If you are reading this, you probably know that we live in Wisconsin. If you didn’t know that, you do now. Living here makes winter training incredibly difficult. First, motivation to workout inside for 5 months is tough to find. Second, a whole new set of equipment is necessary to complete workouts.
When we moved here, we invested in some cheap trainers just to get us going. I actually thought at the time that these would be the trainers we used for years. I was wrong. The two different brands that we bought were very well constructed, however the orange one provided ZERO resistance and the blue one was about as loud as a jet engine. If spinning is your intent, the orange one is great. I don’t recommend the blue one to anyone, unless you are training to be deaf.
The downfall of both of these led us to seek out a new trainer. After some research, I had settled on the Wahoo Kickr Snap. It arrived and I was up and running in about an hour (this included dragging the trainer to the basement and changing out my wheel).
Setup was very quick. I connected via bluetooth to my phone and to my iPad (iPad since there are some cool video connected apps that I wanted to use). After a quick spin down, I was cycling . . . in my basement . . . in front of my television . . . with resistance . . . without feeling like I was quickly losing my mind from the noise.
The first very noticeable change for me was the noise level. I could hear the tv, I could hear music. I was no longer fighting to maintain my sanity. Truthfully though, I find that the Snap makes hardly any noise at all, and the noise that is present during my rides is due to my gears and chain. This is a huge improvement over the previous trainer.
Second noticeable attribute, it is much higher than my first trainer. I really have to reach to get on the bike now. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it does seem to be significantly higher to the point where it would be nice to have a step-stool, since I am not very tall.
Then I started playing with iPhone and iPad apps. This is where I think the Snap shines. The Wahoo Fitness app gives you control of the resistance through a couple of different methods, but the two that I tend to use the most as ERG (where I can set a specific power that I am looking to consistently achieve) and Resistance (which provides a percentage scale of what the trainer can do and allows control in increments of 5%). ERG is cool when my workout calls for me maintaining a specific power throughout an interval or for the entire workout, even when you shift the trainer re-establishes the requested power output. Resistance is nice for when I am doing standing drills, I crank this up to 40% or 50%. This allows me to stand on the pedals and not just pedal through.
The other two modes are Level and SIM. Level is a resistance level from 0 – 9 which essentially equates to a hill grade. SIM allows you to simulate resistance based on slope and wind speed. I just don’t find these as useful.
Other apps, like CycleOps, allow you to pick real courses from around the world. During the ride, the resistance changes based on the hills on the real course. This is kind of a fun mode for getting variation in a ride. Even cooler than that is that some of the courses integrate video and you can watch the course as you ride it. Overall the app integration is really nice.
Overall, the trainer is really well built. It feels solid and holds up well to anything I have thrown at it. Standing drills scared me on the old trainer. Now I don’t have any issues. I don’t have a lot to compare the Snap to, however, I do think that spending the extra money on something like this is a good idea if you have to (or just want to) ride indoors frequently. Don’t cheap out and get a $70 trainer because it seems like a good deal. You won’t be sorry you put a little money into something that gets used as frequently as it does.