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Wahoo KICKR Run Review: Revolutionary New Tech

Wahoo KICKR Run

I’ve seen the future of treadmills and it’s exciting. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Before this, the only e-word I’ve used to described a treadmill is evil. But the Wahoo KICKR Run changes everything. I know that may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not.

By virtue of my location in the Atlanta metro area, I was able to visit Wahoo HQ, meet the team, and do a full workout on the newly created, but not yet finalized, Wahoo KICKR Run. I also got a chance to test the Wahoo KICKR Run in Orlando, Florida at the US Marathon Olympic Trials.

Wahoo KICKR Run

Release Date: Summer 2024

Price: $5,000

Rundown: The Wahoo KICKR Run is game changer. Treadmills will never be the same.

Preorder at Wahoo
Wahoo KICKR Run running in Asics Metaspeed Sky Paris

What is the Wahoo KICKR Run?

The Wahoo KICKR Run is a treadmill that uses new technology to change the typical treadmill experience. It releases in summer 2024 for $5,000. And yeah, I know that’s a lot of money, but it’s not a lot when you consider what this machine can do.

I’d liken it to the iPhone. Blackberry enthusiasts lambasted the iPhone in favor of the popular phone and email machine. They had lots of critiques but they were wrong. Nowadays, almost everyone carries an iPhone or iPhone-like phone/computer in their pocket.

The Wahoo KICKR Run is going to change the treadmill world in much the same way. It delivers an experience I didn’t know was possible and will change the way you view running on a treadmill.

The Wahoo KICKR Run also makes an extremely good argument that it’s the best treadmill ever created and easily worth the price difference from treadmills priced in the $1.5k to $3K range.

Wahoo KICKR Run sensor close up
The sensor that makes the Wahoo KICKR Run magic happen

What makes the Wahoo KICKR Run special?

The KICKR Run includes a sensor that sees where the runner is on the treadmill, uses it to track the runner’s movements, and speed up/slow down in a way that’s as natural as running on asphalt.

All I had to do as the runner in question was start speeding up, which naturally moved me forward just a smidge on the treadmill, and boom, the Wahoo KICKR Run sped up the belt to my new speed in a way that felt natural. At first it felt even quicker than my brain was ready for but I adapted and subsequent speeding up or slowing down felt natural.

I can’t express how much this changes the mental perception of treadmill running. I no longer felt trapped at a specific pace. My fidgety nature rebels when I’m on a treadmill for too long. And that’s not even getting into the annoyance of waiting for the belt to speed up/slow down at the beginning and end of intervals.

And yes I know this sounds too good to be true. When I first watched DC Rainmaker’s review, I thought the same freaking thing. But then I got to try the Wahoo KICKR Run and my mind was blown. I also may or may not have asked the Wahoo team if I could buy stock (they’re not a public company yet — unfortunately for me).

Wahoo KICKR Run in action

Does the Wahoo KICKR Run have a learning curve?

Yep. It’s weird to scoot slightly forward or backward and have your treadmill speed up and slow down accordingly. To get accustomed to this new way of treadmill running, I recommend an easy run (with some hills) to experience how your body works with this new tech.

And while it takes some getting used to, I felt pretty confident by the time I finished an hour long interval workout. Once your brain and body get used to the sensation, it starts to feel natural and eerily similar to running outdoors.

Wahoo KICKR Run view of front

Can the Wahoo KICKR Run do regular treadmill things?

Yes. I could keep it regular old boring treadmill mode whenever I wanted. Which is maybe something you’ll want to do if your true focus is on the basketball game or Netflix show you’re watching.

The Wahoo KICKR Run has intuitive paddle shifters that change speed and elevation as needed. There’s even separate quick and long press actions that allow you to fine tune the pace/elevation or skip higher/lower in big chunks.

The Wahoo KICKR Run also comes with a laptop/tablet stand that can be attached to the front of the machine. This allows you to hook up to Wahoo’s app, your watch, etc. to view all the metrics you want without being bound by a digital treadmill display that only shows a certain set of metrics.

Wahoo does include a display, but it’s minimal, and only shows a few numbers. But they’ve primed this thing for interoperability. Platforms like Zwift will work seamlessly with the Wahoo KICKR Run to change the elevation and side to side grade (think indoor track type curvature) while you blissfully run along (well until you hit some of Zwift’s hellish hills.

Wahoo KICKR Run controls

Is the Wahoo KICKR Run worth five grand?

If you don’t have $5k to spend on a treadmill, the KICKR Run won’t work for you. But…if you’re a dedicated runner that’s already looking at a solid treadmill in the $3k range or considering the Peloton Tread+ at $6k, you need to put the Wahoo KICKR Run in your consideration set.

Its deck is long enough that my 6’6” body never felt close to the rear edge, it’s got all the bells and whistles of treadmills that cost $10k except for the slatted belt.

It’s not slatted because Wahoo feels that the slats give too much, and while that may save your legs some impact, it’s not as good for mimicking outdoor runs. And with Wahoo wanting to offer as close to a natural running experience as possible, they went with a belt.

Most treadmills studios currently use Woodways that cost $10k but I’d expect many of them to transition to the Wahoo KICKR Run as they replace treadmills. Intervals and classes will be much easier to run when speeding up and slowing down is so natural.

This is the first iteration of this technology and there’s usually going to be an early adopter tax (cough…Apple Vision Pro…cough) but I feel like Wahoo has done right by consumers here. It’s priced at $5k and you’re getting $5k worth of value.

People who live in extreme climates (brutal winters or searing summers) will feel this treadmill is worth its weight in gold. There is nothing else that can so closely mimic the feel of running outside. Basements everywhere will suddenly become a much more hospitable place for run training.

Wahoo KICKR Run with Zwift

Wahoo KICKR Run Summary

It doesn’t come out till summer but the Wahoo KICKR Run will change treadmills forever. I’m not sure how all the patents and trademarks work but this thing will leave competitors scrambling to match this leap forward in technology.

If you’re considering buying a treadmill, make sure you check out the Wahoo KICKR Run. It’s a treadmill experience that’s unlike any other. Innovation and technology like this makes running easier, especially on bad weather days. That’s hugely important to maintaining the consistency that allows us to continue progressing as runners. What Wahoo’s done here is not just make a great treadmill, but they’ve made a training companion that’s a game changer for anyone that utilizes treadmills as part of their training.

How does the Author Run?

Drew Whitcomb (age 42, 6’6″ 195lbs): Runs daily with a once a week rest day. Runs a lot of miles due to testing needs and a growing affinity for long-distance races. Regularly competes in marathons, half-marathons, 10k, and 5k races. He’s the lead running shoe tester here at WearTesters.

Disclosure

While Wahoo did let me visit their HQ to test the Wahoo KICKR Run in order to facilitate this review, the company had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and has not attempted to influence it.

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