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Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer In-Depth Review


It’s been exactly 30 days since Wahoo started shipping their first GPS bike computer, the Wahoo ELEMNT.  The unit was announced last year at Interbike in September, and while they had planned to have it in your hands by Christmas, it didn’t quite work out.  No worries, they say the best things come to those who wait.

The question virtually everyone has is whether or not the ELEMNT will dethrone Garmin in the GPS bike computer world.  So I set out to figure that out.  Since last fall I’ve used more ELEMNT pre-beta, beta, almost-RC, and now production devices and software versions than I can shake a stick at (or a lot of sticks at).  But everything you read here is based on the final version of hardware and software.

I’ve tested it on rides outdoors, indoors, in sideways rain, and hot and sunny conditions, and 5hr+ rides.  I’ve used it with every type of accessory it supports, from power meters to SRAM RED eTAP shifting and BSX Muscle Oxygenation sensors.  To be sure, there’s an impressive amount of functionality for a first GPS bike computer.

But the question is – is it enough functionality?  Ahh yes, let’s begin.



I’m going to go out and there say that the ELEMNT’s packaging design is one of the best I’ve seen in the sports tech realm in a really long time.  Yes, I know you probably think I actually like doing the unboxing section – but in reality it’s one of the things I secretly hate doing.  But the ELEMNT’s packaging actually made it interesting.

The box unfurls to a bike handlebar with various images of how the screen looks while riding.  It’s explanatory and easy to understand.


Meanwhile, at right you can see the actual unit through the window with an overlay of how things actually look once powered on.


Upon sliding it out, you’ll find a tray with all your accessories.


Remove all those from the wheelbarrow, and you’ve got this:


To begin, you’ve got three different mounts – another first.  One for on the stem, one an out-front mount, and then a triathlon bike aerobar mount (TT-bike).


Now, it’s somewhat unfortunate that the stem mount uses zip ties (as opposed to industrial bands), which kinda spoils an otherwise perfect mount threesome.

The others don’t require zip-ties though, and just use a small screw.


Beyond that you’ve got the unit itself.  Here’s the front.  You’ll notice two buttons on the right side, and three on top (towards the bottom).  There’s also another button on the left side.



And here’s the back.  On the back it has a quarter-turn mount.  Said mount is *NOT* the same as the Garmin quarter-turn mount.  The flap/edges are just a tiny bit wider.  You can solve this with a file, or, my non-destructive advice after the picture.


Close enough that if you have the standard Garmin rubber band mounts, it fits it if you learn how to get it in the hole.  Specifically that if you dip the front end into the mount first, then twist left or right slightly, the tail will follow right along into the mount.  Donezo!

Note though that the orientation of the tabs is different than the Garmin Edge series (but identical to that of the Garmin Forerunner Quick Release kits).  So just ensure that if you have a 3rd party out-front mount that you can rotate the baseplate 90°.  Most support that these days.  K-Edge also has a new mount insert as well that they’re selling now for their existing mounts.


Oh, and before I forget, the unit is charged using an included micro-USB cable.  That’s the same type of cable you’d use to charge your phone (unless it’s an iPhone).

Finally, a brief word on weight and size.  The ELEMNT comes in at 105g:


For comparison, the Garmin Edge 1000 is 115g, the Edge 520 is 61g, and the Polar V650 is 122g.  Oh, and the Edge 810 is 98g and the Mio 505 at 130g.

Meanwhile, looking at size you’ll notice the ELEMNT certainly isn’t the slimmest kid on the block. It could probably use a few less burgers and a few more miles of riding.  Chubby is an accurate way of looking at it.  But it’s shorter than the Edge 1000, and less beefy than the Mio 505 series.



Also, for those coming from the existing Wahoo RFLKT/RFLKT+ (43g), you’ll see it’s substantially bigger.  Of course, that unit didn’t have GPS in it and required a phone while riding.


Ok, with the comparisons out of the way, let’s dive into getting it cookin’.

Setup & Configuration:


When it comes to setup and configure of the ELEMNT unit, the vast majority of your customization will be done using the Wahoo phone app (called ELEMNT as well).  There is in fact very little tweaking you can do of settings on the unit itself, with the only on-device configuration limited to editing/adding sensors, and turning on/off GPS (for indoor use).  Also, you can check for firmware and route updates from the unit itself.

Now to get started you’ll download the app and then start up the ELEMNT, which gets you to this QR code:


Now, you simply scan the QR code with the phone app. This takes under a second (way under a second) to complete.  And pairing is now done!


Actually, technically it’ll ask you to confirm the request – but now it’s done.  This is approximately 1,328 times cleaner and more efficient than any other fitness device out there (and virtually identical to how Apple does it on the Apple Watch).

With that complete, you’re ready to configure things like data screens or preferences.  One of the first things I’d do though is to setup your WiFi networks.  This allows it to check for firmware updates and download routes.  So go ahead and add in any networks you’d like.


Once done, tell the unit to check for a firmware update and then update if required.  At the rate/pace of Wahoo’s firmware updates, there are massive differences in these updates – so it’s definitely worthwhile.

With that setup, I’ll go back in and edit my data pages.  Now Wahoo has a kinda-neat/kinda-odd concept when it comes to data pages.  You can configure numerous pages, but each page will have an ordered set of data metrics that you can increase or decrease in quantity later on.  Said differently, you can (on the fly) go from having two data fields shown to nine data fields shown mid-ride (on a single page).  It’s neat in that you can drop-off less desirable fields, but then add them back in later if you want them.  It’s odd in that sometimes I just wish I could set up a set number of fields per page and not have to screw around with the extras game.

In any case, you go through a data field picker to add and order your metrics and pages, like below:

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I’ll cover the whole increasing/decreasing thing in the next section on ‘Day to day Use’.

You’ve also got some ‘common’ pages (that you can enable/disable), for aspects like route following or climbing.  You can tweak those slightly.  Further, if you have a trainer connected, you can tweak that data page too.  Overall, tons of tweakage potential.

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Next, you’ll want to setup the LED lights along the top/side, in terms of what they mean.  You can specify which metrics the side LED’s are tied to: Heart Rate (HR), power, and speed.  Further, you can change what to use the top LED’s for. And you can tweak some sounds.

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These heart rate zones can be customized within the app.  Note however that there is not an option to configure power/speed/cadence zones.

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This is also the same section of the app that you’d tweak your weight/height and other biographical stalking goodness.

Next, we’ve got general usage settings around alerts, basic ride settings (auto pause, auto lap, and the backlight).  In general you’ll find that while the ELEMNT settings in these categories aren’t as granular as on comparable Garmin Edge series devices, they do get the ‘must have’ concepts covered.

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Take for example the backlight settings. On an Edge 520 you’ve got numerous options ranging from a few seconds to a minute.  On the ELEMNT, you’ve got three options: Off, 5 Seconds, or On.  This is not Burger King. Correction: Burger King it is!  Turns out if you select 5-seconds within the app you can then tweak the value. Boom, Whopper time!

Finally, you’ll want to setup apps to integrate with.  For example the unit can automatically upload to Strava, Training Peaks, Garmin Connect, Today’s Plan, and more.  What’s cool is that you can set these up via the app (and sync that way), but it’ll actually do the sync via WiFi to these directly as well.  So as soon as you pull into your house/apartment/garage and click finish, it’ll upload via WiFi to these software apps.

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The whole upload process generally works well, albeit perhaps a tiny bit slower than the Garmin sync process.  But usually things get there within a minute or two for me (to Strava for example), using WiFi.  If I use Bluetooth Smart via my phone, as soon as it syncs to the phone it only takes a couple of seconds to show up on the 3rd party platforms.

Day to Day Use:


Ok, now that we’ve got the whole thing all setup, let’s just get using the darn thing.  After powering it on, you’ll be brought to a main dashboard screen.  By default the GPS will be enabled, but you can turn it off by just tapping the upper left button (such as for a trainer ride).

On the main dashboard screen, it’ll be your first data page.  So ‘dashboard’ is probably a bit of a misnomer, since it’s really just ‘Page 1’ of your ride screens.  From here you can use any of the buttons on the unit to control what happens next.  I’ve outlined them below in a handy little chart.  It’s kinda self-explanatory.


What is so self-explanatory, until you’ve seen it though, is the up/down buttons.  This allows you to increase or decrease the number of data fields per page, on the fly.  To begin, let’s start with this main page I’ve setup.  First, look at the fields I’ve configured within the ELEMNT phone app.  Notice how I can change the order of them by holding them down:

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Now watch on the ELEMNT itself as I go from 5 fields to 9 fields.  You’ll see the fields that were lower down my list drop off.  Don’t worry, it’s still recording all that data – it’s just not shown.  Here’s a handy little animated GIF showing me going from 1 field to 9 fields.


Next, I can tap the ‘Page’ button to switch to another page, such as the Climbing page, which tracks your ascent/descent.  Again, this is totally customizable – and you can also increase/decrease the fields per page.  You’ll also note the tiny little arrow next to some fields.  This shows whether I am above or below the ride average.  So in the case below, my current watts (showing as 216w) is below my ride average.  And my current speed (6.7MPH) is also below my ride average.  The top data field I had configured at my 5-second rolling average.


Then we’ve got the map page.  You can change the single metric up top.  Clicking the up/down arrows increases the zoom.  But we’ll get back to the map page in a moment – so hang tight.


Here’s an example of a page I created for connecting to SRAM RED eTAP.  I just added a boatload of shifting gear metrics.  Really, this is totally overkill, but I just wanted to demonstrate the concept.


You can create up to four additional/custom data pages, each with up to 10 pieces of information on them. Plus you’ve got some pre-set pages like the Map/Climbing/Trainer pages that you enable/disable.  So 10 pages in total.

Once you’ve maxed out on data metric overkill, it’s probably wise to actually start riding.  Just hit the ‘Start’ button.


Like all other bike computers, you simply hit the ‘Lap’ button to create a lap marker.  You can also setup auto lap too by either time or distance.

Now is as good a time as any to talk about the buttons.  In general while riding you’ll be using the right-side buttons (up/down), as well as the lap and page buttons.  These are relatively easy to find in terms of you locating them (with or without gloves).  However, they are a bit stiff to press, and can sometimes take a few presses to get it to take.


As far as screen clarity goes – the ELEMNT is super-crisp.  I’m sure some folks will appreciate the far greater font sizes used if you decrease the number of metrics on a page.  While I know some people have challenges with readability in the Edge series units in direct sunlight, I’ve really never had a problem.  So for me, I don’t see a meaningful difference in terms of ‘Can I read the display’ between the two units – since they both work just fine.

To stop the unit you just press stop.  That’ll basically pause it.  You can then save it later on by pressing to end the ride.

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Once you do that, the ride ends.  You’re not brought to any sort of ‘Summary’ page of your ride when you end.  It’s just sorta back to starting another ride.  However, you can hit the ‘History’ button, and then view some metrics for your last ride.  As with other data pages, you can press up/down to increase/decrease metrics shown.



You can also show the weekly totals as well:


Going back to the device for some mid-ride items of note, I want to chat about the LED’s.  These LED’s are along the side and top of the unit.  The left one is semi-customizable for showing your current zone status for power/HR/speed.  Meanwhile the top one is for showing notifications/alerts.  Below (blue LED’s) you can see I have it setup for power, and in this case, showing my power against the average power for the ride.

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I think the concept here has potential, though it does need a bit more fleshing out and needs to allow the user a bit more customization of them.

Another feature that needs more help is the Live Tracking.  Now technically this is split into two pieces.  First is the ability to allow friends and family to track where you are.  The unit can be configured to automatically e-mail (or a tweet) a pre-defined list of contacts anytime you start a ride.  No need to do anything else extra in terms of steps, it just happens.  This just requires your phone be on you – and that the ELEMNT app be open somewhere in the background.

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You can also create a ‘static’ link that never changes.  That’s useful because I’ve found the connection drops semi-often and when it does then the one-time tracking links are dead.  So it’s almost better to share your forever-link (to close friends).

However, realistically, your friends and family will find this kinda useless.  The unit only shows your current position.  That’s it.  No history, no track of where you’ve been.  No sensor data, nor a map of your pre-loaded/planned routed.  Just a dot.

Wahoo Fitness

In talking with Wahoo, they said that they plan to add more functionality in this area, but not till later this year.

Now in addition to the option for friends to follow you, you can also see other ELEMNT users on your actual device. Though, regrettably I lack friends with ELEMNT units here in Paris to try this out.

Last but not least is the smartphone integrated notifications.  This enables you to receive text, phone call, and e-mail alerts on the ELEMNT mid-ride.  You can enable/disable any of these individually via the ELEMNT phone app.  While riding, the text messages will display nice and big, and are easy to read.

There’s also a ‘Do not disturb’ option too, if you want to simply mute notifications while you’re already mid-ride.

Beyond the features discussed here (and the mapping/trainer sections), things are fairly ‘clean’ forward on the ELEMNT, with ‘clean’ being a nice word for ‘basic’.  Meaning, there are no functions like structured workouts, workout calendars, or training plans.  You can’t create or download workouts to the unit to do, nor can you setup things like alerts (i.e. cadence/power/speed/HR), or any of the other numerous customizations you can do on a Garmin Edge unit.  For many people, that’ll be just fine.  In fact, for me – I rarely use those features, so in that sense it’s not a deal-breaker for me.



The ELEMNT includes basic mapping and routing.  It does not at this time however include turn by turn navigation.  What’s the difference you ask?  Well, the ELEMNT is essentially like the Edge 520 today, in that it can have a basemap showing streets and your route.  But it doesn’t know that you’re actually on Maple Street and that you just missed your turn and the next option is Grand Street.  Instead, what both of these units do is show you the route overlaid on the streets, and you can best match what you see in real life, to what’s shown on the screen.  Finally, in the case of Wahoo, they come with a global basemap that’s rather detailed and very functional.  Whereas with Garmin’s Edge 520, you get a totally useless basemap, but then you can manually layer in free 3rd party maps.

In the case of Wahoo, they primarily pull route information from your accounts in 3rd party sites.  So if you want to route somewhere, you’re basically going to need to use Strava or RideWithGPS to get the route to the ELEMNT.  That’s because the ELEMNT will enumerate routes from those accounts.

To start, I’ve created a route for tonight’s ride on Strava, using the ‘Create a Route’ option.  In my case tonight, I’m just creating a route for the first portion of the ride, and then after that I’m simply doing loops for a while.  I’m using the route primarily to figure out how to get between two points most efficiently.


Then you’ll want to name it something useful so you can find it later.


Before we continue, you’ll have wanted to previously linked up Strava to the ELEMNT (see the section on ‘3rd party integration’).

Once that’s done, you need only go into the ‘Routes’ page on the ELEMNT and press sync.  Though, in most cases it’ll sync automatically.  It currently does this sync via WiFi (and only WiFi), so you definitely want to do this before leaving home.  Wahoo says that Bluetooth Smart sync via your phone is on the way though.  Note in the list below it shows which platform those routes are being pulled from (i.e. Strava & RideWithGPS).


After that you’ll go ahead and select the route from the list of routes, which will then activate it as your route to follow.  Note the check box next to the route, and that it’s listed in the ‘Selected’ category up top.


From there you’re ready to ride.  The map page will show you the route overlaid onto the map.  Since the screen isn’t color, you’ll instead see these arrows on the route (sorta like the arrows from Mario Kart years ago).


At this point the map doesn’t display street names, though Wahoo says they are looking at some options there.  You can zoom in on the map, as well as zoom out.  Both are done by using the up/down buttons.  Note that there’s a small scale icon at the bottom, as well as a compass up top.  The scale though can be rather difficult to read, since it’s black text on more black text.

At this point it’s important to remember there is no turn by turn directions, nor are there notifications to turn.  You’ve just gotta stay on the map page and keep on following.

There are however notifications if you are off-course.  So if you miss a turn then the unit will flash the top LED’s RED, at which point you can figure out how you messed up.

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Finally, one cool piece on the mapping front is that it will show your planned route elevation on the climbing page.  You can see below my current position as I made this small climb, and the planned route elevation ahead of me.

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Note that there are also no ‘back to start’ or similar functions.  A route is a one-way thing in the world of ELEMNT.  You’re on that train track till the end, and if you fall off of it, it’s really your problem to find your way back to that track.

Overall, the functions in navigation are fairly limited in comparison to something like the navigation focused Edge 1000 (or Edge 810).  But that’s to be expected, the Edge 1000 is far more expensive.  On the flip side, the navigation capabilities do fall short of the Edge 520, which is in the same ballpark.  True the Edge 520 doesn’t have a globally detailed basemap, but for 99.99% of riders, you can simply load the locally detailed map at the moment of riding.  Same goes for the Polar V650 as well.

I think Wahoo will get to the same level as the Edge 520, but it doesn’t sound like that’ll happen soon.  Right now much of the catch-up navigation type features are planned to be added by “end of year”.  Of course, it’s worthwhile noting that if you don’t often use your bike computer for mapping/routing – then none of this really matters.  For me personally, simply being able to show the route is generally good enough, as most of the time I have a general idea of where I’m going on a new route and just want reassurance.

Trainer Control:


Without question, the ELEMNT does the best job out there of being a bike computer that can control a trainer.  It probably stands to reason that one of the few companies that makes both bike trainers and GPS bike computers (of which PowerTap/CycleOps is the other), managed to get it right.

Sure, Garmin introduced ANT+ FE-C control last summer within the Edge 520.  And that works well enough as a basic way to control your trainer.  But for my particular use case (setting the wattage), the ELEMNT nails it.  Of course, to begin you’ll need to scan for your trainer and then add it as a sensor.  As of this writing the company only supports the Wahoo KICKR & KICKR SNAP trainers, and unfortunately FE-C support for other trainers won’t happen till next trainer season (Northern Hemisphere trainer season, aka Fall 2016).

Once that’s done, you’ll be able to customize the trainer control page that’s within the data page settings.  This page will show up anytime the trainer is connected (and will otherwise disappear when you’re outside riding around).


When connected to a trainer, you’ve got the ability to do a spin-down or calibration of the unit, as well as to simply delete the unit.

You’ve also got a few modes that you can use to control the trainer.  For trainer aficionados, these will likely be familiar.  But let me give you a quick overview:

Erg Mode (Target Watts): Allows you to specify a given wattage level – i.e. 150w, 237w, 350w, etc….
% Resistance Mode: In this you specify in % a given resistance level – i.e. 10%, 25%, etc… Note that this isn’t grade though, just total resistance available.
Route Mode: Here you specify a saved route (from one of the ones you’ve downloaded to your unit).
Passive Mode: In this case you’ve got another app controlling the KICKR (i.e. Zwift), where the ELEMNT just chills out and records the data.
Level Mode: Simply set a resistance level, i.e. ‘Level 3’.

Now most of my time has been in simple ERG mode.  It’s just what I use the most.  That means that I’m simply just setting the trainer at a specific wattage, on demand.  This is awesome because in the past I had to use the phone app to control the KICKR on demand (or use a structured program like TrainerRoad).

Ok, but you say: ‘Yes DCR, but the Edge 520 already has that!’.  To which I respond: ‘Have you ever tried actually using it to do any form of constantly changing interval workout?’

Your response would be to either break down crying in agreement, or say ‘No, not yet’.

That’s because changing the wattage manually on the Edge 520 is like a workout for your fingers.  Which is the last thing you want to be doing when you’re trying to do 30×30 intervals (i.e. alternating between 500w and 150w).  Whereas on the ELEMNT, it’s beautifully designed.  On your resistance page you can simply tap the middle button to shift between the three digit placements (hundreds, tens, ones), and then use up/down to change wattage.


Thus, to go from 340w to 140w takes two button presses, with the KICKR instantly responding.

About the only thing I wish I could do here is to have a dedicated lap button on the resistance page (the lap button goes away while on that page, so you have to shift to another page).

In many ways, the ELEMNT finally truly realizes the long held goal of Chip Hawkins (founder of Wahoo Fitness).  See, way back when he offered to make a connected head unit for the CompuTrainer (for free),  they declined, and Chip built the KICKR.  The KICKR has since dominated the trainer world.  Next, Wahoo had long hoped for integration to Garmin head units.  That didn’t pan out, and here we have a Garmin GPS competitor.  The real question is – what’s the next chapter of this story?

