Wahoo Kickr – Worth the upgrade over a CompuTrainer?

Okay, I’m a geek and I like toys.  Earlier this year I decided to give the new Wahoo Kickr a try, and thought I’d share my thoughts on how it compares to the tried and true RacerMate CompuTrainer (CT).

This isn’t a review of each product, but rather just my thoughts on each after using the Kickr for about 5 months and the CT for about 3 years.  For great reviews on each, see:

Here’s what I see of the Pros & Cons of each:

CT – Pros:

  • Software & hardware well tried. Not a lot of hiccups. Once you have the system, no additional or ongoing costs. 
  •  It has a lot of courses preloaded. It also has real course video options, so you can actually see the real course. The courses give you some idea if how the real course will feel, although its not 100% (I did a comparison of the real and profiled Ironman CDA course on my website). Can race against a previous workout you did, defined wattage pacer, etc.
  • There are free websites available to create ERG files, which allow you to dial in program in specific wattages and times to create workouts. This is what I use for typical weekly workouts prescribed by my coach. 
  • It will do a Spinscan analysis, allowing you to get a left / right leg analysis. I’ve used this before and after bike fitting to analyze the improvement.

CT – Cons:

  •  “Old” technology. Doesn’t communicate on an open protocol, although its been around long enough that several software companies have written drivers that talk to CT. Graphics are simple… like a cartoon.  Runs only on Windows.
  • Unless you use something like CT Ant software, it won’t work wirelessly with your existing Ant cadence /speed sensors.  CT Ant is software you purchase.  CT Ant requires additional setup, and has some hiccups of it’s own (occasionally missing cadence points).
  • When I’ve tested my CT against my power tap power meter, my power meter always runs higher wattage than the CT. I think this is due to friction loss in the wheel. Not a big deal… I think this is probably true with most trainers.
  • My biggest CT issue has been with tire problems. I’ve literally melted down several tires on the CT. I’ve had the same happen with trainer specific tires too. I sent it back to RacerMate at one point, and they worked on it. It was better, but still happens at times. I’ve seen this in the web, and have a local friend who has experienced the same issue. I think it’s more if a problem on longer high power rides. I also think lining up your rear wheel relative to the trainer is important.

Kickr Pros:

  • New technology. Both Ant+ and Bluetooth smart. Open protocol for future software.  Can be controlled from Mac or Windows computers.
  • Feels more realistic or road-like, in that it coasts much longer than the CT.
  • No tire issue, as it it doesn’t use one.  
  • Some software and drivers can be done using iPhones or iPads rather than full computers.

Kickr Cons:

  • Not the same selection of software or courses.  I use Trainer Road to create workouts (which also works for the CT too), but that costs $10 per month subscription. I’m evaluating PerPro Studio, a third party software that doesn’t require a subscription ($100, available for both Kickr or CT), which does include workouts and courses. Neither display riders on a course, like a CT.  There are other paid options available, such as Strava.  It appears that more an more options are available for the Kickr, as they make the drivers readily available (as opposed to CT who does not make their protocols available to third parties).
  • A little more buggy, using Ant communication protocol, which is used for windows machines. It loses power control usually once or twice per hour for me for a minute or two each time.  I didn’t have this issue when using a Mac and Bluetooth smart.  This is a frustration that I haven’t been able to fix… I’m not sure if it is the Kickr or Trainer Road.
  • Feels like it reacts faster in ERG mode (setting specific power levels), meaning it is a little less forgiving.  If you slow down it ramps power quickly, which makes setting specific watts at higher power more problematic (or at least harder to maintain physically at higher wattages).

Overall, both have been good products for me.  But, that doesn’t mean they have been without problems.  In fact, I’ve had both back to the factory.  The CT went back because of it’s habit of eating tires.  The Kickr because it had a bad bearing.

