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Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT In-Depth Review

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Just about one year after Wahoo started shipping the Wahoo ELEMNT, they’re back at it again with a new and smaller variant – the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT.  Now like their competitors, this unit isn’t designed as a successor, but rather simply another option with a different size for those who want a smaller unit.  Some folks want a bigger display – and the existing ELEMNT is still there for ya.

The new ELEMNT BOLT packs in all the same software goodness as its larger brother, but just does so in a much smaller package nearly identical in size to Garmin’s Edge 520 and Edge 820 units.  But as I’ll talk about in a moment – the BOLT also incorporates the last year’s worth of changes that Wahoo has made on the existing ELEMNT.  So if you read my review a year ago, it’s a very different situation today.

I’ve been using the BOLT for quite a while now – and thus have had plenty of time to put together an in-depth review and dive into all the nuances and details.  Like always, once done with the unit I’ll ship it back to them and go out and get my own.  Also, while I did attend Wahoo’s media event – I paid my own way for travel/hotel/etc costs.  Mostly I just wanted an excuse to ride in the sun for a few days.

With that – let’s get started!

(Oh, and a side note before I get started because I don’t know where else to put it – the BOLT is shipping as of today, for $249.)

What’s new and different:

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While it’s true that the Bolt’s software is the same as the original ELEMNT’s, it would be hugely mistaken to think it’s the same ELEMNT we saw a year ago.  The difference is beyond night and day; it’s like the Sun and Pluto.  Assuming Pluto is still considered a planet.  Poor Pluto.

The amount of changes that have occurred to the ELEMNT from launch until now is staggering. Things like legit turn by turn directions, Strava Segment integration, and BestBikeSplit integration are all major items.  But in many was it’s the hundreds of smaller changes that are more important.  It’s these little nuanced details that might have driven folks crazy a year ago, are now gone.  I’ve gone through the firmware update notes for the last 12 months, and consolidated into what I think are the most notable non-bug related items (from hundreds of hundreds of changes):

– Added Route Me Anywhere
– Added Back to Start Routing, Reverse Routing
– Added Turn by Turn Navigation
– Added ability to sync routes via Bluetooth (previously just WiFi)
– Added support for GPX, TCX, and FIT routes from USB (plus wirelessly)
– Added Komoot, BestBikeSplit, Strava Live Segment integrations
– Added about 100 new data fields
– Added a bunch of languages (Thai, French, Dutch, German, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese)
– Added ability to mix unit types (i.e. miles with meters)
– Added sync partners like Dropbox and SportTracks.mobi
– Sensor pages can now show actual sensor firmware versions
– Increased from 9 data fields to 11 data fields per page
– Text/E-mail notifications can now be read full-screen

And of course, I’m being picky in what I’m selecting from the massive list I linked to above.  Just scrolling through that all is pretty mind-boggling.  Certainly, many items are bug fixes or making things better, but a lot are just 1% type changes/enhancements that if they impact you – it might be a big deal for you.

In any case, I’ve consolidated much of this review and the basics into a single semi-cohesive video, which you can view here:

With that – let’s dive into the full in-depth review below.

Unboxing:

To get started, let’s look at what’s in the box.  Which of course starts by looking at the box itself.

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First up the unit will slide out from its little window, where you’ll simply pop it out of the hole.

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Under the plastic cover are all the accessories.

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The accessories include the following:

– Out-front bike mount
– Handlebar bike mount
– Micro-USB charging cable
– Some paper stuff
– Zip ties for handlebar mount

Here’s a mini-gallery of these items:

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And then, of course, there’s the BOLT itself.

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Note that the below video not only includes the unboxing, but also a detailed size and weight comparison of the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT, as well as virtually every other competing bike computer out there.

With that, let’s dive into the basics of using the unit.

The Basics:

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To get started with the ELEMNT, it’s almost appropriate to look at the out-front mount that’s included with it.  This mount is unique in that it’s one of the first (if only?) mounts out there designed to be aerodynamic when the unit is connected to it.  Most mounts are designed around a specific connector type (i.e. those from K-Edge or Barfly), and while a given mount may be slightly more aerodynamic than the next, in many ways it’s the bike computer that’s hindering the whole situation aerodynamically.

In Wahoo’s case, they built what they’re claiming is the most aerodynamic bike mount/computer combo on the market (a claim I’m interested in validating…soonish.)  That’s because once the BOLT snaps into the mount, it makes any sharp edge disappear from view.

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What’s even more interesting is that on the BOLT mount there’s a small screw.  This screw is there in the event you want to screw your BOLT into the bike mount semi-permanently.  By enabling this, Wahoo’s sponsored pro teams (such as Team Sky) could include the unit during bike weigh-ins (applicable at UCI sanctioned events such as the Tour de France), as opposed to having to remove the unit for the weigh-in.  Since the goal of most weigh-ins is to meet the minimum weight threshold, this enables them to do so without ‘adding’ weight afterwards (installing a bike computer after the weigh-in).  While Team Sky hasn’t yet committed to the BOLT for 2017, it’s certainly a factor they’re looking at.

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With everything…umm…bolted on…let’s talk basics.  First up is the unit itself, which has a single button on the left side, two on the right side (up/down), and three along the base of it.  The left button is used for power and accessing the settings.  The right buttons are used for going up/down menus, and increasing/decreasing data fields.  And the lower buttons allow changing of data pages and confirmations within various prompts.

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Diving very briefly into the settings menu, this is where you can pair sensors, as well as configure things like the backlight or whether you’re indoors or outdoors.  But I’m going to dive more into sensors in a dedicated section below.

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What’s notable about the BOLT though is that virtually everything can be configured via the Wahoo ELEMNT companion phone app.  In fact, that app is basically required to make the ELEMNT BOLT work.  It does make things super-quick to configure though.

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Back briefly on the BOLT, one thing to understand is how data pages work.  On the BOLT you’ve got a number of core data pages that you can iterate through by pressing the ‘Page’ button in the lower right.  These include a map/routing page, a data fields page, a climbing page, lap page, Strava Segments page, and any custom pages.

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Within the data fields page, the number of fields and specific fields that you’ve displayed will vary.  Specifically, they’re ordered based on your prioritization, which allows you to increase/decrease the number of fields shown by just pressing the up/down buttons.  You can thus display a single data field, or nine data fields (all on a single page), and it’ll just remove those that are less important to you.

Don’t fret though – you can still create secondary data pages and customize those too.  All that’s done within the ELEMNT Companion App I mentioned earlier.

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Here’s a look at some quick customization:

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Back on the unit itself, when you’re ready to ride you simply hit the start button and it’ll start recording as you’d expect.  It’ll show your data in real-time, and then allow you to increase/decrease data fields as you see fit in real-time. Same goes for changing data pages.  Basically, everything you’d expect from a bike computer.

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All of this from a basics standpoint works just fine and dandy – no issues here.  Don’t worry, I’ll dive into features like mapping/navigation, Strava Live Segments, sensors, and so on in separate sections below.

Along the top of the BOLT are a series of LED lights that can be utilized to present additional information.  In the original ELEMNT, there was also a side LED column, but that’s gone to save space in the BOLT.  You can see these LED’s illuminated partially below:

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These LED’s are generally used for navigational information, but can also display speed, power, or HR zones.  Your zones can be configured on the profile tab.  Further, they’ll display data around notifications being received.

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Speaking of notifications, during the ride you’ll see notifications from texts display on the screen (if you’ve configured as such).  You can even configure a temporary ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, should you be in the middle of something important (like an interval).

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Once completed with a ride, it’ll sync to the app where you can dive into it in more detail.  There’s a boatload of charts to choose from.

However, what’s more important is that it’ll sync automatically to any number of sites that you’ve configured in the accounts tab.  These include sites like TrainingPeaks, Strava, and so on.  It’ll do this via WiFi and Bluetooth Smart.

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You can also just plug-in the BOLT using micro-USB and grab the .FIT file directly.  That’s a pretty common file type standard that most devices use these days for recording fitness data.

Last but not least, the app has settings for things like the backlight timeout (note: the backlight is significantly brighter on the BOLT than the original ELEMNT), as well as auto pause or automatic power off settings.

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Oh – and you can even send out a Live Tracking link.  But that’s probably the worst feature of the BOLT.  Like the ELEMNT it’s little more than a single dot of where you are.  No track history, no sensor data, no elevation.  Nothing.  Just a lonely green dot on the side of a mountain.

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So sad.

However, turn that frown upside-down, because Wahoo does have some group tracking of sorts.  You can, on the units themselves, at least track other people while they’re out riding. For example during a solo ride last week I unknowingly passed Jose, as seen below on the unit.

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This type of functionality can be useful in group ride situations for tracking other riders, as well as in cases where you want to try and meet up with a group ride and are waiting for incoming riders before heading out.

One quick note about battery life – the unit is spec’d at 15 hours, and I’d say it’s right on target of that.  On a 7hr 31min ride (where GPS was left on the entire time, with ANT+ sensors and mapping and no auto-pause), the unit came back at 49% battery remaining.  It started at ~95%.

With those basics out of the way, let’s dive further into all the nuances of those other features.

Trainer Control:

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Given Wahoo is a trainer company as well, it’s of no surprise that the unit is able to control your trainer.  And as I’ve said in the past, nobody does trainer control from a head unit better than Wahoo.

The BOLT includes a number of different trainer control modes, allowing you to skip use of 3rd party software to control your KICKR/KICKR SNAP if you want – in lieu of having the BOLT directly control your trainer.

Within that, there are different 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 BOLT  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.

Doing so on the BOLT is simple.  On your resistance page, you’ll use the middle button to shift between the three digits of wattage (i.e. 000w or 320w) – thus the hundreds, tens, and ones.  Then you use the up/down to change wattage.

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This makes it quick and easy to change wattage – be it a small amount (i.e. 5w during an interval) or a big amount (i.e. 300w from work to recovery).  And that’s really critical.

So how is this different than the Garmin Edge?  Well, it depends on which Edge unit you have.  For example, with the Edge 820 and 1000, they both have touch screens, so changing the resistance level, à la ERG mode, has a suck level of 4 (on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the worst rating).  Whereas with the Edge 520 you lack a touch-screen, so changing resistance levels has a suck factor of 5.  The problem is simply that there are far too many button/screen presses on the Garmin devices for ERG mode.

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When it comes to the other modes (such as re-riding a route), they’re largely equal.  Note that Wahoo does have the ‘Passive’ mode for trainers, that Garmin lacks.  But honestly, I think that’s a pretty slim edge case, since most people can simply ‘fake’ that exact same thing by pairing the power meter side of any trainer out there (any trainer that supports FE-C, certainly supports broadcasting of power).  Where the ‘Passive’ function is useful however is just minimizing the number of sensors paired.  So there’s something to be said for that.

Sensors & Data:

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When the ELEMNT was first introduced, one of the biggest strengths was its sensor support – which covered both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors.  And the same is true of the ELEMNT BOLT.  It retains all of that support, creating a clear differentiator against the Garmin Edge lineup, which still maintains ANT+ compatibility only.

The BOLT supports the following types of sensors:

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)
Wahoo KICKR/KICKR SNAP Trainers

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)

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.  For example, if you have a Wahoo trainer, then you won’t care that it doesn’t support FE-C yet.  Whereas if you have a Tacx trainer, then you very much might care.  Or you still might not care if you only use Zwift to control your trainer.

Wahoo notes that they do plan FE-C support for this upcoming Fall (Fall 2017), but I’d note that they said that last year too…and that never happened.

As for action cam integration, Wahoo is backing away from the previously discussed GoPro control.  Some of that seems to be blaming GoPro for their funky software implementation (a message I’ve heard echoed from other companies that have investigated the same thing).

With all that out of the way, let’s talk about pairing.  With the BOLT you’ll go into the settings menu and immediately see the sensors listed below.  You can see the signal strength (and thus status) of the sensor right on the display.

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You can select a given sensor to get more information about it. For example, on a power meter, you can select to calibrate it, or even see the left/right sensor status for a unit like the PowerTap P1.

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Towards the bottom is the ability to add new sensors.  This will search for the nearest sensor first and offer the ability to confirm/pair it:

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Alternatively, you can go into the list of sensors nearby and add/select them manually.  They are sorted first by sensor type, and then if multiple sensors exist nearby, it’ll show you the individual sensors.

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Like most units on the market, you can assign names to the sensors.  However, unlike most units, you can do so via your phone with the ELEMNT companion app.  This makes giving sensor names a boatload easier.  Also – you can pair from this same menu too, if you have unpaired sensors nearby:

As noted above, probably the most critical difference in terms of sensors here between the Wahoo ELEMNT and the Garmin Edges units is the ability to utilize Bluetooth Smart sensors.  Garmin only permits ANT+ sensors, except on their newest Fenix 5 series, which can also connect to Bluetooth Smart sensors (Running Footpods, HR Straps, Cycling Speed/Cadence sensors, and Power Meters)

In the grand scheme of cycling, there are only a handful of cycling-specific devices that are Bluetooth Smart only (the mostly defunct Polar Bluetooth Power Meter 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.

In terms of things I want to see ‘changed’, I’d put two requests at both company’s doors: I want to see the Edge series support Bluetooth Smart sensors (if technically capable on existing hardware, which I think it may be), and on the Wahoo side I want to see them move up the FE-C support.  Given Wahoo’s trainer control implementation is just soooooo much better than Garmin’s from a usability standpoint, I’d love to see that happen sooner rather than later.

Note: For those curious, I’ve used the following sensors with the BOLT over the past month or so: Wahoo KICKR2, PowerTap P1 pedals, Power2Max NG, Garmin HRM-TRI, Scosche Rhythm+, Garmin Fenix 5 Optical Sensor Rebroadcast, Wahoo RPM, TACX NEO (Power/Speed/Cadence), Wahoo TICKR, Quarq DZero, and probably a few more I’m forgetting.  I saw no issues with any of them as far as I can remember.

Update – Feb 2nd, 2018: Note that there are reports of issues with ROTOR and Favero power meters (Assioma and bePro) and certain total/average power meter metrics displaying correctly on the unit itself.  This doesn’t impact the underlying recorded data, but rather the summary and average fields, including TSS/IF/NP.  Wahoo says they’re hoping to have a fix out in the coming weeks.

Mapping & Navigation:

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When the Wahoo ELEMNT first rolled out last year, the navigation was a bit…limited.  Basically, they provided the equivalent of breadcrumb trail mapping.  Albeit, overlaid onto a global street map.  So it was one notch above the Garmin Edge 520 (default config), and about equal to a Garmin Edge 520 where you manually added some 3rd party maps (slight differences on both sides).

But then about 3 months later last June they added legit turn by turn navigation to the ELEMNT, which carries through to the BOLT.  In this case, it’d let you know of upcoming turns on each street as you approached it, and would allow you to view cue sheets accordingly.  And that’s basically where we are today with the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT.

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First, let’s backup though and talk about how you get routes onto the device itself.  For the most part, you’re going to leverage four key methods: Strava Routes, RideWithGPS, BestBikeSplit, or Komoot.

When you configure those accounts within the BOLT, it’ll automatically sync the routes via WiFi or Bluetooth Smart from your saved routes to your device.  You can see these routes in either my Strava or RideWithGPS accounts. Note that the Strava routes won’t give you proper turn by turn, whereas RideWithGPS routes will.

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Note that previously you had to have a WiFi connection to sync routes, but now that’s no longer required.  You’ll see these routes displayed within the routes page on your BOLT.  Next, we’ll select a route to begin navigation on.  By default, after selecting, you’ll see the distance remaining and the cue sheet for your turns.

