Wahoo’s KICKR is the most popular smart trainer in the world, and for good reason–it was one of the first, it’s built like a tank, and it’s backed by Wahoo’s solid support and distribution network.

Now in its 4th generation, things can get a little confusing if you’re looking to buy a used KICKR or pick up some new/old stock at a bargain price.

Here’s a complete rundown of all the differences between each KICKR generation so you can tell them apart visually and understand the evolution of this smart trainer.

Identifying Your KICKR Generation

Each KICKR has a few unique characteristics which make it easy to identify visually.

KICKR Generation 1 (’14)

  • Carry handle is black and directly mounted to downsloping bar
  • Power plug is beneath that handle on the underside of the downsloping bar
  • No LED lights

KICKR Generation 2 (’16)

  • Downsloping bar completely envelopes the rear axle assembly and has a straight plastic cap
  • Flywheel side of pulley is not recessed

KICKR Generation 3 (’17)

  • Downsloping bar ends flush with the rear axle, has a welded top, with a slight bulge in the center where the axle travels through
  • Flywheel side of pulley is not recessed

KICKR Generation 4 (’18)

  • Downsloping bar ends flush with the rear axle, has a welded top, with a slight bulge in the center where the axle travels through
  • Flywheel side of pulley is recessed

Hardware Differences Between KICKR Models

 Drive BeltFlywheelAccuracyMeasures cadenceHandlePower measurement
KICKR '14 (Gen 1)Timing belt
12lb3%NoSlantedStrain gauge
KICKR '16 (Gen 2)Timing belt
12lb2%NoHorizontalFrom brake
KICKR '17 (Gen 3)Timing belt
12lb2%NoHorizontalFrom brake
KICKR '18 (Gen 4)V belt16lb2%YesHorizontalFrom brake

Compatibility/Feel Differences Between KICKR Models

 Noise LevelClimb compatibleThru Axle compatibilityLED IndicatorsResponsiveness
KICKR '14 (Gen 1)NoisyNo12x142 with adapter kitNoDecent
KICKR '16 (Gen 2)Quieter than previousNo12x142 with adapter kitYesBetter than previous
KICKR '17 (Gen 3)Same as previousYes (Usually)12x142 and 12x148 YesSame as previous
KICKR '18 (Gen 4)Very quietYes12x142 and 12x148 YesSame as previous