It all started with a dongle. Founder and current CEO, Chip Hawkins, wanted to use his phone as a cycling computer, but he couldn't pair any ANT+ sensors to the device, so being an engineer, he made one.
The American brand, based out of Atlanta, Georgia, has come a long way since then, with Wahoo now producing a range of smart turbo trainers, GPS cycling computers and dual-band ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors. The brand has also recently acquired indoor cycling outfit The Sufferfest, and pedal manufacturers Speedplay. Clearly there are exciting projects in the works and we don't expect the rate of growth to slow any time soon.
Wahoo's success is evident by the brand's frequent inclusion in our buyer's guides, our roundup of the best cycling computers features the Elemnt Bolt, and after our Elemnt Roam review, that earned a place, too. Our guide to the best turbo trainers also features two of Wahoo's trainers. The Kickr Snap made the cut for our 'wheel-on' smart trainers, and we recommend the Kickr Core direct-drive trainer based on its competitive price and feature-heavy spec.
The gold standard in turbo trainers
Max power: 2200W | Axle compatibility: 130/135 QR, 12x142 and 12x148 thru-axle | Accuracy: +/-2 per cent | Price: £1000 / $1200 / AU$1700
The Wahoo Kickr has arguably become the gold standard in indoor training with its controlled resistance and realistic ride feel. Equipped with ANT+, ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth connectivity, the Kickr can talk to your smartphone, GPS computer and external sensors all at the same time, making indoor sessions and outdoor workouts (uploaded to your head unit) trouble-free.
The Kickr is a direct-drive trainer and is compatible with standard quick-release dropouts as well as disc friendly 12x142 and 12x148 thru-axle spacing. With a 16lbs / 7.26kg flywheel, the Kickr can generate up to 2200W of electromagnetic resistance, simulate up to a 20 per cent grade and the built-in power sensor claims an accuracy rating to a maximum deviation of +/- 2 per cent.
From Wahoo's the top-of-the-range smart trainer, you get foldable legs and a carry handle to simplify transport or storage when not in use. It comes complete with an 11-speed 11-28 cassette.
The Kickr is almost universally compatible with indoor training apps, and the trainer plays nice with both the Kickr Climb and Headwind.
Compact direct-drive smart trainer with the same feature set as the Kickr
Max power: 1600W | Axle compatibility: 130/135 QR, 12x142 and 12x148 thru-axle | Accuracy: +/- 2 per cent | Price: £699 / $899 / AU$1200
The Kickr Core is a slightly more budget-friendly version of the direct-drive smart trainer, which takes a step down in resistance, drops the height adjustability and forgoes the foldable legs and carry handle but doesn't lose any of the functionality.
With a slightly lighter flywheel (12lbs / 5.4lbs), the Kickr Core has a maximum electromagnetic resistance of 1600W and can simulate up to a 16 per cent grade. The Kickr Core will work with just about any bike provided you're not trying to use a mountain bike with a Super-Boost rear end, and the trainer maintains the same connectivity to devices, sensors and apps as the Kickr Smart. You will, however, have to supply your own cassette.
Best Wahoo trainer for those on a budget
Max power: 1500W | Axle compatibility: 130 /135 QR, 12x142 thru-axle with adaptor sold separately | Accuracy: +/- 3 per cent | Price: £430 / $500 / AU$650
Taking another step down in price, Wahoo's Kickr Snap is the only wheel-on trainer in the Wahoo lineup. Instead of a cassette mounted directly to the flywheel, your rear tyre spins a drum which is attached to the resistance unit.
The Kickr Snap has a max output of 1500W and can simulate a 12 per cent grade which, on paper, might look peenie compared to its wheel off relatives, but it's still more than enough resistance to lock you away in a lactic acid-filled torture chamber.
Even though the wheel-on Kickr Snap is cheaper - again, it too doesn't miss out on any of the functionality or connectivity of the higher-end units. It can still be controlled by third-party apps such as Zwift, TrainerRoad and The Sufferfest, it has ANT+, ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth connectivity and plays nice with the Kickr Climb and Kickr Headwind.
