To many people, paying ~£200 for what essentially looks like “just a fan” might seem pretty crazy… And I have to admit, even when I was personally looking into purchasing the Wahoo KICKR Headwind, I found myself questioning my actions before finally hitting “Buy Now”.
But is the Wahoo KICKR Headwind really just a fan?
After over a year of use, I can safely say that no – it isn’t, not by any means… And I sure as heck don’t regret the purchase. In fact, I don’t think I could go back to indoor training without it.
Okay, so I probably could – that was a little dramatic – but there’s no denying that it does indeed make for a massively enhanced (and much more fun) indoor training experience.
So for those of you who’ve found yourself in the same boat, wondering as to whether or not you should really dump ~£200 on “just a fan”, I’ve put together this brutally honest Wahoo KICKR Headwind review to help you decide.
And although I’m generally singing its praises overall, there are actually a few niggles & downsides that I discovered which I’ll also be sharing as well (such as the annoying 30mph blast of air when not pedalling).
More on that in a moment, but first…
What Is The Wahoo KICKR Headwind?
Essentially, the Wahoo KICKR Headwind is a fancy & futuristic-looking fan. It’s a Bluetooth smart fan that’s designed to adjust its speed automatically inline with your indoor training efforts.
The fan blasts a stream of air of up to 30mph in a targeted pattern towards you as you ride on your indoor trainer & it can be set to automatically adjust according to your heart rate of cycling speed.
All you need to do is simply pair it with the Wahoo smartphone app (and your devices, such as a heart rate monitor) & you’ll be good to go – with initial setup taking nothing more than a few minutes.
The immediate benefit here is that the fan can also be controlled manually via your phone, meaning it saves the awkward attempts to reach over your handlebars to fiddle with the fan settings.
However, upon your first time using the Wahoo KICKR Headwind smart fan, you’ll likely notice that an immediate downside also appears.
That immediate downside is the fact that essentially, the speed mode is simply pretty pointless (since it continues to blow a hefty draught of cold air even if you’re no longer putting in any effort, and because it barely blows out any air when putting in lots of effort pedalling slowly up a hill)…
Therefore, the heart-rate mode is the go-to mode.
So this basically means that in practice, the Wahoo KICKR Headwind fan is a smart fan that can either be controlled manually or can be set to blow a breeze in accordance with your heart-rate.
But back onto the benefits, the term “breeze” can be used lightly because when the KICKR Headwind is doing its thing, it really does its thing.
As a fan, it’s VERY powerful & targeted – much better than most freestanding fans or tower fans which typically just blow air in a general “all-over” direction.
But you’d probably hope so for the price, right?
How Does The Wahoo KICKR Headwind Work?
Despite being described as a “smart” fan, realistically the KICKR Headwind is pretty simple… After all, other than adjustable speeds… It kind of is… “just a fan” (as much as it pains me to say it).
The KICKR Headwind simply syncs with your smartphone (or other smart devices) via Bluetooth and then syncs with your heart-rate device through the Wahoo app.
Once connected, you can then choose to either simply control the fan manually or you can alternatively choose to have it adjust its speed automatically based on your heart-rate or bike speed (but as mentioned in the previous section of this review, in reality, the speed setting is pretty pointless).
And of course, it’s worth also pointing out that you can indeed control the fan without any smartphone connection by simply choosing from 1 of 4 pre-programmed speeds on the fan itself.
However, due to the fans low positioning, if you do intend on controlling it using the buttons on the fan itself then you’d need to pick a setting for the entire ride as it’d be near impossible to change once you’re in the saddle.
So whilst not “required” as such, a smartphone is a must to get the best experience out of the fan (otherwise it really does take the “smart” out of the smart fan).
Here’s what the official Wahoo website has to say about it:
The Wahoo website also mentions that it’s compatible with the KICKR desk, however, another downside of this fan is that again, due to its low positioning its breeze becomes broken if placed under or behind a desk.
The reason for that is pretty simple… The desk blocks it because the fan is designed to blow the breeze upwards from the floor (drawing in the coolest air of the room).
So due to its near 45-degree angling, if placed under or behind a desk, a lot of the breeze just hits the desk which means that if used with a desk, it requires some careful setup & positioning.
It’s not the end of the world, but it’s something that I feel you should know as it may mean that depending on your room size, you may not be able to get that proper positioning.
Does The KICKR Headwind Make Much Noise?
For a fan that blows air at up to speeds of 30mph, the Wahoo KICKR Headwind doesn’t make any extraordinary amount of noise… In fact, if you had some once you’re out of the breeze, you could quite easily forget it was still turned on.
The reason for that is primarily because the breeze is so targeted. It doesn’t really need to make use of a stupidly high-powered (or really noisy) fan to generate those 30mph streams of wind.
So if you’re living in an apartment or thinking about setting up the KICKR Headwind in a room positioned next to a bedroom & are worried about noise… In short, you don’t really need to worry.
Is The KICKR Headwind Worth The Money?
At a price of around ~£200, the KICKR Headwind is certainly a relatively expensive fan, smart or not… There’s no arguing about that.
Should it be cheaper? In my personal opinion, yes it probably should (no offence to Wahoo)… But at the moment, there aren’t exactly a lot of alternatives… So Wahoo kinda has the freedom to charge what they want.
This means that the question “is it worth it?” will depend on how you’re asking it.
If you’re expecting to get absolutely amazing value for money, then, to be honest, the Wahoo KICKR Headwind smart fan probably isn’t going to be an ideal purchase.
However, if you’re somebody that appreciates the fan is slightly overpriced (again, sorry Wahoo) and are willing to pay it to simply get some more fun out of your rides… Then yes, absolutely it’s worth it.
The heart-rate mode truly is great as the wind speeds automatically adjust to your efforts which really enhances your overall training experience, even if just from a mental point of view.
There’s no better feeling than feeling that powerful breeze of cool air starting to increase as you begin to put in more effort, so it encourages you to keep pushing for longer.
And even just as a fan, it certainly feels a lot better than a standard fan too as the stream of air is much more targeted rather than being dispersed all around the room.
In fact, if you have your trainer set up in the garage or shed then in the winter months, you may even find yourself having to wear gloves indoors as the blast does begin to chill your hands over an extended period of time.
The Bottom Line
The Wahoo KICKR Headwind is an expensive fan, sure, but it’s a cool gadget (no pun intended) and it is something that does indeed really add to the whole indoor training experience.
The reality is that yes, there is indeed probably a lot of better ways to spend ~£200, but if you’re truly serious about cycling then you’ll likely get your money’s worth out the KICKR Headwind smart fan & be glad you made the purchase.
If you’re looking for something cheaper then, of course, there are several fans available on the likes of Amazon that’ll do a similar job such as this Honeywell Fan, but in terms of smart cycling fans, Wahoo pretty much has the market cornered at the moment.
Sure, there are other “smart fans” that you can control manually from a device, but the majority of those come in at ~£100 anyway so you may as well throw the extra cash onto the Wahoo KICKR Headwind.
But either way, hopefully, you’ve found the information in this Wahoo KICKR Headwind review useful & hopefully it’s helped you decide whether or not to take the plunge.
If you do decide you want to get it, or you simply want to learn more about it (such as current pricing), you can check out the official product page on the Wahoo website here.
And if you’ve already got one, please do share your thoughts in the comments section below. 🙂