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Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT Review

Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT Review

14.11.23 09:22 61Text: NoPain (translated by AI)Photos: Erwin HaidenSmart Training for the People: First Practical Review of the Brand-New Indoor Smart Bike at a Nice Price.14.11.23 09:22 288

Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT Review

14.11.23 09:22 288 NoPain (translated by AI) Erwin Haiden
  • AI generated translation
  • AI-generated translation refers to the process of using artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning models, to automatically translate text or speech from one language to another. These systems, such as neural machine translation models, analyze large datasets of multilingual content to learn patterns and associations between languages. The generated translations are based on statistical probabilities and context learned during training.
Smart Training for the People: First Practical Review of the Brand-New Indoor Smart Bike at a Nice Price.14.11.23 09:22 288

For the upcoming winter season, Wahoo has the KICKR BIKE SHIFT, a brand-new indoor smart bike ready, which is priced 1,000 euros below the proven KICKR BIKE. Nevertheless, it possesses all the basic functions such as Reality Shift, True Fit, Real Ride Feel, and of course, Wi-Fi. Made possible by a new, innovative brake system with belt drive, which not only allows for quick adjustment of resistance to inclines and power changes and ensures a quiet ride, but is also cheaper to manufacture.

We have already been able to gather some real-life experience with the new smart bike in Wahoo's virtual training universe.

  • Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT Review

KICKR BIKE SHIFT

To give you a bit of a preview of our review conclusion: Technically speaking, the new KICKR BIKE SHIFT is a sensible compromise compared to Wahoo's premium smart bike KICKR BIKE. It offers sufficient performance data and features to satisfy most users and is priced closer to the mid-range competition, for example, the Stages SB20.

Before we dive into the details of the KICKR BIKE SHIFT, let's take a look at the differences from Wahoo's flagship.

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Technical Differences to the KICKR BIKE

Although the KICKR BIKE SHIFT shares its proud name with the existing KICKR BIKE, both smart bikes are mostly different from each other structurally and technically. This concerns the frame construction, the materials used, the flywheel, the drive system, as well as the electronic control; only the saddle and the handlebars have remained the same.

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In terms of appearance, it is noticeable that the KICKR BIKE SHIFT has thinner frame tubes and therefore looks overall more slender. This not only affects the total weight and the associated production and shipping costs but also improves ergonomics: With the KICKR BIKE, the wide top tube often received criticism because depending on the rider's morphology, thighs, knees, or calves could rub against it. The newly designed top tube is especially in this area much more pleasing and aligns more with the proportions of conventional bicycles. But also, the levers to fix the geometry settings have received a slimmer design.

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The wiring of the electronic components has been completely revised; instead of the previous tangled cables in the front, there is now a magnetic connector. This connection carries both the general power supply and the shifting signals of the shifters. In addition, it houses the status lights for wireless communication. Although the magnets used are quite strong, it might be advisable to put a cable tie around the connector and the existing rubber band. This ensures that the connection is not interrupted by accidental bumping or a pulled towel.

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At the rear, the black glossy and nearly twice as large drive and flywheel system sits, which includes an electronic brake. From the perspective of the KICKR BIKE SHIFT, this is a complete redevelopment that functionally resembles the Wahoo KICKR Smart trainers more and, for example, does not offer a descent simulation. However, this feature is required by users of Zwift and other platforms to maintain high speeds on steep descents.

Regardless, the new drive system should not be considered cheap or inferior. On the contrary, it comes with several advantages - the biggest upfront: It enables a realistic riding feel and is absolutely silent, both during pedaling and coasting.

 Absolutely silent - both when pedaling and when coasting. 

