Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wahoo Kickr Gen 1

Update 1/9/17

I am heavily editing my initial blog post. Much of my initial thoughts have changed since the purchase back in August 2014 and because much of my long winded first post needed to be trimmed down.

Initially I was unhappy with the power difference of the Kickr compared to my power meters. If it were not for TrainerRoad and PerfPro stepping up early in 2015 and taking charge of implementing power meter control or power match I would not be a happy camper at all. Some have been lucky with the Gen 1 Kickr accuracy, but my particular Kickr the power meter portion has never been close enough for my liking. Having the Quarq ELSA in charge keeps me in my happy place and happy enough to jump on and train each day. Everything else about the Kickr is top notch as far as I am concerned. It pairs up quickly with every training application that I have tried and Wahoo continues to provide the occasional firmware updates that seemed to have improved my experience a little as have the updates from TrainerRoad and PerfPro. 

The Kickr feels good to me and I have no hesitation jumping on for a 60 to 90 minute session most weekdays year round. With the Quarq ELSA controlling the effort I trust that I am hitting the interval targets that I have planned without having to play various games to deal with the average 15 watt power difference of the Kickr.

Update 2/5/16

Here are a few screen shots from an active recovery session last night using the combination of the Kickr (latest Wahoo firmware update v1.4.39), Quarq ELSA, PerfPro (latest edition using the power meter control option). I've had about a 15 watt difference between my power meters and the Kickr for the total training session since purchase and it is still about the same, but it does seem that the application and firmware updates have improved the overall feel of the Kickr. It seems be a little less erratic in power meter control than previously. 

Update: 10/09/2015

I thought I would give an update based on using the Kickr now that I have a number of months and many hours of use. So far the equipment is very solid with no issues. Having the option for using the Quarq ELSA instead of the Kickr's power source to control an ERG workout through TrainerRoad or PerfPro has been really good. I couldn't expect it to be better and by using the ELSA I no longer take time to do a spin down or precious time warming up the Kickr to do a spin down since the ELSA does not seem to have these type of issues since it remains in the same room with near the same environmental conditions. Now my warm up is just about 5 to 10 minutes only to warm up my legs before to starting the intervals. The drive belt and all else about the Kickr seems to be just as solid as the first day.

The noise level varies depending on the gear used. I leave mine on the large chain ring and middle of the cog to keep the chain in a near straight line. It is not as loud as having it on a smaller cog spinning at a higher rate and it could be a little lower if I used the small ring. Erg is Erg. The cooling fans I use are still the loudest thing in the room so I typically wear ear buds or wireless headphone and my favorite Pandora Trance station to cover the sound of the fans. Without the fans I could easily hear the TV over the Kickr at a submaximal threshold intensity. At 90% of my FTP or greater than I need to turn up the TV to hear over the Kickr, but at that intensity I am suffering enough that I cannot focus in TV dialog anyway. Thus trance music via earbuds is just enough to drown out the internal screaming of the legs. 

Update: 1/14/2015

Started using the Quarq ELSA to control the Kickr as a beta.

Update 3/06/2015

PerfPRO announced last week that they now have power meter control over the Kickr built into their latest public beta download. You can find the beta download at this link

Update: 12/12/2014

Over the past couple of weeks I have traded a few emails with a Wahoo technician regarding the 14 watt difference in power output between the Kickr and my Quarq. The technician was very helpful giving me a few ideas of cleaning sensors and tightening the belt. He put me on the list for the calibration kit that Wahoo is sending out (with a deposit that will be canceled once the kit is mailed back). He also mentioned that they were working on an app that would allow the user to align the power of the Kickr to the user's power meter. For now I am very content to use the Kickr and adjust the intensity level incrementally within the TrainerRoad application. Still very happy with the purchase.

It will be interesting how I split up my indoor training between the Kickr and the e-Motion rollers once Inside Ride releases their ANT+/BLE resistance controller. This will give the rollers the ability to be used in ERG mode as well. I plan on keeping and using both.

See a review and test comparing SRM with the Kickr

Why is this important to get correct?
If you are sending your data to a coach they need to have accurate data. If there is a power discrepancy from a power meter that is being used to test outside and what is being used for indoor training the data will be skewed. It could be inflated or it could be under, but in either case the coach may give bad advice or set up the wrong plan. For instance my first few weeks of using the Kickr's power and filing that data in WKO+ my CTL ramp was trending upward rapidly. It made it look as if I was really progressing in training by setting new power curve best efforts when in fact I was actually under training because I was about 15 watts under my interval targets. Whether you have a coach or not it is important to have an idea of the accuracy and consistency of the power output. If there is temperature drift it can be equally as bad and the data cannot be trusted for watching positive or negative training trends. I am not too concerned that the Kickr's power be dead on the money in comparison to the Quarq, but it needs to be within a few watts. There are many Kickr users that are reporting that the Kickr's power is 15 to 20 watts higher than their power meters. There are a few reporting the Kickr's power is lower by that much. Just be aware of this potential difference and what it could mean to having a successful season ahead.

