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Wahoo KICKR Core and Smart Trainers

What's the difference between the Wahoo Fitness KICKR Core and Smart trainer?  There is a $300 price difference but I can tell from the description what I'm getting for $300 more.  Can you help me?

Also - which of the accessories are "must have's" and which Wahoo accessories are just nice to have but not necessary?



4 Replies

@TM1 Thanks for reaching out!

Here are a couple of the differences between the Wahoo Fitness KICKR Core and smart trainer:

  • The Wahoo Fitness KICKR Smart Bike trainer comes with an 11 speed Shimano/SRAM compatible cassette and an RPM cadence sensor.  
  • The KICKR Smart Bike trainer goes 4 degrees higher in incline (20 degrees vs 16 degrees) and had a 16 pound flywheel (12 for the Core).
  • The KICKR Smart Bike trainer comes with all adapters necessary to fit most bikes 24" and up.
  • The KICKR Smart Bike trainer is made with a durable carbon steel construction and design that aids with stability.

@REI-AndyF  do you have any thoughts of accessories are 'must haves' with a Wahoo trainer?


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

John is correct.  I went through this same decision last year and for me and my needs the Core made more sense.  Looks the the differences John talked about and figure out what is best for you.  the one that I will add is the Core is quietest of all of the Wahoo models so depending where and when you are riding your trainer it may be important.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hey @TM1! Regardless of which Wahoo Kickr you decide to invest in, there are a few accessories that I would recommend picking up to get the most out of your smart trainer. I’ve trained on several different generations of Kickr’s since 2014 and have learned a lot along the way. I’m happy to share my knowledge!

A fan is a must have to keep the air flowing. A small table fan or box fan will do the trick, but has some drawbacks compared to a training specific fan such as the Wahoo Kickr Headwind. The Headwind can be controlled via Bluetooth, which means you can turn the unit on and off, adjust fan speed, and decide whether or not you want airflow to be controlled by heart rate or by simulated bike speed, all from the comfort of your saddle via your smartphone or tablet. The headwind is also small, quiet, and delivers airflow at a precise angle. The Headwind is a game changer!

A training mat such as the Wahoo Kickr Bike Trainer Floor Mat or Saris Training Mat is a great accessory and serves several purposes. Not only will it help protect your floors from friction and sweat, it also absorbs vibration caused by the trainer to make for an even quieter ride. Additionally, it keeps the sweat off of your floor and can be hand washed to help minimize odor.

Regardless of whether or not you use a heart rate monitor when riding outdoors, consider one for indoor training. A heart rate monitor can be beneficial as another data source to help gauge your workout effort. Utilizing heart rate in conjunction with power and cadence will give you tons of data to get the most out of your workout.

Depending on what kind of device you are connecting your Kickr to the Wahoo ANT+ USB Dongle might be a must-have. It allows non ANT+ compatible devices to receive ANT+ signals from your sensors.

A friendly-on-your-wallet must-have accessory is an old towel to keep the sweat off your bike. When you’re cranking up Alpe du Zwift on your new Kickr you’re going to be dumping sweat! The moisture and salt tends to seep into your stem bolts, headset, frame, braze-ons, and just about everywhere else on your bike. Not only can this cause rust, seize up parts, or inflict damage, it also means you have to spend more time cleaning your bike and less time riding.

Pro tip --> Use electrical tape to cover up braze-on bolt holes or other critical areas to keep the sweat out.

Enjoy your new Wahoo Kickr!!! Tailwinds!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hi there @TM1 

I thought I would chime in as a more casual rider (rides 1-2 times per week for fitness/fun) who loves her Kickr Core. For you and potentially others considering the same question, because we all have! With the Core you will need to purchase a cassette because it doesn’t come with one. It is the quietest, which was important for me. I agree with @REI-AndyF  the mat is a must have not only to protect your floors but it does cut down on vibrations to reduce noise. I didn’t purchase the mat initially and ended up ruining my yoga mat. I would also say the headwind fan is a game changer. As a more casual rider I would say this was a bit of a splurge, I did go without it for almost a year, but it is so convenient and keeps me much more comfortable on the bike.  Comfort is also important for me. 

Good luck and either way you will enjoy your new toy!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.