Sensor Support


Within the span of the four weeks since the ELEMNT’s release, the ELEMNT has arrived at being the bike computer that supports the most cycling sensor types (or any sensor types).  As of this writing, it supports:

ANT+ Heart Rate sensor
ANT+ Speed-only sensor
ANT+ Cadence-only Sensor
ANT+ Speed/Cadence Combo Sensor
ANT+ Power Meter
Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate sensor
Bluetooth Smart Speed-only sensor
Bluetooth Smart Cadence-only Sensor
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Combo Sensor
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter
Shimano Di2 System (via private-ANT)
SRAM RED eTAP System (via ANT+ Gear Shifting Profile)
BSX & Moxy Muscle Oxygenation sensors (via ANT+ Muscle Oxygen Profile)

Note at the moment there isn’t yet recording of the Di2/eTAP data, nor is there the ability to set your various chainring/cassettes.  That’s coming though.

The above list captures the vast majority of cycling sensors out there today.  If you were to boil it all down into things that the Edge series doesn’t support, it’d be:

Bluetooth Smart sensors (of all types)
BSX/Moxy Sensors (Muscle Oxygen sensors)

Then there are things that the Edge series supports that Wahoo doesn’t (yet):

Garmin Varia Radar systems
Garmin VIRB Action Camera
ANT+ Lighting Control (Garmin Varia lights)
ANT+ Remote Control
ANT+ Weight Scales
ANT+ FE-C Trainers (most electronic trainers except Wahoo trainers)

Of course, all of these things may or may not matter to you.  Wahoo did note that they are looking at the ANT+ Lighting control, as well as GoPro integration – but don’t have dates for either at this time.

Ok, so that’s all nice and cute – but how the heck do you add sensors?  First, you’ll tap the left button to get into the menu.  At this point you can see existing sensors, as well as add a new sensor.  Note that you can save numerous sensors of the same type as well.


Once you click ‘Add Sensor’, it’ll go off and start searching.  This process is a bit slow, but it gets there.  You can click the ‘More’ button at any time to just see a list of what else is found.



After which you can look at the type (ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart), as well as the ID of the sensor.


This is also accessible and possible to do via the app instead.  You can also name them through the app (i.e. ‘Quarq Power Meter’ or ‘Cervelo P3C Cadence sensor’).

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Now as I hinted at above, probably the most critical difference in terms of sensors here between the Wahoo units (including the older RFLKT+) and the Garmin units is the ability to utilize Bluetooth Smart sensors.  Garmin only permits ANT+ sensors.

Of course in the grand scheme of cycling, there are only a handful of cycling-specific devices that are Bluetooth Smart only (looking at you, Polar Bluetooth Pedals), and the original Wahoo BlueSC or original RPM1 units.  Beyond that, almost everything is dual (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart) these days.  Of course, there are more Bluetooth Smart-only heart rate straps.  But there are also numerous ANT+/Bluetooth Smart dual straps available too.

Now switching gears back to the Muscle Oxygen sensor (either BSX or Moxy) – I think it’s worthwhile noting a key near-term substantial difference here to Garmin.  In the case of Garmin, they support the Muscle Oxygen sensors via their 3rd party Connect IQ platform.  That all works great – except for the fact that you can’t record the data.  No, really, it just disappears after you see it on the screen.

Whereas with the ELEMNT, that data is recorded to the .FIT file. So you can upload that to platforms that support it – like Sport Tracks (below).  In theory this would also work if you configured Auto Sync between Garmin Connect and Sport Tracks, since Garmin Connect just passes the original .FIT file over to Sport Tracks.  But for some reason the SmO2 values don’t show up when I do it that way (but for others it does work).  Likely a minor quirk that’ll probably get fixed about 3 minutes after me posting this.


Perhaps someday Wahoo will also enable direct uploads to SportTracks too. Note that as of present the ELEMNT will ‘only’ allow you to use a single SmO2 sensor (i.e. just one Moxy), where some users will use one on each leg.  That’s not yet possible.

3rd Party Integration:

When it comes to integration with 3rd parties, the Wahoo ELEMNT is somewhat mixed.  That’s because while they support syncing to third party platforms (i.e. Strava, Training Peaks, etc…), there’s no method at this time for 3rd parties to run apps directly on the ELEMNT (like Connect IQ on Garmin devices, or even the Wahoo RFLKT/RFLKT+).

On the 3rd party platforms side of things, you’ll setup the accounts you want to sync to via the ‘Profile’ options within the app.  This allows you to ‘link’ various 3rd party platforms to the device.

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This is notable because while yes, it’s linking them to the app, it’s also linking the ELEMNT device to be able to accomplish the same sync process wirelessly via WiFi (without your phone).

As of this this writing, you can sync your workout files to the following services:

Apple Health
Today’s Plan
Garmin Connect

This list is a bit shorter than the regular Wahoo Fitness app, which also supports platforms like Dropbox, RunKeeper, Cycling Analytics, 2Peak, Nike+,  and others.  Of course, some of these are likely lesser used in the cycling world – so they probably weren’t a higher priority.

Configuration though of any from the supported list only takes a moment to complete.  It’s a standard authorization prompt from that site via the ELEMNT phone app, and then you’re good to go.

In my case, I enabled the option for ‘Auto Sync’, which means the workouts will automatically be sent to all of my configured platforms upon saving the workout.  I’d recommend doing the same as it just makes life easy.  On average, I’ve found it shows up (on something like Strava) within a couple minutes.

Note that if you want to get it to platforms that Wahoo doesn’t yet support, you can use the Garmin Connect trick.  Which is to say you can sync it to Garmin Connect, and then from there to a platform Wahoo doesn’t yet have (for example, SportTracks).

Also worthwhile mentioning is that at present the unit doesn’t have Strava Live Segment integration yet, as was rolled out on Garmin Edge devices last year.  However, Wahoo says they plan to have it soon, likely before the end of May.

Finally, the second half of integration here is the routing integration.  I talked about that earlier in the ‘Mapping’ section – but just to recap, you can pull routes from Strava and RideWithGPS.  Anything you’ve saved on those routes will show up on the device.  Though as noted that currently requires WiFi sync for the ELEMNT itself.  So if you don’t have that handy (such as traveling without the ability to create a MiFi hotspot on your phone), then you’re kinda hosed.  Wahoo says an update is coming though to allow you to sync routes via Bluetooth Smart on your phone too.

Bugs & Quirks:


To say the ELEMNT is perfect would be far from the truth.  It’s basically a teenager.  In that it mostly works fairly well and does what it’s told.  But sometimes it just gets all hard-headed and totally ignores you.

Further, it lacks the finesse of a post-graduate student or older adult.  But for most people it’ll get the job done.

Wahoo has made tremendous strides over the last month in terms of fixing bugs.  Further, they’ve taken to tracking down bugs seen by users on my previous preview post, as well as the quickly growing Wahoo ELEMNT user group forum.  The forum is great in that they respond quickly and can validate whether something is being worked on.  Of course, keep in mind that most bugs aren’t seen by everyone, nor do they impact everyone.

Here’s a handful of what I see in the ‘bug’ camp on the *latest* firmware:

Occasional oddities with WiFi: For example, I had saved WiFi networks, and today while writing this, the ELEMNT pretended it couldn’t find any WiFi networks.  Yet, it used those very WiFi networks just two days ago to upload workouts.

– Occasional Bluetooth Smart sensor oddities: Primarily around the BT pedals.  The fix is to just use the ANT+ side (dual transmitting).  I can’t really blame Wahoo here entirely.  The BT power meter landscape is a protocol compliance mess/nightmare.  One only need to ask *any* vendor in that space and everyone will readily agree.  Ironically, everyone is kinda fighting everyone, getting nobody anywhere.

– Battery life: While this may not be a true bug per se, it should be noted that while Wahoo states a battery life of 17 hours, I don’t think that’s realistic.  For example, my 2hr 15min ride (no-backlight) yesterday resulted in a battery drop from 74% to 37%.  As such I don’t see how they’d make it to 17 hours.  But 8-9 hours is more likely.  Other readers have noted similar battery levels.

– Phone Pairing Failed Messages: If I had a nickel for every time I received this message, I’d be able to buy at least a few Chipotle Burritos by now.  Most times the message is harmless and can be dismissed, but if it happens during a ride, then live tracking dies.

– Notifications stopped working: This was working for me on iOS, but in the latest release it stopped working.  Wahoo says they are tracking down why this occurred.

Note that bugs are things that are ‘broken in a way that wasn’t intended’.  Which, as any software engineer will tell you is very different than ‘by design’.  Meaning, a feature missing isn’t truly a bug.  An annoyance or gap – yes, but not a bug.  So there are definitely gaps that folks have noted that Wahoo needs to address (and in many cases have).  Here’s a handful of examples:

– Live Tracking is Lame: Merely showing a dot, without any track history or sensor data (or ideally planned route) is pretty close to useless.  Btw, those are also the words of both The Girl (my wife) and my coach.  At least show me where I’ve been.  Wahoo says they plan to improve this by the end of the year.

– Customization is limited: We’ll see areas such as heart rate zones, but not power/speed/cadence zones.  We don’t have the ability to setup alerts (like high/low cadence/HR/power/etc…) either.  It’s just lots of little things.

Lack of ability to set crank length: At this point you cannot configure crank length for units like the PowerTap P1 pedals (though, you can do that in the PowerTap app).

– Just a lot of little things not yet implemented: Many of them are silly stuff – like being unable to delete a route off the unit.  And some are items that may significantly impact some (like lack of power zones or route/turn notifications), might not at all impact a different group of people.  In some ways, there are countless numbers of these.  It’s hard for me to differentiate what some people find is ‘OMG I HATE WAHOO HOW DID THEY MISS THIS!?!?!?’ to ‘Shrug, who cares?’, since I find people have dramatically different expectations on many minor features.

Hopefully though, we’ll see these addressed quickly.  Note again that I didn’t cover all the bugs that have since been fixed.  I’d say the first week or two were pretty rough, but the latest update about 10 days ago dramatically cleaned things up.

Product Comparison:

I’ve added the Wahoo ELEMNT into the product comparison tool.  This allows you to compare it against other products I’ve reviewed and see how it matches in terms of the various features.  In the case of below, I’ve put together a few of the comparable units together on a single chart.  So in this case I added the Garmin Edge 520, Edge 1000 & Polar M450.  The Edge 520 is comparably priced, whereas the Polar M450 is quite a bit cheaper.  And the Edge 1000 is much more expensive.  But they cover some distinct feature areas, and are really the only mid/high-end bike computers I’d recommend today anyway.  But again, you can mix and match your own comparison charts here.

Function/FeatureWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 9th, 2021 @ 10:27 am New Window
Product Announcement DateSept 15th, 2015June 4th, 2015July 1st, 2015Apr 9, 2014
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMarch 1st, 2016July 2015July 31st, 2015May 2014
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferBluetooth Smart, WiFi, USBUSB/Bluetooth SmartUSB & Bluetooth SmartUSB, Bluetooth, WiFi
Battery Life (GPS)17 Hours12-17 Hours15 hours15 hours
Recording Interval1-Second1-second1-Second or Smart1-Second or Smart
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)N/ANoNoNo
MusicWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Can control phone musicNoNoNoNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNoNo
ConnectivityWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesNoYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesNoYesYes
Group trackingYesNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoYesNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYesYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesNoYesYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYesNoYesYes
Crash detectionNoYesNo
RunningWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Designed for runningNoNoN/ANo
Recovery AdvisorN/A(For Cycling, yes)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)
SwimmingWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Designed for swimmingN/ANoN/AN/A
TriathlonWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Designed for triathlonNoNoN/ANo
WorkoutsWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureNoYesYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalitySortaSortaYesYes
FunctionsWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoSortaYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoYesYesYes
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)N/ANoN/ANo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoYesYes
NavigateWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesNoYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)YesNoYes for maps (but not routable)Yes
Back to startYesYesYesYes
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesYesYes
SensorsWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeMagneticGPSGPS
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyN/ANoN/ANo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesNoYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoYEsYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesNoYesYes
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationYesNoYesYes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)YesNoYesYes
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoYesYes
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)YesNoYesYes
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYesNoYesYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYesYesNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesNoYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNo
SoftwareWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
PC ApplicationN/APC/MacGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationN/APolar FlowGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNo
PurchaseWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Chain Reaction CyclesLinkLinkLinkLink
Competitive CyclistLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerWahoo ELEMNTPolar M450Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 1000
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Again, remember you can mix and match your own comparison charts here using the product comparison tool.

Things That Have Changed:

Every once in a while when I review a product that is changing at a very high rate of speed, I’ll add a small section at the end where I can quickly stash updates and notes without having to dig through the entire review and re-tweak a lot of words.

The ELEMNT falls into this category of having vast quantities of features changing on a frequent basis – every few weeks.  New features, bugs resolved (hopefully), etc…

Now Wahoo tracks all of this in a single firmware update page located here.  So, you can easily skip to that and see what’s changed since the review.  But over time I’ll add in some of the ‘highlights’ below in this section.  Sound good?  Good.

[This space reserved for future awesomeness]

Note that this review is written primarily on the basis of public firmware version WF39-221, which was/is current as of March 31st, 2016.  While I have been using numerous firmware versions prior to that, any opinions/statements are based on that latest firmware version.  Said differently – if something was fixed prior to this review being published, I’m not going to whack them over the head for it.



As you can see, Wahoo’s first GPS entrant is impressive in terms of how much they’ve managed to squeeze in on an initial release.  And, things are continually changing.  In fact, sometime later today you’ll see another firmware update addressing a handful of items.  I believe that’s the 3rd or 4th one this month.

Of course – that doesn’t mean it’s as advanced (yet) as an Edge 520.  It’s simply not.  But the reality is that for many riders, these advanced features won’t actually matter.  That’s because there are features that Garmin doesn’t have (today or anytime soon), such as Bluetooth Smart sensor support or loading of routes from 3rd parties, that will sway folks to the ELEMNT instead.  Or, it could be the slightly crisper ELEMNT screen or simply the fact that Wahoo is mind-bogglingly active in a public form with tracking down bug reports and getting them addressed in days.  While Garmin is active in a handful of their own forums, it seems rare that they engage with users there to track down bugs and address them.

On the flip side – if you’re looking for some of the advanced routing/mapping features, then the ELEMNT really isn’t the best solution for the price today.  Same goes if you want functions like interval workouts, structured workouts, better live tracking, or a slew of different alerting/zones pieces.  Or, if you just want a smaller unit like the Edge 520.

For me personally – most of those ancillary features aren’t usually what I use day to day (or even semi-frequently) – so that’s not so much the show-stopper.  In fact, as-is today I prefer the base riding experience in the ELEMNT to that of the Edge.  But, it’s really the form factor of the ELEMNT that’s the hiccup for me, it’s just simply a bigger unit than I prefer.  Give me something similar in size to the Edge 520, and I’d probably jump ship tomorrow.  But size is personal, so to each their own.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you're shopping for the Wahoo ELEMNT or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products! Or, with TPC (The Pro's Closet), you'll save $40 on purchases over $200 with coupon code DCRAIN40!

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

Barfly 4 Prime Out-Front Aluminum Mount

I love out-front mounts. Both Barfly and K-Edge make good ones. I primarily use the aluminum ones though, because this mount comes with a GoPro (and light/Di2) adapter on the bottom. So I can mount a GoPro up front and have the footage be rock solid.

The Garmin Varia radar alerts you to cars coming up behind you, well before you see them. It's awesome for quieter roads (country roads/mountains), especially on longer rides. It's less useful for city riding. The RVR315 skips the light.

The Varia radar has become incredibly popular in the last year, with most bike GPS companies supporting it (Wahoo, Stages, Hammerhead, Garmin, and more soon). It notifies you of overtaking traffic. While useless for cities, it's amazing for quieter country roads.

Wahoo RPM Sensor

This dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart sensor will transmit cadence not only to your bike computer/watch, but also 3rd party apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, and more.

Wahoo SPEED Sensor

Speed sensors are primarily useful for offroad usage. I don't find much of a need for one while road-cycling, but for mountain bike trails they can help alleviate speed/distance issues with poor GPS reception in dense trees.

The Wahoo TICKR is their baseline dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart chest strap that includes basic broadcasting of heart rate data to apps. If you don't care about all the fancy features of the TICKR X, this is one of the best straps out there. The 'just works' factor is high.

The TICKR FIT is Wahoo's optical HR sensor band, and overall it's a pretty solid no-frills offering. It broadcasts dual ANT+/BLE with a claimed 30 hours of battery life. It doesn't have any other features beyond that. Simple and straightforward.

Wahoo TICKR X (2020 Edition)

The TICKR X is Wahoo's top-end chest strap that not only does dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart (with two Bluetooth Smart channels), but also Running Dynamics, running pace, storage of workouts when you don't have a watch/phone, and even music control and laps.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you're shopping for the Wahoo ELEMNT or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products! Or, with TPC (The Pro's Closet), you'll save $40 on purchases over $200 with coupon code DCRAIN40!

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

Barfly 4 Prime Out-Front Aluminum Mount

I love out-front mounts. Both Barfly and K-Edge make good ones. I primarily use the aluminum ones though, because this mount comes with a GoPro (and light/Di2) adapter on the bottom. So I can mount a GoPro up front and have the footage be rock solid.

The Garmin Varia radar alerts you to cars coming up behind you, well before you see them. It's awesome for quieter roads (country roads/mountains), especially on longer rides. It's less useful for city riding. The RVR315 skips the light.

The Varia radar has become incredibly popular in the last year, with most bike GPS companies supporting it (Wahoo, Stages, Hammerhead, Garmin, and more soon). It notifies you of overtaking traffic. While useless for cities, it's amazing for quieter country roads.

Wahoo RPM Sensor

This dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart sensor will transmit cadence not only to your bike computer/watch, but also 3rd party apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, and more.

Wahoo SPEED Sensor

Speed sensors are primarily useful for offroad usage. I don't find much of a need for one while road-cycling, but for mountain bike trails they can help alleviate speed/distance issues with poor GPS reception in dense trees.

The Wahoo TICKR is their baseline dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart chest strap that includes basic broadcasting of heart rate data to apps. If you don't care about all the fancy features of the TICKR X, this is one of the best straps out there. The 'just works' factor is high.

The TICKR FIT is Wahoo's optical HR sensor band, and overall it's a pretty solid no-frills offering. It broadcasts dual ANT+/BLE with a claimed 30 hours of battery life. It doesn't have any other features beyond that. Simple and straightforward.

Wahoo TICKR X (2020 Edition)

The TICKR X is Wahoo's top-end chest strap that not only does dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart (with two Bluetooth Smart channels), but also Running Dynamics, running pace, storage of workouts when you don't have a watch/phone, and even music control and laps.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

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  1. Mike Robinson

    I’ve had an ELEMNT for about a week now and I like your analogy with a teenager.

    It isn’t mature yet, but if you are prepared to stick with it, it may grow up into something fully functional.

    I thought this would be the case so while the current product is overpriced for what it does, I’m prepared to stick with it for 6-12 months of software updates and if it doesn’t grow up, there is always Garmin…

    As it is, the ELEMNT is perfectly usable for what I am using it for.

    Personally, I really like the big screen size because of its legibility and the chunky buttons are easy to use with gloves. My ageing eyes struggle with Garmin colour screens in bright sunlight and I’m not keen on their touch screens either.

    • Dmitry

      Never had any problems in using Garmin in very sunny days and different angles to the sun, always could i see the screen. Also, never had any problems with the touch screen either even with gloves.

  2. Sébastien Gagné

    For reference, the Wahoo team is very active in the Google group : link to groups.google.com

    Thanks Ray.

  3. Matt Kime

    Since I know Wahoo reads the comments here –

    Wahoo, I _want_badly_ to give you my money but i need the following items resolved first –

    – Reliable connections to wifi and my phone
    – Live Tracking needs to provide more info (this is so my wife knows i’m okay)

    Please nail these items and I’ll drop Garmin like a bad habit.

    • benji

      same here

    • Jordi Backx

      Yes, me too, since The Wife/Girl is in 1984 mode when I’m riding.