In the end, I am happier with the Kickr, and glad I made the change.  I simply could not work out the rear tire problem… it was eating too many tires and ruining too many rides (stopping to change tires).  This isn’t really a problem for rides less than 1.5 hours… but over that I just didn’t have confidence that my tire would last.  I also think RacerMate’s decision not to share their communication protocol will be a bad decision.  They took several years to develop their latest software (which I bought… RacerMate One) and frankly it’s not that much of an improvement over the old software.  Their lack of native Ant integration is silly, given the dominance of the Ant sensors on the market.  It’s a solid product that has failed to evolve effectively, given the increasing competition, and the market will move past it.

Should you make the change?  Hmmm… If you are not having the tire problem and are relatively happy with what you have, stay with the CT.  Keep in mind, new hardware, new software, new setup with a Kickr… not everything always goes smoothly.  If you have the tire issue, or are simply geeky and like new things, I think you’ll find it worth the change.  Plus, you still may be able to sell your CT on Ebay at a reasonable price.  If you wait and the market passes CT by, the value will diminish with time.

If you are interested in the Kickr, the DC Rainmaker link (review) above has a discount available from Clever Training for $100 off the retail price.  (Disclosure… I bought both of these products and get no incentive whatsoever by any manufacturer or DC Rainmaker’s site… these are just my opinions.)

In terms of customer service, both Wahoo and RacerMate were fine, but not perfect.  Wahoo was quick, shortly after I sent the video above they identified the bearing issue and sent me another Kickr under warranty.  They let me keep the old one until the new one arrive, so it didn’t interrupt my training.  The downside was they didn’t pay for return shipping on the old unit… and it weighs 59 lbs.  I felt this was a little lame after paying for shipping on the original product.

RacerMate was nice enough to cover shipping costs and even sent me another Continental Trainer tire (which eventually… after a year or so… melted down).  But, it took them a long time to agree to take it back.  They told me it was the tire I was using (which was the same kind as they replaced), that my settings were wrong, that my wheel wasn’t round (I tried multiple wheels/tire combinations), etc.  It wasn’t until I sent them a video documenting the wobble in the spindle where the tire sits that they agreed to look at it.  They replaced parts, sent it back and it worked better thereafter, although never completely solved.  I think it may be an inherent problem of having a small spindle creating a deeper tire deformity and high wattage / longer rides that create excess heat that eventually melts the tire.  Note that I have not had this happen on my regular trainer, a Kurt Kinetic, where I’ve done 3+ hour rides… no tire issues with the larger tire spindle.  In the end… not having a tire on the trainer is a distinct advantage for me.

Here’s a video of my bad bearing for the Kickr:
Bearing Issue

Here’s some pictures of my tire eating CT:

This was prior to RacerMate replacing the flywheel and tire spindle.  It was better after this, but never solved.

This was prior to RacerMate replacing the flywheel and tire spindle. It was better after this, but never solved.

CT Eating a Continental Trainer specific tire.  I think it ate three of these over time.

CT Eating a Continental Trainer specific tire. I think it ate three of these over time.

A Vittoria trainer tire the CT ate.  Besides the trainer specific tires, it ate around 4 old road tires.

A Vittoria trainer tire the CT ate. Besides the trainer specific tires, it ate around 4 old road tires.

Update, February 2014:

I continue to be pleased with the upgrade of the Kickr over the CT.  Since trading out the Kickr with the bad bearing, I have had no other issues with the Kickr.  I have also noticed that the communication/power loss issues I experienced earlier happen very infrequently now… almost non-existent.

I have tried several options for software for the Kickr over time.  Here are my thoughts on what I’ve tried:

