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Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor review

20 Jul 2020
Verdict:

Wahoo’s updated Tickr is low profile, comfortable and works with both ANT+ and Bluetooth. It’s cheaper than the alternatives too

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£39.99
For 
Unobtrusive • Comfortable • Inexpensive

Wahoo has updated its Tickr heart rate monitor chest strap, which it says makes it more comfortable, lighter and slimmer.

The 'lighter' claim isn’t really likely to make much difference in your quest for KOMs: I measured the Tickr at 46g, a whopping 4g lighter than a Polar strap.

The Tickr isn’t much thinner than the Polar either, although the larger size and curved shape of the unit give it a shallower appearance.

But the snap on strap is a nice feature, making it very easy to take on and off. Again, it’s nothing new, with Mio’s HRM strap using the same system already, although you still need to hook up your Garmin strap somewhere around your side.

 

A useful feature carried over from the older version is the two LEDs on the top of the Tickr. Clip it on and the blue LED will flash, with its rate changing to signify that it’s paired with a computer or smartphone.

Meanwhile the red LED will flash to show that the strap is getting a strong heart rate pulse. As with any chest strap, that’s improved by moistening the electrodes.

Buy the Wahoo Ticker hear rate monitor from Wiggle for £39.99

The only issue is that it takes a bit of navel gazing to see the LEDs – I took to peering at my chest in the mirror to see what was happening. The LEDs switch off after a few seconds to conserve the CR2032 coin cell’s power, which Wahoo claims will give over 500 hours’ battery life.

The £40 price tag may seem a lot, but it actually puts the Wahoo Tickr at the bargain end of the heart rate monitor price range. Go for a Garmin strap and you’ll be paying £60, while a Polar H10 will set you back a whopping £80, which seems excessive even if Polar boasts its superior accuracy.

 

Pretty much any heart rate strap you can buy will give you dual ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity to computers, phones and other hardware and the Tickr is no exception. It paired easily with a Lezyne Super Pro GPS using both protocols and with a Polar V800 smartwatch using Bluetooth.

You can have up to three Bluetooth connections at once, if you really want to be linked up.

I also paired it with a smartphone, using Wahoo’s own app to record heart rate. Values were comparable to those measured using a pulse oximeter, although with different sampling rates, they didn’t always change in parallel. Wahoo’s measurement seemed a little laggy, although that might just be my ageing phone.

 

Using a chest strap to detect your heart’s electrical signal is still more accurate, if less convenient than wrist-based measurement using light, which is prone to missing pulses when exercising.

Cyclists will usually be using a computer or smartwatch to keep track of their efforts. But Wahoo also makes the £65 Tickr X. It’s the same form factor as the standard Tickr, but adds in-built recording of up to 50 hours of heart rate data, so you can use it as a standalone device.

Most cyclists are pretty wimpy when it comes to chest size. That’s probably a good thing as there’s not a lot of spare length to the strap. It would probably be a push to get it around you if your chest size was much above 45 inches, although Wahoo claims 48 inches.

Buy the Wahoo Ticker hear rate monitor from Wiggle for £39.99

With the advent of power meters, heart rate measurement may no longer be the gold standard for measuring how much effort you’re putting in as you ride. But it’s a useful adjunct, indicating how your fitness level is changing over time and how efficient you’re being as you push out the watts.

The Wahoo Tickr is an effective, relatively inexpensive way to collect the necessary data.

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