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Last Updated: July 5, 2022
Get ready to let go of everything you think you know about indoor bikes! In this review, we are going to compare two powerhouse bikes designed for indoor training. But unlike other head-to-head comparisons, this one stands out because the bikes are so different! While the new Peloton Bike+ is arguably the leader in the indoor bike space, the Wahoo KickR Bike brings a new element to indoor cycling with an ultimately customizable experience. Let’s take a look at both!
Take a look at how the Peloton Bike+ compares to other bikes on our list of best exercise bikes.
Peloton vs. Wahoo KickR Bike Overall Design
Okay, so here’s the thing: these bikes are extremely different. Comparing them is a bit of a challenge because they are marketed to different demographics and provide different riding experiences.
Right off the bat, you can see the Wahoo KickR Bike doesn’t look like a standard indoor bike. The flywheel is positioned at the rear of the bike, there’s a lot of open space under the handlebars, and at first glance, it may not even really look like a bike! In reality, the KickR Bike provides the most realistic simulation of outdoor riding of any bike we’ve tested. This is because the KickR Bike was designed for outdoor road cyclists who want to train indoors in the off-season.
In the past, road cyclists spent thousands of dollars on tech-enhanced indoor trainers so they could use their outdoor bike and ride as if they were on the road. Why do this? Because it’s important to train on the equipment you plan to use. Road cyclists go to extreme lengths to find the perfect bike with exact geometry and dialed-in specs. Training on another bike is counterproductive. If the fit isn’t right, or the gearing system is different, or the saddle feels wrong – it can derail all those well-intentioned plans of indoor training. For years, Wahoo has set the industry standard for indoor “trainers” that will hold a road bike. However, a while ago, the very smart folks at Wahoo decided to venture into new territory and design not only a trainer – but a fully equipped, fully adjustable bike. The KickR Bike makes it so those really serious cyclists – who love cycling and talk about it all the time and have a bike for each day of the week and more medals than they have room for – can train indoors without hauling their road bike inside.
Knowing that, let’s take another look at the Wahoo KickR Bike and delve into why it’s unique and how it compares with the ever-popular Peloton Bike+.
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+: Frame Comparison
The Wahoo KickR Bike has more adjustment points than your friendly neighborhood chiropractor. While the Peloton Bike+ allows riders to raise and lower the seat, as well as lift or lower the handlebars, you can’t adjust the stepover height, crank length or setback position. Like other standard exercise bikes, the Peloton offers simple adjustment points that will allow the bike to support the height and inseam length of most riders. The Wahoo KickR Bike, however, has so many adjustment points, just setting it up is a process! Be prepared to know either your personal measurements or the metrics from your recent bike fit to plug into the Wahoo app. This will then spit-out the precise numbers needed for each adjustment point on the bike. This way, the frame can be tailored perfectly for each rider. For those who care, this is extremely important! For those who don’t, it’s a bit of a pain.
By comparison, the Peloton is simple to adjust. One or two quick tweaks and you’re ready to ride. The Peloton Bike+ gets kudos for being easy to use and a cinch to ride. You can raise/lower the handlebars as well as slide the seat forward/back and raise it up/down. While it doesn’t have as many adjustment points, the Peloton Bike+ will accommodate riders from 4’ to 6’5” – the same as the KickR Bike.
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+ Specs
The KickR Bike frame weighs 93 pounds, and will support up to 250 pounds. The Peloton Bike+ weighs 140 pounds, and will support 300 pounds. The KickR Bike is lighter because it is made of aluminum and steel, doesn’t have a screen, and the flywheel is only 13 pounds. The Bike+ has a 15lb screen, 30lb flywheel, and is constructed of corrosion-resistant steel.
Peloton Bike+ Frame
- Welded, powder-coated steel frame. Neodymium rare-earth magnet system with dynamic resistance control.