  • TrainerRoad.  This is my day to day training software for the Kickr.  Creating workouts is fairly quick and easy.  They have some nice pre-canned training plans, as a fairly large library of existing workouts.  Again, the issues I had previously with signal losses seems to have been overcome in the software upgrades along the way.
  • Cycleops Virtual Training software.  I also subscribe to this service, primarily due to the ability to ride outdoor courses.  The service allows you to access rides all over the world, and some have video associated with them.  When riding without video, you can also choose a Google Maps option, which is like a fly over viewpoint.  I wouldn’t say the library is extensive, but you can add rides to the library, which become available to everyone (via TXC file and some modification).  The quality of the rides depends on who downloaded the ride and whether they smoothed out the natural variations in the original GPS files.  Files without smoothing tend to have quick variations in slope… somewhat unrealistic of real roads.  Here is an example of the Alpes d’Huez ride I did on Garmin.  This was a neat ride in that it has video, but it wasn’t smoothed well so it has some quick slope changes.  Here is a course I created in Norway, as I’m thinking about doing the Ax Tri in 2015.  I was able to download someone else’s Garmin file from a previous race and use it to create a new course.  I then smoothed the GPS file (as part of the Cycleops software) to avoid unrealistic power spikes (i.e slopes going from 8% to 18% in a few feet).  The really cool thing is that it gives me a chance to train climbing for extended distances, and helps me to get a general idea of how long the climbs are likely to take me in the race.  I subscribe to the iPad version only, and have used it in both Ant and bluetooth modes, and didn’t have problems with either protocol (I use a Viiiiva HR strap that will send both bluetooth and Ant protocols, and have both an Ant and Bluetooth cadence sensors on my bike).  The software was easy to use on the iPad (I have an iPad Air), and surprisingly it had no problem running the courses with associated video.  Note that to create courses, you need to download and install software on a PC… unfortunately no Mac options.  The software does have the ability to create structured workouts, like TrainerRoad (even on the iPad), although I haven’t tested this option personally.  The software allows easy uploading of completed rides to mapmyride, Strava, RunKeeper, and TrainingPeaks, right from you iPad.  Note that when you ride an outdoor course, it even uploads the simulated GPS data as well.  They do have the option to try the software before you commit to the service.  Overall I think it’s a neat platform to be able to do both structured rides and outdoor simulated rides.
  • I also have purchased the Strava segments app for my iPad.  It can be entertaining for a while, but I haven’t found it useful for significant training purposes.  Essentially the software allows you to ride existing Strava segments.  The benefit is that there are a lot of segments available.  The downside is that most of the segments are relatively short… meaning to get a workout in you need to keep picking segments to ride.  The other issues I had were again that much of the GPS data is raw and tends to jump in slope quickly.  After playing with the software a bit, I did find an option to be able to smooth the courses as part of the playback, which helped quite a bit.  The last issue… and this isn’t limited to Strava, but I believe is a Kickr software setup issue… is that I am not able to define my own aerodynamic profile.  If you go into the Wahoo software on a mobile device, you can set up what type of bike you have (road, Tri bike, etc.).  But, it defines your CdA and essentially your aerodynamic properties.  So, when I try to ride Strava segments where I’m KOM, I can’t come even close to my existing speed / times, even if I put out more power.  Again, I don’t think this is a Strava Segments issue in particular, but I was able to see this clearly when riding against my local segments.  Overall, it’s mildly entertaining, but I’d rather use the CycleOps software above for outdoor ride simulation.
  • PerPro Studio.  I wasn’t able to really get enough time on this software in the demo mode, so I eventually purchased it to really see how it worked with the Kickr.  Overall, it reminded me somewhat of the old CT software, in the that user interface is a bit dated.  It also has a lot of setup options, and not everything is intuitive.  It allows you to use old CT courses, create courses, create workouts, etc.  Here’s an example of my ride of Escape from Alcatraz, which is an old CT course.  Again, some of the same limitations exist here as the other options… un-smoothed courses create quick power spikes (note the 800 watt spike), and even though you can change some aspects of riding, you can’t define a specific CdA.  Overall, with the outdated graphics and somewhat cumbersome interface, I’d recommend one of the first two options above instead.
  • VeloReality.  In the notes below, I had some comments on VeloReality trainer software, so I gave it a brief trial.  Overall, I think it may be a good option, with some current limitations.  It has both workout mode and video mode, although I tried the video option only (of Alpe ‘d Huez).  My overall impression was that the graphics were excellent… which was also part of the problem.  Although the laptop I use in my exercise room is a 64 bit machine running Windows 7, the HD video graphics proved to be too much for my computer and brought it to a halt part way thought the ride (froze up).  Up to that point, the video was the best I have seen for an outdoor simulation (not shaky, no side to side motion, etc.), and the software was easy to operate and intuitive.  From the comments below, it looks like they may be considering a standard definition option to lighten up the computer requirements, and may be building their video libraries.  Although I didn’t get to the steeper sections of the ride before my computer crashed, I didn’t see any weird power spikes due to un-smoothed GPS data in the ride.  With the software being free and the videos at less than $15 each (much cheaper than the old CT real course videos), this may be a nice option to consider if you have the computer processing power available.

