A few months ago, Element.ly co-founder Jim Merithew handed me a handful of new products to review. Some looked awesome, some looked like crap. When I first saw the Wahoo RFLKT+ computer and BeetsBLU heart rate monitor, I firmly slotted them in the latter category. The Wahoo looked a little cheap and I’m not a fan of adding more electronics and screens to my ride. On top of it, both devices connect via Bluetooth, which I’ve spent more time cursing than using successfully in the past.
I don’t typically like computers on my bikes, but I do have a weakness for Strava. I like to track my riding stats and occasionally heckle my riding buddies when I beat them on an especially sweet segment. I use the Strava app on my iPhone and happily stow it out of sight in a pocket or pack until the end of the ride. I’m totally happy with this arrangement on trail rides, but on long road or “adventure” rides, sometimes it’s nice to see some data while riding. Seeing your speed displayed and maintaining it during your pull in a well-oiled paceline or metering out your heart rate and MPH on a long ride so you don’t implode (or miss dinner with your spouse) can be a real life-saver.
The Wahoo RFLKT+ is not a bike computer in the traditional sense. In fact, it’s merely a monitor that displays your Strava data during your ride. I downloaded the Wahoo app, paired the RFLKT+ to my iPhone, and told it what data I wanted it to display. After that, I’d just merely turn it on when I got on the bike and that’s it. It worked flawlessly every time, the tiny battery is still going strong after months of use, and it automatically turns off after ending my ride. It neatly tucks onto the top of my 110mm stem and is way sleeker and less dorky than attaching your smartphone to your cockpit. It shrugged off light rain and sweat without complaint.
The BeetsBLU heart monitor was just as easy to setup and flawless in use as the Wahoo. That’s really the appeal of these two devices. In a world of devices that promise to do a bazillion thing at once, the BeetsBLU and Wahoo each do merely one thing and do it well. My only complaint is that the Wahoo RFLKT+ at $130, is a bit pricier than maybe it should be. But it’s still less than half what a standalone GPS computer would be. The lower priced RFLKT ($100) lacks all the ANT+ connectivity I don’t use, but still has all the key features I love.The BeetsBLU heart rate monitor is a no-brainer at $40.