To me, rollers typically bring epic fails to mind. But, once mastered, rollers can deliver a realistic-feeling indoor training ride. That said, aside from training by power or heart rate, there’s nothing “smart” about rollers — until now. The new Wahoo KICKR ROLLR adds smart training functionality to a unique set of rollers that doesn’t require a steep learning curve.
While a wheel-off smart trainer remains the gold standard for Zwift, TrainerRoad or Sufferfest, there’s no doubt it can be a pain to switch your favorite bike from outdoor to indoor duty. I typically set up my Open UPPER for winter indoor training and then leave my dedicated gravel bike ready for road or gravel riding in the winter. With the Wahoo KICKR ROLLR, I could swap bikes indoor and outdoor with ease. That said, the one drawback for MTB riders is the ROLLR really isn’t made for wide knobbies. The Safety Tire Gripper can only open wide enough to fit a 2.1″ tire, so Wahoo does state it is really only made for road/gravel bikes.
When it comes to swapping bikes on the ROLLR, a quick release offers an easy way to accommodate different wheelbases. That, in addition to the tire gripper, makes the ROLLR appealing to use with multiple bikes or multiple riders in a household. Wahoo insists that the unit is portable enough for pre-race warmups on your actual race bike. One note… the stabilizer arms do not fold down, but always stay upright to indicate the proper bike placement.
The ROLLR does have a 250 lb. rider weight limit to go along with the 1500 watt maximum output (that’s plenty of capability). Connected to smart training systems, resistance is dynamic based on terrain or ride profile. A 10.5 lb flywheel should provide a realistic feel. Note that the flywheel is lighter than wheel-off trainers because you don’t need that much weight on rollers. As I look at the system, I have to wonder about stress on the front wheel during hard sprinting. The tires are cradled at the base and the upper clamp provides support, but I still wonder about torque placed on the front wheel and axle. Wahoo says it’s okay, but wheel/frame manufacturers may need to provide independent tests to confirm.
(Note: Zipp has now stated this will void your warranty and responses from 3T have suggested that they would not be happy with their carbon wheels being held this way, but haven’t expressly said that warranties will be void.)
While it does offer excellent flexibility with bike swaps, keep in mind that it does lack an internal power meter, so you will have to provide your own crank or pedal-based unit for power measurement. Luckily, both of my personal bikes have power meters, but admittedly, that’s not a cheap investment. As another option, Wahoo has also finally released their long-anticipated POWRLINK ZERO pedals. I am a Speedplay fan, so the POWRLINK will be a cool new option for power training.
Available now, the KICKR ROLLR will be $799 or $1399 with a single-sided POWRLINK pedal system.
More Info: Visit WahooFitness.com