Review: Wahoo Fitness RFLKT iPhone Powered Cycling Computer

Wahoo Fitness RFLKT iPhone powered cycling computer and app review

The Wahoo Fitness RFLKT computer is simply a remote control and display for their cycling computer app running on your iPhone.

With so many of us using Strava or the like, being able to instantly upload rides and workout data to the cloud has turned many of our phones into our default cycling computers, too. Wahoo saw this, along with the pain of having a $400 device that we rely on all but 24/7 strapped to our handlebars. Out there. Unprotected. Vulnerable.

Their solution was the RFLKT, which, as the name implies, reflects what’s being recorded while also giving you control over your music. It’s nifty, but it’s also a bit pricey. Click on through and see if it reflects your own wants and needs…

BOX CONTENTS & WEIGHTS

Wahoo Fitness RFLKT iPhone powered cycling computer and app review

For $129.99, you get a waterproof device that communicates with your iPhone 4s/5 via Bluetooth 4.0.

Wahoo Fitness RFLKT iPhone powered cycling computer and app review

The kit includes an “out front” style mount, a traditional handlebar/stem mount, various adapters for smaller diameter bars and just enough instruction to send you to their website to really figure it out.

Wahoo Fitness RFLKT iPhone powered cycling computer and app review

Depending on which way you mount it, you’ll end up with a total weight of 157g to 160g with an iPhone 5. The computer unit is so light because there are very little guts…it doesn’t have to do any of the data crunching or recording. Your phone’s doing all the heavy lifting. But, without its screen running for the duration of the ride, you’ll save a lot of battery power, making it useful for, you know, making a phone call or finding your way home.

It’s worth pointing out that you’ll need to be running the Wahoo Fitness cycling app, a free download from iTunes, to use the RFLKT. And that’s fine, because it’s a pretty darn good cycling app.

REVIEW & USAGE

The RFLKT is a handy device if your iPhone serves as your primary (or only) cycling computer. One thing left out of the video is that you can also customize the function of each button, including Play/Pause for your music and a Pause/Resume function for the workout, among others. Because it’s running through your phone, it’ll also sync up and report data from their Bluetooth speed/cadence sensor and heart rate monitors. It’ll also pull power data from Stages Cycling’s crank based PM (and, presumably, any other BT transmitting power meter).

There are also “Trigger Screens” that let you create a special page that the computer will jump to every time you hit the trigger button.

It’s a nice touch that they include the “out front” style mount in the box, seems people like that sort of thing these days. It’s also nice because, well, the other mount kinda sucks:

Wahoo Fitness RFLKT iPhone powered cycling computer and app review

To install it, you need to remove the computer from the mount (which requires a small flathead), otherwise you’re never getting your fingers and the rubber straps over those hooks.

Wahoo Fitness RFLKT iPhone powered cycling computer and app review

Mounting it on the handlebar actually required needle nose pliers to hold the band through the little hole while my other hand pushed it over the hook. You’d be better off putting it on the stem, except…

Wahoo Fitness RFLKT iPhone powered cycling computer and app review

…the band broke overnight after just a couple weeks on the bike. Glad it didn’t happen on a ride. Basically, just use the out front mount and sling the bands at co-workers for fun.

Mounting grips aside, it’s easy to use once you figure it out. Instructions could be clearer, particularly about where within the app you change the settings and sync the RFLKT to your phone, but it’s easy enough to sort out. And, actually, digging through the app helps familiarize you with all of its features. They also have videos on their support page. They even have a Utility app that’ll run diagnostics on your Wahoo hardware.

Buttons are easy to push even with full finger gloves, and the display is clear and bright enough to view in direct sunlight. Besides prolonging battery life and keeping your phone safely within a pocket or pack, a nice feature of this system is that updates to the app are likely quicker and easier than plugging yet another device into your computer, downloading updates and installing. It’ll be cool to see what other functions they can build into the app to let the RFLKT control in the future.

Would we recommend it? If you’re already invested in Wahoo’s HR or S/C hardware, then yeah, sure. If you already own a good cycling computer or don’t have an iPhone, probably not.

The music in the video is from my friend Scott’s band, Moonshine Rooster, which rocks.

Comments

DSA - 03/20/13 - 6:49pm

Why would you put all that crap on your handlebar?? Jest get a Garmin and call it a day!!

harrochan - 03/20/13 - 7:18pm

because you’re paying $400 for a poverty 20 ppi device in a garmin that’s thicker than 2 iPhones.

Tyler (Editor) - 03/20/13 - 8:30pm

Oh, and I should mention, I only had my phone mounted on the handlebar to illustrate how it works. I don’t ride with both on the bar.