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However, by pressing the back button you’ll get to the normal navigation page that shows you the map along with the distance until your next turn.  You can also configure the data displayed at the top of the page as well:

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As you approach a turn, it’ll notify you of that turn and the direction of travel.

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All this works well.  On my 84 mile route last week, it happily notified me of approximately 68,128 turns.  Seriously, so many tiny roads.  It works great for the most part.

I say ‘most part’, because I did feel at times it was a bit last second on some turns (whereas most times it notified well in advance properly).  Also, in cases of traffic circles, while it does have the specific exit to take (i.e. 2nd exit), it can be hard to read on the smaller screen (and I have what the doctor would describe as “exceptionally good” eyesight).

In the example below – can you tell whether it’s the 1st or 2nd exit in that circle to take?

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The only downside to the Wahoo turn by turn implementation is the inability for it to ‘recover’ from a wrong turn.  Basically, it doesn’t know how to re-route you.  That’s because technically speaking Strava or RideWithGPS has done that routing.  If you get off course, the BOLT isn’t going to help you much, aside from letting you point your way back to the route.  This isn’t a horrible thing, as sometimes it’s just quicker for you to figure it out yourself in a few seconds.  But if you royally miss a turn (and don’t realize it for a long time), being able to re-route is handy.

Also – because the BOLT isn’t storing data like addresses or points of interest, it can’t do any of that routing without a phone.  Meaning that on a Garmin Edge 820/1000, for example, you can enter in an address to route to (with no phone nearby) and it’ll get you there.  You can do the same on the BOLT, but it has to be done from your phone with data services.  So if you’re touring in a foreign country, you’re going to need a smartphone data plan for any mid-day re-routes.

Finally, there’s another newish feature on the BOLT which is the ability to use your phone to navigate point to point.  This is great if you don’t have a pre-created route, and just want to route somewhere really important: Like a nearby ice cream shop.  To do this you’ll crack open your phone and use the routing page:

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Then you just send it to the ELEMNT BOLT and off you go on this route using the BOLT.  It’s pretty darn cool, and reminds me a lot of what we saw Lezyne do last year.  The reason I prefer this over doing it manually on the device (such as on an Edge 1000 series) is that often times Google/etc searches for places are simply more up to date.  Plus, it’s usually easier to filter through results on your phone than on the head unit.

Having the ability to do it on the head unit certainly has its place – but if I had to pick one flavor, it’d be via phone and then sent to the BOLT.  Note that you can also create a route from past rides, as well as create a route by opening a GPX/TCX file with the ELEMNT app (such as e-mailing it to yourself).

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One area that both companies still seem to totally miss is the ability to easily create a route on my phone by just tapping a series of points on the map and then sending it to the bike computer (Wahoo only allows navigation to a single point from the phone app, Garmin none at all).  To me when I’m exploring new areas, this is how I create routes quickly.  I use EasyRoute (a free app), but getting that to devices is tricky.  On the bright side, last year Wahoo ‘acquihired’ the developer behind EasyRoute, and it sounds like we may see that functionality incorporated into the lineup, which would be sweet.

Strava & 3rd Party apps:

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When it comes to 3rd party apps on the device itself, for the most part that’s limited to Strava and BestBikeSplit.  Wahoo doesn’t have an open app platform like Garmin does with Connect IQ.  Instead, they prefer to pick specific partners and then build a single cohesive experience in a first party kinda way.  And in many ways, that’s worked out well for them, specifically when it comes to Strava.

Strava integration with the BOLT is fantastic, just like it was with the original ELEMNT when they introduced it last summer.  To get the BOLT working with Strava for Live Segments (which shows your status against competitor leaderboards), you’ll need to ensure you’ve got a Strava Premium account, as well as have that account all setup within the ELEMNT companion app.  Further, you’ll want to double-check that your Strava Live Segments options are how you like them.

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Next, on the BOLT you can go into the dedicated Strava page, which will show your ‘Starred’ segments around you.  This is a bit different than Garmin, which will not only show starred segments, but also popular segments in your riding area.  So in that sense, Garmin’s implementation is easier if you don’t know what’s cool around you.  But that’s kinda where things win for the Garmin camp.  Note that you can check your starred segment list on the Strava site (Dashboard > My Segments).

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Once that’s all set and good, you’ll sync your BOLT using either WiFi or Bluetooth Smart. Either will work for this purpose.  Then you’ll head on outside and find a segment.  As you get within range of a segment it’ll appear along the bottom – displaying your distance until the segment begins:

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As you cross the line, it’ll show a big-ass ‘GO!’ prompt at the bottom of the BOLT.

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At this point it begins showing you how far ahead or behind you are, as well as your distance remaining and end time.

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You’ll notice it’ll display either your PR or the KOM on the page, which you can quickly toggle back and forth using the ‘VS’ button in the middle.

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Once done it’ll give you a summary, including whether any KOM’s or PR’s were hit.  In my case, none today.  What’s cool though is that the BOLT (like the original ELEMNT) can concurrently handle multiple segments, which is something that Garmin is unable to do.  So if you’ve triggered multiple segments that overlap (common in many places), you can just tap the ‘SGMNT’ button in the lower left to toggle between them.

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Note that at any time you can change to other data pages by pressing the ‘Page’ button.  Additionally, you’ll also get any routing/mapping information displayed on the Strava page as well along the bottom – should it occur.

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Again – all of this works pretty darn well.  Like when I tested it last summer, the only thing I really wish the BOLT did was allow me to toggle against not just PR/KOM, but also people I follow (friend’s PR’s).  In many ways, that’s who I’m most interested in beating – which is a function that Garmin does allow.

Product Comparison:

I’ve added the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT into the product comparison database, which you’ll find below.  But what if you want the quick and dirty version?  Well, here’s some things to consider:

If you care about: Easy to use routing from existing services like Strava and RideWithGPS, dual ANT+/BLE sensor support, BestBikeSplit integration, and the best Strava/trainer integration: Then the BOLT might be your answer.  When it comes to the basics – for the most part, these days, Garmin and Wahoo have all those down pat and are both equal.  It’s nuances like these (on both sides) that separate them.  Wahoo’s Strava Live Segment integration is easily the best I’ve tried, and their trainer control of their own trainers is awesome.  They have dual ANT+/BLE sensor support, which Garmin lacks, and Garmin also lacks being able to easily get Strava and RideWithGPS routes onto their device.  I haven’t heard of any plans from Garmin to rectify any of these items.  Though, keep in mind Garmin does have Connect IQ – which means that they have far more apps out there than Wahoo does (since Wahoo has no app platform).

If you care about: Structured workout support, FE-C trainer control, Live Tracking, or Action Cam Control: Then the BOLT probably isn’t for you.  Wahoo doesn’t have any of these features today, and while some are on the horizon, none are near-term.  For example, the Garmin series can download structured workouts you create easily, and then the unit will guide you through them.  Wahoo does have some support via BestBikeSplit for some cool integration there – but that’s really only useful if you utilize that service.  On the other points, the Live Tracking is dismal on Wahoo, and the action cam control doesn’t seem like it’s in any cards (realistically).  FE-C trainer control we should see this fall, which is when Wahoo says we might also see structured workout support.  But on both of those – I’ll believe it when I see it.  Also – if you tend to do more re-routing/re-navigation mid-ride without a phone, then the BOLT probably isn’t for you either (i.e. touring in a foreign country without data coverage).  That’s because it doesn’t have any sort of POI/address/routing database on it.

Again – there are a crapton more nuances than those.  But if I had 30 seconds to explain to someone the core differences, up above is really the gist of it.  Beyond that, you get into many of the details outlined in the below tables.  For the purposes of comparison, I’ve added the Wahoo ELEMNT, ELEMNT BOLT, Edge 520, and Edge 820.  I think those are realistically the units people are most comparing these days.  But fear not, you can use the product comparison tool to compare other units here.

Function/FeatureWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated December 2nd, 2020 @ 4:59 pm New Window
Price$229$329$399$229
Product Announcement DateMar 14th, 2017Sept 15th, 2015July 13th, 2016July 1st, 2015
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMar 14th, 2017March 1st, 2016Mid-July 2016July 31st, 2015
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferBluetooth Smart, WiFi, USBBluetooth Smart, WiFi, USBUSB, Bluetooth, WiFiUSB & Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingIPX7IPX7IPX7IPX7
Battery Life (GPS)15 hours17 Hours15 hours15 hours
Recording Interval1-second1-Second1-Second or Smart1-Second or Smart
Quick Satellite ReceptionYesYesYesYes
AlertsAUDIO/VISUAL + LED'sSound/Visual/LED'sSound/VisualAudio/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)N/AN/ANoNo
MusicWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Can control phone musicNoNoNoNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNoNo
Streaming ServicesNo
PaymentsWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNo
ConnectivityWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYesYesYes
Group trackingYesYesYesNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoYesYes
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYesYEsYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesYesYesYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYesYesYesYes
Crash detectionNoNoYesYes
RunningWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Designed for runningN/ANoNoN/A
VO2Max EstimationN/AN/A(Cycling Yes though)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)
Recovery AdvisorN/AN/A(Cycling Yes Though)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)
TriathlonWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Designed for triathlonN/ANoNoN/A
WorkoutsWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureNoNoYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoSortaYesYes
FunctionsWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoYesYes
Day to day watch abilityShows time/dateNoNoN/A
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataN/AN/ANoN/A
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)N/AN/ANoN/A
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)N/AN/ANoN/A
GeocachingN/AN/ANoN/A
Weather Display (live data)NoNoYesYes
NavigateWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)YesYesYesYes for maps (but not routable)
Back to startYesYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNo (But can create one-way routes from phone app)NO (BUT CAN CREATE ONE-WAY ROUTES FROM PHONE APP)YesNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesYesYes
SensorsWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeMagneticMagneticGPSGPS
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYEsYEs
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)YesYesYesYes
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoYesYes
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoYesNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)YesYesWith appsWith apps
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)YesYesYesYes
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYesYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableYEsNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYesYesNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesYesYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNo
SoftwareWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
PC ApplicationN/AN/AGarmin Express (PC/Mac)Garmin Express
Web ApplicationN/AN/AGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows PHoneiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNo
PurchaseWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
AmazonLinkLinkLinkLink
Backcountry.comLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLink
Competitive CyclistLinkLink
WiggleLinkLink
DCRainmakerWahoo ELEMNT BOLTWahoo ELEMNTGarmin Edge 820Garmin Edge 520
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

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

Summary:

DCIM\101GOPRO\GOPR5582.JPG

A year later, and things are dramatically different for the BOLT than the original ELEMNT.  As I said back then, one of the biggest challenges for me with the original ELEMNT was the size compared to my mainstay of a smaller Edge 520 (and now including the Edge 820).  However, with the BOLT that’s no longer an issue.  The same goes for many other nuances that kept me from using the Wahoo bike computers as my day to day unit.

But with the BOLT, I see it as incredibly likely that I might make the switch. And when I say ‘switch’, I mean to having four concurrent BOLT’s running on my bike concurrently.  There are some minor nuances that I have when it comes to doing product reviews (such as power meter or trainer reviews where I validate data across 3-4 power meters at once) that make my workflow easier on Garmin devices, but ironically some of these same tiny quirks are blockers for Team Sky as well. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see them taken care of…soon.  Plus, I love that the BOLT can sync to Dropbox, an annoyance that Garmin can’t do natively.  That’s a huge help for me in consolidating data quickly post-ride.  But again – I’m an oddity here on some of my requirements.

When I was out riding in Mallorca last week and not having to worry about comparing piles of multiple power meter data streams or numerous heart rate sensor data streams, the BOLT worked fantastically well.  I had zero issues in routing or data display. It’s really just such a nice little package that works so well – and all cheaper than an Edge 520.  Plus, I love how easy it is to stick a point on a map via the phone and have it route.  The same goes for using RideWithGPS to get turn by turn routes onto the unit.  All major benefits if you use those services.

So job well done Wahoo – you’ve managed to do what is far more difficult than most people realize: Making a really good bike computer that consumers will crave and love.  It’s been a long journey from the original Wahoo iPhone Bike case to the RFLKT then the RFLKT+, then the original ELEMNT, and now finally the BOLT.  But you’ve arrived.

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 BOLT 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!

Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:

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. It's a solid option that I often use in comparison testing.

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 BOLT 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!

Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:

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. It's a solid option that I often use in comparison testing.

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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1,505 Comments

  1. Tim Burley

    Brilliant, thanks for teeing this up and pushing it out so hot on the heels of the launch, I think I’ve just found my replacement having finally given up the Lezyne GPs (Y9) that promised lots but drove me nuts.

  2. Nathan

    Would be good to see a side by side with a 520 and the original ELEMNT, similar to the way you do with watches.

  3. JUAN

    Great review. Inside I can imagine it is the same as its big brother ELEMNT, isn´t it?.
    So any update wil be for both.
    Thanks.

    • Correct (as far as we know, and as far as everything I’ve heard officially or unofficially).

    • GH0STP1X3L

      Great review as always.

      Just to clarify, are you saying that the BOLT and the 1st gen ELEMNT use the same processor? Obviously, the displays are different and perhaps there is a different graphics chip.

  4. Garry Curley

    This looks legitimately awesome!

    So many great features.

  5. Graham R

    A while ago there was a change that (i think?) removed the ability for a lot of 3rd party devices to upload to Garmin Connect – I think the elemnt was impacted… has this been resolved? Some of my iOS apps have since brought the feature back (iSmoothRun for example)

    • James

      Garmin doesn’t seem to be on the list for linked accounts in the phone app (at least based on the review shots) so it seems like it’s not back (I may be wrong though).

    • Nathan

      I still can’t upload to Garmin Connect through the Wahoo Fitness app, which I used to be able to do, so I doubt it.

    • Graham R

      Yep that’s what I was thinking. The share sheet of the element app on the store shows connect, but the release notes of the over wahoo app say it was removed.
      If this works on the bolt I will be all over it!

    • TC

      What about using Tapiriik? For a small annual charge it syncs just about anything to anything. Should be able to do Dropbox to Garnim Connect.

    • T Mueller

      While I was extremely happy to dump my 820 for an ELEMNT, at least for now I do like my data in Garmin Connect. (That being said, it’s buggyness is making me grow less tolerant.)

      The way I set it up:
      I have a Dropbox account (actually only for this).
      Setup the E app to push the .fit file to that (and Strava) at the end of a ride.
      Have the Dropbox app on my iOS devices.
      Setup a ‘iOS desktop’ Safari shortcut directly to the GC Import screen.
      Then I can open that, browse directly to Dropbox for the .fit file, it will ‘download’, then I can hit the import button.
      It’s actually easier to do on an iOS than a PC desktop.
      It’s not 100% automatic, but very easy.

    • CraigB

      That was my question re sending to Garmin Connect at the end of a ride too.

      I used to use iSmoothRun for years for both running and cycling until I finally got round to buying a Fenix 3 (as I mainly run) and continued to use my phone to record rides (but auto exporting to both Garmin and Strava after). I like things to be automated so that I don’t have to do anything (ie after a run the Fenix 3 syncs with my phone and data appears within both Garmin Connect and Stava within a minute or less) so if this unit can auto export/share to Garmin Connect then I may pick up one of these over the Garmin 520 (which I was thinking of getting as my first proper headunit – I’ve been using the Wahoo RFLKT+ with my phone up to now).

