Wahoo KICKR bike V2 review

With its customized fit, incline changes and realistic ride experience, the Wahoo KICKR Bike (version 2) aims to fully recreate your outdoor bike indoors — but is it worth the gasp-inducing price tag?

Wahoo Kickr Bike
(Image: © Anna Gora)

Live Science Verdict

The Wahoo KICKR Bike V2 is a great training tool for cycling enthusiasts serious about elevating their exercise performance — but for those who just want to boost their cardio fitness or lose weight in the comfort of their home, this sleek-looking machine may be an expensive overkill.


  • +

    Ultra-realistic ride feel

  • +

    Incline changes

  • +

    Highly customizable fit, shifting and gearing

  • +

    Feature-packed workout apps


  • -

    Max weight limit of 250 lbs (113kg)

  • -

    No smartphone or tablet holder

  • -

    More expensive than other exercise bikes

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The Wahoo KICKR bike is not a typical exercise bike by any means. From its unique design and advanced customization features to a truly whopping price tag, it goes above and beyond what you would normally see in an exercise bike. But does the Wahoo KICKR bike deliver a market-beating performance, too?

It does appear so. This sleek machine may be one of the best exercise bikes money can buy, given that it features incline changes, customizable gearing and other features designed to give out an ultra-realistic ride experience. True, the Wahoo KICKR bike does not come with a huge touchscreen like almost all premium exercise machines these days, but its wide compatibility with fitness apps allows you to access endless immersive rides and fitness classes on devices of your choice. The KICKR Bike is also compatible with Wahoo accessories, such as the KICKR Headwind fan that cools you down during workouts, meaning you can make it a part of a fully functional workout station. 

However, it costs $3,999.99, making it one of the most expensive indoor bikes on the market. So is the flagship Wahoo bike worth such a steep investment? To find out, we took the Wahoo KICKR bike for a spin (pun intended), assessing its design, durability, features and ease of use. Read on for our take on this iconic exercise bike.    

Wahoo KICKR BIKE V2 review

Wahoo KICKR Bike V2: Set up and usability

Wahoo KICKR Bike

The Wahoo KICKR Bike (V2) can be customized with the pedals of your choice.  (Image credit: Anna Gora)
  • Two person assembly
  • Beginners may struggle with the setup
  • No pedals included

The Wahoo KICKR Bike is relatively easy to put together. However, it is a heavy and bulky piece of kit, so the assembly would ideally involve two people. Also, the packaging does not include any pedals, hand tools or bike grease, so make sure you have those on hand when unboxing the machine.   

The Wahoo KICKR Bike comes with a detailed and easy-to-understand manual, as well as a handy tutorial video on the Wahoo website. However, some beginners may lack the technical knowledge needed for a flawless set-up. If you have never tweaked around a regular outdoor bike, it may take you a while to get the KICKR up and running. But if you are a more experienced cyclist, you will likely enjoy the familiarity of putting it all together.

First, you need to assemble the stabilizer legs to the lower frame and ensure that the bike is leveled and steady. Then, you can attach the handlebar, insert the seatpost and plug both shifter cords into the bottom of the LED display screen. Next, attach the pedals of your choice to the crank arms ― you will need a wrench, some grease and pedal washers included in the packaging ― then plug your KICKR bike into the power adapter. Lastly, download the Wahoo app to finish the setup.

There are several options to customize your bike in the Wahoo app, including an option to upload a photo of your bike to let the app pick the best settings for you. We knew the fit on our outdoor bike so we opted for the old-fashioned manual adjustments, but using an algorithm to customize your piece of equipment is a truly impressive feature. The Wahoo app is a handy piece of software, nonetheless ― it allows you to control the bike and store your workout data, and it integrates all Wahoo accessories into one functioning unit.