DSA - 03/20/13 - 9:25pm

Ok now that makes sense-my bad

g - 03/20/13 - 11:15pm

Why would you waste your time reviewing such a piece of sh!t? And who is buying iphones anymore ? Do people really need all this crap ? Just go out and ride. There is no substitute if you want to improve your racing. If you don’t race, why put all this on a scale. Try losing a few pounds instead. Or is that too much effort ?

Jones - 03/20/13 - 11:55pm

Great idea. One thing I have noticed with Garmins etc is that they all seem to fail after awhile – it might take a year or two but all that vibration on a MTB will kill the electronics eventually. If the cpu/phone is actually cushioned in your pocket/pack that won’t be an issue.

Another plus is that this could open up more phones like android ones to being bike computers if they had the app available for android and bluetooth. Heck port the app to Blackberry as well!

MaLóL - 03/21/13 - 12:35am

awesome idea. This should cost 50$ or less. awesome idea, rip off price. garmin should make one for 30$.

Chris - 03/21/13 - 12:46am

@g angry much?

Myke - 03/21/13 - 3:03am

What a dumb idea and big deal the Garmin has 20ppi. Do you on surfing the net on it? If you are worried about ppi then bring a laptop.

jdog - 03/21/13 - 5:13am

If you are going to have your phone in your pocket anyway and you use a garmin 500 or lesser, this is a better solution. If you use a Garmin with mapping than this will not be a good solution for you.

I have played with this and it is perfect for the nerd herders who are using their phones on their bars to run strava.

This is a good product and with your screen asleep on your phone the battery life should be pretty solid.

I am pretty stoked to try this on my dirtbike too.

Flow - 03/21/13 - 7:57am

Who is buying iPhones? Everyone. iPhone is the most popular phone in the world. Granted there are more androids but any single android phone is less popular than iPhone. At any rate, who cares? Both are great platforms.

Buying this.

Brandon - 03/21/13 - 9:36am

What if you are running an ANT+ power meter with an iPhone 5?

gravity - 03/21/13 - 9:59am

I’m not sure I buy the extended battery life stuff. As an occasional Strava for iPhone user, I can tell you that during one longish ride (80-100 miles), even with the phone in my back pocket (never checking the screen, except to turn it off and on again at extended stops), Strava’s GPS will drain my iPhone 4S battery completely at ~75% of the way through my ride. I don’t see why this would be any different, but I’d like to be wrong.

WorkHardDog - 03/21/13 - 10:09am

I sell Wahoo Fitness and I like it. The RFLKT will be available to sell on 4/1. If you want one, call me and I will give you free shipping. 479-six one six-3668.

Eyal - 03/21/13 - 11:07am

@gravity That’s exactly what I thought. This product is very strange. How on earth could extend your battery lifer, when you now have to turn Bluetooth on. The constant communication between this device and your phone will drain the battery even quicker! Strava drains my iPhone 4s battery to 75% in 5 hours. And drains my friends iPhone 5 in 5.5-6 hours. But you to remember to turn the Wi-fi off. As much I dislike the monopoly of Garmin, just get a Garmin 500/510. This thing aslo doesn’t come with heart rate strap or a cadence sensor. Do the math.

Mallory - 03/21/13 - 2:57pm

@g…
Relax your balls a bit…
you’re gonna hurt yourself.
With all the wisdom you expound,
I’m sure this forum will flood with requests for your insight & advice …


(crickets)…

chip - 03/21/13 - 4:11pm

@Brandon – Hey, Chip from Wahoo here. The only solution today is our ANT+ Key with a lightning to 30 pin adaptor. Apple sells a dongle version and a short 6″ corded version. We’re working on a couple of more elegant solutions, but nothing to announce yet.

chip - 03/21/13 - 4:14pm

@Tyler – The rubber band issue caught us off guard. The first production batch quality was terrible. We caught the problem within a couple of days of shipping and replaced the rubber bands in all the remaining units. If you happened to purchase one the first couple days, shoot us an email and we’ll fix you up with a replacement! If you buy one today, it’s fixed! – Chip from Wahoo

chip - 03/21/13 - 4:21pm

@Battery Life – The RFLKT uses BT40 which is like ANT in it’s power drain. The drain on the iPhone’s battery to communicate with the RFLKT is negligible because it is using BT40. With a full battery in an iPhone 5 using our Wahoo App with GPS on and screen off you can easily get 8 hours of riding on a single charge.
- Chip from Wahoo

Lee - 03/23/13 - 3:04pm

@chip – I am about to buy a new computer with cadence and thought this would be a great unit. Perhaps you – or anyone else – can answer a couple of questions. Wahoo offers a lot of products and different ways to connect to the iPhone (ie, ANT+ or BT40)

1: Can you recommend the best product solution to connect a Speed Sensor, Cadence Sensor, and Heart Rate Monitor?

