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Wahoo Fitness Blue SC Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Sensor In-Depth Review

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There’s a new sensor in town, and for a change, this one isn’t ANT+.  Instead, it’s a new Bluetooth Smart (aka Bluetooth Low Energy) sensor, one designed to track your speed and cadence information while on a bike.  Following the Wahoo Blue HR naming scheme for their Bluetooth Heart Rate strap, they’ve named this the Wahoo Blue SC.

Bluetooth Smart is a subset of the Bluetooth 4.0 specification, which allows super-low energy sensors/devices that can operate on a single coin CR2032 cell battery for a year or more (Wahoo specifies 2 years for the Blue SC).  This directly competes with another low-energy standard, ANT+.  ANT+ is the child of Dynastream, which is owned by Garmin – though it does have more than 300 companies that use the technology (including every Garmin competitor except Polar).  Meanwhile, Bluetooth Smart comes from the Bluetooth SIG, which is a standards and steering entity.  This is the same Bluetooth organization that brings you all the other Bluetooth devices you know and love daily.

The key difference though is that these new Bluetooth Smart sensors are NOT backwards compatible with pre-Bluetooth 4.0 devices.  For example, within Apple phones only the latest iPhone 4s supports Bluetooth 4.0.  On the Android front, there exists a greater number of BT 4.0 compatible phones.  But without a phone released sometime after roughly December 2011 – you likely don’t have BT4.0.

So with that primer, let’s good cooking!

Unboxing:

The unit that was sent to me was a pre-production model that didn’t quite have all the fancy packaging with it.  Instead, it had more of a lingerie look.

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But despite the beta packaging, the contents will be the same for the final retail production units (which cost $59).  Here’s the goods at a high level, and then I’ll dive into the components:

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First up, we have the Bluetooth Smart sensor itself:

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Then we’ve got the two magnets: Speed and Cadence.  To the left we’ve got the spoke (speed), and to the right crank (cadence).  The spoke magnet separates into two pieces, which tighten back on the spoke.

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You’ll notice that gone are the days of clunky zipties holding the cadence magnet on.  Instead you just slide it over your crank – which we’ll get to in a second.  And the speed magnet you just simply tighten using your fingers onto your spoke.  Super-easy and no tools required.

Installation:

If you’ve been around the speed/cadence sensor market lately, you may have seen the recently released Bontrager Speed/Cadence sensor which uses a no-tool mounting system.  The Wahoo sensor uses the exactly same casing, which Bontrager has licensed to them.

With this new case design comes the easiest installation you’ll ever have – simply pull the single rubber band strap around your bike frame:

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And with that, it’s installed (ignore that Polar sensor hanging out there below it, part of testing…):

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Now, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve got the flexible arm facing towards the spoke magnet (inside).  You can mount it upside-down if you wanted to.

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In fact, at one point a few weeks ago I had some other sensors I needed for a test blocking my usual location – so I just went ahead and mounted it up higher.  Now of course in this location the cadence portion wouldn’t work any longer, but speed was captured:

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It should be noted that while I had some minor arm adjustment issues, I’ve been told that this is unique to the pre-production unit I received.  The final retail versions have had this issue fixed (where the arm only worked at certain angles).

Normal use:

As of today (June 6th, 2012), there are currently three apps (plus the Odometer) that can utilize the new Blue SC sensor.  The list today includes: Strava, Cyclemeter and the Wahoo Fitness App (plus the Wahoo Odometer).

Each of these applications can utilize the new Blue SC in the same manner as each of them previously handled (and still does) ANT+ sensor data using Wahoo’s ANT+ iPhone adapter.  Meaning that the underlying ability for the application to gather speed/cadence data hasn’t changed – instead, you’ve just removed the requirement for an adapter hanging off the bottom off the phone.  Now, the phone can go ‘naked’.

Of course, with the inclusion of GPS is 99% of cell phones out on the market today, you may be wondering why you’d want a speed sensor.  There are really two reasons – first is the ability to still track mileage when your bike is in motion but your phone may not be with you.  And the second is the ability to track speed indoors while on a trainer.

Now as anyone will tell you, speed as displayed while on a trainer is a very fluid measurement.  Meaning that you can go from 10MPH to 30MPH without actually increasing your effort – merely by changing gears.  By shifting you can maintain the same effort on most trainers while dramatically increasing speed.  But, again, it’s still useful to many.

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For many though, the cadence measurement is the more useful metric.  Cadence is simply a measurement of how many revolutions per minute (as in RPM) your pedal makes.  Cadence is normally measured on the left crank, right where the magnet is attached at the point the pedal connects to the crank.  Most folks tend to have a natural cadence between about 80 and 90RPM.  There exists a number of scenarios why you’d want to train at a higher or lower cadence dependent on your training goals and race scenarios.  But that’s an entirely different topic and lively discussion for another day.

Let’s look at configuring the sensor within apps.  Taking Strava for example, to setup the sensor you’ll go into the ‘Biometric Sensors’ and then enable Bluetooth sensors.  You’ll notice how you don’t have to have the ANT+ key (though the option remains available), but now the Heart Rate and Speed & Cadence sensors are available to pair.  Both of these are available via Bluetooth Low Energy (there are plenty regular non-low energy Bluetooth HR straps as well).

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Once you pair them, you’ll see them connected within the main menu.  Note that I’ve also paired the Wahoo BlueHR strap in this example (as you can see with my BPM shown).

