Equipment Questions

Currently, I am training exclusively indoor on a Wahoo KICKR Core. I am contemplating some additional items to improve my training experience. The items include:

Power Meter
Cycling Shoes and Pedals

The current setup utilizes the power meter within the KICKR Core and pedals with toe cages and tennis shoes.

I was wondering how much these items influence performance.

@dmgadry61 Shoes and clipless pedals are a good idea as they let you push and pull through the pedal cycle. If you are just riding with the Kickr the power meter would be less useful in my opinion. Also be sure to get a fan if you don’t already have one.

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+1 on the fan and the clipless pedals.
A floor mat under the Kickr is always useful.

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Items to buy in order:

A beast of a fan (the Headwind is great but very expensive. I have an all metal 20 inch floor fan that moves a lot of air).
Clipless pedals. Try out the various types if your bike shop will let you. Some people swear by a specific system, others swear at it.
Power meter. The KICKR has a great power detection system imbedded and if all you are using it the trainer, you really don’t need one. However, if you move outside, you would benefit from it.

One last thing: Heart Rate Monitor. This will keep you ‘sane’…

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Agreed on the clipless pedals and matching shoes. The shoes will be much stiffer than your tennis shoes, giving you much better power transfer to the pedal. I’d recommend the road style pedals (e.g., Shimano SPD-SL, Look Keo, Wahoo Speedplay) as these give a better interface between shoe and pedal, and you won’t be needing to walk around much in the shoes. But MTB pedals and shoes will work just fine too.

And also agreed on the heart rate monitor. It’s an important additional piece of data for your training.

I’d just stick with the power meter in the KICKR. I don’t think getting a power meter on your bike will make any difference to your indoor training experience or performance. If you decide later that you want power when riding outside, then consider getting it, but I don’t think it’s necessary just for indoor training.

The other item I like in my trainer setup is a good set of speakers so that I’m not relying on the tiny speakers in either a laptop or phone. The soundtracks are great, so I like to be able to hear them properly.

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Bike sweat thong too. Holy Water eats bikes! I wipe mine down after every ride and I have a sweat thong and use a sweat towel or two as well. Try to protect that headset.

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As others have said, decent pedals and shoes are a definite yes.

The power meter in the Core is absolutely solid, though, so you don’t need separate power meters unless it’s to go on your outdoor bike (and you only really need that if you intend to train or race outdoors (though it’s fun to have))

My one thing depending on others experience of the core would be a cadence sensor. My flux s doesn’t pick up cadence over 120rpm, so I use a separate sensor. The core may be better?

Buying a PM for indoor isn’t good value. I have one for outdoor, but more for TT /Tri pacing, rather than training

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Yes, this. A cadence sensor separately is a good idea and relatively cheap.

Thanks to everyone for their responses.

I’ll attempt to summarize my response to all the suggestions.

  1. Heart Rate Monitor - I left it out, but I do utilize one. I actually have 2 and found the Garmin to be a little more consistent than the Wahoo TICKR.

  2. Fan - Is this more a issue of ventilation or simulating outdoor conditions? I have looked at Wahoo Headwind, but wondered about the cost vs benefit. Any thoughts on the KICKR Climb?

  3. Power Meter - I understand the KICKR Core power meter should be sufficient as long as rides remain indoors. After reading the responses, I think my issue may be more one related to cadence. Going from 130 rpm to 90 rpm sometimes the KICKR drops out. Any suggestions on cadence sensors? When I was riding outside, I had the Bontrager on the bike. I had challenges getting it to pickup consistently and eventually the rubber on it frayed and fell off.

My goal is to ride outside again so I’ll take up the power meter when that time comes.

  1. Shoes/Pedals - This sound like a go. In my locale, I am a little limited to sources. From what I understand, I probably need to try on the different shoes as different brands have different cuts.

  2. Another question on gear is related to saddle soreness. On Sunday, I rode my first session significantly over an hour. Interested in thoughts about riding shorts, bibs and possibly a different saddle.

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Hi,

For your number 5? how do you ride now? I hope your are not using normal shorts, if you are, going for some good bib shorts with a chamois in them will really be a big improvement.

My personal thought on this, is that you probably shouldn’t buy the cheapest. I have tried a couple of different brands bibshort, and all but one brand ever gets used, and the rest was just a waste of money as they are collecting dust after 1 or 2 rides.

