Gadgets Reviews

Wahoo KICKR Headwind Review: A Fan You Can Control With Your Heart

The KICKR Headwind isn’t your normal fan. This is a smart fan that can be controlled with your heart rate or speed. Wahoo introduced this fan back in July at Eurobike along with the KICKR CORE, and KICKR 2018.

The KICKR HEADWIND was designed to create an airflow pattern to mimic the shape and position of a cyclist’s body with speed up to 30 mph (48 kph). According to Wahoo, the company put some research and engineering behind it to ensure no airflow is wasted and blowing other things around in your workout room.

When you bike outside, you have the headwind cooling you off. The faster you go and more energy you put out (unless you are climbing) the more headwind will hit your body and cool you off. When you workout indoor, you don’t have that wind to cool your body temperature down. That’s why one of the most common complaints I hear from athletes is why they can’t push the same power when cycling indoors.

DESIGNED FOR CYCLISTS

The HEADWIND airflow is very narrow and designed to hit the cyclist body directly without wasting air. You will notice as you step few inches to the side, the air-speed go down drastically.

Below is a direct wind speed from 6 feet away.

Below is the wind speed as you move a few inches to the side.

COMPATIBILITY

The KICKR HEADWIND is compatible and can be controlled via the Wahoo Fitness app on iOS or Android devices using Bluetooth. It can connect directly to any ANT+ heart rate monitor, ANT+ speed sensor, or an ANT+ bike trainer. You can use it with any third party trainer as long as the trainer broadcasts speed via ANT+.

  • Compatible with ALL Wahoo bike trainers and heart rate monitors.
  • Compatible with any other smart trainer that broadcast speed via ANT+.
  • Compatible with any ANT+ heart rate monitor.

HEADWIND SETUP

The HEADWIND looks simple from a design standpoint, it’s small and compact. In the box, there is only the fan and manual. That’s all!

Once you take the fan out of the box, pair it to the Wahoo Fitness app (available for iOS and Android). Check for a firmware update.

You can set up the fan in two different ways, using the Wahoo Fitness app or manually. For a completely manual operation without pairing it to anything, you will see three different buttons, power button, left and right button and you can control the fan manually using these buttons if you don’t want to pair it to anything. But that’s not what we are going to talk about here.

MANUAL PAIRING

The fan can be paired to your ANT+ heart rate monitor, ANT+ speed sensor, or ANT+ bike trainer. Even though the fan has Bluetooth capabilities, but as of today, you can’t pair it to a sensor using Bluetooth. That channel is reserved to pair the HEADWIND to your phone and the Wahoo Fitness app.

TO PAIR THE HEADWIND DIRECTLY TO TRAINER OR HR SENSOR

  • To pair directly with a Heart Rate sensor, press the left button to select HR and enter Heart Rate mode.
  • To pair directly with a trainer or a speed sensor, press the left button to select SPD and enter Speed mode. In SPD mode, it can pair to a trainer or a speed sensor.
  • Hold the power button for 3 seconds to begin searching for unpaired ANT+  sensors or trainers. You will see the SPD and HR lights blink when searching for sensors.
  • The HEADWIND will pick up the closest sensor and once paired, the selected mode light will become solid.
  • The HEADWIND will pick up the latest paired sensor for automatic operation. If you want to pair a different sensor, just go through the pairing process again.

You can also pair the HEADWIND to a compatible sensor using the Wahoo Fitness app. Simply log in to the app and select the sensors you want to HEADWIND with. Those sensors need to be paired with the Wahoo Fitness app first and need to be Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible. If your sensors are only ANT+ compatible, you need to use the manual pairing process above. For more information on pairing, you can view the instructions on Wahoo’s website here.

POWERFUL FAN

The HEADWIND is meant to work in three different ways:

  • Manually by adjusting the fan speed using the Wahoo Fitness app
  • Based on your heart rate
  • Based on your speed

At first, I used the HEADWIND on manual mode. I turned on the fan at about 30%-40% power until I warmed up on the trainer then turned it all the way up to 100% once I am warmed up and just left it at 100% for the rest of my workout. That worked fine but using the app to operate the fan isn’t the most efficient way. You have to unlock the phone, navigate to the Wahoo Fitness app, and then adjust the speed.

USE IT WITH YOUR HEART

Then I decided to try the heart rate mode. With the heart rate mode, you can set the minimum and maximum heart rate. This isn’t your resting heart rate and maximum heart rate, think of it as at what heart rate you want to turn on the fan at its lowest setting, and at what BPM you want the fan to go full throttle.

In my case, I wanted the fan to turn on as soon as I am in the room, so I had 60 BPM for the min fan speed and 120 BPM for the max fan speed. This allows the fan to be at full speed right when I start to work hard on the bike or if I am running – yes the HEADWIND works just as well placing it in front of a treadmill.

This worked very well for me and as long as I didn’t forget my heart rate strap, I didn’t have to touch the fan.

USE IT AS A HEADWIND

Finally, you can also use it to simulate headwind. Just like in heart rate mode, you can set the minimum speed in MPH and maximum fan speed in MPH. So you can set the minimum speed to be 1mph so the fan starts as soon as you are moving, and maximum speed at 25mph.

 

FAN POSITIONING

The HEADWIND has two rear legs that you can extend to adjust the airflow angle. This works best if you place the fan on a high surface, otherwise, if you put the fan on the floor, just leave the legs folded.

Wahoo designed the HEADWIND to simulate the airflow a cyclist feels when riding on the road. For that to happen, you need to place the fan in front of you and very close to get the most out of it.

I don’t have a Wahoo Desk, however, I usually have a towel placed on my handlebar. Most cyclists place a towel on their handlebars to catch sweat and prevent sweat from damaging their bike when training indoors. The problem is that the towel blocked most of the air flow and redirected it towards my legs and the floor. I found placing the HEADWIND off to the side at an angle is better than in front of you unless you have nothing in the way to block the airflow. Ray Maker pointed out this same issue but with his Wahoo Desk.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

The KICKR HEADWIND retails for $250. That’s a premium price for a fan. You can get a fan for less than $100 from Amazon or your local hardware store. However, most fans are designed to circulate gentle air around the room. That’s not exactly what you experience when you are riding outside.

The HEADWIND is designed for a niche segment. Specialty products tend to come with a premium price. The Dyson 10 inch desk fan, for example, retails for $299 and doesn’t provide the same wind speed.

The HEADWIND also doesn’t come with a physical remote control. At first, I didn’t like that but the more I used it, the more I like the fact that Wahoo didn’t include one. First, my house doesn’t need another remote control. Also, once you set the HEADWIND to work in either speed or heart rate mode, you don’t need to touch it ever again. It just works when you are ready to do work. It’s really that simple.

WHERE TO BUY

You can purchase the KICKR HEADWIND directly from Wahoo Fitness or CleverTraining (VIP benefits apply).

As usual, purchasing through the links posted here will help support this site and I truly appreciate your support

 

 

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