Wahoo KICKR Snap Review Part 2; The Ride

Hello everyone,

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I have carpet in my Pain Cave, so I use a piece of 1/2 plywood to stabilize the trainer.

This is part two of the Wahoo KICKR Snap review and will be the final part of my review.  I was going to to three parts, but I can fit everything into two posts.  You can see my original part 1 review of the design, build and setup of the KICKR Snap here: Wahoo KICKR Snap Review Part 1.  (Wahoo KICKR Snap Spin Down Calibration Observations)  I have been riding the Wahoo KIKCR Snap for the last week ,and to say I’m impressed is an understatement.  I will cover some of those topics in my blog below.  I don’t know that I have anything bad to say about this trainer. The KICKR Snap sets the market price at $599.  I almost wish I wouldn’t have reviewed the KICKR Snap first.  The bar is set really high now.  If you don’t want to do all the reading below, you can check out my 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.  

How Does It Ride

I will say this, that a wheel-on-trainer will never feel like a wheel-off-trainer.  It is just a different ride.  The Wahoo KICKR below requires you to take the wheel off and then connect to the rear cog on the trainer.  This gives you a more connected feel to the trainer. You feel like the trainer and the bike are one piece.  The KICKR Snap leaves the wheel on so you connect at the Quick Release through contact of the tire to the roller.  It is not better or worse in my opinion, it is just a different feel.

 

The main advantage to the Wahoo KICKR Snap is the 10.5lb flywheel.  That is only two pounds off the KICKR 12.5lb flywheel.  This really helped with road feel.  When I got up above 13 to 14mph, I could tell the flywheel was making the ride and the pedal stroke much, much smoother.  Even though this large flywheel adds to the overall 38lb weight of the KICKR Snap, it is worth the extra weight.  I would trade overall weight for improved road feel any day of the week.  Plus, the added weight does help with stability if you are going to be doing any sprinting on this trainer which I will talk about later.

The overall sound of the Wahoo KICKR Snap is incredibly low.  I mean, it is not loud at all.  I’m coming from the original Wahoo KICKR that is fairly loud.  You can look and listen to my video and tell the difference.  The original KICKR is quite loud when up to speed.  With the Wahoo KICKR Snap, I can only hear my chain and gears clicking along.  Even when I was sprinting as you can hear in my video, you cannot hear any sort of whining or high pitched noise coming from the KICKR Snap.  Speaking of sprinting…

Ripping the Legs Off

The maximum wattage rating on the Wahoo website has the KICKR Snap rated at 1500 watts.

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I got up to 1500 watts on my sprint and the KICKR Snap could of done more!

 

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S-Works Turbos are not good for wet railroad tracks. Damage!

The other thing I was impressed with is the Specialized SWorks Turbo tire I was using.  I clamped that tire down, did a warm up, and then launched my attacks.  I didn’t have one instance of tire slippage.  It was not an issue like I thought it would be.  Kudos to Specialized for making a grippy tire.  Just don’t go over wet railroad tracks with the SWorks Turbo, it will not end well.  Just look at the road rash on my arm in the picture.  You don’t want to see the matching road rash I got on my rear end to match my arm.

Did I say it was quiet?  The magnetic resistance they use on the KICKR Snap makes no contact with the Flywheel.  Wahoo has huge magnetic resistors inside the round flywheel hub.  Those Magnets make no contact with the flywheel.  So, no contact means no noise, even when you are spinning that flywheel to super high speeds.  The sound of the Wahoo KICKR Snap will depend upon how well setup your drivetrain is and what type of tire you are using.

Climbing At A Low Cadence

I was getting impatient waiting on Watopia to become available to test out the virtual climb.  What I did instead was use a climbing video from the Sufferfest Training Centre.  I put the bike in the 39×27 gear.  This means low wheel speed while I’m churning over the pedals.  I had a helper slowly add on resistance by hitting the up arrow on my keyboard.  What I found, is the KICKR Snap cannot hold higher resistance levels at lower speeds.  This isn’t necessarily a handicap, but it is a limitation of sorts.  To get around this you can simply shift up to something higher like a 39×19.  That will move the Flywheel faster and allow are larger resistance load.

That is the difference between the high end and low end trainers.  If you are working at those lower gears on the Wahoo KICKR, that beast doesn’t care how much slower you may be going.  The KICKR will just crush your legs up to 20% simulated grade.  That is what you are paying for when you buy a more expensive trainer.  Other than that, which is a really small thing in my opinion, I didn’t see any other differences.