One advantageous feature of the KICKR BIKE SHIFT
  • The text within the triple quotes is a product name and is likely already in English as it refers to a specific product (presumably a bike or bike-related equipment with a shifting feature). The translation remains the same:

"""KICKR BIKE SHIFTThe text within the triple quotes is a product name and is likely already in English as it refers to a specific product (presumably a bike or bike-related equipment with a shifting feature). The translation remains the same:

"""KICKR BIKE SHIFT
    The text within the triple quotes is a product name and is likely already in English as it refers to a specific product (presumably a bike or bike-related equipment with a shifting feature). The translation remains the same: """KICKR BIKE SHIFT
    The text within the triple quotes is a product name and is likely already in English as it refers to a specific product (presumably a bike or bike-related equipment with a shifting feature). The translation remains the same: """KICKR BIKE SHIFT
  • KICKR BIKE V2KICKR BIKE V2
    KICKR BIKE V2
    KICKR BIKE V2

KICKR BIKE Generations Review

KICKR BIKE SHIFT KICKR BIKE
Power Accuracy* +/- 1% +/- 1%
Max. Resistance 2,200 Watts 2,500 Watts
Adjustability Stack, Reach, Saddle height, -setback, Frame height, Crank length 165-175 mm Stack, Reach, Saddle height, -setback, Frame height, Crank length 165-175 mm
Max. Gradient Simulation 20% 20%
Maximal Decline -15% -15%
Change of Decline (physical) no yes
Downhill Simulation no yes
Display no LED lights for gradient and gear display
ERG Easy Ramp yes yes
Directional Steering yes yes
Virtual Shifting yes yes
Race Mode no yes
Connectivity Bluetooth, ANT+, WI-FI, Direct Connect cable connection** Bluetooth, ANT+, WI-FI, Direct Connect cable connection**
Data Speed, Distance, Power, Cadence Speed, Distance, Power, Cadence, Gradient/Decline
Frame Material Steel Aluminum
Type of Resistance Electronic Brake Electromagnetic Motor
Type of Drive Belt Drive Belt Drive
Weight 36 kg 42 kg
Rider Size 152-193 cm 152-193 cm
Max. Rider Weight 113 kg 113 kg
Price € 2,999.99 € 3,999.99

* Inc. software algorithm for zero-point calibration
** Wahoo Direct Connect adapter required

Advertisement & Data Sheets

  • Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT Review
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  • Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT Review

Unboxing and Setup

To be honest, there were two points that caused me a little concern: Unpacking and commissioning the "Monster" as well as adjusting the smart bike to my proportions. But to give the all-clear right away: My worries were unfounded.

Wahoo has put a lot of thought into both points and has optimally packed the KICKR BIKE SHIFT into the box, both for protection and for a smooth setup. In addition, a digital instruction video is available for users, which can be accessed via a QR code. Thus, the unboxing and the setup as a one-man show went surprisingly uncomplicated. However, if the bike is to be placed in a floor without an elevator, we urgently recommend the help of a second person, as the torso is quite heavy despite all material optimizations.

But see for yourself - we have captured the setup in photographs for you...

Wahoos offizielles Anleitungs-Video

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Adjusting the individual fit

Once the Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT is set up and aligned at its final location, the individual customization of stack, reach, offset, saddle height, and frame height to the personal morphology begins. To ensure that this process doesn't become an endless story, Wahoo offers two good options via its intuitive app.

1. "Fit Basic": Recalculation by entering your inseam length and the desired seating position (Race, Endurance, Relaxed). Our experience shows that this method allows for a quick and effective approximation to the optimal riding position.

2. "Fit Pro": Adoption of an existing bike measurement from GURU, Retül, or Trek. Millimeter-precise adjustment within minutes, especially for those who have data from a current bike position analysis.

For demonstration purposes, we opted for the first method (quick and dirty). After entering my data, the app immediately came up with all six relevant values, and the KICKR BIKE SHIFT was optimally set up in no time.

Below you will find a short photo series with the details.

Now all that remained was to adjust the handlebars and saddle to the desired position or inclination, and the bike was set up precisely. A final check with the ruler showed that the saddle was indeed at a nearly perfect height for me – just two millimeters lower. Done.

Afterwards, we connected the bike with the smartphone, installed the latest firmware updates, and configured the shifting logic as well as the gear jumps according to our preferences. We also established a secure connection with the Wi-Fi and paired the KICKR BIKE SHIFT with the Wahoo SYSTM training app.

