I still get traffic on my original Wahoo TICKR X Review, leaving most probably frustrated or confused. And I’ve finally got my hands on the new heart rate monitor (they were sold out for a couple of months here). So I can finally write a review about the new TICKR strap. The disclosure on this review is simply: I bought this device. At the end of this review I’ll link to some stores where you can buy the TICKR X, these are affiliated links. Which means I get a give me a small fee when you buy something for advertising that store. It doesn’t matter what you buy actually. I really appreciate if you use the links as that allows me to keep doing these reviews.
And Although this review is TICKR-X, I do indicate what is X specific. So if you’re looking for a TICKR this review is still helpful.
In the Box
As with any heart rate sensor, the box contents are not that interesting. You’ll obviously get the HR strap, the pod and some nice booklets. Which you will immediately to aside or use as fire starters on your barbecue or in your fire place. You’ll say you read them, just like EULA’s, but let’s be honest, they go in the bin. So I’ve taken that hard job and did it for you. And here’s the summary: Make it wet, put it on, rinse. Rocket science right?
The list of what’s new is pretty short. I believe HR strap development is reaching its limits (famous last words). But here it is:
- Added Running Dynamics (TICKR X over ANT+ only)
- Local storage increase (16 ➡ 50hrs TICKR X only)
- up to 3 bluetooth devices simultaneously (unlimited ANT+)
- Increased Battery life (350 ➡ 500hrs)
- Leds moved to the top
- Flushed the pod with the strap
- Thinner pod
In terms of my words, HR strap development is reaching its limits, Wahoo technically didn’t change a lot, but have added Running Dynamics. However, Wahoo doesn’t support this themselves so it would only benefit Garmin users, but I would see it as a benefit if it got added to the Wahoo RIVAL too. You could say it would have been a great sales point as it’s cheaper than the HRM-Pro, but the HRM-Run is around the same price, also supporting Running Dynamics, but doesn’t have cycling cadence or tap-actions. I think Wahoo did a smort on this. Running Dynamics for some might be a gimmick, but does give insight in your run, if not for your coach. And it could have chipped away some of Garmin’s market share.
New TICKR Looks
Well, not much has changed on the looks. The pod design is very much the same, it’s slightly slimmer and more flush with the band. This should help with chafing. And has a different style. Lastly, the LEDs moved to the top, so when you’re wearing it, you can see if it’s working easier:
Use & Pairing
Since the TICKR has both BLE and ANT+ you can use it with just about any device on the market. Watches, cycling computers, etc. But you also have Wahoo’s own suite of apps. Using Wahoo Utility you can check the latest status of the heart rate sensor.
If you don’t own a running watch, or cycling computer, you can use the TICKR just with the Wahoo App. The app pairs with the TICKR quite smoothly and once you’re setup you can do a ride, using your phone as cycling computer.
Wahoo doesn’t support Running Dynamics completely in their app or on the RIVAL (yet), but it does have a metric called Running Efficiency.
Device free workouts
The TICKR has internal storage for up to 50 hours of workouts, and from the moment you put it on it will start recording. Using the Wahoo App you can later retrieve these workouts and find your HR data, this is great if you use it for soccer, climbing, tennis, boxing, etc, where cadence and distance are less relevant. You can find the Device free workouts in the Wahoo App too.
The TICKR X is the top of the line in terms of HR sensors for Wahoo and as I said earlier, there hasn’t been much development in the past years in the field of HR sensors. We’re seeing some extra information on Running in terms of Running Dynamics, but that’s only over ANT+ and only really on Garmin watches. You can get indoor cycling cadence, but when you have a smart trainer, that data is more reliable.
The new TICKR X now also supports Running Dynamics over ANT. With a notable omission of GCT Balance. I personally am a fan of Running Dynamics and it’s interesting to check your technique, but also to see if you are overcompensating for that pain/sting/whatever in your hip, leg, knee, ankle, or.. whatever. That the GCT Balance is missing might be the hardest metric not to have. Besides a great indicator of your technique en running efficiency, I use it to see if that weird feeling is nothing, or I’m over compensating and just in general use it as an early injury indicator.
Heart rate sensors basically come in two flavours. Optical and electrical. The TICKRS are electrical HR sensors that sit across your chest. But I don’t have to tell you that. Electrical sensing is the most direct and usually the most reliable way of measuring heart rate. The sensor detects the actual pulses originating from your heart. Not blood flow.
So. Nothing note worthy apart from the Verity Sense having a rare off day. A second set had a rough start for the TICKR. But it was colder outside than I thought and after I wetted the contacts proper it was happy to join the party.
The run was with some hill intervals:
So I fixed the issue at about thee 8:30 mark when I noticed it underreporting. From then on it’s bang on with the Polar H10. The other blue-green line is a VivoActive 4s, optical HR watch. Which is a tad slower to pick up and drop, which is expected.
Battery Life & replacement
The TICKR has a battery life of about 500 hours and works on a simple CR2032 battery. It’s easily replaced too. All you have to do is flip the pod over and you can see the battery cover. Sadly you can not see the battery level in the Wahoo Apps, so I’d recommend replacing it before you do a race.
With a coin or two credit cards, or something thin and sturdy you can twist the cover off and see the battery. Pop a new one in, reverse the twist and you’re done. Too easy.
It’s hard to say if a compare makes sense. If you’re in the Wahoo realm, maybe. But if you’re not, then you should consider it as ‘just another HR monitor’. However, it does allow to store exercises locally. Where if you would compare this, Garmin’s HR sensors do not, and Polar has the Verity Sense with local storage, of which you can read my review here, but that has no other form of metrics. Or you want to see a broader comparison have a look at Matt LeGrand’s video about HR monitors. The normal TICKRS are just good and reliable HR sensors and the TICKR-X is a good competition for Garmin’s HRM-Pro. It even has the running dynamics AND can be used stand alone, and all that for almost half the price.
Obviously, why buy a TICKR X if you don’t need the X? So, what’s the USP of the X over the ‘normal’ TICKRs? Well, here we go:
Local Storage, Running Dynamics / Running Efficiency, Indoor cycling cadence, Treadmill distance & pace, tapping control for markers/laps, Wahoo App / Music control via taps (iOS only).
And lastly, you can upload your workouts to third party apps directly when you sync the offline file. But if you don’t have this, you can still get your workout on Strava. Other than that, the TICKRs are the same. Same max battery life, same connectivity and same accuracy.
What’s to say. I love the TICKR. It’s a great heart rate monitor and provides a bunch of data and insights. It has great connectivity and all of this for a very decent price. The only comment I’d have is missing the GCT Balance, but if you don’t use that, it’s a great HR monitor.
The MRSP of the TICKR X is $79/£64/€79. And at current this seems to be the price I see everywhere. Amazon has sold it for $73 a couple of times though.
And for a complete overview here are the ‘normal’ TICKR prices:
Just a note about the “links to buy” in this article, as they are sponsored. I do look for the lowest price I can find at the time of writing in a handful of stores, but by using the links I earn from qualifying purchases made through these links.