- Belt Drive: Poly V power transmission belt drive
- Bike weight: 140lb (125lb frame, 15lb console)
- Footprint: 59” L x 22” W x 59” H
- Rider Size: 4’11” to 6’5” tall
- Max Weight: 297lb user weight
Wahoo KickR Bike Frame
- Frame: Aluminum & steel
- Belt Drive: Quiet belt drive
- Bike weight: 93lb
- KickR Bike Frame: 48” long x 30” wide
- Standover Height: 37” to 47”
- User Heights: Fits individuals from 5’ tall to 6’4” tall
- Max Weight: 250lb user weight
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+ Pedals
Peloton Bike+ Delta LOOK pedals with an option for a clip-on pedal with cages.
- There are several advantages to using clipped pedals. They keep your feet firmly planted in the pedal which reduces the chances of pedal strikes (when your foot accidentally slips out of the pedal, which then spins around and whacks you in the shin).
- Cycling shoes allow the rider to pull up at the top of the pedal rotation which engages glutes and hamstrings for more balance musculature
- Delta LOOK cleats are wide and allow for more “float” in your ankle and knee joints which reduces strain on the joints for a natural feeling pedal stroke.
- Cycling shoes & cleats are not interchangeable. If you have “spin” shoes that you’ve used for an indoor cycling class – chances are they are SPD cleats. This is a different setup from the Delta LOOK cleats on the Peloton Bike+. If you plan to ride the Peloton regularly – we highly recommend investing in your own pair of Peloton cycling shoes.
Wahoo KickR Bike Plastic Pedals
- Be ye not dismayed at the simple, plastic pedals on the Wahoo KickR Bike. These pedals were not intended to be permanent. Most riders who opt for the KickR Bike are going to immediately replace these stock pedals with cycling pedals.
- If you don’t have cycling shoes or prefer to ride without cleats, you can opt for an upgraded hybrid pedal or flat pedal with a cage. The option to add your preferred pedals is part of the overall setup on the KickR Bike.
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+ Handlebars
The Peloton Bike+ has standard handlebars with an elongated horizontal bar.
- This allows riders to lean forward and rest your arms on the vertical grips along the sides.
- The Peloton handlebars are very comfortable, with thick tubing and plenty of places to rest your hands and arms. The handlebars cannot be swapped out.
The Wahoo KickR Bike has multiple position handlebars with drops, gears, and brakes.
- You’ll notice the KickR Bike handlebars look like regular bike bars with wrapped tape, a standard shape, drops, gears, and brakes.
- Again, this is to allow a fully-customizable gearing setup and cockpit arrangement.
- The handlebars can be swapped out for other road-bike-compatible bars if you are a triathlete and want aerobars, etc.
Peloton Bike+ and Wahoo KickR Bike flywheel and cadence
The flywheels on the original Peloton Bike (left) and the new Peloton Bike+ (right)
Peloton Bike+ 30lb Flywheel with magnetic resistance and Auto-Follow
The Peloton Bike+ has 100 resistance levels, magnetic resistance and AutoFollow. The fluid motion of the flywheel is impressive; I love the division of 100 levels. You can quickly assess where you are in relation to total resistance since 100 is an easy number to understand. Also, the new AutoFollow on the Peloton Bike+ is a game changer and makes it so you can ride hands-free without having a adjust the resistance. Additionally, Peloton has incorporated a range of resistance into the AutoFollow feature so you aren’t regulated to a single level but can set a range to stay within. I love this innovative thinking.
Wahoo KickR Bike 13lb Flywheel, FTP adaptable for customized resistance
The Wahoo KickR Bike has a 13 pound flywheel and digital resistance. In order to accommodate the strength of different riders, the KickR Bike features ‘4 Dimensional Power’ tests including a five second, one minute, five minute and 20 minute effort. These determine your Neuromuscular Power, Anaerobic Capacity, Maximal Aerobic Power and Functional Threshold Power – all of which allow for specifically targeted training intervals.