      – More Smart trainer support besides Wahoo’s. I want to use it to control my Tacx Bushido Smart.
      – Interval training

      No real dealbreakers, those two. Indoors I could stil use the iPHon/Cyclemeter app/RFLKT+ trio.

    • Jordi Backx

      One possible dealbreaker: battery life.

      I only do 5+hr rides on an organized tour. The organization sets direction markers everywhere, so I don’t need mapping and therefore my iPhone’s 5.5″ display.

      When set off, I wouldn’t be surprised that GPS+Cyclemeter app will drain my phone’s battery in 6/7 hours.

      Really strange and somewhat disappointing that a dedicated computer with small B/W screen doesn’t do much better.

    • My edge 1000 barely gets 5 hours. No nav

    • Jordi Backx

      Excuse me? That’s way worse than the ELEMNT. Or is yours ageing?

    • Only 5 hours on the Edge 1000? Any chance backlight is set to 100% & Stays on?

      Otherwise, definitely not the norm. And, if you can, I’d hit them up ASAP, because EU 2-year warranty will expire somewhat soon (if you bought at launch).

    • Thanks for this.
      No, the backlight is on the standard auto setting. Wi-Fi off while travelling and normally Bluetooth off.

      I realise that the battery is on the pretty low side of things – But on the other hand, when I say it lasts five hours, I mean that I get low battery warnings and there is about 10% left at five hours. Not very satisfactory but it hasn’t actually closed down on me so far and I have to say I would personally find it difficult to do more than five hours steady cycling. Also, I don’t want to lose the unit for a few weeks while some company decides to do an investigation, so I’ll probably let it go.

      If you follow the link under my name, you’ll find that consumer conflict is what I do day in day out and I think I would rather pass when it comes to my personal life!

    • No doubt, the down-time is a pain. But Garmin can do a credit-card guaranteed swap. So basically they send you out a brand new unit and then as long as you send your unit back in eventually*, then they don’t charge it.

      *It’s a surprisingly long time, as I found out once.

    • Thanks. That’s interesting. Now you have me thinking.
      Where would I find the best support number?

    • It’d be best to call the local support country, since that’s the one that would ship it to you. So if in France, then: link to garmin.com

    • Ken Adams

      I frequently ride double centuries which almost always exceed my Garmin’s battery life. It’s pretty straightforward to use an external battery mounted to your stem that doubles or triples your Garmin’s battery life. Anker makes some great products that are quite inexpensive. Many of the units have more than one USB output, which makes it easy to also recharge headlights / taillights / phones while riding.

    • PhilBoogie

      I got 3:52 out of the Edge 1000. Yes, backlight was on. Turning that off increased battery life with 1 hour. Still, way too short for my rides, so I returned it.

  4. Aaron

    I’ll echo the outstanding support and platform openness.

    We contacted Wahoo about direct SportTracks integration via Twitter and within 24h the teams were exchanging tech details with a plan to get this added in 2-3 weeks.

    Contrast to the best “major” – Epson Runsense that took 6 months, and the worst Polar which involved an 18 month exchange of failed comittments and eventually them dropping the ball completely and falling off the face of the planet. Garmin was somewhere in the middle.

    Wahoo has the thirst. THE THIRST! And we love it.

    • Vincenzo

      Aaron that is great news. I wish wahoo support was the same. i have had some good and mostly bad responses. Taking too long to respond. Maybe that is why they are good on the new products is this tech drive. Wish they had all departments working the same ethos.

  5. bobmac64

    If it comes down to size being a major factor, then many of us in the 40+ age category, who are not already in the Garmin family, may opt for the larger, crisper display on this unit.
    Thanks again for your thoroughly excellently done review.

  6. I’ve noticed they remove the profiles (as in group of pages).
    Any idea why? will they be back?

    • SK

      Thanks for the review DC… I’ve had my ELEMNT for a few weeks now and have decided to return it and wait until it matures (and buy it again). I was upgrading from a Garmin Edge Touring. The ELEMNT has the potential to be a game-changer in the cycle computer market, it really does. But as it stands, with the current state of the SW (my experience: WiFi dropouts, sensor issues, unreliable syncing, and a few more bugs), I was forced to carry both my old Garmin and the ELEMNT. I was hoping that I’d only need the ELEMNT, but the Garmin, however old, just worked.

      That being said, I’ve got to hand it to Wahoo personnel, they have been attentive and sincerely are eager to improve the ELEMNT.

      For those considering it now: please note that you’re essentially beta testers from firmware update to firmware update. I’m looking forward to looking back 6-12 months from now and reassessing the ELEMNT. By then hopefully the basic convenience and day to day features (ie. Wifi, autosync, etc) will have been fixed.

      As I said before, this thing is head and shoulders more in line with what most of us expect from our electronic devices: Pretty, Slick, Easy to use, and load and loads of potential for improvement. THAT SCREEN!!!! 🙂

  7. Mac Buddy

    Thx Ray for this review.

    Sadly you didn’t talk that much about the display and it’s clarity compared to garmin products?! Or did I miss it?

    For me it will be the decision between Edge 1000 vs. Wahoo Elemnt (in Germany you will get them for the same price).

    • I find it very sharp, though, at the same time I don’t have any issues reading the Edge 520/1000 either. I think some folks will prefer the ELEMNT’s screen due to the larger display size (i.e. text size). But I personally don’t have any troubles reading either unit.

      In sun, I didn’t notice any issues either.

    • Mac Buddy


      And what about real battery life? How would you compare the garmin 1000/520 to the Elemnt?! Looks like the Garmin is way better, when I read your reviews… Right?

    • Mike Robinson

      I think preferences for screen type is another item that will vary from person to person.

      I think the ELEMNT will be quite appealing for “cyclists of a certain age” whose eyesight isn’t what it used to be (and I’m in that category…)

    • rjdennis

      I believe I will get about 12.5-13 hours out of a full charge, no leds, no backlight which is not needed in any event, using speed, cadence and hr sensors

  8. Nigel P.

    Ray, great stuff as always. Minor nitpick (yes my pet peeve again): “Though, regrettably I lack friends with ELEMNTS’s here in Paris to try this out.” should be “Though, regrettably I lack friends with ELEMNTs here in Paris to try this out.” That darned apostrophe again…

  9. cycloscott

    Nice review Ray.

    One thing I didn’t see addressed is the concept of different bike/ride profiles, and the available sensors for each. The data I want to see on a mtb ride is massively different than what I need to see on a road ride. And the array of sensors across mtb/CX/road bikes are different as well. My #1 field on the road bike is power related, which I don’t have on my mtb. So setting field precedence is a non-starter there. Garmin does a decent job of this with both bike profiles as well separate pages for different ride types.

    • Mic

      Since you can create multiple pages, you could achieve this in that way.

      Think of a page as a profile.

      And as like the new Garmins, there is no sensor profiles anymore. Instead you just save all your sensors to it, and it picks up the ones being used.

    • cycloscott

      Yeah, that’s kind of a pain in the butt then. I’ve got multiple bike specific pages for each activity. Normal view, a couple of lap views (current and previous), a current averages page, and a few other variations depending on the bike. I’d reach the 10 page limit before I even got to my fixie.

  10. Chris Barber

    Glad I waited for your review before buying. Wanted it to replace ageing Edge 800 with dodgy battery but too many features missing/not ready yet for me (got to judge on what’s available now not what’s promised for the future).

    Don’t really want to buy an Edge 810 (knowing my luck they’d release a replacement the day after I buy one) so guess I give up navigation and get a Edge 520 or get a Edge 100 despite not liking the size.

    • AC

      Instead of buying a new Garmin, contact them and you should be able to exchange your old one for a refurb for $100. I did this last year when my 800 quit communicating via the USB cable. Which is a reason that I’d really like a device that uploads via wifi. Looks like battery life and the size of the device are less than ideal on this wahoo.

    • Chris Barber

      Good idea! Exchanging for a refurb’d 800 is probably the best solution for me as although newer units have some features I’d like (wireless syncing, sensor pools) they are more nice to have than essentials and the 800 caters for my needs (main things missing for me from Elemnt are turn by turn nav, high/low power alerts, workouts).

  11. Nice to see some proper competition for a Garmin who have been KOM for far too long.

    Any features which this new unit might lack are amply compensated by Wahoo’s enthusiastic and customer facing approach which Garmin has been steadfastly lacking in over a long period of time.

    Maybe Wahoo’s approach will finally dislodge Garmin from their customer-disloyal entrenched attitude.

    I think that the new unit is a definite possible next purchase – depending on what Garmin come up for their next edge 1000 replacement.

    What I would really like to see with the Wahoo unit would be a touchscreen – which I suppose is not possible because it is a hardware matter, and a remote control – which might be possible through firmware and which is an extremely useful feature of the Garmin edge series.

    In fact, the present lack of a remote control is the only thing which might make me pause before getting a wahoo unit instead of another Garmin

    • Mike Robinson

      I actually like the ELEMNT buttons – they are chunky enough to use easily with gloves while I struggled to use touchscreen Garmins with gloves.

      I agree that a remote would be a nice addition. Apparently Di2 buttons can already be used as remote controls for the ELEMNT but I don’t have Di2…

      It will be interesting to see if Wahoo come up with their own product or if they can support existing remotes (Garmin, Bontrager…?)

  12. VIctor

    Great review. Isn’t there mount larger than that of the Edge units? One my of my biggest grips with wahoo is no firmware details anywhere. I understand that not all require a detailed blog, but just the changes alone would be nice or even minimal information.

    Looking forward to the changes to this unit for now I will stick to my RFLKT+ (hopefully those updates keep coming too) and maybe consider a deal on a 1000.

  13. Ryan

    Been waiting for this review since the ELEMNT showed up in the wild. I’m still really torn between the Wahoo and the 520. The clevertraining DCR discount might actually be the tipping point for me.

  14. JJones

    Good review Ray but I was hoping for more about the accuracy of the data. The Wahoo users group has had many comments around this area regarding accuracy issues with not only the acquisition of data but the export of it as well. Can you comment on this? It is hard to get behind a device that gives you data that you cannot count on.


    • Yup, I’ll add a section on data charts here. I was running dual-units for connecting to various sensors (i.e. one ELEMNT + Edge 520), so I’m able to show comparisons between them.

    • Kyle M

      Ray – do you have an update to the data accuracy charts you were going to post? I’m interested in the ELEMNT,but have seen issues with accuracy of power data on the head unit vs. app vs. GoldenCheetah.

      Any insight you can provide on accuracy vs. benchmark 520 would be helpful.


    • Oops, totally forgot to paste those in. Actually wrote them all up on an airplane a month ago. Crap!

      Will get them pasted in here tonight. Sorry about that, and thanks for the reminder.

    • Kyle M

      No need to apologize! You are quite busy and doing us a service. 🙂

  15. Roy H

    I am so close to deciding on this over the 520..hopefully return to start is on the to-do list. Glad to see structured workouts and FE-C trainer control on the to-do among a few other items.

    Are any shops carrying both this and the 520? Would be nice to play with them in person before making a decision.

  16. Roy H

    …oh and I am also concerned about the ACTUAL battery life. Curious how it really stacks up vs the actual life of the 520.

    • Yup, I talk about battery life in the Bugs & Quirks section: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Roy H

      whoops glazed over that..so it seems that having the B&W screen really isnt much of an aid in battery life vs the 520 color screen. In the comments on the 520 overview it seems people are all over the place battery life wise.. Can you turn bluetooth and wifi off on the elemnt? Didnt notice if you can in the review.. I would think that may help..seems like it does with the 520 (plus backlight). Would be nice to save as much power as possible when doing multi-day bike touring so you dont have to worry about charging as much since its not easy..

    • WiFi is only enabled when you’ve told it to do something (i.e. ending a ride, or uploading a route). So that’s sorta a non-issue.

      BT is enabled when sensors or the phone is connected. But realistically it’s not a big driver of battery life. Typically the biggest drivers of battery life are GPS and backlight (along with the screen).

  17. Jean-Bernard

    Thanks for another great review. One question, what are those buttons on either side of your stem?

  18. Matthew


    Minor typo on the text on the picture explaining what each button does – 2nd picture in Daily Use. You have “Down/Decrease Metics” – note missing “r” in “Metrics”.

    Great review overall

  19. Bruno

    379€ for the Elemnt vs 384€ for Garmin Edge 1000.. I think the elemnt is far too expensive for what it delivers. At least in Germany..

  20. San Man

    As I read more reviews on mid to high end bike computers, I’m struggling to see the benefits of switching to a $450+ (CDN) bike computer vs my Samsung ANT+ and BLE capable phone.
    Considering I have a wide array of apps to chose from, Wahoo Fitness which is by far the best in my humble opinion, along with the versatility and customization each of them offer, I see little to no value in dropping extra coin on a device that still relies on me carrying my phone during rides to exploit certain features that my phone does anyhow, ie livetracking, text and email alerts.
    One could argue size and weight. However, most of us rarely leave for a ride without our phone so weight is not an issue. As for size, unless you’re a pro rider, if the aerodynamic drag of my phone mounted on its slim bike mount vs the Elemnt makes that much of difference, I would be very surprised.
    So in the end, another fantastic review but still nothing I see built into this device that makes me feel compelled to lay down some heavy dollars for what my phone is more than capable of doing.

    • Koen

      While I fully agree with you that an android-based mobile phone that is ANT+ capable is extremely hard to beat in terms of cycling computer capabilities (I use Ipbike which blows all of the major players out of the water in terms of capabilities & customization, e.g. estimated gearing for everyone, even without electronic shifting), one major drawback is/can be battery life. I know for sure i won’t be able to ride for more than 5 hours with my screen on all the time.

    • Peter

      I use a Sony Z3 compact with IPbike.
      In airplane mode and backlight set to 50% I use 6-8% battery per hour.
      I was looking at the Elemnt as I wanted something with physical buttons as it is hard to use the touch screen with gloves on. However with the user reported battery life I think I will give it a miss for now.

    • San Man

      I’ll give IpBike a try. A close second for me is Bicycle Power Meter. Support at Innovative App Designs was great at analyzing my ride data to help correct the Aero Drag Coefficient settings. I’d be interested to see how it stacks up against PowerPod in a ride comparison.

      Battery life is a weakness of any battery powered electronic. Based on Ray’s numbers, I tend to agree with the masses that the Elemnt fell short in this department and is in need of a fix. Considering the 37 % drop over 2 hours 15 minutes, I think Ray was even generous with his 8-9 hour estimate. I think it’s more in the range of 6 hours, and that’s with no backlight… ouch!

      For rides longer then 4+ hrs, I have a 2800 mAh small cylindrical battery pack that I velcro attach to my stem which effectively doubles my operating time. More than enough run time to say the least.

    • Akif

      I do agree with you San. as for Koen’s concern, 20 gr external battery will do the job.

      i am not sure how many sensors can be paired with a smartphone?

  21. Dr_LHA

    Ray, what’s missing from this review (unless I missed it) and one of Wahoo’s big selling points, is how the visibility of the screen compares to units such as the Edge 520 and other units. Is it really a big advantage and worth missing out on the benefits of having a color screen?

    • I talk about it within the ‘Day to Day’ use section.

      It’s a tough one to demonstrate impartially (beyond the 100+ photos already), because I’d otherwise be trying to ‘fake’ photos to show good/bad reflections. And typically, that’s more of a camera issue than a eyesight issue.

    • Dr_LHA

      Of course you do… I should have known that if something was missing it was my reading comprehension at fault, not your detailed reviewing. So it sounds like it’s a wash as far as you’re concerned then. Thanks!

  22. Tim Rogers

    Thanks so much, Ray, and apologies for all the F5 on your server while waiting for this review!

    Does Wahoo have such a thing as a published roadmap for their future software updates, or has this information all been collated from various forum response?

    • I requested specific features timelines from them, which I sprinkled throughout the review. Perhaps I’ll consolidate them into a table and put it in the ‘Things That Have Changed’ section.

  23. Anton

    Great review as always Ray. Was wondering if a review on any of the Lezyne gps computers were on the cards or is there not enough interest in them?

  24. Ray Wright

    What is the line-up order in your top view comparison picture?

    Battery life is the fatal flaw for me. I like the charge it whenever battery of my Garmin.

  25. Charlie

    “Said mount is *NOT* the same as” … you left out the rest, which I believe you meant to say Garmin’s quarter-turn mount.

  26. JB

    I think im going to ditch TACX/Garmin as my turbo setup and buy Kickr/Element – looks like they nailed it!!! Garmin for on road use only as its more compact and i dont like a big unit….

  27. Luis R De Freitas

    ; You can tell the unit is not ready but that didn’t stop wahoo to sell it at full price; not a great start and their forum looks as bad as the garmin forum…

    disappointing for sure!

  28. Mike Brand

    Displays Di2/Ant+ gear data, does it not record it? Does the Garmin 520 record Di2 gear data. It sure woukd be great to be able to analyse this post ride.

    • Correct, not yet. It sounds like that’s on the short-term radar.

      Today the Edge series does record it, however, Garmin Connect doesn’t display it. Instead you can use Di2Stats.com to display it. I believe Sport Tracks also shows it.

    • Mike Brand

      Just contacted Wahoo support about the timeline to add Di2 recording to the Elemnt. They said it was not on their feature roadmap, but it was a good idea and they woukd send it as a feature request to the developers… Ugh!

    • Wahoo Murray

      Hi Mike,

      It looks like there might have been some confusion, Di2/eTap recording is currently in beta, I don’t have a release date yet but it will be in one of the next few releases.

  29. Dave

    Hi Ray could you go thru the process of calibrating a power meter. Ive got my stages linked but wasn’t able to get the calibration number to show.

    • (On a train at moment, so doing from memory)

      If you hit the upper left button and then highlight your power meter in the senors list, you should see the lower left button change to ‘Calib’. After that it’ll ask you to confirm you’re in position to do so (so in the case of the Stages, ensure the crank arm is pointed vertically, either up or down). After that it returns the calibration value.

      I validated it still works on the latest firmware this morning, via a PowerTap G3.

    • Jay L

      I’ve been unable to get any calibration done for my new PowerTap P1 pedals, either using the ELMNT or via the PowerTap iPhone App. Nor have I been able to properly set the crank arm length. Any advice on how to do this? My power readings don’t seem to make any sense!

    • Steve

      I had trouble connecting to the P1s, unrelated to the ELEMNT. The iPhone connection is a bit unreliable if multiple Bluetooth devices are nearby. Try turning off all other devices (laptops, cycle computers etc) and then open the app on the iPhone. Also, make sure the batteries in the P1s are not running low.

  30. Mirko

    Is it possible to use the ELMNT for Brevets? I have a Garmin 500, 920XT und i can`t use them while charging! Would like to use a Powerbank


    • Wahoo Murray

      Yep, the USB is on the underside and can charge while in use, you would need to use either the out front or aero bar mounts.

    • Mike

      I can confirm that charging via a dynamo and B&M Luxus U worked perfectly for me.

    • Bob

      You can charge the Garmin Edge 500 while recording your ride on the bike. You need a particular type of USB cable. That cable will not signal to the 500 that the 500 is connected to a computer; it will just convey the electrical charging from your portable battery. I don’t recall the name of the cable type, but I think Google would be your friend.

    • Bob

      Here’s a discussion on how to use the Garmin Edge 500 for brevets and other very long rides: link to bikeforums.net . The posts talk about both homemade and commercial (~$20) on-the-go chargers for the 500, so you can use the 500 while charging on the bike.

  31. Robin

    While loads of folks have smart phones, it seems a bit shortsighted to only be able to do detailed device setup via smartphone.

  32. Patrick


    That sounds like something a zombie diner waitress would call me when asking for my order. “What can I get for ya shurg?”

  33. Akim Akimov

    No deep strava integration 🙁 no workouts. I mean garmin is atrocious in this department (if we take trainerroad app as comparison). Had so much hope in something new but this one looks like little better looking 820 🙁

  34. Phil A


    Was thinking you may want to update your chart for Garmin Devices to state Windows Phone also, since they released that App recently.

  35. joey

    I noticed in the review they have a 5s power average. Is there an option for 3s as on my current Edge I use 3s as well as 30s

    Climbing page can you adjust the scale on the fly (x and y axis).

    On the review, you noted also it does the basic controls for the KICKR as well as allow you to ride virtual routes but am I correct that your review states it can’t do preprogram workout (like trainer road intervals).