Overall, the software options continue to grow and improve for the Kickr.  I’m sure there are many other great options out there, beyond what I have tried in the list above.  Please let me know below if you have questions or comments.


44 thoughts on “Wahoo Kickr – Worth the upgrade over a CompuTrainer?

  1. Interesting. I’m having the same debate with myself now. BTW, my CT will also dimple my trainer tires if I live pressure on them and then don’t work out for a few days (alternately you can recalibrate all the damn time). /Usually/ they smooth out… I’ve had one burst on me quite dramatically though.

    • I eventually got to the point where I was letting the air pressure out after my rides, to help the tire from being deformed during startup (and wobbling). I think that part of the problem is the spindle size on the CT… it’s so much smaller in diameter than say a Kurt Kinetic. I suspect this creates more tire deformation due to the smaller contact area (or it gets similar contact area but at the expense of additional side wall deformation) which results in additional heat. I think this is also why I always noticed additional wattage differences when comparing the CT to my PT hub. I’ve read that others have noticed the same power difference… which probably just turns to heat via friction. As I’ve continued to use the Kickr, I have been even happier with my decision to change. I’m training for IM AZ, so I am putting a lot of miles on my Kickr, and have zero worries about the rear tire now. I have also noticed that the frequency of my power drop outs have dropped off considerably, so I am thinking this was a TrainerRoad issue that has subsequently been resolved or improved in recent updates.

  2. I hear you there. I’m being super lazy because the CT is such a pain to set up and just leave my old road bike permanently installed with a trainer tire, the HR sensor wrapped on the bars and the CT cadence sensor installed.

    One reason I want to make a switch is that I think moving my Kestrel on and off the trainer will be simpler so I’ll get more time on my race bike. That and I’m not really doing RCVs any more since they don’t have the current IMUK course.

    Glad to hear you’re still loving the Kickr.

  3. Hi, good reading!

    i’m a heavy user of KurtKinetic+powertap+trainerroad and I will update this to a top trainer. But I did not know how trainer I must buy: Computrainer or Kickr. What is your opnion?

    The problem is that I live in Brazil, so, if I have some problem with them, it will not be easy to send it back.

    is the kickr a trsut option? Are you see any other issue with it?

    • I have had no other issues with the Kickr, since they replaced it. I have also noticed that the frequency of the dropped power signal between TR and the Kickr has also reduced. Originally it happened nearly every ride, sometimes a couple of times per ride, and now it may be a couple of rides before I see a dropped signal. My guess is that TR has done something to improve communication reliability. It’s really not a big deal, it reconnects after about 30 seconds and you just continue your ride through the signal loss, but it throws off your TR workout by the 30s it was off (your intervals shift a bit). I also have a KurtKinetic+powertap+trainerroad and it’s a good training option as well (I use this at our cabin rather than lugging the Kickr around… it’s very heavy to transport). Frankly with your combination, you have very repeatable training equipment. The primary advantage of the Kickr or CT (for me) over the Kurt Kinetic is the ability for TrainerRoad to actually control the power, per the workout. This means that my actuals are very close to the planned power (usually within a couple of watts for longer duration intervals… it will be lower on short duration intervals < 1minute)… no getting lazy on your intervals. The other advantage is that the power is independent of cadence. So, if you are doing low or high cadence work, you simply slow or speed up your cadence, and the Kickr (or CT) will adjust the torque in proportion to your cadence change, to maintain the same power. It also allows me to watch TV without obsessing over my workout… the power is applied per the workout schedule. I'm not sure if these features are worth the upgrade for you, but they were for me. Here is an example some intervals with low cadence on the KK+PT+TR (http://tpks.ws/MQ21) and here is an example of a workout on the Kickr+TR where I had some sections with low cadence work (http://tpks.ws/V6gh). You can do similar things on each system, but the accuracy of workout tracking is much higher on the units with controlled power (either Kickr or CT). If you are going to make the upgrade to a power controlled unit, I would still recommend the Kickr over the CT. It's less expensive, has a more realistic feel, has an open communication protocol, and doesn't have the friction/tire issues.