This comparison reflects about a 15 watt difference between the Quarq ELSA (yellow) and Kickr's wattage (red). This was common in several test and after the appropriate equipment warmup and spin downs.

Update: 11/23/2014

While I am still very happy with the Wahoo Kickr I feel it is important that readers who stumble upon this post understand that many are reporting differences between their dedicated power meters (various brands) and the power from the Kickr. I thought it best to make that known.

I am very happy with the purchase and day to day use for a number of other reasons. It is my hope that the folk at Wahoo will take action to get this resolved soon. So far they have been sending calibration tools when an owner puts down a deposit. Based on what I have read from some of those who have tried using the calibration kit at home it did not help correct the Kickr.

Update 4/1/2014

Power meter control from TrainerRoad and updated comments regarding the Kickr.

Easy to unpack and set up except is a little heavy

Direct drive which eliminates tire slip and wear

Heavy flywheel with magnetic resistance

Comes with Shimano / SRAM compatible cassette

The Wahoo Kickr is heavy with sturdy materials and a wide stable base

TrainerRoad workout using a Windows laptop and ANT+ adapter

Wahoo Bluetooth and ANT+ sensor attached to crank arm acts an auto start and stop in TrainerRoad workouts

The RPM sensor attaches quickly, does not need magnets and will quickly pair with Bluetooth Smart or ANT+


Amy said...


I stumbled onto your blog post because I have a new kickr and I'm having issues pairing it with TrainerRoad. I have been using their new phone app but after about 10 minutes the power readings haywire. Can you explain how you are pairing your laptop with the ant+ dongle. I have an older MacBook but I'm not sure if it will work. Sorry - I know you aren't tech support I'm just looking for more information for how others are making it work.

The Cycling Addiction said...

Hi Amy,

Probably a good place to ask and get a fairly quick question is at

I am not familiar with what you might need for a Mac since I use a PC. On the PC and using a the ANT+ USB dongle there is a Kickr selection under the TrainerRoad software application. If the laptop is within range of the Kickr it typically picks it up fast. Best thing to do is search that forum.

Under this discussion there are a lot of questions and answers and if you can't find what you need just post the question and I am sure you will get a fast response.;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;forum_view=forum_view_collapsed;page=last;#last

Best wishes

Mein Zingsturlaub said...

If I have understood correctly, controls TR the resistance of Kickr even if TR is connected/paired with the Quark Powermeter.
Does it work the same way, if you have a Kurt Kinetc with a power meter such as Stages.

Best regards from Germany

The Cycling Addiction said...

Hi Marco,

That is correct that TrainerRoad and PerfPro will control the resistance of the Kickr based on the workout selected. It is the user's choice to use an external power meter to override the Kickr's power if the user finds a significant difference between the Kickr and the users power meter. This could be very important if you desire to hit the appropriate intensity levels based on the FTP or fitness test.

It would not work with Kurt Kinetic unless it is a "smart" trainer. The Stages will work with the Kickr. There are some other smart trainers out on the market and I am sure there will be many more coming soon.

I hope that helps.

Mein Zingsturlaub said...

Many thanks,

that helps me a lot.

To let control the resistance from TR, which is important for me, I need a smart trainer like Kickr.
Is there an alternative to kickr?

By the way, I have a Tacx Fortius with an electronic brake and control unit. Unfortunately, I have to connect Tacx Fortius to the PC and also start the Tacx Software. I think this will not work with TR.

Best regards from Germany

The Cycling Addiction said...

The trainer getting attention at the moment is the Tacx Neo. I believe there are a few more trainer options out there, but I cannot think of them at the moment. Check out DC Rainmaker website for the Neo review.

Mein Zingsturlaub said...

Thank you very much for your information!


Maksym Artemyev said...

What do you mean Kurt Kinetic not consistent! Road Machine fluid resistance unit has super predictable power curve so much so that you can accurately estimate your power based on it. And rollers are no substitute for turbo trainer. Rollers are great for improving your pedal stroke and bike handling but no way you can do VO2 Max intervals on them or even do an FTP test.

The Cycling Addiction said...

Maksym, good question and the post was about me being consistent with the trainer and not the consistency of the fluid trainer itself. In this case it was a matter of personal preference. The KK trainer is a really good trainer, but to me has a feel like pedaling through mud, whereas, using the EMotion rollers and Kickr both have a feel that makes me want to use every day or should I say I don't dread using.

So to be clear it is not the trainer, but my personal preference of not liking how the KK felt for daily use. Some love or they are okay with the feel. Had I been okay with how it felt and was consistent using the KK trainer I could have saved a lot of money and just used it along with a power meter.

As far as rollers there are a number of us that use resistance controlled rollers like EMotion rollers to do both threshold and VO2 type training. I now have wireless control for the EMotion rollers that will work similar to a Computrainer or Kickr. I can mount the fork stand and use it just like a stationary trainer if I want and I can use it with ERG workouts with TrainerRoad or PerfPro