  36. JMG

    Hey Ray,

    In the product comparison chart, you have a category for ABILITY TO DOWNLOAD CUSTOM APPS TO UNIT/DEVICE showing that none of the units support this. Am I not doing this on the Edge 1000 when I add apps to it or is this referencing something else?

    Great review as always…your commitment and energy are a boon to all of us.

  37. EB

    It looks interesting. Shame they haven’t introduced their own equivalent of Connect IQ or suunto Apps.

  38. Richard Garrett

    In the comparison table, I think you forgot the word “Bluetooth” on “HEART RATE STRAP COMPATIBLE”

    Phone connectors are now starting to use USB Type C (my Nexus phone uses this). So it is no longer just micro-USB or iPhone.

    • In the table I break out compatibility as:

      Heart Rate Strap (Yes/No)
      ANT+ Heart Rate Straps (Yes/No)
      Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Straps (Yes/No)

      ANT+ sensors are in a big section, then Bluetooth Smart sensors. Then some random sensors.

      Or did I mis-understand?

      Either way – good point in the future about Type-C.

    • Jordi Backx

      Hi Ray,

      That was some intereseting reading, thnx!

      I have a Tacx Bushido Smart. Besides an indoor trainer, it’s also a BTLE power meter. You said that Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Capable = YES.

      Does this mean that Wattage from the Tacx is recorded to ELEMNT even though only Wahoo Kickr trainers are supported as a complete trainer?

      Any planning for support for BTLE smart trainers like the Bushido?

    • Correct. It would mean that you’d be able to read power/speed/cadence from the Tacx unit.

      Later this year, once they add FE-C support, you’d be able to control the Tacx Bushido Smart (any ‘Smart’ branded unit from them).

      I don’t expect them to support BLE control of units that otherwise have FE-C, since honestly there’s no legit standard there (on BLE) beyond each company roughly copying each other with some tweaks (thus breaking the concept of a standard).

    • nAni

      “Later this year, once they add FE-C support, you’d be able to control the Tacx Bushido Smart (any ‘Smart’ branded unit from them).”

      Is it supported now? I would love to have this feature. Also, would like to know if it can be connected in conjunction while using Zwift. Thanks.

    • Just checked. Sounds like it’s not going to happen till summer (North American summer).

    • nAni

      ok. Thanks for the reply.

  39. Arash

    I know that couple months ago you mentioned that there hasn’t been enough interest about the Lezyne computers, but I would appreciate it if you could do a review since I think the interest has increased somewhat!

  40. DRSR

    Great review, Ray. Just got mine, but disappointed that the out-front mount is only for 31.8 mm handlebars. There are still a lot of 26.0 mm bars out there (like mine) and for $330.00 it doesn’t seem that hard to make a mount that would fit both.

  41. wu qingwei

    what the official words about Battery life bug?

  42. Kenn

    Unfortunately the “Phone Pairing Failed Messages” are not unique to the ELEMNT – I get them ALL the time on my Edge 510 & Vivoactive. Garmin’s bluetooth implementation is very unreliable & unpredictable!!

  43. David G.

    Ray will the ELEMNT be able to do a static calibration for garmin vector pedals? Thanks for the excellent review

  44. Great post about a Garmin Edge challenger. I hope that Garmin awakes and works more serious on the list of bugs of the Edge 520/1000 firmware.

    • … I hope the Garmin awakes and engages more seriously with its customer-base.

      Most modern companies wouldn’t need reminding about this.

  45. Neil

    I bought the RFLKT+ and it was the worst buy ever, never connecting to phone or slow, a bit to finicky setting up screens and not many updates to solve issues, I gave up in the end and bought a Garmin 520, so easy, up and running in seconds, don’t have to mess around with phone. The Kickr is good though.

  46. Michael A.

    Thanks for the review!

    When reading this review, I don’t really see any advantage over my Sony z3 compact. It has
    -Ant+ support
    -Bt smart support
    -Very sophisticated routing
    – Integration with Strava, garmin etc.
    -Large screen
    – Etc.

    Battery life seems to be more or less comparable and enough for me.

    The smartphone is even 100 euro cheaper than the elemnt.

    Why should I buy the elemnt or garmin 1000?

    Big thanks!

    • Jordi Backx

      You forget the costs for a good mount and protection against falling.

      After a crash I’ll cry harder over a broken phone than over a broken computer. The ELEMNT will have less damage, BTW, due to it’s compact build.

    • Bob

      I have thought about this and the Z3 is a good opiton but what app will you use to see. Speed, Power, HR. Splits etc whilst on the bike?

  47. Mac Buddy

    Nice idea michael.

    Anybody already use this combo?! And what about the GPS issues the Z3 Compact has at the moment… Doesn’t look that good.

    • Michael A

      Mac Buddy,

      I never had any issues with the GPS. Neither on my bike nor when using it for navigation in my car.

    • Peter T

      Same here, no issues with the gps on the z3.

      I’m genuinely interested, what are the reported issues?

  48. Brad

    If this ends up supporting the Varia Radar I’ll buy it. Sick of Garmin. Brought a 520 as an “upgrade” from the 510 and it’s a bug ridden mess.

    • Jordi Backx

      So, the 520 is as buggy as the ELEMNT, but the difference is faster upgrades and updates for a much younger gagdet?

      Big pro for ELEMNT.

    • I’ll be honest, I just don’t hear folks with Edge 520 bug problems. Really, given the vast quantities of units out there, it’s probably one of the more stable products.

      In most cases, when I hear of folks with issues with it, it’s because of:

      A) Connect IQ related (i.e. an app they loaded)
      B) OpenStreet Maps related (some 3rd party map they added)

      Or, not an issue, but:

      C) Some variant of not liking a particular Strava leaderboard setting.

      Beyond that, I run 3-4 of them concurrently on every ride and they’re pretty much flawless for me.

  49. Steve

    The review is spot on Ray.

    I’m really missing turn-by-turn, but other than that I’m 100% happy with the Elemnt. Murray and co are rolling out upgrades / fixes every few days, in my use so far it’s been stable and does exactly what it says it does. Following a route is fine, recording of data is fine and the display is excellent.

    I agree with Ray on the form factor, it really does look chunky. Then again, it also looks like it’s built to last.

  50. Andy

    I still find it odd that my Mio 505 that I purchased 2 years ago, still beats this for features hands down.

    • Steve

      Does the Mio 505 do turn-by-turn directions or just a track to follow?

    • Andy

      It does both Steve. It does POI, routes made in 3rd party apps, postcodes, point on map, return to home etc. Ive never had a problem with it, makes the maps on the Elemnt look like a 1980’s video game.

      Does power, individual profiles, phone alerts, music control, wifi, sync to Strava etc almost everything a Garmin 1000 does.

      Ive never understood why it wasnt more popular. Sure its a bit chunky, but ive dropped mine several times and still going strong.

    • I’d agree Mio was ahead of their time. Unfortunately internal struggles within the company really kept it from taking off (both business and technical). Had they played their cards right, I think they had a legit chance at taking a huge chunk out of Garmin’s cycling biz.

      Alas, those opportunities have passed by.

    • Stuart Brown

      I had a Mio 505, and the hardware was great, it had a nicely laid out UI and a great feature set including trainer control. However, there were loads of bugs (BT S/C sensors doubling the distance (or way more, I once had a 17000 mile ride), sensors would disconnect all the time, the battery life was woeful. And mine kept crashing during rides, missing sections all the time.

      Ultimately the lack of updates and support killed it. And when updates did arrive, they were minor had different issues to the previous version that made them no more usable. I returned mine and bought an Edge 1000. It’s not perfect, but it hasn’t put a foot wrong so far.

      But there is a lack of competition in the market place so I’m very interested to see what happens with the ELEMNT. I don’t think there is a better company in terms of customer communication and reacting to the market than Wahoo, and they are much speedier in providing updates than anyone else in my experience.

    • Andy

      Sounds like you had a dodgy Mio, mines been perfect since day one, no crashes, no sensor dropouts, nothing. Maybe you didnt upgrade it properly?

      Battery life isnt great but could easily get a 100 mile ride in.

  51. Jordi

    – Live Tracking is Lame :

    Can you setup the ELEMNT so send an email when you stop or start cycling?

    I had an accident last year. My wife noticed that the “stop” mail wasn’t followed by a “(re)start” mail. She then called me to find out about my crash with ambulance sirens ringing in the background.

    So, very handy besides mails on time/distance intervals.

    • It’s only upon start.

    • Jordi

      So only on start? And opening the static link always returns the updated/current position?

      This needs improving. Cyclemeter allows you to set any kind of trigger you want: time, distance interval, start, restart, stop, done. Even thresholds of power, heart rate etc.

  52. Erik

    Ray, I’ve been waiting for a new Edge 8xx ever since my 800 kicked the bucket last year (to forestall the “you can send it to Garmin”: it already had a replacement – non-Garmin – battery and was so broke – everything but smoking – that I chucked it before I could even think about sending it back). I want turn-by-turn navigation, but am trying to remember/analyze just how much I did/will use that, given that I also have a phone. To help me get a better understanding of how the ELEMNT handles routes, I have a couple questions: is the off-route notification auditory as well as visual? can it pull routes from Garmin Connect? can you manually move the map so you can look around (I didn’t see if you said the ELEMNT has a touchscreen, but you may have addressed it)? Does it seem feasible, given the hardware and such, that they could integrate turn-by-turn at a later date? for the love of God, when will Garmin release a new 8xx series? Do you find that being b/w makes the map harder to use?

    I don’t think I ever used the POI database on the Edge 800 to find something and ride to it, but it did save a group of us from taking an unplanned detour on a century once, plus I like to seek out new routes and have the GPS guide me on said route. Right now I’m using my Fenix 3 as my data capture device, but I’d like to have a dedicated bike computer again (#uppermiddleclassproblems). I’m just not sure I can continue to wait for Garmin to do whatever it’s going to do…

    • Drew Eckhardt

      Off-route indication is audible and visible with the LEDs.

      You can’t move the map around. With three buttons on front and two on the right side that seems reasonable – middle button toggle between zoom and movement, left/right and up/down pan.

      Integrating basic turn-by-turn (“turns” are .tcx entries that display when you reach the coordinates, with software hopefully being smart enough to insert them some distance before turns) like the Edge 500/510/520 would be trivial. I don’t see why they couldn’t do Edge 800/810/1000 style turn-by-turn where it knows what street you’re on (from the full OSM maps), what street your route turns on to, and be smart even if it’s a .gpx which can’t have cue sheet entries.

      The map is easy to see, perhaps less cluttered than a color map, but doesn’t yet show street names.

  53. Augsburg

    We’ve ridden hundreds of times with our GPS bike computers (all Polar products, including the V650, M400 and M450). They major annoyance we’ve encountered is a sensor dropping off and not recording – often due to the sensor battery getting low, or sometimes sensors need to be re-paired due to a firmware update. We’ve found the V650 is the preferable device because it has an easier-to-see display of status at the “start” screen: including indicating if the GPS is locked on, the bike # you chose to ride, and the sensors are active and paired.

    I did not see a good indication on the display of system status in your photos. Does the Elemnt display provide comprehensive status of GPS, bike selected and sensor pairing at the “Start” screen? Or would you need to dig into menus to determine if you are A-OK and ready to go?

  54. James G

    I have been using the Elemnt for 2 weeks now and I have been liking it. I do find the display to be far more vibrant than my Edge 510. My 510 is also plagued with issues when it comes to connectivity. It drops sensors and getting the unit to sync my ride is an all afternoon event.

    The Elemmnt has some growing to do. I find that basic functions work well. For my riding I typically only care about speed, cadence, HR,and power. I don’t use mapping/tracking functions so as long as I get these 4 I am happy. So far the data seems accurate (within reason) as I can compare a common ride that I will knock out during the lunch hour. The Elemnts data is consistent with the 510. The only issue I ran into today, and I am assuming it is an issue, is that my power profile was not typical for my lunch ride. It leads me to suspect that I had the power sensor dropping periodically, but I am not sure.

    I am looking forward to see where they take the device. I put my Garmin away 2 weeks ago and do not regret it (and hopefully won’t). By my estimates I am getting about 10-11 hours of battery life. I will do more testing for my own sanity, but that seems to be where it will fall. That is also consistent with my Garmin so can’t complain.

  55. Dave

    Great review, Ray – thanks as always. I’d just about worn out the trackpad clicking “refresh” waiting for this.

    Wahoo Murray – I’m in NZ, and champing at the bit to get an Elemnt to use both for controlling my Kickr as our winter approaches, and to replace my Edge 800 for my winter long rides. Any idea when I’m going to be able to order from the AU site? It’s getting frustrating to say the least and I’m in need of a new bike computer.

  56. Drew Eckhardt

    It’s not like the Edge 520 or even Edge 500 (6.5 years older) when it comes to navigation.

    You don’t get notifications for .tcx entries, don’t get distance to the next one on the map screen, and have no screen showing distance to the next few where intermediate entries (straight on South Main Street when your were riding on North Main Street).

    Navigation requires eyeballing the computer screen which is what many of us are trying to get away from.

    You can’t even note the name of the next turn on the map and visually identify it because that’s missing street names.

    Together with some display (5 second power high) and recording (replacing zero values with a ramp from 0 to the next measurement) issues that have supposedly been resolved I sent mine back before the 30 day return period lapsed and reluctantly bought an Edge 810.

    • SK

      I had higher expectations, and I’ll readily admit I’m not as patient as most buyers. I didn’t want to be a beta tester, and returned mine as well. Purchased a Garmin Edge 520 and I’m happy.

      Honestly, I’d have been happier if it had the ELEMNT Display and the iPhone Setup features, but out of the box, it worked flawlessly, recorded all my data, connected to sensors, and automatically uploaded my rides, no mess no fuss.

      I’m sure the Wahoo folks will get things right, there’s HUGE potential for the ELEMNT, the device just isn’t up to snuff at the moment.

  57. Wes

    I bought an Elemnt as i love the Kickr Snap, Tickr, and S/C Sensor that I own. Plus who doesn’t love to check out new tech, that is why we are all here…

    However, after using the Elemnt for a few weeks and learning/reading more about its limitations I think I’ll be parting ways. I bought the Garmin 1000 just a few days ago to compare with the notion I’d return the Element.

    For me…the routing capabilities are just too important not to have. For example, just two weeks ago I found myself on a badly planned route without a bike computer (this was before the Elemnt) in the backwoods of Vermont. A few wrong turns landed my very upset wife and I on unpaved, muddy roads, on our road bikes in 30 degree weather, 15 miles from our cabin. My iPhone battery rapidly was dying due to the cold weather. I don’t think the Elemnt would have easily got me out of that bind given no street names, no route to home feature, no turn by turn directions, or on-the-fly routing. I’m pretty confident the Garmin 1000 would have made the situation better or avoided landing me on those types of roads in the first place.

    So I bought the Garmin 1000. After a few days of non-stop tinkering/riding I’m pretty sure that I’m more satisfied with it over the Elemnt. For me the Map quality and “Where to?” routing is worth the extra $150 over the Elemnt. When I’m on vacation and don’t know the area, and want to find a route that’s worth it all day! Also, real time Strava Segments right now, who knows how long it will take the Elemnt to get this??? They had months of delays on shipping, who is to say that will be as quick on all the updates they promise??

    Another thing that prompted me going out to get the Edge 1000 was when I noticed you couldn’t delete a imported route…Come on, how did the programmer not think to code a delete feature. Seems sloppy, however I’m sure they will fix that soon.

    There are some things I liked about the Elemnt that the Garmin 1000 doesn’t seem capable of. First, its really crappy that you cannot wirelessly sync a Strava Course to Garmin 1000. It obviously uploads rides just fine but it cannot import Strava routes? This is very easy to do on the Elemnt. On the Garmin you’re forced to USB transfer the GPX file. On Elemnt it automatically appears (with wifi). Since I don’t have a laptop and use the iPad when traveling, i can see this being a bit problematic. It basically forces you to plan on the fly routes either directly on the headunit, before your trip or via Garmin Connect as thats the only way to wireless sync routes. I can get over that after all thats why you buy the Edge bc it has routing on the head unit.

    Another great feature of the Elemnt is the Kickr controls and being able to easily “re-ride” a route on your trainer. However…thats not that important to me. I can use wahoo Fitness app, TrainerRoad on my iPad/iPhone or Skurga to re-ride rides. I dont need a head-unit to do that for me when my iPhone or PC does it perfectly fine.

    Also, I really like how the Elemnt shows you the upcoming elevation when your climbing a hill, so you know how much longer you have to judge how hard you should push yourself. I haven’t figured out a way to see upcoming elevation on the Garmin.

    Maybe in a year I’ll re-buy the Elemnt but for now, I’m sticking with the Garmin 1000

  58. Anonymous Coward

    – Is ELEMNT GPS-only or GPS+GLONASS?
    – Shouldn’t the Edge 520 feature list include FTP & VO2max estimation for cycling?

  59. rjdennis

    Neat trick from google group site, slightly clip corners of garmin mount on one side and the mount works like a charm

  60. Mickey

    Hi Ray,
    Can you comment how long the post-ride data upload takes via Bluetooth LE? The wifi option is great if you’re finishing your ride at home, but sometimes you want to check your strava data in the middle of nowhere post-race before you get home.

    • Wahoo Murray

      Right now its about 1-2min/hr with a full load of sensors (speed, cadence, power), about the same time it takes to order a coffee. This should come down much lower in a update in the near future.

      Workouts also sync in the background if you have your iPhone in your back pocket during the ride, in this case the workout is nearly always synced to your phone by the time you can pull it out of your pocket.

  61. JYC

    Hi Ray, in case you haven’t noticed yet, I used my ELEMNT for the first time yesterday and I experienced a bug between the App and the device.
    I tried to set up the 20′ average power on the App to show up on the “training” page and what showed up on the ELEMNT was the 30′ av. power. Actually the two are messed up. If you want the 20′ average, you have to select the 30′ and vice versa.
    Otherwise, and considering the recent intro, I’d consider the riding experience great with the ELEMNT. The screen legibility is so much better than the Garmin’s (for my eyes) and the data reduction/augmentation field function so convenient.
    I would have expected a more reactive (quicker) change of the visual graph for gear selection. There is a 2″ lag between the shifting and the displayed info on the screen, not a big deal but a lil annoying.
    Then, the ride didn’t sync automatically when I stopped, and I can’t figure out to make it visible on Strava, despite having set up the right WiFi network and authorized the info sharing between The ELEMNT and the Strava app.
    Thanks a lot for your complete review, and I’ll continue to make my gear purchases to make sure you get some compensation from your partners. This is the least we can do if we consider how much time, money and peace of mind you save us.
    All the very best

    • SK

      There’s a pretty active community of users here:

      link to groups.google.com

      They’re reporting bugs and suggesting features. I also experienced auto syncing issues, and it turns out there’s a WiFI bug where the ELEMNT often forgets the WiFi password.

  62. Chris M

    Great review, very tempted to get me an ELEMNT.
    Can anyone tell me…..
    With the HR monitor attached, does the unit give you an Average HR over the ride, as well as the instantaneous readout etc ?


  63. Mark Hewitt

    While the ELEMNT is my first proper computer I do agree the navigation functions could be improved.

    If you’re following a route then it’s fine. But yesterday for example I was half-way around the planned route and I decided to head directly home instead. Ideally I’d fire up my phone and either tell the ELEMNT app to plot me a route for home I could plot it myself and transfer it to the unit, but I can’t do that so instead I was back to the old looking at a map every couple of junctions.

    Being able to plot a route on your phone is important just because you’re not always going to be sat in front of a PC at home when you decide you want to go somewhere.

  64. Trevor Fine

    Strava is showing lower numbers than my numbers on the device and training peaks. For example my race yesterday strava uploaded 227 avg watts 276 weighted avg and max watts at 1224. Trainingpeaks uploaded 250, 296, 1254 respectively.

    Anyone have an idea what is causing this?

  65. Tako

    The review/comments are pretty critical IMHO – just want to chime in to say I’m loving my ELEMNT for the following reasons:

    • readable screen. I can’t read a map on a Edge1000 in bright sunlight with sunglasses on unless I put the backlight to 40-50%, which brings battery down to 6hrs max.