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Now I’m not a big Strava user (yet anyway), mostly because I tend to ride with dedicated devices.  So my experience is somewhat limited here.  But it should be noted that within Strava, cadence will not be shown on the ride menu.  Instead, you’d need to review the data afternoon  Here’s the basic free version:

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Further, speed data is not recorded from the sensor – but rather only GPS.  Even indoors.  Quite frankly, the excuses given for not recording this data are lame (I understand the logic implied, but ultimately if you want to become the premier cycling app – you need to give people the data they want).  Perhaps they could use some of the $12 million in VC funding to add what every other app developer has otherwise managed to do (in their garages after their normal work).

Moving onto CycleMeter, the sensor settings are handled through the Sensor menu under the Settings page.  However, the sensor pairing isn’t quite as straightforward as Strava (or the default Wahoo program).  It goes into a pairing mode, but doesn’t give you an indication it’s actually doing anything until it finds something.

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Further, even when it does find a sensor, it doesn’t show you the value being transmitted in the setup page (useful for troubleshooting sensor placement).  And despite trying, I was unable to get it to pair with the new sensor – instead only the Blue HR heart rate strap:

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Finally, within Wahoo’s own app you can easily pair with any of the Wahoo Bluetooth Low Energy sensors as well as ANT+ sensors.  And you can mix and match as you see fit.

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Quite frankly, as I’ve always said – the Wahoo app is one of the more robust and technically deep apps out there (despite being free).  It may not be the prettiest, but it offers the ability to export the data to other platforms such as Garmin Connect and TrainingPeaks.  Further, there’s no limitations like there is on the other programs when it comes to display, export or testing of data.  It just works.

Odometer Feature:

The Wahoo Blue SC is the first dedicated speed/cadence sensor that I’m aware of that includes a built-in digital odometer (without any head unit).  This means that anytime you have the sensor attached to your bike, it’ll keep track of your mileage – even when no phone or head unit is around.

Currently, Wahoo Fitness has released a free App (simply called Wahoo Odometer) which gets the data from the Blue SC via Bluetooth Smart (the same wireless protocol used for the rest of the communication).  You do have to use the phone app to get the data from the sensor, since there’s no display on the sensor itself.

The unit keeps track of history by week, and will show you not only total history, but weekly summaries.

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The Odometer app allows you to set the distance in either miles or kilometers:

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And it also allows you to specify the wheel circumference in meters.  For some users, this might be kind of confusing since many are used to using centimeters instead of meters (i.e. 2070cm wheel size instead of 2.07m).  But, for those of us not as familiar with the non-Americana system, just add a zero to the end and call the period a comma.  Same-same, but different.

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And finally, you can reset the odometer as well as go ahead and specify a given starting distance.

When I first heard of this functionality back a few months ago I was a bit skeptical that it would be of anything more than a gimmick.  But what I found is that it’s actually turned out to be a kinda neat future.  Specifically, I may not bother to run the app on my phone (or any cycling computer) for a quick jaunt around town on my bike.  But since the sensor still tracks it, it just keeps on recording what you’re doing anyway – with no additional effort (or battery life) required on your part.  In the end, a nice little feature.

Thoughts on the state of Bluetooth Smart:

Many of you have asked about where I see the state of Bluetooth Smart, and how it relates to ANT+.  The last time I touched on this subject was some months ago when the Wahoo Blue HR came out in January.

At the time, the market was really just in its infancy.  The Blue HR was the first legit HR strap on the market (not just a demo unit in a booth).  However, at the time it barely worked with the Motoactv, and outside of that only with the iPhone 4S and a handful of apps.  Since then, app support has expanded greatly, and the issues with the Motoactv have been resolved.  Further, there exists new phones on the marketplace that support BTLE (a subset of Bluetooth 4.0).

However, as a whole, the sensor marketplace for Bluetooth Smart devices remains extremely fragmented and highly dependent on a handful of apps.  Take for example Blue SC.  Today there are four apps that support it (two of which Wahoo created).  There’s no doubt in the medium term, many of the apps that support devices via the Wahoo Fitness API (meaning, they already support the Wahoo ANT+ dongle) – will broaden support for the BTLE sensor.

But that takes time.  Development time.  It also takes standards, ones that are just barely being supported for the heart rate device profile (protocol), and are still not fully finalized for the speed/cadence sensor.  No other device profiles exist (i.e. nothing for power meters, running footpod in beta, etc….), and the timeline to get the device profiles out of the SIG is very very very long and slow.

But, there are some forces that will help increase device support of Bluetooth Smart in sport – the first of which will likely be Polar (despite the fact that Motorola has had limited support since October 2011).  They’ve (Polar) been very vocal in their view that the long term sensor market will be Bluetooth Smart, and not ANT+.  To date, in order to support that they’ve released their own Bluetooth Smart HR strap – the H7.  This strap is compatible with everything the competing Wahoo Fitness Blue HR strap is compatible with, since they leverage the same API.  I do have a Polar H7 I bought, I just haven’t had the time to spend with it.  They’ve also noted plans to update their new pedal based power meter to support Bluetooth Smart, possibly in the fall.

Now, in order for Polar to make good on their Bluetooth Smart claims, they’ll actually have to release something aside from simple heart rate straps.  To date, no Bluetooth Smart compatible watches or head units have been announced or released by Polar.  In other words, it’s a lot of talk.  Now, once they do start to walk, I think they’ll be able to help the broader BTLE segment by offering a ‘major name’ in the fitness category – someone on par in brand recognition with Garmin (and depending on audience, greater brand recognition).

Speaking of which, I don’t expect to see Bluetooth Smart supported by Garmin anytime soon – since that would effectively be proclaiming the death of ANT+.  And even then, I’m not sure it’s really necessary.  There are now chips that allow sport head units to connect to both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart devices, such as in the Motorola Motoactv.  Though, the Motoactv does not yet support the Blue SC.

