Watch Link Review: Does it Actually Work?

Ever since Peloton announced the new Strive Score feature, I’ve been looking into ways to get my Apple Watch to sync with my Peloton bike. I have the original Peloton bike, which doesn’t have AppleKit built into it, so have had to get creative with how to get my heart rate to show.

There are apps that you can download that use your phone’s Bluetooth to connect to the bike, but the problem I’ve had with those is that the connection is unreliable. It also seems like every time there is a bike software update, the app no longer works for a few weeks. Super frustrating!

When Watch Link reached out to see if I wanted to try out their new adaptor to connect my Apple Watch to the bike I instantly said yes!

Disclosure: Watch Link provided me a sample to try out but all opinions are my own.

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What is Watch Link?

Watch Link is a little device (it reminds me of the old Nike Run shoe pod – remember those?!!) that can help your Apple Watch sync to ANT+ workout machines, like the original Peloton Bike. ANT+ is a more stable connection so unlike the apps in the app store, this connection will stay connected whereas Bluetooth usually loses connection a few times.

watch link in front of peloton monitor

ANT+ vs Bluetooth

I’ll try not to get too deep into this but long story short: ANT+ devices are better to use than Bluetooth because their connection is more reliable.

Typically, Bluetooth is a wireless technology that transmits data in the 2.4GHz frequency range. The commonly used frequency band for Bluetooth is 2.401-2.480Ghz and its transmission power is typically 10mW. ANT+ technology operates on a different frequency range and has other transmission capabilities than just Bluetooth or RFID. Arguably, ANT+ is more accurate because of its high-frequency transmission capability which allows it to transmit data at a faster rate, giving it less of a chance to lose signal quality or be interrupted by a physical barrier like water as opposed to the lower frequencies used by Bluetooth.

How to Use Watch Link with Peloton

When I opened the box there was a little instruction booklet that came with the pod. The instructions were pretty straightforward:

Download the app on your phone.

Open the app on your Apple Watch.

The first time you open the app, it’ll show a screen to pair your pod to your watch. I did notice with this the pod did have to be pretty close to the watch (like pretty much touching) for it to sync.

pairing screen 1 on watch link
pairing watch link

Once the pod is successfully synced, you’ll be able to pair the pod to the Peloton just like a regular heart rate monitor! The pod will show up as Device #.

syncing watch link on peloton

When you’re ready to work out, start a workout on your watch and then on the Peloton and your heart rate will show up on the screen!

screen with heart rate on it
heart rate on apple watch
You can also see your heart rate on your watch really clearly

When the workout is done, swipe left on your watch and select end workout.

stop workout on apple watch

The nice thing about Watch Link is that you can have unlimited users use the same pod so if you have other people in your house using the Peloton, they can also connect their Apple Watches when they workout. The only thing is that it only works for one watch at a time so if you have 2 people working out at the same time, then only 1 watch would be able to sync.

Where to Mount Watch Link

The Watch Link has a little sticker on the back so you can mount it to any equipment you’d like.

back of watch link

I haven’t decided if I want to have it stuck to my bike yet so I’ve been keeping mine in one of the cup holders and that’s been working great.

watchlink inside peloton cup holder

Apple Rings and Watch Link

When you’re done with a workout, you’ll notice that you’ll have 2 workouts show up (if you have Peloton connected to your Apple Rings). The Peloton bike workout will show as well as a “Mixed Cardio” for the heart rate and calorie burn.

When I first saw this I was a little nervous that my calories and workout time would be doubled (inaccurate stats drive me crazy!), but thankfully it doesn’t double count when it comes to your rings or Apple Watch challenges.

Fitness Machines Compatible with Watch Link

Any fitness machine that is ANT+ compatible can be used with the Watch Link. This includes:

  • Peloton bikes
  • Treadmills
  • Rowers like Hydrow (and hopefully soon a Peloton Rower!)
  • Ellipticals
  • and more

Watch Link vs HeartCast

Before using Watch Link, I was a huge fan of Heartcast. But over the past few months I’ve been having major issues with syncing and the connection dropping off (I’ve noticed this usually happens after a Peloton software update and it lasts a few weeks!).

The main issue with Heartcast (and similar free heart rate apps in the app store) is that they’re using Bluetooth to connect to the bike. I’ve quickly learned firsthand just how unreliable Bluetooth connections can be. Watch Link is a great alternative to the Bluetooth apps because it uses ANT+ technology, which is a more stable connection. I’ve now been using my Watch Link for over a month and have never had an issue with it not connecting or dropping the connection.

Benefits of Watch Link

I like that with the Watch Link I don’t need to worry about charging yet another device. I can just hop onto my bike, pair the pod and I’m ready to go. The pod does have a battery inside of it (like a watch battery) so will need to be replaced, but according to Watch Link the pod battery should last 2-3 months, depending on how often you use it (replacement batteries can be bought for like $2 at Target or Amazon).

Another benefit is the price. The Watch Link only costs $49.99, which is about half the price of my favorite heart rate monitor. It’s especially nice too that with the Watch Link pod you can have multiple users.

I also like that even if you receive notifications and messages on your watch during your workout, it doesn’t drop the heart rate connection either!

Ready to buy? Click here to order your pod and use the code COFFEE for 10% off your purchase

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    Downside of Watch Link

    One thing I noticed about Watch Link is that since you do have to click “Start Activity” on your watch, it won’t automatically stop the workout when you’re done. I’ve forgotten to do this a few times and have ended up with workouts that are showing as twice as long as they should be. This is completely my error but still, it’d be nice if it would automatically turn off when the workout ended, like other dedicated heart rate monitors.

    Where to Buy Watch Link

    Watch Link can be purchased through their website here for $49.99. Use the promo code COFFEE for an extra 10% off your purchase!

    Final Thoughts

    Overall, I’m really happy with the Watch Link. It’s easy to sync and it’s nice to have one less device to worry about charging. If you’re looking to use your Apple Watch as a heart rate monitor on your Peloton Bike, I highly recommend checking out the Watch Link.

    Watch Link Promo Code

    Click here to order and save 10% off your order with the promo code COFFEE!


    • Ali Van Straten

      Ali Van Straten is the founder and journalist of Champagne and Coffee Stains. She is a Peloton expert, certified running coach and certified nutrition coach. Champagne and Coffee Stains provides information and resources on Peloton Interactive, running and recipes.

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