    • big fat metrics. The 2-9 metrics scroll while riding is just awesome.

    • good Ux. All options you (or at least I) need to access during a ride are accessible with a few pushes – no endless menus to scroll through.

    • Simple map that my brain can process when going fast and being exhausted (I would even argue a color map takes longer to process and is not suitable for a 0.1s glance). No weird orientation-changing zooming into the next turn with a 0.5s blank screen just when you are looking.

    • Strava route sync. This one doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Being able to create a route, hit sync and ride is so much better than download-drag-to-device-oops-one-more-route-change-have-to-do-it-all-over-again. Or can Garmins do this now as well?

    • The whole setup process – I know you can get a Garmin to almost do exactly what you want, but I just don’t really enjoy spending 2 hrs on the couch with it that much.

    • Live tracking of other riders – didn’t know this was in until I saw a friend appearing. This is going to be fun.

    • The battery reminders on your phone. Well implemented (‘Battery level is OK – charge if you plan for a long ride’)

    • Full map installed.

    Stuff that I am missing:

    • Interval training. Not big one and I guess one that can be easily added down the road.

    • Strava segment racing. Definitely room here to improve over Garmin (although it is pretty cool there already)

    Other points:

    • Battery life – approx 10% / hour with live tracking and sensors enabled.

    • Issues – I had one crash/reboot and once a map that disappeared, forcing me to reboot the device. Other than that no problems.

    • ChrisM

      That’s it, I’m in ??

    • Tako I am with you and have the elemnt a few weeks.
      I like the display increase reduce and custom. Compared to my mates with garmin could not see in sunshine and missed a turning, is frustrated with slow process of getting maps on his device.
      Maps are easy with strava, I have saved and synced so quickly to my elemnt.
      Battery is good but needs some improvements wahoo please. I charged on a Friday, cycled Saturday, Sunday and on return was at %4 while uploading. I did not know it was so low and forgot about charging. If a indicator had shown up say %50 or %20 eg. I would know to take a portable battery with me or charge before I go.
      I have suffered from some of the bugs, failed to sync, find wifi, lost a route half way even though when i got home it uploaded all ok, crash data was sent to wahoo so hope they sort those out soon.
      I found any issues is to get out of the app on the phone, Then when back in it seems to work again.
      Overall very pleased and looking forward to each software upgrade. I have helped sell a few through my comments on videos I have done and comments to friends on rides. Ray thanks for your review which helped me but it in the first place! vinnychoff

  66. Andrew

    I have had the ELEMNT for almost a full month, and I’ve decided to return the device. Here are some quick pros and cons based on my own experience – daily commute (10mi) as well as a few longer rides (25mi+).

    1) Multiple mounts, which helps for multiple bikes.
    2) Customizable pages, which helps emphasize what you prefer.
    3) Wifi connections and automatic uploading to Strava and other sites.
    4) Very clear and crisp display which can also minimize or maximize the data shown.

    1) The data is measurably different from data collected by other devices and apps.
    2) The routes and mapping services are not as helpful or functional as I’d like.
    3) The device dropped out while riding multiple times, routes were dropped, etc.
    4) A significant delay connecting to GPS to begin the ride, though this may be all devices.

  67. Bob Marlon

    Can anyone say what the capacity (mAh) of the battery is? It would be useful to know how much battery power is required on extended tours.

    • Wahoo Murray


    • Klaus De Buysser

      Wahoo Murray,

      I hear you can’t show Power as % of your FTP, is that coming in the near future? It’s much easier to see % of FTP (avg/s) (known zones) than the Wattage (avg/s).


    • Wahoo Murray

      Hi Klaus,

      Yeah agree, % of FTP is a good one, we have had a few users ask for it and will getting it added.

    • Bob

      That worries me Murray, 1750mah battery compared to the 1000mah of the G810., and yet similar run times. Would necessitate nearly twice as much external battery power needed on a very long endurance ride, particularly with the inability to power down and restart.

    • Dan

      oooh, glad I read this.
      Even though it’s small thing, it’s the main thing I use on my Garmin.
      So a deal breaker.
      Was about to drop the $$ but decided a last minute update on user reviews.

  68. Kris

    @Wahoo Murray

    Is there a roadmap of upcoming features?

    What makes me doubt is missing navigation, f.e. when I have to make a detour because of a roadblock or when I go riding in a direction and at some point I want to go home.

  69. David

    Thanks for the excellent, in-depth review which must have taken ages to do – still have your day job 😉
    I’ve been considering various bike computers and been interested in the Elemnt for a few months. Your post gives an in depth comparison point and is much appreciated!

  70. Tim

    How much are these in the States or in France? Cos in the UK they’re £279 vs £190ish for the Edge 520 and £230ish for the Edge 810. That’s insane given the feature set and definitely not on par with the equivalent Garmins. I just can’t imagine how it’s going to gain traction over here?

    • David

      $330 vs about $280-$300 for the Garmin 520

    • Chris

      ‘Value’ is subjective
      The Garmin 520 may be ‘cheaper’, but that’s no use if you can’t see it, or it’s unreliable.
      Maybe early days for the ELEMNT, but it’s so readable and easy to navigate, and the Wahoo team appear far more proactive than Garmin have ever been, so I have every confidence that it’l prove a valuable tool for me, and those of us that jump in.
      Mine arrives tomorrow ?

    • Tim

      I appreciate that – for example, on Garmins, not being able to sync routes wirelessly is a non-starter for me. In the US, the Elemnt would be a no-brainer because of the way it’s priced, but here, it’s a lot more difficult, and I’m just confused by that.

    • TIm for me its to weigh up the pros and cons. It is brand new and already some features are better, the leds, the display, the way maps sync up.
      Against is brand new, software updates and bugs likely,

      How do you work out the difference to the garmin and the elemnt?

    • Tim

      It’s just a difference in pricing between the two continents that I’m concerned about. In the US, it’s roughly in line with the 520 which seems reasonable. In Europe, it’s in line with the 1000. And that concerns me, because I would dearly love Garmin to have some proper competition.

    • Chris

      Well – buy the ELEMNT and support Wahoo, and give them the support they need to be able to dethrone Garmin.

    • Lil'KONG

      As much as some of you like dislike Garmin, the competition just can’t match what they have to offer. With the addition of Connect IQ, the 520 and 1000 are in a completely different leagues now.

      The ELEMNT in all it’s graces, is not measuring up to even what it promises to do. It still can’t match the 500 (at the moment). When all the issues and bugs are squashed in the firmware, I’m sure the ELEMNT will be a great addition. For now, IMO, it’s still in alpha.

    • Steve

      I’ve used my Elemnt for 4 or 5 rides now and it’s not crashed once. It’s already infinitely superior to my Garmin 810 in that regard, which would crash or freeze regularly.

      The Garmin device was bad, the customer support was even worse. They denied there was a problem (I found dozens of reports on the internet of the exact same problem, and found several people who had contacted Garmin, it was all over Garmin’s own forum too). They did offer me replacement device, which is good, but it had exactly the same problem. In the end customer support told me it was my fault (for using OSM maps on the device).

      I don’t care what features a device has, if the device is unreliable and the company has poor customer service then I’m not interested. Reliability and usability are the two biggest features that the Elemnt has over my Garmin 810.

      Sure, the Elemnt lacks some features I would like (mainly TBT directions), but it is (so far) reliable and the display is excellent in sunshine even when wearing sunglasses. The effort they go to to communicate with customers is also exceptional.

      As an aside, as a software developer myself I am very impressed with their update cadence, getting out weekly releases that are stable and upgrade smoothly is a pretty impressive thing to do.

    • Lil'KONG

      I’m sorry you had the problems with your 810. However, it was your choice to use 3rd party maps. Even though some OSM maps work just fine on the 810. I said some as it really depends on the source of your maps and how the maps was compiled. Some OSM map objects have to be converted properly for the Garmin to understand or you’ll get crashes. Like for instance on Roundabouts and Ramps….

      It’s not fair for you to place the blame on or expect support from Garmin for using 3rd party maps. That was your choice and there are always risks.

      The ELEMNT should never been released too soon. It would have been better for all to have a delay for several more months to have it’s features and firmware up to snuff. Better that to having their reputation ruined.

    • Drew Eckhardt

      Competent engineers don’t write software which crashes on malformed or unexpected external input.

    • Steve

      The Elemnt was released with a good set of features and is already a very good device. It records data accurately, it uploads data very quickly to Strava and RideWithGps. The maps are very easy to follow with a pre-planned route and “off course” indicators. It’s already a solid device, I see no reason why they should delay releasing it at this stage so long as they are clear about the features it supports.

      What problems have you had with it that lead you to conclude it is not fit to use?

    • Lil'KONG

      Unless it was done on purpose….

      GARMIN [What they really are thinking]:”Hey, so your using OSM maps, eh? We’re not sorry for the crashes you are having… It’s YOUR fault as you shoulda BOUGHT ours instead!!” 😉

    • Casual Reminder: Garmin actually uses OSM in some of their devices (Edge 1000, Touring, etc…).

      Even OSM folks will admit there are rougher spots in their maps. Still, on the whole it’s what I use and almost always without issue.

    • Drew Eckhardt

      I bought an ELEMNT and tried using it with a PowerTap SL+ and Garmin GSC10 which are among the most common devices around.

      1. When exporting .FIT files it replaced 0 power samples with a ramp between 0 and the next value. Speed samples were also affected. That made it useless for recording, tracking TSS, and differentiating between time riding and stopped to see where I’m losing ground on long rides. Supposedly this has been fixed.

      2. It over-reported 5 second power so it was useless for intervals. Supposedly this has been fixed.

      3. Unlike Wahoo’s marketing materials including their website images the map lacked street names which could be used to decide when to turn upon encountering a corresponding road-side sign so it was almost useless for navigation if I didn’t want to glue my eyes to the screen like I do 10+ hours a day five days a week.

      This would be a non-issue if basic turn-by-turn from .tcx course files was implemented in Q1 2016 as previously scheduled.

      4. The map is useless for routing because when zoomed out it doesn’t display the “minor” roads used for cycling, and there’s no way to pan from your current position.

      So I returned it and bought a refurbished Edge 810. That went from 89 to 47% battery within 2.5 hours (with charge time suggesting that was real, not a reporting issue), “stuck” on the last GPS generated turn info instead of proceeding to the next way point, got confused on out-and-back courses where my Edge 500 was fine, and powered off by itself when I reached the end of my first ride then stopped it.

      That’s going back for a refurbished Edge 800 which people have found more reliable.

      On a positive note, I’ll come out $120 ahead of where I’d have been if the ELEMNT worked for me; although I’d have preferred its more readable screen and software not made by Garmin.

    • Ray I hope you can help me or point me in the right direction. I bought the elemnt with heart rate and rpm bundle.
      I am happy with the elemnt even though there have been a few bugs and crashes seen. It has worked every time so far. The heart strap also.
      My frustration is with the rpm, I had a case open with wahoo and expected great customer service from reading the reviews. Since I have had the case open from day one, I took out the battery, re-seated, checked it updated firmware on all devices etc. Carried out all the suggestions. Then through my own checks with a meter found the brand new rpm supplied by wahoo had a faulty battery at 2.9v. This was over 3v with a new duracell fitted. I thought the rpm would work ok now that I had found the issue.
      No luck as
      It still fluctuates wildly, I can be cycling on the trainer or I can be outside on a smooth road. The cadence varies so much. I can get as low as 49 and as high as 169.
      I would have expected in the first part for wahoo to apologize sending out a rpm with a duff battery or refund the price of a battery. I have lost faith in this device as I have had it from new and still do not have faith in the use of this device. With any change of pedaling it does not seem to catch up or has wild high and lows.
      I asked for a RMA to be raised a week back and have not heard anything since. I am now wondering where this good customer support is. For me it would be good if they could send either the magnet model, or a rpm that works better than this one. A prepaid envelope would be nice as I am based in the UK. I understand from reading the notes that it cant be handed in to a local dealer to send in for free.
      When I have bought any items I am always looking for good customer support. To me this matters so much but so far, if I have to pay to send a faulty item back to the US, the delays with their response on cases, costs of sending. I am feeling lost Ray.

    • Merlin

      Vincenzo, so from what I read, you’re losing faith in Wahoo just because they sent you a bad battery??? Is it really worth it to cause such a stink for a $2 battery? That really doesn’t make sense. Yes, they should have sent you a good one, and yes, they maybe should have replied to you but they are a small company and I’m sure working like crazy to get out the next updates to fix the bugs we’ve all been raising. I used my RPM Cadence for the first time yesterday and it worked flawlessly. I placed it on my shoe and compared it to my bike’s cadence readings and it basically always matched (within reason). So, I have no problem putting my faith in their sensors. As for Wahoo, give them some grace and they will get back to you.

    • Merlin thanks for reading my gripe. I guess I am upset with the battery but that was three weeks after emails with triying lots of different things. I have had issues with the rpm from day one, not powering up, loosing connection, wild fluctuations with the cadence.
      I thought with the company that their customer service was great but I checked the battery with a good meter and was shocked to see that i have been sent a rpm with a duff battery. this was new direct from wahoo. Then there was no reply once i found the issue. thought it was fixed and I am still getting fluctuations. I am worried why they are stalling. If it is faulty then why dont they send out a new rpm, let me return the old one. That to me would be great service.
      You are right though it started with a $2 battery. Should wahoo have a stock check or quality control? I am interested now to see if i have made a bad choice in the rpm. either the magnet or another device might be more accurate. I have been searching on Rays site to see if i can compare or find out if this is the best device to use for cadence. Merlin thanks I am sorry for my gripe, i hope they do turn up their customer service or quality of products.

    • Dan Kothlow

      Just a thought –
      The RPM wakes up on movement.
      I would imagine there is a lot of movement while in transit. Thus, the device would be searching for a connection the entire time in transit. Thus, it could use up quite a bit of battery in that time.

    • Vincenzo

      Dan thank one of the issues is that when you stop peddling it can then jump to over 140 cadence or even silly figures over 200. This to me is a design fault. If the cadence stops is it not a simple issue to ignore the last stroke? also it takes several times of turning before it comes back on again. The install instructions are very minimal. Have a look at the wahoo site. I am surprised no mention of where on the crank it should be placed etc.

    • I really think you’ve got a defective unit. What your describing (well, all of it), isn’t normal.

    • Vincenzo

      Ray thanks for your help. I am waiting on wahoo to set up a rma. Its been a week since I have updated the ticket.

  71. Mac Buddy

    € 379,-/449,- (Bundle) Elemnt vs. Edge 1000 € 379,-/439,- (Bundle) in Germany

    • Jordi

      In Holland:
      G520: € 280
      G810: € 320
      ELEMNT: € 380
      G1000: €430

      The ELMNT is quite expensive considering **current** featureset. Yet, reading the above there seems to be consensus about Wahoo’s enthusiasm in product development and responsiveness to customer feedback. They need to be if they want to be a serious competitor against Garmin which seem to be bit of a lazy market leader?.

      I am still in some doubt, but I have confidence in Wahoo. I like the company and their good products. So. I have their sensorsets for years now. I think I’ll go for the ELEMNT instead of G520.

      BTW: why is everybody ignoring the G810 and only comparing with the G520 and G1000?

    • Tako

      My 2cts. on comparing price & features:

      • a big (the biggest?) factor on the price are the parts used. The ELEMENT has Wifi, both BTLE and ANT+, more memory (full map), which puts it in the Edge 1000 league component wise (plus a bit more for the LEDS and magnetic compass). I wouldn’t be surprised if the B&W screen used is actually more expensive than the color screen in the Edge 1000. Obviously, you should decide whether these features are worth the extra cost for you.
      If you compare a Garmin or Wahoo with any Android or iPhone it is hugely overpriced component and feature wise. But it is a fit-for-purpose device built for a niche market. That is even more true for the Wahoo: it is for the subset of cyclists with a device who want (or understand they need 🙂 ) a B&W screen.
      I wouldn’t mind though if the prices would go down. Hopefully competition will do this – but not so fast that the Wahoo ELEMNT gets eliminated.

      • if you want to make a buying decision right now you should make an educated guess on what the feature set will be in a few months. My guess is that the features I am missing (segment racing, interval training and some route related metrics like ETA, distance remaining) will be there at some point.
      And, importantly, you should ask yourself not only ‘how many of the features I need’ are covered, but how well does this device cover my most important requirements.

      • I am guessing the ELEMNT will never have re-routing and turn-by-turn instructions (except for the static turn-by-turn it already should support) – or at least not for long. Routing and turn-by-turn is complex and very hard to do right – totally different from displaying a route on a map and alerting when you move off the map. Garmin had years of experience and a routing engine from their other devices and still didn’t get it right (at the least the last time I tried, about 9 months ago): the E1000 often gets confused when you join a route halfway (e.g. after stopping for lunch), it prefers routes over major throughways or even highways, has slow transitions to the turn instruction screen resulting in a blank screen just when you need to make a decision. In fact I would argue that Mio is the only one who got this kind of right: fairly good ‘surpise me’ feature, clear (re) routing instructions. But then their device loses out on other points (still I would advise it to users who ride Strava should offer that in their app!). 2) No instructions, or only very limited like a beep if a turn is coming up after a long interval of going straight. The only times I really need instructions is when I am on a very complex crossing of bicycle lanes, roundabouts etc and I wonder whether any software will get it right fast enough at that point. Garmin certainly doesn’t 3) Some very rudimentary ‘back to my route’ and ‘back home’ routing, for when I have no cell phone coverage and don’t care if the route is nice or not.

    • Tako

      Part of my message got deleted:

      …. But then their device loses out on other points (still I would advise it to users who want good routing, ride < 5hrs and don't mind the weight/looks).

      My dream routing solution woul be 1) Plan routes online or in a good app (Strava should offer a good 'Surprise me' option in their app!). 2) No instructions, or only very limited like a beep if a turn is coming up after a long interval of going straight. The only times I really need instructions is when I am on a very complex crossing of bicycle lanes, roundabouts etc and I wonder whether any software will get it right fast enough at that point. Garmin certainly doesn’t 3) Some very rudimentary ‘back to my route’ and ‘back home’ routing, for when I have no cell phone coverage and don’t care if the route is nice or not.

    • The Japanese

      Thx for the good posting!

    • Jordi

      “Will never have rerouting”? Assumption based on … what?

      Wahoo does some kind of agile development strategy. Feature rich enough for 80% of the riders and along the road in the coming months more features will be available. The routing features and interval workouts are on the roadmap, but for later in this year.

      This kind of roadmap is normal in app development, for example.

    • Tako

      It’s a guess – based on how complex I think routing can be (check out some of the Strava dev blogs on that topic). But it is also a wish – hoping that they spend their development resources on really good features I use a lot instead of complex time consuming features that I might use only once a year (or at least initially).

      I feel (as you can tell from my other posts) that both turn-by-turn and rerouting are over-valued features on a cycling device. Not because they are not useful, but because so far it has been proven to be really hard to be done right.

      The only use case I can think of for myself where I would want on device routing is the ‘Ugh I’m toast, get me back to the start ASAP’ in an area without coverage – in which case an off the shelve open source routing like Graphhopper (which RideWithGPS uses I think) is fine, since I just want the shortest route.

      For other cases I would prefer if the device would ask Strava or another even better routing API for a popular route instead, or I would use my phone to plan the route (where I have color, touch screen etc.)

    • Jordi Backx

      “both turn-by-turn and rerouting are over-valued features on a cycling device” / “really hard to be done right”

      Agree. Do it good at once or don’t do it. If I take a wrong turn on a trip and the ELEMNT does some flashing (which is miplemented) I cycle back tot the track line on the map. Works for my now with my smartphone and Cyclemeter. Will buy the ELEMNT in two months.

      TbT/rerouting are good nice to haves, but not a necessity.

      I think software optimization to get more out of the battery is far more important.

    • Kris

      I wonder, if the Elemnt could use f.e. Strava to create the ‘back home’ function, what they have to do is create a new route from your current position to your home and sync that with the Elemnt. Strava could figure out the ‘popular’ biking routes.

      To bad, for Strava it’s not possible API-wise, just checked it.

      link to strava.github.io
      “Routes are manually-created paths made up of sections called legs. Currently it is only possible to create routes using the Routebuilder web interface.”

