling of rotation speed). So it comes down to torque. This is done by some sort of strain gauge. The strain gauge typically has two calibration parameters: slope and intercept (zero offset). Zero offset is easy — when it’s freewheeling, torque is zero. So do frequent spin-downs and that keeps “zero” close to zero. Typically KICKR has done this when you do a special spin-down test. PowerTap, for example, did it whenever the rider happens to coast,… Read more »

Todd Norbury OAM (Self isolation world champion)
Member
Todd Norbury OAM (Self isolation world champion) (@norbs)
9 months ago

Eric, do you expect it to be an Ethernet connection?

I would have thought a USB port at the other end.

Todd Norbury OAM (Self isolation world champion)
Member
Todd Norbury OAM (Self isolation world champion) (@norbs)
9 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Ok, thanks. Seems an odd option. RJ11 is stuck at around 20Mbps from memory.

Will be interesting regardless.

Joel
Joel
9 months ago

I’d be surprised if it was RJ11 to USB, as it would be easier to just use USB for the whole thing. Still think RJ11 is an odd choice. Maybe because it is slightly smaller and less pins to break? As far as data amount, I doubt it is that much. How bandwidth do you need to download resistance and upload wattage and cadence every second? Suspect it is much lower than 20 Mbps.

Benjamin
Benjamin (@benjamin_pitt)
9 months ago

No spindown is a good move in the right direction for zwift fairness, as long as the auto spindown is reliable and remains accurate.

Paul Rayner
Paul Rayner (@paulrayner)
9 months ago

YES!!! A wired connection!! I’m looking to buy a new trainer in the not-too-distant future, last night my ride got ruined by a disconnection yet again and I said “if someone makes a wired trainer, that’ll be the clinching selling point for me!”

Tony Dales
Tony Dales
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Rayner

Hi Does the new model come with the 11 speed cassette already fitted

Joel
Joel
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Dales

Yes

Stephen Hesketh
Stephen Hesketh
8 months ago

I have gone from a version 1 to the latest and there is no comparison. Smooth silent and more accurate. Now looking forward to getting a climb and having a real nice training setup to improve just that little more.

PCG
PCG
8 months ago

Very important would be noise level….living in a flat currently my Kickr drives them nuts..

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