  4. I’ve moved from the CT to the kickr and have no regrets. I miss the real course videos some but my upcoming races weren’t available so that’s a moot point.

    The longevity of the kickr is still up in the air – the CT is a bulletproof tank – but it’s probably just fine.

    I actually had more data drops on bluetooth (a known issue with the retina MacBook) but I switched to ant with TrainerRoad and it’s all good. Nice to have the option.

  5. thanks for the great reply!
    It is really a big problem for me when my coach send workouts with high cadence intervals… it is hard to keep the watts down and the cadence high. With the help of the trainerroad, my workouts are almost perfect :-). The only problem is to find the right gear/cadence to keep the power in the prescripted zone. For me, that never used a power trainer, it is hard to think about changing the cadence and not changing the power! So, this will be a great think. The tv issue too is good, normaly I need to focus a lot in the trainerroad screen to keep the watts in the right number.

    One thing that I will miss on the CT is the silver rider and the real courses (ergvideos).. But I thing that soon there will be a lot of real course videos on the kickr.

    About the connection problem, the trainer road support answered this for me:

    “Working 100% with BT 4.0 on mac and ANT on mac/pc. I use it as my main trainer on windows via ANT with no problems. You’ll want an ANT 2 USB stick if you’re going ANT. The USB1 had some problems.”

    Thanks again. I will try the kickr!

  6. Nice blog! I assume you did IM AZ 2013? If so I just may have helped fuel your ride – my wife and I were at the disco themed bike aid station. I hope the race went well for you, a really cool event.

    We are signed up for IM AZ 2014 and need an indoor trainer, so this comparison is awesome. I just wish you could ride the course while training (and watching snow outside). That is the only thing appealing about the CT….. but at a serious cost. The question is will Kickr or a 3rd party make videos of some IM events available soon (veloreality is cool but all European rides)

    Thx for your review.

    • AZ was a great event for me… I did put up a race report with all my stats, etc. under the race report sections if you are interested. If you’d like any of my Garmin data files, let me know I’m happy to send them to you. A friend gave me his bike power files last year, and it really helped me to estimate my bike pacing for the race. I appreciated the help of all the volunteers, they kept me going throughout the day.

      Since I wrote this article, I’ve tried a few different options for front end systems (TrainerRoad, PerfPro, Strava Segments, Veloreality, and Cycleops Virtual Trainer). Sometime I’ll need to write a little comparison. For now, my favorite for creating defined workouts is TrainerRoad. It’s simple and it works. In terms of virtual cycling, I just tried out Cycleops Virtual trainer today, and really liked it. It reminds me of Segments, but has actual routes rather than short rides, and some of the routes also have videos associated with them. I also found it seemed more realistic than segments in terms of my power vs speed. Here’s a ride I did today, shown in TP: http://tpks.ws/J4A7. What is cool is that it also put the route in TP as well as the elevations. As with any of these, there are some variances in elevation depending on how well the underlying data is (you can get some quick jumps from 0 to 18% grades). I rode four different courses today, all with video, in France, Norway, Iceland and Colorado. It also runs on my iPad 2, and didn’t have any issues. The video quality varies based on the original recording, but the four I tried were all pretty good. When I tried Veloreality, the video was great, but it brought my exercise room laptop to it’s knees and eventually just locked up in my ride. I did see that the Cycleops Virtual Trainer did have a route for IM AZ, although no video with it. I believe it also allows you to create defined workouts like TR, but I haven’t tried that option yet. I would guess it’s just a matter of time before most of the races have videos associated with them, and show up in something like Kinomap or Cycleops VT. It seems that some of the better videos (like Veloreality) are probably filmed in cars rather than bike or helmet cams, to keep them from being so shaky. I have not tried Kinomap, as most of the videos I’ve previewed were too shaky for me.

      Good luck at IM AZ… it’s a great race.

