I wanted to compare the Wahoo KICKR Snap to the CycleOps Magnus. I think this is a fair thing to do. Both trainers are priced at $599 and both trainers have very similar stats on paper. However, how do they really stack up against one another? So, as a public service to all those indoor cycling folks just like myself, I bought both trainers to answer these questions for you.
If you want to skip all the words, you can watch my video below.
Head to Head
In this corner, wearing the black shorts with the blue stripe, weighing in at 38lbs with a flywheel weight of 10.5lbs; hailing from Wahoo Fitness… The Wahoo KICKR Snap. In our other corner, wearing the black shorts with the yellow stripe, weighing in at 25lbs with a flywheel weight of 2.6lbs; hailing from Saris Cycling and our only American made challenger, the Cylceops Maaaagnus! Take a look at the chart below and these two trainers stack well against each other on paper. These two trainers state a max wattage of 1500 watts. The KICKR Snap comes in almost 13lbs heavier than the lightweight Magnus. Also, the sound of the trainer was verified by me using a sound meter I purchased from Amazon. It’s amazing that you can’t find any information about the sound of the KICKR Snap on their website. It was surprisingly quiet with my Specializes S-Works Turbo tire.
Round 1 Manufacturing
The CycleOps Magnus comes out of the corner and throws a swift right hook and lands it on the KICKR Snap’s flywheel. US Manufacturing is a big plus in my book. Even though the KICKR Snap comes fully assembled when you receive it, I can’t help but be biased when I look at American Jobs. I am an American, and that is something I think about when I can. Is American manufacturing enough to sway a user’s decision to buy a product or not? We will see when we move to Round 2, but Round 1 goes to the Magnus.
Round 2 The Build
In Round 2, the KICKR Snap comes out throwing punch after punch. There is no denying that WahooFitness builds some of the sturdiest trainers on the market. The KICKR Snap is built with Carbon Steel, yet has very fluid movement on all their components. The KICKR Snap comes preassembled in the box which takes user error out of the equation. Furthermore, we cannot deny the impacts a 10.5lb flywheel will have on the overall road feel of this trainer. The 6 electromagnets are also a big component that help this trainer put on wattage at very low flywheel speeds. Round 2 without a doubt in my mind, goes to the Wahoo KICKR Snap.
Round 3 Road Feel
In Round 3, the KICKR Snap just keeps landing punches. Without a doubt, a 10.5lb flywheel is going to help with road feel. It’s the same reason Kurt Kinetic gives their customers the upgrade option to add a massive flywheel to their trainers. It helps with road feel. The 2.6lb flwheel of the Magnus is no match in this round. Round 3 goes to the KICKR Snap.
Round 4 Sound Test
In Round 4 we see both trainers going toe to toe. I found the Magnus to be slightly quieter than what was advertised at 20mph. I could not find any information on the Wahoo KICKR Snap, so I used the Dr.Meter MS10 Digital Decibel Sound Level Meter Tester 30 dBA – 130 dBA. The CycleOps Magnus was 65dB @ 20mph and 79-82dB at 37mph. The KICKR Snap really surprised me at 61dB @ 20mph and an astonishingly quiet 67dB @ 37mph. Again, I was really surprised how quiet the KICKR Snap was. It had a low hum to it at the higher speeds with very little sound during sprints. The winner of Round 4 is the KICKR Snap.
Round 5 ERG Tracking
Round 5 and both trainers are trading blows. No one trainer stood at as the obvious victor here. The KICKR Snap did a better job handling ERG tracking over the ANT+ FE-C software but the Magnus did a better job coming on and coming off higher intensity efforts. However, ERG tracking was much more precise with the KICKR Snap and the Magnus had much more variation. The KICKR Snap tracked well because the flywheel weight helped carry momentum through the pedal stroke. The Magnus has a smaller flywheel so the lack of a fluid pedal stroke will easily show up as the electromagnet compensates for your pedal variation. Coming off hard efforts, the KICKR Snap has too much moment and your power drops to zero watts where it should be at let’s say 135 watts. I consider this round a Draw. No obvious winner. If ERG tracking is more important to you, then the KICKR Snap wins. If AutoPause at zero watts pisses you off during a workout, then the Magnus would win.
Round 6 Max Slope Rating
Round 6 is a bit weird to test. One, I don’t know how these companies do slope ratings. I figured if we are testing virtual slopes, then we need to use low gears as if we are really climbing a hill. The KICKR Snap shines in this area and there are two primary reasons for this that I talk about in my video. The KICKR Snap uses the full diameter of their flywheel by pointing their magnets up at the outer edge of the flywheel circle. A bigger diameter means a higher Angular Velocity (I think that is it). The faster that velocity is, the more we can apply resistance to it. Furthermore, the 6 electromagnets on the KICKR Snap distributes the resistance across the entire circumference of the flywheel. This is going to give a better result when it comes to applying force at slower speeds. The one electromagnet on the metal plate of the Magnus cannot compete.
I used the 39×27 gear ratio with a 65rpm cadence. I found the KICKR Snap would hold up to 340 watts at this speed and the Magnus could only hold 200 watts. Round 6 goes to the KICKR Snap.
Round 7 Max Wattage and Sprinting
In Round 7 we look at the sprinting and max wattage capabilities of both trainers. They both have an advertised max of 1500 watts. I would agree with that statement. However, how you get to 1500 watts on a sprint is a completely different feeling. This is due to flywheel weight again. As you can imagine, it is much easier to spin up a 2.6lb flywheel than a 10.5lb flywheel. It is as simple as that. I tested both trainers on The Sufferfest App and Trainer road on resistance and standard mode. The KICKR Snap spun up in a very fluid manner; it felt really good. The Magnus allowed me to overcome it so quickly with RPM that you could feel the electromagnet pulling you back a bit when you got the top end. This feels very similar to sprinting into the base of a climb. You come up on it quickly and a bit under-geared, but when you start really hitting that slope, you feel the need to start ditching gears. Round 7 goes to the KICKR Snap for a fluid sprint feeling.
Round 8 Supporting Apps
In Round 8, we see the CycleOps Magnus trying to make a last minute comeback. Both companies have supporting Apps for their trainers, but CycleOps has a more thorough program. It is important that you can reach out and touch both trainers with an app. This will allow you to upgrade your trainer’s firmware in the future as software and apps change. (Maybe someday we will get a standardizes FE-C protocol for Bluetooth?) The CVT App made by CycleOps is very extensive, so they easily get the win in Round 8. I don’t know the future of round 8 in the next few years. Training companies will really need to up their game here if they want to stay competitive with companies like The Sufferfest or Zwift.
The Winner Is…
And the winner of this face off, coming in with 5 round victories and one draw, is the Wahoo KICKR Snap. With both of these trainers sell for $599, and the Wahoo KICKR is the best performing training. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the CycleOps Magnus. It is a very good trainer. However, the KICKR Snap sets the market price at $599. This means I would buy the Magnus if it was $529 to $549. That would be a fair price. Or, if they upgraded the frame and flywheel, we might have ourselves a completely different fight. I think the Magnus needs some work before it can come out and take on the KICKR Snap again.
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