    • Patrick Young

      Is there a 3rd party upload that is similar to Garmin Connect?

    • Thomas Esbensen

      I too like my data in Garmin Connect (and SportTracks 3 PC-app).
      I can grab a .FIT-file from the Bolt and import it in GC.
      However, when I shall view that activity, Garmin webpage fails and Garmin android app show no map.
      Import in SportTracks 3 PC-app does not work.
      Working with the file in GPSBABEL does not work.
      Are your -FIT-files compatible with Garmin Connect?

    • Wahoo Murray

      The root cause of the issue is likely that BOLT uses FIT 2.0, I have no idea why the manual import on GC doesn’t work for FIT 2.0 since all there devices support it. The best thing to do is reach out to the developers of SportTracks and GPSBABEL, it should be a pretty simple update for them to handle FIT 2.0 files. I have a contact at SportTracks and can send them a email.

    • Thomas Esbensen

      Thanks for the reply Wahoo Murray

      SportTracks is not that willing to help with improvements to the ST3 version. I paid for this version and like the offline tool, so I don’t like that I need to pay for the ST.mobi only to import fit files for offline usage. There reply is:

      ================
      Hi there.

      It’s possible the new FIT file not supported by the ST3 version. The updated software online should support this.

      We don’t have plans to have any new releases of the ST3 software at this point.

      -Team SportTracks-
      ================

      I hope that you will try contact SportTracks. Maybe it can help, if you explain that the solution is simple…

    • I’ll be honest here – this isn’t Wahoo’s fault, this is 100% on Sport Tracks. And in fact, they already implemented it online as noted (meaning, they’re capable of doing it for the desktop client).

      The new FIT 2.0 file standard came out well over a year ago now, and everyone else now for the most part properly supports it. It’s this standard that allows additional data to be recorded into the files, including new sensor types and custom data.

    • Thomas Esbensen

      Thanks for the comment Ray

      I learned that I shall not blame Wahoo for exploiting a new standard (without knowing if they comply to it properly). Instead, I think that Garmin need to support FIT v2 in Garmin Connect, and I hope that SportTracks will update their PC application.

    • Garmin actually supports it as well (they were the first to). It’s used in all Edge products now, the Fenix 5, Fenix 3/3HR, FR735XT and just about anything else that supports Connect IQ.

      Now…the better question is what’s causing the failure on uploads to GC from Wahoo. It wasn’t broken as of about a month ago, and then it broke. It’s not super clear to me if it was a Wahoo-breaking thing, or a Garmin breaking thing. Obviously, someone broke something. I just don’t know who.

    • Thomas Esbensen

      @Ray: Sure. I have sent Garmin my FIT-files asking if they have a compatibility issue.
      @Eli: I have posted my idea. Unfortunately, I don’t expect an action from Sport Tracks as they are not willing to update the ST3. Reference: link to sporttracks.uservoice.com
      I am just a little fish…

    • Wahoo Murray

      Ray, we only switched to FIT 2.0 last big update (Strava rolled out full support last month). Its my understanding that FIT 2.0 upload doesn’t work when manually uploading files to GC, we tied FIT 2.0 from their own devices and it failed as well. Maybe its not exactly FIT 2.0 and just some other issue. We would love to get it resolved.

    • Strava’s supported parsing of the files since approximately 3PM Pacific Time on August 31st, 2016 (about a year ago). I only know this because I was somehow the first person to actually notice that the FIT2 developer fields were breaking Strava uploads when rolled out on a Garmin beta update I got (I’ll ignore the fact that somehow nobody at Garmin noticed this in months of testing). And because I happen to have an e-mail from the Strava crew when the fix was implemented – Outlook for the win! 😉 Now, as for more full-scale support, perhaps they changed something last month too.

      As for GC, it’s long been using FIT2 uploads. So my guess is that’s not the issue, but rather something else in the file causing issues.

      Garmin does have a history of occasionally ‘breaking’ 3rd party compatibility (as you know, being on the receiving end of it). Whether that’s purposeful this time, or who’s fault it is, I’m not sure. There was times were Timex .FIT files failed because Garmin didn’t follow the spec correctly. Thus some companies have simply worked to figure out where the oddities are so that uploads work.

      Obviously they don’t really have any interest in making it easier for companies like Wahoo to leverage their platform (despite it being an obviously good thing for them….). Which may in turn delay getting it figured out as to what’s causing the breakage. 🙁

      (And just in case it’s not clear to folks, I’ve long been trying to convince Garmin to open their Garmin Connect platform up. It’s a stupid business decision not to. Eventually they’ll get it.)

    • Thomas Esbensen

      Thanks Ray

      Can anyone tell if the Wahoo-GC compatibility issue is caused by Wahoo changing their file format or Garmin changes their GN import function? It is mentioned that it wasn’t broken as of about a month ago, and then it broke. So, if someone can try import a FIT-file from a Wahoo Bolt unit created more than one month ago and see if it imports properly into GN, then we have a clue….

    • Wahoo Murray

      Interesting, we had to delay our FIT 2.0 release to wait for Strava to switch over to a new FIT parsing, they had a roll-your-own parser for a while, maybe it was compatible enough for your Garmin uploads. Anyway, that’s mute now.

      Interesting that you haven’t had trouble with manual uploads of FIT2.0, we have with files from Garmin devices, I will reach out privately and maybe you can help us resolve the issue. Like you said, it can be hard with conflicting interests.

    • Wahoo Murray

      I would also like to note that we use the official FIT SDK to write out FIT files, so no reason they shouldn’t be compatible?

    • I picked an old BOLT .FIT file from March, and that still uploads to GC just fine. I then picked two from July 17th, and both failed. Interestingly, I then picked one from July 30th or so, using the ELEMNT MINI’s App, and that actually works. And one from yesterday on the BOLT fails. All of these were .FIT files via Dropbox and then manually uploaded to GC using the website.

      I’d agree there’s no logical reason it shouldn’t work, but usually nuance of something odd is why they don’t work. I’ll catch-up with Murray some more and see if between us we can figure out some aspect of the pattern.

    • Mr. Brown

      Done at ST site.
      Question, I am simple: speed, distance, HR etc. I will be able to Load to Strava then export as .gpx and load into SportTracks correct?

    • Thomas Esbensen

      You can export an activity as a .GPX-file within Strava to (somehow) get around the .FIT-file. I just did do so and imported it into Garmin Connect. It maintained “basic” data items but lost power data and average values considering when the activity was paused. Not recommended.

      Hope that Ray and Murray can contribute to a better solution, although ST3 seems to be a dead end if ignoring ST.mobi.

    • Barry D

      Just want to say thank you for trying to figure things out and letting everyone know what you can right now.

    • Jose Barrios

      Is the issue with sending data to Garmin Connect solved?
      If not, what is the process?

    • Philippe

      Nope, still kaput. And it doesn’t look like Garmin will fix this any time soon, since it’s broken for so long now. Mid August I think.

  6. Alexander

    BOLT isn’t exactly in line with Wahoos typical product naming, but I suspect that the Wahoo BLT would have been a bit misleading.

    Anyway. Can you reroute to a specific location mid-life?

  7. David E.

    Great review. The new mount is super cool, but unless I’m missing something, unusable for any triathlete using a between-the-arms hydration system, right? This seems odd. If any crowd is going to be attracted to a more aero bike computer, it seems likely to be the tri crowd. . .

    • That was my thought too actually. I can’t tell if it detaches or not. Perhaps Ray can chime in on that? Would be unusable for me, personally, for this reason. But the rest of it looks… very impressive. A clear shot across the bow for Garmin to take note of. I have a feeling a lot of people looking to upgrade will happily take a close look at this one.

    • It depends on the BTA you use… I wouldn’t have any issue to use it with my Profile Design FC35. But I know this is not the most common BTA.

    • Peter

      The lug appears to be the same as the ELEMNT, so any mount suitable for the ELEMNT should suit the BOLT.

    • Geoff

      Agreed, re: BTA mount. It seems like an obvious hole and triathletes would love it; I’m hoping they have one in the works? Sure you could use the ELEMNT mount because of the connection, but the way the backside of the BOLT is designed it won’t be as seamless as the engineered out-of-the-box solution on the BOLT’s packaged mount.

      Ray, maybe you’ve heard something about optional mounts being offered? As always, thanks for the great review!

  8. Nedim

    Good review!

    I am somewhat unhappy with my Garmin Edge 820 (that darn touchscreen, why did I go for touchscreen; plus a dead pixel on the screen that bugs me on top of it). If WAHOO comes up with a full color version, I think that would be the one to have. I just prefer color vs B/W.

    Ray, one correction: “you can still crease secondary data pages” -> “create”?

  9. Michael Schreuder

    Thanks for the review. Are there any plans to make a better live track or integrate with Strava Beacon?

    • I know Garmin has an exclusive on that for some period of time. I can’t remember it if ended Jan 1st, 2017, or if it was sometime next year.

    • James

      Recently saw that on Strava iOS feed that they were pimping that Beacon could be used with my Garmin device. At the moment I Bluetooth connect 810 to Garmin Connect iOS, and “Start Live Track”.

      I am not sure what Strava Beacon offers that Garmin Live Track doesn’t?

    • Michael Schreuder

      I use the garmin live track all the time, but I would like to switch to the Elment, which has crappy live track. So if it worked with Breacon, that would help.

  10. Kyle

    Ray,
    Just a heads up…..You didnt include the Bolt in the comparison charts.

  11. Matthew Kime

    I made the jump to Elemnt last summer. Overall I’m VERY happy with it. The continuous software updates are wonderful

  12. Bud Hammerton

    I read the review twice and missed what and how Di2 information is displayed.

  13. Mark Hewitt

    Good to read all the reviews that are out while Wahoo are still promoting the big upcoming announcement of a mystery product – that everyone already knows what it is.

  14. Ian

    Ray, did you break embargo? Is this supposed to be Wahoos noon announcement?

    • Ian

      actually I see they have it up too, so i guess I jumped the gun.

    • Mark Hewitt

      They had it up on the site, then took it down and have now put it back up again. I think they messed up this one.

    • we had a few streams break so just decided to go early.

    • The embargo as 9AM US EST. I had it setup for 3PM CET. Which was great…until about 2:15PM CET while sitting on a chairlift I got a text from someone asking why the review was missing (they knew it was set for embargo lift time).

      @!#$@#%#

      Forgot the US did their timezone changeroo this past weekend, so now only 5 hours behind me.

      Sigh. Spent the next 35 minutes on the chairlifts in between runs trying to fix all the various things that were set to automatically trigger (Site post, YouTube, Facebook, database entries, etc…). Kinda a mess. But all good now.

  15. Kelly B

    This looks great. I wish Wahoo would come out with an equally awesome running watch so I could walk away from Garmin completely and still be with on vendor for both running and cycling.

    • Marklemcd

      This is my hope as well. I’m sick of my 500 dollar Garmin watch constantly losing bluetooth connection to my Pixel phone.

    • Tim Niedorfer

      I saw this on their twitter feed a while back. Very promising. They didn’t deny it which says a lot.

      I’m trying to post the link to the tweet but the spam filter won’t let me.
      3rd August 2016
      “@mjulianb There has been some research on our end regarding a watch. You will need to stay tuned.”

    • The Real Bob

      This.

      Wahoo if your listening, this is what needs to happen to get the rest of us. However, I would really do some market research. IT seems there is a divide in the “watch” group.

      Some people like me, don’t want a fenix 5, we prefer the garmin 230. But its not the features, its the weight size battery aspects.

      I would make 2 watches. 1 for the tri nut jobs, and 1 for the rest., The 1 for the rest prioritize battery, weight, an size.

      I would ditch garmin in second for my new bolt and new wahoo gps fitness tracker.

    • Kelly B

      I agree. A 230/235 is my target. In fact, my 25 would be fine if it had a built in HRM…and, of course, if it would keep working, especially the wireless sync. A two watch offering from Wahoo would be great, but I bet a basic version and something around the 235 would be the perfect combo.

    • PhilBoogie

      Fully agree; Garmin makes quite crappy software. And that shows everywhere; their watches, bike computers, their Connect website.

  16. David Chrisman

    Once they get structured workouts I think I will be in. Great price, size, and features and the DCR blessing.

    • Travis

      This is the one thing it doesn’t do that i want to see. The ability to build simple erg workout in Wahoo app that then send to Elemnt. I can’t believe they haven’t implemented this for the kickr. For now i use Hurts Ergo but would much prefer to keep my phone away and use my bike computer for all training.

  17. Michael Robinson

    I’m an ELEMNT user (with what a doctor would describe as lousy eyesight…) and really like the big screen on the ELEMNT so won’t be downsizing to the BOLT.

    However I was interested if Wahoo have changed the feel of the buttons on the case.

    I like the three buttons at the bottom and find them positive and easy to use with gloves, but find the two buttons on the right side (used to increase/decrease the number of data fields) less positive to use.

    It would be good if Wahoo brought out a remote for handlebar control.

    • Scott

      Hi Michael, Ray’s review of the Elemnt last year suggested the battery life was not as advertised. I need a decent battery life for touring but prefer the larger screen of the Elemnt. I wondered what your experiences were of battery life? Cheers!

  18. Martin Björgvik

    Thanks for an excellent review Ray! I just have one question.
    – Is there something the Bolt can do that the old Elemnt can’t do?

  19. Matthew

    Ray,

    Can you use the Bolt with any out front mount (e.g., Bar Fly Prime)? Or does it only work with the included out front bike mount?

    • It needs a Wahoo compatible one in theory. So companies like BarFly and K-Edge make those.

      Though, it does roughly fit the Garmin mount, it’s just not an ideal fit and long-term probably wouldn’t be good.

    • Matthew

      Ray,

      Thanks. I was concerned that with the funky aero integration, you’d be locked into only using the Wahoo mount. Good to know that this isn’t an issue

  20. Reuben Neese

    Great review as always!

    I know I’m a noob and that this may not be the place for this, most likely asked already, question. But, why, if most non-pros out there carry their smartphone with them, do you need any of these units.

    I keep reading the reviews, and wanting the new tech, but I stop at the pay now button. I have my iPhone 7 mounted to my bike with a Quad lock out front mount/case, running Strava or Ride with GPS. Battery life is fine for my typical 3-4 hour ride, and I can get 5-6 hours out of it if needed. Not to mention you shouldn’t carry your phone in your jersey pocket anyway.

    Is the only benefit Ant+ and Battery life? What am I missing?

    • Matthew Kime

      Battery life. Waterproof. MUCH smaller – less weight in expensive electronics bouncing with every pothole. Higher contrast in direct light. ANT+ support (up until a couple of years ago Bluetooth fitness devices were unheard of)

      It doesn’t make sense for the casual rider, but if you put on a couple of thousand miles a year (not that unusual) then its worth the investment.

    • Thomas

      I typed a very similar comment at the same time. Weight is not much smaller if I compare my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact to my friends’ Garmin units. It has ANT+ support. It has adjustable brightness and gives me wonderful contrast – and COLOR! Hence, much better maps than my peers have. Battery life is shorter, but I still get more than 8 hours of riding out of it. Plus, that seems the easiest fix to me in various ways. I ride thousands of miles, and I still don’t see why I should carry two devices of those few extra features that these specialty units have could easily be implemented as an app.

    • Reuben Neese

      If you carry your phone with you anyway, you’re already risking it. If you are carrying it in your Jersey pocket you are risking personal injury too. There have been several Lithium burns caused by falling on phones.