  7. Veloreality does need a good computer !
    But they are re mastering all their videos in 720p instead of 1080p to help with slower computers..
    would be great if they can film some IM course, they are very open, will drop them a note on this !

    • The Kickr does not have a Spinscan equivalent, nor does any of the software that I use. I would guess it would be theoretically possible, using the same type of algorithm that RacerMate uses, but I am unaware of any third party that does this for the Kickr. Although I used the CompuTrainer for several years, I only used the Spinscan feature a few of times. I did use it a couple of times to look at the pattern of my torque distribution on training rides and I did find it useful to see a slightly improvement in leg / right balance after I had my first bike fitting. But, it wasn’t something that I used regularly as I tended to use the ERG based power training the most. Later I transferred to using the wireless Ant+ based sensors rather than the standard wired sensors on the Computrainer (for convenience), which disables the Spinscan feature. If you are an existing CompuTrainer user and Spinscan is important for your training or analysis, you may be better off staying with the CompuTrainer. For me, the Spinscan was sort of neat… but it didn’t provide enough value to outweigh the benefits of moving to the Kickr.

    • Same here – SpinScan was a huge PITA. It was compounded by RacerMate’s refusal for years to release a wireless sensor – it relies on being able to detect accurate realtime pedal position, so an “instant” the-pedal-is-triggering-the-sensor feed is needed which ANT+ didn’t provide. Their “hockey puck” detector is their solution to this, but its expensive and still a pain.

      I suggested to them at one point that they create an ANT+ sensor with a removable wire for higher resolution work, but didn’t get a response.

      Quite frankly I probably used it 10-15 times over a few years, and never felt like I got ongoing value from it. For me it wasn’t worth the extra hassle and expense. I’ve also not met anyone who wasn’t a RM sponsored pro who honestly claimed to use it significantly.

  8. Been on a CT for over 10 years. I just got a Kickr and have had about 15 workouts on it. The ability to drop in Sufferfest videos and do workout rides that TrainerRoad has compiled is killer fun and great workouts. The convenience of Kickr setup is a huge plus. I also throw it in the trunk of my car when I go on trips where I know I won’t be doing outdoor riding (especially winter months). I never did that with the CT.

  9. Should I buy a used CT or Kicker? I currently own a Blackburn Mag6 (traditional 6 speed magnetic trainer) and have been using the Garmin 910xt w/ Speed/Cadence/HR data (no Vector) and Sufferfest Videos on the iPad for structured workouts. I just completed my first IM, Coeur D’Alene a couple weeks ago and am looking for some new training gear to keep me motivated.

    For a first time buyer would you recommend I pick-up a used CT or go ahead and go with the Kicker? (The only experience I have on the CT was when I was fitted for my bike and I thought it was a cool system.) (The other differences I’m trying to reconcile are CT seems like you pay once and get a historically good trainer/software whereas with Kicker you will pay for ongoing subscriptions to have access to training videos and software i.e. Trainer Road)

    I also only own a Mac so this would require new software to run CT.

    Any all advice is appreciated. Thanks!

    • Based on what you described, I’d still go with the Kickr over a used CT. I believe you would need Parallels or another VM ware to run the CT software on a Mac, and depending on the age of the Mac this could result in slow operation of the software. I use Parallels on some of my Macs… great product… but it would be a pain in the butt to setup just for the CT software and I wouldn’t have 100% confidence everything would work due to the old hardware requirements of the CT. Note that you can use the Wahoo App (at no charge) for controlling the Kickr, but it just lacks the automatic power settings and defined workouts / plans that are included in Trainer Road. In general, my Kickr / TR combo is just easier to use and much less finicky than my CT. I have also found that my Kickr is more realistic in terms of feel and performance than my CT. At this point, I can’t think of any compelling reasons to justify a CT over a Kickr, other than if you could find one at a quarter of the price…

  10. Ok, here is another question: i have a cyclops spin bike, 300 pro, that I’ve been using with endurance film videos. I really love doing those workouts. Just looked up trainerroad and now I’m thinking of signing up. Would that be an option, instead of a kickr? I kind of like the fact tat I don’t have to futz with my bike…on the trainer..off the trainer…etc