On the KickR Bike, the flywheel is light and the resistance is calibrated based on your cycling strength – so without needed metrics, it won’t feel right. I attempted to ride (thinking I had the bike all ready to go) without adding my FTP wattage in the app and the resistance was way too low. If you don’t have time to do all four tests before your first ride, start with your estimated FTP in watts and that will provide a good baseline.
*FTP or functional threshold power (in watts) reflects the wattage produced at your aerobic threshold – or about 75% of your max power. For stronger, more experienced riders and a high FTP, the KickR Bike will generate greater resistance within the lower gears so you still have a full range of gear options. Novice riders will find the baseline resistance easier so they can power through tough sections with the appropriate resistance.
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+ Gear Options
Peloton Bike+ has 100 resistance levels, but no specific gears
- Like most exercise bikes, ride intensity is based on speed and resistance. There aren’t any gears that allow you to downshift or adjust difficulty other than the magnetic resistance.
- This being said, the 100 resistance levels on the Peloton Bike+ will provide adequate resistance for nearly any strength rider. We’ve had our strongest mountain bikers test the Bike+ and found the maximum resistance to be very challenging.
Wahoo KickR Bike: Explain the gearing again?
- In order for the KickR Bike to function properly, you’ll need to delineate which gearing system to use. The bike will digitally adjust the gearing ratio (there are no actual gears) to match whatever specs you enter. This must be done in the Wahoo app so you’ll need to download it and sync it with your KickR Bike in order to set up your bike.
- Using the Wahoo app, you can adjust the front chainring and rear cassette system. Options include 1,2, or 3 chainrings and 9-12 rear cogs ranging from 10-26T to 11-32T.
- If you don’t know which gearing option to use, the default settings mimic the intensity of a regular bike.
- TBH, if you want to really dial-in your ride experience, adjusting the gear system is supremely important. If you don’t care, this step is kind of a pain and can be confusing to novice riders or those who just want to hop on and go.
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+ Incline/Decline and AutoFollow
Peloton Bike+ : AutoFollow Feature
AutoFollow is a new feature added to the Bike+ that is not available on the original Peloton Bike. This allows riders to “lock” the resistance into a range so you don’t have to manually adjust it as you ride. For those following a class, this is helpful since you can’t see and respond to the outdoor terrain. I love the AutoFollow element on the Bike+ and feel that it adds a lot of value.
Wahoo KickR Bike: Incline/Decline, Resistance & lock/unlock options
The KickR Bike will sync with any number of external apps. If those apps include calibrated resistance, the bike will automatically adjust based on the displayed terrain. This means when you begin to ride uphill, the bike will increase resistance to match the grade of the hill. This is extremely unusual for a bike without a touchscreen. Most bikes are integrated to respond to input from the app on the attached screen. But Wahoo has enabled the KickR Bike to sync with external apps and provide the same functionality. In my opinion, this is what makes the KickR Bike both unique and innovative. I wonder if in the future, other manufacturers will begin to incorporate this function on their indoor bikes as well. It makes so much more sense to have a fully automated bike that will sync with any Smart device – than to put touchscreens on everything. The KickR Bike allows riders to “lock” the settings to automatically adjust per the app, or you can “unlock” it for manual control.
The KickR Bike also inclines to 20% and declines to -15%. This enhances the nature of the ride even more! As with the automated resistance, the incline and decline will adjust to match your displayed terrain. The whole bike frame angles upward or downward, so it really feels like you are riding those hills.
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+ Screen
Peloton Bike+ has a gorgeous 24” touchscreen
The new Bike+ has a front-facing sound bar along the top that provides high-quality sound directed right at the rider. The new Bike+ screen also rotates 180 degrees to either side so you can view programs off the bike as well. This is handy when doing a yoga, bootcamp, or strength-based workout. Screen graphics and resolution are unparalleled in this space. Peloton excels at digital content and screen quality. No buffering delay. Excellent load times. Crisp screen and graphics. The Peloton screen will only display Peloton classes and content. You cannot access 3rd party apps on the Bike+.
