Currently, it seems like the virtual world is changing as fast as the real world. There’s been a lot of upheaval in the space recently as 2024 Cycling Esport World Championship was awarded to MyWhoosh, replacing Zwift. Perhaps related, just this week Zwift announced another round of layoffs which coincided with the resignation of Co-CEO Kurt Beidler.
Now, we get news that giants of the virtual world Zwift & Wahoo are joining forces. Well, maybe forced to join forces is a better description.
Why the Collaboration?
This seems to be a direct result of the Zwift/Wahoo lawsuit, which was amicably settled in 2023. Wahoo initially filed a lawsuit claiming that the Zwift Hub’s design violated several patents owned by Wahoo, specifically those associated with their KICKR trainers. Additionally, Wahoo sought a court order to prohibit Zwift from selling the Zwift Hub trainer, but the request for the injunction was rejected.
The lawsuit concluded with a statement from Zwift, reported by Zwift-Insider.com. “Zwift and Wahoo Fitness today confirm the amicable settlement of all pending litigation. The agreement will see both parties embark on a renewed approach to collaboration, with a view to growing the indoor fitness category and delivering continual, ongoing improvements to customers – through increased innovation, ease of use and better value.
“Wahoo has granted Zwift a limited license to use its patents. Zwift will continue to sell its Zwift Hub smart trainer in existing e-commerce markets – US, UK and Europe. In addition to selling Zwift Hub, Zwift will return to selling a selection of Wahoo smart trainers, bikes, and accessories on Zwift.com from mid-September.”
New KICKR CORE Zwift One Trainer
The Wahoo KICKR CORE Zwift One is a mouthful but a simple unit to comprehend. It’s the KICKR CORE with the addition of the Zwift Cog, and Zwift’s Click virtual shifting.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Zwift Cog or Click, you can check out our piece about it here.
The new Wahoo KICKR CORE Zwift One will deliver the same ‘near-universal’ compatibility with 8 to 12-speed bikes. The unit includes a preinstalled Zwift Cog and offers Virtual Shifting via the included Zwift Click controller. We’ve tested this, and it’s a fantastic update, especially if you have a house with many bikes and very few trainers – though the shifting ergonomics are much better with the optional Zwift Play controllers.
Are there any changes to the existing Wahoo KICKR CORE? No — The Wahoo KICKR CORE Zwift One will be sold alongside the non-Zwift/Wahoo KICKR CORE with a choice of 8/9/10/11/12 speed cassette. The unit also now has a one-year Zwift subscription via zwift.com and wahoofitness.com.
Current KICKR CORE Owners Get Virtual Shifting Update
Rolling out today and tomorrow, all existing owners of Wahoo KICKR CORE trainers can upgrade to virtual shifting using Zwift Play. We’re assuming this will be done through a firmware update on exisitng trainers, but the details are thin, so we’ve asked for more and will update this when we hear back.
Zwift has confirmed that the update will be available for all CORE users via firmware update by tomorrow afternoon. However, the only way to unlock the firmware upgrade will be to purchase the Zwift Play controllers (or update both the trainer and controllers if you already own both).
Existing CORE users will also have to simply leave the chain in one of the gears on the cassette, rather than use a single cog like the Zwift Hub. We’ve been told that the freehub is not the same for the Hub and the CORE, which means that the Zwift Cog kit is not compatible with the existing CORE trainers. We’re guessing there will be an upgrade kit for the trainers in the future, though.
How is the Performance of the Wahoo KICKR CORE Zwift One?
I was happy to check out the Wahoo KICKR CORE Zwift One. I’m a fan of both trainers, the Zwift Cog and Virtual Shifting.
Out of the box, the unit is nearly identical to the KICKR CORE. The Zwift colors or logo are nowhere to be seen on the trainer unit other than the instructional packaging. The package arrives with the Zwift Cog preinstalled, and the Click shifter tucked nicely in the packing.
Like the other Zwift products, the Wahoo KICKR CORE Zwift One has an easy setup sheet and a detailed setup guide. The other unit pieces (power cable, end caps, etc.) are pure Wahoo and are easy to set up.
How About Pairing?
I had zero issues pairing the unit with my Zwift account. The shifting was as clear as I recall with the Zwift One I reviewed last year.
The legs of the trainer are slightly different than the Zwift One and are of the Wahoo KICKR CORE build. They are sturdy to sprint against but have no side-to-side adjustment (you’ll need a KICKR or KICKR MOVE for that). As for the Cog and single rear ring setup, it’s as I remember from the Zwift One build. The rider shifts into a gear near the Cog to set up and then dials it in while on the bike.
There is a sweet spot with the slightest noise from the unit, and it’s easy to find. I’ve only used the Cog unit on my 9, 11 and12 speed bikes but have had no issues getting it to work. The 8-speed would be the same, but some jumps in shifting could be different with more ambient chain noise.
Performance-wise, the unit feels nearly identical to the Zwift One — solid. I liked both the Wahoo KICKR CORE and the Zwift One as stand-alone units, and this collaboration works.
Stay tuned for more updates and a long-term review.
Wahoo KICKR CORE Zwift One – Pricing and Availability
The Wahoo KICKR CORE Zwift One is now available in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union for $599/£549/€599, the price includes one year of Zwift membership. Australia and Canada will have to wait until March for availability.