Let's be honest, none of us took up cycling because of the possibility to train indoors! It was the sense of adventure, ability to explore and a variety of ways you can exercise with your friends and on your own. The Wahoo KICKR SNAP Smart Turbo Trainer promises to bring as much of that as possible into the warm and dry so that you can carry on your passion no matter what the weather.
You may have noticed Team Sky making some marginal gains by warming up and cooling down on the SNAP's bigger brother, the Wahoo KICKR POWER Turbo Trainer. This should provide you with your initial reassurance of the quality available here.
With its attractive price and easy set up, I was able to slot my bike straight in using the supplied quick release without having to remove my wheel. This makes setting up the turbo simple for new cyclists. However, the features list makes this the perfect choice for any cyclist, and we can all appreciate the lever that allows you to 'Snap' your bike straight into the frame.
Normally road riders are obsessed with saving weight. However, with the Wahoo KICKR SNAP its 17 kg mass, including a 4.7 kg flywheel, actually adds to the quality experience. The overall weight may be inconvenient when trying to move the trainer, but the only time I did this was to get it out to the shed. Once set up, I loved the stability that this provided, especially during out of the saddle efforts, which is something I have struggled with on other trainers being a larger than average cyclist!
The large flywheel is also added for a good reason, as it is this that allows the SNAP to deliver the surprisingly realistic road feel that I absolutely loved when using this trainer in conjunction with the superb Zwift platform. Of all the third party apps that this turbo trainer is compatible with, of which there are many, Zwift is definitely the one that got me most excited.
I was pleased to see that when I opened the box it came with all required items to set up and get riding. Too often have I been frustrated by trainers not coming with the appropriate replacement quick release skewer or front wheel riser block. Having said this, I opted to ride without the riser block as I felt it raised the front too much, putting unwanted pressure on a delicate area!
To start with I used the Wahoo App downloaded to my Android mobile phone. Once I had enabled Bluetooth and the ANT+ capabilities on my phone, I was able to quickly and simply connect the KICKR SNAP and my existing Garmin heart rate monitor. Thankfully, the app was straightforward to navigate, even with my technological incompetencies.
With everything plugged in and synced, I was ready to start. The app has several screens so that you can get the information you prefer, personally, heart rate and power have been my main metrics of choice. You do have other options though thanks to the Level, Resistance, Erg and Sim (Simulation) modes.
So far, the KICKR SNAP has performed perfectly. I have been most impressed with its performance during interval sessions. The ability to set a wattage using Erg mode and then have the turbo trainer automatically maintain resistance to keep me at the preselected number has removed inconsistency from my workouts. Additionally, the quiet operation has allowed me to exercise whilst being entertained by the BBC iPlayer on my Apple laptop without the need for additional speakers or headphones, something I was very surprised by.
Finally, as a firm believer in the motto that if it is not on Strava then it did not happen, I was delighted to find how simply I was able to sync my efforts with my existing Strava account for post ride analysis. You even get one month of Strava Premium included with your purchase.
One of the things I have loved the most about owning a KICKR SNAP is the time efficiency it gives my training. The time it would take me to get comparable benefits on the open road is significantly longer than aboard the SNAP. Furthermore, when you consider the time taken dressing in full winter kit before, and the rigours of performing a bike clean after a winter ride at the end, you are saving yourself time you could be riding.
Undeniably then, I am left very impressed. No longer do the winter months seem to stretch before me like a never-ending wet and cold tunnel with the smallest pin prick of light at the end. Instead, I am excited to see how much I can get from myself, especially as I am yet to fully test the interactive possibilities that this trainer opens up through Zwift and the like. Already though, I am convinced that exercising on the KICKR SNAP will remain a trusty companion throughout the summer when I am pushed for time or need to train in a very specific manner. Stay tuned for a follow up review later in the year.