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Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORE Smart Power Trainer


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    16 Reviews


    KICKR CORE Smart Power Trainer

    It won't be long before we're faced with the reality of doing some of our cycling workouts indoors. Whether that's due to less daylight or crummy weather, staying committed and riding bikes year round, even if that’s in our pain cave, is what separates the enthusiast from a dedicated cyclist. Thankfully, with the new crop of smart trainers, riding indoors isn't as monotonous and boring as it once was and is actually quite fun. While we wouldn't pass up a ride outside if given the chance, the KICKR CORE Smart Power Trainer from Wahoo Fitness offers a very viable alternative and its one that will certainly keep us motivated to ride during the cold, dreary, winter months.

    The KICKR CORE is the latest smart trainer from Wahoo and just like its other trainers, it delivers a realistic ride with +/- 2% power accuracy and a quiet indoor riding experience by using its refined flywheel technology and advanced algorithms of its other trainers along with feedback from its sponsored teams and athletes. Its constructed with impressive durability in mind thanks to its robust steel frame which ensures the KICKR CORE stays in place while dishing out the watts and stands up to years of heavy use and travel. Furthermore, it works with a multitude of apps including Zwift and Trainer Road which can automatically adjust the resistance while simulating a ride.

    Compared to the standard KICKR, the CORE is a little more compact and it doesn't come with a cassette as standard. That’s fine with us as our bike already has a cassette we can pull off and save some money and its smaller stature and lighter weight makes it easier to travel with or set up at races. The only other point worth mentioning is the flywheel is 4 pounds lighter on the CORE so its maximum simulated grade is 16% versus 20% and maximum power output is rated at 1800 watts instead of 2200 watts. Nevertheless, it's electromagnetic resistance still very much emulates the power and inertia experienced during outdoor riding for a more realistic feel.

    Otherwise, the CORE is very much the same as its brethren including its KICKER CLIMB compatibility. CLIMB is an indoor grade simulator that, once your fork is attached, is raised and lowered in conjunction with the route on the app and increased or decrease resistance, to better simulate a climb or descent. It also works with the KICKR HEADWIND, a sensor-controlled fan that increases fan speed as your speed or heart rate increases. There are also 4 manual speed settings should you want to set your own ideal cooling airflow.

    The unit is thru-axle compatible so your quick-release road bike, disc cross bike, and Boost spaced mountain bike are all compatible. Once you get up and running, LED lights provide visual confirmation that the KICKR CORE is powered, connected, and transmitting via Bluetooth or ANT+. Its ANT+ and Bluetooth capabilities allow for wireless updates and the ability to connect to smartphones, bike computers, and powermeter simultaneously or separately while an ANT+ FE-C connection allows the KICKR CORE to be controlled from any FE-C enabled device or application. This allows you to keep track of speed, distance, and power for a more structured and effective indoor training experience.

    • A compact smart trainer for efficient indoor training
    • LED lights indicate power, connection, and transmission
    • The beltless flywheel design is super quiet
    • Firmware updates for future-proof functionality
    • The direct-drive design saves your tires for the road
    • Features a stable base and new, heavier flywheel
    • Works with QR, 12x142, and 12x148mm dropout spacing
    • Compatible with KICKR CLIMB and HEADWIND so you can experience virtual ascents, descents, and wind
    • Item #WHA0011

    Tech Specs

    ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
    Operating System
    iOS, Android, PC
    adapter for 130mm and 135mm Quick Release, driveside adapter for 12x142 and 12x148 thru-axle, AC Power Adapter, quick-release skewer
    [open] 20 x 23 x 19in, [closed] 9 x 23 x 21 in
    Recommended Use
    indoor training
    Manufacturer Warranty
    1 year

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Much better than expected

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    First off, it should be noted that Wahoo makes great products across the board. Having used their heart rate monitor, computers and now the Kickr, I can say that on the whole, I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve used from them.

    One of the things that makes this trainer super cool compared to other trainers on the market right now is that it can be paired with other devices such as the Wahoo Climb and the Wahoo Headwind as well as Wahoo computers. When all 3 of these things are combined with the Wahoo Kickr, it no longer feels like you’re just spinning in your basement. You can even go as far as to recreate your local rides that you regularly do. If you’re looking for ways to boost your offseason training, this trainer is a fantastic option.

    This trainer comes with everything you need to start training and easily connects to apps like Sufferfest, Zwift and Trainer Road for training rides. The base is very stable, so if you’re up out of the saddle doing sprints, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you are going too hard.

    The thing I worried about most on this trainer was that it would not be as stable as I needed it to be when doing efforts out of the saddle. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was nearly as stable if not just as stable as it’s larger counterpart. The Kickr core is a fantastic option for anyone that’s looking to be on a great trainer for a decent price.

    Kickr's little brother gets the job done

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    If you're looking for bang for your buck you've come to the right place. The Kickr core gets you most of the functionality that it's big brother is known for in a cheaper and smaller package.

