Wahoo ELEMNT Rival Review (2023)

Since its debut in 2021, the Wahoo ELEMNT Rival has positioned itself as a noteworthy contender in the world of triathlon smartwatches. Offering a blend of multisport functionality, customizable displays, and durability, it caters to the needs of budding triathletes.

However, while it scores points for features like automatic transition tracking and a waterproof design, be prepared to navigate some inconsistencies in GPS accuracy and heart rate monitoring.

If you’re interested in exploring more options that won’t break the bank, check out our article on the Best Cheap Triathlon Watches for some other budget-friendly alternatives.


What Can It Do?

Alright, let me break it down for you. The Wahoo ELEMNT Rival is a bit of a mixed bag but definitely has its perks, especially for triathlon training and racing. Its big wins are the seamless multisport experience and touchless transitions. Imagine you’re sweating it out in a triathlon, and this watch automatically switches from swim to bike to run – pretty handy, right? It keeps track of your heart rate, steps, calories, and even syncs data with your bike computer. Plus, the display is large and crisp, thanks to that Gorilla Glass. But hey, don’t expect it to work miracles, especially when it comes to GPS accuracy – more on that later.

Wahoo ELEMNT Rival Triathlon Watch Review

You can check its price here


Is It Cheap or Expensive?

Price-wise, the Wahoo ELEMNT Rival sits comfortably on the cheaper side for a GPS smartwatch. Once you see the price, you might think its’ expensive, but it’s actually very cheap when it comes to triathlon-capable GPS smartwatches. It’s not going to break the bank, but remember, you often get what you pay for.


Easy to Use?

For ease of use, it’s a thumbs up. The Rival is user-friendly and comfortable for long wear, which is a big deal if you’re training for hours. But don’t expect to master it right out of the box. The button functions might take some getting used to. Think of it like a new smartphone; it’s intuitive, but you’ll need a bit of time to figure out all the features.


Triathlon Modes?

This is where the Rival shines. Its triathlon mode is pretty slick. It’s like having a personal assistant for your race, automatically tracking each sport and those pesky transition times. For a beginner, this is gold. It’s like it knows what you need before you do.



Absolutely, it’s waterproof. With a 5 ATM rating, you’re good for pool and open-water swims up to 50 meters deep. So, go ahead and take that plunge without worrying about your watch.


Reliable GPS?

Now, the GPS… Let’s just say it’s not the Rival’s strongest suit. It’s decent, but compared to some other brands, it might fall short. It sometimes loses signal and isn’t super accurate with distance. If you’re a data nerd, this might irk you a bit.


Heart Rate Monitor?

The heart rate monitor is a bit hit or miss. Sometimes it’s spot on, other times… not so much. It might overestimate or underestimate your heart rate, which can be a bummer if you rely heavily on those numbers for training.


Long Battery?

Battery life’s pretty solid – it can last 4–5 days on a single charge for an active person. It’s more than enough for most training sessions and possibly even a full race day. Just remember to charge it before your big day!


Quick Transitions?

You’re looking at the Wahoo ELEMNT Rival for triathlons, right? Let me tell you, the transition support is a big deal here. We’re talking touchless transitions—it flips from swim to bike to run without you messing around with buttons. Huge plus for saving those precious seconds in a race. But, you gotta know, it’s not always 100% accurate. Sometimes it might miss the mark, and you’ll find yourself manually correcting it.


Custom Display?

Now, the display is where you get some fun. You can customize it to your heart’s content using the Wahoo ELEMNT app. Whether you want to see your heart rate in big bold numbers or a six-way split-screen with all your stats, it’s up to you. Great for keeping an eye on what matters most to you during a workout. Just don’t expect it to be like your high-end smartphone screen. It’s clear and readable, but resolution and color are just decent.


Data Sync?

In terms of data analysis and connectivity, the Rival’s got you covered. You can sync your workouts to the Wahoo app or others like Strava or Nike Run. It’s pretty handy for tracking your progress and seeing your stats in an easy-to-digest format. But remember, the accuracy of the data, especially GPS and heart rate, might not always be spot-on.



Talking about alerts and notifications, the Rival does an okay job. It doesn’t explicitly mention specific alerts like pacing or heart rate zones, but you get customizable data fields. It’s enough to keep you informed during your training, but don’t expect it to blow your mind with super advanced alert features.



Durability-wise, the Wahoo ELEMNT Rival is a tough cookie. Gorilla Glass, a ceramic bezel, and a silicone strap – it’s built to survive the rough and tumble of triathlon training. And yes, it’s waterproof up to 50 meters, so go ahead and take it for a swim.


Sensor Ready?

Now, if you’re a data geek and love your sensors, the Rival is ready for you. It pairs with both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors. So whether it’s a basic heart rate strap or something more advanced like the Wahoo TICKR X, you’re good to go. Just keep in mind, the more sensors you add, the more you’re relying on the watch’s ability to play nice with all of them.


Would I Recommend It?

So, would I recommend the Wahoo ELEMNT Rival? For a beginner in triathlon, yeah, I’d say give it a shot. It’s got a solid mix of features, durability, and expandability. It’s not the ultimate triathlon watch out there, but for its price point, it’s a pretty good deal. Just be aware of its GPS and heart rate monitoring accuracy issues. If you’re not super obsessed with having every single metric down to the decimal point, it’ll serve you well.

Wahoo ELEMNT Rival Triathlon Watch Verdict

Overall, it’s a decent choice, especially for a beginner in triathlon. It’s got some great features but also a few quirks. It won’t do all the work for you, but it’s a solid teammate for your triathlon journey. Just weigh your options and think about what matters most to you in a training watch.

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