      The iPhone 7 like many others coming out are even water resistant. I don’t even have any Ant only devices to speak of. If I have to carry two devices, the second might as well be a battery pack to keep the iPhone going which is far cheaper than a head the Element of Edge.

      I get it, if your racing and that weight is a concern, I just don’t see it for myself… Yet.

    • I tried just using a phone for a few years, and then a RFLKT and RFLKT+. Bottom line: it’s not as reliable, you lose rides, and it’s just fussier. The WF app, for example, would fritz if a phone call came in during a ride.

      I’m sure a lot of these issues have been fixed, but I’m also sure more have been added. The bottom line (for me at least) was I’ve never had an issue with a dedicated bike computer. It just works…

    • SJC

      If you want to have the ability to see maps/stats while you ride, mounting a phone to your bars is awkward and puts the phone at greater risk in the event of a crash. A small head unit on an out-front mount is out of the way and much more protected in a crash. Additionally, most phones are only capable of a couple hours of screen-on time at best, so live-view maps and data screens will kill your phone’s battery very quickly. And touch screens just flat out suck to use when wet – either due to sweat or rain.

      If all you care about is recording the ride and don’t need to see maps or live data on your speed/distance/power/whatever, then a phone is absolutely a fine choice. Apps like Strava are actually pretty light on battery as long as the screen is off – just fire up your tracker app of choice and toss the phone in your jersey pocket for the duration of the ride.

    • Thomas

      If that technology exists to make bike computers work, I can just repeat myself: it doesn’t take a genius to create an Android-powered bike computer with phone capabilities. It’s not that phones can’t have physical buttons. And that you could have a button that switches touchscreen functions on/off. It’s not that you couldn’t develop power management to get more battery life. Or, as Reuben said, that you couldn’t just carry an extra battery. If I have to charge an Elemnt Bolt after every second ride, I can also charge a phone after every ride.

      I run OruxMaps on my phone. It’s permanently running maps and data screens. I use offline maps. (OpenAndroMaps – can only recommend them.). Helps with the battery I look at my data, I look at my maps. Actively use it to look ahead what’s coming up next on the route, something which is clumsy to do on a Garmin unit and requires just a swipe for me. I got calls, text messages, used other apps simultaneously. Just because one app is wonky doesn’t mean that that’s a problem inherent to phone. For what it’s worth, Ray mentioned the bugginess of the original Elemnt.

      I have my phone on a Quadlock mount on the stem. I have crashed twice last summer. In one occasion, I got significant damage to my handlebar. My phone doesn’t even have a scratch. In most crash circumstances, it’s not likely to hit the ground – less likely than when sitting in the back pocket.

    • Way back when, what’s very first foray into bike computers was actually developing a bike case for the iPhone. Designed for road and TT bikes, etc…

      What they…and everyone else, have learned is there’s simply very little market for developing phone based cycling head units that target this end of the market. Sure, cheap phone mounts are a plenty, but not once you get into the $300-$500 range. People just want a dedicated unit without the fussiness of a phone.

      And ultimately – the piece that I can’t stress enough is that when it comes to phone-based apps, none do the full range of what Garmin (or even Wahoo) do today. It’s the nuances of all these little things that add up. Too many apps skip on little features that frustrate folks.

      I think we will see attempts to do Android based units as time goes forward, but the battery life on dedicated units is just so strong these days it’s really hard to justify. For example, 15 hours of display-on, GPS-on riding isn’t something you’ll find in a phone.

    • GH0STP1X3L

      Additionally, each time you upgrade your phone, you will most likely have to purchase a new cycle mount/case.

      “Way back when”, I started using an iPhone 3S with a dedicated waterproof/shockproof case. It was a great case that cost about $50. I then upgraded to iPhone 4S and needed a new case… another $60 .When it came time to upgrade my phone again, it seemed more cost effective to spend money on a dedicated cycling computer and, as Ray points out, the UX of a dedicated unit is so much better.

    • Andrew Peel

      Mobile devices banned in triathlon events?

    • Thomas

      As soon as you switch manufacturer from one computer generation to the next, you’ll also need a new mount. A plastic case and a simple Quadlock adapter come in at $25 combined. That’s eight generations of smartphones for one Elemnt Bolt. Let it be the $50 you say because you’re phone is not water-proof by design. That’s still four generations of smartphones. (The smartphone itself price is irrelevant here, since you’d buy a phone anyways.) Even if you switch your phone every two years, that’s 8 years of technological progress. By that time, you’d also switch your bike computer.

      Sure, no single app has all the little features. But in combination of apps, you’ll get them easily on a phone. And still: if you can implement it as a software in a proprietary environment, generally you should also be able to implement it on a smartphone OS, no? Even if not, let’s be honest, many of those features are of the kind of “I want to have it, even though I’m never going to use it” for the majority of users.

      I agree that a few years back this market wasn’t there. But phones have become better and stronger, and phone mounts have become better as well (Quadlock now is just one of various options). And more bulky to put in the jersey pocket. The compact Xperia phones are a good note on this: Every manufacturer was like “there is no market for small phones”, but the compact phones sold better than their larger brothers.

      Ray, if I’m not mistaken, you’re an iPhone user, no? I’d be happy to see you doing a comparative review on a number of popular apps used on both iPhone and Android, certainly including OruxMaps, which I can just very highly advocate. I can’t stress enough that the attention your website gets, and your own thoroughness in reviewing things, could only help those app developers to go ahead, get better, and increase the range of options for more of us.

    • There’s fewer things I hate doing than app reviews. Here’s how it works (always works):

      A) I do an app review, talk about things I don’t like.
      B) Within a week, developer fixes things I don’t like (great!), and then asks me to update review ‘ASAP!’
      C) Sigh. My post is not outdated and useless…unless I spend more time to update it/completely revamp it.
      D) Then every other app that’s vaguely like app noted in item A, asks for a review of their app.
      E) Sometimes, said apps even will ‘rally’ their Facebook fans to contact me to request a review of their app.
      F) Other apps will continue to get upset that I haven’t reviewed them, often sending all sorts of odd e-mails to me about why I’m ignoring them.

      And the cycle continues….a cycle that oddly only exists when I review apps.

      Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure there’s a future for phones as head units, but I disagree that having a smattering of apps across phone models that rarely meet cyclists needs is the best solution.

    • Joe

      The new iphone 7 is water resistant with better battery life. Although having it out on a mount might not be the best shock absorption as in a pocket, its still OK. The quad locks are great as they aren’t too rigid. I have the plus version and I’d say its a tad too big and looks a bit weird like futureBike 2.0, but until I get more serious into cycling I just can’t justify a separate unit. I’d say for MTB they make less sense but road riding its fine. Whats funny, is that even if I had a dedicated unit like the bolt (which is very tempting)… I’d then worry about the phone falling out of my jersey pocket or crashing with it!

    • ELEMNT has proven 100x more reliable than the RFLKT type Wahoo devices, especially on Android.

      If you want a oldschool bike computer, go for it.

    • GH0STP1X3L

      Thomas, if you have made up your mind to use your phone as a head unit, then you should. I am not arguing with your preference. You posed a question and I replied with my experiences regarding your question.

      I believe that you are assuming that I have a WF ELEMNT BOLT. I do not. I do own a few WF products, including a 1st gen KICKR, and I think they are a great company.

      I average about 4200 road miles a year on my bike. For me, using a dedicated cycling computer has proven to be a much better experience than running one, or more, apps on my phone.

      “As soon as you switch manufacturer from one computer generation to the next, you’ll also need a new mount.” – Do keep in mind that most, if not all, cycling computers come with at least one mount.

      Cheers!

    • PhilBoogie

      Indeed, that is most certainly true. Besides, one wouldn’t want to leave their smartphone on their bike: sometimes bike computers gets stolen in Parc Ferme.

    • PhilBoogie

      Correct, according to ITU rules:

      4.8 g:  Mobile phone(s) or any other electronic listening communication device;

      link to triathlon.org

    • Raul

      I agree! But I want a small, aerodynamic 2nd screen. Panel shape, b/w high contrast screen. With barometer. Sliding (not turning) mount.
      And a small pod with buttons to change screens, set laps.
      Result: no big thing on the handlebar, no shaking/vibrating of the delicate electronics, save a lot of power, camera on hand, Google Maps, communication, music……
      Too bad Wahoo didn’t do that right…….. (of why did it fail?)

    • Hans

      It´s nice you´re happy with oruxmaps, probably the best app für cyclists out there.
      I used it a lot and later other apps on an iphone.
      Yes, it works, but once I got my Garmin I will never go back, although the Garmin software can be pita (same goes for Oruxmaps, but as you surely agree: it IS a great app and I never regreted spending money for it to support the developers). But (to me and many others) a dedicated device is simply better. I also like to have my phone in my backpack at full charge when I do long rides.
      Btw I think you were lucky since I totalled a Sony Xperia Z3 in a quite harmless crash.

    • Reuben Neese

      Just an update to my post here.

      After riding for a while with the iPhone 7 plus as my primary head unit for several months I decided to get the Wahoo Bolt. Not because I feel my phone is safer in my pocket, not to save weight (I still carry the phone after all), and not so much for a screen easier to read in direct sunlight.

      It came done to function. Strava Premium, which I love, has yet to get their Route Builder out of Beta. They have yet to get more screen customizations such as multiple screens for say climbing, nor have they taken advantage of the large screens phones offer. They still have no Turn by Turn directions and they seem more focused on social aspects than functionality during a ride. I still prefer Strava over other apps as they all have a host of issues. I have dropped my Premium account in protest.

      I got the Bolt for Battery life, cycling specific design, and turn by turn directions for long routes. The screen is tiny, and difficult to read small labels during a ride (which won’t matter as much when I’m more familiar with the device). It’s just more convenient for cycling.

      A couple points of criticism for the Bolt though;
      I did find a bug already where the Bolt has difficulty reconnecting to my power meter after the meter goes to sleep during a food stop. Also the included Aero mount won’t allow for the Device to be centered (Similar to the bike in the DC’s review of it, it’s just off center). I tucked it as close as physically possible to the stem and the bolt sits 2-3mm off. Not really an aero issue, but my OCD won’t allow it. I purchased a K-Edge mount as per Wahoo’s suggestion, however this loses the aero factor.

      I also miss the ability to answer Facetime calls during leisure rides, apparently my daughter gets a kick out of looking up nose….

    • Amnesty

      I used to track my workouts with an Apple Watch and Strava + IPhone 6s+ in my Jersey for Audionavigation (komoot). That was completly fine for tracking.
      Now i’m using a bolt because the apps in the phone are too limited for me:
      Strava doesnt support intervals. No average HR for laps, no advanced metrics for powermeters etc.
      Plus the battery issue with display on and GPS on.
      The Quadlock Kit is 180g vs 63g for bolt. Additional battery pack not mentioned.
      Strava Premium is for live metrics 60€/year. Lets say I use my bike Computer for 3 years, thats a 180+60€ for mount + 60€ for battery pack.
      With lap and better powermeter support Strava could easily make a bike Computer obsolete for me. But we are not there yet…

  21. Steve

    Can the BOLT upload workout data to the Wahoo Fitness app? I use the Wahoo Fitness app to track my skiing/running/hiking and currently my cycling (with a RFLKT+.) It’d be nice to keep all the data in the same place.

  22. Thomas

    I still don’t understand why not one of the big players has yet developed a dedicated Android-based outdoor phone. Size of a Sony Xperia Z1/3/5 Compact, more battery in exchange for less fancy smartphone features that I don’t care about on the ride, display brightness options (automatic adjustment to brightness, monochrome), turn-on/off-by-physical button touch functionality, weather-resistance, and a great app that is (1) available for free if you buy the device or (2) costs 9.99 if you want it from the PlayStore for any other phone. All those third-party app integrations are then done by default, because… it’s just a phone.

    So much of what these super expensive computers can do I get with OruxMaps for free. I am missing workouts, but there are apps for that. I am missing an inbuilt calibration for power meters, but there are apps for that. I am missing looking up places, but if my dedicated bike computer requires me to pair it with a phone for that feature, why not use a dedicated sports phone in the first place? Really, the only thing I am concerned about is battery life on trips beyond 150km (or a bit shorter if they include a train ride to get back home).

    I have to carry my phone anyways. I’d love to save the weight of an unnecessary extra unit. And I’m really impressed that all of them are still pushing forward with what to me seems like an outdated idea of a special-purpose device.

    • Dale C

      I 100% agree. I’m also surprised nobody has done an Android Wear powered bike computer that could have a better screen, large battery, and a ton of apps already native to the OS.

      Otherwise, I might be looking into this. I’d like to replace my Edge 800 and the Lezyne Super GPS and now this Bolt are on my radar. I wish there was a bit more of a comparison to the Lezyne models instead of multiple Garmins and an old Wahoo.

    • GH0STP1X3L

      I’ve read on a few sites that the Polar V650 is a Droid-based unit. I would put this in the “rumor mill” category, as I have not been able to get that information verified. Perhaps it is…?

    • Raul

      This is what I said a long time I ago…. Garmin should have acquired some ‘crashed’ phone brand like Nokia. So little people with vision……….
      Everybody is riding around with 2 devices that have 75% the same contents…….

    • Remember, Garmin did actually have an Android phone back in the day. Project was shelved as nobody bought it.

      Also, keep in mind that Microsoft acquired the Nokia phone brand back a few years ago for billions. Biggest waste of money ever.

    • Hans

      see my comment above, I misclicked. I (and obviously many others as well) do want an extra device and Oruxmaps is great but still cannot do everything a good bike computer can.

    • Dylan

      I’ve wished that an updated version of the Motoactv would be made for a long time now, even though I know it’s not coming. It was android in a watch with gps, bt4, ant+, hardware buttons for workout start/stop and audio controls, readable screen in light and dark, and could be attached to a wrist strap, a clip, or a bike mount. The major downside was the fact that you needed to log into the Motoactv Portal (which was notoriously issue prone as the Motorola/Lenovo let the product slowly die) to export your workout data. Software could use some updating too, as it’s 5-6 years old a this point. It’s been dropped a couple times and seen better days, but I still use it from time to time.

  23. veloriderkm

    Wonder how well this works on an aero road bar like the ENVE SES Aero Road handlebar. I have one of these bars on my roadie and cannot use any out front mounts unless I switch to an ENVE stem which doesn’t work for my fit (-17 110mm stem required).

  24. Olly

    Off-topic but I don’t know where to put else: did you ever looked into Best Bike Split (BBS)? I read it here, looked for the web site and found it pretty cool in terms of race prediction/pacing. Would be interesting to see if their calculation models are close to real life.

    • I haven’t spent much time with it. In large part because my training is pretty unstructured right now – so it’d probably be taking a solid wag at things.

    • I use Best Bike Split and have done for a while. I generally plan a route with it for events, and use it for pacing. Initially it would only give you target power, and I found that to be quite a bit off from what I actually recorded – so typically I would need much more power than BBS would expect me to have for the expected time – typical ! (even after playing with multiple variables) And before the Wahoo Elemnt it was very clunky and limited to display that data in an Edge 1000.

      More recently BBS now gives you a target speed and used in conjunction with the Elemnt, you get can display a target speed and target power against your actual speed and power throughout the course. I find that pretty helpful, and actually works pretty well. There is some issue with syncing, so I find that it is often targeting 45kph while I still have 10 seconds of climbing to do, but that’s easy to live with. I’d also recommend playing with the advance settings in BBS if you are not on closed roads, because downhill speeds are probably not going to be achieved safely in traffic, so you can set an upper limit on them. I typically set that pretty low, and if I go over the target I consider it a bonus!