Do you mind sharing the brand you prefer?

It’s about ventilation. I don’t sweat that much and so thought, when I started indoor training, I could do without a fan. When I added a fan my performance improved significantly simply from a temperature management perspective.
As for the Climb, I have one and I like it, it simulates outdoors better in terms of changing the muscle engagement. You have to decide how much it’s worth to you, though. I’m a Sufferfest only user, I can imagine it’s actually “better” in other platforms that are more game like, but Sufferfest are still adding it into more and more of their workouts and it does change things up.

This is just a function of ERG mode and having a separate power source wouldn’t make much difference, when you back off the revs the Kickr (or any trainer) needs to up the resistance to bring it back in line because wattage is essentially , lower resistance at higher rpm provides the same watts as higher resistance at lower rpm, as you suddenly drop from high rpm to something notably lower the device needs a second or two to figure out the resistance again.

One thing to consider here is that if you plan to get a power meter for outdoor use in future you may want pedal based, in which case you likely want to think about getting shoes that would be compatible with your chosen cleat system and maybe not over-spending on the pedals if you’re going to replace them too.
Pedals and shoes are a huge upgrade, but consider them as part of the big picture.

If you’re not using bib shorts then you really should do. I actually disagree with ivo, but then it’s a personal thing, as I use a brand called Didoo (you can get them on eBay or Amazon) for indoor training but wouldn’t use them outside that much. The padding is more than good enough and the fit is okay, perfect for the mostly static positions indoors, the kit I use outdoor is more expensive but it’s more for look than function. Didoo stuff has, for me, been absolutely fine indoors.

Where it comes to a saddle, you need to experiment. Google how to measure your sit-bones for a start and then you need to think about how you sit on the bike as the type of saddle you want if you tend to be in a racing, flat back position is going to be different to if you ride like you’re on a spin bike.
Also, you need to understand the interaction between padding on a saddle and bib-shorts. More padding isn’t always more comfort, the wrong padding can allow the saddle to create pressure points on your soft tissues. I actually use a solid carbon saddle indoors and it’s amazingly comfortable so long as you have bibs on, I even used it for my Knighthood, so ten-plus hours…

Completely agree on clipless. I finally got clipless pedals/shoes about a year ago and I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. I was scared of falling when I ride outside, which I have and you will, but you fall when you’re not moving so it’s not a big deal :wink: and the clipless has made a huge difference, good luck!

A tip for your first forays outside on clipless pedals. Unclip in advance, while coasting to a stop. That gives you time to get your foot out.

In addition to this, I’ve personally always found that having the cleat retention tighter actually helps me get out faster because the exit is then so positive, where really loose retention can allow the cleat to release but “stick”

The Kickr’s direct reporting cadence is based on having pressure on the pedals. So if you ever drop from a high power to a lower power, or if your pedaling varies, your Kickr will have some cadence fluctuations. My recommendation is to get a separate Cadence sensor and stick it on your crank arm. This is especially relevant when coming to the end of an high MAP/AC/NM interval and dropping to recovery. It can take a number of seconds for the flywheel to slow down enough that your pedaling will actually put pressure on it, again. During that time you will have 0 cadence showing from your Kickr even tho you may still be flying along as 90+ rpms (or not). A Cadence sensor is only like $30 and will register your cadence regardless without the flywheel.

And before you ride outside, I’d suggest sitting on the bike, holding onto something (a wall or fence or doorway), and practicing getting in and out of the pedals a few times.

It eventually becomes second nature, but pretty much all of us have had at least one embarassing fall when new to clipless pedals where we’ve forgotten to unclip before coming to a stop.

Any recommendations? I‘ve had the Bontrager Duo Speed. It was mounted on the crank and utilized a magnet to read the sensor mounted on the frame. Due to the proximity of rubber band containing the magnet to the frame, it eventually frayed and fell off. Also, I had occasional difficulty getting it to pick up.

I have a Wahoo cadence sensor. Doesn’t require magnets. Supports both BT and Ant+ connections. I bought it in a combo pack with a speed sensor back before I started using SUF. If you’re on a direct drive trainer, tho, the speed sensor is useless, so you can just buy it by itself. I see them on Amazon for $35 US.