Wahoo RFLKT iPhone Bike Computer Review – First Impressions
Today’s Blog is a bit of a review – not something I normally do but here goes!
Over the past year I’ve dabbled with several iPhone cycling apps to record my workouts and road rides. I’ve pretty much tried all of the top apps from Endomondo, Cyclemeter, MapMyRide and Strava. The two that up until now that I have stuck with as favourites are MMR and Strava.
With regard to sensors I went for Wahoo’s ANT+ heart rate and speed/cadence sensors and have found that the Wahoo Fitness app is great for having all of the important data on screen (the latest v3.0’s facelift is really nice). The app is also great for quickly uploading direct to Strava and MapMyRide (amongst others) with a one press.
So I’ve been giving thought to purchasing a handlebar cycle computer as I’m reluctant to put my iPhone on there – even in a case. This presents somewhat of a problem though when I’ve got the phone in my jersey pocket and I’ve been lacking the eyes-on data feedback during the ride. I’ve been giving consideration to buying a Garmin 500 or 510 but Wahoo’s latest offering, the RFLKT caught my eye – with functionality, customization potential and crucially for me the price at almost half the price (at current exchange rate) of a new Garmin 500.
The RFLKT basically does no more than display the data being presented to it from the paired iPhone and therefore uses a small amount of power – a coin battery which should last about a year. The device pairs with iPhones from the 4S onwards (and the iPad Mini) as it relies on the lower power Bluetooth 4.0.
After a quick query on Wahoo’s facebook page to check that my combination of an iPhone 5, my ANT+ sensors that I’ve yet to upgrade to Bluetooth and the Wahoo Key and a (very quick) positive response from Wahoo Support, I took the plunge and ordered directly from their site. The RFLKT is not yet available in the UK but even with priority delivery from FedEx on top of the $129 list price, the whole conversion still came in at £109 – well below Garmin territory.
Upon opening the packaging, the included kit includes the RFLKT (obviously!), some attachments for mounting on the bike stem and an already attached mount for the handlebar, which I opted for.
I had it mounted on the bar of my roadie within a couple of minutes and no more again to have it paired with my iPhone via the Wahoo Fitness app. I’d already spent a little while the previous night fiddling with the RFLKT settings on the app to set up my preferred screen configurations. RFLKT allows you to upload custom pages to the device, the number of which is dictated by the complexity of the page itself. So for instance you may get away with five or six pages of data where you have a relatively small amount of info displayed, compared to perhaps 3-4 where you’ve got four plus boxes on the page. I like to have a lot of data to hand, so set my main screen up like the image to the right.
With all of the sensors paired it was time to give the RFLKT a proper go. I came up against a bit of an issue with my iPhone 5 running the Wahoo Fitness app where the screen would come up and all of the values would update but every few seconds it looked like it was trying to re-download the page configuration. A bit puzzled I tested the same configuration and sensor combination on my iPad Mini and had no problem whatsoever. I’m going to raise a case with Wahoo on this one and will update. ** UPDATE – FIXED!! (see below).
The RFLKT is now (since the last week of March) supported in Cyclemeter. I haven’t used this app in a while but still had it installed so thought I’d give that a go as well. To enable RFLKT in Cyclemeter you have to pay a one-off £1.99 in app purchase. Seems a bit cheeky to me but I went for it nonetheless. With Cyclemeter, you can really start to see what the 3rd party developers (in this case Abvio) are looking to do with RFLKT.
The customization options are even better than the native Wahoo app and the device worked brilliantly. You can manipulate box sizes, invert colour schemes, set additional button controls to name a few. The Cyclemeter RFLKT page is quite an interesting read to give you an idea.
I think I’m going to run with Cyclemeter again for a while and export my workouts to Strava and MMR from there. It’s not quite as slick as how it’s done from the WF app but workable nonetheless.
So in conclusion, apart from the strange iPhone 5 niggle with the native Wahoo Fitness app, I’m really pleased so far with my purchase! It has the potential to be a real challenger to the Garmins of this world – especially when you start seeing the app developers introducing things like turn by turn directions etc. The potential is (almost) never ending which will be able to set the product apart from the competition. Apparently native Strava app support is coming very soon so that’ll be interesting when it arrives.
** I received a (very fast) response from Wahoo Support to address my iPhone 5 issue. Looks to have done the trick! See below for email received.
“We have identified the Bluetooth communication error present in some devices (including yours) that causes the iPhone to continually reload page data on the RFLKT. A general firmware update will be available soon for the RFLKT that will correct the page load error as well as offer additional functionality, but an incremental (Beta) firmware update is available to those few of you experiencing the page load error. Please update your RFLKT using the following steps:
Turn RFLKT on, Open the Wahoo Utility app, tap test BT sensors, Tap RFLKT, when RFLKT finishes connecting and displays the message “I’m working!”, touch RFLKT icon (top left corner) and quickly swipe the screen to the right towards the yellow Smiley Face and then back to RFLKT icon. You should now see an option to upgrade your RFLKT firmware. If two or more firmware versions are displayed, choose RFLKT_188.8.131.52 or higher. Once your firmware is upgraded, the “Loading pages” error should be fixed.
Note that because this is currently a Beta firmware update, your iPhone will ask you to update your firmware each time you start the main Wahoo Fitness app. For now, you should decline the second update or your iPhone will reinstall the old firmware on your RFLKT.”
Further EDIT 12/04/2013 – Wahoo have released a final version of the RFLKT firmware that was trialled in beta above. From their facebook page…
RFLKT owners, We just released a small firmware update to fix some memory full calculations, you can now safely hit 100%. It also fixes a few connection issues with some iOS devices. Update via the WahooUtility.We are finalising another update to RFLKT and our App that should cover nearly all the awesome requests you have had.Happy RFLKTing!