Supporting Applications

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Wahoo Fitness App

With Wahoo it is easy to talk about App integration.  They integrate with everything.  It is that simple.  They have bluetooth control and ANT+ FE-C control.  They will work with any App out there.  Furthermore, they have their own App (Wahoo Fitness App).  I like that they can update firmware direct from their iOS or Android App.  This means that any changes to software in the training App market place, can be easily fixed with a firmware update from the Wahoo Fitness App.

Furthermore, they have updated their spin down function in the Wahoo Fitness App.  They offer up an advanced spin down function which addresses some of the issues we had with the earlier Wahoo KICKR; not warming up the trainer.  I did the Advanced Spin Down with the KICKR Snap and it probably took 5 minutes total.  It wasn’t long enough to bother me, but long enough for me to feel like it was an accurate test. You basically ride the trainer for a 3 minute “Warm Up,” then complete two back to back spindowns.

So, you open the App, go to sensors, select your KICKR Snap, and then select “Spindown”.  This will then give you the option to do their standard spin down or the advanced spin down.

Summary: Would I Buy It?

You’re damn right I would!  Without a doubt this is a solid trainer.  It comes out of the box almost ready to go.  The only thing you need to do is get the Wahoo Fitness App and check for firmware updates and do your advanced spin down.  I like that, it takes user error out of the equation when having to put stuff together.  Let’s just get to rating this trainer overall.

Style:  I would rate Style as a 4.5 Cowbells out of 5.  Good use of colors but, if they made the blue status light a bit cooler or more functional that would have added to the style.  A blue anodized skewer might have been pretty cool too.

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I wanted a bigger blue light.

Build: Solid feat of engineering here, 5 Cowbells out of 5.  Yes, it weighs 38lbs, but I don’t mind lifting heavy things.  When getting inside this trainer, everything is solid, even the connectors that the screws go into.  It is like they over engineered this for the largest and roughest riders out there.

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Performance:  Performed above expectation, 5 Cowbells out of 5.  The noise is minimal, the trainer can handle high powered sprints, I never felt underpowered a bit, and the climbing worked just as well as my Wahoo KICKR if I just shifted my gears up and rode at a higher wheel speed.  I would say Wahoo is being very conservative with their 1500 watt maximum.

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I couldn’t get over the top of the KICKR Snap’s Magnetic resistance.

Supporting App:  Lowest Rating of 4 Cowbells out of 5.  The Wahoo Fitness App is okay.  I wish you could customize the screen more when you are doing a workout and it isn’t replacing my Garmin anytime soon.  With the Wahoo Elemnt in play, I don’t see many improvements here.  I don’t expect any either, but I do like that they have direct contact with their trainers through their App.  As technology and software rapidly changes, it is important the customer and the company can both keep up to date through easy firmware updates.

Longevity: Easy!  5 Cowbells out of 5.  This trainer is going to last for a very long time.  The only point of failure I see is the ball bearings wearing out that hold the rollers.   These ball bearings are about the same size of ones you normally see on your crank.  They are very sturdy but are experiencing less force than your bicycle’s crank bearings.  I expect this trainer to last 6+ years to 15K miles easily.

Summary

I give the Wahoo KICKR Snap a Mid Range training rating of 4.7 Cowbells out of 5! I am very impressed with the build of this trainer, how quiet it is, and how long it is going to last.  I would recommend this to any of my friends.  Since it is such a well built trainer, they look to be setting the market price for Mid-Range trainers at $599.  I’ve just started working with my CycleOps Magnus this week; so, I’m curious how the Magnus is going to perform in the coming week.  When I finish reviewing the CycleOps Magnus, I will compare both trainers and see how they stack up.  From there, maybe check out the TACX Bushido Smart.  There is something very interesting about the TACX Bushido that sets it apart from the rest.  You can follow me on the Athletic Tech Review Youtube channel if you want to get the videos before you see the written blog.  Take care everyone.

 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 55 posts and counting.See all posts by athletictechreview

15 thoughts on “Wahoo KICKR Snap Review Part 2; The Ride

  • November 13, 2016 at 12:12 pm
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    Thanks for the great review. Really looking forward on your thoughts of the Magnus.

    Reply
    • November 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm
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      Thanks James,

      I’ll be breaking the Magnus out of the box today and taking it apart a bit. I am really curious how it holds up also. First impressions, I do like that yellow stripe on the side. There is something pretty cool about that. Like a race stripe.

      Reply
  • November 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm
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    Great review. It’s hard to find unbiased reviews on the snap over the internet. You always have to take forums with a grain of salt since usually those posts are the extreamest when it comes to a product. Since you have lived with the first generation kickr and now tried the snap would you recommend one over the other? Wahoo keeps discounting the 1st generation kicker and is only $200 to $300 more in some cases.