    • Looks like you are in luck… the 300 pro should be compatible with TrainerRoad. Here’s a link TR provides on how to set up your spin bike for control by TR: http://support.trainerroad.com/hc/en-us/articles/201697304-CycleOps-Indoor-Cycle-300-400. It looks like there is some setup involved, but it may be worthwhile for the structured workouts you get from TR. Personally I feel that interval work is a very time effective way to build cycling power. To make it work, you will need an Ant+ stick for your computer and then you will need to install the TR software, described in this link: http://www.trainerroad.com/getting-started. If you have an Ant+ stick for a Garmin device, you can use it for TR as well. Note that if TR is installed on the same computer that you are using to upload workouts, you will need to disable your Garmin software to use TR (i.e. exit Garmin Express) as only one application can use the Ant+ stick at a time (if you don’t TR will tell you it can’t find your Ant+ stick). If I already owned the 300 pro, I would simply use TR with that rather than adding another trainer.

      • I have been using a ct for about 7 years with no problems. I also use a srm power meter for outdoor rides. I recently purchased a kickr. I used the kickr with the srm to check accuracy of the kickr power. It is way out, shows power about 30 watts higher than the srm. I have checked the srm with the computrainer, and they are within a few watts of one another, so problem is with the kickr. I have calibrated the kickr many times. Any suggestions, anyone else had this problem?

      • Wow… that’s a huge difference. I don’t have a crank based power meter, so I have not done the comparison directly. The power I am seeing on the Kickr is consistent with HR data I see on my PowerTap, so I haven’t felt there was any significant difference in power. Likewise, my 20 minute tests on the Kickr were within 5 watts of my Time Trial power averages (using my PT), well within normal accuracy levels. Unfortunately my best suggestion would be to contact Wahoo, and submit a warranty claim. I did notice that Wahoo has a defined calibration set, discussed in DC Rainmaker’s blog, here:http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2014/08/behind-scenes-fitness.html. I see they are selling it online (http://www.wahoofitness.com/kickr-calibration-kit.html) but I would see your calibration issue as potentially a factory defect… and maybe they would be willing to loan it to you to do a more accurate re-calibration of your Kickr than the standard software calibration.

      • That is significant. Have you reached out to Wahoo? When I moved from CT to Kickr I didn’t notice any significant difference in output, and in the DCR tests it shows up in the same +/- 2% range as all the other power devices do. You may well have a faulty unit.

  11. I just started using my Kickr and it reads about 23 watts higher than my SRM (which matches my PT readings). I have calibrated several times but it makes no difference. Guess I will be calling Wahoo also.

    • Thanks for the reply. If you would, let us know what you hear from Wahoo on this issue and how it was resolved, for feedback to others interested in the Kickr. Thanks.

  12. OK – after 2 weeks, I love this trainer. I got the watts difference worked out. I can’t really tell you how bc I tried multiple ways (spin down, calibration, start/restart. etc) to get it to work and I just finally got it working. Then I moved on to setting up ANT+ for my iPad. This was a bit tricky too (assigning which piece of equipment was going to transmit what information and how (BT or ANT+) but got it all working. The next step is deciding what software to go with (besides the Wahoo Fitness app).

    • I’m glad you were able to get the watts issue worked out. My understanding is that Trainer Road is in the process of testing a beta version which will be available in IOS for the iPad. I have personally used the CycleOps Virtual Training (VT) app for my iPad, with the Kickr. It doesn’t (or didn’t earlier this year) have the depth of training plans available that Trainer Road did, but it was fairly simple to create workouts based on specific power levels. I also used it to create virtual courses, which was sort of cool. I would search for existing activities on Garmin Connect (that other people had completed), upload the data to a Virtual Trainer account and then it would be available for me to ride as a course on my iPad. I’ve used both the BT and Ant+ communication with VT software, but in an either or scenario where I was all BT or all Ant+. At that time (early this year) I had better luck with the BT communication, than Ant+. It wasn’t that it wouldn’t use Ant+, but it seemed a little more finicky at recognizing the dongle and/or sensors… and sometimes required plugging and unplugging or start/stop the App to get everything recognized. Once communicating, I didn’t have any issues when using VT. Thanks for the feedback.