For those with deep pockets who want a dedicated training bike
Max power: 2200W | Axle compatibility: N/A | Accuracy: +/- 1 per cent | Price: £2,999 / $3500 / AU$TBC
Exercise bikes are nothing new. Wattbike has occupied this space for some time and Stages, Tacx and SRM are all soon to release their own versions of the dedicated smart bike.
The Kickr Bike is a standalone machine, meaning your mud-splattered bike can stay clear of your living room carpet, and you won't wear through chains, chainrings and cassettes. Claimed to offer an accuracy rating to a maximum deviation of +/- 1 per cent, the Kickr Bike can mimic a 20 per cent incline and 15 per cent decline. Like the rest of the Wahoo's trainers, it as Bluetooth, ANT+ and ANT+FE-C built-in and is compatible with a vast range of apps.
To mimic your position on the bike, the Kickr Bike has five points of adjustment and comes with a saddle and 42mm bars — both of which can be easily swapped. To make this easy, the Wahoo Fitness app allows you to take a photo of your 'real' bike, and it will generate the measurements needed to replicate the same geometry on the training bike.
Replicates real-world gradients from the comfort of your home
Axle compatibility: QR, 12x100mm, 15x100mm and 15x110mm | Price: £500 / $600 / AU$800
If you already have a Kickr trainer or you don't fancy dropping $3500 on a dedicated training bike, the Kickr Climb attaches to your fork and raises and lowers the front end of the bike to match topographical nuances on virtual training apps such as Zwift.
We are forever seeking ways to make indoor training a closer replication of riding outside, and the Kickr climb can help you to engage the finite muscle groups used during climbing and descending. It also makes spinning away in your basement a hell of a lot more entertaining and gives you a physical cue that you're climbing over-and-above the extra trainer resistance.
The Kickr Climb can simulate inclines up to 20 per cent and descents up to 10 per cent.
A smart fan that adjusts based on speed and heart rate
Price: £200 / $250/ AU$400
Yes, it's an expensive fan designed just for indoor training. It may seem like a silly and somewhat overpriced upgrade but the Kickr Headwind employs some very useful features that you didn't know you wanted.
The Kickr Headwind's targeted airflow pattern reaches speeds up to 30mph and focuses airflow directly at your body more efficiently than a standard fan.
It's ANT+ and Bluetooth enabled so not only can you adjust the fan's speed options (of which there are four) from your phone without getting off the bike, if it's paired with a heart-rate or speed sensor, the airflow will change based on your intensity and speed.
We've just got a Kickr headwind in for review and will report back in detail on its functionality and effectiveness soon.
The largest and most fully-featured computer from Wahoo
Claimed battery life: 17 hours | Screen size (diagonal): 2.7in | Price: £300 / $380 / AU$600
The Elemnt Roam is the latest addition to Wahoo's computer line-up and is its most fully featured head unit to date. It maintains all of the compatibility and connectivity of the other computers in the line but adds a colour screen and improved mapping capabilities.
Wahoo hasn't turned the saturation up to 11 but rather uses colour to draw attention to specific areas on the screen, which is especially useful on the maps. Speaking of maps, Wahoo has upgraded its free worldwide maps to offer on-unit navigation and rerouting.
The Roam will also redirect you back to your route should you miss a turn, allows you to navigate to saved locations and will guide you with its 'take me to' function.
The same functionality of the connected app is available with the Elemnt Roam, and even with the increased processing required by the routing and colour screen, it maintains its competitive 17 hour battery life.
Fully featured, compact and aero
Claimed battery life: 15 hours | Screen size (diagonal): 2.2in | Price: £200 / $250 / AU$400
The Elemnt Bolt is basically a miniature version of the Elemnt. The head unit supports Bluetooth, ANT+ and WiFi connectivity, offers turn-by-turn directions and the same seamless wireless syncing of its larger compatriot. The battery life, however, is slightly shorter at 15 hours.