Summary:

If you’ve got a Bluetooth 4.0 compatible phone (such as the iPhone 4s), and you want to capture speed/cadence data while cycling, the Blue SC is a great option and cheaper ($59) than buying an ANT+ speed/cadence sensor ($35) plus an ANT+ adapter ($79) for your phone.  It enables you to get the data you want, without the bulk of an ANT+ adapter hanging off the back.

On the other hand, if you already have ANT+ sensors, and/or you need power meter data or indoor running data, you’re probably best focusing on ANT+ since the support is far broader amongst both apps and devices (basically everything out there supports ANT+ speed/cadence sensors except Polar devices).

Over time I fully expect to see more support for the Wahoo Blue SC, and look forward to many of the apps that utilize the underlying Wahoo Fitness API for ANT+ to also support the Blue SC.

As always, thanks for reading – and if you’ve got any questions, feel free to drop them below.  Thanks!

Found this review useful?  Here’s how you can help support future reviews with just a single click!  Read on…

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance items).  You can pickup the BlueSC below. Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10WHP at checkout.  By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount.  And if you happen to spend more than $75, you get free US shipping as well (though, this is a bit cheaper than that).

Wahoo Fitness Blue SC Speed/Cadence Sensor

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Thanks for reading!  And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.  Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices.  These guides are all listed on this page here.

126 Comments

  1. and if I have one of those big crankarm... FSA style, is there a larger rubber bands to attach magnet? or have to use a zip tie. and if I have one of those huge chainstays do I zip tie the unit also or are various size rubber bands included with the kit?

    Reply
  2. I got the rubber on my FSA crank, tight fit, but works.

    My Cervelo also has huge chain stays, the rubber won't work. I prefer cable ties anyway (compatible), especially of you don't need to move it between bikes.

    Reply
  3. I beleive the biggest advantage of using a speed and cadence sensor over GPS is accuracy. Your average speed/distance might nearly be the same, but instant speed is 100 times better with a speed sensor over GPS.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Could you please explain your comment about increasing bike speed on a trainer without increasing effort by just changing gears? This is second time I read this in one of your reviews.

    On my trainer (Kurt Kinetic), the resistance seems to be a measure of speed of the flywheel. I.e. the faster the flywheel spins, the more difficult it is to maintain that speed. It doesn't "care" what gear I am in. I would like to see an explanation of how I can increase my trainer speed without increasing my effort.

    Reply
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  6. I agree with Murray - the biggest advantage of SC sensors is that they work fine in poor gps conditions and if calibrated carefully are more accurate (and definitely more reproducible). Some apps have long polling intervals for gps, and the measurements clip sharp corners badly.

    And I agree completely with the comments about the Strava app. They have a great website - but who's going to buy a 60$ sensor and use an app that doesn't display the data until after you've finished?

    Not sure why Cyclemeter caused problems - I've been assured it works by Wahoo and Abvio. I'm getting in touch with Kevin at Abvio about it right away - I know that this has been added very recently, after the latest Wahoo SDK release, and I know it worked in beta.

    Cheers, Alan.

    Reply
  7. Max

    Just bought the sensor last night. What are you recommending for a 4S bike case?

    Reply
  8. Ian

    The iPad 3 has Bluetooth 4.0 as well. Not so useful on the road but might be nice for use on the turbo trainer.

    Reply
  9. Im not so sure using an iPhone, Droid, etc on the road would be beneficial for a performance rider. Maybe the road enthusiast, but having your phone connected to bluetooth for 3+ hours on a nicer ride does not leave much battery life to give me the confidence to call someone when in need 3 hours into a day. Idk, not quite convinced that its smart to use a phone.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Highly recommend the Lifeproof case. it is waterproof, and has a bike mounting bracket available.

    Reply
  11. The Biologic and QooQoon are good cases too. I use the Biologic with a simple modification to mount it centrally on my stem.

    Using Cyclemeter (which now has superb customisable screens, and the best history data) I can get over 4 hours on a fully charged phone, even with the display on all the time, considerably longer with it off. For longer rides I carry a small portable charger in my back pocket - if I stop I plug it in for a short boost. If not its there as an emergency and can if necessary be simply connected to the phone whilst riding using a standard cable.

    Cheers, Alan.

    Reply
  12. Ray, you NEED to get on the Strava website bandwagon. We'll see about the phone app, but the online/website thing is awesome.

    Reply
  13. Yep, the websites great, but I don't understand their attitude re the phone app. No sensor data displayed (except hr now), no elevation, no lap marking - much better to use another device or app and upload the tcx, because the website supports all this, its just their app that doesn't. Especially since their website doesn't support tcx export either, just a simple gpx with no extensions, so if you use their app you can't even get all your data out. Crazy.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Ray- Will the Polar H7 strap talk to the motoactv?

    Reply
  15. I find it is really useful for me. Thank you so much for sharing. I will recommend your posts to my friends. Hope more people will appreciate your posts.Pellet machine

    Reply
  16. Hi Anonymous - Yes, the H7 does connect to the MOTOACTV. However, the Motoactv won't let you simultaneously utilize ANT+ sensors with Bluetooth sensors. It's one or the other.. bummer b/c I wanted to use my H7 with my ANT+ footpod and spd/cadence bike sensors and I can't. Oh well... but if you don't care about that then you're in business.

    One more thing for anyone that is a Polar user...the H7 will simultaneously transmit a signal to a Polar Watch (on the 5khz frequency) as well as to a Bluetooth Smart device. I just had my Motoactv paired with my H7 and a Polar FT4 and both devices were receiving heart rate data. Cool.