    • Aaron

      Why reinvent the wheel. Google has a robust routing API for cycling routes that will only get better every year as billions of users around the world rely on it. And Google is a massive compay that isn’t going away in my lifetime, unlike Strava, which can go *poof* as VC funds get tired of them losing money.

      There would be a fee to Wahoo, but it’s trivial to roll this into some kind of subscription for a few bucks a year, or just bake it into the product price.

      If google can supply routing for half a billion android and iPhones, it can route for a few thousand ELEMNTs.

    • Mike Robinson

      However Google uses Google maps. ELEMNT uses Open Street Maps.

      I’d have thought there may be potential issues using a route created on one map on a different map that may be similar, but is not the same.

      I’m also guessing that licensing Google maps isn’t as straightforward as the open source OSM maps.

    • Tako

      “… has a robust routing API for cycling routes that will only get better every year as billions of users around the world rely on it …”

      But Google doesn’t have the heat map data of a very specific group of users that it can use to create popular routes, nor does it have the segments to prefer/include. The routes Strava proposes in the route planner are in my experience superior to what Google comes up with (although even Strava suffers from pollution due to mountain bikers (or, of course, due to road cyclists for the MTB routes) and commuters).

      Google favors routes with bicycle lanes, which makes sense – but In The Netherlands (this might be very specific to us) those are the major busy roads you actually want to avoid when planning a nice route.

    • And that’s a key distinction. There’s a huge difference between:

      A) Routing for bike commuting (what Google does well)
      B) Routing for sport/speed (what Strava does best)

  72. Nathan Budd

    The live track on this may be simple, but it’s basically all I’m after!

    I recently upgraded to the Edge 520 from my 500, primarily for the bluetooth functionality, and it’s extremely poor!

    The 520 advertises that is shows “Smartphone Notifications” whereas this should probably be “dumbphone notifications”, as it’s only calls and SMS, no WhatsApp.

    Also, it really annoys me that I’ve got to send a link every time I want people to be able to live-track me! The permanent link from the ELEMNT looks perfect!

    All I want is the ability for my wife to quickly login and check that I’m not dead (ie the dot is still moving).

    For this functionality alone, I’m seriously considering selling my 520 and purchasing a ELEMNT.

    • Tako

      On the ELEMNT it is phone+SMS (and iMessage) only FAIK. Would love WhatsApp as well, but I am guessing this is a limitation of iOS, as I haven’t seen any other device do this.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if you could customize the permanent tracking link, i.e. wahooligans/track/myname or something like that.

    • Andy

      Why do you want WhatsApp notification??!!! I just don’t understand this current trend of wanting to be constantly connected to social media. The whole point of going for a bike ride is to be free and get away from all that, whats the point if everyone and their dog can get hold of you?

      Sure, i understand the safety aspect of Live tracking, but texts, calls and whatsApp? i mean, what possible can you do when 40 miles from home on a ride if someone texts you that the dog has ate the cat?!

      Its at this point i always remember the quote ‘People have lost the art of doing nothing’. if you want to be connected 24/7, even while riding a bike, then why don’t you just turbo in the front room, that way you can get texts, get calls, answer the home phone, put the tv on, play on the Playstation, look at the fish tank, tell the kids off, listen to the Mrs moan about her clothes and cycle.

    • Mike Robinson

      A WhatsApp group is actually a pretty useful way to keep in touch with a group of people, whether a cycling club out for a club run or a group of friends.

      So, for example, sending a notification that arrangements for a ride have changed when people are on the way to the start, finding out where people are if you are joining part way or letting people know what looked like a simple mechanical is actually more complex….

      I’m not saying it is the most important requirement but there isn’t a reason to dismiss it out of hand.

    • Jordi Backx

      But isn’t that more for communicating before a ride? That is the only moment I need WhatsApp or SMS: before a ride. When you have met up, I’d think you’ll communicate by screaming and gestures instead of Whatsapping on the bike???

      Your chances on surviving a ride are pretty slim in that situation.

      I have my iPhone set to ‘ Do not disturb’ while riding and only my wife’s call come through. If she calls, something is really up. To me SMS, WhatsApp or whatever is used for non-immediate response. So those can wait after the ride is finished.

    • Mike Robinson

      That doesn’t negate the requirement for WhatsApp notifications, it just means there should be a simple on/off switch for the notifications as well!

      As I said, this would be waaaaaaaay down my list of priorities for the ELEMNT but I can see that some people may find it useful.

  73. Chris

    My ELEMNT arrived, and am very pleased with the ease of setup via iPhone etc, and the Customisation of each page. Very good.
    Also feels very well made, and the clarity of the screen is very good indeed, and zoomability is a real asset with my sight.

    Can anyone tell me pls – is the Battery ok to charge/top up and ‘any point’, or is it like an iPhone and ideally needs charging from 0% ?

    • Chris I charge mine up trying to drain it down although the odd times I will top it up so that it is one hundred percent. i have done two days by mistake and had enough battery last with four percent left after upload. i have also heard bad life of the battery life. I thought that new batterys do not mind top up. hopefully wahoo can reply to us here

    • Doug Perrenoud

      It has been a long time since any rechargeable battery benefitted from being fully discharged before being charged – in fact, Li-Ion batteries can actually be damaged if they are discharged to too low of a state of charge, you are better off topping them off when convenient.

  74. Nils

    Great Review, thanks!
    I’m just wondering if the Elemnt can show the HR-Data provided by the Polar V800?
    Currently I’m searching for a bike computer that can show the data that my V800 is recording, especially the HR Data and the data from my Stages PM (and maybe some BT/ANT+ combined speed sensor in the future). Is the Elemnt the only one that can show me these information or is there any cheaper device? Some kind of RFLKT for Polar V800 with additional ANT+ Sensor connectivity.
    I don’t need gps navigation, recording of data and so on.
    Do you have any hints?

    • Hmm, I haven’t checked that. And just got to the airport with neither the V800 or the ELEMNT. Perhaps someone else is able to validate.


    • Nils if you are local to me in Croydon Uk you can try it out on my elemnt and road test it.

    • Nils

      Hi Vince
      thx for your nice offer! I’m living in Germany so it’s way to far to try it on my own.
      The Wahoo-Support-Team wasn’t able to answer this question either. Well, maybe Ray can check it once he is back at home. 🙂

    • Nils

      Hi Ray,
      I was able to test an Elemnt yesterday. Right now the Elemnt is not able to read the heart rate data in addition to the V800. The option “HR visibe to other device” on the V800 allows the Polar H7 to send out an additional BT broadcast HR signal but the Elemnt is only able to read the sensor in Pairing Mode which is not available while it is paired to the V800. To bad.

    • Bummer, though, kinda expected I suppose. The V800 re-broadcast trick seems to be a Polar-only thing. 🙁

  75. Aniruddha

    The Elemnt arrived at my local bike shop last week. I discovered my Rflkt had died yesterday. I found a very good deal for the Garmin 810 which was tempting. So I had to choose. I am practically a Wahoo fanboy. I have had almost every device produced by them except the Kickr. After reading all the comments here I thought I might be taking a risk with the Elemnt.

    In my decision making I valued the fact that the Elemnt is a newer product with an enthusiastic support team so there will be frequent updates. Missing features will appear soon enough. Mind you, I may never use them. I wear glasses and am at an age where being able to read clean adjustable type is an absolute necessity. Touch screen and colour aren’t essential for me. I also know the local areas where I ride so fancy mapping isn’t required.

    I chose the Elemnt and am very happy I did. Easy to set up, easy to use, easy to read, easy to connect and easy to share. I use a basic set up so for my purposes I’d give the Elemnt a 10/10. If you are a user of the basic functionality then this is a really good device. I’ll be telling my friends about it.

  76. Paul

    I’ve had the Elemnt about 3 weeks and am pretty satisfied with it. It’s certainly immature, but most of its foibles seem to be things that firmware updates can address as opposed to fundamental design limitations.

    I’m trying to determine whether or not the unit can be paired with more than one installation of the app, e.g. on home and work phones for example. I’m unconvinced.

    The zoom in/out thing I am find particularly useful, especially when interval training. There are times when I just want to note certain things and not others, so dropping those things off the screen can be super useful. I didn’t think it would be that big a deal but it is for me.

    Configuring via an app is 240,000,000,000 times better than the old Edge 800 UI – which was like windows 3.1. I much prefer it.

    One of the significant things for me, which you could argue is not related to the Elemnt per se, is the fact that I was able to sell my four-year-old Edge 800 for 60% of the cost of the Elemnt. At that discount it’s an absolute steal.

  77. Chris

    Well, my ELEMNT did its first ride on Sunday, with no issues, no dropouts, and it auto-paused and re-started without hitch, so all in all, I’m happy.

    My needs for the device are perhaps less demanding than many, in that I dont ‘need’ mapping etc, but based on this first use, here’s a few Plus’s & Minus’s I found.

    Clarity & Zoomability – perfect, really really readable & useable. Delighted.
    Easy to setup, easy to install, and easy to work. REAaaallllly easy.
    Customisation. – cant tell you how easy it is to amend the readable data on each screen, to YOUR preference.

    Perhaps this can be easily changed – but it would be useful if Temperature could be C or F if poss, rather than just F – ??
    Map – as I mentioned, its not hugely important for me, but the Map isnt that great, or perhaps as readable/useable as maybe Garmin’s color mapping, – where I can see that its perhaps easier to deduce quiet side roads & the like far easier than on the ELEMNT.
    For me though, IF I ever really need a more detailed map, I’d simply fire up Google Maps on my iPhone….
    History. – My unit Sync’d when back, and has my ride stored on the App, but only seems to show the basic data, ie Miles/Time & Average, the Route Map, & HR, Cadence & Speed…… – why not also Climbing stats too ?
    or is that somewhere I havent yet seen/noticed ?

    Perhaps I havent found the info yet ? It was perfectly visible during the ride.

    Overall, very pleased, although for me, the ability to view my Heart rate’s Peaks & Trough’s is still under debate !

  78. Jaco

    Hi. Just received my Elemnt and very happy so far. I’ve noticed that I don’t have maps on my unit. It might be that South Africa is ot important in world terms, but you did say that the unit comes with the world pre-loaded. Is this a bug that you are looking at?

  79. Jeff Johnson

    Anybody have any luck conducting a spin down calibration of the Kinetic InRide with the ELEMNT? I’ve added the InRide as a sensor and readings can be seen on the page, but every time I go to the Sensors page and attempt a spin down I get an unsuccessful message. The spin down works correctly with the InRide iPhone app.

  80. Ken Woo

    Wonder if the iOS notifications been fixed. I own a Cateye & when this feature is disabled with the latest iOS (ver 9.3), I was about to sell it & get a Wahoo Reflect. But seems this is an iOS issue.

  81. Andy

    Does anyone know if the Elemnt does Left and Right Power %? or is it just an overall power measurement?

    • Jaco

      It gives a % of left right balance. So 50% means you’re perfectly balanced. 60% means you’re favouring left over right. That’s how I understand the metric.

  82. joey

    Curious about the ELEMNT controlling the KICKR when re-riding a ride. Are the changes in slope smooth and accurate or abrupt all over the place.

    Also will allowing customized workouts/intervals be something in future updates?

  83. Tracy

    I was considering the Elemnt as it appeared to be less fussy than Garmin and indeed, I still think that is the case. However, the limited navigation is a deal breaker for me. Hopefully, navigation will be something Wahoo addresses alongside other essential ride data customisation.

  84. raymond leung

    does anyone know how to get the mac address of the device. one of my wifi hotspot requires me to enter the mac address of the device in order to log in

    • Alan Westwood

      Raymond, the easiest way is to log the ELEMNT on to a wifi router that you have admin access to – eg your home router? There will likely be a list of attached devices, with their MAC addresses.
      Cheers, Alan.

  85. Chris Rainford-Gallifant

    Will the Elemnt show cadence taken from the accelerometers in the Wahoo TICKR X HR monitor? So far only the Wahoo App does this.

    • Dan Kothlow

      Yes, it does. I paired my TICKR X to the Elemnt. I made it a point not to pair my cadence sensor, since it was paired with Cyclemeter. I was surprised when the Elemnt showed cadence, and it took me a while to figure out why. It was due to being paired with the TICKR X.

    • Roy H

      well that may have just sold me right there..one less thing I need to buy for my bike! Sweet!

  86. Ray

    I’ve used the elemnt over the past month and it has worked well for me. Thanks. I’m now in Japan planning my rides for the next week. I’m able to load my routes but there is no base map loaded. All I have is the route on dots and no base street/road maps. Can you let me know how I can download that on the elemnt?

    • Wahoo Murray

      Sorry the ELEMNT doesn’t come pre-loaded with maps for Asia, We have an update coming out really soon to let you manage (download/update/delete) maps on ELEMNT.

  87. Kelly

    Almost sold… Does anyone know if the IOS app for set up is VoiceOver accessible?

    Second, When trying to reride routes on the KICKR, is it possible to select the routes using the phone app?

    • Wahoo Murray

      It should work well with Voice Over, I know we have several users that use it and haven’t had any bugs reported for a while. Our developers to test for it as well.

      You can’t select the route from the iOS app yet, but it’s on our short term todo list.


  88. Josh Bradley

    I would like to point out that you may have an error in your table. The M450 actually does have an internal temp sensor. It records the temperature over the ride, and it can be examined in the Polar Flow Website after the ride. The current temperature can also be seen during the ride on the M450 if you have configured it to show current temperature. Anyways…. Not super important. Just thought I would point that out.

  89. Jordi

    My ELEMNT arrived yesterday. None of the mentioned problems occurred:
    Installation went great.
    Wifi found (only 2.4GHz, no 5GHz).
    Every sensor found.
    Wheel circumference edited from S/C sensor menu.

    But one little thing. When inserting it in my K-Edge out-front mount, it fits, but too loose. It doesn’t really lock with a click. Seems the opposite of what I read in the article.

    So I’ll use the one in the package for now.

    K-Edge won’t supply the ELEMNT inserts anymore, so a complete new one has to be bought???? What a rip-off.
    All Strava maps imported.

  90. Jordi


    Asked Wahoo: The ELEMNT uses both GPS and GLONASS for positioning.

    So accuracy should not be an issue with these two combined with the barometric altimeter.

  91. Alan Westwood

    Jordi, the K-Edge mounts can be modified very easily to make them click and lock with the ELEMNT. Take a look at Eric’s post here..
    link to groups.google.com

    I use a K-Edge stem mount with the puck slightly filed as Eric suggests, and it not only works with the ELEMNT but is still fine for my Garmin 810 (though I’ve stopped using it now because I’m using the soon-to-be-released beta and it’s a big improvement).
    Cheers, Alan.

    • Jordi

      Hi Alan,

      But strangely I have exact the opposite. My standard K-Edge mount’s insert (which works perfectly with the RFLKT+) seems to be too wide for the ELEMNT.

      It fits inside, but it never really clicks secure. With minimum effort I can rotate it round an dround and round. So, it clicks out way too easily.


  92. Yann

    Does it support different bike profiles like the Garmin edge series?

  93. Sean

    I plan to purchase this device due to the fact that Garmin’s software (primarily the web based Garmin Connect and Mac version of Garmin Express) are utterly terrible. I cannot even count the hours that I have spent syncing and re-uploading and re-downloading content time and time again struggling to make it work.

    Garmin, for such a large company which has been very dominant, makes some utterly non user-friendly equipment. I cannot wait to switch to Wahoo – I have some of their other equipment (HRM, speed/cadence sensor) and it just works compared with the constant faffing required with Garmin.

    • Vincenzo Iaciofano

      Sean I agree with Garmin which most of my cycling friends have. I am having slow times with uploading my wahoo elemnt up to strava and could not sync up some maps which were important to me before going on holiday to Mallorca. I am hoping that wahoo keep on top of these bugs and improve the software.

    • Andy

      I take it the honeymoons over with Wahoo then Vinny.

    • Andy true honeymoon period is over. Today update the android elemnt app on my phone and it deleted the history. If the app works well and restore my history all good. If not then oh dear.
      Good to see update and bug fixes as I am an early adopter I expect some bumps.
      If wahoo support me and all the other users then the marriage will be a good one

  94. Jordi

    Yes! Update available!

    ELEMNT WF38-420 / iOS 1.2.4 (60) / Android – 4th May 2016

    Focusing on improving the ELEMNT’s mapping, workout recording, syncing and sharing, the ELEMNT WF38-420 (and companion app) release includes the following core updates:

    FIT on the Fly (New & improved method for transferring ride data to the app/cloud) Allows for exceptionally faster and more reliable data syncing.
    Map Management – Add/remove world maps to the ELEMNT’s built-in memory.
    Map Rotation – Allowing riders to orient the map according to the direction they are currently traveling as well as the current North-facing setting, users can now toggle between the two via the ELEMNT companion app.
    Map Style Improvements – The map page will now keep trails/local roads displayed on the screen for an additional two zoom levels.
    Improved Tracking – More data points will improve the accuracy of ‘bread-crumb’ navigation.

    • Andy

      But where’s the Turn by Turn directions they promised with all the marketing jump way back in September of last year???

      Does it do turn by turn yet?

    • Drew Eckhardt

      There’s no turn by turn yet, meaning its navigation capabilities are eclipsed by the 6 year old Garmin Edge 500 at half the cost and double the battery life.

      (unless you want to ride with your eyeballs glued to a computer screen like you do 50 hours a week at your day job).

    • Mike Robinson

      Kind of ironic then that I was out for a ride the other weekend and with my ELEMNT, I was able to point twice out to the ride leader with a Garmin that he’d taken the wrong turn.

      I’ve never found TBT on the Garmin reliable and turn guidance on the Garmin can be distinctly unreliable then add to that the greater legibility of the ELEMNT screen, I’ve found the ELEMNT a distinct improvement for navigating compared to my Garmin Edge Touring Plus, even without TBT on the ELEMNT.

    • Alan Westwood

      Totally agree, Mike. In spite of endless fiddling with the settings, I’ve never had even one ride with a course on my 810 where the thing has told me I’m off course or way off course. So I turned off TBT and just overlaid the course on the map to follow. That was OK, but is only the same approach as the ELEMNT, and the ELEMNT has the big advantages of a much clearer screen, much longer battery life (even with a batch of sensors attached I get about 12+ hours), and much simpler route uploading. I don’t find it necessary to glue my eyes to the screen at all, just an occasional glance and not any more often than I glance at the display just to see data. Even without TBT, I’ve found the ELEMNT better.

    • Vincenzo Iaciofano

      I carried out the software update and was pleased with the ride upload speed. Now it is much quicker. The tracking from facebook works well. A new battery indicator which is helpful.
      The only thing is that for the first time I lost a ride, had no data and when I was on a long ride, I zoomed out trying to use the maps to get a bearing to where we wanted to go. Shortly after the screen locked up but it kept tracking the route. I did not realise and had to shut it down. It managed to log the route and i had to start it again. Not sure if this is a bug or the device not able to work with the amount of data. Good to see improvements and a little rocky on the way forward. I guess as we are newbies this is expected.

  95. Oliver Klozzoff

    The Polar V650 is the Polar unit that should have been used in the features comparison. The V650 is highly configurable and, while slightly larger than the Wahoo ELEMNT, is probably superior to the Wahoo and the Garmin 1000 in most respects.

  96. Tim

    Looking to upgrade from my fenix 2 cycling setup. I have the garmin bike speed & cadence sensor. Will this work with the elemnt, or will I need get the wahoo rpm and cadence sensor if I end up getting the elemnt?

    • Vincenzo Iaciofano

      Tim I would recommend that you keep the garmin speed and cadence sensor. I have had the rpm and heart strap. Alt hough the heart rate strap works ok. The rpm has been nothing but problems. I have had a new one sent to me and again the cadence varies so much. It is not accurate at all, the batteries are hard to fit and constant need to adjust the taps tp make sure the batterys seal. I am sorry but it has not worked out for me.

    • Sean

      Hi, I don’t have any experience with the Garmin speed/cadence sensor but I have the Wahoo combined unit and have never had issues from the day I installed it (or changed the battery and have had it about 15 months). You need to make sure the distances between the speed sensor magnet and unit or unit and crank magnet for cadence is small though or it won’t read.

