Wahoo KICKR Climb – Indoor Cycling Grade Simulator PREVIEW
The world of indoor training has changed a lot over the last few years, and Zwift has largely been a proponent of that change. The change from a classic or “dumb” trainer when cycling through Watopia is huge, not least of all when you hit that first hill and start to climb
But whilst a smart turbo can provide the changes in resistance to simulate the effort of the hill that you are on, the actual gradient you and your bike is on has been fixed. Well for those of us who don’t have pockets deep enough for the Tacx Magnum…
Well until now that is, as the Chip Hawkins team at Wahoo has now released another product aiming for complete dominance of your Zwift Cave – the slightly less wallet destroying Wahoo KICKR Climb.
The purpose of the KICKR Climb is actually quite simple, to match the changes in resistance on the Wahoo KICKR trainer as you go up a virtual hill, with a real world gradient change at your front wheel in your pain cave
So how much distance are we talking? From the specs we know physically how high the Wahoo KICKR Climb is, and that it can stimulate a maximum of a 20% incline, and conversely a 10% descent – which I’m very interested to try out. We’ve had the Tacx Neo simulating down hill climbs with inertia, the question is, will this approach have more or less impact on the simulation experience? But this is not merely about making Zwift a more realistic experience, it is also about improving the training of the riders, as climbing, and pushing up inclines out of the saddle recruits different ratios of muscles, and requires altered pedal technique.
Given the partnership that Team Sky has with Wahoo, I’d imagine that there has been a push from the pro team in order to develop the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB, for that above reason. Much in the same way that the Wahoo Bolt can be “fixed” to your bike for weigh in purposes.
Speaking of the Bolt, if you have outdoor rides, or merely GPX files on your Elemnt Computer, in the same, way that the Wahoo GPS units can control the KICKR, they can also control the Wahoo KICKR Climb, so you can really focus on training for the KOM on your local Strava segments!
Also in the box, there is also a remote, allowing the Wahoo KICKR Climb to go into Lock mode, where it will only adjust to commands from the remote, and not the KICKR or 3rd Part software.
This remote can be attached to the handlebars, but then is stored on the top of the actual climb unit – and it attached, currently at least, by a wire to the main unit so there is nothing to charge.
Here is a short clip of the Wahoo KICKR in action from the remote
Wahoo KICKR CLIMB Specifications
- Max Incline: 20%
- Max Decline: -10%
- Metrics: Current Grade
- Dimensions: H 25.75” W 5.1” L 17” (65.4cm x 12.95cm x 43.18cm)
- Supported Hubs: QR, 12×100, 15×100, 15×110
- Wireless Software Updates: Yes
- 3rd Party App Compatible: Yes – Zwift, Trainer Road, or the Wahoo App
Wahoo KICKR CLIMB Conclusion
I haven’t had time to test out the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB at Eurobike yet – I’m very interested to see how it rides, because whilst I have had a go at Eurobike, it was very much in demo mode. I can guess what things will feel like going up the steeper climbs, with their gradual increases, but what I really want to check out, is how the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB feels when you are on a steep hill.
Although I can show you how the unit reacts currently going through the Esses on Watopia. It should be noted that the changes isn’t fully fluid yet, as the unit wants to receive data faster than Zwift is currently sending it, but it is hoped that this will be adjusted before release.
It should be noted, the comment above about Wahoo pushing for dominance in the pain cave. Given this, it is unsurprising that the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB “works exclusively” or in other words is limited to the new KICKR 2017 and the Wahoo KICKR SNAP 2017. Now Wahoo state that this is partially due to the fact that these products have been designed with the knowledge that the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB was coming, and thus have been “optimised to allow for dynamic movement:” – Which suggests that users of pre 2017 model units are unlikely to be getting a firmware update in order to allow them to play with Wahoo’s new toy!
At £449 at launch, it will be interesting to see how well the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB sells. As that is a lot a money for what can only be described as an uber luxury toy!
Similarly, it will be interesting to see how the unit deals with corrosive sweat over the months, as I have seen many people destroy a front wheel hub due to how the sweat falls off your bike when Zwifting. Although I have been reassured that this has been taken into account during the design stages.