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Wahoo Speed and Cadence Sensor Review

December 2, 2019

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Wahoo Speed and Cadence Sensor Review

I purchased Wahoo’s Speed (04FE) and Cadence (4931) sensors to use with a Saris M2 Smart Trainer, along with Zwift. After a few weeks of testing, here’s what I’ve learned.


How Does the Wahoo Speed and Cadence Sensor Work?

Wahoo Speed and Cadence sensors universally attach without magnets, wirelessly integrate with Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible accessories, and track cycling speed and cadence in real-time.

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Each lightweight sensor weighs just 7 grams, measures 1.2 x 1 x 0.8 inches, boasts IPX7 waterproof specifications (up to 5 feet), and includes replaceable CR 2032 batteries that can last up to 12 months.

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Wahoo RPM Speed and Cadence sensors include everything you need, including mounts, 3M tape, zip ties, and quick start guides. ©TreadBikely

Wahoo Speed and Cadence Sensor Compatibility

Wahoo’s RPM Speed and Cadence sensors connect to any app or fitness product that broadcasts over standard Bluetooth or ANT+ protocols.

This way, you can upload their data to a wide variety of training, tracking, visualization, and mapping apps like Strava, MapMyRide, Zwift, TrainingPeaks, Runkeeper, RideWithGPS, and Apple Health and Google Fit, to name just a few. Hardware compatibility is similarly broad, including a wide variety of bike computers, heart rate monitors, and power sensors, as well as Apple Watch.

In the rare event that Wahoo’s Speed and Cadence Sensors don’t automatically transmit their data, you can export .fit files and upload them to the platform of your choice.

Installing & Setting Up Wahoo’s Speed & Cadence Sensors

Installing and setting up Wahoo’s Speed and Cadence sensors is a relatively straightforward affair.

First, you’ll insert each sensor into their respective sleeves, making sure that the Wahoo logo faces outward.

Next, you’ll place the Speed sensor’s rigid plastic mount onto your front or rear hub, gently stretch the rubber strap, and then secure it to the two bottom hooks on the mount’s opposite side.

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Wahoo’s Speed sensor mounted to my rear hub. ©TreadBikely

In my experience, this part of the process requires the most trial and error. The strap fits tightly and requires some finagling to maneuver fingers between spokes and my hub while also rotating my wheel enough to latch the rubber strap into the other side, but not so much that I lose tension against the hub.

Comparatively, Wahoo’s Cadence sensor attaches to the inside of your non-drive crank arm using double-sided 3M tape. Wahoo includes two zip-ties for more secure mounting.

I chose to use the shoe clip since I didn’t want to attach anything else to my bike—at least for the time being.

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Instead of mounting to the crank arm, I attached Wahoo’s RPM Cadence sensor to the Velcro strap on my shoe. ©TreadBikely

Using Speed & Cadence Sensors With Wahoo’s Fitness App

Once you’ve installed your Speed and Cadence sensors, you can connect them to Wahoo’s Fitness app (or a third-party app or device) to track cycling, running, or cardio workouts via GPS and Bluetooth.

Pairing the sensors is super easy, and the app quickly recognizes them. The exterior LEDs also flash according to their connection status (e.g., slow blink = awake but not paired, quick blink = connected, etc.).

Inside the app, Wahoo provides access to your workout history, personalized calorie burn count and heart rate zone information, comprehensive power data (as long as you have a power sensor installed), and customizable audio alerts.

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After tracking and uploading your data from the RPM Speed and Cadence sensors, the Wahoo Fitness app provides access to a data-rich environment that can help improve your performance.

If you own a KICKR smart trainer, the Wahoo Fitness app delivers four dedicated modes, including Resistance Levels, Erg, Simulation, and Manual.

Related: Top 10 Indoor Cycling Apps

Once paired, any movement will “wake up” your Speed and Cadence sensors, although their LED notifications only last about 30 seconds to help maximize battery life.

Along these same lines, I’ve found that the Wahoo app doesn’t drain my smartphone’s battery, even with it, Ride With GPS, Strava, and Pandora running in the background. I do, however, put my phone in low power mode before heading out.

From an accuracy perspective, I’ve noticed some small discrepancies between data recorded in the Wahoo app and data from third-party apps like Strava.

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Comparing data from the Wahoo and Strava apps, you can see there are small discrepancies between average speed and moving time, with more substantial (and potentially impactful) difference between distance and elevation gain.

I don’t currently have a heart rate monitor connected, although this is something I plan to add soon.

Finally, Speed and Cadence sensor updates are downloaded via the Wahoo app. You’ll automatically receive a prompt when they’re available, and you can choose to download immediately or wait until later.

Wahoo RPM vs. Other Speed and Cadence Sensors

Several speed and cadence sensors are competing with Wahoo’s, most of which feature wireless functionality, magnet-less attachment, compatibility with most Bluetooth and ANT+ enabled software and gear, universal fit, and replaceable batteries.

Here are some of the top options listed on Amazon:

Model Notes
Speed/Cadence offered in a complete package, costs less together than some competitors, Wahoo delivers a standalone app. Can attach cadence using 3M tape, zip ties, or strapped to a shoe.
Attaches to chainstay and wheel using a rubber band and zip tie mounts.
Attaches similarly to Wahoo Speed and Cadence sensors, although they include 3 different size rubber straps.
You can choose between speed and cadence on the same sensor. Mounts to the chainstay.
Standalone sensor for both speed and cadence. Not necessarily unique, as many similar overseas-based options exist on sites like Amazon.

Choosing between these isn’t rocket science, and will largely depend on which factors you find most important.

For example, if the price is your top consideration, OUTERDO’s Speed and Cadence sensor cost less than half that of the next-closest option, Wahoo’s BlueSC.

As a standalone sensor, though, OUTERDO might not capture data as accurately as systems that include two sensors. Furthermore, several third-party overseas companies offer very similar models, without apparent differences between them.

At the other end of the spectrum, Garmin’s Speed and Cadence 2 sensors cost the most by a fairly wide margin. However, like Wahoo, Garmin supports its sensors with a standalone fitness app, if this aspect is important to you.

With these details in mind, let’s wrap up.

What’s the Bottom Line About Wahoo RPM Speed and Cadence Sensors?

In my opinion, there’s a lot to like about Wahoo’s Speed and Cadence Sensors: they’re competitively priced, come from a reputable company, feature mostly positive online customer feedback, and I’ve found they’re easy to set up and use via the company’s proprietary app.

They also work well with our Saris M2 smart trainer, in conjunction with the Zwift app.

So far, the only nitpick I have is that there are minor discrepancies between the data collected by Strava, versus data collected by the RPM Speed/Cadence sensors and uploaded to Wahoo’s app. Still, I find they’re accurate enough to justify the cost, and should continue delivering substantial value for a long time to come.

What do you think about Wahoo’s Speed and Cadence sensors? Did you like them or loathe them? Leave a comment below to share your feedback!

Ready to buy? Consider clicking the link to the right. Why? As an Amazon Associate, TreadBikely earns from qualifying purchases, which helps support our mission. Learn more here.

Derek has more than two decades of experience as a cyclist. He currently travels full-time with his family via RV, enjoying the country's best biking destinations. A secular Buddhist, Derek frequently explores the intersection of cycling, mindfulness, and compassion in his writing. #rolloutblissout
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