Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

TECH NEWS

Wahoo releases single-sprocket Kickr Core Zwift One smart trainer and Zwift discontinues its Hub One

The Wahoo Kickr Core with Zwift's virtual shifting and single cog tech is very very similar to Zwift's own trainer. While the latter still exists...

At the end of last year, Zwift released the Hub One smart trainer featuring a 'Zwift Cog' single sprocket that replaces a standard cassette, with virtual shifting via a wireless shifter that mounts to your handlebar. Now, in a new collaboration with Wahoo, Zwift brings virtual shifting to the Wahoo Kickr Core, introducing the Wahoo Kickr Core Zwift One. It looks like the Zwift Hub One, it works like the Zwift Hub One... but at the same time Zwift has quietly announced that the Hub One is discontinued. We've got our hands on one already, so keep reading to find out our first ride impressions after we run you through the spiel. 

2024 Wahoo KICKR Core Zwift One - cog.jpg

The Wahoo Kickr Core Smart Trainer is the cheapest direct-drive turbo trainer in the Wahoo range. It was released in 2018, but it has undergone its first hardware change with this latest update. 

A few months ago, we reviewed the Zwift Hub One turbo trainer that does away with your drivetrain shifting and instead, gives you a wide range of virtual gears. Now, this virtual shifting technology has been brought to Wahoo's Kickr Core, releasing the Wahoo Kickr Core Zwift One smart trainer. It seems the once-warring cycling tech giants have now fully put any ill-feeling to one side... 

The Wahoo Kickr Core Zwift One uses the same pre-installed single sprocket design, with the same Zwift Click shifter. Rather than your chain moving across a cassette, it always runs on the Zwift Cog and you can still shift, but now virtually. The resistance is altered by the Hub One internally when you hit the wireless Zwift Click shifter mounted to your handlebar. 

2024 Wahoo KICKR Core Zwift One - click on bars.jpg

> Indoor cycling — a complete guide

The Zwift Cog allows the trainer to work with most 8-12 speed bikes, Zwift says, with access to a total of 24 virtual gears. 

Wahoo Kickr Core Zwift One is available now and the standard Wahoo Kickr Core, which comes with a choice of 8-speed to 12-speed cassettes, remains in the range. Each is priced at £549 and includes a year's Zwift membership. 

If you already have a Wahoo Kickr Core, you can now upgrade to virtual shifting using Zwift Play which costs £99.

Initial impressions

2024 Wahoo KICKR Core Zwift One - in shed.jpg

> The benefits of indoor cycling and how it can deliver effective, efficient fitness results

We’ve had the Wahoo Kickr Core Zwift One in for review here at road.cc, and here's what Dave has had to say about it so far: 

"A few months ago I wrote a review of the Zwift Hub One which was pretty positive, although not as positive as the review for the geared version of the same trainer, which has now been discontinued.

Physically the Wahoo Kickr Core Zwift One is a very similar unit, promising similar performance. And so, unsurprisingly, it's good. The ride feel is nice, it's quiet and uncomplicated, it's super easy to fit nearly any bike to it, and it promises to wear your chain a bit less. If I was blindfolded I dare say I'd not be able to tell the difference between the two. They're the same price as well.

2024 Wahoo KICKR Core Zwift One - flywheel.jpg

Should you buy one?

Well, if you're committed to training indoors one of the big benefits of this system is that it'll work with any bike and the experience will be more or less the same. So you don't need to subject your posh bike's headset to a slow death by a thousand drips of sweat: you can stick any old gate on the single-speed Kickr and so long as it fits you properly and the chain isn't bent the shifting experience will be comparable. 

That's the benefit to you, but the more this trend continues the more I think of press-fit bottom brackets. That was an innovation born of the cycling industry trying to make life easier for itself, not from any rider benefit, and one that's slowly being ushered out the door as bike brands move back to threaded BBs which are better in almost every way.

The single cog on trainers like this is a boon for trainer manufacturers who just have to stock one size that fits all. Perfect, and it works pretty well too. Pretty well, though. Not as well as a nice bike running a well-adjusted drivetrain across a proper cassette. Not nearly that well. If you're already doing it that way: don't change.

2024 Wahoo KICKR Core Zwift One - full with zwift wrap.jpg

> Best exercise bikes and smart bikes 2024

RIP Zwift Hub One

So what's going on with the Zwift Hub One then? Well, this new Wahoo trainer has been released on the same day that Zwift announced quietly on its site that the Hub One is discontinued. You can still buy one, but they're not making any more. What's the reason for this? It can only be money, really: Zwift has been dialling back its hardware offering for a while now. The real-life Tron bike never made it to production, and the move from the Classic Hub one to the singlespeed version was touted as a user benefit but could also be read as a cost-saving measure, dialling back the legwork that goes into shipping each trainer by removing all the cassette options. With Wahoo now the hardware manufacturer, Zwift doesn't have much of a hardware line to maintain: just the Play controllers, really.