    Reply
    • November 13, 2016 at 7:13 pm
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      It depends on what you want out of it. If you don’t mind the high pitch noise and you need something that can handle some big sprints, then it’s the KICKR for sure. If you want something that is quieter and cheaper, then the KICKR Snap is a very choice. I’m skeptical that I’ll find another trainer as good as the KICKR Snap in that mid-grade range, but I’m hoping one of these other trainers surprises me. That 12.5 flywheel really helped with the road feel. I was impressed.

      Reply
      • November 15, 2016 at 1:33 am
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        Thanks for the advise. I jumped on the REI deal and got the 1st generation kickr for $720. I just wasn’t sure if the new one justified another $240. Ya helped me justify tho $220 over the snap. Really appreciate it and I’ll be checking back for more reviews and posts.

        Reply
  • Pingback: Wahoo KICKR Snap Review Part 1; Build and Setup | kidsandcowbells

  • November 22, 2016 at 11:04 pm
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    So, just came across your review of the Kickr Snap and it’s really good to find such an in depth and impartial review of such a unit.
    I can’t believe how quiet it seems to be; I’m looking to replace an ageing Tacx Basic (now Flow) electromagnetic trainer and that’s fairly noisy on sweetspot to cp20 efforts and sprints. It seems the new gen stuff is mind blowingly quiet. Do really get virtually no ‘hum’ from the Kickr Snap? Keep up the solid work and thanks again!

    Reply
    • November 23, 2016 at 12:53 am
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      The KICKR Snap really surprised me. I only heard my drive train on the Turbo S-Works tire. Then I did the same test this week with the Magnus and it was just as quiet until I got up to 36mph. The KICKR Snap stayed quiet the whole way up to 36mph. Very impressed with that trainer. I almost regret testing it first, because now I feel like I’m being a little harsh on the other trainers.

      Reply
  • Pingback: Wahoo KICKR Snap Spin Down Calibration | kidsandcowbells

  • December 29, 2016 at 3:48 am
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    First off thanks for the reviews you helped me pull the trigger on the wahoo kickr snap. I would say it is very quiet but I have a definite hum or buzz with some vibration especially once getting over like 20mph on Zwift. Is this normal? The wife says she can feel the floor vibrating sitting on the couch maby 10 feet away in the next room. It’s really quiet at super low wheel speed. But on Zwift ramping up to like 15-18mph get some serious vibration that’s kinda loud then it settles into a low hum once I get past that. Wheel is true as can be and I got a schwalbe insider trainer tire which didn’t seem to make much difference from my regular riding tire.

    Reply
    • December 29, 2016 at 4:07 am
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      Hello Greg, I did not have that sort of vibration problem. It did start to vibrate a bit when I was up to 35mph wheel speed, but not at 18mph at all. I would make sure you are not running it in ERG mode at a really fast wheel speed like the 53×15 or something. Try to shift up a bit and slow some of that wheel speed down. Zwift is only going to record virtual MPH according to rider weight and wattage output. So, you could have your actual wheel speed up to 30mph, but only display 18 mph on Zwift.

      Reply
    • February 13, 2017 at 5:35 am
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      Greg, I don’t know if you are still having this problem but there seem to have been a lot of vibrating Kickr SNAPs out in late 2016/early 2017. I’m just about to return my second one. Your issue may have gotten better (perhaps you’ve worn the roller smooth) or worse, like mine did – either way check out the many vibrating kickr snaps on youtube and posts on DCRainmaker’s site. In short, it’s possible it’s not your setup – your unit may have a problem (the one i’m returning now does exactly the same thing).

      Reply
        • February 18, 2017 at 8:12 am
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          Okay, I talked to Wahoo about this. They’re manufacturing tolerance is .25mm which is pretty small. To reduce the amount of vibration, you need to look at your wheel and tire setup. I would not use a hard trainer tire with the KICKR Snap, that is going to accentuate any vibration. I would also pay attention to your tire install and make sure there isn’t any lumps on your tire. Then, I would always ensure we don’t leave the tire in contact with the roller for extended periods of time. You need to back the roller off the tire. Lastly, you need a wheel that is true. I only mention this because I went back through some of the videos and noticed a person using a crappy trainer tire. I hate those tires and tried one 4 years ago. I would never use one again. They are loud and not worth the 3 years of a crappy ride you will get out of them. I also noticed some peoples wheels are not true on the videos. I can see some peoples wheels out of true just by looking at the video. So, if you do a video of the KICKR Snap showing the .25mm wobble on the roller, then I would want also see the same type of video showing how even your tire is. That would be definitive information. Like I said, I had no issues using the S-Works turbo tire on my trainer. There was very little vibration and only slight vibration up to 35-37mph. In the end, definitely contact Wahoo if you think you have a manufacturing defect.

          Reply

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