Kickr (gen 1) low power

I have been using my kickr (gen 1) for several years on various software (trainer road now for about 13 months). I have used the trainer power (no power match) in ERG mode the whole time without issue. Yesterday, I did Deerhorn and felt like I was doing it really easy despite the reported watts on TR hitting target. I hooked up the Garmin to get a stages power readout and, as I suspected, the kickr was tracking at about 30 to 40 watts below the stages read out. I did a spindown, reset the app, reconnected the kickr after powering down etc. Has anyone had this experience and know of a way to fix it?

I have a similar issue. Workouts using a kickr gen 1 without powermatch is super easy. i estimate about 20 watts below my garmin vector 2’s. I dont think theres a way to fix it. I Just turn on powermatch with my power meter so that its reflective of the outside power.

you could use the workout “trainerpowercurvemeasurement” and set your ftp to 100 and compare your kickr to the powermeter and adjust accordingly (either bumping up your ftp or adjusting the powermatch watts manually). Or you can ramp test using the kickr only and just use that.

I didnt know it was under reading until halfway through my build phase. which ever power meter you use, just make sure not to change it after doing your ramp test.

Interesting tho, that this problem just occurred overnight - was working fine for years, and then yesterday - boom. I know I could powermatch, and that’s fine, but it’s just bugging me that something works well on day and then doesn’t the next. I guess, as you say, I could just fudge a higher FTP by doing the ramp with the under-reading kickr, but then, I suppose I am not sure it won’t just correct itself, or slip further etc…knowing my luck LOL

Ah, I see. Mine was under-reading since I got it (second hand kickr).

If I’m not mistaken, the sensor in the top cap measures the power. you could do a routine maintenance and see if that helps. Cleaning the optical sensor and tightening the belt may or may not help the issue.

Good luck.

I also still have my Kickr Gen 1 and been having pretty poor ‘over’ reading power from anywhere between 10-40 watts. What also happens is that the warmer and further into the interval it gets, the further away the power figures drift and thus making Threshold workouts almost undoable for me towards the last 3rd. For the last year though, I’ve been using PowerMatch with my Assioma Duo’s which works pretty well although early on in a workout, it can lag around 20-30secs until it gets to the required wattage. This is likely due to large wattage difference and the 10 second checks for Powermatch. I can live with this though.


If I remember correctly, (I’ve had original, 2016, and 2017 KICKRs), the original “gen 1” used a strain gauge for power measurement but that was abandoned in later models. In 2015 they offered a firmware update for the “gen 1” that allowed the user to disable the strain gauge and use the brake force measurement like all of the following models. Have you installed that firmware update and disabled the strain gauge? I’m wondering if your strain gauge died a little which caused the overnight difference in measurement.

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Thanks mate! That’s some interesting info. I’ll have to look into the firmware and see what can be done to disable the strain gauge and enable brake power reading. Cheers

Once you’ve updated the firmware, follow the instructions here to perform an advanced spin down.

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And if you never rented the $100 calibration kit and somehow found a compatible version of the software to do the calibration your gen 1 will be off. I struggled with mine as it read 200 W when it was actually 280W.

Dumb question - my kicker app says the firmware is up to date at version 1.5.68. Does this mean I’ve definitely already installed the FW that switches to the brake power measurement?

Is it possible that you previously had your Kickr setup (in the wahoo app) to use the stages PM to control erg mode, and somehow that got switched off? I also have a gen 1 kickr, and use my quarq to control erg mode power. You switch it on in the wahoo app, and it continues to work that way even if you never open the Wahoo app again. It works pretty well when its working (I would say better than TR powermatch) but sometimes on my setup it seems to randomly switch out of that mode for no apparent reason.

It means you have the capability to use braking for power measurement, not that you are. If I remember correctly, to switch to using brake power for power measurement, you need to do the advanced spin down to calibrate the braking force. Without this calibration, your Kickr cannot know the braking force - power curve.

So my suggestion is to give the advanced spin-down a try, and see if that solves your problem. If not, next step is to give Wahoo support a try.

Good luck

Great - I’ll do the advanced spin down. Once this is done, is the kicker automatically using the brake, or do I have to switch it over? Appreciate all the advice!!

The advanced spin down only works for the brake power measurement, so this will flip your Kickr over to the brake power measuring, if you aren’t already.

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Thanks for all the advice folks. I did the advanced spin down. The first workout started promisingly, but as the workout developed, my stages was showing 15-20 watts below the kickr/TR readings. I switched to power match. Perhaps another thread, but this takes some adjusting to as the power seems to stray quite above and beyond the target in erg mode. Each interval seems to average out to the demanded wattage, but during intervals it fluctuates between 15 below and 15 above target. Is this common in power match? Bit of a psychological diff after having it match pretty consistently with the kickr smoothing.

You might - heavy emphasis on might - be seeing an artifact of the stages being a left only power meter compared to the Kickr measuring combined total output from both left and right legs. It would be strange for the Kickr to be reading high, if both are accurate. Normally even on a perfectly clean and lubed drive chain, you will see 3 - 10 watt drive chain loss. So you would expect your power meter to read at least this much higher than your Kickr.

The fluctuations could be due to the Stages being left only. I don’t know how the Stages sends power readings (e.g., does it send zeroes, what ever it was reading from the left leg, etc.) when the right leg is doing the work. But depending upon how this happens, it could create the power oscillations you are seeing.

Things to try:
Clean the Timing Decal

Cleaning the Timing Optical Sensor

  • (Gen 1 KICKR) Clean the optical sensor (small black dot on the small circuit board in the top cap) and black & white decal with a soft rag. Something as simple as dust build up or pet hair can obstruct the ability of the optical sensor from measuring speed properly. Please watch the video at the following link for instructions on removing and re-installing the speed sensor.
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Thanks for all the feedback and ideas - in answer to your musings about the stages - I think you’re on the money with the left-side-only tech being a little problematic. I felt in today’s workout (using power match) that I could actually control and manipulate the under and over delivery of power by giving more force to the left crank. When I tried to spin evenly and consistently with both cranks, the power would slip and rise (sometimes 20%). I have checked the decal for any scratches and cleaned the optical sensor - I also gave the belt a tighten (just in case). I am yet to test results of this (work gets in the way sometimes). Will report any results, and, in the meantime, get something going with Wahoo support. Cheers for all your efforts.

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Yes, all the time. I just use PowerMatch with a power meter that measures total power instead of left only.

My Kickr 1 is junk, as far as power goes. Aside from that, though, it’s bomb proof.

Right - finally got back on the trainer yesterday and hooked up the control of the kickr with ANT+ power meter through the Wahoo app. This seemed to produce a pretty satisfactory result. The erg mode held required resistance and therefore power through all intervals. I was skeptical that this was the kick smoothing its output. Using my Garmin to read the Stages data showed the power was being smoothed, but the numbers coming straight from the Stages were much closer (if not a little above) what was being reported on the TR workout screen. A satisfactory result, although I am still a little bemused as to why this has all been necessary and wonder why the kickr’s internal power meter decided to suddenly under-report so drastically. I may pursue a support process with Wahoo yet.
Thanks again for everyone’s input

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Omg I had no idea about the power match feature after 3 years of using Kickr!
Because my Kickr drifts off all the time (I have to move it after every training session because we live in a tiny apartment. I think maybe moving it all the time makes it drift and be inaccurate) I would connect my power meter as the only power source in TR. And because I didn’t know about power match I’d never use ERG mode. Looks like that will change starting with today’s workout!