Wahoo KickR Bike: Bring your own screen (BYOS)
The KickR Bike is essentially an ode to those who love various competitive cycling apps. The KickR Bike knows you have multiple love-interests, so it has been designed to deftly allow for all indulgences. The bike does not come with a screen – you get to select your own! The KickR Bike is Bluetooth enabled and will pair with any number of digital cycling apps that can be downloaded on a Smart TV, computer, or tablet. This means, you get to design your own “pain cave” complete with TV or computer screen, Headwind fan, and multiple water bottles stashed closeby. Not sure what a pain cave is? Just Google it for an instant array of set-up options. (In short, a pain cave is essentially a man-cave, only smaller, and designed to withstand 2000+ watts of cycling power. See also: Pit of Despair.)
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+ Digital Subscription Options
Integrated Peloton App on the Bike+
Peloton excels because the digital content sets the bar for the whole industry. Film production is professional. The division of volume control between instructor and music is useful. Music is impressive, and the overall user experience is what sells this bike. The only area where Peloton could kick up their game is in Outdoor Rides. Currently there are only four, but we understand they plan to add more.
Riders have access to the Leaderboard where they can compete with other riders. High-Fives and Kudos allow riders to interact with each other. You can even set up groups with friends to complete the same rides. However, you don’t ever see the other riders and none of the interactive features show cyclists outdoors out on the road. Peloton is designed to mimic a “spin class” experience, led by an engaging instructor with other class participants.
Varied training apps sync with the Wahoo KickR Bike
As mentioned above, the KickR Bike does not include a screen and is designed to allow cyclists to use whatever 3rd party app they prefer for training. What is impressive about the KickR Bike is it will actually sync with external apps so the bike adjusts the resistance based on the terrain (it gets harder when you ride up a hill) and includes automated incline and decline as well!
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+: Price
- The Peloton Bike+ is currently listed at $2495 which includes shipping and assembly – but not cycling shoes or a mat.
- The Wahoo KickR Bike is listed at $3499 which does not include shipping, assembly, or cycling pedals.
Both of these bikes are high-end options. The Peloton will appeal to those who love indoor cycling classes and the KickR Bike Bike will appeal to road cyclists looking for the ultimate indoor trainer. The Wahoo KickR Bike is clearly more expensive, but in our opinion you’re getting more options for that investment. Neither bike is unreasonably priced based on the included features. We understand Peloton may remove the free shipping on their Bike+ in the future, so that’s something to consider. Shipping generally adds $200-$250.
Wahoo KickR Bike vs. Peloton Bike+: Summary
Both bikes offer a customizable riding experience. However, they will appeal to different riders depending on certain preferences.
- For ultimate adjustability and dialed in specs & gearing, the Wahoo KickR Bike comes out on top. Cyclists will love and appreciate all the customizations available on the KickR Bike.
- The integrated resistance that will sync with external apps is impressive. Riders on the KickR Bike can “lock” the resistance to match the terrain, or unlock it for manual control.
- Incline and decline on the KickR Bike add another element of realism to the ride and take your ride experience up a notch!
- The Peloton is easy to set up and easy to use. Some of the elements of the KickR Bike make it a bit of a pain when you first get started. I had to play around with it for a bit to get the resistance and gearing just right. With the Peloton, you just jump on and go! We give it props for ease and convenience.
- While it doesn’t offer as many adjustment options, the Peloton Bike+ still provides enough leg span for riders from 5’ – 6’5” and up to 300lbs. Pretty much any rider will fit comfortably on the Bike+.
Final Thoughts: Wahoo vs Peloton
We are impressed with both the Peloton Bike+ and the new Wahoo KickR Bike Bike! Depending on your riding experience and how you plan to train, either one is a great option for dedicated riders!