Wahoo KICKR Bike vs. Tacx NEO Bike: Which One to Choose?

Wahoo KICKR Bike on the left side vs. Tacx NEO Bike on the right side.

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Smart bikes are tools that take your indoor cycling to the next level. Wahoo KICKR Bike and Tacx NEO Bike belong among the most popular on the market.

But how do they differ? And is one better than the other?

In this article, you will find out.

I’ve compared their features, benefits, and disadvantages and summarized them in this comparison. Once you finish reading it, you will better understand which one to buy.

Here is a quick summary:

The main difference between Wahoo KICKR Bike and Tacx NEO Bike is that KICKR can tilt, while NEO is rigid. On the other hand, KICKR doesn’t have fans or a dedicated tablet/laptop holder. However, other features, like resistance, accuracy, or adjustability, are similar.

Wahoo KICKR Bike vs. Tacx NEO Bike Comparison

Wahoo KICKR Bike or Tacx NEO Bike?

Wahoo KICKR Bike in a living room in front of a balcony
Wahoo KICKR Bike
Tacx NEO Bike (view from the left side)
Tacx NEO Bike

The following table summarizes their most important features.

FeatureWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike
Resistance2200W (v2: 2500W)2200W
Gradient simulation20%25%
Entire bike tilt
Decline simulation-15%not specified, but can simulate freewheeling
Power accuracy±1%±1%
Auto zero
Virtual shifting
Tablet holder
Fans
Power required
Flywheel13lb / 5.9kg275lb / 125kg (virtual)
Crank lengths165, 167.5, 170, 172.5 and 175mm170, 172.5 and 175mm
Adjustable fitStack, reach, setback, saddle height, frame heightStack, reach, setback, saddle height
MetricsSpeed, distance, power, cadenceSpeed, power, cadence
ConnectivityANT+ FEC, Bluetooth (v2: WiFi)ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth
Weight93 lb
42 kg
264.5 lb
120 kg
Weight limit250 lb
113 kg
275 lb
125 kg
Buy (USA)Check Price
Check Price (v2)
Check Price
Buy (UK, EU)Check Price (v2)Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
Comparison of Wahoo KICKR Bike and Tacx NEO Bike smart bikes features like resistance, gradient & decline simulation, power accuracy, etc.
'v2' refers to Wahoo KICKR Bike v2.

Let me now explain the individual differences below.


Setup and Fit Adjustment

Both smart bikes allow you to adjust stack, reach, setback, and saddle height. With KICKR, you can also adjust the frame/bike height, which is useful for women or shorter riders.

KICKR uses quick releases, while NEO uses levers. It depends on your preference which system you like more. I prefer the QR.

Detail on the Wahoo KICKR BIke top tube length adjustment.
Quick-release on Wahoo KICKR Bike
Tacx NEO Bike saddle with adjustment levers
Levers on Tacx NEO Bike

For example, adjusting the seat height on KICKR is more difficult because the QR are not very effective, and the seatpost tends to slide.

On the other hand, NEO offers only 170, 172.5, and 175mm crank lengths. So riders who prefer short crank lengths (165mm) should opt for KICKR.

Detail on the left Wahoo KICKR Bike crank with an SPD pedal.
Wahoo KICKR Bike offers 5 crank lengths
Tacx NEO Bike crank detail
Tacx NEO Bike offers 3 crank lengths

Where KICKR stands out is how it recommends you to set it up. The Wahoo SYSTM app includes 3 ways to set the KICKR fit:

  1. Take a picture of your bike, and the app will estimate the dimensions.
  2. Use measurements from RETÜL bike fit.
  3. Enter your inseam, height, and favorite riding position, and the app will suggest the recommended settings.

For nerds out there, the Q factors of these bikes are as follows:

  • Wahoo KICKR Bike: 150mm
  • Tacx NEO Bike: 147mm

Unfortunately, many riders report rubbing their inner thighs against the frame of both bikes. This issue is pretty common among people with large thighs and is caused by poor design (e.g., wide frame).

Winner: It’s a draw.


Gradient & Decline Simulation

Wahoo KICKR Bike offers 20% gradient simulation, while Tacx NEO Bike 25%

Both gradients are difficult enough for most people, so some apps like Zwift halve the difficulty by default. This means that the gradient will feel like 10% (or 12.5% respectively), not 20% (25%).

However, you can turn this feature off and “enjoy” suffering in the form of super steep gradients.

The biggest difference between KICKR and NEO is that the KICKR bike can also tilt. This tilt is controllable via buttons on the hoods or via the 3rd party apps.

Detail on the Wahoo KICKR Bike top hood buttons.
Wahoo KICKR Bike also has buttons on top of the hoods

This feature makes riding KICKR more engaging and fun because the entire bike tilts when you start climbing (or descending).

This effect is more realistic than with Wahoo CLIMB or Elite RIZER, thanks to the center pivot point (the same center point as riding outside). CLIMB and RIZER use the rear wheel as the center point.