    Reply
  17. I've got my Blue SC to add to my Blue HR now - and I didn't see any problems in pairing anything at all. Both the HR and SC paired almost instantly on Cyclemeter and Strava as well as Wahoo Fitness.

    Cheers, Alan.

    Reply
  18. Attila

    I am using a Garmin Edge 305 for over 5 years and it gives me 8 hours of recorded ride. Can I get this 8 hours with my iPhone 4S (without external batteries) and a Wahoo Blue HR and SC sensors. I can turn off the screen for 99% of the time and just turn it on a few times to check my distance. If it is possible, I'll go and make the change.

    Reply
  19. No, I don't think you'd quite get there, would fall a bit short.

    What I use though is a simple and cheap external battery pack for my iPhone - which I use for travel days as well (like today), or days when I just need more battery.

    Here's a ton of options:

    ="http://www.amazon.com/mn/search/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&field-keywords=IPhone%20battery%20case&linkCode=ur2&tag=dcr07-20&url=search-alias%3Daps

    Mine is the cheap $30 Lenmar one in the list there. Hope this helps!

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  20. Agreed, I do the same. I can get 4-5 hours easily, with display on all the time and all networks on (with Wahoo Fitness). I reckon I could get 6 hours or maybe a tad more by switching off WiFi and only flicking the display on when I need it.

    So like DCR if I'm going to be out over 4-5 hours I take a small portable charger and charge the phone at a coffee stop - though its also not hard to run a cable from a back pocket or under-saddle bag to the phone.

    Cheers, Alan.

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    I had some real difficulty mounting the sensor so that it would read both the crank and spoke sensors. Did not realise the wheel magnet sensor arm could be mounted upside down unit I read this article.

    I did mount it upside down, but it will not read the wheel sensor. Much preferred the ANT+ sensor design - much more flexible mounting options.

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  22. Personally I much prefer the more compact Blue SC sensor - hope you don't mind me checking, but do you know that the wheel sensor arm can be adjusted using a small allen key, 2mm I think. Cheers.

    Reply
  23. Hi. How easy is it to use with more than one bike. Ideally I'd like to install it on 3 different bikes. Does that mean I'd have to buy 3, or could I just buy extra spoke/pedal magnets?

    Thanks - really useful review.

    Sam

    Reply
  24. It would be a bit of a pain to move across bikes frequently because you'd have to carefully position the cadence sensor then adjust the speed sensor arm each time. I think you'd need three. No problem at the iPhone end though - if you use Cyclemeter it'll let you set up three bikes with different settings for the wheel size (at least, it will in the next release coming very soon - its in the current beta). Cheers.

    Reply
  25. Agree. You could move it between bikes, but it would be a bit of a pain if you didn't at least buy the extra magnets.

    If you bought the extra magnets (especially the crank magnet), then you could do it pretty quickly. Maybe 60-90 seconds all in, including testing and adjustment.

    Reply
  26. Read your review with great interest as I use my bike on a Kurt trainer during the winter and was interested in the Wahoo LE HRM and SC but because I use a Motorola Atrix HD (MB886) it was not clear if the
    Wahoo system works on my android phone. Checked with Wahoo and they say no. Wahoo odometer app only seems to be avail for iPhone and the other apps don't display cadence which I need on the trainer.

    Reply
  27. My crank arms are real close to the chainstay and the cadence magnet hits the sensor even though the sensor is mounted as forward as I can get (where I have the most clearance).

    Is it possible to mount a different magnet on the crankarm or does it have to be the one provide by WAHOO?

    Reply
  28. You can use any magnet and any fixing you like. I've never used the Wahoo supplied ones for either the speed or cadence sensor.

    For speed I use a Mavic magnet on my Ksyriums. For cadence I used to just position a round magnet on the inside of the crank at the pedal axle. When I had steel axles, that worked a treat. But now I've got Keo Blades with titanium axles, so the magent won't attach, so I just use a piece of very strong 'No More Nails' adhesive strip cut to size to attach it to the crank arm (anywhere). Have never lost a magnet attached to the crank arm by either method.

    Cheers, Alan.

    Reply
  29. John g

    Now that trainerroad supports bluetooth le on Mac, I've decided to give it a whirl. I've noticed that when using trainerroad with my blue hr and blue sc connected to the laptop, I cannot get the data on my iPhone in the Wahoo app. Is there a 1:1 relationship here such that only one receiver can connect to a given transmitter at a time?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, Bluetooth Smart via Bluetooth 4.0 is only 1:1. Kinda sucks in that respect. There's talk about changing that relationship down the road in a future Bluetooth update (i.e. BT 4.1 or 5.0), but most are saying it would be tied to a hardware update (though it doesn't need to be). Earliest would be 1-2 years away.

      Reply
  30. Tai

    Do you know of a way to attach these censors to an indoor spinning bike? I am a blind user who wants to use my iPhone which talks as a bike computer. However, I'm not sure these censors will fit on an indoor cycle.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Tai!

      Unfortunately, no way that I've found. And I've taken apart a few of them. Ideally some sort of fabric strap would be required to wrap around in the interior frame area and then a way to attach it to the shoe. Nothing out there today in that realm, though, lots of folks asking.

      Reply
    • Aliy replied

      I have a Sunny Pro spin bike. and I attached it. The key is position. It's at a wired angle and its attached with a rubber band and gaffers tape. But it works. Can't upload a photo to the comments but you can email me for one aliy@allisonmayer.com

      Reply
  31. Ken

    Are there any bike computer heads that run on bluetooth that doesn't need your phone on you (like the RFLKT). It's a real pain to carry my phone in my skin suit...lol.

    k

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Nope, none today. Wish there were. At present, no Bluetooth Smart capable bike computers or running watches.

