The Wahoo RFLKT+ is an iPhone powered bike computer. Er, right. What's that mean then?
First off let's be clear about what the RFLKT+ is and isn't. By itself the RFLKT+ isn't really a cycle computer; it has to be used with a smart phone and at the moment it pretty much has to be an iPhone (although Android support is coming). The RFLK+ is a remote display for your iPhone cycling app that also adds hardware features such as a barometric altimeter and compatibility with ANT+ sensors. In my opinion, it's a great idea.
Your smartphone is a very powerful mini computer, so, the logic goes, why buy another one for your bike? There are mounts for you to attach your phone to your bike but there is a big problem in using your phone as a bike computer: battery life. If you were to have your phone screen on all the time while out on a ride you'd flatten your battery in less than two hours at best. You might get away with it on a short ride, but a longer ride will leave you without a bike computer or a phone: not good in an emergency.
The basic idea of the RFLKT+ is that you can leave your phone with the screen off, but still cunningly use it as a bike computer. Your iPhone acts as the processor but the RFLKT+ becomes the display. In that way it tries to give you the best of all worlds. The main features are still available even though your iPhone is stashed safely away and a longer battery life.
The RFLKT+ is pretty small, about the size of a matchbox and weighs in around 35g. Most of the front is screen so it has a good visible area. The RFLKT+ is claimed to be weather proof so no problem if it starts properly raining, assuming your phone is safe in a waterproof pouch.
Fitting the RFLKT+ to the bike is really quick. You're spoilt for choice with mounting options. Included in the box are mounts for out front, on the stem, or an adaptor for your Garmin mount. I went for the "out front" option and the RFLKT+ was fitted in less than two minutes with only one screw to tighten up.
As I said at the beginning, on its own the RFLKT+ is next to useless so the first thing you'll need to do is get it working with an app on your phone. Don't make the mistake I made of trying to find it in the bluetooth setting on your iPhone, it won't work; you need to set it up through a RFLKT+ supported app. I tried it with Strava, the Wahoo Fitness app and Cyclometer. Looking at the Wahoo website there are loads of cycling and running apps which do currently support the RFLKT+ and I suspect that number will grow over time.
If you follow the instructions, pairing your chosen app with the RFLKT+ is pretty straightforward but be prepared to spend 20 minutes or more first time round digging round in the app and configuring it all.
Once it's paired with your iPhone you can now get some use out of the RFLKT+. Through the phone's GPS it will display speed, height, heading and if you have the RFLKT+ it can also use the built in altimeter (on paper, a barometric altimeter should be more accurate than GPS-based altitude readings, but there seems some debate about how much difference this makes in practice). Add a couple of sensors however and it really starts to all make sense. In reviewing the RFLKT+ I also looked at the Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor as well as the Bluetooth heart rate monitor.
You can also add a power meter but you have to really want one as they're not cheap. When weighing up if RFLKT+ is for you you'll need to factor in the cost of the sensors. The heart rate monitor and cadence sensor are £40 to £50 each which is on top of the price of the RFLKT+. If you already have ANT+ sensors you can use those with the RFLKT+ saving you a bit of dosh. If you don't then you might choose the slightly cheaper RFLKT model (rather than the RFLKT+)
This review is really about the RFLKT+ rather than the apps but its very difficult to separate the two. I personally found the Strava app quite restrictive as it won't allow you to customise the display and so won't display heart rate in particular.
As perhaps you might expect, the Wahoo app gives you much more control. The best bit is you can design your own display screens. Not only can you control what is displayed, but how. I found customising your own displays to be easy and really helpful. The best bit is that the functions of the RFLKT+ will only improve & mature over time as more apps support it.
The RFLKT+ is powered by those button sized lithium batteries (CR2032) which are pretty cheap but I haven't had to change the battery since I've had it and apparently it will last up to 12 months. It does have a back light so the more you use that the quicker it will drain the batteries.
The RFLKT+ has 4 buttons on it which turns the thing on, scrolls through screens and also pauses/starts recordings. The buttons can even be used to control the music playing on your iPhone. Like the screens you can configure the buttons to do different things if you want but I found the default settings fine as they were. My only criticism of the RFLKT+ was the buttons: they were a bit stiff and took a bit more effort to work than I would have liked.
In essence the RFLKT+ is really a second, bike friendly, low power display and control for your iPhone. Out on a 4-5 hour ride I found that there was still over 50% battery left on the iPhone. If you already have a good cycle computer the RFLKT+ isn't the right for you but if you don't then it allows you to save much of the cost of a high end one while getting most of the benefit.
I loved the RFLKT+. Its a great concept delivered and manufactured really well. You do need to choose the right app to use it with which might take a bit of experimentation but ultimately the best bit is that its performance is only going to get better over time.
Great concept, delivered well as a data geek I loved it.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Wahoo RFLKT+ iPhone Powered Bike Computer
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
WAHOO say the "RFLKT turns your iPhone into the most powerful bike computer on the market all in a sleek, coin cell powered package."
I don't know if it turns it into the most powerful bike computer on the market but it does allow you to make use of your iPhone on a bike in a really effective way.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The RFLKT+ is a second display for your iPhone connected via Bluetooth 4.0 so its has a low power drain on your iPhone. The RFLKT has to be used with an app which supports the RFLKT+ display so if you have a favourite app, make sure it's supported before buying it.
You don't have to use it with sensors like heart rate monitors and cadence sensors but they do add to the experience. If you want they can be added over time.
The RFLKT is very light and can feel a bit plasticky but didn't come across as flimsy. Apparently it's water resistant and having been through some showers with it on I have no reason to doubt that.
Once you understand how to set it up, out on the road it worked really solidly.
Batteries lasted well, a light product but not one that I'd want to drop or run over too much.
Yep its very light (35g).
Not the cheapest bike computer on the market but cost effective considering what it can deliver. Its a product that will continue to get better as app support grows.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Once set up the RFLKT worked fine, it was easy to fit and was reliable when out on a ride.
Occasionally I found the initial pairing a bit temperamental but I think once you've settled on an app to use it with that wouldn't be a problem.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I loved the fact that you can design your own display screens for the app, if you wan't to concentrate on heart rate based training then design a screen for that, if you're working on climbing then focus on your height gain and speed.
The app plays a large part when judging the functionality of the RFLKT but choose the right app and its great.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Initial pairing with the phone can be a bit fiddly and the buttons could have had a better "feel".
Did you enjoy using the product? Loved it.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they didn't already have a decent computer and they had an iPhone then unequivocally yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I'm really looking forward to see how support for the RFLKT grows over time.
It would be good to see routing and directions added and better support from other apps.
It's good to see the developers continuing to release updates as clearly there is ongoing support for it.
About the tester
I usually ride: Orbea Aqua My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, Not really