The Tickr X is an accurate, comfortable and feature-packed heart rate monitor strap from Wahoo Fitness. It's ideal if you want to use heart rate with a smartphone app such as Strava, but it's also fully compatible with cycling computers like the Garmin Edge.
If you want to take your training seriously, a really good place to start is by measuring your heart rate. Monitoring your heart rate allows you to track the intensity of your efforts during a ride or workout, and also helps with recovery. Wrist-based heart rate monitoring watches have become popular with the growth of wearable tech in recent years, but for cycling you just can't beat a heart rate chest strap for accuracy and consistency.
Wahoo Fitness manages to bring some interesting functionality to its entry into this market that makes it stand out from the rest, chief of which is the wide-ranging compatibility as well as a long list of features. The Tickr X packs both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity into a solid plastic case, with a comfortable strap to hold it in place. The Tickr X is IPX7 rated so it's waterproof up to 5ft, and is powered by a coin-cell battery that should last a year.
The supplied strap is soft against the skin and easy to adjust, and the Tickr X module connects into place with two popper buttons. There are two LED lights that indicate a connection and that the Tickr X is communicating. Strap it on and pair it with your chosen device – I tried a Garmin Edge and the Strava iPhone app, both of which worked flawlessly – and you're ready to hit the road.
The Tickr X can be used solely for cycling, but the list of features will appeal to runners and gym-goers as well. Wahoo offers three versions of the Tickr, with the base model costing £39.99. That one and this range-topping model share the same core features such as heart rate tracking with Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity.
What the extra money gets you in this top-of-the-range Tickr X is a list of features that might well be useful to you. One of the key features, and the most interesting, is the built-in memory. It can store up to 16 hours of workouts, meaning you can train without being connected to a computer or smartphone. Just snap the device into place and head out for a ride or run, and when you get back you can download your heart rate data to the smartphone app. That could be useful for crit and cyclo-cross races where you might not want the distraction of a cycle computer, and certainly don't want to carry a smartphone in your jersey pocket.
The Tickr X is also interactive. You can tap it to start a hill or sprint rep lap, while vibration alerts can be configured when you drop out of a heart rate zone or you pass a certain distance marker. The functionality on offer is also easily configurable in the really easy to use and clean interface of the Wahoo Fitness app.
If you frequent the gym and do spin classes or indoor cycling, the Tickr X is compatible with cadence sensors in some stationary bikes, meaning you can get some meaningful data other than just your heart rate during such workouts. And there are features that will appeal to people who do other sports aside from cycling, such as Running Smoothness, which uses an accelerometer to detect your running pace and stride rate.
As mentioned, the Tickr X is ideal if you track your rides on your smartphone using one of the many freely available apps. It's compatible with Strava, Endomondo, Cyclemeter, Map My Ride and many more.
The Tickr X is easy to use and the strap makes it one of the most comfortable heart rate monitors I've ever used; I've worn it for six-hour rides and barely noticed it at all. Heart rate monitoring is accurate and consistent from ride to workout, and there were no odd spikes or dips in the recording of the heart rate. It works seamlessly with a Garmin Edge computer and also the Strava iPhone app.
Some of the extra features are very smart and will certainly appeal to some people, but if you just want the heart rate monitoring functionality you'd probably be better off with the entry-level model and pocket the saved cash. That said, I'm quite into using the built-in memory to ride without a computer or smartphone for shorter rides.
An accurate and easy-to-use heart rate monitor with some really smart extra features
road.cc test report
Make and model: Wahoo Tickr X Heart Rate Monitor
Size tested: Adjustable from 23in to 48in (stretched)
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 says: "TICKR X is the ultimate workout tracker that captures both motion and intensity. Equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ dual-band technology. TICKR X pairs seamlessly with your smartphone and works with tons of apps like RunFit, 7 Minute Workout and more! Plus, its built-in memory gives you the freedom to train without a phone, capturing heart rate, calorie burn, and workout duration to sync with your phone later. No other heart rate training platform can compete with the TICKR X. Period."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
UAL BAND TECHNOLOGY
REAL TIME HEART RATE AND CALORIE TRACKING
INDOOR CYCLING CADENCE
RAPID DOUBLE TAP CONTROL
ADDITIONAL RUNNING ANALYTICS
VISIBLE CONNECTION AND ALERTS
THIRD PARTY APP COMPATIBILITY
APPLE WATCH INTEGRATION
Unless you need the extra features, the base £40 model is a better value buy.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Simple to use and easy to pair with any device.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable and works seamlessly with a Garmin or smartphone app, but can also be used without pairing using the built-in memory.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Quite a lot more expensive than the standard model.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
It's accurate and very easy to use and edges towards a 9, but is expensive for the extra features you get over the basic model, so I'm giving it an 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.