      *MetaWatch Strata would technically be capable, but lacks any apps for it today that actually take advantage of it. Plus, it doesn't have GPS, so you're back to a phone...again. Sigh...

      Reply
  32. rom

    Within BT 4.0 a Bluetooth Low Energy profile (BT Smart) uses a lot less power than conventional BT. As the sensor can operate for a year on a single cell battery the server "central" does not use much power to capture the data as its normally something like a single number every second so no it will not impact on your phone the same way your existing headset, tethering etc that you are used to as it does not use.

    @DCRainmaker: Don't know if you have access to them but there are two video's that explain how BT LE relationships are formed in the Apple 2012 WWDC video's. Well worth a watch (no pun intended)

    Reply
  33. Wim

    Can i use the Wahoo Fitness Blue SC in combination with the Polar H7 and the Wahoo Fitness app?

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    • Wim replied

      And in combination with an iPhone 5

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No problems with that combo - either on an iPhone 5 or iPhone 4s.

      Reply
  34. Matt

    DCR, I've read your reviews for MANY products, and getting into this, I've wanted a way for my wife to be able to track me(for safety reasons, just in case) and the new Garmin 510 is going to allow that to happen. I then found the Google Latitude app. My question is, from your review I couldn't tell, but is Strava the only app that uses GPS for the speed, or do the others as well? I don't have a bike computer now, and will probably never be a real "racer" so I don't mind having a phone on my bike as a computer. I want my wife to track me, I would like accurate speed measurement, and cadence as well. I don't forsee going on a long enough ride that would warrant the need for a 17 hour battery, and there are options to recharge an iphone in the need of an emergency. Also, could this program run in conjunction with Google Latitude to your knowledge? Thanks for help, and sorry for the sloppy organization of my reply. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Matt-

      Thanks!

      Almost all of the apps out there use GPS for speed, virtually all of them. Unless a sensor is attached. Now, one trick with the Google Latitude app (Android), is that as of today, it doesn't support the BlueSC - because the Android platform is still segmented when it comes to true BLE support. It's coming...and soon (like weeks away soon, if not sooner), but it's going to take some time to filter through.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  35. Cleve Waterman

    Thanks so much for your review. I was following the instructions found on the Wahoo website for installing the Blue SC that I just purchased. The instructions would not work for my Specialized Roubaix. I looked at your website and all became clear. Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Ray replied

      Hello,

      I just purchased the Wahoo Blue and I can not get the cadence to work on my Specialized Roubaix.
      How did you connect it?
      Thank you
      Ray

      Reply
  36. JeffO

    Does anyone know if you receive a call on your phone (in my case iPhone 5) during a ride, do you lose connection and thus lose ride information??

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No problems at all. I regularly get calls/texts while on the trainer, and the Wahoo App simply goes to the background and still continues to track data/record.

      Other 3rd party apps may not be as smooth, but that's an app thing more than anything else.

      Reply
  37. JeffO

    Great, thanks you helped me make up my mind, I was loing at Garmin's and this is a lot cheaper choice.

    Reply
  38. Richard Kaufmann

    One feature I tripped over that I *LOVE* with the bluetooth sensors: you can run more than one app and have them each record. I run Strava and Wahoo simultaneously on an iPhone5, and they're both happy as clams recording GPS, heart rate (from an Alpha Mio) and S/C data (from the Wahoo Blue SC). So, no, I'm not wedged about Strava not having a real-time display!

    However, if Strava got up one morning and decided to support real-time display, how cool would it be to have the app tell you how you're doing on each segment while you're in the middle of it? And how cool would it be to know "hey, a Strava rider is on your tail and will catch up pretty quickly. Get the lead out, bucko!"

    Reply
  39. Late Night Freak

    Just curious, do I have to open the app every time I'm cycling? Or does it pair and start automatically when i'm on my bike?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      You'll need to open the app and start it recording.

      Reply
  40. Jean-Marie

    Hello Rainmaker.
    First of all, thank you for sharing the results of your researches and analysis and providing clear and simple responses to the numerous questions that are being posted.
    If possible, I would appreciate if you could provide me some guidance in regards to the following. I will ride a the 100-mile distance in the St Louis Tour de Cure and the Chicagoland Tour de cure. I am currently taking spinning classes but, hopefully, the weather will get better and I will soon ride start to ride outside on the country roads to progressively build distance. In the past, I was using Cyclometer on the iPhone (now iPhone 5) but on longer distance was running out of battery before getting back home. This year, I was planning to buy the Garmin Edge 810 which will allow my wife to see where I am (I am riding alone most of the time) and also transfer the Tour de Cure map developed using "RidewithGPS". I thought this was a good solution but, after reading your article, comments and feedback, I am no longer sure it is the best way to go.
    I would really appreciate your thoughts and advice. Thank you in advance for your help.

    Notes:
    - My bike is the Paris from Pinarello (not sure it makes a difference but I read someone had a problem with a Specialized Roubaix). I only have an "Odometer" (from Specialize) on it.
    - I just received the KICKR power trainer which I will use with a different bike

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The 810 will still be a good fit for you, it's just that it's not quite what I hoped the product would be over past products. If that makes sense. It will easily allow you to transfer the route into it, as RideWithGPS is compatible with it.

      If you do a lot of longer rides where you may be on unfamiliar territory, the 800/810 is the way to go. If you tend to ride the same routes over and over again, the 500/510 is a better bet.