    There are a few differences to note between the kickr core and the Kickr. First, The core will be a bit louder and the flywheel will be smaller, that means your road feel won't be quite as realistic. In general the Core will be a little smaller and more compact, but with that you trade off a little stability.

    All in all, it gets the job done but lacks a few of the features that make the Kickr so popular.

    If you just need the basics...

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    This is a great option for those that don't need all the frills of some of the newer trainers. It will give you all the connectivity to get you on any training regimen!

    It will come with all the adapters you need to get you hooked up to most bikes and rear spacings. If you run QR they got you covered. If you run thru-axle, boost or non-boost, they got you covered.

    Wahoo really has thought of everything. Connectivity is a breeze. Compatibility with bikes... easy peasy. And the best thing is their customer support. If you have any trouble, Wahoo is great to work with!

    The power meter in this unit is actually really good and trustworthy! And this thing pairs up nicely with the KICKR Headwind and Climb

    If you don't want to spend the $1200 on the.KICKR Power Trainer, then go with the CORE!!!!

    Among the Best

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    This is a great trainer, just a step down from the more expensive Kickr. For $300 less it's almost as good and well worth considering. Since I get asked this a lot the differences are:

    Smaller flywheel (road feel isn't quite as good)
    More compact and storeable
    No cassette included
    Lower max power and max grade
    Legs aren't as adjustable

    Wahoo's trainers have had some hardware and software issues in the past but they've stood behind them and seem to have resolved everything by this version. Their customer service has been solid and this has a 1 year warranty, so no need to worry. It's a nice smooth quiet trainer that connects easily and just works. Wahoo has some good competition these days but the Kickr Core has proven itself to be one of the best models out there in this price range - what sets it just above some other brands for me are all the add ons available. The Headwind Fan and Climb seem kind of gimmicky initially but after a few rides on them they just making riding indoors that much more enjoyable.

    Training Game Changer

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    Adding a smart trainer to my offseason training plan was the greatest addition to my riding/training I've ever made. Having the ability to use ERG mode, where a paired bluetooth device controls power, will make your training more specific and more beneficial.
    The Core gives you all these benefits in a stable, quiet, accurate, and affordable package. I didn't notice the core moving, or flexing while putting out the power, even during a few sprint efforts. I matched the power numbers the core provided with those of my power meter, and they were near identical and as far as sound goes you still get the whir of the freewheel but it falls squarely in the middle of all the trainers I have dealt with- not exceptionally quiet but also no too loud.

    Bottom line, a great product that will perform well, and provide a significant increase in your ability to train indoors.

    inside is a little better

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    I was able to try the kickr trainers from Wahoo recently and some of the accessories such as the fan and climb. The Core is right in the middle of their lineup and is a solid performer. It has pretty well any options I use on a trainer. Also it's accurate, smooth, and reasonably quiet. It's not quite as stable as the power but I'm a smaller guy and it's not something that really affects me. Standing up on any of them isn't ideal because it's not a realistic feeling but the ride quality overall is very very good. The climb and fan make an amazingly realistic feel and although they seem gimmicky they really do work and make the experience better. I am not a fan of indoor training, I like to be outside, but the core does make it much more doable.

    Huge game changer

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Here's a review for those who, like me, are worried about jumping into such a big purchase. I was nervous about a handful of negative reviews about durability and compatibility. I have only had mine a few weeks so I'm not in the best position to comment on durability, but I can say that so far this has been very easy to set up and use and I haven't experienced any problems with getting it paired with Zwift. I connect it simultaneously with my cadence monitor and so far they have played very well together.
    Now for the quality of the experience: It is no overstatement to say it has been one of my best cycling-related purchases ever. I used to dread indoor riding, but I bit the bullet and got this and it has been a huge game changer. Riding my old fluid (non-smart) trainer was like pulling teeth to go for 30-40 minutes. It was always painful, both physically and mentally. In contrast, this thing feels like I'm really riding on the road and an hour will pass without me even realizing it. I dare say it's even fun. If you're like me and on the fence, go for it. In case it's helpful to anyone, I am using a 10-speed Campy drivetrain and was able to find a conversion cassette (Interloc Racing) that has worked flawlessly.

    My First Trainer

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Was holding back based on old reviews. Wahoo fixed the bug and the it works great. I really like being able to train with power. Over the first month it made a difference on my ability to focus my training vs the spin bike I used with heart rate only. I'll put the bike on it all year when the weather forces me inside. This should make me competive in my age group this year and beyond.

    Love it - Great training device

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Plugged it in, fired up the Zwift app on my ipad, first time took 30 seconds to connect (all others times after 1st... instant)... & I'm crankin'. Best training device I've found yet. The past few years I've ridden a Peloton stationary... this is WAY better for building strength & the major bonus... I'm on MY bike. I love it!!!