Winner: Wahoo KICKR Bike


Shifting and Gearing

Both smart bikes use virtual gears, which you can customize (the number of teeth and sprockets).

When you shift on NEO, you will feel a similar change in vibration and tension as on a bike with a real drivetrain.

Unfortunately, the shifters are just buttons that are not very ‘user-friendly.’

Detail on the left Wahoo KICKR Bike shifter.
Wahoo KICKR Bike shifters
Tacx NEO Bike Shifter with rubber surface
Tacx NEO Bike shifters

Wahoo KICKR uses a similar simulation as NEO but also road-like shifters. Additionally, you can use the Wahoo app to configure their behavior to Shimano, SRAM, or Campy.

Winner: Wahoo KICKR Bike

Also available in 2nd generation (KICKR v2)

Also available at wiggle.co.uk


Third-party Apps Compatibility and Controllability

Both smart bikes are compatible with leading indoor cycling apps like Zwift, ROUVY, TrainerRoad, and more.

They use ANT+ FEC and Bluetooth connectivity and are controllable via mobile and desktop apps or cycling computers.

Winner: It’s a draw.


Practicality

From the practical standpoint, more points go to Tacx NEO because it includes fans (although they are not super powerful, and I recommend buying an additional indoor cycling fan).

Additionally, it has a place where you can put your phone, snacks, gels, etc., and a tablet holder.

Tacx NEO Bike Fans and handlebar
Tacx NEO Bike cockpit

It also has a handy display showing your ride info like power, cadence, gear, etc.

KICKR doesn’t offer fans, storage space, or a tablet holder. It has a display but is much smaller than NEO’s.

Detail on the Wahoo KICKR Bike LED display.
Wahoo KICKR Bike LED display
Tacx NEO Bike display (turned on)
Tacx NEO Bike display with ride information

Both bikes have at least one USB port for recharging your devices.

Winner: Tacx NEO Bike


Ride Realism

The biggest difference between KICKR and NEO regarding the ride feel is that NEO can simulate multiple surfaces like tarmac, cobblestones, gravel, etc.

Tacx Training Tacx NEO Bike road feel
Tacx Training Tacx NEO Bike road feel

This feature is known for the NEO smart trainer series and works well on the NEO bike too.

Overall, NEO provides a more realistic ride feel.

Winner: Tacx NEO Bike

Also available in 2nd generation (KICKR v2)

Also available at wiggle.co.uk


Rider’s Weight Limit

The Wahoo KICKR Bike rider’s weight limit is 250 lb (113 kg). Tacx NEO Bike has a higher maximum limit of 275 lb (125 kg).

Winner: Tacx NEO Bike


Price

The Wahoo KICKR Bike is about $300 more expensive than the Tacx NEO Bike. It costs $3.499, making it one of the most expensive pieces of indoor cycling equipment you can buy. Tacx NEO Bike retails for $3.199.

Naturally, the question is:

Are Wahoo KICKR Bike and Tacx NEO Bike worth it?

The truth is they are more than twice as expensive as most high-end smart bike trainers. So, isn’t just better to put your bike into a bike trainer?

Well, as always, it depends. Smart bikes are more sophisticated, creating an ultimate platform for indoor training.

One of the biggest benefits of smart bikes is that you can adjust them as you need. So, for example, if you have a partner who also wants to train indoors, you can adjust the fit.

They are also suitable for beginners who don’t have a bike or a bike trainer because smart bikes are an “out of the box” solution.

So, although smart bikes are costly, their price is justifiable for a certain group of people. At this point, you should already have a clear idea of whether they suit you.

Winner: Tacx NEO Bike

The following table shows the summary of the individual features.

FeaturesWinner
Setup and Fit AdjustmentDraw
Gradient & Decline SimulationWahoo KICKR Bike
Shifting and GearingWahoo KICKR Bike
Third-party Apps Compatibility and ControllabilityDraw
PracticalityTacx NEO Bike
Ride RealismTacx NEO Bike
Rider's Weight LimitTacx NEO Bike
PriceTacx NEO Bike
My subjective evaluation of individual features of Wahoo KICKR Bike vs. Tacx NEO Bike.

Wahoo KICKR Bike vs. Tacx NEO Bike FAQ


Summary

Choose Wahoo KICKR Bike if you want to experience more “fun” thanks to the tilt feature.

Remember, you will need to buy additional accessories like a fan or a dedicated table for snacks, tablet, etc.

KICKR is also more suitable for shorter riders thanks to the height adjustment and more crank length options.

Buy Tacx NEO Bike if you appreciate a more realistic ride feel and simulations of more surfaces.

You won’t get the tilt feature. On the other hand, you won’t have to buy a table or accessories because the NEO cockpit includes them.

Also available in 2nd generation (KICKR v2)

Also available at wiggle.co.uk

Do you agree with my conclusion? If not, why? Let me know in the comments below.

Sources

wahoofitness.com
garmin.com
dcrainmaker.com (Wahoo KICKR Bike) | dcrainmaker.com (Tacx NEO Bike)

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