Review: Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor ($50 USD)
Those looking for a heart rate monitor (HRM) that goes beyond Ant+ and into the Bluetooth realm have limited options, specifically to talk to indoor devices. When it comes to using Apple products, any device such as Garmin cycling computers or a CycleOps smart trainers seamlessly pair to an iPhone or iPad. When it comes to heart rate monitors, the story changes.
For a while I struggled with getting my heart rate monitor to talk to my Apple devices. Considering it’s age I thought it was the battery. New batteries installed I moved to thinking it was the device’s range. I began researching dongles to reduce the distance between my device and my heart rate monitor. I stumbled onto the knowledge that Apple products require Bluetooth enabled devices to transmit data. After extensive research I found Wahoo’s Tickr to be one of the few Bluetooth devices. I planned to use the Tickr indoors while relying on the old heart rate monitor for regular outdoor riding.
Climbing atop my digital steed, armed with a new heart rate monitor glazed in plastic tear away, I prepared to force my devices to talk to each other. At the start screen of Zwift my smart trainer was recognized, my cadence registered, but my heart rate selection empty. I tapped the ‘pair’ option and gritted my teeth. This was going to work! But my amped up approach was unnecessary because the Wahoo Tickr immediately popped up as an option. I selected the Tickr from the menu of one and started my ride. So far so good.
I prepared for the next step of frustration by having an ill-read HRM by staring at my beats per minute on screen. I watched as the reading went from 90 to 150 to 80 to 120 back to 70. I thought here was the moment I would be frustrated by devices arguing with each other. Moments later the HRM began reading a steady report and I started focusing on my avatar. I found myself glancing over regularly, folding the heart rate reading into my virtual ride. This was all coming together neatly.
As I covered mileage I took delight in forgetting that I was wearing a HRM. Coming from an old rigid plastic strap, the Tickr’s soft strap and easy snap buttons fit comfortably around the chest. On and off is a cinch. The time it took to remove the Tickr from the box and adjust it to my size was less than a minute. There was no rush, but the ease of set up should be highlighted here. With an anti-slip pad on each side of the HRM the whole unit stays in place. Should the strap stretch beyond repair it can be replaced while the HRM device is kept.
As I allow digital bike riding to absorb my reluctance, the Tickr has been added to devices that make me want to ride in the basement when the weather – or commitments – make outdoor impossible. I started this search with an aspiration to get my devices to talk to each other seamlessly and compile more information in the offseason. I thought I would only use the Tickr for indoor rides. Further reflection from the success of use led me to conclude it is time to discard the old rigid strap. There is something to be said for working devices.