      It could be improved though. I’d love to be able to configure the lights on the Element, or a field to show where you are compared to the overall expected time on the course. As it stands, you only get Target Speed and Target Pace so if you fall behind (or by some miracle are ahead of your plan), there is no way to really know without doing your own maths. And I’d like BBS to account for non-race situation better, such as stopping a junctions, but that’s probably being a bit pedantic! I think you should be able to feed a result of a race back in though by uploading the fit/gpx and letting it adjust the variables/learn so it can get better at predicting in the future – that seems like it would be a cool thing to add.

      Cheers

      Ian

    • Olly

      Thx Ray, thx Ian!
      Ok, I’ve had a quick look at it. Looks like they’ve advanced a bit a they created a ConnectIQ data field for their Garmin Power Courses. Reads finde. I also watched the video where they showed how to tweak your configuration to reflect a real ride matches their prediction. I think for non-race situations and even road races the model can “just” give some speed/power targets. Especially during road races as drag effects can’t be predicted. Guess that’s why the name is BBS, it’s designed for TT/triathlon. Let’s see what I can do with their free membership.
      Best,
      Olly

    • Ryan

      Ian,

      Still a bit off topic we are finally moving towards analyzing actual rides to help refine settings (starting with drag the most difficult to nail down). In the future we will look max descent speeds, typical cornering speeds, min climbing power/speeds, and do comparisons of plans/actuals. Free users can sync unlimited courses an a single race plan to the ELEMNT but it can be updated as many times as you like and resynched.

      Using the ELEMNT LEDs to quickly show over / under target has been discussed with the ELEMNT team so we will see. Just got a BOLT in the mail and it really does look pretty awesome. Basically the same

    • Ryan

      whoops.

      Same size as a 520/820 but being able to setup with my phone and quickly adjust things and having actual buttons is really what seals it for me. I’m sure structured workouts are in the cards as some point as that’s really the only missing feature I would want.

      One thing to note on using BBS race plans with the kicker in the route simulation. It simulates the elevation but also the weight, race/climb drag, wind conditions, that you have setup in the BBS plan so the simulation is a bit more in-depth than a normal course.

    • Many thanks for the reply Ryan.

      >> finally moving towards analyzing actual rides
      and
      >> will look at max descent speeds, typical cornering speeds, min climbing power/speeds, and do comparisons of plans/actuals

      Sounds great! Looking forward to seeing that 🙂 And will give the Kickr simulation a go too.

      Cheers

      Ian

  25. Nathan

    Wow! The device itself looks pretty decent. Not massively different to my Edge 520, but I do like the LEDs, which I’d use for power zones.

    The main attraction is being able the app! So much that can be customised, and you don’t have to sit there and faff with the unit. I hate having to go through all the menus on my Edge! It’s even more annoying with the fact that Garmin are so inconsistent with their button layout! Muscle memory means that I keep hitting back instead of down etc.

  26. Dave

    It’d be great if it had Xert integration. That’s a showstopper for me.

  27. Erk

    Any word on gps chipset? Is gps accuracy no longer a differentiator of products in this class? Will the accuracy compare with Garmin?

    • I’ve got a section to add in for GPS accuracy. Just ran out of time to add it in. But in comparing things to the Edge 820/520, Garmin Fenix 5, and Suunto Spartan Ultra, I didn’t see anything of concern.

    • Jim Baxter

      When riding together, my son’s Bolt consistently records 15% more elevation than my Garmin Edge 820.
      All other measurements are identical (time, distance, etc.). Is this a 820 or Bolt issue?

    • Paul S

      Are you talking about actual elevation, or cumulative elevation gain? If it’s actual elevation, do you calibrate your 820 before every ride? Does he calibrate his Bolt? You really need to do that with a barometric altimeter if you want accuracy. Calibration via GPS just doesn’t work well.

      If it’s elevation gain, you can usually estimate a lower value for elevation gain if the climbs are long enough (it’s hard to do if the climbs are all small). For example, one of my regular rides starts at 1200 ft, goes to 2000, down to 1700, up to 2400, down to 1700, up to 2100, down to 1200. So that gives 1900 ft, and it usually actually measures on the various Edges I’ve used over the year at about 2200 ft (there are enough small climbs along the way so that’s believable). You can also get independent measurements from maps (go to Garmin Connect and turn on elevation correction, for example).

    • Gabriel

      Is it possible to calibrate the bolt? If yes, how?

    • peter

      Hi,

      I have the same experience as Jim : the Bolt (consistently) comes up with a much higher elevation gain compared to several other sources, both other (barometric) gps-es as well as routing apps.

      brs,
      peter

    • Jim Baxter

      Cumulative
      The 15% difference remains after activating the elevation correction option in Strava and Garmin Connect.

  28. Andy

    No offence Ray, but you’ve banged on about the original Elemnt as it if was built like a house brick. Be fair, its no bigger than a Garmin really and when its placed on the included out-front mount you never even query the size.

    To say its not been your go-to bike computer simply because of this is a bit unfair and a bit picky in my opinion. The Elemnt has been nothing but 100% from my experiences and has more than enough features to compete with the Garmin1000, without all the software glitches.

    You should have swapped ages ago!

    • But I don’t use the out-front mounts for my usage. I use smaller mounts on bike handlebars and even on the top-tube of my bike. So putting something in an out-front mount to make it bigger and then saying it’s now the same size is silly.

      And no, it’s not the same size as an Edge 520/820. One only need to watch the comparison section to see that.

  29. I’m unclear the differences between the ELEMNT and BOLT, aside from “packaging” like screen size, LEDs, aero mount. Are they basically identical in the brains/UI?

  30. cycloscott

    Great review as always Ray. A few things… more for Wahoo if they’re following along

    1. I’m assuming all of the internals are essentially the same as the Elemnt. Which would imply that the Bolt will still have issues connecting to an ANT+ SRM. Is this the case? (and the only reason I still have to keep my old Garmin) I’ve been waiting for this to be addressed for over a year now.

    2. Using the LEDs to denote zones is a great idea, and I use them for HR zones. My strong preference would be to use them for Power zones instead. However… the only option is for instantaneous power with no smoothing (like a 3sec average), which makes it nearly useless on anything but the smoothest of roads. Any plans to make that a bit more configurable?

    3. You mention that structured workouts are on the horizon. How realistic is that “Fall 2017” target in the comparison chart?

    • 1) I don’t have my SRM on a bike currently to validate unfortunately.

      2) I’d agree, using for smoothed zones would make more sense. I’ll bring it up.

      3) I think a more realistic date is ‘End of year’.

    • Donald Barnes

      This SRM thing is starting to be a serious drag. Fortunately I have a Fenix3HR that I can fall back to when I ride my SRM equipped bike, but I’d much rather use my ELEMNT. I can’t believe it’s been this long without a fix. I’ve been complaining and checking in for months now only to continue to be told “nope, no fix and no timelines, sorry.”

      I like the durability of the ELEMNT hardware better for mountain biking than the Garmin (no matter what, you will get dirt in the Edge buttons that will let water in that will eventually ruin your unit, in my experience). But if it doesn’t support your hardware, it doesn’t support your hardware….*sigh*

      –Donnie

    • Marc Meredyth

      Is SRM integration to Bolt still an issue? If so, what is the nature of the problem?

  31. Marek

    Does this make the original ELEMNT pretty much obsolete or am I missing something?
    There will be a few people who like the bigger size (better visibility etc.), but other than that small niche, is there a reason to spend $330 on ELEMNT when the ELEMNT BOLT goes for $250, with more features/functionality?

    • Michael Robinson

      The Bolt seems to have exactly the same features/functionality as its bigger brother but I take your point that most people will probably go for the smaller and cheaper model.

      Personally, I really like the larger screen size of the ELEMNT because of its legibility so I’m in the small niche.

    • SJC

      Only other ELEMNT feature I can think of that this is missing is the second LED strip – the ELEMNT can show power/HR zone/segment progress (and probably a couple other things I’m forgetting) on the side LED strip at the same time as navigation indicators on the top strip. The BOLT only has the top strip, which can do all the same indicators as the ELEMNT’s strips, but only one thing at a time. Like the screen size though, that’s probably a relatively niche audience.

    • and +2 hrs stated battery life on the ELEMNT. I actually get nowhere near the 17 hours they suggest for the ELEMNT – more like 8-10 – not sure why. So that would be my main concern with the BOLT which states 15hrs – not that I often do rides over 8 hours, but it has been known, and will definitely be doing some this summer 🙂

    • Yeah, I was impressed with the battery life on my nearly 8hr ride. I’ve got the photo I took at the end of the ride showing the battery percentage just below 50%. Even more notable because I specifically turned off Auto Pause, and also left it on 100% of the time.

    • Tom Peach

      So vs. your Elemnt review it suggests the bolt has better battery life, 15 hours to the original Elemnts 10, is this correct?

      I saw another review that suggests 20 hours with LEDs off, could you test this?

    • Yes could you clarify Ray – the Garmin web site states 15hrs for Bolt and 17hrs for Elemnt. I get about 10 hours on the Elemnt, which I think was in line with your testing? But are you saying the Bolt is actually much closer (ever better) than the stated 15hrs?

      Cheers

      Ian

    • Ron

      I’m interested in battery life while using navigation and turn by turn. Do you have any idea if navigation depletes the battery faster? (I’m thinking of getting one for 150 mile gravel race)

    • (This time, right-side up)

      Correct, based on my 7hr 32min (and 20 second) ride, with GPS on, navigation on, LED’s enabled, ANT+ connect to multiple sensors, and Bluetooth Smart connected to my phone sending out a live tracking link. Basically, there’s nothing else to enable.

      I started the ride around 95% battery, and finished with 47% (I took about 5-7 mins to get photos/etc before I ended, so a bit more).

      Photo at finish attached.

      *As a minor point of interest, the LED’s actually take up equal amounts of battery as the display. Though, to put that in perspective, the display takes up almost nothing. It’s GPS that hurts ya.

    • That’s a deal maker for me. Think I may sell the ELEMNT and get a BOLT. Battery battery life and size, and every thing else I need. (I’ll miss the lights on the side a bit, but having the top set is probably enough). I have a week in the Pyrenees coming up where I expect to be out for 10-11 hours on some days and was considering a battery pack arrangement for the Elemnt, but the Bolt would solve that and save weight.

      My only concern is that (unbelievably!) I appear to have more sensors connected than Ray – so I have DI2 and Speed and Cadence (though I don’t really need that because the Vectors do it, but I keep it on for when I am on a turbo). I also leave the Kickr sensor in the list.
      Could those settings by what is hurting the battery life for me? Could I get better battery life on the ELEMNT if I cut those sensors to Tickr X, Power and DI2? If I leave them in would the BOLT also degrade in battery life?

  32. Jon

    Does this have GLONASS?

  33. Charles

    Hi Ray!
    Thanks for the review, amazing job as always.
    This unit seems like a better deal than the Edge 520 now, do you expect Garmin to lower their price?
    Do you know when/if it will be available on the European clever training site soon?

    • I would not expect them to lower the price.

      I don’t know how soon it’ll be on the CT UK site. I know they’re still sorting out getting Wahoo products listed there.

  34. Aaron Troia

    Been looking around for the specs on the screen (as well as the original Element screen) and cant seem to find any besides the size, do you know any more about it? Is it E-Ink? I have the 810 and while color and touch screen are nice at times (and can be frustrating at other times), I could probably do with without, this looks really nice and fairly straight forward to use.

  35. Kevin K

    Has the speaker been improved as on the original ELEMNT it can barely be heard

  36. Patrick Gribbon

    Can you set the Bolt to display your 3/sec power averages without zero’s? I had the Elemnt and I couldn’t figure out how to set it up where it would display my power without zero’s.

  37. Brad

    This looks like a nice improvement over the original. I’d love to move away from Garmin and their buggy products. Although, having said that the 520 has been pretty faultless recently. I’m also an avid Varia Radar fan now and the current lack of support is a massive deal breaker on this, that, and having to buy 3 new mounts for the various bikes. Still, this should make Garmin sit up a bit. You can’t stand still on innovation and this seems to close the gap massively, it works well, looks better and the app seems a much better way of setting up the device verses the slow and painful Garmin setup.

  38. Perry

    Can you measure the width of the ‘strap’ that goes around the handlebar? Just trying to see if the mount will fit on my aero drop bar w/o modification.

  39. Rob

    Hi Ray (or anyone that cares to discuss!),

    A few people have hinted at this but I thought I’d ask explicitly:

    With the software being identical as the original ELEMNT (Right?) will subsequent updates be applicable to both units – released as a single update? Or will we now see more focus on the BOLT, and a slower schedule for the original ELEMNT? I won’t confess to having in-depth knowledge on these sort of issues but I’d of thought there would be nuances in their construction that would make it difficult to apply the same update to two different units.

    Thanks,

    Rob

  40. Dan

    Anyone else just see a white space where the video is supposed to be?

  41. Brian S.

    I don’t see that it integrates with Campagnolo EPS V3 to provide gear selection data?
    I’m looking for a new computer as my 510 doesn’t give me gear selection data from EPS.

    • EPS supports the ANT+ Gear Shifting standard, which is also what eTAP supports. The only caveat would be if Wahoo implemented some sort of early eTAP beta thing, but I’m pretty sure they just did the ANT+ spec. Perhaps they can confirm here…

    • Larry F.

      My Wahoo Elemnt shows my Campagnolo EPS V3 as “EPS gears” for the sensor.
      I can display “Current Gear (visual)” and “Current Gear”.

  42. joey

    I have a KICRK and use the various 3rd party software for custom interval training in erg mode. When I contacted Wahoo they indicated that the ELEMNT does not support the upload of custom workouts. Has the Bolt changed this? If so, then I will purchase today and get that free shirt!

  43. Dustin Brocato

    Are the audible tones any louder on the Bolt than the Elemnt?

    • They seem pretty loud to me.

      On the group ride I did at the press event, it was like being in a casino every time we came up upon a turn. Dinging from everywhere in the huge group.

  44. You need to test devices wearing full gloves. Those of us who live in colder climates need this feature. Can the buttons on the Bolt be used while wearing full gloves? Heavier lobster claw gloves?

    • Yup. I think I covered it in one of the two videos.

      But actually, that’s one of the key design changes between the original ELEMNT and this – super easy to use wearing gloves. I mean, maybe not full on mittens, but no bike computer really is. But for normal cycling gloves (even of the cold winter variety), it’s good.

    • Dips

      I’ll have to go watch it. The ELEMNT is fantastic with gloves as-is. The Bolt doesn’t look as tactile, but will have a go.

  45. Stevie Bentley

    Can the Wahoo head unit be used with the usual Garmin quarter turn mounts? Both my bikes have aero bars with integrated Garmin mounts.

    • Technically no. Officially no. But it kinda works. It’s just not good for the ELEMNT or the other mount, as you have to wedge it in there. Long term I’m guessing it’d break something.

      But I occasionally use it temporarily in a pinch.

    • Donald Barnes

      I’ve been using my ELEMNT on Garmin mounts since the ELEMNT was introduced. Been through some significant mountain bike crashes with it (hard enough to knock the mount around to the side of the stem). Haven’t seen any damage or problem yet.

