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Unboxed: The New Fifth Generation Wahoo KICKR

Wahoo's latest version of their popular KICKR smart trainer boasts a few new internal upgrades and two external ones that triathletes should check out.

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If there was one brand that seems to be either leading the pack in trainers or doing things simply right, it’s Wahoo. While its line of indoor smart trainers isn’t massive, it is well-executed—setting up quickly and easily, connecting right away 99% of the time, and using some very smooth design that values simplicity and use above all else. Its flagship model, the KICKR, is the prototypical Wahoo device in that it looks more like a tool or an appliance than a futuristic item, but it’s that utilitarian design and hard-tested internals that make it so beloved. The latest version of the KICKR has a few minor internal upgrades (increased accuracy to +/-1% and improved auto-calibration) and two medium-level upgrades that stick to the game plan—Axis foot “inserts” that give you a range of motion from side to side and a wired ethernet option—but that also slowly enhance Wahoo’s range and even push the trainer world as a whole forward.

Check out our video above for the full unboxing, read the full review here, or scroll down for some quick takeaways.

First Impressions

Wahoo Fifth Generation KICKR Smart Trainer: $1,200; Wahoofitness.com

What I Like About Wahoo’s New KICKR Smart Trainer

  1. As someone who is not a huge fan of riding inside because my…underparts…never feel good, I love the idea of the Axis inserts for comfort.
  2. Though most won’t care about the wired port, this will make the KICKR a must-have for serious virtual competition.
  3. Obviously improved accuracy is a good thing, and not raising the price is even better.

What Makes Me Worried About Wahoo’s New KICKR Smart Trainer

  1. The feet are great for comfort, but I doubt they’ll provide enough “action” to really simulate the road and make workouts more effective like the Saris MP-1 Nfinity platform or the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll.
  2. The fact that the ethernet port isn’t supported (as of this writing) makes me nervous, but I doubt that’s a big technical hurdle to clear.
  3. Keeping the price the same is nice, but it would have been even better to get this trainer under $1,000.

Final Thoughts

  1. My guess is that we’ll see other brands follow suit with their own rocker systems—this is a big driver for comfort—and that competition will force some great innovation.
  2. I’d imagine anyone doing a virtual race for money or with high stakes would consider a wired connection essential (unless you’re married to Tim O’Donnell).
  3. While none of the updates on the new Wahoo KICKR are earth-shattering, fair play to Wahoo for making solid steps forward.