Wahoo Fitness iPhone cycling computer

Use your iPhone as a computer, for data acquisition, or even a telemetric transmitter

Chip Hawkins started Wahoo Fitness 18 months ago with an ANT+ adaptor, or key, for the iPhone. His goal was to develop a better way to capture ride metrics — namely GPS and power data, among others — and share them quickly and easily with other software systems.

“I came up with three requirements,” said Hawkins, Wahoo’s founder and CEO to BikeRadar. “I had to get ANT+ into the iPhone; I needed a case that’s waterproof and can safely mount on a bike, and I needed software.”

In February, Wahoo launched their waterproof handlebar mounted case for the iPhone. The key, however, was the software. “We released our API (Application Program Interface) out into the public so that the likes of RunKeeper, Map My Ride, Map My Run could write to our API and therefore communicate with the iPhone,” said Mike Stashak, Wahoo’s vice president of marketing. “Basically it’s a little piece of software that allows iPhone language speak ANT+ language rather than having Map My Fitness try to figure out iPhone language; all they have to do is ask for speed data, or GPS, or power data. [After that] we had all of these fitness apps writing to our hardware and selling it to their user base.

Wahoo's original ANT+ key

According to Wahoo, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “The second thing we did was wrote our own app,” said Stashak. “All of the apps out there were great for the mass market, but for the real experts of the cycling world we needed to write our own app to showcase all of the functionality of the iPhone with ANT+ because right now you might just think you can use your iPhone as a bike computer.”

The real advantages come with the computing power housed within the iPhone. That power along with its all-the-time connectivity is highlighted by Wahoo’s Fitness App and ultimately makes downloading a ride, along with all of its metrics, including, GPS, power, speed, ANT+ heart rate, cadence and more, a simple one touch process.

Additionally, the information can be sent to multiple software systems at the same time, say, Training Peaks, Strava, Garmin Connect and email the actual data files all at the same time. “It’s a real data junkie’s app,” said Hawkins. Beyond Wahoo’s own app, there are 60 third party apps available that work with the iPhone and Wahoo’s ANT+ function.

The Wahoo Fitness app offers one-touch uploading to all of your analysis software at the same time

The system also offers the ability to upload real time telemetry to the web, via Map My Tracks so that anyone online can watch exactly what you’re doing on the bike in real time.

The current iPhone 4 is good for roughly 3.5hrs of use when using ANT+, GPS and screen during a ride; GPS and Internet are the big power draws. Along with the ANT+ transmitter and a bar mounted case with incorporated ANT+ (you only need one), Wahoo also offers and external battery, which they say adds 6hrs of run time, for a total of over 9hrs.

The bike case has an ANT+ key built in

The system works with 3GS and 4 iPhone models and all ANT+ plus accessories. The ANT+ transmitting ‘bike case’ alone costs US$119.99, while the ‘bike pack’ costs $149.99 and includes the case and mount along with speed and cadence sensors. Wahoo’s high-powered app is free through iTunes. Wahoo also sells a heart rate strap for 49.99. The external battery will be available in August for $59.99. They even offer a time trial bar mount for $19.99 that sits between the aero extensions.

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