      –Donnie

    • rjdennis

      A quick little filing on the garmin mount makes it fit like a charm, got this hint from the Wahoo users group where there are pictures

    • I use my ELEMNT on a plastic Garmin mount all the time – no issues for me 🙂

    • Bruno Moraes

      Well, using the Garmin mount works as far as you can turn it 90 degrees as the mounting tabs (at least for the original ELEMNT) are not on the same direction. Some third party mounts allow you to turn it, some do not.

    • John

      I have the K-Edge XL Garmin mount. Ordered the Wahoo Elemnt puck to replace the Garmin puck on Friday and already have the new Elemnt puck in the mount – link to k-edge.com Way to go K-Edge!

      What I don’t have is a Bolt as of yet. LBS says mid April as of today per their Wahoo rep. Wahoo online site now says 4/5.

      Anyone know if Wahoo missed the demand of an alternate to Garmin or missed the shipping date with manufacturing delays?

  46. Brent E

    Does anyone know if you can see your power on the Strava live segment screen? On my Garmin 520 I love the live segment tracking but I would love to be able to have power on the screen as well.
    Thanks!

    • I don’t think you can add a field to the Strava Live Segment page, but there is a setting called “Notification on Other Pages” which basically shows the Strava Segment on whatever page you are on, and that could have power, so you can work round it like that. More details here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Sadly no power on the Strava page but the information there is useful.
      If you want to see power hit the page button once to go back to the main screen and use the LED’s to monitor segment performance.

    • Christian Borchgrevink-Vigeland

      I just don’t get why power and HR is left out and not possible to add! Just basic data to have visible when pushing for a PR/KOM.

    • oriol

      On the garmin you can put the fields “Time ahead” and “dist to go” on any screen. This way I see the segment info and power on the same screen.

  47. Mike

    Still no Android phone control (phone,text,music). I want to spend the money but I guess I’ll stick with my phone case garmin mount mod

  48. thesloth

    Where is the micro USB charge port located? Would it be possible to top up the power on the go while the unit is on the mount (for rides in excess of 15hrs)?

    • On the bottom, the little blue stripe. Good point, I didn’t add a photo of it charging.

    • This is possible with the ELEMNT. It’s out of the way enough for the cable to be plugged in.

    • John

      Wahoo rep did verify your can charge while the unit is in operation – bring on the battery packs 🙂

    • You can NOT plug in a micro USB into the device and charge while using in the front mount.
      I even tried a 90 degree micro usb, does not work either.

    • Joe

      Noooooo! That sucks. I bet theres a right angle that has a lower profile, no?

    • Joe

      Maybe this is crazy, but can you shave down the back? I bet that rubber/plastic shell is thicker than it needs to be……

    • Steven Vanlancker

      Joe, in the image I posted I filled the unnecessary plastic already. In the meantime I got in contact with K-Edge and they say you should be able to insert a micro USB. I’ll have on in orde, I’ll let you know. I’ll receive it tomorrow.
      I know, this is maybe not an issue for mainstream users, but I’m riding ultra distances and attach my electronics to a power bank attached to my hub dynamo.

  49. Augsburg

    Many of us use one of these GPS bike computers for our stable of multiple bikes. I might have missed it in your video, but can you nickname the bikes and input the odometer for each bike. My Polar V650 can only name the bike as “Bike 1”, etc., and cannot input the existing odometer reading. This is a shortcoming – as it would be nice to keep track of mileage for each bike for maintenance (how long before you had to replace the chain, etc.).

    • Bill T

      +1 – I was going to ask the same question – how many bike profiles can be supported?

    • None … the unit doesn’t allow profiles.
      You can do this in Strava … no need for it to be on the device.

    • J F

      No sir, the unit is the system of record. Strava, et all, are social media platforms where records are selectively shared. The unit is responsible and needs this data.

    • Martino

      For me, profiles are a must in the device. I have two very diferent road bikes with very different weights and different tires and I also have a tacx. With garmin I can simply load my desired profile and for the fuji it only searches h for heart “and” cadence sensor, for tarmac searches heart “and” cadence “and” speed and for tacx it searches “heart” and power and cadence / speed sensors. It’s kinda tricky to be setting each time different sensors, weights and tires for each bike.

    • Martino

      I was very close to buy bolt three days ago. Now I’m reading ¿many? issues about altitude gained data… Is it really an issue? And secondly, how are we sure wich device is measuring that information correctly?

    • Wahoo Murray

      Martino,

      Why do you need profiles for multiple bikes? With ELEMNT/BOLT you just pair ALL your sensors, jump on whatever bike you want and go. No need to switch profiles, change settings or anything, just ride. ELEMNT/BOLT will connect to the active sensors and record your data.

      Elevation Data, The problem these guys are having are when using the BOLT for hiking. Elevation data is very noisy and changes in weather/pressure when climbing a mountain makes things even harder, as a result we use algorithms to filter the data in real time, this is optimised 1000’s of miles of data we collected cycling, not walking. For normal every day use, including MTB biking we find our elevation data to be very good.

    • Damien

      My elevation has been correct at least as close as my Garmin 520 was. +-40-80ft at the end of a ride vs what Strava thinks is pretty accurate. Some are saying the instant readout can be off but my edge 520 was not always accurate on the instant read out so I just ignore it

    • Martino

      Thanks for the reply, Murray!

      When it’s said that element bolt will have integration with FC-E smart trainers in the fall 2017, does that mean that it will be through a software update? I mean, if I buy now the bolt, there will be a software update to control a tacx smart trainer or I should have to wait to a new version of element bolt with some kind of new hardware? Also I’m very interested in the interval training mode. As i do a lot of indoor training, those two features are very important for me (interval training and FC-E integration.

      Thanks in advanced.

    • bikeman

      Hi Wahoo Murray,

      I don’t need ELEMENT/BOLT to store bike specific stats (odometer, etc. However, I would like it to automatically recognize which bike I rode, so that I don’t have to manually select the bike after uploading to Strava.

      Thanks!

    • Ian Jackson

      Love the Bolt but came across a sensor issue today. My ride partner borrowed from me a speed/cadence sensor (we’ll call it ‘her sensor’). At start of ride I had connected to my own sensor but after the ride started I noticed I was picking up her cadence. I stopped and erased her sensor but then couldn’t connect to my sensor at all. After we got home I switched everything off and back on again and all was good, but this was with her sensor deleted. So, although I like the ability to jump from bike to bike, there is an advantage of having bike profiles. I’m just going to leave ‘her sensor’ deleted for now (I’m not using it), but I suppose WAHOO don’t expect both sensors to be running at the same time.

  50. Brian

    Looking to upgrade my Garmin 800 and really like the general functionality of the Wahoo unit. Unfortunately, the lack of Live Tracking features is a deal breaker. Wonder if the Garmin 530 is coming this Summer?

    • I really wish Strava would have a good API so Garmin and Wahoo tracking could talk. The “see others riding with [your device]” is great but seriously limited.

    • That’s exactly why I’ve built an open live tracking service this winter. The existing live tracking services are all very closed. If Wahoo reads this. You are welcome to use my services. Is all open source. Of course, everyone else can use it. Currently only on Android with IpBike… link to livetracking.io

  51. Noel

    How does the unit deal with multiple bikes? Is it a sensor pool concept like Garmin uses in the 520/820/1000 or a profile-based system like the older Garmins?

    • David W.

      I use my Elemnt on three bikes and it uses a sensor pool. You just pair all the sensors with the Elemnt and get on and ride. It uses whatever sensors that are present and happens automatically. I never even think about it. There are no bike profiles so you can’t keep track of different odometer readings or things like that. But Strava does that for me so I don’t miss it.

    • Bill T.

      Thanks for the info! Ray – please add this info to your reviews going forward!

  52. David W.

    A couple of comments:
    1) In the comparison table Ray has “No” for “Records Temperature” for both the Bolt and the Elemnt. They both record temperature. It shows up in Strava on every ride. The temperature is measured by the internal sensor that is used to compensate the altimeter.

    2) According to Wahoo, the Bolt will fit onto ANY existing Elemnt mount. Although it won’t be as aero as the new mount. So, if you already have a TT mount or something like that for the Elemnt it will also work for the Bolt.

    • Actually, it says ‘Yes’ for records temperature. There are two rows. One for internal sensor, and one for external sensor. The Wahoo units only record from their internal sensor, and can’t connect to an external sensor.

    • David W.

      Right you are. Apparently my ability to read has deserted me today.

    • Drahcir

      Great review! Can’t the Elemnt connect to a, for instance, Garmin Tempe? In case you really want a external thermometer.

  53. Craig Riddle

    It looks like the charging port is accessible for use while mounted. Do you know if this supports using a lipstick USB battery to charge while riding? Yes, I do rides well in excess of the documented 15 hours and can not use a device that doesn’t let me charge while riding.

  54. Mike

    Ray can you confirm that you actually get notifications of calls/texts with an android phone? I don’t believe the original Elemnt you can, only iPhone.

    • Mike – Yes, you can get call/text notifications from Android phones. On both the ELEMNT and BOLT.

    • Mike

      Great, thanks. Are music controls definitely out? I know everyone looks down on it but what’s the difference between reaching up and touching a button to change song or changing a page on the display?

    • Not at this time. Concentrating on a few other features.

    • Mike

      Hopefully a media player on the device lol… thanks for all the info. Undecided if it’s worth it.

    • Tommy Haywood

      How about WhatsApp? No one uses text these days

    • Neal

      +1 for music control – would be a no brainer for me to buy with that feature

    • Christian Borchgrevink-Vigeland

      All kinds of notifications or only SMS and calls?

      What about the issue described by DCR here, is it solved/implemented yet:

      “The singular downside however is that unlike Garmin, Wahoo doesn’t show people you follow (friends) on Strava as a competitor, whereas Garmin does. In my case, I don’t actually follow that many people on Strava, so it’s not a huge deal. But if you’ve got a close-knit group of riding buddies, then that’s definitely a Debbie-downer moment to not be able to seek out your friend’s PR. Though, Wahoo says this is coming soon”.

  55. Arn

    Is there any “remote” like the Edge Remote that can control moving between screens on the Bolt? I’ve found that the little remote is quite handy as you can operate it without moving your hands from the handlebars – especially useful while MTB or descending quickly on the road bike. Seems like this would be easy to support. Wahoo??

  56. Daniel Newns

    Hi Ray

    genuine question Literally an hour before you posted this blog i purchased the elemnt, now reading this im not 100% sure if I should send it back or stick with what I have ordered? Is it just size difference as im not super concerned about the size or maybe I should be as its going to go on my TT bike.

    I believe the elemnt comes with a TT mount but it looks like the bolt doesnt is that correct?

    thanks again for the really great post.

    thanks

    • Correct on mounts.

      For my personally, size was important, so I’d have swapped them if in your shoes. But if you don’t care – then go forth and enjoy what’s on the way!

  57. Are there plans to support Garmin’s Varia Radar at any point, or is that locked down to Garmin? I rely on it heavily, and it has me locked into the Garmin ecosystem…(Not particularly complaining, it’s a nice jail cell.)

    • roadrash

      I agree, I might jump to this wahoo system because I hate what Garmin did with Garmin connect, trying to make it a Fitbit style thing. But I can’t live without the varia radar at this point, so I am stuck with Garmin

    • Scott E

      +1 on integration with the Varia Radar. That is one Garmin device that just works. Of course they had to buy up the company that came up with the design 😉

    • IatricJB

      I agree about the need for Varia radar support. That and cold weather use with gloves are why I bought the Garmin 520. Not sure either is addressed here?

    • ms

      I spoke to Wahoo about Varia support about one month ago. At that time they said they had no plans to support it.

      However, you can use Varia via the dedicated Varia head unit. I happened to get one when I bought my Varia radar unit so I may make the switch as I too am fed up with Garmin’s products.

    • Also the rear vary radar still works in standalone mode – it will increase the lights when a car approaches from behind, you don’t get any warning on the Wahoo head unit of course, but you have increased your visibility to the car.

    • Eric

      Agree on the Varia Radar. I got one last year and am shocked by how well it works and how much safer it makes me feel. I can’t imagine riding on open roads without it now.

      I’d make the jump from my Edge 1000 to this Bolt in a heartbeat if it were supported. As it stands, the benefits of the Varia (safety) outweigh the benefits of the Bolt (battery life, no touchscreen, better GUI, high contrast screen, easier screen configuration, aero).

    • Dan Kothlow

      I think there are 2 questions to ask, regarding Varia Radar support –
      1. Does Garmin even allow other head units to interact with the Varia Radar?
      2. And then, if yes to question 1, are there any other head units that do interact with the Varia Radar?

    • I agree. The added safety of the Varia radar is important. Yes I could use the Varia head unit and the Bolt but I like the quick easy integration of both on the Garmin. I hope that Wahoo after seeing posts like this will look into it or come out with their own product.

    • Bsquared

      +1 for Varia integration as I’ve also come to rely on it. The Bolt also needs structured workouts. My Edge 520 works well and no real issues with firmware upgrades, but its a hassle getting RWGPS maps onto it and forget about changing a route mid ride. Garmin doesn’t seem to understand its a smartphone world, while Wahoo has embraced the idea. Interested to see what Stages Dash will bring to the market. I’d sell the 520 for a head unit that better integrates with my iPhone, RWGPS, and helps me stay on track with training.

    • Husain

      Varia Radar support is the only thing stopping me from moving over to the Bolt. Its perfect (and now indispensable) for where I ride. I hope Wahoo are listening – add the support or make a better radar.

  58. Props to Wahoo for erasing pretty much all the primary objections to the ELEMENT, which was way too big and bulky. I have an edge 520 and 820. The 520 has been great, the 820 has been extremely disappointing. The touchscreen is slow to respond and awful in glove/rain conditions even with the latest firmware. (which I”m surprised was never a topic for the review on this site)

    Is there a patent preventing wahoo from making the Bolt compatible with Garmin quarter turn? I would totally sell my 820 now and get a bolt, but I don’t want to change mounts every time I use a different device.

    • TOMMY

      Easily fixed with a sharp knife in the mount

    • Bruno Moraes

      I guess what Alex is asking is if there is a way to use both Garmin and Wahoo on the same mounts (in case one has 2 bike computers). To my experience the answer is no.

      I have the original ELEMNT but for some rides I prefer the Garmin (for example in come more complex structure workouts) ant that is a pain to change it every time.

      Additionally for some specialty mounts (like canyon mount for integrated stem/handlebar) I could not really get it working well.

    • Dave

      A really good way is to use a “DOG EARS” mount…just convert Wahoo to Garmin mount…

    • John

      Mounts from third parties, like K-Edge and Cycliq, have swappable pucks that allow you to go between Garmin, Wahoo, etc… See link to youtube.com and link to k-edge.com

  59. Jeremy Marquez

    Now that Shimano Di2 Syncro Shift is out, is it possible to use the two unused levers to changes pages on the Bolt (when using full syncro setting)?

    • John

      +1

      Great question!

      Been wondering what Shimano could utilize the left shifter for since enabling synchro shift – great idea.

  60. andrejs

    Thanks for the review Ray!

    Quick question: Is there a way for the BOLT to default all loaded Strava segments to either KOM or PR goal times?

    On the Garmin units, it always defaults to something strange like the people you follow and no way to change all without going through every single segment.

    • Yes, when you hit your first segment it will have defaulted to “PR”. The middle button can be pressed once and then this will switched to “VS” which is the KOM version.
      My recommendation is keep on “PR” and set goals in Strava for your favourite segments as the integration is brilliant. Smashed so many PR’s this week just through having clear information.

