In Praise of the Wahoo TICKR

In Praise of the Wahoo TICKR

Last month my Wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor started behaving erratically, broadcasting accurate HR most of the time but occasionally dropping to very low numbers. I tried changing the battery and cleaning the strap/connections, but no go.

So what did I do next? I ordered another TICKR.

Here’s the thing: I used that TICKR for 1000+ rides/runs over a three year period. And while I was supposed to wash the strap occasionally to keep it clean, I rarely did that. I abused that TICKR, but day after day it performed perfectly.

Prior to the TICKR, my caustic sweat had destroyed two Garmin HRMs in one season. So I didn’t have high hopes when I bought the TICKR, thinking the same nasty sweat which eats my guitar strings would also eat the Wahoo. Yet day after day it literally never missed a beat, broadcasting my heart rate indoors and out, on rides and runs, on Bluetooth and ANT+.

And I’m not the only one with this story: ask “which HRM should I buy?” on the Zwift Riders Facebook group and I bet 90% of the responses will say TICKR. It’s the category leader, head and shoulders above the rest. Here are seven reasons why I love my Wahoo TICKR.

1: Lights to Indicate Connection

Two LED lights show the TICKR’s device connection (blue) and heart rate detection (red). No more wondering if the battery is dead, if it’s detecting your heart rate, etc.

2: A Strap that Isn’t Cold

Sometimes it’s the little things. Garmin’s strap has plastic strips against the skin which send a chill through my body every time I put it on in the cold early morning winter hours. Wahoo’s strap does not.

3: Excellent Battery Life

Most HRMs use a standard 2032 coin battery (which you should buy in bulk on Amazon, by the way. The price charged at stores for these it outlandish!) My TICKR’s first battery lasted two entire seasons, while my Garmin needed a replacement every few months. Speaking of battery replacement…

4: Easy Battery Replacement

The TICKR’s battery door is the standard slotted design which can be opened with a quarter, key, flat-blade screwdriver, etc.

Garmin’s design uses four tiny screws with easily-stripped heads requiring a microscopic screwdriver to perform what should be a routine battery swap. It honestly feels like an evil Garmin engineer pulled a prank and nobody caught it!

5: Dual Band Support

If you run Zwift on iOS or AppleTV, or want to connect your iPhone to your HRM for any reason, you will need an HRM which supports Bluetooth. The TICKR broadcasts on ANT+ and Bluetooth. Garmin only does ANT+.

6: Low Price

How Garmin still charges $69.99 for their strap while Wahoo’s much better product is priced at $49.99 is a mystery to me. In fact, most HRM’s are priced $10-$20 higher than the TICKR, but deliver nothing better.

7: Heart Rate Variability Support

R-R intervals are the exact times in milliseconds between each heartbeat. If you are interested in measuring HRV on a smartphone app, you need an HRM which measures accurate R-R intervals and connects to your smartphone. If you’re on an iPhone this means your Garmin HRM won’t do the job, since it does not support Bluetooth. But the TICKR will.

Buy Wahoo TICKR on >
Buy Wahoo TICKR on Amazon >

So there you have it. Seven reasons why I find the Wahoo TICKR to be the best in its class. Do you agree? Comment below!


About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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