      For this particular item (the Blue SC), it's not compatible with the 800/810, but is compatible with the Wahoo KICKR app. So for the 800/810 you'd probably want the Bontrager ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor (ANT+ enabled, looks identical to the Wahoo one). Whereas for your bike with the KICKR, you'd want this sensor (BlueSC) if you wanted to get speed/cadence onto your iPhone.

      Reply
  41. Jean-Marie

    Thank you very much for this quick response and clear/simple advice. This helps a lot.

    Reply
  42. Tim

    Can anyone tell me if this device or any other will work with my Android phone that does support Blutooth 4. Thats what I was given at work no iPhone :( I would love to be able to buy a sensor and use this phone but am unsure..

    Thanks for any help in this direction.. Keep up the great work..

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, there isn't any support today (yet) on Bluetooth Smart standardized profiles such as the BLE HR sensors, BLE SPD/CAD sensors, or the like. It's coming, and supposedly "any day now", but I've heard that for 4 months now. :-/

      Reply
    • Luke replied

      Still doesn't work. I just installed the Wahoo fitness beta app for android and it won't pair with the Blue SC. And the Wahoo Odometer is not available for android yet.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I'd definitely hit up Wahoo Support then, as if it's a beta issue, I'm sure they'd love to tackle it.

      Reply
  43. Justin

    I was at a bike expo yesterday and talked to the Wahoo rep who was displaying at the show. He said the Android capability would be ready in 8 weeks. That's on or about June 1st. Not sure I can wait that long for a HR and cadence, as well as speed, etc, so may just go with Garmin 500 bundle.

    Reply
    • ifor replied

      If Google have done there stuff and sorted out an API for BTLE then most likely it will be anounced at Google I/O on May 15-17. The major thing to bear in mind is that it may only be for the latest Android and not for the older versions. So even if you have a phone that's capable hardware wise you may have to wait a long time for an update to come along if you ever get one. I know I am expecting to have to get a new phone to add support into IpBike.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, I won't really believe it until I see it. Last I heard it wasn't dependent on Google, but rather on Samsung (since Wahoo worked with them to get it in). It could be at this point it's been elevated to Google. But that wasn't the case a few weeks ago.

      Reply
  44. Gareth

    Thanks for the excellent in depth review, it was reading this that helped me decide between a dedicated bike computer and using my iphone. I've decided to go the iPhone route.

    One thing that really needs editing in your review though: 2.07m is not 2070cm, so your advice to add a zero and call the period a comma is incorrect.

    The correct advice is to just remove the period entirely, I.e. 2.07m is 207cm.

    (Unless you really do have 20m wheels!) :)

    Reply
  45. Aaron

    Has anyone tried using this with a hed tri spoke? I do see a possible way of getting the magnet on?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, me (I have a pair of HED3 race wheels)

      Pickup this Cateye Cadence magnet. It actually works as it goes around the massive spoke with a zip-tie.

      link to amazon.com

      Reply
  46. Kelson

    Do we know of any power meters that support the Blue SC?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Well, a power meter wouldn't support the Blue SC per say, since they are two different types of accessories. However, there could be Bluetooth Smart power meters, and Bluetooth Smart Cadence sensors.

      Within that context, the Stages power meter is Bluetooth Smart, and works with the Wahoo App just like the Blue SC does.

      Reply
  47. Wesley

    Thanks for the very useful review.

    I would like to use it with the Zephyr Bluetooth HRM and Strava. Is that possible?
    I would like to buy one but i can only find the iphone version while i need the android version.
    Where can i buy one? I live in the Netherlands and know from previous purchases that Amazon does not ship to here. There is a (cumbersome) method with a middle man to get it here from Amazon but i prefer not to go that route. Can you sent a link from where I can buy it?

    Reply
  48. Joyce

    Does the wahoo blue work pair up with a computer to download stats without having an iphone?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, there's no computer applications today (Windows, Mac, or otherwise) that can connect to Bluetooth Smart fitness sensors. Down the road you might see such stuff, but not yet today. Windows 8.1 includes support for it, but that won't be released until later this year.

      Reply
  49. Kris

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Tks for all the info. So I am correct in saying that you can pair both a H7 polar heart rate monitor and a wahoo cadence/speed sensor at the same time, ie Bluetooth smart allows multiple simultanuous connections ?

    Tks.

    Reply
  50. Very usefull tool but not universal mount.

    Reply
  51. Moose

    Hello Rainmaker,

    Have you been able to try/test the Blue SC since the release of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I haven't. I've gotta think about who exactly supports it app-wise. Given it's a standard profile, I suspect we'll see adoption happen pretty quickly.

      Reply
  52. David Smith

    Hello DCRM, excellent blog. Just a question. If order Wahoo BL HR and SC sensor from Clever Training and there is a problem, do I return it to CT or Wahoo?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      You can always call Wahoo to troubleshoot it, they're the first line of defense.

      Reply
  53. Steve Carpenter

    Outstanding blogs. Very much appreciated. Have read many of your reviews, and wish the equipment manufacturers could be as readable and comprehensive in their documentation.

    I have a Specialized Roubaix... There does seem to be some issues fitting SC sensors due to the large chain stay. I believe Wahoo have mentioned installing upside down. Anyone have any local knowledge of the problem?

