After nearly two months of waiting, I finally got my Wahoo Kickr indoor bicycle trainer. It was expensive, but so far I am very happy with our choice.
Sold my Giant TCX
In April I sold my Giant TCX to my son and purchased a slightly smaller Trek Checkpoint that fit me much better than the Giant. I really liked the TCX, but the frame was just slightly too large and I wasn’t able to easily get it to fit me.
Last winter I used the TCX on a dumb trainer for indoor riding on Zwift, a software system that allows for virtual indoor riding. I was able to use the TCX on a dumb trainer because I had installed a Stages power meter on the TCX crank. The power meter would send my riding metrics and power output to my Apple iPad via bluetooth.
Since I sold my TCX in the spring, I ended up riding my Checkpoint outside all summer and didn’t really feel the need for a power meter. So with winter fast approaching, I needed to decide how to ride on Zwift again. My options were:
- Install a power meter on my Trek Checkpoint – $600.
- Buy a wheel-on smart trainer – $500
- Buy a wheel-off smart trainer – $1,100
- Buy a smart indoor trainer – $3,500
Of course I liked the lower cost options best, but there were more factors at play this time. Now that both me and my wife knew I would put an indoor trainer to good use, we were willing to spend a bit more money, since we knew it wasn’t just going to sit in the corner unused.
If I purchased a smart trainer that attached to my bicycle, then every time I wanted to ride outdoors I would have to unhook my bike from the trainer. Not a big deal, but it does take a few minutes of work and is not necessarily convenient.
Kay decides to try indoors
A major factor in our decision to spent the extra money for a dedicated smart trainer is that Kay felt she would also use the indoor bicycle trainer this winter. She only has a mountain bike, which requires different connectors to a smart trainer, so switching between my Trek Checkpoint and her mountain bike would be a bit of a hassle. I most likely would end up riding indoors more than Kay so usually my bicycle would be on the trainer, and for her to ride, she or I would have to unhook my bike, swap connectors, and hook up her bicycle, then reverse the process when I was ready to ride.
With a dedicated smart indoor trainer, it would be a simple matter to adjust the bike to fit either one of us, especially since we both use the same pedal length – Kay is 5′ 7″ and I am 5′ 10″ – enough of a difference to change seat height and reach, but not enough to change pedal length.
Setting up Wahoo Kickr Bike
I won’t go into the details of setting up my Wahoo Kickr Bike, since there are plenty of Youtube videos showing how that is done. The highlight is how easy the bike is to set up, and how customizable it is for each rider. It only took about 30 minutes to set the bike up in our den, and then about another 30 minutes to get all the software working and the bike customized to my liking.
I really liked how I could program in whatever gearing I liked on the bike. It could be programmed with my mountain bike gearing, my old TCX gearing, or my new Trek Checkpoint gearing. In addition, I can easily change the gearing to test out new gear sets while virtual riding to see how I like them for real-world riding. For example, I have a Shimano GRX gravel group set on my Trek. It has 46/34 teeth sprockets on the front chainring, and an 11-speed 10-34 sprocket on the back. This is slightly lower gearing than some people choose. I can try out different front and/or back sprocket sets to see what works best for climbs or flats, and then order the gearing I need for my bike. Pretty sweet!
Overall I really like the Kickr Bike and my wife has also enjoyed riding it. Now we can both ride the same morning with just a quick adjustment of the seat height and reach. And when I want to ride on the road, I just walk into the garage and jump on my Trek without having to unhook it from the trainer. To us, it has been well worth the extra money.