  13. Thanks for taking the time to do and post this. It is very useful information. I’m struggling to decide whether to get the Kickr, Computrainer, or Tacx iGenius. I like the idea of the pedal stroke analysis and feel that this could help him a lot next season and am surprised that neither the Kickr or Tacx offer this. Do you know of any apps or other trainers that may do something similar to the spinscan offered on the computrainer. Thanks again.

    • We actually do it for our Lynx trainer but we did not really exposed this functionality to our customers since nobody we asked were really interested. For what it’s worth here is the screenshot or torque recorded directly from our trainer. It was done right after leg injury and it quite visible from the pic:

    • I’m unaware of any Apps specifically for the Kickr to do pedal stroke analysis, although it wasn’t something I did very often with the CT. I found it most useful after a change in my bike fit, but really only used it a couple of times for training. After practicing a few times with pushing at the top and pulling at the bottom of the stroke, I didn’t get a lot of benefit for ongoing Spinscan training. If there was an App out there that was inexpensive that performed this function, I’d probably buy for the uses above… but there wasn’t enough value in it for me to steer me toward a particular trainer.

  14. It’s only on the computrainer because the others don’t know as precisely where the pedal is due to them being wireless. I found that the spinscan wasn’t all that useful and that wired cadence was a real pain (and fragile to boot), but everyone’s different.

  15. Just came across this blog and it was very useful in solidifying my decision to move away from the Computrainer to the Kickr. I’ve have nothing but problems with the RM 1 software and it recognizing the CT trainer. Besides, I like the idea of a direct drive and the Kickr seems like the quietest of all the direct drive options out there.

  16. just to let you know that some major updates have been implemented to the Veloreality software in the last weeks. It now has the worlds 1st mass multiplayer for video based simulations along with a real time map to see everyone riding on our 60 deep list of grade perfect high quality routes… 3000km right now. All the routes have a 720p lower res version for older 64bit PCs. But I would consider using better hardware & the full HD option… It’s like having glasses! Strava segments on every hill & mountain record your performance for the next time you ride so you can race your self to the top & properly recover on the descents…like real life. Loads of features on the way including pacers that will make specific focused training much more enjoyable.

  17. If you are lucky enough to get one of these that works they are great. However, I have been going back and forth with Wahoo for months because the trainer is defective. They keep sending parts or having me return it to them so they can spend a month fixing it before sending back the same unit that still doesn’t work.

    I have spent the last six months with a $1,200 bike stand.

    • Sorry to hear about your bad experience with the Kickr. Hopefully they get it resolved soon, as after mine was fixed I’ve had no issues.

  18. Nice blog, Greg. I stumbled onto it tonight looking for comparisons between CompuTrainer and Wahoo Kickr. I own a CT (I’ve had it for 4 years) and had a friend asking me what I’d recommend for him. I personally love my CT as it routinely kicks my butt in about as interractive a way as I could hope for.

    Lots of data here. Sorry to see you had such a setback with your accident but nice to see you’ve made the recovery you have. Wishes for much continued success and safety in your endeavors!

    Kevin g

    • Thanks Kevin. I recently ordered a Cycleops Magnus… we’ll see how it compares once it arrives. I still like the Kickr, and have put a lot of miles on it with no problems. I will continue to use it as my primary trainer, with the Magnus being a second trainer for my family. I sort of monopolize the Kickr, as I bought replacement parts on e-Bay for the bike I was hit on, and now I just leave it on the Kickr all the time. The Magnus will also allow me to use it for testing for some of the local people I coach in combination with a Moxy Monitor or BSX Insight… or at least that’s how I rationalize it. 🙂

  19. I’ll look into the Cycleops Magnus. My doctor is the one who was inquiring of me yesterday. I like my CT but worry that for the money he could maybe do much better with something more state-of-the-art. While CT seemed to be so far out in front for the longest time when compared to other indoor trainers, they’ve been dropping back and that concerns me. Thanks for the tip!

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