    Thanks

    Reply
  54. Mauricio Leon

    Hey, Android peeps. They have an android Beta app that is compatible with the Wahoo bluesc device.
    The only requirement is that you must be on a BLE enabled device and with Android 4.3 or grater. I think the only device that doesn't work is the Galaxy 7. Anyway, here's the link: link to support.wahoofitness.com

    Reply
  55. Eric

    Having purchased a Wahoo BlueSC and RFLKT+ two week ago, I’m having some issues with extended periods of cadence dropouts on 7 out of 8 of my activities. Typically in 60 minutes on rollers, I’m seeing one to two cadence dropouts or spikes for 1:05-1:15 minutes each in my data file. At no point on the RFLKT+ do I see anything abnormal and my cadence is constantly fluctuating +/- 5RPMs. My “speed” readings are recording fine.

    Perhaps, I’m overlooking the obvious – the setup. Right now I have the respective indicator lines crossing through the middle of “cadence” and “speed” magnets.

    Having a look Wahoo Fitness BlueSC Installation Video and the Ray’s picture above, it looks like the “speed” magnet is being positioned to the left of the indicator line. Is this the proper alignment?

    Is the “cadence” magnet supposed to be positioned to the right of the indicator line?

    I’m not sure why companies can’t include diagram instructions like the old days. Even checked the Bontrager website since their speed/cadence sensor is similar. I’m also not sure why companies ship the battery in their product. I’ve already changed out the battery as Cyclemeter was showing it at 39% and a digital multimeter showed it under 3 volts which is apparently too low according to support.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I believe the line is actually the light.

      Generally speaking, whenever I see issues, it's because it has drifted too far away from the magnet. It needs to be really close - as close as you can possibly get without it hitting. Or, said differently, position it close enough so that it barely taps it each time it goes by. And then just barely nudge it out of position so the tapping sound no longer occurs.

      Reply
  56. Eric

    Thanks for the quick reply Ray! Totally unaware if that is a light for the magnet, and not an indicator line.

    Either way I repositioned the cadence magnet to be to the right line the line/light(?), as well as, repositioned the speed magnet to be to the left of the line. On a 62 minute ride on rollers today, I had no cadence or speed dropouts/spikes. Both magnets are within 3-4mm of the sensor.

    Hopefully I get some clarity from Wahoo Support on my support ticket from mid-week.

    A diagram would be worth a thousand instructional words and languages right about now.

    Reply
    • Eric replied

      Just to follow up, as one would think it is indeed the center of the line for both sensors as instructed by Wahoo support.

      I seem to be an isolated case but I was going through batteries approximately every 5 hours with my original and a replacement BlueSC. I ended up returning both and never got to the bottom it. I don't think my cadence dropout problem was resolved either with the replacement BlueSC. I'm not sure if my Insulin Pump which has bluetooth capabilities that can't be disabled was the cause of the battery drain and dropouts, or if there was some other form of interference.

      While Christmas shopping over the holidays, I found it interesting that a computer shop was selling the identical bluetooth sensor with Runtastic stamped on the side. I suppose the Bontrager ANT+ sensor uses the same case as well. Since I was taking the sensor off the bike a lot, the rubber band did come in handy. However, I never understood why in the design they hid the zip tie slots hidden behind the rubber band. It would of been nice to position the sensor with the rubber band and then secure it in place with the zip ties. I suppose Wahoo might not have much input in the design and it might be in the hands of the overseas manufacturer.

      Reply
  57. Davidc

    Would this sensor work with the Kurt kinetic app with a tape on magnet? Or do you have to buy the $200 dedicated sensor?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, unfortunately not. The reason being that the Kinetic sensor is setup to record that rotation speed differently from the speed/cadence sensor.

      Now, you could use that sensor with TrainerRoad to get something similar.

      Reply
  58. ChrisW

    Is this no longer carried by CleverTraining? The link did not work and I could not find it on their site. I sent them an email to inquire.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Clever Training has stopped carrying all Wahoo products, as Wahoo decided they didn't like Clever offering DCR readers a discount across the board. Sorry!

      Reply
  59. DaveE128

    any news on whether this works with Android 4.3 eg on Samsung Galaxy S3, say with IPBike?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I think ipBike just added support for BLE devices (or, was just about to, one of the two...). In either case, you can also use the new Wahoo Fitness Android beta app, that does support them.

      Reply
  60. Maria

    Hello. Interesting! I have a pafers x-spin and the wahoo fitness app. But in only can get cadence. No speed or distance. Is because they are not compatible? Thank you

    Reply
  61. Kevin melcher

    Is this the same sensor that Powertap is offering? They look the same.

    Reply
  62. Ross

    Are the blue SC and blue HR compatible with the Garmin Forerunner 910XT or 310 XT? or any other garmin products for that matter?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, Garmin products are only compatible with ANT+ sensors, not Bluetooth Smart/BLE sensors.

      Reply
  63. Robin Johnson

    Read your review of Wahoo BlueHR where you mention Wahoo rewrote the firmware and it has no spikes or drops in HR. Wondering if they did the same with Whaoo BlueSC? Reason I ask is before BlueSC was released I opted to purchase Scosche's BLE SC unit which looks identical physically to Wahoo's (same manufacturer?) but both Scosche units on two bikes create many spikes and drops in both Speed (drops to 0) and Cadence (spikes to 160, drops to 0) (many = 12-15 over a 2.5hr ride on a trainer, mostly drops). Presently recording with Spinning Mobile (Mad Dogg) app on the iPhone (whilst I wait for Polar to catch up). When Cadence and Speed increases it takes a long time to show in the app (10-15s) and then it's a spike, which settles down. Would your hunch be firmware in the SC unit and would the Wahoo be any better assuming they wrote the firmware themselves? Or is it app sampling frequency?

