Wahoo Kickr or Tacx Neo? (and discussion on STAC Zero Halcyon)

I realize that both trainers have a loyal following and both are excellent choices. But … I can only buy one of them.

From reading up these seem to be the strengths of each:


  • Can be used with Climb
  • Larger flywheel
  • $200 cheaper


  • Has surface feel integration with Zwift
  • Doesn’t require any calibration or spin-ups

I’ve been training on a Kickr Snap until now. It’s works fine, but from what I gather a direct-drive trainer is just that little bit better. My wife and I both use the trainer a few times a week and I do all the bike changing. I know taking a wheel off and setting on the trainer is still a pain, but pumping up tires and adjusted the wheel clamp is getting old. Plus, every now and then I do get a puncture on the trainer and if I’ve gotten up early in the morning to ride on the trainer, I don’t ever want to see a puncture again.

So, Kickr or Neo? I only use TR, so the both the road feel and climb aren’t really beneficial to me. That brings it down to $200 less and no spin-down. I have a Stages PM that I use in power-match, so trainer calibration isn’t an issue for me, which means Kickr is probably the logical choice. There is the Kickr Core option, but I just don’t like the look of it, I’m willing to pay more for the full Kickr 18.

Am I missing anything?

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From what I understand the Neo is quieter than the Kickr if that matters to you?


  • Includes all parts needed for Thru-Axle bikes.
  • Allows height adjustment for different bikes (and can also be used to set desired angles that aren’t “level”).
  • Includes a carrying handle (Neo does not).
  • 2018 model is as quite as the Neo.


  • Can be used without external power.
  • Includes some “flex” that acts like a mild rocker to give more motion than other rigid trainers.
  • Includes the IsoKinetic and Isotonic training modes (for whatever that really means :wink: )
  • Requires separate adapters to handle Thru-Axle bikes.

That was true for the 2014, 2016 & 2017 model Kickrs.

The new 2018 Kickr has a silent belt drive and is as quiet as the Neo.


I only have road bikes for now so the thru-axle support isn’t a big seller.
I have a permanent set-up, so moving the trainer is very rare.
I can’t hear my 2014 Snap over my fans, so both will be quiet enough I’m sure.

Flex could be an interesting feature of the Neo though. Do you think this would aid comfort for longer rides over the Kickr?

All things considered, is it a wash between these trainers for me and I should just choose the cheaper one?

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As a major proponent of rocker plates, it probably comes as no surprise that I think ANY additional movement is better than none. What I see in the Neo vids (never ridden one) is that the flex is minor, but better than nothing.

We have lots of people adding rocker plates to Neo’s, so that indicates even though it helps, there are improvements to be made as well. Personally, I wouldn’t pick the Neo with that as a key factor, since adding a real rocker plate is possible with any trainer.

For you choice, I am effectively anti-Tacx. I don’t like what I have seen from them over the years WRT how they handle defects and the continued use of clearly flawed designs and products.

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Those are good insights, thank-you. I’ve had nothing but excellent customer service from Wahoo over the years.

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After reading all the DCRainmaker and Shane Miller / GPLama YouTube reviews I ended up with Kickr 2017, its a great trainer and saved $400 vs Neo. Have it in the garage and noise is not an issue. My road bike is a Trek Domane with thru-axle, really not a hassle putting it on or removing bike.

You can’t go wrong with either Kickr or Neo. I also have Stages single sided PM and have found that both Stages and Kickr don’t drift. I’m only doing a spindown maybe once a week, and Wahoo recommends once every 2 or 3 weeks.


If you’re using a PM, why do you need to do a spindown at all?

Nate has mentioned that while not necessary, a calibration may get the values more “accurate” and that should make the PowerMatch feature work a bit better.

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Two reasons I occasionally do a spin down on Kickr:

  1. A couple times a month I dual record and compare difference between Kickr and Stages, because I’m a data geek
  2. I’m an engineer that long ago worked on control algorithms, if you aren’t an engineer its ok to stop reading :slight_smile: … my vague understanding of TR’s power match is that it uses power from both trainer and Stages in the control algorithm. More accurate trainer power will allow power match to work better. But I didn’t sit down and revisit fundamentals of control algorithms, and I’m guessing on TR Power Match algorithm, so take all that with a grain of salt. If you are an engineer and understand all of this, correct my understanding and let us all know!

I really like my NEO and have not had any problems, the movement/ flex is good and I don’t feel the need to look into rocker plates. On the Tacx Neo owners forum on FB there are regularly problems listed which is likely what Chad was referring to above, these either seem to be related to the magnets within the machine being of such high tolerance that careless moving of the machine can could fragments of metal (tiny tiny particals really) to work free and cause noise. Tacx will repair/ send tools for you to clean it/ or replace units, if this happens but probably best to avoid the Neo if you want to lug around every weekend. There were issues with the Edco freehub body they used but they now use a shimano one (campag is extra cost) which eliminates this problem but make sure you’re not buying an older unit. Then there occasionally seems to be wear and tear problems but as with any machine regularly used I suppose a certain level of maintenance could be expected… essentially just a regrease. All in all from everything i’ve seen on that forum Tacx are pretty good at rectifying issues but i’ve no direct experience of this.


Do you currently calibrate your Snap before every ride?

I do with my Flux and Flow before that as well as my power meter.

Not having to when I use my old man’s Neo is a very nice bonus. It’s just on… Ride.

I’ve been seeing alot of issues with Kickr’s over on the facebook page…I just had a new snap only last two months…seems they are having some issues with their new manufacturing. Might be something to consider.


I don’t calibrate the Snap before every ride, no. I calibrate my Stages PM, but not the trainer. Maybe more like every month or so.

Agreed. I want a K18, but decided to wait a bit to see how the new silent belt version worked out. Looks like I chose right to wait. Some got great units, others got duds.

But Wahoo seems to admit the issue and work on replacements once confirming the issue. So they are handling it well at the very least.

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i had a Gen 1 Kickr which was soo loud i had to onsell it because my workouts were at 5am.

i then bought a Neo because it was quiet and it didnt require calibration which was a plus for me.
I love the little side to side movement as i feel that helps me with comfort.

Although the new Kickr is quieter than the Neo from the GPLama videos.

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I recently returned my NEO to the retailer after 20 months of 6-days a week use (the Bluetooth went out). Additionally, I had been having grinding and noise issues (intermittently) for about 9 months (with no help from the retailer). Thankfully, TACX immediately replaced the old NEO with a new one and it feels as though I am riding a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TRAINER…and I love it! I really enjoy the NEO - but after watching the DC Rainmaker videos with the 2018 Wahoo products, I wouldn’t hesitate to save some money and go with the less expensive trainer.

Purchase from a reliable and easily accessible retailer and you will be good to go.


Bingo! This is important.

Re: The new Neo feeling different. There was a firmware update released a while back that they said improved the ride feel. Was your older Neo updated to this? (A neat TT workaround was to set the Neo in -2% slope (iirc?) with a TT bike profile in ERG mode within their app to make it feel like an outdoor flat road).


@GPLama thanks for all the videos!

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