Two minute review
Wahoo Kickr: Two minute review
This is our full review of the Wahoo Kickr Bike. This is a fixed exercise bike designed to be ridden at home yet features so many adjustable positions, it’s also akin to riding your road bike.
There’s a reason Team GB has trained on Wahoo tech for years and it’s apparent in the quality of this fixed-only version of the turbo trainer tech that this company specializes in. Even the best treadmill doesn’t offer this level of personalization.
This is more expensive than a turbo trainer but means you don’t have to faff about with your bike, attaching it to this to train – one less excuse to avoid a ride when it’s raining out. Of course, there is more to it, and our guide on turbo trainers vs exercise bikes is worth a read if you’re unsure which cycling solution to buy. This bike is also backed by a host of apps that allow you to ride in virtual worlds with other riders or to train to a specific goal with a training plan generated for you.
There are more options than ever and with some great exercise bike deals out there, this model is certainly sitting at the higher end of the price range – yup, even when compared to Peloton. Unlike Peloton, this doesn’t come with a display, or even a mount, but rather puts all that investment into the bike itself. As such you’re getting a reassuring heavy and solid bike that will keep up with any level of training you need.
Unlike a lot of the competition, the Wahoo Kickr Bike sets itself apart by offering super levels of personalization. That means a whole host of adjustable options that let you get the perfect fit to match your other bike. It also offers hydraulic moving adaption to incline and decline which gives the feeling that you’re really riding up or down a hill. Couple that with shifters that can be adjusted to match your bike and this is a really complete package for training at home without going out the door or sacrificing very much at all.
So is the Wahoo Kickr Bike worth its top-end price?
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Wahoo Kickr Bike: Price and availability
The Wahoo Kickr Bike is out now in the US, UK and Australia. The retail price sits at a premium $3,999.99 / £3,499.99 / AU$6,499.95.
It’s also worth thinking about adding a Wahoo Tickr X chest strap heart rate monitor, Kickr Cycling Desk, and even the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, a cycling computer which can enhance your on-road work.
Wahoo Kickr Bike: Design
- Five point adjustment system
- Electromagnetic motor
- Two-year warranty
The Wahoo Kickr Bike is solid. The second it comes to removing this from the box its 42kg weight becomes very apparent. Despite coming in a relatively compact form, this folds out pretty easily. Once you have the legs added to the rear, which slot right in with ease, all you have to do is add the saddle and handlebars.
Crucially, the whole setup process can be followed on the app which guides you through with words and images. You can do this as you feel or use a guided setup to match this to your road bike. Take a photo of your road bike against a white wall, highlight some key points on the bike and input some data and this will give you the settings to have the Kickr Bike match that exactly. Or if you’ve had a professional bike fit you can simply import the data from Guru, Trek or Retul.
All that is great if you ride and want to match this up, but if you’re new to setup then it just means you have a whole host of options to play with before you can start. There’s stack, reach, setback, saddle height and frame height. And if you don’t really know what you’re doing there isn’t a whole lot of guidance on how to find the right position for you to get the most power out of your legs. Even the pedals have five attachment point options.
The bike itself is finished in a premium metallic paint and all the twist out handles to make adjustments are very easy to use. There is minimal tool requirements to get this setup and to make adjustments you need none at all. Plug in the power cable and the bike is ready to go – just get WiFi setup and then you’re set to start working with an app.
On the bike itself there is a small LED display that shows your gearing and allows you to double-tap a large button to make sure the bike is self-levelled to be flat. All of which usefully lets you get riding even without an app, if you wanted. What’s lacking is a mount for your phone or laptop, which you will most likely be training with. Wahoo charges you for a table that sits in front of the bike but with a price tag in the hundreds I just used the box the bike arrived in to prop up my laptop.
Wahoo Kickr Bike: Features
- Hydraulic height adjustments
- Personalizable shifters
- Multi-app support
The Wahoo Kickr Bike features a hydraulic adjuster that allows the bike to move between incline and decline from 20% to -15%. When this is used in combination with virtual and automatic resistance variations, it can create a super life-like riding experience for a fixed bike setup. Theoretically this should mean your muscle groups will respond more like riding up or down a hill to give the best possible training experience.
The shifters are a brilliant addition to this bike as they are fully digitally adapted. So while you move the armature left and right, as you would on any bike, the way they work can be changed. Using the app you have the choice of shifter so this will work like your bike with options including Campagnolo, SRAM and Shimano.
There are also two inner buttons and two upper buttons. The upper ones are fun in apps where they allow you to look behind or signal to another rider. But the inner buttons have been used well to allow you steer your bike in apps like Wahoo RGT or Zwift. While these could be seen as unnecessary, for serious riders that want to follow a specific line and don’t want to leave it up to the auto-steer, this is a useful option to have.
The addition of rear wheels makes moving this bike, despite its considerable weight, a doddle. Hold the front, tilt the bike up and move about as needed – much like a bench at the gym. Then double tap the auto level button and you know you’re riding flat no matter what surface you need to place the bike on.
Wahoo Kickr Bike: Performance
- Wahoo RGT app offers virtual rides
- Up to 2200W output
- Super stable electromagnetic ride
The Wahoo Kickr Bike is built to such a high standard that it is capable of handling up to 2200W (with the V2 model hitting 2500W). To give that some context, most basic riders have an FTP (functional threshold power) score of about 150W – this is the amount of output power you can maintain for an hour. Better riders are at 300W and some can even hit over 1,000 but in most cases that is a peak power output, not something that is maintained. Get up to Olympic level and riders can hit 2,200W and even maintain that for a short while, but not long.
Here is a good example of an Olympic cyclist powering a toaster at 700W:
So all that means this bike is built to be used by the very best possible riders in the world. That should mean (unless you’re reading this as one of those) this bike will be able to handle anything you can put out. That’s important as riding at power, or high cadence can have you bumping off your saddle and rocking the bike. In the case of this bike, there is no rocking at all. It’s super solid leaving you feeling safe enough to ride to your limits.
The electromagnetic motor is very quiet, runs smoothly, and adjusts quickly to gear changes, all of which leave you feeling like you’re riding a bike out on the road. Add in the immersive Wahoo RGT app and that is taken even further. This is akin to Zwift, where you can set up your rider profile, select a place to ride and go join others on those roads in real-time. The app shows you your power output, your cadence, and your heart rate all at a glance.
Crucially the app allows you lots of ways to ride from simply picking a spot and riding as you please to selecting a workout and following training guidance as you go. You can even enter events that happen in real-time, ideal for meeting up with others virtually or racing against other riders.
The saddle, like everything else on this bike, is like a real road bike, which means it is not comfortable. You’ll need bib shorts with padding, or a gel seat cover if you’re new to this and plan to put in any amount of miles. As mentioned before, there are lots of adjustments to make on this bike so getting more comfortable should be possible but ultimately it’s just part of riding that means toughening up a little. Or taking a break. The Wahoo Systm (opens in new tab) app also offers yoga, strength training and more to give you a well-rounded training experience.
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
|Component||Wahoo Kickr Bike||Peloton Bike||Wattbike Atom|
|Price||$3,999.99 / £3,499.99 / AU$6,499.95||$1,495 / £1,350 / AU$ 2,295||$3,399 / £2,399 / AU$4,999|
|Companion app||Wahoo Systm, third-party apps||Peloton||Wattbike Hub, third-party apps|
|Connection||Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi||Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi||Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi|
First reviewed February 2023