The first time I wore a heart rate strap, I learned I have a heart. (Heyo!) Shortly after that, I learned that I hate heart rate straps. They lay across my chest in just the right place to make it a constant annoyance, and I have often found myself with stomach cramps while wearing one. Psychosomatic? Perhaps. But the annoyance has been enough to put me off heart rate straps whenever possible.
Enter Wahoo’s Tickr Fit, an optical heart rate monitor that you wear on your arm rather than your chest. It has allowed me to confirm that I still have a heart (Heyo!) and to take full advantage of training information — most importantly, the intersection between heart rate and power.
What I love about the Tickr Fit
Aside from getting the whole heart rate business off my chest (Heyo!), the Tickr Fit has plenty of nifty features I really enjoy, particularly for indoor riding. I can pair it to my Wahoo Kickr Headwind fan so the fan adjusts its speed based on my heart rate rather than my speed on Zwift. In other words, I get more air when I’m working hard, rather than when I’m simply going fast on Watopia.
The Tickr Fit has a single button to turn it on and off, and a flashing light to indicate that it’s on and charged. It’s super easy to use and so far in the years I’ve owned it, I have had zero problems pairing it quickly to my indoor riding setup or to my GPS unit.
The straps are replaceable and the Tickr Fit comes with two pairs so you can customize the size to your arm. I’ve been able to find a comfortable fit over the meat of my forearm with the larger set of straps, and once it’s in place, the Tickr Fit stays firmly in place.
And the magnetic charger clicks into place easily on the back of the Tickr Fit; I’ve plugged it into wall warts and have let the monitor just hang there from the magnet. That means you can plug it in just about anywhere to charge it.
What bugs me
I wear the Tickr Fit frequently enough to know there isn’t much that bugs me, but there is one thing. Like its chest-strap brethren, the Tickr Fit can cause some discomfort. In particular, I have found that on very long rides, the pressure from the strap can cause a tingling sensation or numbness in my fingers. That’s probably because it’s slightly restricting blood flow; for most people, this likely won’t be a problem, but since I already struggle with such problems even without the heart rate monitor, the Tickr Fit has a tendency to exacerbate the issue.
But again, that’s not going to be an issue for everyone.
What about accuracy? It’s often said that optical heart rate monitors aren’t quite as accurate as chest units. That may or may not be true, but in my experience, the Tickr Fit has been accurate enough for my training purposes. And the best heart rate monitor is the one you’re willing to wear in order to reap the benefits. The Tickr Fit is my best heart rate monitor.