  61. Thomas Kuruvilla

    Trying to understand whether this supports L/R power measurement from Watteam’s powerbeat.

  62. Oleg

    As far as I see, my Edge 520 has Crash detection.
    So this doesn’t have cycling dynamics and probably will not show platform center offset from Vector2?

  63. Robin

    Is it compatible with Garmin mounts, or rather those made by K-Edge? 😉

    • Yes, it’s compatible with the K-Edge ELEMNT adapter plates. I have one, just didn’t have time to get a photo of it.

    • Bruno Moraes

      they are compatible but to my experience not easy to use interchangeably between a garmin and a Wahoo computer as the mount orientation is different.

    • John

      K-Edge sells the inserts for both Garmin and Elemnt at link to k-edge.com

      It takes 30 seconds to change from one to the other.

      Also, since others are reporting you can actually use the Garmin insert with the Elemnt, just a tight fit, you can also rotate the inserts in the K-Edge mounts. The inserts are held to the mount by two screws. The mount has screw holes at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock so you can rotate the mounts in increments of 90 degrees to meet your needs.

      I have the K-Edge Garmin Combo XL mount (Edge 1000 and GoPro Session) link to k-edge.com and ordered the Elemnt insert, swapped the inserts in the mount, and can know use the Elemnt or Bolt.

      $5 solves your issue.

    • John

      Here are picks go the K-Edge Combo XL mount being converted from Garmin to Elemnt insert.

    • John

      insert removed – note 4 screw holes…

    • John

      Elemnt insert installed and rotated 90 degrees.

  64. Lee

    Great review! Would a Garmin HR Watch like Fenix or Forerunner be detectable on this through ANT?

  65. Paul

    Probably a long shot – but can this work with the Garmin Edge sensors? The one’s that don’t use magnets such as these: link to buy.garmin.com

    Cheers.

  66. Pavel

    Great review !!! I was awaiting launch of this unit couple of weeks/months. I found it as a product/function combo which exactly meets my needs (as a current Suunto Ambit 3 user incl. cycling – any cycling specific unit yet, but it´s time to change). BUT…, as a owner of new Canyon Ultimate with their H36 integrated aero cockpit, I don´t have any idea if there exists some way for my purpose. Would you please give me some hint ? Thank you in advance ! I´m sure there must be an answer within this great platform & community 🙂

  67. Thomas Wylie

    Hi Ray, trainer control is a big feature for me (kinda just putting this to spur on any wahoo people reading). I know the BOLT doesn’t have ANT+ FEC trainer control, but can it do it over bluetooth?

    Currently my use case is building workouts in trainer road (I don’t really use their plans) as I like the interface and the power matching feature (I have P1s and a Tacx Bushido), but I’m essentially paying a subscription for no reason.

    My ideal situation would be to plan a workout on my phone and then have the head unit take me though it either on the trainer or outdoors. Currently it seems like Garmin would be the better option for this, but it feels like Wahoo has more potential for growth and improvement.

    Essentially my questions are:

    1. Can it control my bushido over bluetooth?
    2. Are there any plans for powermatching?
    3. how far away is the ability to quickly build a workout (ideally on my phone) that can be followed on the road or on the trainer?

    Great review as ever!

    (Also, a possible error, you used “concurrently” twice in one setence when talking about how you use your head units)

  68. Hexs

    I really wish Wahoo make a stem bolt mount since it’s the only way to mount it (out front) on my Enve road bar which doesn’t leave any space for bar clamp type of mount.

    like this one from rec-mounts.
    link to amazon.com

    • k-edge makes one, yeah? Not precisely “bolt” mount, but they have three different stem and top cap mounts.

    • Dan

      F3cycling.com has you covered. Garmin and Wahoo inserts and stem-bolt mountable. I have not received my two mounts yet, but they have been shipped. #fingerscrossed

  69. Jonathan Patterson

    I HAD a 520 (sold it cos mapping & nav was garbage), I HAVE an 820, but that screen winds me up SO much.

    So I was looking at the Elemnt a while back, and now this! However, during winter I ride a lot in the dark, how does the Elemnt deliver in the dark, do you just hit a button to light it up? I think I know it has a daylight inverted display but just wondering about actually getting to the data?

    Despite the Bolt’s cool size, i like the idea of the lights telling me when I’m turning, so I think the Elemnt may just be getting the vote. ANyone with first hand experience of night riding’s opinion would be much appreciated

    thanks

    • David W

      I ride in the dark with the Elemnt all the time. You can either set the backlight to be on all of the time or press any of the buttons to have it come on for a programmable amount of time. Having the backlight on all the time uses more battery life but I didn’t have any problem for rides a couple of hours long. It used up maybe 25% of the battery (I don’t remember exactly since it wasn’t a problem). However, most of the time I leave the backlight turned off and just push a button when I want to read the data.

    • JOnathan

      Thanks David. If you are following a course in the dark and the screen is OFF, does it light up with the turn direction as well as the top edge LED lights?

      I think actually the bigger screen size will be a benefit to me, so I may jump on an Elemnt rather than the ewbie!

    • David W

      When the Elemnt gets a notification or a turn-by-turn instruction the backlight turns on for the programmed amount of time.

    • Peter

      Yes with the back light set to ‘Auto’ it lights up for the user defined period when the turn notification occurs (around 250m prior). The directional led repeat at a higher frequency as you approach the turn point. Then immediately after the turn it will give you the distance and instruction for the following turn, as well as one iteration of the Led signal. However I don’t recall it lighting the display for this pre-emptive info.

      My ELEMNT with light set to on, using TBT and with HR and SC (both ANT+) connected uses approximately 8.5% battery per hour. I now set the backlight to on for night time riding, whereas with previous touch screen devices I’ve always had them set to auto.

    • jonathan pattterson

      thanks to both above – trigger pulled on Elemnt! I think it will finally do all I can do, even this morning, a clear spring day (if a misty start) in the UK, the touchscreen on my 820 was winding me up on arrival at work…Think I’ll hang onto it though, as I’ve loaded OS coverage onto it, so there will be times when it might be needed…
      Thanks all
      JON

  70. Tim Grose

    Interesting unit but the aero thing seems a bit of marketing thing – 12 secs in an hour at 21 mph (according to Chip Hawkins in his video on it) but that’s going to be without aero bars which will clearly save you more than 12 secs wherever you then put the unit! Also B&W is mostly fine for bike computers but I feel maps work so much better in colour.

  71. Thanks for the review Ray!

    Just wanted to add that being able to screw the unit to the mount could be appealing for the transition area – I am always nervous that leaving a bike computer on a quarter twist mount is too tempting and easy for someone passing by, so typically hide it somewhere then fit it while desparately trying to take a wetsuit off! Having it permanently attached is one less thing to worry about 🙂

  72. John

    If I had a nit to pick, it would be the way these so-called “low profile” mounts can be so hard to retrofit with existing cables routed under handlebar tape.

    As much as I like the stability and durability of my K-Edge combo mount, it has the exact same problem.

    Making a mount where the horizontal extension is level with the **top** of the handlebar would be a lot more useful for a lot more people, and not that much less aero than this design.

    • Alvin

      Totally agree with this John, my bike with mech ultegra doesn’t allow the out-front mount to be installed as the shift and brake cables are in the way… what did you do to get around this John? Perhaps I’ll need to trim and clean up the cables? See attached picture.

      This wouldn’t be an issue with Di2 bikes or handlebars with integrated routing though!

    • Jeff

      It would fit if you cleaned up that messy cabling job. Your housings are too long and the cables should be routed under the bar, not along the front of it. Aerodynamics aside, it would look so much better and likely improve shifting performance as well. There’s no downside to a clean cabling job with quality cables and housings.

  73. Adrian Ralston

    Thanks for the excellent review Ray. The million dollar question is what next and where does this leave the Edge 1000?

    The app configuration is a great addition by Wahoo and Garmin would do well to intro this as well. Battery life, now for the edge is a real downside etc……….

    Completely unrelated, is there any new on whats next for the Garmin Vector?

    Many Thanks

    Adrian

  74. Sebastien

    Another really complete review. Quick question: Just looking at the bundle option. With my stages powermeter I don’t need those sensors but I wonder if my garmin heart rate strap would work on the wahoo elemnt/bolt?

    • David W.

      A standard Garmin strap works fine. I have used Garmin, Wahoo, and CycleOps and they all worked fine. I have a Stages meter and use it for power and cadence. I have the Wahoo Speed sensor for speed when GPS signal is poor (trees, etc) but I have ridden without it also. I have also used a Garmin speed-cadence combo sensor and that also works fine.

  75. Neal

    Would this serve as an ANT to Bluetooth bridge? If I want to use Zwift and I have a Quarq with ANT will the Bolt allow Zwift to pick up my data? Was thinking of buying an ANT to Bluetooth bridge but maybe this is the push I need to replace my old garmin edge 500

    • Andre Lemos

      you mean having Bolt stream data back to Zwift? Pretty sure that’s not possible.

    • Dan Kothlow

      I asked that question to Wahoo a while back about the “full size” ELEMNT, and the answer is no.
      It will not work as an ANT+ bridge.

    • mpulsiv

      http://www.peripedal.com supports ANT+ bridge on any bike computer.
      Superior training tool.

    • Jeff

      you could simply use a ant usb antenna in a pc or laptop to transfer data to Zwift. With the ant antenna, there’s no need for a head unit as it transmits data to Zwift from all of my sensors and is then logged in Strava, if you set it up to do so.

  76. Mark Pirri

    I’m curious to see how the “bolt to the mount” thing will work in UCI races when a bike change for a mechanical is necessary – the rider is always quick to grab their PC8 or Garmin and move it to the new bike before they throw a leg over to rejoin the race. Having the ability to do this seems more important than saving 61 grams on UCI’s scale, no?

    Or can they remove the bolt while racing and just re-install it before putting the bike on the scale?

    • Andre Lemos

      why not just have another Bolt bolted (see what I did there?) onto the replacement bike? It’s not like they’ll have shortage of devices…

  77. Eli

    So we learn that Ray is blue/green color blind :-p

  78. Giles E Endicott

    Any chance of a side by side image of the BOLT, ELEMENT and the Garmin competition.

    Like the ol’ rolling pin photos of watches!

  79. Travis

    Can you choose data fields when using strava live segments? I’d like to be able to see power along with how far ahead or behind i am.

    • Dan Kothlow

      The Strava page does not allow field customization.
      If you are on a page with your chosen fields, you can get banner notifications of Strava segment progress at 25% of the segment distance, 50%, and 75%, and if you are close to besting your PR, a large popup will appear as well, encouraging you to push for the PR.
      On the “full size” ELEMNT, the side LEDs can be configured to show power zones. I’m not sure how that would work with the BOLT top LEDs.

    • That’s an annoying thing about the Strava page- I lose the HR LEDs. I want to go into the red, but I want to know how far I’m into the red.

  80. Steve

    I’ve read that Wahoo has been using “average segment speed” to calculate Strava Live Segments. Has that changed? I know in the Wahoo Elemnt user forum there have been some discussions regarding how that doesn’t really make sense when a segment changes grade and consequently speed. If I’m doing a segment and the information on how I’m comparing to a PR or KOM is based on the average speed then it’s pretty useless if the segment changes grade… which is true of every segment near me. I know Garmin uses data from my specific location to tell me where I stand on the segment so it’s much more accurate and useful.

    It would be great if you or someone from Wahoo could confirm just how Live Segment data is currently calculated and if they are using the average speed from the segment, are there are plans to either change it to something that’s useful/accurate or at least offer the option to have Live Segment data calculated with real-time speed as compared throughout different points on the segment.

    Thank for the great review. I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time before I dump my Garmin 510 for the Bolt.

    • TOMMY

      I have the same question

    • Steve

      I have also heard that Wahoo includes zeroes when they calculate average cadence. So I get the average of my pedaling and coasting, but not the average cadence when I’m pedaling.

      It would be great if either Ray or someone from Wahoo could verify if this as well as the “average speed” in Live Segments is the case.

      I know Ray said he thought Wahoo did Live Segments better than any other computer, but frankly, if they are using average speed for the segments then I’d respectfully disagree… It certainly looks well done, but looks can be deceiving. That’s what I usually like about Ray’s reviews, the attention to detail. I hope we get an answer.

    • I just tested this out and yes, the ELEMNT (and I assume the BOLT) Strava Live Segment screen uses average speed.

      So looking at this segment:
      link to strava.com

      On the ELEMNT at the start of the segment which is flat, it was showing me 55 seconds ahead (if only!), and as I climbed that fell until at the top it was 35seconds.

      If you look at the way it is shown on the Strava web site, then you see that in reality I was only ever 5-10 seconds ahead for most of the climb, and I made the most progress at the top section where I picked up 20 odd seconds.. The ELEMNT sort of gave the complete opposite impression while riding!

      So definitely room for improvement, but still fun and nicely implemented up to a point.

      Cheers

      Ian

    • Steve

      Ian,
      Thanks for the follow-up! Since Ray and no one from Wahoo replied I figured that was the case. While I agree it is fun, I’d expect a higher level of execution there as well as in calculating average cadence (without using zeroes) on the bike.
      Thanks again!

    • Agreed.

      Looking at the Strava API for segment efforts (link to strava.github.io) it seems they don’t actually expose enough data to show anything other than an average speed currently. They do state on this page that “The object is returned in summary or detailed representations. They are currently the same” so I guess the detailed representation has not been completed yet.

      Not sure if or how Garmin are doing it in that case – they either have privileged access to an API not publicly available or they are doing their own estimation on the device based on gradient perhaps (or they are not doing it at all – I haven’t actually checked – they may use an average too)

    • Scratch that! You can use effort streams from the Strava API link to strava.github.io – I guess it’s down to Wahoo not putting the effort in to complete that yet 🙂

    • Steve

      Ian,
      Thanks for doing the research into that! I had suspected as much regarding Wahoo not taking the extra steps to get the segment stream set up properly. I guess I don’t understand why they wouldn’t have that done. It would seem like low hanging fruit along with proper cadence calculation. I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation, but it seems like they are avoiding the issue altogether when no one seems to want to address it. I appreciate that there is someone else out there that see this as something worth asking about! 🙂

    • Wahoo Murray

      Correct, currently average but that will change very soon

    • Christian Borchgrevink-Vigeland

      Nice, so you can confirm real comparison will be used very soon? Any time horizon?

    • Christian Borchgrevink-Vigeland

      Hi Murray.

      I got a reply from Wahoo customer service today saying this is NOT changing. Could you please shed some light on this issue? Thanks

    • Wahoo Murray

      Hi Christian, our customer service team may not yet know about changes to this feature and as a general rule we don’t like to talk about unreleased and unannounced features as things can change but we making this change, I can’t give a date but it will be in our next major release.

    • Christian Borchgrevink-Vigeland

      GREAT!

    • Christian Borchgrevink-Vigeland

      Do you plan to support Strava Beacon? Seems a much better alternative to the live share link from Wahoo. Much more functionality.

    • Wahoo Murray

      No plans right now, but improving live tracking is important to us.

    • Christian Borchgrevink-Vigeland

      Great! Would like basic features like:
      – Current speed
      – Course travelled
      – Heart rate

    • Jeff

      in the app, you can set it to not include zeroes.

  81. Jan Aniołek

    Guy from clever training leaks new Garmin forerunner 935-while reviewing new Wahoo Bolt
    link to youtu.be

    • Michael Coyne

      You sure about that? It’s honestly hard to tell. I had also thought that in Ray’s most recent video Ray’s watch’s glass section seemed to fill much more of the front than the Fenix 5 with it’s big bezel, but it’s also hard to be certain.

      This video he’s either wearing a black/black Saphire Fenix 5, or a forerunner of some sort it looks like: link to youtube.com

    • Jan Aniołek

      Pretty sure. Looks exactly as previously seen leaked pictures link to appelmoessite.wordpress.com Don’t about what Ray was wearing though..

    • Jan Aniołek

      Sorry, the previous link didn’t work. I have attached the picture now.

    • Michael Coyne

      On second thought there’s a great flat-on shot of the watch Ray is wearing at 3:58 (link: link to youtu.be ), and I’m pretty sure I see the Fenix bezel. Dang, it looks good/thin in black/black if that’s actually the Fenix 5. I’m not sure why, but having used various similar sized caps to simulate the Fenix 5 based on the thickness/diameter dimensions listed for it (from cumin to ketchup to milk), it seems ENORMOUS compared to that. I think it must just be a quirk of how the dimensions are measured exactly.

      That said, the Clever Training vid you linked DEFINITELY has a round forerunner-looking watch in it with yellow non-circular-holes band (not sure how I missed the great shot of it right at the beginning). So unless it’s a non-Garmin with a VERY Garmin-esque logo at the bottom and Garmin-esque time font or he switched out the bands, then it’s a new Forerunner. There are 3rd party replacement bands for Forerunners that look very similar to that though: link to amazon.com and I don’t know if they’re compatible but if they are he could’ve replaced them with Fenix 5 bands if they fit for quick-fit compatibility.

      – Nevermind, they can’t be Fenix 5 bands because they have slots the whole way up the band.

    • Jan Aniołek

      Look at my previous post. It shows the watch worn by the Clever Training guy. From what people are assuming it is the new 935.

    • Michael Coyne

      Yeah looking at the video again, it doesn’t have a flat-tire on the screen – it’s a full circle. That pretty much clinches that it cannot be an old forerunner with new/3rd party bands. So almost certainly a new one then.

    • I was wearing a Fenix5.

    • Reminds me of Jesse: link to youtube.com – no offence intended 🙂

    • David E.

      And that Clever Training video has now been pulled, which might just confirm what has been speculated above. . .

    • Reed

      Brilliant plug from Garmin. To get people talking about your product while a product of a rivaling company is reviewed.

  82. Paris

    As aerodynamics are getting more and more important for those on TT bikes, is there a TT mount available as well?

    otherwise the benefits they are referring to in the presentation are not exist in TT world 😉

    * the reason is that on the TT bikes you hide the EDGE devices by either using the elastic bands or the TT mounts (the bottom part to be covered as well). For road bikes is another story though.

  83. L D A

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for another fantastic review. I’m still using my Edge 800 without any issues but I want to buy a Wahoo Bolt as an upgrade. For me Turn by Turn nav is one of the most important features I use. I created a lot of routes in Strava which work flawlessly on my Edge 800. TbT nav is almost perfect for me. I just want to ask you what you mean by “Note that the Strava routes won’t give you proper turn by turn” talking about the Bolt. Is the Tbt nav similar to what I have right now on the Edge? Thanks a lot

    • Michael Robinson

      The Garmin 820 has routable maps so the GPS itself can work out a route and provide TBT directions with street names, such as “Turn left onto Main Street”. The maps on the Garmin itself therefore contain street names to generate this type of TBT instruction.

      The ELEMNT does not have routable maps. In other words, if you want to follow a route, you must load the route onto the ELEMNT from an external source – the ELEMNT itself cannot generate a route.

      I’d therefore quibble with the Navigate section in Ray’s product comparison table that has “Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)” as “Yes” for the ELEMNT and BOLT.

      The maps on the ELEMNT are visual, but they aren’t routable as I understand the term, in that the ELEMNT can’t generate a route itself using its map.

      So for the ELEMNT to display TBT directions, the TBT directions must be included within the route loaded on the ELEMNT.

      Routes generated by RideWithGPS include TBT directions such as “Turn left onto Main Street” provided by RideWithGPS and you can actually edit the TBT directions on RideWithGPS before importing the route onto the ELEMNT.

      Routes generated by Strava don’t include the TBT directions within the route so when imported into the ELEMNT, they don’t have TBT directions such as “Turn left onto Main Street”.

    • Yeah, I agree there are some nuances there between those definitions in the table. Eventually I kinda get to the point where trying to explain those itty bitty differences is tough in a broadly understandable way. Hence, the text of the review. 🙂

    • Michael Robinson

      I don’t envy the task of explaining this stuff! To get my head around what the various mapping applications were doing I ended up looking at GPX and TCX files in an XML editor… and then there is the Garmin “Turn Guidance” feature as well…

  84. Francesco

    I spot a Pinarello bar tape in some pictures. Show us the rest of the bike! 🙂

  85. Just spotted this on the Wahoo web site, but can’t work out why you would want it? Security in addition to screwing the bolt to the mount? Or is it just so you can swing it around on your wrist as you walk to the coffee shop whistling a happy tune?

    link to uk.wahoofitness.com

    • Michael Robinson

      It’s a tether in case the GPS gets knocked off the mount after a crash.

      Lack of a tethering point for the ELEMENT has been a complaint on the unofficial forum and some people have put together DIY solutions involving superglue or replacing some of the screws in the case so it is interesting that Wahoo seem to have addressed this in the BOLT.

    • Thanks Michael – makes sense now 🙂 I’d never even considered the need for something like that, but yes I can see my Edge has a tethering point, and the Elemnt doesn’t, so I guess that is good news for Bolt users.

    • jim_H

      Yes, the lack of a tether was a minor nitpick I had with the original ELEMNT – Glad to see it addressed.

      I see there is a tether for sale on Wahoo’s site – but It’s not clear if one is included in the box. Does anyone know?

    • Damien

      Ah it’s to bad the teether was not included in the box

    • Jeff

      I agree and then to charge $9.99+sh for it? That being said I’ve never had any issues with any of my Garmins, as far as mounting them anyways.

  86. Frank

    Nice review.

    Question: how many data fields can be pictured on the map screen simultaneously?

  87. Desmond Seeto

    Thanks DCR for a fantastic and thorough review. I’ve been delaying my computer upgrade to see how the BOLT stacks up and you’ve nailed all my queries in this review. It’s out with the ageing Garmin 510 and in with the BOLT. Really appreciate the effort you put into educating and helping a regular cycling punter.

  88. Roady

    Great review Ray, spelling/typo error on ‘acquired’ (last section on Navigation, before Strava).

    I’m kinda kicking myself as my ELEMNT is only a month or two old (but still really glad I switched from the 810 to it!). A colour screen would be the logical next step for the ELEMNT ‘v2’ as although initially I missed the touchscreen of my Garmin now I don’t really feel it adds anything to the unit.

    Only thing I really want from my ELEMNT is Bike/activity profiles (done very well on Garmin) to switch between 2 bikes (indoor/outdoor usage). Not really something you’ve mentioned in either your BOLT or ELEMNT reviews (but I’d be surprised if you hadn’t used it on Garmin?!).

    • Actually…that’s correct. 😉

      Acquihired is a term where a company effectively acquires by hiring. 😉

    • Jay Baker

      So can you set up different bike and activity profiles as per the garmin? If you cant then thats a deal breaker for me as its nice to have all the different sensor data saved for different bikes/bike profiles and easily switch between them.

  89. Aleksander

    I know I am gonna come acros as a huge weirdo 🙂 but I am still gonna ask – is there any chance this thing could get a windows phone app? I mean the elemnt is pretty useless if you don`t have an ios/andorid device… or at least is it possible to configure the elemnt via desktop/laptop?

    Cheers, A.

    • Sascha

      Windows phone aside, this is an important question:

      How useful is the device if there is no suitable smartphone around?

      Not everybody is carrying a smartphone or matching smartphone around, for whatever reasons.

    • Phone is not needed while riding. It’s pretty much required for setup.

      Often I never pair my phone/start the ELEMNT app when riding. Especially because I can’t figure out how to do the “on the go” map routing.

    • Ausrufepunkt

      So just to be clear if I don’t have an iPhone or Android I can’t setup the bike computer? Not even with a computer/laptop?

  90. likepend1

    Great review!

    Clears a lot of things up! Since my edge 800 is dying i’m gonna replace it with the 820 because of the “offline routing” (routable maps) – abilities. (don’t like the smartphone & data connection requirement of the Elemnt & Bolt)

    • Jeff

      I felt the same way you did prior to buying my Edge 820. I now own a Bolt. I guess we’ll be seeing you back here in 6 months when you get tired of missing or inaccurate data, unrecorded rides and a frozen, unresponsive head unit while the group is waiting for your Garmin to calculate the route. I’ve always used RideWithGPS to do all of my turn by turn routing as I’ve found it to be the best so I would need a phone or computer anyways to create and load a route. Strava and in general GPX routing is horrible if you’re not really riding in familiar territory. TCX is far superior and should be utilized whenever possible. As Mr. Miller pointed out in his review, if you need to do on the go routing, it’s easier to just use Google maps to figure out where you are and where you need to go as it’s too many steps regardless of the unit. And if you’re riding without your phone, what do you do in case of emergency or catastrophic mechanical failure?

  91. Heado

    Hello Ray,

    what about the Elemnt Mini ?

    Technical details
    sizw 41 x 58.4 x 17 mm
    display size 1.8″
    weight 31 grams
    ANT+ yes
    Bluetooth yes
    battery time approx. 12 months (round cell)
    mount stem
    included sensor Wahoo RPM Speed

    thanks !

    source : link to bike24.com

  92. Andreas

    Can you use this device also without GPS recording (sometimes)? So it just uses the speed sensor and other sensors to track distance and speed, but does not record a track. I don’t want to record all my commutes to work, but I still would like to have them added to the total distance. If possible, how many hours would the device last (compare to GPS enabled)?

    • heado

      here is what i get (raw text don’t blame me for the lack of clarity).

      Description of Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT MINI Bike Computer black
      Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT MINI Bike Computer black
      Our price:
      89,99 €
      Price incl. VAT excl. Shipping & Handling
      for shipment to Germany.
      PriceGuarantee
      Focused on the essential
      Because controlling your bike computer shouldn’t be the most complicated part of the ride
      Wahoo Fitness is breaking the bike computer stereotype! Equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ dualband technology, ELEMNT MINI pairs seamlessly with all of your cycling sensors. Using a smartphone it is possible to expand the MINI’s functionality.
      Riding without Smartphone
      Connected via included RPM Speed sensor the Wahoo ELEMNT MINI informs about data for speed, distance and time.

      Connecting to ANT+ sensors without using a smartphone.
      Data summary at the end of the ride. Smartphone mode with advanced functions Connection via ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 sensors. Receiving of popup messages from calls and text messages. Live tracking Look for fellow Wahoo users to meet up with nearby or let friends and family track you remotely on long rides. Complete ride summary incl. total route, elevation gain etc. Transferring of data to platforms such as Strava, Training Peaks and much more.

      Fact Sheet of Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT MINI Bike Computer black
      Product Name: Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT MINI Bike Computer black
      Manufacturer: Wahoo Fitness
      Item Code: WAF317015
      Year: 2017
      Manufacturer item code: WFCC2
      Weight: approx. 31 gram (manufacturer’s specs)
      Included in delivery: ELEMNT MINI unit incl. stem mount and RPM Speed sensor
      Color: black
      Auxiliary equipment (optional): ANT+ Stride Sensor
      Balance Bluetooth Smart Scale
      Blue HR Heart Rate Strap
      Blue SC Speed and Cadence Sensor
      Cycling ANT+ Speed/Cadence Sensor
      Key ANT+ Dongle
      TICKR ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 Heart Rate Strap
      Wireless: Yes

    • heado

      sorry, did not understood that you were not talking about the elemnt mini. forget my comment.

    • Tom Peach

      link to webcache.googleusercontent.com

      So it doesn’t require a phone to be connected, but will only record GPS tracks if the phone is connected, so it kinda sits in between a cateye and an edge 25.

    • Andreas

      We are talking about the Element Bolt here, which has GPS built in

    • The Bolt, since it uses the same software as the ELEMNT, can be put into “indoor mode” to turn the GPS off.

    • Andreas

      But does it record a ride normally in that mode (i.e. distance and elevation, just without GPS)? I don’t think so unfortunately.

  93. There is another reviewer who found that if you create a course using RideWithGPS that the Garmin 520 will give you turn by turn directions. Haven’t tried it but it might be something to check.

  94. The comparison table has a row for “Built-In Cellular Chip (No Phone Required)”

    Are there actually any such cycling computers?

    I’d really love to leave my phone at home, not just because of it’s size/weight, but also so I don’t break it while mountain biking.

    Any such device would need to provide some text messaging style facility for coordinating with friends and calling for help.

    I’ve been looking at the new LTE based Android Wear smartwatches, but it sounds like their GPS tracking is really crappy without a phone. If you were to pair the Bolt to one of those via Bluetooth, would it be able to utilize the LTE connection for group tracking, etc, or does it require an app running on the phone?

    Man, I’d love an Android based bike computer with LTE 🙁

    • Not at present. There have been in the past (Bia, Timex, Android Wear of course, and someone else I’m forgetting). The backend database for bike computers and GPS watches is shared (those tables), since many times people compare them (i.e. deciding between a dedicated unit and a watch). Hence why some of those fields are there.

  95. Shinkai

    Nice review!

    One more thing though, which a lot of non windows users might care for. As its pretty much a deal breaker for those:

    Is the device accessible as a mass storage device via a standard file explorer?

    Is it possible to copy the .fit files via a standard file explorer?

    – Added support for GPX, TCX, and FIT routes from USB (plus wirelessly)

    Does this mean i can copy custom GPX routes onto the device? Again, via a standard file explorer

    • Jim_H

      it is accessible as a mass storage device – I’m pretty sure he mentioned this in his video review – I use it all the time to grab the activity files for various purposes.

    • OSX users need to use the Android File Transfer util to access the Elmnt/Bolt file system.

    • Sascha

      That would mean it’s not a “USB mass storage” device 🙁

    • TOMMY

      Yes you can access them via usb on a pc

      If using android you can save them to anywhere you damn like from the app

      You can also automatically share to drop box

      Soooooo much easier than Garmin

  96. Christian

    Thank you very much for the excellent review!

    What does it mean the BOLT supports SRAM RED eTAP System (via ANT+ Gear Shifting Profile)? Is it possible to monitore the gearing behaviour when riding?

    THX
    Christian

  97. Bsquared

    Ray, great review. One item for your attention – the product comparison table lists “ROUTABLE/VISUAL MAPS (LIKE CAR GPS)” and yes for Wahoo and a qualified yes for Edge 520. From what I read in this review (and your 2016-06 Wahoo rolls out turn by turn article), the mapping and navigation during a ride is equivalent on the 520 and Wahoo. Only difference appears to be how courses are loaded.

  98. David E.

    Anybody know if the Elemnt software includes the ability to control Kickr power using an external power meter? It’s what TrainerRoad calls PowerMatch. Not sure what Wahoo calls it, but they have the functionality on their iPhone app.

  99. Greg

    Hi Ray,
    Glad you enjoyed Australia recently at TDU. My question on the above is do they make a mount for aero road bars like on the Canyon Ultimate road bike? Thanks