Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL Review 

We now live in a world full fitness trackers. There are many companies big and small trying to take a piece of the pie. And depending on what your actual priorities, ecosystem, and goals are, only a handful of devices are truly worth an investment in. 

Personally, I’ve been using an Apple Watch as a my daily driver, and a Garmin Forerunner 945 for training and races. The first point will remain the same as I am an avid Apple user. I use an iPhone 12 Pro, iPad, Macbook, AirPods, iCloud etc. It only makes sense for me to use an Apple Watch in my daily use for things like iMessage quick replies, alerts, reminders, podcast and music control, and I do use it for simple fitness tracking such as walking or weightlifting. So, if you’re an Android user, this may be totally different for you. 

The later situation is a bit different. When I get into my serious training and long-distance races, I will use a dedicated smart watch. While, the Garmin 945 has been highly regarded, is there room for a competitor in this space? 

Wahoo is answering that call. They are the company that makes industry leading products such as the KICKR indoor smart turbo trainer, and the BOLT bike computer. I actually use and absolutely love both of these devices, and consider them significantly important for my cycling fitness routine. So, it would make sense for them to also make a smart watch of their own right?

Enter their first foray into the smart watch market, the Wahoo ELEMNT Rival. Right off the bat, the watch looks gorgeous and feels like a durable and solid product. The Rival is touted as a “triathlon specific” tracker. And one of it’s big selling points is that during a race, the watch is able to detect and switch from swim, to T1, to bike, to T2, and to run automatically. 

The design of the Rival is very straight forward and elegant. It has a large watch face, and the controls are very intuitive to navigate through. 

A full-distance triathlon such as an IRONMAN has a 17-hour cutoff. While the pros will finish in half that time, and majority of age groupers will finish well before that, it’s always peace of mind to know that your tracking devices have plenty of extra juice. The Rival boasts 24 hours of GPS mode, and 14 days in regular watch mode. So you should have no concerns in any of your upcoming races. 

While this is a specific race watch, there are some features lacking for the price point. Important features such as sleep tracking, navigation, and training analysis are not available, at least for the moment. 

Overall, the ELEMNT Rival is a fantastic first step for Wahoo. And hopefully with some future firmware updates, they can unlock more potential in the device to really make it a true lifestyle competitor as well. 

About author

Chief Editor & Founder of Live in Limbo. Host & Producer of the Capsule Podcast. Sean is an award-winning photographer and Nikon Professional Services member. His work has appeared on the CBC, Pitchfork, and MUCH. He is an Academy Delegate at the JUNOs (CARAS) and has been involved in the Toronto music scene since 2005. He is also an endurance and CrossFit athlete. You should follow him on Twitter @SeanChin.