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Wahoo's TICKR heart rate monitor (HRM) is a well-designed chest strap that you can connect to up to three Bluetooth devices at once. The dual-band connectivity is stable and the LED status lights are useful to check everything is working as it should.
There's not a lot to an HRM strap really: click it round your chest and it should read your heart rate and transmit that data to whatever device you're using for recording it. You can have a basic one from Amazon for two-thirds the price of the TICKR, so is there any reason to spend the extra for this one? Well, yes actually. It's a nicely thought out bit of kit.
First off, the design is good. Most HRM chest straps have two sensor pads on a strap and you press the electronic pod onto the front using two poppers. The TICKR is similar, but instead of clipping the pod on the front of the strap it acts as the bridge between the two ends.
This works well for two reasons. Firstly it means you have to unclip one side of the pod when you take it off, so you're more likely to remember to move it from the strap entirely. Sweat getting into the pod connections and rusting them out is a major cause of failure for HRM straps, so if you separate the bits they're more likely to dry out and you'll extend the strap's life.
Secondly, it means that the pod can be thinner. The thick bit of the pod that contains the battery sits between the straps rather than on top of it, so the strap doesn't protrude as far. It's not a big difference, but it is a bit neater.
The strap was long enough for my bigger-than-the-average-cyclist 108cm (42.5in) chest, but if you're bigger than about 117cm (46in) around the chest you'll probably find it a bit tight.
The TICKR has two status LEDs on the top. The red one flashes in time with your heart rate, so you can see if it's picking up your heart activity, or if you've unwittingly died. The blue one shows you the connection status: slow blink when it's searching for a connection, quick when it's connecting and even quicker when it's done. The lights are also useful for troubleshooting: if they don't come on when you click the strap in then it's probably time for a new battery; if they do but you're not seeing your heart rate on your app then it's a connection issue somewhere. The LEDs turn off after 30 seconds to preserve battery life.
Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols are both supported, and the TICKR can cope with up to three simultaneous Bluetooth connections if you want it to. I found it easy enough to connect to my phone (I tried a Google Pixel 2 and Huawei P30 Pro) using the Wahoo app, and doing so allows you to update the firmware too if there are newer versions. Connecting it to the computer for Zwifting and a Garmin Edge 520 and Sigma ROX12.0 for outdoor riding was simple enough, with stable connections throughout.
A strap like this, which is measuring the electrical activity of your heart, is still the most accurate way of getting heart rate data easily, and is much less prone to error than an optical sensor as used in most smart watches. I've found the TICKR's output to be stable and believable throughout.
The 2032 coin cell in the strap is good for 500 hours according to Wahoo; I haven't had 500 hours of use out of it yet but it's still going strong. Replacing the battery is a simple job requiring no tools other than a coin.
For £40 this is a really good heart rate strap with some useful features you don't get elsewhere. It's not really fair to compare it to a bargain basement Amazon strap: instead, let's point out that it's £20 less than Garmin's equivalent strap at full retail, and half the price of Polar's H10 strap. It's good value for money given that nearly all of the branded straps out there are more expensive, and recommended if you're looking to replace an old strap or get more into data gathering when you're training.
Excellent heart rate monitor strap with good connectivity and useful status LEDs
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Wahoo TICKR HRM strap
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 says: 'Connect. Track. Share. The TICKR heart rate monitor accurately tracks your heart rate and calorie burn during any activity or workout. Its new design makes it the lightest and slimmest heart rate monitor on the market! Equipped with Bluetooth and ANT+ technology, TICKR offers an easy and reliable way to connect heart rate to your favorite training apps and fitness devices, and now supports up to three simultaneous Bluetooth connections. The new integrated heart rate sensor and strap design provide a more secure connection and fit, so your training can be optimized, measured, and shared.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
NEW! INTEGRATED CHEST STRAP DESIGN
The integrated sensor and strap design of the TICKR provides a more secure connection and a more secure fit to prevent sliding and shifting while working out.
NEW! SLIM, LIGHTWEIGHT HEART RATE SENSOR POD
At 1.7oz (48g) and 12.01mm thick, the TICKR is the lightest and slimmest heart rate monitor and strap combination on the market, not to mention the most comfortable!
NEW! MULTIPLE SIMULTANEOUS BLUETOOTH CONNECTIONS
TICKR supports up to three simultaneous Bluetooth connections for a trouble-free start to your workout.
NEW! TOP DISPLAY LED INDICATOR LIGHTS
Two LED lights show visual confirmation of the TICKR connection status via Bluetooth and / or ANT+: searching for a connections (blue slow blinking light), connecting (blue fast blinking light), and reading heart rate (red blinking at current beats per minute).
DUAL-BAND ANT+ AND BLUETOOTH TECHNOLOGY
Both ANT+ and Bluetooth capabilities allow for a wireless connection to both smartphones and GPS devices at the same time or separately.
REAL-TIME HEART RATE, CALORIE, AND WORKOUT DURATION TRACKING
TICKR measures vital workout metrics, including heart rate, calorie burn, and workout duration in real-time with the Wahoo Fitness app. These metrics can also be sent to compatible third-party apps that track these metrics.
FRONT SENSOR & STRAP CONNECTION
The front connection on the TICKR sensor and strap allows you to gear up and go quickly. You don't have to fumble through side placements of snaps and hooks.
COIN CELL BATTERY
Includes a coin cell battery that can last for over 500 hours of workouts.
ADVANCED PERFORMANCE MATERIAL STRAP
Made from advanced performance materials, the TICKR strap is designed to fit comfortably chest, yet stay securely in place during intense activity.
APPLE WATCH AND APPLE TV INTEGRATION
Connect directly via Bluetooth to your Apple Watch or Apple TV as another option for gathering heart rate data while you workout.
THIRD PARTY APP COMPATIBILITY
Works seamlessly with over 50 apps - including Zwift, The Sufferfest, Peloton for cycling and Runkeeper and MapMyRun for running.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
More or less flawlessly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Design, ease of use, accuracy.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can get cheaper ones on Amazon but it's pretty cheap for a good quality HRM strap from a major fitness brand. You could easily pay twice as much.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's an excellent strap and good value too.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.