  97. Erich M

    Does it have/will it have recovery time feature and FTP feature found on Garmin520? I really don’t care aboutcStrava but want a computer that will grow with me once I add a power meter and add structured workouts to my training.

  98. Pete Kirby

    One feature I miss on the ELEMNT is the ability to auto lap based on a starting point. This is helpful when riding on a velodrome to count laps and compare times of each lap. Do you think this is coming?


  99. Jean-Paul

    I really want to buy the ELEMNT but so far Wahoo Fitness App on my iPhone with RFLKT is king. It solves the whole battery issue right away. Once the mapping option has matured I will look at it again. If on top training on KICKR and cycling outdoor are seamlessly connected by the ELEMNT with full data / allerts then you’ll have a winner.

  100. Frank

    Has anybody tried to use CycleOps Powercal?
    It only recognises it as power meter and ignores the HRM element (pun half intended).
    I have seen different looking versions on Internet and is wondering if it is related to my version or all other Powercals are also affected?

    I have a ticket raised and hopefully will be resolved in the next firmware release.
    I don’t particularly fancy the notion of having to buy another gadget (wrist mounted HRM) when I have all the functionality already.

    • Wahoo Murray

      Hi Frank,

      The BTLE version works now but the ANT+ version will only connect as either a power meter or a heart rate monitor, not both. We have fixed the issue and it will be in a release in the next 2-3 weeks.

    • Frank

      That is very good news. Thanks for the update!

    • Frank

      Hi Murray,

      I was told by the support rep there was the same issue with the phone app.
      Do you know if that would be resolved as well?


    • Carl

      Frank – did this get sorted yet? Can you see and pair both now?

    • Frank

      Hi Carl, no idea.

      Unfortunately I am away from home, also at the moment riding once in 10 days is luxury.
      Planning to go for a ride this weekend so will try to see if there is new firmware out therefore see how the pairing will work.
      Fingers crossed as at the moment I would rather not have to buy a power meter.

      In any event I will post my findings once there is something to share.

      Kind regards


    • Frank

      That would be a no.

      I don’t remember if the previous firmware recognised the HRM component at all.

      Now it says it sees HRM, but does add the Power only, a bit difficult to describe what I saw.
      In the list of sensors there is no HRM nor of course data.
      Tried twice, deleting the sensor in between.


    • Carl

      Thanks Frank.
      Until this is sorted out, I’ll have to stick with my Edge 1000. I can’t be missing either of these and like you, I don’t want to have to buy another sensor!

    • Carl

      Hi Murray, did this get sorted in the end? Can the device now see both the power and HRM sensor?

  101. Carl

    Can any current owners give me an idea as to how much data appears on Garmin connect after all the synching has taken place? I’ll assume route details are there but does all of the speed, cadence, HR, power, altitude etc. all come across too?

  102. Peter Webb

    Thanks for the great review, you helped me makeup my mind.Wahoo for me

  103. Hugo

    Is it possible to load a .gpx file
    1) from my MAC
    2) from any URL
    Or is it only possible to load routes from “ridewithgps.com” and “strava.com”?

    To download routes from “ridewithgps.com”: Is a paid subscription necessary? Or is the free signup sufficient to load routes to Elemnt?

    • Vincenzo

      Hugo if you have the new software on the elemnt yes. You can do all of those. I have only used strava so far though.
      regards vinnychoff

    • Kevin K

      Now that the ELEMNT has TBT from RideWithGPS only, can the unit pull routes through using only the FREE version of RwGPS? or do you need to pay their subscription which would then defeat the object…

      Need to get away from my 810 but no convinced that ELEMNT is ready yet.

    • Thomas

      No need for a subscription, just tested it yesterday. Added 2 new routes on my iPad, using the free RwGPS, synced fine.

  104. Roy H

    Hey Murray..when will these be available at REI? I have a gift card thats waiting to be used to buy one 🙂

  105. erik silvassy

    Wondering about MTB routes, I have a need this fall for a gps route I have to follow for a race.
    Anyone load a MTB route and see what the breadcrumb trail looks like. Needing just to know if I am on or off course, and at a trail intersection what direction I need to go.

    Not expecting the trails to be in the map, though that would be a great addition to be able to add.
    Other than that it looks like it checks off many wants for what I do.

    If this is poor for my needs any suggestions?

    • Jonathan Vejjajiva

      The trails are on the map. I just took a trip out to New Mexico and road in the Middle of the desert. They trail was there. I have travelled to many places around the country and the trail maps are almost always there. Only one very new trails was not and it should be added in future updates.

    • Jonathan Vejjajiva

      Another pic so you can get an idea of where I was.

    • erik silvassy

      Great! thanks for the info. Looks like the elemnt may be the device for me

    • Jonathan,

      What’s happening? Any update on intervals on the Elemnt?

      I suppose I’ll see you next week here in WS, right? Let’s grill at my house and/or grab a beer!


    • Jonathan Vejjajiva

      As long as you are wearing a little bit more than that.

    • Dang, guess I missed ya. Lemme know when you are up this way again.

      -BTW, wore slightly more than that for the races… slightly.

  106. Justin kaplan

    Does the vector Gormin power meter pedals pair with elemnt?

  107. Erik H

    When I view this article on my iPhone 6 iOS 9.3.1 in the mobile version there are only about a dozen comments (the most recent). But in the desktop version (still on my iPhone) I see all the comments. I don’t see any way to load more comments either.

    Is this on purpose or a bug?

    • Erik H

      And then once I posted that comment (from the mobile site on my iPhone), the page reloaded and it showed me many or all of the older posts, but not the newer ones it had previously shown, including my post. I had to switch to the desktop site to confirm that my post went live. That’s really weird.

  108. Paul Osman

    Has anyone else noticed that the Elemnt Companion App is draining their iPhone battery? I have Background App refresh turned off, both for the Elemnt App itself and for the phone generally, and the app is still using 70% of my battery in last 24 hours through Background Activity (I haven’t opened the app in this time).
    What is the app doing in the background and is this something wahoo are going to fix?

    • Alan Westwood

      Paul, I’m a beta tester for Wahoo, and I’m struggling with this issue because its hard to demonstrate consistently. Wahoo say its not a known problem and that the Apple settings Battery page gives wrong data for the ELEMNT (it always shows much higher than it should apparently). But on occasion since I’ve had the ELEMNT app loaded I see the same kind of drain as you (with my old iPhone and my new one). But whenever I jot down time and battery levels to test it, I don’t get the drain. Its odd. But without firm data I can’t really press Wahoo. If you can show this more consistently, I’d send the data to support at Wahoo, because so far all reports on this issue are anecdotal and hard to reproduce with any consistency. Thanks, Alan.

    • Paul Osman

      Thanks Alan. I’m not sure if I believe Wahoo’s claim here – whether or not the data is wrong in the Battery page, my battery is definitely draining much quicker with the app on my phone. I will see what I can come up with to send to Wahoo.

  109. Fubared

    Does anyone have any experience with this and GPS accuracy for mountain biking? The Garmin units are absolutely terrible in tight and twisty single track as well as under canopy often 25-30% less miles logged. The iPhone is far superior in these situations. Any one have experience with this?

    • Roy H

      My mileage looked pretty similar to my friend’s this past weekend (fri/sat/sun only..forgot my charger and used a sunnto GPS watch monday) doing 3 mtn rides (mixed open and forested area)..not much switchback stuff but some narrow gullies. I think my auto-pause was more aggressive than his garmin so I came in slightly less than him on most rides. I havent compared with an iphone though..I would assume a GPS unit is more accurate than a phone. My suunto came in slightly less mileage wise on monday vs is garmin as well. link to strava.com

      One thing for sure is I like the Elemnt interface/config setup wayyyy more than garmin so they got my money for that. Ray did an article on GPS accuracy a while back link to dcrainmaker.com it really seems like a wash…

    • Fubared

      Thanks for the response, Roy. I read that article when it was first posted, thanks for the reminder. I just re-read it. I’d definitely love to see it updated to more modern devices. I think things seem to get worse every year. I have a Forerunner 910, Forerunner 920XT, Edge 520, iPhone 5, and iPhone 6. If I run them all at the same time (strava as the app of choice on the phones) the 6 consistently logs the longest distance, followed by the 5, 520, 910, and finally in distant last, the 920 (which abysmal). What I don’t know is which one is actually the most accurate… only where they compare to each other. On trails, I generally run the 520 and the 6, while most of my friends just run Strava on a 5 or 6. On a typical loop that we do which is logged at 40 miles on the phones, give or take a tenth or so, the 520 will show anywhere from 32 to 36 miles. The fact that it varies so much leads me to believe that the 520 is the problem, not the phones because the phones always hit right about 40 miles, whereas the 520 will be a different distance every time. Not once has the 520 ever come close to phones, not has it logged the same distance twice. I’m tempted to try to see if I can hack the 520 to poll every half second and see if that would provide a longer final distance or if the phone apps are seriously over-estimating the actual number.

    • Erik H

      For the most accurate distance and speed on a MTB you should use a (calibrated) wheel based speed sensor. nothing beats that.

    • Vincenzo

      Erik I agree as with garmin and wahoo elemnt, I have seen so many different readings even though both devices are on the same route.
      Some times the simpler things are the best.

    • Roy H

      I also noticed our elevation totals were pretty different..really thinking the autopause differences might be the main culprit.

    • Fubared

      Yes, Garmin Edge is terrible at elevation. There’s a pancake flat 50 mile loop we do that should have about 300′ of gain and the 520 regularly shows somewhere in the 1,200′ – 1,600′. It’ comical. The phones seems to get it right… or at least closer to reality.

    • Fubared

      Erik & Vincenzo – Do either of you have a recommendation? Would adding the Garmin Speed and Cadence sensor solve the issue? If not, do you know of one that syncs to a computer in some fashion? Thanks!

    • Fubared

      Erik – I picked up the Garmin Speed pod for the wheel hub and calibrated it manually with an exact measurement from my front wheel. It has made the 520 much more accurate. Thanks for the suggestion!

  110. Adam Hicks

    I’ll be giving the ELEMNT a shot for one specific reason: BT Smart recording. I use a Stages power meter and I’ve found the ANT+ connection to be pretty awful at times while the BT data is always rock solid. The ELEMNT will be a cheaper way to get reliable power data during a race compared to upgrading my power meter…

    • Dan H

      Did you ever give it a shot? I’m having issues with my Stages and the Garmin 800. Consistent drops. Stages customer service are telling me to move the Garmin unit to the stem (not in the outfront position) which should help the connection between the two.


  111. Collin Snyder

    A comment and a question for Wahoo:

    I recently switched from a garmin 510 to the Elemnt earlier this week and overall I’m happy. I’m both a roadie and a MTBer in Michigan which means very tight, canopy covered single track. On my local home course, I was not able to pick up the main trail’s loop on strava, and in fact, I actually picked up the segment I created with my Garmin years back called “my garmin sucks” Mayburry loop, which I created back then because for some reason everyone else’s garmin would trigger the main loop but mine would not. Despite hitting the same trail, the distance was shorter. I eventually found that my garmin was set to smart recording and standard GPS (not Glonos (sp?)). When I corrected my settings to the proper GPS band and 1 second recording, I would once again trigger the main trail.

    Now for my question, how often is the thing recording data points, and can you modify the resolution. The second question is, seeing that it uses a verity of GPS signals (according to an above Wahoo post) is there a way to lock it to Glonos?

  112. MBRuby

    I’ll wait to see what custom workouts looks like, assuming it’s still in the pipeline. If it is, please, please, please make it so you can customise on phone/ tablet/ laptop and send – customising workouts on my 800 is a huge pain.

  113. Roy Hobbs

    Turn by turn navi was added in the most recent update!! (along with a few other things..impressive feature rollout frequency!) Hopefully I can get mine updated on crappy hotel wifi to try it out 🙂

    • Ben Voytko

      Very stoked on the addition of Turn By Turn. So far it’s been pretty nice. Still need to get some more riding in with TBT enabled.

  114. Jim in Colorado

    I purchased an ELEMNT based on Ray’s original review. It works well with my PowerTap P1 pedals, though it did not recognize them on a few rides (had to stop and re-pair) and yesterday it stopped showing power and cadence about 1.5 hours into a 2.5 hour ride. EXTREMELY frustrating as it was a group training workout that is important to my training schedule. But I started carrying my Garmin with me as a back-up on all rides, so I turned it on and it picked the P1s up immediately and recorded the rest of the ride. So now I have 2 head units on all road rides — the ELEMNT which is much preferred when it works, and the Garmin which is reliable and works every time.

    I also have a bike with an SRM. When I try to pair them, ELEMNT does “Searching” for 7-10 minutes, then says “Save Power?” to which I respond “Yes”, but then it’s just “N/A” for power and cadence after that. The ELEMNT has never worked with my SRM. My SRM works with the PowerControl 7, with my Garmin, and with the ANT+ dongle that I use for Zwift. So it’s not the SRM. This has been going on for months. I’m in touch with the Wahoo software engineering team and trying beta firmware, but no progress.

    Who else has an SRM? Did you ELEMNT pair right away? or are you having trouble?

    • Philip

      Hi Jim,
      About your PM dropouts: so you have the lastest firmware installed? 42 something? A log of People had powermeter dropouts before,but that Firmware fixed those issues for the majority of them. Latest firmware also allows now to set cranksize from element app. Be sure to forget and repair all your sensors with the new firmware,since it makes some changes deep down in the antenna firmware.

    • Gadi Chait

      I have this exact issue, has you managed to get it working?

    • Isaac

      Hi, today was my first ride with my P1 pedals + Elemnt.

      1- Power readings seemed ok, no drops.

      2- Noticed that Elemnt doesn’t shows battery level in % for the P1 pedals, simply says GOOD…. Any comments on this?

      3- Didn’t see the option to set the crank arm size, how to do it?

      4- Noticed that cadence readings differs a lot from garmin units…. Same ride garmin marks 80 while element 72

  115. Russell

    With the latest software my ELEMNT loses Power readings for both a SRM and Stages Gen2. It happens intermittently sometimes for seconds, sometimes for minutes and sometimes for ever unless I Forget and Add again. Wahoo told me it was a BT problem but the latest fix didn’t help and I have since daicovered that both PMs are connecting via ANT+. Before the latest SW update the data fields showed n/a when connection was lost but since the update they just show — This is a big problem for me and really the response from Wahoo has been pretty inadequate. I love the product but the inconsistency is driving me back towards Garmin. Anybody else had similar issues.

  116. Dan

    Just a quick question…

    I know my Elemnt syncs rides with Strava via WIFI,
    but I just noticed after riding to work that my mornings ride is now on Strava?
    No idea how it happened as I am not synced to any WIFI network here (pretty sure there isn’t even any WIFI).

    Did it sync via bluetooth with my phone or something?

    • Alan W.

      It will have synced by BT to the app on your phone, then using your phone network to get to Strava. Its pretty fast with 3G or 4G 🙂
      Cheers, Alan.

  117. Edward Rayns

    Any news on the strava live segments feature?

    • Vincenzo

      Ed I am also looking forward to this feature. I had my phone on and it was talking to me as i tried each segment. Giving me feedback on where i was improving. Great add on.
      regards Vincenzo

  118. Asaf

    Can someone share personal experience with RwGPS Basic and Premium plans? Does it add value to Wahoo Elemnt navigation? (noticed there are no audio notification when using the TBT navigation)

  119. Scott S.

    Currently have a Cycleops Joule GPS which I feel is similar to the Garmin 500 series. Would the Wahoo Elemnt be a viable upgrade or should I consider a Garmin 800 series instead? Thanks.

    • Drew Eckhardt

      Get a refurbished Edge 800 so you avoid the 810 crashes. That’s what I got after returning my 810, which I got after returning my ELEMNT.

      The 800 gets you

      – A next turn field
      – Distance to next course point and turn fields
      – A switch to the map screen with a beep 0.1 miles before a turn with a white arrow showing which turn to take, then another beep at the turn.
      – Maps that pan
      – Maps with street names
      – Navigation to Points Of Interest including drinking water

      With the ELEMNT you
      – Don’t have the distance fields
      – Only get a pop-up without the switch to the map screen
      – Maps where cycling roads are invisible when zoomed out, without the ability to pan to see where they go
      – No street names

      The 800 still has bugs which won’t be fixed – you need to split long rides with navigation into pieces to avoid crashes and join them afterwards with sites like gotoes.org.

      I’ll probably try an ELEMNT again after it’s closer to feature parity and reports of recording problems die down.

    • Phil

      I stood before the same decision and I decided for the E(lemnt). I had a look at the 810 of a colleague, and I still own a Garmin eTrex 30 for comparison. I also had a quick look at the Edge 520, but the ridiculously small space on that one for maps (<60MB, yes MEGA byte) made this a no-brainer, what are Garmin thinking!?

      Here are the reasons why I took the Element over the Edge 810:

      *Edge 810 is outdated, 800 even more so. And to make matters worse: it is old and still buggy, that alone is killer for me (see Drew's reply: having to stitch the activities together post workout is a absolute no go for me, I have better things to do than waste my time with such stuff). If Garmin cannot fix their Software in several years this says almost everything. I had similar bad experiences wth the eTrex 30, where Firmware updates often made matters worse.

      With the E I just finish the activity, and it automatically uploads to my training logs (I use Garmin connect for my personal log, Strava to socialize and RideWithGPS to plan my routes). This alone is so much more convenient, you need no laptop, no USB connection in any way, it just works. I love it!

      Granted, you cannot really plan upcoming route on the E, but for that I prefer my iPhone anyway, big sharp display where I can pan and zoom lightning fast. On an edge 810 panning and zooming is not actually enjoyable.

      Getting maps onto a Garmin device is horrible. I use OSM since they are free and much more detailed regarding MTB trails compared to anything else in my area. It always took me hours of very frustrating fiddling to get the OSM maps onto my eTrex. First time was interesting to make it work, since I am a little nerd, but the next time it was just annoying, and since a year or so I gave up on this topic, so no map updates for my eTrex anymore.
      The E on the other hand: OSM maps included, no need to think about it, it just works 🙂

      Regarding routing on the E: It can only do preplanned routes, but those can be followed very easily. If I am in unknown terrain I prefer the map with the chevrons that are very easy to follow since they are showing very well which way to go. With my eTrex it was very often confusing when my route would cross itself, or go in loops. With the Elemnt since one of the later updates this just works perfectly. Also TurnByTurn is working very well for me.
      And if you need to replay on the fly there is currently a workaround (but you need cell coverage): use Easy Route for iOS, create a Route and copy it to the Element app, then connect the Elemnt to a Wifi (eg iPhone hotspot), and voila: the route is on the E and off you go. This way you can put any gpx track onto the E that you want. Without a computer. Try that with a Garmin: good luck!

      Disclaimer: I don't have a power meter, those still seem to give problems to some (not all), but there seems to be a bugfix coming soon for this. I have zero problems with my Elemnt, and use a Wahoo RPM and a Tickr or sometimes my Vivoactive HR in broadcasting mode for HR, when I forgot my Tickr

    • Andy

      It does do street names if you create the route in RidewithGPS, so that advice is wrong.

  120. Karim

    hi Ray
    can you take a route NOT created on Ridwithgps and load it to the wahoo for turn by turn directions by uploading it to RWGPS opening it and then saving it as a RWGPS map? this issue is that i am doing an organized ride and i am not sure how the make the file–should i save it as a TCX file or a GPX file? Hopefully that makes sense!


    • Mike Robinson

      Yes, you can upload a TCX or GPX file not created on RwGPS to RwGPS and then sync the route to the ELEMNT.

      A GPX file generally doesn’t contain turn-by-turn directions.

      A TCX file may contain turn-by-turn directions however this depends on the application used to create the route. For example, a TCX route created by Strava won’t contain turn-by-turn directions.

      However, you can use RwGPS to add turn-by-turn directions if you have a GPX file or if the TCX file doesn’t contain turn-by-turn directions.

      To do this, you upload either the GPX or TCX route to RwGPS then edit the route. The Edit menu in RwGPS has an option “Prepare for tracing”. You then “trace” the route meaning you manually click along the route on the map and RwGPS will add the turn-by-turn directions such as “Turn Left on Baker St” or “Turn Right on Oxford St”. You can also add your own manual course points for things like as water, food or rest stops.

