Tested: Wahoo TRACKR HEART RATE Monitor

Wahoo has launched the start of a new line of accessories branded as TRACKR. An updated heart rate monitor is first on their list; the TRACKR HEART RATE monitor replaces the TICKR chest strap HR monitor. However, the optical TICKR Fit Armband HR monitor will continue to be offered for the foreseeable future.

What’s new with the TRACKR HEART RATE Monitor? The two main changes are moving away from a coin battery toward a rechargeable unit and claims of increased accuracy. There’s also changes to the way the strap connects. Below I show comparisons between the new TRACKR HEART RATE (top) and the old TICKR HR monitor (bottom). I’ve been using the new TRACKR HEART RATE the last two weeks.

Although the size of the HR monitoring unit has been reduced with the TRACKR HEART RATE compared to the TICKR, the width and material of the strap remains the same.

The smaller TRACKR HEART RATE unit is more comfortable because you notice it slightly less sitting on your chest.

By removing the need for a coin battery door, the TRACKR HEART RATE unit could be reduced in height top to bottom. However, the unit remains essentially the same in the side width.

The TRACKR HEART RATE unit is recharged with a proprietary magnetic cord. Though I appreciate being able to recharge the unit and moving away from coin batteries, I’m not a fan of having yet another special charging cord that I need to keep track of.

Similar use of snaps to connect the unit to the strap, comparing the new TRACKR HEART RATE and the old TICKR.

The detection area on the straps has increased slightly, which may having something to do with Wahoo’s claims of increased accuracy.

The strap adjustment on the TRACKR HEART RATE has been simplified, which is a welcome change. The double adjustment on the old TICKR always took extra effort to lay flat.

The new TRACKR HEART RATE uses a hook clasp instead of connecting with the snaps on the old TICKR. The TICKR is definitely easier to put on, snapping together at the center of your chest. The new TRACKR HEART RATE requires you to reach around to your side to hook the clasp in the loop. Alternatively you can hook it in the front and then spin the strap into place.

Works As It Should


Over the last two weeks testing the new Wahoo TRACKR HEART RATE, my lasting impression is that it does what it should to the point that I don’t have to think about it. This was also true of the old TICKR.

I had no problems connecting the TRACKR HEART RATE to all my different devices. It’s up to speed with both ANT+ and multi-Bluetooth connectivity. In short, there’s no issues connecting to all the Wahoo and Garmin computers that I have around. Also no problem pairing it to apps on my phone and gaming PC.

The rechargeable battery is supposed to last over 100 hours of use. I charged it once and haven’t needed to recharge it since I’ve been using the unit. I’m all about moving away from coin batteries, but lost is the convenience of instantly reviving a dead unit with a battery swap. The initial charge time was reasonable, though. I’m gradually developing better pre-ride recharging rituals as more and more components on my bike require batteries.

Accuracy


Wahoo claims the new TRACKR HEART RATE is more accurate with an improved algorithm. I asked for more details, but the Wahoo representatives were reluctant to share evidence that supports their claim. I’m not too worried about that, but I’m always working on my cardiologist to trust my HR data that I’m capturing. I’ve pretty much won him over and can show him my SVT episodes when they happen, but it would be nice if Wahoo could do that work for me by making their accuracy details available.

Do You Need It?


If you are in the market for a new HR monitor, take a closer look at the Wahoo TRACKR HEART RATE for its increased connectivity (up to 3 Bluetooth devices at once) and rechargeability (moving away from coin batteries). Other than those two main selling points, I don’t see a need to run out and buy the new TRACKR HEART RATE if your current strap is doing everything you want it to do. MSRP is $89.99.