    Nothing but problems

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    I have had very limited use of this trainer mostly from the Rouvy app with an Android phone. I often have sudden extreme fluctuations in resistance that Wahoo seems to think is caused by 2.4 GHz interference. I cannot get it to connect to the Kinomap app and the Bkool app won't even run on my phone. I am not interested in Zwift or "virtual worlds" only real video rides. If I had known I only had the option of Rouvy I would not have bought it. The connection and interference issues are not acceptable for this price. I would like to sell it and buy something else.

    Best Bang For Your Buck Smart Trainer

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Purchased this trainer specifically to train indoors this winter in Utah. Out of the box it is easy to setup and syncs up with Zwift very simply. Built with quality and can handle enough watts for 99% of cyclists out there. Don't forget your cassette!

    KAPUT!! After one ride!

      Couldn't wait to get home tonight to do my second ride. For some reason speed and power were no longer transmitted. I was using Zwift. Did my troubleshooting as recommended. No Joy. Found a thread on Zwifts Forum talking about this very problem. Dozens of people complaining of the same problem. Wahoo was providing support to these people but they seem to have some serious problems with their electronics. There were people on their second or third unit and still having issues. I will see what Wahoo says first but think I will just return it and get my money back. My recommendation is stay away from it until they get the bugs out.
      Update: Rather than returning the unit for a refund I contacted Wahoo and they got back to me immediately. They will be sending me another unit. I will keep my fingers crossed that the replacement won't fail.

      Update Jan 16. Backcountry very helpful. Ordered Tacx Neo and returned Kicker. Neo works great.


        After 1 month I have around 400 zwift miles and 35k ft climbing so far. The trainer started making a rubbing noise but that went away. A few of the decals came off. Overall I am happy with it. Way smoother and quieter than my previous "wheel on" trainer.


        • Familiarity: I've used it several times

        Two words. Game. Changer. Coming from a fluid trainer, my PR for longest time riding inside was maybe 45 minutes. Paired with Zwift, I can ride on the Kickr Core for an hour no problem! I even want to keep riding!! This thing is so smooth and road like. No wear on tires, no slipping when sprinting, just smooth, quiet, realistic. The "smart" feature is also incredible in the way it changes resistance with zwift courses and the draft you get behind other riders. I feel like I have just scratched the tip of the iceberg for what this trainer can do. One thing is for certain, I will come into the spring racing season with way more hours of training in than I normally have because of how fun and easy riding indoors is now.

        Was great when it worked...

        • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

        Disappointing to spend 900$ on a trainer only for it to stop working the 2nd day. The trainer sounds fine but stopped recording power output no matter what app or device I use. It connected just fine via Bluetooth and I even tried only having one app synced to it with no luck. I contacted support and they quickly responded, looks like a possible issue with the optical sensor and they are calling for a replacement. They stated they will ship my replacement in the order that my support ticket was received. Hopefully it doesn’t take long considering the price of this but so far I’m not a fan of this product.

        I received the second unit without any issues and returned the original item and didn’t have to pay return shipping. However, the second unit worked for exactly 2 times before having the same issue again. I dropped the review to 1 star considering my experience and price of a faulty product. I’m contacting backcountry directly to get a refund in order to get another brand that works. Hopefully this won’t be much of a hassle.

        Broken out of box, but quick replacement

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

        Bottom line: Wahoo delivers a good product, and if not, they take care of you.

        I used the Core for about a month and had numerous problems immediately out of the box. First there were loud knocking sounds. Also, when using Zwift I had a hard time drafting other riders and the fine control of resistance seemed to be lacking.

        I opened up the belt cover and discovered that the main pulley that attaches the belt to the lower drive shaft was loose. I tightened the set screw and things improved for a while.

        Then, the resistance unit and its axle literally slid laterally off the frame making the trainer inoperable. I tried fixing but I was worried it would slide all the way off and careen through my house like a wrecking ball of pure kinetic energy.

        As you can understand, it's disappointing to buy a 900-dollar trainer and have it fall apart on you after a dozen rides...

        Fortunately, I contacted Wahoo and they quickly responded. I determined that the unit I received was not assembled properly at the factory. The main bolt that keeps the axle attached to the frame was not installed. All that was holding the ~200rpm resistance unit on the frame was the friction of a 2mm set screw. Yeesh.

        Wahoo offered to send me a replacement via 2nd day air, free of charge.

        The new unit is very quiet--the drivetrain noise is more than the trainer itself---and the resistance control is greatly enhanced on Zwift--drafting works now and those 15% hills feel like they're supposed to... ouch. It's a great trainer that will make riding fun all Winter.

        Unanswered Question

        Kickr Core: Specs say "beltless flywheel", Willin's 12/3/2018 review talks of "the belt". So is it beltless? Is Willin's review of THIS product?

        What is the process for using your own bike's cassette for the Kickr? Is it better to get a trainer in which a cassette is installed? What are the benefits and drawbacks to each? Pre-installed cassette, or use your own bike's cassette?

        I don't believe it would really make a difference. The cassette you'd put on your trainer just needs to be the same as what you already have installed on your bike. I'd rather not reinstall the cassette 30+ times switching back and forth between trainer and bike.