2: What if I don’t have my iPhone with me, can the speed and cadence sensors communicate with the RFLKT with the iPhone – or is the iPhone required?

3: If I have wired headphones connected to the iPhone in my jersey pocket, can I receive a call from the RFLKT – or do I need to use the inline headphone remote?

Lee - 03/23/13 - 4:03pm

EDIT:

2: What if I don’t have my iPhone with me, can the speed and cadence sensors communicate with the RFLKT WITHOUT the iPhone – or is the iPhone required?

Tyler - 03/24/13 - 4:47pm

I was excited to finally get the RFLKT, but after a month+ of usage I’d put back on my old wired computer if I weren’t so lazy. The reason: the WahooFitness app crashes frequently mid-ride. I did a 200K yesterday and it’s in four separate segments.

It’s rare to ride for 2+ hours without the app freezing or crashing. With the RFLKT, you’ll see all the numbers stop updating and it’s your cue to pull over, fish out the iPhone and restart. Sometimes the app will seem to be running still, but it’s clearly not working. If you exit it and restart, you’ll immediately be given the “app quit unexpectedly, send report?” popup.

Personally, I’m hoping that Strava comes out with RFLKT support since there’s been 3 WahooFitness updates and the stability has not improved in practice. I love the BT hardware they make as I have the HR strap and speed/cadence sensor, but they need a better software team.

Tyler - 03/24/13 - 4:48pm

One post-script: both of my bands broke as mentioned on the review. The matching plastic cradle also snapped when I to install the RFLKT, to boot.

ChrisA - 03/25/13 - 7:40pm

Chip: My wife got one of the first RFLKTs and we had the same problem with the band (she wanted a stem mount). I’m happy to report that zipties fit in the slots where the rubber bands go. Why even bother with the rubber bands?

ChrisA - 03/25/13 - 7:42pm

Oh, one problem we ARE having is that the I cannot get the RFLKT out of the cradle. I was afraid I was going to damage the screen if I used too much pressure. It is really a minor problem since I engineered the zip tie fix but if she decided to use the out front mount instead, I’m not sure I could get the unit out of the cradle.

Tyler - 03/26/13 - 9:29am

@ChrisA: it took me a little while to figure out how to remove the RFLKT from its cradle–it really snaps in snug. Wahoo has a youtube video that covers it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=G6eVaTmkuzY Any thin-and-flat tool like a flathead screwdriver will also work if you’ve misplaced the special tool.

One other thing I learned is that when installing the computer, make sure you hear an audible click when seating the bottom of it before trying to get the top to snap in. If that doesn’t happen you can press it in all you like and it won’t go.

Ashley Masen - 06/25/13 - 1:52pm

I own a RFLKT and I love it. Why would you get it? If you use your phone as the center point for all your cycling data. With Wahoo Fitness’s products, I can track my speed/cadence/heart rate and have all that displayed on a little meter in front of my computer. Afterwards I can upload all of that to Strava/Runkeeper/Nike/Mapmyfitness and see how I did and where I can make improvements (sometimes it’s just awesome to see how well you’ve improved).

As for battery life concerns, I’ve had this since it came out and have yet to replace the batter after 600 miles of riding. My iPhone can easily last for a 4 hour ride (and come out with 60% power left).

The only issue that bugs me is that it isn’t easy to snap on/off the bike and that the tool they give you to do this, slowly breaks the plastic apart (i’ve found using the flat screwdriver from my multi-tool works better if I just insert it instead of prying).

Mark - 08/16/14 - 9:52pm

The RLFKT is just as bad as Wahoo’s customer service!! I installed mine to find the battery already dead. I replaced it only to find it dead again the next day. Customer service told me to buy another battery (another $7) and update the firmware which I did – again – 1 day later, another dead battery.

beware – don’t buy!!!!!

Joe Grigsby - 09/15/14 - 1:02pm

Love my RFLKT… and up till this point has been a very valuable tool. but it will not stay on and keep working on any ride i do . I have replaced the battery twice thinking maybe it was an issue there. But there seems to be some other issue. I really really want this to work as it is exactly what i have been wanting. but if it is not going to stay on for more than 5 to 10 minutes of my 8 hour ride then whats the point. Any thoughts from those who have used it for long or that maybe from wahoo? Thanks so much

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.