Wahoo's RFLKT Remote Bike Computer For iPhone: Great Idea, Let Down By Hardware [Review] | Cult of Mac

Wahoo’s RFLKT Remote Bike Computer For iPhone: Great Idea, Let Down By Hardware [Review]


RFLKT by Wahoo
Category: Sports/Fitness
Works With: iPhone 4S+5, iPad 3,4, mini
Price: $130

The promise of the Wahoo RFLKT is of a tiny, ultralight box with an LCD readout which displays information from an iPhone cycling app on the handlebars of your bike. You get the advantage of using your favorite tracking app, and also of having an easy to read and control HUD, instead of having to buy an expensive GPS-enabled bike computer.

The reality comes somewhat short.

What It Does

The RFLKT is a two-ounce box which runs off a button cell, and has a mono LCD display, four buttons and a Bluetooth 4 radio. Using the Wahoo app (with other apps like Cyclemeter adding support in forthcoming updates), you can customize the readout, and choose what the buttons do. Various options include taking lap times, starting and stopping the timer, controlling the music on your connected iPhone (and displaying the currently playing track), and just about anything that the app will let you do.

The Good

The backlight is sufficient, but barely.

The big advantage is that the RFLKT can become whatever the iPhone software tells it to be. In theory, even a non-fitness app could pair with it an se it as a HUD and remote for, say, taking photos.

It’s also a lot easier to configure the screen layouts using your iOS device than it ever was for me to configure my Garmin EDGE 500 standalone bike computer.

And finally, the RFLKT lets you use your iPad or iPad mini as a bike computer. Mounting a full-sized iPad on your handlebars is absurd (I know: I’ve done it), but keeping one in a pannier or backpack to power this tiny display is ideal.

And in this regard the RFLKT is great. The battery seems to be lasting just fine, and more importantly the drain on the iPhone is minimal. I ride a 26km circuit most days, in about an hour, and I tried the RFLKT out alongside the Garmin. Responsiveness is great, and updating of info from the iPhone is a fast as you like.

Responsiveness is great, and updating of info from the iPhone is fast

One warning though: be careful that you remember what you programmed the buttons to do – I had one of mine set to play/pause and got home to find my iPhone had been playing music for the last hour.

Accuracy-wise, the RFLKT is fine. That’s because it relies entirely on the iPhone for its data (the Wahoo app actually counted my distance as a few KM different from the Garmin. Weird, as both use GPS. Maybe it’s because the iPhone was in a handlebar bag and the Garmin was up on the bars.

The Bad

The problem is the hardware. As you can see from the photo, I broke the mount within a week or two. This may be for a few of reasons: it was freezing cold. The plastic is crappy, and the design of the mount requires that you use a key (or included metal stick) to prize the RFLKT out of the handlebar mount before you can remove that mount. It seems that you’re supposed to leave it on there all the time, which isn’t a great idea if you live in a city.

The problem is the hardware. I broke the mount within a week

Speaking of mounts, there are two: the one I broke connects with rubber bands (it’s super solid) and the other screws on and holds the unit out in front on a short arm.

The other problem is the screen. Remember those old game’n’watch LCD games which only had a thin plastic sheet over the screen? When you pressed the display you’d see the liquid in the Liquid Crystal splodging out under your thumb. The RFLKT does that too, even through it has a hard screen.

Oops! Even with careful use, the design of the bracket means you’ll be putting a lot of strain on it.

The last problem is simply one of design. If you use sensors on your bike or body, then you might want to go with something like Garmin’s EDGE, which isn’t really all that much more expensive than the RFLKT. Because if you want to use a power meter, and/or heart rate monitor and/or cadence meter and so on with your iPhone and your RFLKT, you’re going to be pairing them all every time you go out. And if you use an ANT+ dongle to let your iPhone talk direct to regular sport monitors, then you are just adding hardware to hardware.

Compare that to my EDGE 500 which automatically detects whichever of the speed-O-meter, the cadence meter, power meter and HRM happen to be on and nearby.

The Verdict

The RFLKT is a great idea, let down by hardware. I wouldn’t trust it for a week-long bike trip in good weather, let alone an hour in the driving rain. I broke the mount in a week (and I’m a careful chap with a delicate touch), and I don’t like the feel of the buttons, which you have to press too hard.

My advice? Stick with a Garmin, or just buy a tough handlebar mount for your iPhone.

Product Name: : RFLKT

The Good: Convenient, easy to use.

The Bad: Crappy, plasticky hardware.

The Verdict Fails to live up to the promise. Wait for v2.

Buy from: Wahoo Fitness



Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.