Warning, this maybe a fairly long post as I want to capture all my thoughts and posts from other sites that I have done in one place. It may also change over time due to me updating and adding and or removing stuff. So buckle up and grab a few coffees.

Now to set the scene. I’m an avid bike rider as of late last year. I currently ride a Felt F1 with full Dura-Ace which I’m loving. So enough of my shit, lets get to this.

Being in Australia I had to wait until Wahoo were shipping here – which has been a little, however, when I heard that Australia was on the cards for a shipment, I put my name down. A few weeks ago the large box arrived and I certainly couldn’t wait to get things going.

Once all setup, I installed the iDevice app and from here things got exciting. This was less than a few minutes of downloading and connecting. The app I downloaded first was the Wahoo apps – both the utility and fitness.

What Apps? From here I wanted to get started on seeing what all the excitement was around the resistance and apps that would power that – so I tried Kinomap Trainer. The installation was a little, and little, I mean one extra step, to get going. I had to make sure I had installed the Wahoo Utility onto my iDevice (this time on my iPad) as you have to kick things off with that app first and then close it down and fire up Kinomap trainer.

What an awesome idea and concept. Allow me to digress just a bit. The UI could do with some work as I thought is was a little messy. Other than that, it worked as described. I did have a small issue – all to do with me, not the app. The support was super quick – something that sets developers apart in my mind. So a big thumbs up from me for this app. If I was to give a mark, I’d say 7/10. Great idea, slightly marked down for UI execution.

Next, I moved onto TrainerRoad (TR). As a heavy Mac (MacBook Pro with retina) user I was a little hesitant to install it as it used Adobe Air. I’m not a fan of anything Adobe in their app stable. I reached out to Nate at TR and he was more than obliging to chat to me about their roadmap.

I finally succumbed to the TR itch and rolled over and took the red pill and installed Trainer Road. Once installed the configuration was a breeze. A few clicks and I’d connected the Kickr to my MBP.

I then decided to add the well-known video series from Sufferfest. This integration is perfect. Just drag ‘n’ drop your video onto TR and your are ready to be smashed by the minions.

Videos + TrainerRoad. This was a game changer for me. Just having the Kickr and nothing else, I feel, would be a waste of time. I’m currently in the middle of a 10 week program which is from Sufferfest and its tough enough. All the videos are sync’ed up with TrainerRoad which, as you mentioned, change the resistance (watts) that is required to get through the workout. It’s funny, the only veritable that I now focus on is cadence (rpm). The resistance/watts are taken care of.

I’ve tried Kinomap for iPad and I felt its a little gimmicky for my liking. I understand what they are try to do but the execution of the app etc is a little poor.

I actually use some other sessions from TrainerRoad to do my Zone 2 (Z2) sessions. TR has plenty of non-video sessions, but I’m a fan of them – especially SF ones. I’ve purchased one Epic Ride session but haven’t done it yet.

The major point, or selling point, of TR is that you set your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) in it and it works out the rest for you, which includes what zones you should be in when training with by a SF video or just a non-video session.

My overall experience with TR I’d rate at 9/10. The UI decisions of TR provide you with just enough information and they don’t overload the screen with unwanted details – perfect in my books. I’m looking forward to what the team does moving forward. They have certainly built a great app along with some great features.

The thing for me is that you can ensure you are doing the right training at the right time – so removing the guess work.

Changing the wheel. This is really simple and you’ll get used to after a few goes at it. It’s probably a little easier as the Kickr is stationary – not like your bike and wheel. It’s sits on the Kickr the same way as you would sit the bike on your wheel so there isn’t anything else you need to learn.

I haven’t needed to change the cassette some cant tell you how easy or hard it would be. I’d assume its like removing a cassette from your bike.

My setup. I have a new Apple Macbook Pro (with Bluetooth 4), Garmin heart rate monitor chest strap, Garmin cadence sensor and a Garmin USB/Ant+ adopter (used for connecting my Garmin stuff to the laptop and then to TR). You can certainly use a Windows machine for this as well.

TR captures and the ride data which then can be exported to any other service, such as Strava , which I use for all my riding. I use it as a training diary and is great to reflect on what you have been up to. If you’ve not seen Strava before, click the link below and see some of my activities – most of my indoor session are private – doing stealth training :).

So, in summary, if anyone is looking at purchasing a new indoor trainer then the KiCKR is the one. A very solid construction coupled with an open architecture which allows for a wide range of apps and accessories.

  • Jason

    Been reading some reviews online about the Kickr and it does sound like a great trainer. I have used Sufferfest videos on the CompuTrainer and it required gear changes, are you saying that the Kickr will automatically change the resistance based on the Sufferfest prompts? Does Trainerroad provide ride visuals to go with their programs? Do you know if I can hook up my mountain bike aswell, it’s a 3 by 9 set?
    Thanks in advance Shawn!

    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my post.

      Yes the KiCKR will in fact change the resistance levels for you. So no need for you to change gears at all.

      For me personally, I’m sticking with TrainerRoad for my resistance management. It provides enough onscreen information without going overboard. That being said though, Kinomaps and others will do this as well.

      Regarding TrainerRoad and onscreen visuals with SufferFest videos. The videos are sync’ed according to what resistance is required at the time. From the videos that I have done over the last 5 weeks, the videos themselves do have visuals to prompt you for where you need to be at i.e. cadence. TrainerRoad will still show you what the required “target” zone, either watts or heart rate. And of course if you are using watts (and you should be in your are on a KiCKR) then this is all managed for you.

      The mountain bike wheel size should be taken care of as well. I believe you can adjust the wheel size to suit. The KICKR comes from the factory in the 24” MTB / 650c RD setting. You will most likely need to adjust this to fit your specific bicycle wheel size. The five available settings for the KICKR are:

      29” Mountain Bike
      650b Mountain Bike
      26” Mountain Bike / 700c Road Bike
      24” Mountain Bike / 650c Road Bike
      24” Road Bike

      I hope that helps.

  • Jason

    Hi Shawn – thanks for the detailed response. All sounding good, can’t wait to get one and get the fitness up for the Higland Fling!
    Cheers. Jason

  • Jason

    Hey Shawn – have you trialled PerfPro? Just wondering how this compares to trainerroad. I prefer the one off pricing model to the trainerroad monthly subscriptions.

    • I’ve personally not tried it as I’m on a Mac. I know that you can run it in a virtual machine but I’d prefer to steer clear of that.

      My initial thoughts though on the UI; it looks a little overcrowded.

      Let me know if you have a play as I’d be interested to hear what you think.

  • michael

    Just got mine today, but I’m a android user, so either wait for android apps or buy an iPad.
    So for now I will use it as normal indoor trainer with sufferfest videos. Do you know if android are in the process of making apps?
    Ciao and thanx.

  • alec

    Good to read an in depth review answering basically all of my questions. Thanks for the insight, let the behind closed door suffering begin

  • Richie Gribbons

    Shawn
    Do you know if there are any other trainers that would allow resistance to be controlled by trainer road or is it just kickr?
    I’m thinking of a new turbo (currently using Tacx Satori) and like the idea of the virtual training.

    • Hi Richard…. For what I can tell, there isn’t any others that they support.

  • Pobj

    Hey!

    I went to experiment by using the KICKR with my MTB, but when I pulled the locking mechanism out, the small cog fell out before I could see which way it went in. There are two different ends and I am unsure which number/letter combo is meant to be for which! Eeek! Can you help?

  • Tim Rice

    May be a dumb question but if using an App to control resistance to match VR videos – and there have been a few comments about nothaving to change gears ??? then why have a cluster and why the option to swap out for a Campy if that is what you ride ???

    Any enlightment would be greatly appriciated as I’m about to buy but just wondering do I really need the adapter (I have a spare Campy cluster).

    Tim …….

    • Hi Tim,

      Great question (not a dumb one). This really depends on what mode you are in when riding the session. Most, if not all, that I have done are in ERG mode which is when the App + Trainer are in control of the resistance. All you do is control your cadence.

      When not in ERG mode, you’ll have the ability to be free to work on your power output, as you would if you were riding on the rode. The only sessions I have done when this is required is for the Functional Threshold Power (FTP) such as the 20-minute FTP test.

      Hope that helps.

  • Olly

    Just had a read of all comments and reply .

    Have been on the wahoo Traineroad combo since December really taken my riding and fitness up to the next level .
    Been banging the sound out no visual old school rave mostly 140bpm .
    Going to try some visual .

    • Couldn’t agree more. It’s one of the best investments I have made.

      Lots of my close cycling friends also have one now and they totally agree that it’s a game changer in indoor training.

  • Joe

    Shawn,
    I am looking at doing two kickrs with a large screen and laptop. Can you tell me if while using sufferfest and trainerroad along with perfpro ( in order to have both watts etc. up on the screen) if two kickrs can be used at the same time while viewing the same video and have the watts being controlled separately?

    Thanks,
    Joe

    • Hey Joe,

      Trainer Road does have the ability to run two sessions with their companion app.

      PerfPro would be better suited though as it’s geared towards the multi-user environment.

      Both apps will control the Kickrs. The only thing I recall that you may need is an additional ANT+ stick for PerfPro.

      Hope that helps.