Wahoo Kickr – bike trainer

I borrowed a Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer from a friend and transformed the spare bedroom into my Pain Cave. And, it’s terrific. I love it.

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DC Rainmaker has a great Wahoo Kickr review here. The trainer is boring by itself, where it becomes phenomenal is when it connects to Zwift.com. Zwift is a virtual reality world for cyclist. You can ride with friends or rando’s from all over the world. Zwift has simulated real world terrain: London and Richmond, VA (World Championship course). They have virtual worlds Watopia. You can ride the beaches, the cities, the countryside and even through the underwater tubes. Zwift kicks all it’s data up to Strava.com seamlessly. So, even though it’s virtual it still counts on Strava!

So, I got most of the main components up and running in my spare bedroom, downstairs.  Here’s my setup so far.

  1. Wahoo Kickr. Currently borrowed from friend. It’s an original version not the 2017 upgrade. It’s kinda loud and whiny. I had to buy the rear hub / adapter / connector skewer combo, cuz the part got lost. Wahoo has ANT+ and Bluetooth to talk to computer. Wahoo trainer senses speed, distance, cadence, AND POWER. So, I don’t need Garmin 810 bike computer at all.

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  1. Tribike Felt IA 10. Removing rear wheel, and mounting the dropout directly onto the Wahoo Kickr, with the chain onto cassette. Wahoo Kicker comes with 11 speed cassette. The borrowed unit I have, was missing a small adapter for the dropout to sit on. I had to order a replacement skewer / adapter set ($25). I chose to mount my tribike, because I want to spend the extra time on that bike. It’s a bit of drag to get the rear dropouts to slide onto the Wahoo. I asked around, and a few of my friends end up buying an extra bike for the trainer, or leaving one of their bikes on the trainer.
  2. MacBook Pro. Wahoo Kickr connects via Bluetooth to laptop. Laptop is connected to WiFi. Zwift app on laptop connects to website. It runs the application in a terminal window. Provided power plug for laptop, cuz video, sound, and data chew up the battery. (I might be replacing Mac with an old PC, so that I can just leave that PC as part of the Pain Cave setup. Don’t know if old PC has Bluetooth to connect to Wahoo Kickr.)
  3. Laptop station. I have a pyramid of old side tables. Holds my phone, TV remote, towel.
  4. Zwift.com. I have been using a free trial account. I suspect I will be sending them all my money very soon, cuz this is so cool. Zwift app runs in a terminal window which doesn’t scale full screen resolution very good with my old TV. I have to duplicate displays instead of extending displays. Connecting Zwift with Strava, it sends data directly up to Strava. Strava sends data to my Apple Watch and my Exercise Ring is closed automatically.
  5. Big TV. Video cable connector: Firewire to VGA. The spare TV is low resolution. I have to duplicate displays, instead of extend displays, else the window for Zwift is cut off.
  6. Surround sound speakers. Cable from laptop to speaker. Since the Wahoo is kinda noisy, you gotta pump up the volume to hear what’s going on, either in Zwift or the Music. I have to really turn up the volume to hear anything over the Wahoo whine. I might upgrade to the Wahoo Kickr 2017 (newer rev), which is suppose to be quieter.
  7. Apple Watch. Zwift connects to Apple watch for heart rate. Of note, with Wahoo/Zwift, I don’t need my Garmin 810 Bike computer, nor my Garmin 920 XT watch. All the data is collected by the Wahoo/Zwift/Apple watch. Speed, distance, power, elevation, heart rate, suffer score.
  8. iPhone 6S. I have my phone on and Zwift Link App has additional features available on the phone. Mostly for taking selfie pictures in the Zwift. Phone is also convenient for texting other riders. Tip: make sure the iPhone is on the same WiFi network or else it won’t find the laptop and sync with Zwift. We have a few WiFi’s in our house: regular, another for guests and an extender.
  9. Floor Mat and sheets and rags. Protect the carpet from bike grease and bike shoes. Super easy to forget how dirty I am, and all the moving parts are.
  10. Towel, fan, water. Sweat controls and convenience.
  11. Power strip. Turns off / on the whole setup, including the lights, fan, TV, speakers, Wahoo, etc.

Wahoo Kicker 2016 v. 2017 Video

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