    (PS: I'm officially addicted to your reviews) Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hmm, that doesn't sound normal. I generally use the Wahoo app with the Blue SC, but I've used others. If you're seeing issues, I'm going to guess it's a hardware thing.

      I don't know of Scosche's is using the exact same unit (likely), but it's possible you simply have a bum unit. I've never heard the scenario you've described happening unless the magnets aren't close enough. And speed/cadence increases/changes should occur near instantly (within 1-second).

      In any case, try pairing their unit to the Wahoo app. If you see the same behavior, then I'm going to guess the Schosche unit is broken.

      Reply
    • Robin Johnson replied

      Thank you, lots of good ideas to try. Magnets are not that close as you suggested in one of your installation suggestions; will also put in fresh batteries. Getting similar results though on both Scosche units on different bikes so will try Wahoo app too. Cheers.

      Reply
  64. Reddy

    Gave up on waiting for Bt-Smart to work on Windows phone 8.
    Getting a Moto G.
    Are there any apps and BT-Smart HRM and Speed/Cadence monitors that work on Android?

    Reply
  65. pokoss

    hello. already known or wahho speed and cadence sensor will work with polar V800? . greetings from Polish.

    Reply
  66. nsgators

    If I get the wahoo heart rate strap, the blue SC, and the RFLKT, will I still be able to connect a bluetooth headphones? I'm assuming I don't need RFLKT+ since HR strap and SC sensor is wahoo.

    Reply
  67. Francois

    Does the Wahoo TICKR/TICKR RUN is also working with the Polar V800? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Check out the Bluetooth Smart section of my V800 review, where I cover compatibility there with the V800 (and keep it up to date as new firmware hits).

      Reply
  68. Isreal

    I would loke to know what other devices than a phones will work with it. Something like a bike computer or a gps watch?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Certain new Bluetooth capable bike computers like the TomTom Multisport watch and the Polar V800 (and soon Polar V650). Probably a few more coming on the market soon as well.

      Reply
  69. Lamont

    Would you go with the Garmin Edge 500 bundle or Wahoo hr monitor, speed/cadence sensor, and smart phone setup?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I personally prefer a dedicated device, but to each their own.

      Reply
    • Lamont replied

      Thanks and everyone here at work enjoy reading your reviews!

      Reply
  70. Steve nicholl

    Is there anything out there that I can use with this to simulate routes? I would like to be able to see on a map the distance I have travelled etc? I think Kinomaps would do it but not sure?

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      Yup, using Kinomap or CycleOps Virtual Training are your best bets there.

      Reply
    • Steve nicholl replied

      Great thanks! Will give them a bash!

      Reply
  71. Jhonny Anrea

    Will this sensor work with the ambit3?

    Reply
    • Jhonny Anrea replied

      Or would you recommend another cadence/speed sensor for this?

      Reply
    • Henry replied

      @jhonny you got the "PowerTap Bluetooth Smart Dual Speed/Cadence Sensor" that I'm using that are really good. Don't know if or which of the sensors that will work best with your watch though.

      Reply
    • Jhonny Anrea replied

      Ok I'll checked that and it seems nice to! But I still don't know whats best or if it will work with the ambit3.

      Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      I'm about 80% sure I've tried it already with the BlueSC, and it was fine. But I haven't sat down to test each combination yet with the final Ambit3 firmware (since it's not yet available, and there continue to be slight differences version to version with the Ambit3 and BLE compatibility).

      Reply
    • Jhonny Anrea replied

      Ok, so this is what you should have bought if you could choose from any other sensor?

      I want to order this before I get the watch, and I can't decide what to have, cause I got zero knowledge :)

      Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      Again, I really can't say 100% for certain and I'd hate for you to buy something only to find out at release it's not compatible.

      Reply
    • Jhonny Anrea replied

      ok :)

      Reply
    • Tuure Laurinolli replied

      Well, I did buy Wahoo Blue SC and it doesn't seem to work with Ambit3. I tested that the sensor itself works with IpBike and a Nexus 7, but that's a bit unwieldy combination for actual riding :)

      Any experiences on a speed/cadence pod that works with Ambit3?

      Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      I'll see if I can squeeze in testing today before my flight, and if so, will report back results. If it doesn't work, I'll hit up the Suunto folks as to why.

      Reply
    • Jhonny Anrea replied

      I'm also interested in this. If theres any alternatives to use with the ambit 3.

      Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      So I tried tonight the PowerTap Speed/Cadence BLE sensor (looks identical to Wahoo), and it worked perfectly on a trainer for about 30 seconds or so.

      I was going to try the BlueSC next (again), but ran out of time before I had to run to the airport. But I brought it with me and will try it later tonight at the hotel to see if at at least pairs and shows cadence/wheelspeed while using a magnet sitting there (better than no test). I'd be able to test on a real bike in a few days.

      Reply
    • Jhonny Anrea replied

      it´s quite strange if the BlueSC would not work on the a3 though...

      Reply
    • Tuure Laurinolli replied

      IpSensorMan on Nexus 7 just picked up the sensor, but the Ambit3 doesn't seem to be even trying.

      This might be a user error if active pairing is required on the Ambit3. There is no proper manual available yet, it seems, just the quick start guide included in the package. I do have "Bike POD", "Cadence POD" and "Power POD" enabled for Cycling in Movescount, but on the device itself there is no indication that it is searching for anything besides HR Belt and GPS when I start a Cycling activity.

      Reply
    • Tuure Laurinolli replied

      Indeed user error. A call to Suunto revealed that there is a settings menu with pairing options on the device, and indeed it paired with Wahoo Blue SC just fine.

      Reply
    • Jhonny Anrea replied

      Ok, so it works then :D

      Reply

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