Wahoo KICKR Snap Review Part 1; Build and Setup

Hello Everyone,

Side by side, 1st Gen KICKR and Wahoo KICKR Snap.

I have always looked at all the different trainers in the market place with wonder and amazement.   I’ve finally made a decision to invest in my blog and go for it.  I’m buying trainers and then reviewing them.  My goal here is to give you some real world experiences with these trainer, point out what I like, what needs improvement, and what kind of person this trainer would be good for.  Today, we are going to talk about the Wahoo KICKR Snap.  It is considered a mid-grade smart trainer.  The mid-grade smart trainers are hovering around $599 right now.  The main competitors to the KICKR Snap are the CycleOps Magnus ($599),  Elite Rampa ($549), TACX Bushido Smart ($699), and  BKool Smart Pro ($699).   If I really like a trainer, I’ll keep it. If not, I’ll be selling it at a discount.  So, anyone looking for a mid grade smart trainer this winter, you might find one at a discount here at kidsandcowbells.com.  In general, this first part of the review looks at the Market Comparisons, What You Get, Design and StyleLooking Under The Hood, and Supporting Products.  To skip all the reading, I made a quick video here Wahoo KIKCR Snap Review Part 1: Build and Setup.  The 2nd part of my review I will look at how the trainer performs on different training Apps as I run it through the paces.  For me, this is probably the most important part of our review; the real world feel of the trainer.  The third and final part (if it doesn’t fit in part 2), I will provide a summary about this trainer with my thoughts and opinions for your consideration.  With all of that, let’s get started.  (Click here for Wahoo KICKR Snap Review Part2: The Ride)  (Click here for The Wahoo KICKR Snap Spin Down Calibration Findings Video)


Alright, if you want to skip all the reading, then you can watch the video below.  Also, if you think my review helped with your decision to buy a Wahoo KICKR Snap, then you can purchase the KICKR Snap by clicking this link Support Athletic Tech Review.  I will receive a percentage of the sale so I can keep reviewing more great trainers.  

Market Comparisons

Let’s look at how the KICKR Snap compares on paper to it’s competitors.  I will only be highlighting the areas of importance.  If all of the trainers have the same capability, it is really pointless to talk about it.  Matter of fact, all of these trainers have Fitness Equipment Control (FE-C) installed.  Any trainer that doesn’t have FE-C installed is not going to be reviewed by me because it would be a waste of my time.  That’s how important FE-C is for 3rd Party app integration.

The Wahoo KICKR Snap may be the heaviest of the trainers listed, but it comes with some fantastic design features.  Steel construction and the mighty 12.5lb Flywheel.  Is that overkill or will it make a difference when riding?

What You Get

We unpack the box and you get a trainer that is completely put together.  I like that, as it takes away the chance of user error.  Everything is put together as it should be; not many instructions required.  You also get a riser block for your front tire, the plug for power, and you get a sturdy skewer for your bicycle.  I like that Wahoo is taking no chances here with the Skewer.  Most of the skewers we use are made of lightweight aluminum or possibly carbon fiber.  I would not recommend using your skewer that comes with your bike.  It will be a point of weakness with the setup.  Use the skewer provided by Wahoo.  It is just safer, especially for those of us who will be sprinting on the KICKR Snap.

Everything you need.  Already assembled trainer, riser block, power cord, and the heavy duty skewer up top.

Design and Style

I like the design.  Wahoo sticks to their roots and opts for the 12.5lb flywheel.  This is the largest flywheel in the marketplace for a mid range trainer.  Will it make a difference when it comes to road feel?  I will find out when I do part two of this review and look at how it rides.  You can look at the quick comparison between the Gen 1 KICKR and the KICKR Snap flywheel in the picture below.

The KICKR Snap comes with a compact 12.5lb flywheel and the Generation 1 KICKR comes with a 14.5lb flywheel.

There are some other design features that I also respected.  The large plastic handle gives you plenty of leverage to clamp down onto the Wahoo skewer.  You are using the skewer right?  Did I mention you should probably use the Skewer? Safety first!

Screenshot 2016-11-06 17.42.18.png
The handle gives you plenty of leverage.

