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First look review: Wahoo Kickr Climb

30 Aug 2017

Wahoo look to make indoor training more realistic with the Kick Climb

The latest instalment of Wahoo indoor training devices has touched down with the all new Kickr Climb, the indoor trainer grade simulator that looks to make riding indoors more realistic. 

One of the big issues with training indoors is boredom. Whilst services such as Zwift has gone a long way in combating this, nothing can quite match the freedom or fun of being outdoors. 

Yet, when the nights draw in and the temperature drops, it becomes harder and harder to train in the great outdoors. When indoor training becomes inevitability, anything that makes it more enjoyable is welcomed. 

This is where Wahoo have slotted into our minds. With a full range of indoor training products, Wahoo have  been a leading light of turbo trainers, especially with the Kickr, which allows for direct drive. 

With their latest innovation, Wahoo is looking to make training indoors that bit more real with the Kickr climb. 

The Kickr climb simply asks for you to remove the front wheel, place your forks onto the simulator and you will be able to experience of gradients of up to 20% incline and 10% decline. 

Up, up, up

The main purpose of Wahoo's new product is to give the rider that realistic feel of riding on the road. Letting you experience gradients in incline and decline should allow you to take indoor training to the next level. 

The traditional method of increasing resistance to emulate gradient variants works well enough but does not quite engage you uphill technique and engage all the right muscles used when climbing on real climbs. 

Therefore, although you may have strong legs, your body may not be used to the same sensations of climbing up true gradients. 

With the Kickr climb, Wahoo hope to make this a thing of the past, with riders now being tested on these gradients indoors. This will help improve pedal technique and climbing ability, hopefully making you a more powerful climber. 

This is something that Wahoo Europe General Manager Colin Eustace was keen to emphasise. 

'When paired with the new Kickr and Kickr snap Smart Trainers, the Kickr climb responds to workout and virtual course data in real-time, mimicking real roads and mountain climbs by raising and lowering the front fork of the rider’s bike, to match ascents up to 20%, and descents of -10%.'

'These real grade changes create a more immersive virtual riding experience while also engaging climbing muscles and improving pedalling technique to enable the rider to become a more efficient and powerful climber.'

'We’re proud to quite literally take structured climbing workouts and virtual course rides to the next level.'

By bringing actual gradient variants to indoor training, Wahoo are taking a step forward into a world that has often been endured but not enjoyed. 

Immerse yourself

Zwift is truly everywhere right now. Since its launch last year, the online training programme has transformed indoor turbo sessions for ever. 

Hook yourself up to a screen and you can be racing over cyclists from the far side of the world whilst also taking on engaging courses in the virtual world. 

This has gone a long way in easing the pains of training inside. Being able to immerse yourself in a virtual world detaches you from the fact you are probably in your shed. 

The Wahoo Kickr climb will take this realistic training approach to the next step. When used with Zwift, it will pretty much be the closest experience you can get to riding outside without actually doing it. 

This synergy between the two brands will reportedly offer the most immersive experience indoors, according to Eustace. 

'Wahoo and Zwift have worked together for a number years and the KICKR and KICKR SNAP Smart Trainers use proprietary technology allowing the KICKR to instantly react to each ascent, descent, or interval, providing you with the most realistic and responsive indoor ride.'

'Wahoo aims to make riding indoors the most realistic experience and platforms such as Zwift that connect to the KICKR allows us to offer the most connected products on the market.'

What's the catch? 

The Kickr climb sounds too good to be true in some aspects. Letting you train to up to 20% gradient, this should be the perfect tool when the nights are dark and the roads are icy. 

The new feature even works seamlessly with other Wahoo products like the ELEMNT and ELEMNT BOLT, adjusting the gradient according to pre-loaded workouts. This brings the specific hills you want to train for into your house. 

You might be thinking right now that this could not get much better yet, there are a few snags that peg the Kickr climb back. 

Firstly, to use the new tool, you will need to buy yourself the all-new Kickr and Snap smart trainers. Due to potential cosmetic damage, the Kickr climb cannot be used with older versions of Wahoo's indoor training arsenal.

Secondly is price, with it sitting at a steep £449.99. Add this to the £999 retail price of the KICKR and you will have found yourself spending just as much money on your indoor trainer as you would a very solid winter bike.

This could put off potential punters who are already adverse to burying themselves indoors.

Its worth saying that without testing the product, it is hard to give a true opinion. It could be that this is the best thing since sliced bread. 

The concept, like many new cycling innovations, is very smart. Anything that makes training indoors more fun, realistic and bearable should be encouraged. Yet at such a high price point, the Kickr climb may not hit the mark. 


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