Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT Rival – beefs up running power
This morning I was very, very, very excited.
Must Read: Detailed Stryd Review
Finally, “Today will bring software awesomeness that will enable me to ditch Fenix 6/945 for running and FINALLY use the RIVAL as my main running watch“. Well, at least that was how I felt when I woke up and now the cold, hard reality of an almost wintery London evening has let the truth sink in.
Admission: I use the Wahoo Bolt 2 bike computer simply because it’s great. It looks ‘alright’ and the screen is on the positive side of meh. But it just does all that I want it to and it does it predictably and efficiently. But I still use a Garmin running watch by default, usually the 945/935 but it’s the F6 Pro right now.
Is it so much to ask that the same level of personal perfection of the Wahoo Bolt be transferred to my wrist?
I saw Ray’s post on this same subject earlier today and, like him, I am/was on some sort of beta track. I think. I’m not entirely sure as I had access to the initial running power stuff when others didn’t but then I didn’t have early access to other stuff when others did.
Consequently, like Ray, I’m not entirely sure what is new today and what I already had.
I reviewed the ELEMNT Rival some time ago and was delighted to have access to a pre-launch unit. It seemed that I liked it more than many others and definitely saw RIVAL’s potential then as well as now. There have been many additions to the RIVAL since launch and here are the important ones
- This update added the ability to broadcast running pace and cadence plus introduced some new app notification sources. For treadmill usage.
- This update added the ability to include a custom multisport profile. A key triathlon training feature
- This update added the initially limited ability to complete track workouts where the GPS track AND YOUR PERFORMANCE STATS snap to the correct dimension of a correct oval with full-correct 100m segments. A must-have credibility feature.
- This significant update adds structured workout support of workouts synced from Training Peaks. A key triathlon training feature
Great stuff. But still not good enough for me as I want to use STRYD properly when I run. This is what I need/want
- Need – the ability to have autocalibration and manual calibration of STRYD
- Need – an option to have STRYD always as the source of speed/pace and distance
- Want – A Zone lock feature like Polar. This needs Power Zones
- Need – the ability to display a few simple power-related metrics. Nothing fancy.
- Need – the ability to have power properly recorded in a FIT file that I can use elsewhere.
- Need – the ability to automate sending each workout (with power) elsewhere Stryd, Strava, (others), and FIT.
So, I think my requirements are reasonable. These wants and needs are mostly features that are intrinsic to the infrastructure that underlies the running with power experience that Wahoo will provide. I don’t give two hoots about a fancy coloured speed dial, although I admit that simple colour-coded data fields would be nice.
Well, I guess I didn’t have the beta version of the app as there is quite a bit of new stuff in today’s app release.
There is a container ship full of new power and form related metrics. I’m not going to list them but there is just about every combination of VO, GCT, Power-CP, IF, Variability Index (that’s a nice one), leg spring stiffness, Running Effectiveness, Air Power, Form Power, Max Power, Power Zone, PWR in zone, avg Power, power to weight and calories. I didn’t actually list all of them there as there are about 5 versions of each particular one. Anyway, you get the message “All your obscure data display wants for running power and the related form metrics is going to be here”.
I couldn’t initially get power zones onto the latest version of Wahoo’s iOS app. Then I noticed that if I went into the Stryd app (not Power Center) I could link Stryd to Wahoo Fitness. The permissions part of that app shows that Wahoo can read your Stryd Power Zones which, in turn, can be automatically and dynamically updated in Stryd PowerCenter.
At some point, RIVAL syncs across your running power zones and you get the relevant zone info as you run. When your workout is finished there is no power data in the workout summary on the watch. However, on the app you absolutely do get a power chart, time & %age in Zone, RSS, Average Power, Form Power, Running Effectiveness, Air Power and Avg Leg Spring Stiffness. Nice! And more info that I personally need.
From an ‘admin’ perspective, you can see your running power zones/CP on the Wahoo app but you can’t edit them as they are tied to Power Center. I suppose that’s great as it ensure everything is in sync and, in any case, I trust Stryd’s power zones to be correct.
One of the awesome things for me with Wahoo is that they automatically create FIT files in dropbox which really helps me manage and re-use my data. Even better, as of today, the FIT files have all the Stryd metrics as developer fields, power as native power, and there’s even a strange field (image above) called ‘Glucose’…hmmm (Wahoo is an investor in Supersapiens)
I seem to remember previously being able to sync structured workouts from TP that had power targets? Either way, you can do that now too.
OK, I get that most of you are probably happy with this update. I mostly am.
I get that native power is great and all. But I just bet that Garmin will do it in January on the Fenix 7 and then we will have a broadly level playing field from all the running watch companies that support Stryd.
Why can’t I automatically & manually calibrate Stryd? Why can’t I choose if I want Stryd as the source of speed/distance? Why can’t Wahoo blatantly copy a probably-patented Zone Lock feature from Polar? I think I just answered that last one myself 😉 and the second point on speed/distance overriding is not that important as the correct setting of Stryd priority is made.
Other than that, it’s a great feature update. Maybe I can use it after all 😉 Maybe I will sell my Fenix 6 to pay for next month’s Garmin Epix Gen 2 which even has a built-in light for runners at night. Yes, really! that’s what I thought too.
Official Stryd Spec
This is Stryd’s take
- Full Stryd metric support – The Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL captures all of Stryd’s metrics including Power, Form Power, AirPower, Leg Spring Stiffness, Ground Time, and Vertical Oscillation. This means it is easy to set up and receive all the data you want from your Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL & Stryd!
- Import & Execute power-based structured workouts on the Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL watch from Training Peaks – You can create step-by-step power-based structured workouts on TrainingPeaks, import those workouts into your Wahoo account, and execute those workouts on the ELEMNT RIVAL watch. You receive guided step-by-step workout steps and visual cues on the watch to guide your workout.
- Customizable data screens – You can easily customize your data screens so you can look at your running power any way you want. You can see real-time power, lap power, overall averaged power and even more customizable power views!
- Automatic data syncing to the Stryd ecosystem – You can connect your Wahoo account to Stryd’s ecosystem so that your activities containing Stryd data are automatically imported into your account for analysis.
- Syncing of Stryd’s Critical Power directly to the watch – After you connect your Wahoo account to the Stryd ecosystem, your Stryd Critical Power will automatically sync to your watch to support your power-based training. If you use auto-calculated Critical Power, your most up-to-date Critical Power will always be available on the watch.
- Power zone support – Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL gives you a visual gauge of your Stryd power zones so you can easily track the intensity you are running at! In a follow-up update, coloured power zone support will additionally be supported.
- Complete support for Stryd’s pace & distance metrics – Wahoo ELEMNT Rival supports pace & distance from Stryd, while GPS is on! This gives you control over what data you want to view and track while you are running.