With its smaller form factor and aerodynamic shape, the Bolt was launched as the most aero computer available and has become a big hit among racing cyclists.
It slots into a Wahoo-specific quarter-turn mount creating a seamless aerodynamic rounded profile, and thanks to a small screw, it can be fixed into place. Not only is this great for security over rough ground, but it also means that under UCI rules, the Elemnt Bolt is part of the bike, and can be counted within the 6.8kg weight limit.
Pioneer in seamless app integration and ease of use
Claimed battery life: 17 hours | Screen size (diagonal): 2.3in | Price: £229 / $299 / AU$550
The Elemnt was Wahoo's first foray into cycling computers. It records all your basic data fields; offers turn-by-turn directions and basic maps, will let you know who is calling and has a companion app to simplify set up and help preserve battery life.
What sets the Elemnt apart from its rivals is the ease of use, and seamless integration not only with the Wahoo app but also third-party services such as Strava, TrainingPeaks, Today's Plan and Komoot, which in our opinion no other GPS head unit manufacturer has been able to match.
It was an early adopter of connectivity with both Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors, and by adding WiFi connectivity, everything syncs automatically whether that be routes from Komoot, workouts from TrainingPeaks or changes to data screens you make in the app. There are also two sets of customisable LEDs which let you know if you're above or below average for a number of metrics and alert you to upcoming turns among other things.
The black and white screen is high contrast and sharp but can make crowded maps of urban centres tough to decipher. Even a few years on after its launch, the 17 hour battery life is competitive and Wahoo is regularly adding new features like support for Garmin's Varia Bike Radar.
Budget friendly cycling computer
Claimed battery life: 1 year | Screen size (diagonal): 1.8in | Price: £80 / $100 / AU$150
The most basic computer in Wahoo's line-up is the Elemnt Mini. There is no GPS chip, so it needs to rely on either a speed sensor or your phone to calculate speed and distance. However, it still features dual-band connectivity for sensors and communicates with the app for setup and wireless sync. It will even let you know who just sent you a text.
For the money, the computer offers quite a bit of functionality, and the coin cell battery will last for ages.
Dual-band HR sensor
Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth | Battery type: Coin cell | Price: £40 / $50 / AU$80
The Tickr is your typical chest-based heart-rate monitor picking up on electric impulses from your heart but with a Wahoo spin. It will talk to devices with both ANT+ and Bluetooth and let you know that it's connected with a couple of LEDs on the transmitter.
HR monitor with a memory
Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth | Battery type: Coin cell | Price: £64 / $80 / AU$130
For a bit extra cash the Tickr X maintains the dual-band connectivity but gets on-board memory to capture up to 16 hours of heart rate, calorie burn, and workout-duration data which will sync to your phone next time it connects.
The Tickr X can also measure your indoor cadence when paired to the Wahoo Fitness app and advance running metrics like vertical oscillation.
Optical forearm-based heart-rate monitor
Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth | Battery type: Rechargeable | Price: £64/ $80 / AU$110
Some people don't like chest-based HR monitors; they are uncomfortable, get wet and sweaty, and sometimes don't mesh well with sports bras. Wahoo's solution is the Tickr Fit, a forearm-based optical sensor.
Using a water-resistant band, it attaches to your forearm, and pairs to any Bluetooth or ANT+ enabled device and has an internal rechargeable battery.
Speed and cadence sensors
Universally compatible and reliable sensors
Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth | Battery type: Coin cell | Price: Starting at £30 / $40 / AU$50
Whether you're using a computer that doesn't have GPS, or you're looking to enjoy Zwift but don't have a power meter, Wahoo offers a range of external sensors. In typical Wahoo form, its speed and cadence sensor broadcast in both ANT+ and Bluetooth and are available in magnet-free and standard versions. They all run on CR2032 coin cell batteries and are totally waterproof. Each uses an o-ring mount, and the cadence sensor also comes with a shoe mount for measuring running metrics.
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