Tech & Wearables

Wahoo Tickr review

The Wahoo Tickr svelt size, LED indicators, and multiple simultaneous Bluetooth signals makes this chest strap heart rate monitor a nice addition to any data-collection arsenal.

Review Rating


Basics

The Tickr can connect to as many as three BTLE devices simultaneously, in addition to as many ANT+ devices as you may need. The status LEDs were moved to the top of the unit to make it easy to see if the transmitter is connected and sending signals to a receiving device.


Pros

Three concurrent BTLE signals, ANT+ signal makes multiple simultaneous device connection a breeze; low-profile; easy-to-see status indicator LEDs

Cons

Buckle may slip; chest strap material loses some elasticity over time


Our Thoughts

While the updated Wahoo Tickr strap remains mostly unchanged from the previous version, the updates to the transmitter size, LED position, and three, simultaneous Bluetooth signals makes this heart rate monitor a nice addition to any performance data-collection arsenal.


Price

$49

Brand

Wahoo


The latest Wahoo Tickr improves upon the previous generation of chest strap heart rate monitors (HRM) in feature and form. The Wahoo Tickr can connect to as many as three BTLE devices simultaneously, in addition to as many ANT+ devices as you may need. If you want to collect heart rate data on your bike computer while also sending the same info to your laptop and your mobile phone, go for it!

Nearly all of the recent generation of wearable devices have an optical heart rate monitoring feature. Many can broadcast the signal from your wrist to your bike computer, alleviating the need for a chest strap. While the latest optical heart rate monitors are much better than even a short while ago, optical sensing technology is still not as reliable nor precise as the EKG-level accuracy and reliability provided by chest strap monitoring devices. And this is why the Wahoo Tickr is a powerful and accurate training and racing tool.

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Fit and form
The Wahoo Tickr loses some weight and gets a slimmer profile in the latest version. While positioning a slightly bulging transmitter in the center of my chest never felt awkward, I definitely appreciate the minimalist direction in which Wahoo is heading. And, by redesigning the shape of the strap-ends which are the connection points with the transmitter, the strap is just more comfortable.

Wahoo Tickrs
The updated Wahoo Tickr (right) is slightly smaller than the first generation. Photo: Greg Kaplan

If I could find any fault with the Tickr update, it’s that Wahoo did not change its strap to a similar type of strap material and buckle system that Garmin uses for its HRMs. In the previous version of the Tickr, I found that the buckle on the back of the Wahoo chest strap used for size adjustment is prone to slipping, and the strap itself is prone to stretching with age.

So, on the first generation of the Wahoo Tickr, I resorted to using a safety pin to keep the buckle from slipping and the strap dropping from my chest to my waist. As the strap material and buckle has not been updated in the new Tickr, only time and use will tell if the new strap performs any better and stays in place, compared to the previous version.

Wahoo Tickr 1
The first generation of the Wahoo Tickr has LED status indicators on the front of the transmitter, making them difficult to see when wearing it. Photo: Greg Kaplan
Wahoo Tickr 2
The Wahoo Tickr LED status indicators have been moved to the top of the transmitter, making them quite easy to see when strapped to your chest. Photo: Greg Kaplan

Tickr Functionality and usability
The new-look Tickr LED indicators denote pairing and signal transmission status. These small, pulsing indicators have been moved from the front to the top of the transmitter. This made it really easy to see if the HRM was connected to a device and sending signals, without having to stand in front of a mirror every time I put it on. As soon as the strap was snapped in place, I could see the transmitter status just by glancing at the top edge of the unit.

Wahoo claims that battery life has increased from 350 hours to 500 hours. When it does become necessary to swap batteries, a standard CR2032 battery is easy to find. To be sure: the battery door on the Tickr was easy to open and close with a quarter.

Although I’ve not tested the depth rating of the Tickr — which Wahoo claims to be up to 5 feet — it was fine in the shower and could withstand a bottle of water being dumped over my head and shoulders.

Connectivity
Managing the Wahoo Tickr using the Wahoo mobile app was simple and straightforward. The app let me give the HRM transmitter a unique and easy to recognize name which comes in handy when there are multiple HRM units in close proximity (think hotel gym).

While not a show-stopper preventing me from buying this HRM, it would be nice if Wahoo would add a battery status to the app, so I could see how the battery was performing, and if it would get the full, claimed 500 hours of life.

Wahoo App
The Wahoo app is used to manage the Tickr firmware, name, connectivity, and even control and view workout data. Photo: Greg Kaplan

Pairing it to my Wahoo Elemnt ROAM, Zwift (on a MacBook laptop), Garmin Fenix 6, and a Garmin Edge 520 was also simple and straightforward. I never had to wait to see if the strap would pair; as long as I moistened the strap before I put it on, the unit connected and sent signals every single time.

Wahoo Tickr Verdict
A BTLE signal can be taken by one device, so others cannot grab the signal, or you might not be sure if you’ve gotten the signal from your transmitter, or from someone else’s. With the Wahoo Tickr, this is never the case. The updated shape of the transmitter pod and redesign of the status indicator is a welcome improvement.

And 500 hours of battery life? That’s about six months of regular usage. In future iterations, I’d like to see an even slimmer transmitter pod, and chest straps that better retain their elasticity, and are truly non-slip. But overall, the Wahoo Tickr is a reliable addition for those who want accurate heart rate measurement.