Modern smart trainers work on ANT+ and Bluetooth to wirelessly communicate with software like Zwift, Sufferfest and TrainerRoad. Most of the time, the two-way connections are stable and error-free. But when they are not, especially when you are racing, the experience can be maddening. (If your power data is dropped for a couple of seconds, then so are you.) Enter a hardwired solution to stable trainer data — the Wahoo Kickr Direct Connect.
The $99 Direct Connect works only with the last generation 5 Wahoo Kickr, which has a dedicated port at its rear.
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“We’re extremely proud to be the only indoor riding brand to offer our customers a way to create a hard-wired connection between their Kickr and home network,” said Wahoo Kickr product manager Tyler Harris.
Here’s how it works: The Direct Connect plugs into the back of the new Kickr, and then you plug an ethernet cable (not provided) into either your internet router or your computer. For many computers, this will also require an adapter. Most routers have ethernet ports.
Right now, the new Wahoo accessory is only compatible with The Sufferfest (which Wahoo purchased last year and has retitled the SUF Training System), TrainerRoad, FullGaz, and the RGT Cycling platform.
Compatibility with Zwift, the 800-pound gorilla in the virtual cycling game, is still in the works.
Zwift recently added steering compatibility with another Wahoo product, the Kickr Bike smart bike. Previously, the only way to steer in Zwift was with the Elite Sterzo Smart Bluetooth steering plate, which works like a swiveling trainer wheel block. Now Kickr Bike owners can steer with the thumb buttons, which move their avatar over one ‘lane’ at a time inside the game.