      The route can then be synced with the ELEMNT and it will contain turn-by-turn directions.

      There is a video in the Help section of RwGPS showing how to do this.

      Hope this helps!

    • Karim

      Thanks. Really appreciate he help.

  121. Kelly

    Wonder if anyone else is running into this problem, and/pr is this normal… I’m using the ELEMNT with the KICKR as a blind-accessible training tool.

    If I turn on the ELEMNT first, then try to use another IOS app like Wahoo Fitness or iMobile intervals, the KICKR won’t sync with the app; if I turn on the app first and then the ELEMNT, the apps work but the ELEMNT doesn’t record any speed/distance/power data. It is my understanding from Wahoo that the ELEMNT should go into a “passive” KICKR mode allowing an app to control resistance, but it seems like mine just isn’t pairing with the ELEMNT.

    Is there a way to get both platforms to sync at the same time? My ideal is to be able to record workout data on the ELEMNT when using IOS apps for control, and to be able to use the apps to hear via VoiceOver realtime ride metrics when using the ELEMNT to ride simulated routes.


  122. My biggest issue with Wahoo products (and this is systemic with all of them) is that they assert BTLE on all of the devices and the phone app, even when you don’t intend to use them with Bluetooth AT ALL.

    The Tickr-X for example (HORRIBLE device that works less than 5% of the time) drains a fresh battery in less than 2 hours on a single ride, because it’s broadcasting both ANT+ to the head unit, AND sending polling beacons out for Bluetooth connectivity at the same time.

    I’ve had mine about a month, and in 20 rides, it’s worked for 2 of those rides. The remaining rides, it either never connects to my ANT+ computer at all or connects for the first few hundred feet, then drops out for the rest of the ride, only to pick back up at the very end of the ride again. It’s really an unpredictable, unreliable device and I can’t recommend it to anyone.

    The mobile app REQUIRES you to enable Bluetooth just to query the ANT+ capabilities on the device, or check its firmware revision. There’s no way to disable it.

    Their bike computers appear to suffer the same flaw, and that means roughly 60% less battery life than other ANT+-only head units that have the same sensors and capabilities.

    My confidence and trust in their ability to produce a working, ANT+ device that does not intend to work using BTLE, is very low.

    • Roy H

      I have none of those problems you speak of. I have had the tickr x since october and only replaced the battery once. It has worked great! I just got the Elemnt in July and can get multiple rides on one charge with it. I dont usually pair it with my phone while riding (drains my phone battery but havent noticed much more drain on the elemnt). No issues with both devices together too. Also use it with a wahoo speed sensor too and no problems there.

      Id say replace your batteries, update your firmware, make sure you arent leaving the backlight and other points battery drains on..These devices have been more reliable than my friends rocking garmin stuff.

    • Roy H

      typo-had the elemnt since may.

    • There is no way to update the firmware on the TICKR-X, so any bugs/issues found, is going to be a replacement/refurb/RMA.

      I’ve tried 1/2 dozen new, Duracell, blister-pack batteries in the TICKR-X, and it doesn’t make a difference. You can see the LARGE sections of dropout in my Strava rides, it’s just a flaky, unreliable device. I’m sitting here in my office wearing it right now watching Pulsometer monitor my heart rate using it, and it’s dropping in and out while I’m sitting here relatively motionless. It took 17 minutes to “find” the TICKR-X over ANT+. My Sigma HRM takes under 1 second, by comparison.

      I don’t own the ELEMNT, just doing some reading on it, and the reviews are pretty lukewarm, compared to other devices in the same class/category.

    • Roy H

      Sounds like you need to contact wahoo and warranty it. I have had ZERO issues..I have used it with my elemnt, the wahoo app, and a suunto ambit. Their customer support is pretty awesome…I thought I updated a firmware once before with the wahoo utility app but I dont remember 100% since I have had it for so long.

      I really like the elemnt so far too..frequent updates with some nice added functionality in every update. The crisp screen and customer support were the big selling points to me. Garmin doesnt do frequent updates and has crappy support.

    • So…to begin, as a general rule of thumb I usually try and correct statements folks make when they’re just way out of left field incorrect. And pretty much everything noted above is technically incorrect.

      Thus to recap on the corrections front:

      Stated: TICKR-X Drains a Fresh Battery in under two hours

      I rode with a TICKR-X yesterday for 3.5 hours, it survived. Then I rode with it again today for an hour. Still alive. All of this ignores all my other rides/runs with it. That’s because it’s designed to last about a year at 1hr a day.

      Stated: Dual broadcasting of ANT+ & Polling Beacons via Bluetooth kills battery

      There’s no such thing as polling beacons on Bluetooth Smart with the TICKR-X. It doesn’t use beacons. Doesn’t exist. Instead, the unit dual-transmits your HR on ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart using the HR device profiles for both standards. This has no appreciable impact of battery (under 1%) based on current chipsets. It’s also completely common for sensors these days, and is something that Wahoo actually pioneered (which benefits all consumers by not locking them into a given technology).

      Stated: The mobile app requires you to enable BT just to query ANT+ or check firmware version, there’s no way to disable it.

      That’s because it’s always transmitting your HR dual ANT+/BLE. Further, there’s no other way to update the firmware except via Bluetooth Smart. You can’t update the TICKR-X firmware via ANT+. Thus, Bluetooth Smart.

      Stated: Their bike computer suffers the ‘same flaw’ being unable to disable it, and thus it means 60% battery life than other head units due to dual transmission.

      No, not really. It has less battery life because of the screen they selected the battery capacity they stuck in it. That’s all. Also, it doesn’t actually have really that much different actual battery life than other units on the market. It’s actual battery life is pretty much comparable these days to similiar sized units.

      Stated: “There is no way to update the firmware on the TICKR-X, so any bugs/issues found, is going to be a replacement/refurb/RMA.”

      Ignoring the fact that you contradict yourself above, it’s also incorrect. To prove it, I just updated the firmware on my TICKR-X (I hadn’t done it in a heck of a long time). Took less than 45 seconds start to finish, using my mobile phone.

      Stated: “I’ve tried 1/2 dozen new, Duracell, blister-pack batteries in the TICKR-X, and it doesn’t make a difference. You can see the LARGE sections of dropout in my Strava rides, it’s just a flaky, unreliable device. I’m sitting here in my office wearing it right now watching Pulsometer monitor my heart rate using it, and it’s dropping in and out while I’m sitting here relatively motionless. It took 17 minutes to “find” the TICKR-X over ANT+. My Sigma HRM takes under 1 second, by comparison.”

      I’m curious – at no point did it occur to you to ring out to Wahoo support to see if perhaps your unit is simply defective? All it sounds like is that it has a battery short. I’ve lost count of the nubmer of reports from all companies (Polar, Garmin, Wahoo, etc…) where sensors have battery shorts and burn through coin cells like no tomorrow. This seems pretty easily solvable.

      Stated: “I don’t own the ELEMNT, just doing some reading on it, and the reviews are pretty lukewarm, compared to other devices in the same class/category.”

      So to clarify, you’ve posted a bunch of 100% incorrect and unrelated stuff about the TICKR-X on a product review for the ELEMNT, but haven’t actually touched or seen an ELEMNT?

      I’m happy to have folks offer opinions on devices (including ones that are contrary to mine). It’s a cornerstone of why the comments are so deep and useful here.

      But statements have to be backed up with facts. Simply swinging by randomly asserting of bunch of incorrect stuff, no matter how good or bad a product is, just isn’t the name of the game.

    • Sigh. Just because your device happens to work as expected, does not mean that ALL devices work in that manner.

      I can, however, confirm that the “Wahoo Utility” app on iOS and the same app on Android behave VERY differently. To whit: The Android version can only query the version of the firmware using BTLE (a flaw in implementation, as this can easily be done over ANT+ as most Power Meters and other ANT+ devices do), but even with Bluetooth enabled on the host device, only iOS actually queries upstream and permits updating the firmware.

      It takes (on average) 17 minutes for the device to be discovered by anything that can query it over ANT+ (I don’t have any BTLE servers in my infra to scan for it). It would either drain the battery quickly, or “time out” and go to sleep, and the only way to wake it back up is to disconnnect one snap of the chest strap and reconnect it.

      Once I fired up “Wahoo Utility” on my iPad, it immediately presesnted an upgrade notification for new firmware, bringing me from 1.5.22 to 1.7.5, the connection remained steady for 1h39m before it timed out and went to sleep (necessitating the unsnap/snap method).

      If I didn’t have an iOS device, I wouldn’t have even known there was a firmware update, or that it could possibly have addressed many of the issues I’ve described above. I can’t find a ChangeLog for what the deltas were between 1.5.22 and 1.7.5, but I would like to see what else was changed.

      To your other comment about increased battery drain, there are numerous studies out there describing this drain, both on the host (iBeacon/BLE drain), but also on the client. I’m sure you can dig them up. A single protocol is always going to be more energy efficient than broadcasting twice for every event using two protocols.

      In any case, feel free to delete my unrelated comments here, we’ve gone off-track.

    • Phil

      Hi David,

      I personally believe your attitude will lead you nowhere, I would even go as far as to question your agenda.
      Concerning ble/ant+ devices: why did you ever buy the tickrX if you do not need BLE?
      I can only speak of my experience,and I only have a standard Tickr as well as a Wahoo Cadence Sensor. both are transmitting dual, and the impact on battery live is not noticeable for me. I own both for more than a year now and am still on the first battery. But I like to have both signals, any+ for my Garmin devices, and BLE for my iPhone or ELEMNT.

      Speaking of the Elemnt: I actually own one and am very happy,also about battery life,which is >10h for me,never had a need to go any longer. You always claim to know everything(even if proven wrong;),so it should not be too hard for you to find out the energy consumption of a gps chipset, a display with background lighting and a dual BLE/Ant+ chipset (compared to a single one). This will help you in future discussions to keep things in perspective without ridiculing yourself.

    • Some more corrections:

      A) Android can update the strap just fine using the Wahoo Utility or Wahoo Fitness app (again, Android). It even says it updates firmware the first line of the description of the app. It’s really the only the only thing the app does (and why it was originally created years ago).

      B) There’s no updating of most of the communication stack chipsets these days over ANT+, rather, dual ANT+/BLE chipset companies like Nordic Semiconductor and Texas Instruments provide OTA loaders via BLE, which is why companies like Wahoo and others do it over BLE. If they did it over ANT+, they’d have to roll their own for no real benefit since virtually all smartphones made in the last 4-5 years can use BLE just fine.

      C) It takes my TICKR-X about 1-2 seconds before its seen by any ANT+ devices that I’ve tried. Edge 820, FR735XT, Zwift, TrainerRoad, Edge 520, and countless others I’ve used – all of which in the last 24 hours. It doesn’t take 17 minutes unless something is wrong with your device.

      D) RE battery drain – please cite/provide the study that’s applicable to BLE sport/fitness sensors. The way BLE fitness sensors are designed is for dual-stack communication. There are minor efficiencies gained for single-sided as I noted above, but it’s virtually un-seen in the grand scheme of things. Also, as per B above, it’s how you update the firmware since that’s how the chipsets work.

      Again, I really encourage you to contact Wahoo support and simply get it swapped out.

    • Mark Duncombe

      >Stated: Dual broadcasting of ANT+ & Polling Beacons via Bluetooth kills battery

      I’ll jump in here and give a bit of background how BLE works.

      I am a Bluetooth engineer working with BLE. Using silicon from a vendor that supports both BLE and Ant+

      A BLE peripheral role device advertises is presence with an advert, inviting central role (phone, head unit etc) devices to connect.

      A BLE beacon is a type of BLE advert, popularised by Apples iBeacon that contains location context information and is usually not connectable, in other words it just broadcasts.

      Ant+ can use the same silicon and the same radio that BLE uses, both stacks can run on the same hardware at the same time.

      I dont see dual Ant+ and BLE “killing” battery life at all. There most likely would be some sacrifice to be made in terms of power consumption as the radio that handles BLE and Ant+ maybe on for more of the time as it alternates between transmitting/receiving the two protocols but the overall radio on time is still pretty small, probably a few ms in every second. many many months is still perfectly feasible from a 2032 coincell.

  123. chris harrison

    Got to say i love this device. Not one problem so far. My question is concerning ridewithgps. I used to be able to upload routes and prepare them for tracing. This feature now appears greyed out. Is anyone else having this problem? It looks like it may now be a payed for option.

  124. PAT J

    In your comparison chart, for the Polar M450, you put “SORTA” for a few of the categories/features. Could you explain a little of what you meant here? Thanks for another great write up!

  125. Brendan ONeill

    Ray, Great review as always.

    A few questions for users of the Elemnt and Powertap P1’s.

    I’m only on day 2 with my Elemnt so my experience is very limited.

    Day 1- I didn’t have any issues with pairing my phone or pedals (or Wahoo HRM Tickr X- which I love and doesn’t have any battery issues, or Wahoo Blue SC). I initially saw Powertap ANT, Powertap (Left) and Powertap (right). I paired the left and right and decided to ignore the ANT+ sensor since everything I have is BT. I went for a ride and all was good.

    Day 2- I installed iOS 9.3.5 (not sure if it’s related or not). When I powered my Elemnt later, I received a message that my phone didn’t pair. I went into the settings and saw the power taps were gone. I tried to re-add and only the Powertap ANT+ comes up now.

    Questions are:
    Anyone else see this?
    Anyone else having issues since installing 9.3.5?
    What sensor name(s) do others use?

    Wahoo support said the Powertap ANT+ sensor is actually BT. They also say the ANT+ instance is recommended.


    • I’ll have to defer to others in terms of why it’s flopped over.

      That said, Wahoo has long stated that for the P1’s, they prefer folks use the ANT+ side of the house vs Bluetooth. That’s somewhat of a tacit admission that the BT standards for dual-unit power meters are…sketchy…at best. Kinda like Elmers glue and string type sketchy. In theory it works, but in practice it can be rough. Whereas the ANT+ side of the house for these variants of units just works.

      I always just use it on the ANT+ side. There’s no difference in resulting data, battery usage, etc…

  126. Daniel Jessee

    Ray, just took my ELEMNT on its first ride – mixed road and mountain biking. Compared to my Ambit3 the ELEMNT seems have done terrible on GPS accuracy. I didn’t see your previously mentioned data accuracy so sorry if I missed it. I rode about 12 miles to the trails, then about 14 on the trails (including two loops on the singletrack), and 12 back. Even on the two singletrack loops the Ambit3 was almost identical both times, whereas the ELEMNT’s two tracks vary drastically. I’ve come to really trust my Ambit3 in all conditions for accuracy. It’s usually only .2 miles short of a wheel sensor at worst. But when I finished this ride the ELEMNT was over a mile short of the Ambit3. It really appears the tree cover threw the ELEMNT for a loop… what kind of accuracy issues are you seeing with the ELEMNT compared to Garmin, Suunto, Polar, or whatever?

  127. Alex Masidlover

    Does anyone know where I can find a complete list of data fields; specifically I’m looking for HR and Power Zones? I have a feeling neither are supported, but am not totally sure – assuming neither are then do Wahoo have forums etc where users can discuss / suggest features?

  128. Stu

    Thanks for the review. I’m getting persistent drops between my Garmin 510 and Stages (currently working with Stages support to see if we can fix). If I lose patience my Garmin I may switch over to Wahoo. I compete in Time Trials and I have very specific fields on my display. Only 4 fields: 3 Sec Power, Lap avg power, cadence, and distance. Can the elemnt be set up to only show these 4 fields? Many thanks.

    • Mike Robinson

      All these fields exist on the ELEMNT and you can configure the page so it only shows these four (although personally I’ve never used them as I don’t have a power meter, cadence sensor or do laps!)

  129. marklemcd

    I’ve looked high and low on the internet but maybe my googling skills aren’t up to par. How do I use the Elemnt to do the zero offset with my power meter? Anyone?

    • Tom DeFelice

      Element on, paired to phone, sensor(s) paired.

      On the Element companion app, there is a selection for sensors, then you should see the sensors you have paired, selected your power meter, and it should say “calib” on the screen or one of the bottom 3 buttons-can’t remember which-but it’s there…hope that helps

  130. Dennis Muehlenstaedt

    Anything new on the GoPro Control?

  131. Tom DeFelice

    I’m also interested to know if you have an updated overall review. A LOT seems to have changed since March/April. Have you continued to use/test an Elemnt over the last several months?

    Torn between this and a 520.

  132. I’ve recently bought the Elemnt and am very pleased with it, but I need to add the ability to monitor power. What power meter do people recommend to use as it seems to be something that the more i read about, the less clear I become about what to buy.


    • Brent

      DCRainmaker is releasing his annual power meter buyers guide any day now.

    • Scottish Mike

      Thanks for the heads up Brent, will hang off for that.

    • Scottish Mike I am with you in trying to find a power meter to suit and cost. DCR has a lot of information and its down to you. In the sense of what to go for, pedals, crank arm, cranks, wheel etc. Hope you find something

    • Tom D

      As far as monitoring power, a BUNCH of fields are available for tha on the Elemntt, many of which I understand were added around a month ago. FWIW, I’m testing out an Element, I own a Stages PM. They seem to work together fine.

      Back to monitoring, I don’t know how and don’t want to know how to analyze it to the level of DC, but I’ve done a brief meatball test or 2 and the Elemnt and my Garmin 510 seem to report power reasonably close to one another.

  133. Martin Feeney

    Quick (I hope) question: How does one use this during a race (traithlon/duathlon, specifically)? Do I have to push any buttons in T1 to start the unit recording or can I start it before the start of the race and will it automatically begin recording once the bike begins to move? Thanks.

    • Roy H

      If you have auto pause enabled you can start it as you are walking up to the line…then it will autopause and not start until you actually start the race. Thats what I usually do..sometimes I just hit the start button right at the start too if im a bit further back from the line.

  134. christopher Harrison

    First problem. Trying to connect the E to my e-tap is proving to be a nightmare. Sometimes it picks up the sensors, sometimes it shows all shifters batteries OK, sometimes two or three out of the four batteries are displayed. The gear indicator sometimes shows no selected gears, sometimes it shows gears but doesn’t change display when a different gear is selected.
    I’ve deleted and added etap dozens of times and still not working properly. Anyone else getting this?

  135. biker jk

    Can users kindly provide some guidance to battery life? Does navigation reduce battery life? What about the backlight, is it automatic like Garmins or do you have to select it? How much does using the backlight reduce battery life? Thanks in advance for any help.

    • as you say i have updated the back light. Also the battery life is not good for me. I did the mallorca 312 and cycled to the event at around six in the morning. At around 1600 in the afternoon the elemnt died. This was while riding one of the sportives that i wanted so much to record. my phone battery was stil good. i put strava on my phone and carried on.
      I have managed to get a hours record with 30 percent battery life. I am not sure with the gps how this affects the life of the battery.

    • biker jk

      Ten hours is the lowest battery life I’ve seen. Some other reviews have said 12-14 hours. That’s why I asked about the role of the backlight and navigation. Perhaps there are other battery consuming features which have a large impact and explain the wide ranging experiences with battery life?

    • Dee Tee

      I thought, you’re positive about the Element. So you’re having battery issues? My Elemnt is much better than the Edge 1000 concerning Battery life.


  136. Matthew P

    DCR your advice is needed please…..

    I have used the Elemtn since its re-release in March 2016 but somewhat getting frustrated with the lack of meaningful progress.

    To put everything into context, I am a recreational rider, but take my riding and training very seriously. I use a power meter and have a weekly plan, and monitor my progress by taking regular LT tests using a BSX Insight.

    What disappoints me with the Elemnt is it does not seem to be directed towards users like me and not sure it ever will be and wanted your advice on that. What I mean is that it is 6 months since its re-release and we still have the following issues:
    * No customisable workouts
    * NP per lap is not working
    * Strava segments are NOT point-to-pointm but rather a pointless average progression through the segment
    * di2 gears are still shown in a bar chart, with option on gear ratio

    and the list goes on and on.

    Do not get me wrong. In what it does, it does excellently and I guess that i why I am disappointed as I wanted the rest to be done too. Is this realistic, or is this as far as Wahoo can take it? Maybe are we looking at release of a Elemtn 2, making all of us Elemtn users beta paying customers beta testers??????

    Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.