Wahoo Starts Shipping KICKR 2020 Direct Connect Cable: Hands-on Details – DC Rainmaker8 min read


Last summer when Wahoo announced the KICKR V5/2020, among the new features was a brand-new port on the side of the fitness instructor that would allow you to plug it into your home (or office) network, as a way to bypass any wireless connection concerns you may have. While many of us use wireless connections simply great, a few of us arent as fortunate– especially if living in a congested RF space like a large apartment structure. Similarly, this could be appealing for specific esports occasions also.
Anyhow, the KICKR V5/2020 didnt really have an ethernet port on the side, however rather something akin to a telephone port. That would in turn require you to buy an adapter (aka, a dongle), and plug it in. Then you d plug the cable television into that. After which, apps would be updated to see this new connectivity type (in addition to the usual ANT+ & & Bluetooth Smart connections).
Long story short– as of this morning you can now purchase that $99 dongle.
Now I had actually prepared for a full in-depth review to be released today … but … umm … things have not been going smoothly. In this rare circumstance I do not think its a representation of the item per se, but rather, the timing. Merely put– the 3rd party apps arent all prepared yet and the last firmware just showed up in the last number of days for them to make it all set. It d likely be a different story if this were a week from now. As of this extremely second when the embargo lifts, the apps are a motley however trying team that looks like they simply completed a tough night out at the bars. All the bars … all the beverages … all night.
Ill circle back next week or so with the final review and all the app gamers. That evaluation will look vaguely like this post but with a lot more information on a few of the subtleties, and how each app has executed it. It has probably the best introduction to a video Ive ever shot.

The Quick Details:

Above is the box youll receive the Direct Connect cable in, its roughly akin to every other Wahoo Fitness box. Inside youll discover the dongle and a quick release extension cable television for said dongle.

The extension cable is actually there in case you journey over the ethernet cable, given that itll dethatch easily instead of ripping apart your dongle or KICKR port. It works the exact same method as their power cable. If there were one redeemable element for not having a native ethernet port, the quick-release safety cable television would be it.

In any event, youll take the fast release cable, and the dongle, and stick all the pieces together attached to your KICKR V5/2020.

Oh, and after that stick an Ethernet cable into it:

And heres it on TrainerRoad, showing as DIRCON– TrainerRoad says that in the production variation this will show a various icon and wording:.

With that, thats all there is to it. The objective for Wahoo (and the apps I spoke with), is that its totally transparent to you. You simply plug the cable into your network, and after that your device/app discovers the trainer and youre done.
And, if you ask me a week or 2 from now– Im sure itll work exactly like that. Hence, Ill circle back in another week or 2 once these apps have had a few minutes to make it all work, and dive into more of the nuanced details (like side by side comparisons of the data streams).

After that, you just ride as regular. It doesnt transfer information any faster or slower, or more often.

And on The Sufferfest, note the broom icon once again:.

And over on FulGaz (on Apple TV) its similar too– youll see the Network alternative listed there for each connection.

If you were to break open the Wahoo Fitness app (the one where you can match sensing units and such), youll see the KICKR status of the Direct Connect connection (revealed listed below KICKR CLIMB). Itll reveal disconnected for the TCP connection status when an app isnt actively using it. Good, now, well select the one app that works for me today: RGT. The goal for Wahoo (and the apps I talked to), is that its entirely transparent to you. As I said earlier, Ill circle back with the full app testing outcomes (including which Ive got some other testing underway that is either amusing or questionable … probably both), once I get the last of the non-Zwift apps suitable.

After that, plug the other end of the ethernet cable into your router/hub/switch (technically you can plug it directly into the ethernet port of a computer system if you desired to):.

” As of today, Wahoos SUF Training System, TrainerRoad, FulGaz, and RGT Cycling are compatible. Other platforms are anticipated to end up being suitable in the coming months, including Zwift.”.

Formally, heres the actual real-world status of all the apps since the moment this goes live:.
FulGaz: In beta develops, however not totally working yet in my testingRGT: Fully functional in public production versionThe Sufferfest: Supposed to be operating in production, but not for me or othersTrainerRoad: In certain beta constructs, but not completely working yet in my testing. Targeting early February for release.Zwift: According to Zwifts product & & PR group, actual official target is “later on this year”.
I have not examined with all the other fitness instructor apps out there yet, but will add them to the list if they shoot over their ETAs.
And because Zwift is obviously the elephant in the room here (and arguably the platform that requires it the most), heres the full quote from Zwift on that one, based upon my concern on when exactly itll work with Zwift:.

” The preliminary work has actually started and Zwift will offer support to the Wahoo Direct Connect Adaptor across all platforms when all QA testing has been finished later on this year.

Got all that? Good, now, well select the one app that works for me today: RGT. For that, youll use your mobile companion app to look for gadgets on the network. A few seconds later on youll see the Wahoo KICKR trainer identify as both Direct Connect trainer along with a Bluetooth Trainer (this was on iOS). It has a special icon that appears like a broom. I understand … I understand … its supposed to appear like a Wahoo dongle.

Remember, the objective here is getting the KICKR information stream onto your home network. The app device that youre utilizing might be wired (like a computer) or cordless (like a phone).
If you were to split open the Wahoo Fitness app (the one where you can match sensors and such), youll see the KICKR status of the Direct Connect connection (shown listed below KICKR CLIMB). Itll show detached for the TCP connection status when an app isnt actively utilizing it. It enables one concurrent app via ethernet at a time
Now, crack open our preferred fitness instructor app of choice to get pairing. Formally, Wahoo says the following in their press release today:.

As I said previously, Ill circle back with the complete app testing outcomes (consisting of which Ive got some other testing underway that is either humorous or questionable … most likely both), when I get the last of the non-Zwift apps suitable. Offered Zwift wont be here till later on this year, Im not going to wait on them. Some random day in 2021 when they do release an upgrade to make it suitable, then Ill circle back and update this post with how it works in Zwift.
Meaning, I d be blown away surprised (and dissatisfied) if the next KICKR or KICKR Bike just doesnt have this developed internally to it. The reason this wasnt in the KICKR V5/2020 natively was simply the timing complexities. And while I do not know when Wahoo plans to release a brand-new KICKR, they traditionally are quite darn constant for the end of every August (except the year they released a clever bike rather).
Obviously, people will have KICKR V5 trainers for years, and boatloads of them have been sold in the last 6-7 months. The dongle will usually be bought for years by those individuals.
Now– while the dongle itself will probably peak-out, I d expect the underlying Direct Connect technology to end up being a basic choice on Wahoo trainers/bikes– and most likely basic throughout the market (in some way). Esports requirements will likely drive a few of that, even if the function is seldom utilized by many regular consumers. Hence even if the adapter hardware may be a little a flame, the advancement effort that entered into it wont be a waste– itll likely be integrated into future Wahoo items natively.
In any case, more in my final evaluation.
With that– thanks for checking out!

Tough deadline in-game is not in sight at this moment, however well interact it as quickly as we get further along in the screening procedure.”.

In this case, the Direct Connect connection will take care of power and cadence, along with trainer control. However, the ANT+ & & Bluetooth connections are still readily available for you to connect to, such as with a watch or bike computer. On the KICKR itself, youll see both lights on the back illuminate and stay steady-on, suggesting a Direct Connect connection:.

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