Wahoo has today announced a new Kickr Direct Connect accessory, to create a wired connection between a “modern indoor ride simulator” and a user’s home network.
In the modern tech world, Bluetooth and Wifi connections are generally considered preferable to wires – but for anyone who has experienced mid-race drop outs when racing indoors, Wahoo’s new accessory may represent an extra cable worth having.
This could banish the problem of losing connection whilst riding using an indoor training platform – which is particularly problematic during races – and has a similar effect to a rider having a mechanical and requiring a bike swap during an outdoor race: the effect of drafting is lost and the rider is left to chase back on. This drop out effect was something we witnessed at the virtual races Zwift held at the Yorkshire World Championships.
At the time of release, the connection was said to be compatible with Wahoo’s Suf Training System (formerly The Sufferfest), TrainerRoad, FullGaz and RGT Cycling. Wahoo said that other platforms – including Zwift – are expected to “become compatible in the coming months.”
To create the connection, users of a Wahoo trainer will need to connect an ethernet cable to either their personal computer or home network router, and plug the other end into their Kickr Direct Connect, which then plugs into a port on Kickr. The Kickr Direct Connect costs £79.99.
Initially, the Kickr Direct Connect is compatible only with the newest generation of Kickr – V5.
Commenting on the launch, Wahoo Kickr Product Manager Tyler Harris said: “We’re extremely proud to be the only indoor riding brand to offer our customers a way to hard-wire Kickr into their home network. While a wireless connection works very well for most riders, those who have connectivity challenges, or those who simply cannot risk a dropout during an important race or workout will be able to ride with increased confidence and reliability by using Kickr Direct Connect.”
The launch comes soon after the announcement of steering functionality for the Kickr Bike. Riders can now use the thumb buttons, on the inside of the brake lever hoods, to utilise steering within Zwift. The left button steers to the left, and the right to the right. The bottom auxiliary button has the rider do a U-Turn.
Harris said: “When we designed Kickr Bike, we intentionally built in features we knew wouldn’t be usable at launch, but which would be huge assets to our riders once the software platforms caught up to our hardware. Now that Zwift is ready to roll out steering to more users, we’re excited that Kickr Bike will give our riders a seamless way to enjoy Zwifting, and to immerse themselves even more fully in virtual rides and races.”