I also like the attention that Wahoo gave the non-drive side connection.  There are numbers with lines to help you easily configure and remember the settings on the non-drive side connection.

I like that I can set this to 1 or 1.5 and know that this is my setting for my Specialized SL2.  This is helpful if you have multiple bikes.

Lastly, can you say “High Strength Carbon Steel?”  I love that Wahoo uses some really robust material.  You know it is going to last.  Just tap it with a hammer and you will hear the high pitch sound resonate to the joy of your ears.   Just don’t hit it too hard, we don’t want to mess up that beautiful pain job.

Looking under the Hood

Next, I’m going to take some of the covers off and actually look inside.  I don’t recommend anyone do this.  You have to be very careful with the wire placement when you are putting everything back together.  This first picture below, you see the control boards.  Everything is put together very simplistically, which is great, less chance of things breaking from overcomplicated design.

I checked all the connections and everything is well secured.

I also noticed that the electrical plug was very secure.  I gave a really hard tug and it was not moving.  The outward connection is made of flexible plastic.  This is a very smart design feature.  It ensures that the plug will pop out and not damage the unit if you trip over it.

That connections has a lot of flex in it which will will allow the piece to bend and disconnect before it breaks.

I was also really impressed with the number and size of the electromagnets inside the flywheel.  It reminds me of a high performance engine.  Very solid engineering right here.

It looks like 6 electromagnets to torture your legs.  BTW, look at the braces built in that are used to connect the housing!  Again, your not breaking those even if you dropped it from 5 feet up.

The last thing we look is a status light.  That is the one thing I wish I had on the original KICKR; something to let me know the thing is connected, or trying to make a connection.  Of course, the light is a nice blue.  A perfect match. Big style points right there!


Overall construction and design?  Sturdy beast!  No different than my first generation Wahoo KICKR.  You can read that review here Wahoo KICKR Long Term Review. Wahoo knows how to build trainers.  Yes, it is heavy at 38lbs, but I will take heavy all day over something breaking.  The next thing we can talk about is supporting products.

Supporting Products

The Wahoo KICKR Snap is going to work with anything out there.  They are bluetooth compatible with probably every App there is and they have FE-C software installed on their trainers.  Click on the Wahoo Apps Link to see the Apps they are compatible with.

Wahoo also has their own lineup of apps you can see below.  I mostly use these to manage my firmware updates and to add the additional setting of ERG Mode Speed Simulation.  ERG Mode Speed Simulation allows the KICKR Snap to report speed according to your power output as if you were riding a 0% grade with no wind.



This is Part One of a two or three part series.  I have to see how long Part 2 is going to be before I decide if I will run a Part 3 to capture the summary.  In Part 2 we are going to spend some time riding the KICKR Snap and see how it feels.  I want to feel intervals in The Sufferfest App doing the video “Violator” or the video “Half is Easy”.  That will really test out the sprinting capabilities of this trainer.  I’m not sure if I can hit 1500 watts right now, but I should be over 1300 watts at least.  I want to see how loud this trainer is compared to my generation one KICKR.  I couldn’t find any information on Wahoo’s website on decimals.  I purchased a tool to measure sound that will be here this week.  We will find out how loud or not loud it is.  I also want to take the KICKR Snap up Radio Tower Road on Zwift.  The simulated incline is 15% and the KICKR Snap is only rated at 10%.  Will this make a difference?  Will I be able to overcome the resistance on this trainer with slower climbing speeds?  These are all things we are going to look at in Part 2 coming soon.  I will embed the link when I have Part 2 complete.  If you want to get a sneak peek at the video before I blog about it, I always post the videos to my youtube channel a few days before I finish writing the blog article.  So, just go in there and subscribe.  Talk to you soon.

If you think my review helped with your decision to buy a Wahoo KICKR Snap, then you can purchase the KICKR Snap by clicking this link Support Athletic Tech Review.  I will receive a percentage of the sale so I can keep reviewing more great trainers.  




Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson

Aaron served in the military for 20 years. Multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired from the military after 20 years of service to take care of our three small children in 2013 as a Stay At Home Dad.

athletictechreview has 60 posts and counting.See all posts by athletictechreview

0 thoughts on “Wahoo KICKR Snap Review Part 1; Build and Setup

Leave a Reply

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: