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by James Huang
August 11, 2020
Photography by Wahoo Fitness
Wahoo Fitness has today announced some key upgrades to its flagship Kickr stationary trainer. New feet allow for up to 5º of tilt to either side for a more natural feel when riding, while updated hardware and software not only boost claimed accuracy from +/- 2% to +/- 1%, but supposedly eliminate the need for manual calibrations entirely.
Seemingly as an answer to the rising popularity of both ready-built rocker plates (such as the Saris MP1 Nfinity and Inside Ride E-Flex) and DIY setups, Wahoo has gone ahead and incorporated the feature directly into the Kickr frame. New AXIS rubber feet incorporate tuneable squish at the outrigger ends, while the two central supports are now shaped to behave more like a fulcrum. Users can adjust the movement for up to 5º of tilt to either side (the Saris MP1 offers 6º), or lock it out completely if they prefer a more buttoned-down feel.
The AXIS outrigger feet feature tuneable movement depending on user preferences and rider weight.
Thankfully, Wahoo is also offering the new AXIS functionality as a retrofit to current Kickr owners since it’s only the supports themselves that have changed; the steel frame is the same as before. Upgrade kits will be available for a relatively modest cost of US$80 / AU$130 / £65 / €80, and the current Kickr Climb unit will also continue to work as usual since there’s apparently enough ‘tippiness’ already built into the base design.
Wahoo has also improved the claimed accuracy of its latest Kickr model, doubling it from +/- 2% to +/- 1%. That obviously sounds good on paper, especially for fans and participants of e-racing, where hardware accuracy is key to fair competition. However, perhaps more interesting is the fact Wahoo has supposedly achieved this while completely doing away with any need for manual calibration.
In other words, the new Kickr apparently constantly calibrates itself, through both upgraded hardware and software.
Hardware and software changes have done away with manual calibrations, which should not only make the latest units more accurate, but also help promote fairness in online racing.
According to Kickr product manager Tyler Harris, the new hardware allows for “new ways of measuring speed and drag”, while more advanced algorithms tell the system how to analyze that information to automatically account for changes that would otherwise affect power readings. The change in hardware unfortunately means that older Kickr units can’t be upgraded to the new self-calibration function, but Harris acknowledged that some of the software updates might eventually be added to future updates.
Wahoo Fitness is thankfully holding firm on pricing for the Kickr. Retail price is still US$1,200 / AU$1,800 / £1000 / €1,200, and an 11-speed cassette (which works with 11-speed Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo drivetrains) is still included. Wahoo hasn’t yet added a pre-bundled configuration for 12-speed SRAM or Campagnolo users, but both freehub bodies are available as aftermarket add-ons for US$70 (without the cassette, of course).
The total wingspan of the Kickr hasn’t changed, so should you prefer to lock out the movement of new AXIS outrigger feet, there should be the same sense of stability as before.
Kickr trainers should be available for purchase immediately, with AXIS upgrade kits following in two or three weeks. We’ve got one on hand currently, so stay tuned for a more in-depth review shortly.
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