  • Set up and usability score: 4/5

Wahoo KICKR Bike V2: Design and display

Wahoo KICKR Bike

The Wahoo KICKR Bike (V2) allows you to adjust saddle height, frame height, stack, reach, and setback. (Image credit: Anna Gora)
  • Sturdy piece of kit
  • Customized fit
  • No touchscreen or device holder

Approximate dimensions: 48-in x 30-in x 37-in 

Weight: 93 lbs (42kg)

User height range: 5 to 6’4 feet (1.52 to 1.93m)

Max user weight: 250 lbs (113 kg)

Drive type: Belt

Resistance: Electromagnetic and enhanced motor

Grade range: -15% to +20%

Display: small LED screen

Warranty: 1 year

Compatibility: Wahoo and third-party apps

Other features: Drinks holder

Looks-wise, the Wahoo KICKR Bike does not resemble a typical exercise bike ― just like an outdoor bike, it is less podgy, more refined in shape, and it does claim quite a big chunk of the floor space. You will not be able to keep it in a cupboard (unless its dimensions are larger than 48-in x 30-in x 37-in), so make sure you have enough room to store this beast. The KICKR Bike does have a set of wheels, but the sheer weight of this machine ― a respectable 93 lbs, no less ― makes it difficult to move around. If this is a problem for you then we advise you to keep the bike in one designated spot that is convenient to live with in the room or, if budget allows, invest in a more portable machine.

We were impressed by the customization features of the Wahoo KICKR bike. You can adjust it across five points ― saddle height, frame height, stack, reach and setback ― so it fits your body just right. However, we found that adjusting the bike requires some strength and manual dexterity (and good luck to you if you happen to have long nails). The levers are tight and tricky to unlock, and at times we were worried that we would snap them if we applied too much force. We also found it tricky to keep the saddle at the right angle when adjusting the seat height.   

Wahoo KICKR Bike

A small LED screen is located on the right-hand side underneath the handlebar. (Image credit: Anna Gora)

The resistance, grade changes and brakes are controlled by buttons on the handlebar, while a small LED screen located on the right-hand side underneath displays what gear you are in, your current grade percentage, whether the bike is locked (if so, external software is unable to control it) and connection status to indicate if it is paired with another device. The controls felt intuitive and responsive, and we liked that the screen did not obscure the view.

We did, however, find the seat quite uncomfortable. It felt too narrow and stiff, and it did lack the padding often seen in other premium exercise bikes. Moreover, the capacity of the Wahoo KICKR Bike is limited to 250 lbs (113 kg), so it is not suitable for heavier individuals.

  • Design and display score: 3.5/5

Wahoo KICKR Bike V2: Features

Wahoo Kickr Bike

The Wahoo KICKR Bike (V2) features a handy bottle holder. (Image credit: Anna Gora)
  • Three cycling modes
  • Seamless connectivity
  • Feature-packed workout apps

The Wahoo KICKR Bike offers robust connectivity to apps and third-party devices thanks to a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection and up to three Bluetooth connections. We had no problems linking the bike to our mobile phone and laptop, and experienced no lags in data transfer between devices. 

There are plenty of apps that are compatible with the Wahoo KICKR bike, so let’s focus on the ones directly related to the brand: the Wahoo app, and the Wahoo SYSTM app. 

The main Wahoo app, used to set up, customize and control the bike, offers three workout modes. The Level mode is akin to riding on a wind trainer, meaning the faster you go, the harder it gets. In the ERG mode, you set your desired power output, and the machine will automatically adjust the resistance to maintain it regardless of how fast you pedal. Whereas, in the SIM mode, the KICKR bike will model the ride based on your desired settings. We liked the versatility of options — it is not something you tend to come across in an exercise bike. The Wahoo app also stores workout data, making it a useful tool for tracking performance. And, importantly, it is free of charge.

The Wahoo X and its offspring Wahoo SYSTM, are offered on a subscription basis, but they come with a free trial period. These apps have been curated by passionate cycling professionals — and it shows. They contain hundreds of cycling workouts, ranging from simple interval sessions to pre-recorded fitness classes and rides on location where you cruise through picturesque places. These apps also offer plenty of mobility and strength training workouts, often with tips on how to boost performance on the bike and speed up post-exercise recovery. Although designed with cyclists in mind, the workouts can still provide valuable advice to others. There is only one caveat: the cannonade of beeps and whistles that announces the beginning and end of each workout set can become quite tiresome after a while, and there is no option to switch it off. You can turn the sound off entirely, but this means you may lose some of the input from the exercise instructions. 

