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Wahoo Fitness KICKR SNAP Power Trainer

Tasha Heilweil reviews the Wahoo Fitness KICKR SNAP Power Trainer for Blister Gear Review.

Wahoo Fitness KICKR SNAP Power Trainer

Wahoo Fitness KICKR SNAP Power Trainer

Stated Features:

  • Electromagnetic resistance
  • Wheel-on design
  • ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, & Bluetooth Smart Wireless Technology
  • iOS / Android / PC (Mac and Windows) Device Connectivity
  • + / – 5% Accuracy
  • Speed, Distance and Power Metrics
  • Cadence metrics with purchase of the Wahoo Cadence Monitor

Wheel compatibility: 650c, 700c, 26″, 27.5″, 29”

Hub compatibility: 130/135mm QR and 142x12mm (with adapter)

Stated weight: 38 lbs.

Footprint: 29”x26” (74cm x 66 cm)

Electrical connection: 100-240v power cord

Max wattage: 1500 W

Max incline: 12%

Included Accessories:

  • 130/135mm trainer QR
  • Front wheel block
  • MSRP: $599.99

Bike Used: Specialized Ruby Expert

Devices Used: Wahoo Fitness Cadence Monitor, Polar Heart Rate Monitor, iPhone

Test Duration: 10 rides

Introduction

The Wahoo KICKR SNAP is a wheel-on cycling trainer that allows riders to stay on their bikes even when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Using the KICKR SNAP in the winter has been a great way to maintain my fitness and avoid becoming lethargic when outdoor cycling is not an option. The KICKR SNAP packages Wahoo’s original KICKR trainer into a more convenient design. I found that the KICKR SNAP offers great ride quality and an intuitive app that can sync with most training platforms.

Setup

The KICKR SNAP is very easy to set up. Following the directions, it took about 5 minutes to get my bike on the trainer. The steel legs fold out and the release and clamping mechanism is solid; both sides screw in to hold the bike centered and in place by the skewer, but one side can be released with a big blue lever to swap the bike in and out quickly.

As with any electromagnetic trainer, the KICKER SNAP requires electricity and must be plugged into an outlet. The included cord is just under 10 ft long, so plan on setting it up near an outlet or using an extension cord.

Wahoo Fitness App and Pairing Devices

In order to control power and log training sessions, the free Wahoo Fitness app must be downloaded. Creating an account and syncing the sensors to my iPhone was very easy. The KICKR SNAP pairs via Bluetooth to smartphones and can be controlled through the app. I also used the Wahoo Fitness Cadence monitor and a Polar heart rate monitor. Both of these synced with the Wahoo app, although the Polar monitor took a bit more time to connect each training session.

I also tried to pair a Garmin heart rate monitor to the app, but was not able to get the Wahoo app to sync with the monitor and I gave up after a few tries. This was not a huge problem as I could still see heart rate off of the Garmin Edge 25 and I was more concerned about power anyway, but it shows that not all Bluetooth-capable 3rd party devices can easily connect to the Wahoo app.

Using the App While Riding

The Wahoo app allows the rider to set different variables in order to spin at a desired work rate. Resistance can be set by choosing a specific wattage, a simulated percent slope grade, or a percent increase in resistance from the baseline gear. Wind speed can also be simulated.

I preferred setting resistance by either choosing specific wattage or increasing percent resistance. Simulating wind resistance or percent grade also gave noticeable increases in resistance, but I found it more useful to just focus on power while training. Watts can be increased one at a time, or by tens or hundreds. This made it very easy to increase power while doing interval training.

Tasha Heilweil reviews the Wahoo Fitness KICKR SNAP Power Trainer for Blister Gear Review.

Tasha Heilweil on the Wahoo Fitness KICKR SNAP Power Trainer .

There are no pre-set workouts through the Wahoo App. But, third party training platforms including Zwift, Kinomap, Virtual Training, FulGaz and TrainerRoad can be used to train with pre-set workouts that increase and decrease resistance through the KICKR SNAP.

Using the Wahoo app on a phone can be cumbersome. I found it easiest to put the trainer next to a shelf so I could place my phone next to me when I wasn’t changing settings. Controlling the KICKR SNAP with a cycling computer would be much more convenient, but only the Garmin Edge 520, 820, and 1000 along with the Wahoo ELEMNT can be used in this way.

Wahoo claims a +/- 5% accuracy for the KICKR SNAP (compared to +/- 2% for the original KICKR). I was not using a second power meter while riding to measure the accuracy of the KICKR SNAP, but I did have a few observations to note about setup to obtain a consistent power output: First, an advanced spin down must be done once before using the trainer for the first time. Otherwise, the power output will fall to zero a few seconds after each acceleration. This step is not listed in the instructions, but is shown on the app. Second, performing a spin down each training session is crucial to calibrate the trainer and take variables such as tire pressure into account. These spin down procedures should set the KICKR SNAP up to measure power within the 5% accuracy claimed.

App Workout Summary

The Wahoo Fitness App gives a summary of each workout including power, heart rate, speed, and cadence (with the Wahoo cadence sensor). The output can be exported to many 3rd party training apps such as Training Peaks, Strava, Cycling Analytics, MyFitnessPal, 2Peak, and RideWithGPS.

Tasha Heilweil reviews the Wahoo Fitness KICKR SNAP Power Trainer for Blister Gear Review.

Ride Performance

The KICKR SNAP feels extremely smooth. When transitioning from spinning into a hard interval, there is no feeling of “slipping,” which I have felt in the Kinetic Fluid Trainer. The KICKR SNAP also feels smoother than the Kinetic Fluid while spinning.

The KICKR SNAP feels very comparable to the CompuTrainers I have spent time on. It is impressive that these two have similar ride qualities. The CompuTrainer, which is a very popular power trainer, costs $1000 (CompuTrainer Classic, base model with the Magnet Cadence Sensor). However, I did not have the chance to do back-to-back testing with these two trainers, so I cannot claim that they feel exactly the same.

The KICKR SNAP gives off a slight whirring sound from the flywheel, but it can be categorized as a quiet trainer. The CompuTrainer is similar in noise level and Kinetic Fluid trainer is much louder than the KICKR. While listening to music with headphones, I can keep the volume quite low and still block out any sound from the trainer.

Lastly, the KICKR SNAP is very stable. The steel body ensures that there is no rocking back and forth of the machine, even when pushing out of the saddle. This stability comes at a small price, with the trainer weighing in at a stated 38 lbs. A lighter, wheel-on trainer may be a better choice if you plan on traveling with the trainer.

Bottom Line

The KICKR SNAP is a very capable trainer that offers a smooth and stable ride for a reasonable price. The wheel-on and foldable design is convenient for those who want a portable, albeit heavy, trainer that doesn’t sacrifice ride quality. It’s also versatile since it works with ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, & Bluetooth Smart Wireless Technology it is compatible with most 3rd party accessories (although only certain computers and cadence monitors can be used) as well as online training platforms.

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