Even as SoulCycle and Peloton demonstrated the appeal of indoor cycling through their rapid rises, "real" cyclists balked. To be fair, a stationary bike is quite different from a real one. But it's only the pros who can afford to relocate to California and Spain in search of fair year-round riding conditions — the rest of us have to layer up and ride through winter or pick up an indoor trainer and ride inside. Thankfully, recent innovations are making that experience as close to the real thing as can be, and Wahoo's updated Kickr Smart Trainer is the best example yet.
The issue with riding inside, even when it's on a machine that connects to your actual bike, is the monotony. There are no corners, no elevation changes, no headwinds, no beating sun or driving rain. But Wahoo has a history of solving these problems — it created a machine that lifts the front end of a bike to simulate the feeling of riding uphill and another that blows air in your face depending how hard you're pedaling.
Its latest invention comes with the recently updated version of its flagship trainer, the Kickr. The new model includes better power accuracy, but also some fancy new feet called Axis. The new base allows the whole system to tilt five degrees to each side. The idea is to simulate the natural sway of a bike beneath you as you pedal and shift your weight, creating a truer ride feel while spinning in place. Riders can adjust the Axis feet to three stiffness levels and hone in on what feels best, too.
Wahoo added this feature to its new Kickr trainers without increasing the machine's price, which is $1,200. And those who already own previous versions will soon be able to buy the feet as an add-on, too.