It's not been an easy two years for Zwift, with big redundancies in May 2022 (when they canned the Tron bike), March 2023 and this week. Most players in the indoor training sphere have suffered since the end of the pandemic when we were all allowed to go outside again, and Zwift isn't immune to that. Maybe the company is just trying to be more realistic about how big the indoor cycling sphere can grow. It doesn't feel like Zwift is in any immediate danger, but life comes at you fast; given the option of a trainer that'll work with any platform, and a trainer that's tied to one, I think I know what I'd be spending my money on."

2024 Wahoo KICKR Core Zwift One - full reverse.jpg

Check back soon for an upcoming video and feature comparing the Zwift Hub One, the new Kickr Core Zwift One, and the Van Rysel D500 turbo trainers. 

For more information, go to the Zwift or Wahoo website. 

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

Add new comment

11 comments

Avatar
TheAdebo | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

So the moral of the story is: never buy Zwift hardware because their commitment to long term customer satisfaction and support is two thirds of not very much?

Avatar
mark1a | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

I'm starting to think that Tacx being acquired by Garmin was a good thing now, I wasn't sure at first.

Avatar
Alessandro | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

I've been slowly accumulating components from eBay over the past few weeks to resurrect an old bike to put on the Zwift Hub so am quite glad that some items have been delayed with this news! One thing that I'm still very unclear on is whether the Wahoo version will work outside of Zwift? That was the only thing that was putting me off the Zwift Hub, especially in light of the news yesterday. If Zwift goes pop then would the Wahoo version still work on another platform? 

Avatar
dave atkinson replied to Alessandro | 3 weeks ago
1 like

short answer is no: the zwift click shifter communicates with the game which tells the trainer to change resistance. no zwift, no gear changes. if zwift went pop then other platforms could probably reverse engineer the click and make it work though

Avatar
paulrattew | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

If you don't use zwift, but only use the turbo in erg mode (e.g. with something like trainerroad), this would seem to be a good idea. Especially if you have multiple bikes with different gears that you might, for whatever reason, like to switch between on the turbo. I don't use zwift, but I do have both 11 and 12 speed bikes that I would like to be able to use on the turbo without having to worry that the different gearing is going to cause issues.

That said, for this situation, there would be no need for the virtual gearing, so there are probably much simpler solutions possible

Avatar
OnYerBike replied to paulrattew | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Wheel-on trainers or smart rollers would be a "simpler" solution for using bikes with differing gears. However, for any direct-drive trainer, I can't think of a "simpler" solution than something akin to the "Zwift Cog".

You could presumably make your own with a bunch of cassette spacers and an appropriate sprocket (widely available as a single speed conversion kit), which could be used with any direct drive trainer rather than exclusively with Zwift/Wahoo. But I'm not sure I'd describe that solution as "simpler" - it's just replicating the approach without the proprietary hardware. 

Avatar
espressodan | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Given the 'Wahoo suing Zwift' issue, this is an interesting development!

Some mutually assured destruction gambit!

Avatar
TheAdebo replied to espressodan | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Not really. The settlement of the case was predicated on Zwift and Wahoo working together moving forward. I pseudo-euphemism for Zwift giving Wahoo insider access to Zwift tech in return for not suing them into oblivion.

Avatar
sizbut replied to TheAdebo | 2 weeks ago
1 like

Err, not quite. When the judge agreed there was enough questions to be answered for the case to go to trial, they made it clear that included concerns around the validity of Wahoo's patents. See https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2023/04/injunction-request-against.html.

So Wahoo, a company that was in deep financial difficulties at the time, found itself facing a potentially long and expensive court case it had started but might actually lose. 

Fortunately, a month after the judge's decision, Wahoo's original founder brought back the company from the banks (who had taken over when the private equity firms that had loaded it with debt couldn't cover the debt payments - does it sound like a real mess yet). 

Whilst none of us were in the room, I think we can guess that was the moment calls began between Zwift and Wahoo boses around the theme of "you do the software, we'll do the hardware" and both stop paying silly money to lawyers.

Avatar
Simon E | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

"if you can buy a Zwift Hub One instead, I'd do that."

Are you sure? DCR has just put up a post stating that, as well as laying off 100+ staff, the Zwift Hub series has been discontinued.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2024/02/resigns-series-discontinued.html

Reading further down, it also says "they plan to provide firmware updates for the units for two years, including new feature updates."

Only 2 years! How much longer might it be before it is incompatible with the app and you have to toss it out? (presuming Zwift is still in business then)

Avatar
dave atkinson replied to Simon E | 3 weeks ago
1 like

life comes at you fast, eh  1

Latest Comments