In addition, the Wahoo SYSTM app offers dozens of running, swimming and yoga classes, as well as the Systm Mental Training Programme: A series of motivational classes designed to boost your mental resilience during competitions and difficult rides. The app also features challenges, fitness tests and cycling documentaries, and it allows you to track your progress and schedule specific workouts. 

All in all, the Wahoo KICKR bike and associated apps offer a ton of valuable content to budding cyclists and athletes alike, and we liked how neat the apps looked, too. 

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Wahoo KICKR Bike V2: Performance

Wahoo KICKR Bike

(Image credit: Anna Gora)
  • Realistic ride feel
  • Quiet even at high speeds

The Wahoo KICKR Bike does what it promises. It delivers an incredibly realistic ride feel, while seamlessly connecting to third-party devices, such as mobile phones and laptops.

We liked that the KICKR Bike behaved like a real outdoor bike, down to the characteristic ‘clunk’ sound heard between gear shifts. Adjustments to resistance and incline were quick and efficient, with each gear and grade percentage bringing a tangible difference to the intensity and overall feel of our workouts. The machine felt relatively sturdy and remained stable at high speeds. Whether we did an active recovery ride or a heart-pumping sprint, we found that the KICKR Bike served its purpose well.  

We also liked that it was relatively quiet. The Wahoo KICKR Bike is equipped with a powerful motor, but even when kicked into heavy action it does not cross the threshold of a gentle hum. If you tend to train at odd times of the day and night, this bike is unlikely to wake up anyone around you. 

However, given how integral the apps are to the KICKR Bike experience, you can’t help but notice the lack of a smartphone or tablet holder. Wahoo does offer a desk stand to go with the bike, but not everyone has the space or budget for this add-on. True, any mount sticking from a handlebar would diminish the raw feel of the KICKR Bike, but not having anything at all does makes it more difficult to take full advantage of what Wahoo has to offer.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Wahoo KICKR Bike V2: What the users say

The Wahoo KICKR Bike is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars on the Wahoo website, with 69% of users giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews praise this exercise bike for its sturdy build, connectivity, customized features and incline changes. As one user commented, “The bike is built like a tank.”

Negative reviews often cite its sky-high price and problematic levers. As one user said, “It‘s really hard to not get them [levers] to slip. It‘s annoying to then have to make the saddle and handlebar be completely straight on the bike. Lining up round tubes when you are pushing with all your might to close the quick-release levers is quite hard.” Some users also disagree on the sturdiness and stability of the Wahoo KICKR bike.

Should you buy the Wahoo KICKR Bike V2?

✅ If you are looking for an exercise bike meticulously designed to elevate your cycling performance (and you do not mind splashing out some serious cash while doing so), the Wahoo KICKR bike is a great choice. This beastly machine takes up quite some space, but its realistic ride feel, customizability and compatibility are hard to match. 

❌ However, if you are not a cycling enthusiast, or if you are looking for a more indoor-style workout experience, the Wahoo KICKR Bike may be an overkill, both in terms of price and functionality.

If the Wahoo KICKR Bike V2 isn't for you

With its sturdy build, stylish looks, and top-rated app content, the Peloton bike makes for a good alternative to the Wahoo KICKR Bike. It may lack its high customizability, but the flagship Peloton machine offers an equally engaging cycling experience at a more wallet-friendly price.

The Wattbike Atom may be another suitable alternative. It offers a realistic ride feel, challenging workouts, and a free app. This exercise bike is also much cheaper than the KICKR bike.

Wahoo KICKR Bike V2: How we tested

We tested the Wahoo KICKR Bike for over a month, looking at its design, durability, ease of use, features and value for money. We put the bike through a range of workouts, including gentle active recovery rides and high-intensity sprints, working through all gears and incline changes. We also assessed its connectivity with third-party devices, explored compatible apps, and gave our verdict on the overall functionality of the Wahoo KICKR Bike.

Anna Gora
Health Writer

Anna Gora is a health writer at Live Science, having previously worked across Coach, Fit&Well, T3, TechRadar and Tom's Guide. She is a certified personal trainer, nutritionist and health coach with nearly 10 years of professional experience. Anna holds a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, a Master’s degree in Nutrition, Physical Activity & Public Health from the University of Bristol, as well as various health coaching certificates. She is passionate about empowering people to live a healthy lifestyle and promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet.