Garmin has long been dominating the best running watch and best triathlon watch lists with its Forerunner series but this pre-eminence might come to an end thanks to the new Wahoo Elemnt Rival GPS multisport watch. Wahoo's first fitness watch sports a slew of great features found in other watches and also a couple that are unique to the Elemnt Rival. Can the Garmin Forerunner family be dethroned?
Wahoo is not new to the running-cycling-triathlon scene. Its cycling computers are up there with the best Garmin models, not to mention the Wahoo Kickr series, considered the best turbo trainers by many cyclists. There is also the Wahoo Kickr Bike, a monster of an indoor exercise bike that is equally as pricey as it is capable. With the launch of the new Elemnt Rival watch, Wahoo is in a virgin territory.
Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL: availability and price
the Wahoo Elemnt Rival is available today and can be purchased for £349.99 at Wahoo.
Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL: main features
First and foremost, Wahoo defines the Elemnt Rival as a triathlon watch and the new 'Touchless Transition' technology further underlines this. In theory, this feature enables triathletes to switch from swim to ride to run without touching their watch. Better still, the Rival's 'Multisport Handover' mode allows it to interact with ELEMNT GPS cycling computers to transition race data from the watch to a cycling computer during the bike leg of a multi-sport activity such as a triathlon, "ensuring that race data is always easy to see allowing athletes to focus solely on their race", as Wahoo puts it.
Judging the images, the Wahoo Elemnt Rival can display up to six data fields during workouts on its sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel screen, not dissimilar to high-end Garmin watches. The 1.23", 36-colour screen has a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels. There is also a built-in ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the backlight.
The Wahoo Elemnt Rival has a bunch of sensors on board including a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, GPS and, of course, an optical heart rate sensor. We haven't got much information about the type of sensors and chips the Rival uses, let alone their accuracy. On paper, it all looks dandy.
The watch is also ANT+ and Bluetooth enabled. Following workouts, data is available in the Wahoo companion app and can be automatically uploaded to third-party platforms like TrainingPeaks and Strava. RIVAL also connects with ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors and can control Wahoo KICKR smart trainers and Wahoo cycling computers.
The battery life is also excellent: the rechargeable lithium-ion battery will last for up to 24 hours in GPS mode and up to 14 days in smartwatch mode. Compare this with the up to 16 hours / seven days battery life (respectively) of the Garmin Forerunner 745 or the up to 30 hours / 20 days battery life of the Coros Pace 2.
The Wahoo Elemnt Rival has a ceramic bezel, weighs 53 grams and has a water-rating of 50 metres (or 5 ATM). Using the Wahoo TickrX heart rate monitor, the watch can also track advanced running dynamics.