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Tested: The New Wahoo KICKR Indoor Smart Trainer

The indoor trainer market is a pretty dynamic place at the moment. With the boom of indoor training software over the last few years there has been a huge increase in people regularly using indoor trainers.

So it is always intriguing to see what Wahoo adds each time a new Kickr model comes out. The V6 (2022) model adds a few helpful features and probably does enough to keep the Kickr up with the best from all other brands.

Firstly, let’s look at the main specifications that remain from the V5, and there are a lot. The auto-calibration function is there, which means that spin-downs are essentially unnecessary. This is a nice touch.

The +-1% power accuracy claim remains (more on this a little later). Maximum power remains at the all-but-unachievable 2200 watts and 20% maximum gradient. The flywheel is still around 7.5kg and the ride feel is essentially the same. The Kickr must still be plugged in for use. Ant+ and Bluetooth connectivity are still available.

The noise level remains the same, as in there isn’t any! This is quite amazing, especially for someone who is normally still using an original Kickr.

The underside and shock absorbing feet of the latest Wahoo KICKR.

The only noise you here is the drivetrain of your bike, and when riding a freshly waxed chain, it is eerily quiet, until you put the big fan on to try and keep cool. The 11-speed cassette is still included.

Wahoo seems to have looked at the numbers and determined that more people are riding 11-speed than 12-speed to date. Finally, the axis feet are essentially unchanged from the V5. The ability to allow play/rock/lateral movement was the main area I had thought would be the next big change in trainers. We’ve seen plenty of aftermarket rocker plates and similar, along with supporting data on why they are beneficial.

I was surprised to see no ‘movement’ on this with this latest model, especially since the axis feet essentially do nothing. I get more movement from the rubber matting that the trainer sits on than from the axis feet. Maybe Wahoo are working on something for the V7?

The KICKR sits firmly on the floor and provides near silent operation.

So, enough of the old, as good as it all still is. What’s new? The Kickr now has an odometer function built into the Wahoo app, so you can track how many virtual kilometres it has covered. Wahoo has incorporated an ERG easy ramp function. This is essentially a 10-second ramped resistance back up to the specified value during a workout in ERG mode.

The KICKR takes on a narrow footprint, important when storage space is a major consideration.

This is super helpful, if you’ve ever had to stop or just had your legs die mid-interval, you will know the pain of getting back to the full power of the interval. This gentle ramp function makes it a lot more streamlined and effective.

The most significant change is the addition of Wi-Fi connectivity directly from the trainer. This is set up in the Wahoo app and thereafter the trainer can just remain “on” and connected. Wi-Fi connectivity has several functions.

Possibly the most useful is that firmware updates are now direct and automatic which is great, as I am terrible at remembering and making the effort to update these things as they come available. Now the trainer can just take care of that itself.

Added Wi-Fi

The other main part of the wifi-connectivity is that the trainer can be paired with apps via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth or ant+. This could be helpful for those using devices with limited numbers of Bluetooth connections allowed. It also is claimed to be more stable, eliminating connection dropouts during workouts or races.

The new KICKR is version #6 of the renowned smart trainer.

A Power Test

I did a few rides where I ran my Assioma power meter pedals in parallel and compared power output between the Kickr and the pedals. Wahoo claims +-1% and the way in which the power curves matched up across a range of ramps, power levels, durations, fluctuations, etc seems to indicate that their claim is fair.

The numbers were rarely more than 1% apart, which is impressive given that you have to also factor in the potential error front the Assiomas too (+-2%). The biggest difference I recorded was my 15-second power which differed by 3% between the two, so still just with the specified combined error of the two devices.
The Wahoo Kickr is a pleasure to ride, easy to set up, self-calibrating, virtually silent and has as many or more features and functions as any other trainer on the market.

Luke Meer’s Full Review Of The Version 6 KICKR Will Feature In The January / February Edition Of Bicycling Australia Magazine. You Can Subscribe Here

Wahoo Kickr V6 2022 Specifications and Features

+/- 1% power accuracy
Side-to-side movement (via axis feet)
Auto-calibration and firmware updates
Virtually silent operation
Measures speed, distance, power and cadence data
WiFi connectivity
ERG Easy Ramp
Maximum Power: 2200 Watts
Maximum 20% Simulated Incline
ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, WiFi, Bluetooth and Direct Connectivity
Thru-Axle and Disc Brake Bike Compatibility

RRP $1799.95

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