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Zipp says using a Wahoo Kickr Rollr will void your wheel warranty

Indoor trainer that clamps front wheel in place causes “significant flexing to the rim”, says Zipp; Wahoo fires back

Zipp has announced that using a Wahoo Kickr Rollr indoor trainer will void the warranty on any of its wheels. The Kickr Rollr system is unusual in that it attaches to a bike’s front wheel/tyre while the rear wheel is unsecured, but Wahoo says that the stresses are within acceptable levels and will not damage wheels.

Zipp says, “[Our] engineering and product management teams have determined that using trainers that attach to the front rim or tyre of the bike while the rear of the bike remains unsecured can cause significant flexing outside of normal intended use. 

“Zipp wheels are not designed to withstand repeated high loads applied to the side of the rim and concentrated in the same area over long periods. While riding on the road, wheel loads get applied in a different manner and are distributed around the wheel due to spinning.”

Read our review of the Wahoo Kickr Rollr Smart Bike Roller

This is potentially a major issue for Wahoo and Kickr Rollr users because if Zipp is saying this, there's the possibility that other wheel brands will feel the same way.

However, Wahoo has released a statement saying that it has tested and analysed several wheels and found that the stresses imposed by the Rollr trainer are all "within acceptable levels or lower than stresses observed during outdoor riding".

“We are confident that the Rollr will not damage wheels," says Wahoo. "We are also working with additional wheel manufacturers to certify their wheels with the Rollr since Zipp has taken this position and we plan to share our research with them.”

2022 Wahoo Kickr Rollr 7

Our reviewer Jamie Williams didn’t have issues with wheel failure when he used the Wahoo Kickr Rollr but he did say that the sturdy platform “causes a fair amount of flex in your front wheel as you move around during hard efforts” and that this can be “a bit disconcerting when they're your best carbon wheels”.

Jamie went so far as to run an experiment, setting up a GoPro to film his front wheel as he sprinted out on the road to compare the amount of flex with that experienced on the Wahoo Kickr Rollr. He found that the front wheel flexed far more on the trainer.

“This makes me worry [that the amount of flex] might end up exceeding what the wheel designers have allowed for,” said Jamie.

Despite Jamie's concerns, there was no wheel damage apparent during the review process.

Warranty: sometimes things break – why you should check out your bike's warranty, what's covered, what's not + tips for making a claim

Zipp wheels and components come with a global lifetime warranty. 

“This includes manufacturing defects, but also any system failure occurring while riding your bike within the intended use of your Zipp product,” says Zipp.

If a product fails while riding, Zipp will replace or repair it free of charge.

2022 Wahoo Kickr Rollr 4

However, the warranty doesn’t apply if you use the products beyond their intended use, and Zipp has specifically named the Wahoo Kickr Rollr as being incompatible with its wheels

Zipp says, “If you have been using your Zipp wheels on a trainer like this, stop using them and have your front wheel inspected by a local dealer.”

Check out 10 best home trainers for 2022 

Seemingly keen to make clear that the issue is with the trainer rather than with its wheels, Zipp says, “[Our] wheels are raced at the highest levels of professional cycling and conform to the requirements of ISO 4210.”

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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12 comments

Avatar
Jimwill | 1 year ago
0 likes

Not sorta thing I'd consider because i like to ride outside...but you could just stick a shit front wheel on?

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Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
0 likes

How will Zipp ever know?

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Jetmans Dad replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
0 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

How will Zipp ever know?

I would imagine that examining the wheel and being able to demonstrate that it has failed due to being ridden in a way that subjects it to the kind of stresses it isn't designed to withstand would be enough to invalidate the warranty, whether Zipp could prove you specifically had used it on one of these or not. 

Avatar
Drinfinity | 1 year ago
2 likes

Seems to combine all the downsides of other designs' trade offs into one dreadful product. 
Power dependent on tyre pressure/tyre choice? Tick

Power transfer loss if you bounce around? Tick

Flat strip down the crown of your road tyre? Tick

Stress on your equipment in a way it was never designed for? Tick

Huge piece of kit to store when not in use? Tick

 

Avatar
philhubbard replied to Drinfinity | 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm not saying you are wrong on all points but I feel you may have judged the product harshly because you don't like it. 

1st point is invalid as it doesn't measure power.

2nd point isn't product dependant it is rider dependant, if you bounce around as you ride that's very bad form. 

3, 4 and 5 I completely agree with however number 3 is the same as any wheel on trainer

Avatar
mdavidford replied to philhubbard | 1 year ago
0 likes
philhubbard wrote:

however number 3 is the same as any wheel on trainer

It's probably going to be less than with most other wheel on trainers because (a) there's a limited amount of play in the system that could help to spread the wear over the tyre surface (though admittedly that may be a pretty small effect) and (b) you don't have to worry about over- or under-clamping the tyre, which could cause either excessive pressure or slipping on the roller, both of which would likely increase the wear.

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andystow | 1 year ago
0 likes

That is really considerate of Wahoo to step up and cover the warranty costs for Zipp when their wheels have been [ab]used on a Wahoo trainer.

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maviczap | 1 year ago
1 like

Just Zzip covering their arses. Where's there's a blame, comes a claim

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sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
1 like

Is this really going to be an issue? As far as I can see this isn't going to sell many anyway. It isn't as good as a roller setup and nowhere near as good as a direct drive. If they'd done something where the fork is fixed to a tilting connection, no need for the front wheel at all and the rider still has to concentrate to stay upright, or if it's set up with a self balancing mode the rider can proper go for it out of the saddle.

I just can't understand how this got through the design phase, never mind to the market.

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IanEdward replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
1 like

Yeah, I've been thinking much the same, what is the point of it? Seems to just be rollers for people who don't really want rollers, or an over-complicated equivalent to an old fashioned wheel-on trainer?

I suppose you could still develop a smoother pedalling style as there's still a risk of the rear wheel bouncing up and down if you're pedalling squares, unlike a turbo

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sparrowlegs replied to IanEdward | 1 year ago
1 like

Wahoo missed a trick with this and it seems made some pretty silly assumptions.

If they'd used something like what I proposed it would have genuinely been different/unique in the indoor trainer world (would still have needed to record power I think) but it would have been enough for people to choose it. As it is and at the price they are charging I think this is dead in the water. 

It's not very mobile, doesn't pack down very small, takes up a lot of floor space even without a bike attached and seems it voids the warranty of the wheel manufacturers. Yep, how this ever got to market will be down to pure greed rather than trying to create/fill a niche. Lockdown saw record numbers of indoor trainer sales and Wahoo wanted more.

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jn46 | 1 year ago
1 like

Shame. I'd been very interested in the rollr as seemed like a great option to just plop your race bike on when you can't keep it permanently set up on a direct drive. With reports of tyre wear on the rear and now possible front wheel damage, you'd be having to do both a front and rear wheel change, so even more time consuming than a direct drive.

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