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In Practical Test

Although the KICKR BIKE SHIFT appeared a bit unstable at first glance, this impression was not confirmed during training. On the contrary: The sleek bike proved to be extremely torsion-resistant both when mounting and accelerating or during intense standing pedaling, and produced no creaking sounds. We attribute this to the simpler steel construction, which contributes to overall stiffness due to the omission of the mechanics for physical incline and decline simulation. No pivot points, no bearings, no problems.

The new electronic brake with belt drive also worked quietly, although it decelerated nearly as powerfully as that of the KICKR BIKE with a maximum resistance of 2,200 watts. The extremely realistic riding feel was equally impressive. In addition, the slightly larger range of motion in the area of the top tube provided additional comfort.

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A similarly great plus for an authentic riding experience and an immersive indoor experience is the feature "Reality Shift". No matter whether you use Campa, Shimano or Sram, the KICKR BIKE SHIFT can handle it all and simulates the gear change very realistically. The resistance of the brake adjusts to the pressure on the shift lever, and the drivetrain provides immediate feedback.

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However, two more things are missing that frequent riders might miss in the worlds of Zwift: On the one hand, the so-called Downhill Simulation, which allows maintaining high speeds on descents, and on the other hand, the physical gear display - because unlike the KICKR BIKE V1/V2, the LEDs of the gear display on the KICKR BIKE SHIFT have disappeared. This could be somewhat annoying on Zwift, as the software program does not display the gear engaged on the KICKR BIKE/SHIFT. However, it is possible that this feature will soon be implemented on Zwift & Co., as the gears for the Tacx NEO Bike are indeed displayed.

  • Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT Review

3 Potential Handicaps for Zwift Pilots

In summary, it can be said: The KICKR BIKE SHIFT offers a realistic riding feel that comes dangerously close to the top model. However, compromises must be made with regard to the physical incline/descent simulation, the descent simulation, and the gear display.
For those who primarily complete structured (ERG) workouts in Zwift, Wahoo SYSTM, and other training apps, foregoing these features in favor of a more affordable purchase price and other benefits may be acceptable. However, users who spend most of their time in virtual worlds, group rides, or races with manual shifting may continue to be better advised with Wahoo's flagship model.

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 Physical incline/decline simulation, descent simulation and gear display: NOT - otherwise GREAT! 

KICKR BIKE SHIFT
  • Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT Review

Conclusion

Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT
Model Year: 2023/24
Price: € 2.999,-
+ Realistic riding feel
+ Quiet and low vibration
+ Quick setup
+ Millimeter-precise adjustment
+ Lighter than the KICKR BIKE yet stable
o Priced in the mid-range
o Bulkier compared to smart trainers
- No gear display
- No descent simulation
- No physical incline/decline simulation
BB Verdict: For some Wahooligans, not just the cheaper but perhaps also the better choice.


The Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT with its new brake and belt drive system offers a realistic riding experience within your own four walls. As with the KICKR BIKE that's 1,000 euros more expensive, Wahoo's new arrival responds lightning-fast to inclines and power changes and doesn't let you hit the proverbial wall on bigger power jumps. There is also nothing to criticize about the accuracy and the zero-point calibration. The resistance remains constant and the power values are consistent.

At first glance, the 36 kg heavy KICKR BIKE SHIFT may seem a bit more delicate than its big brother, but thanks to its construction and adjustable feet on the Wahoo training mat, it stands firm like a rock in the surf. Even though the handlebars still allow a bit too much flex in the clamp area, the smart bike overall feels even more solid and robust, which we attribute to the elimination of the mechanism for physical incline simulation.

All those who can do without this physical change of gradient, the descent simulation, the LEDs for the gear display, as well as the race mode, in which the performance data is transmitted up to 10 times faster via Wi-Fi, will find in the Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT a perfect indoor training companion. The programmable virtual shifting, the adjustable gear ratio configuration, and the repeatedly mentioned extremely quiet noise levels complete the riding experience.

  • Wahoo KICKR BIKE SHIFT Review