How Strava Accidentally Got Their Annual Report Stats Wrong

Welcome to 2024, and the year’s first legit DC Rainmaker Sports Tech Rabbit Hole.

Every year Strava publishes their year in review stats, both in individual athlete form (more recently), but many years of total global and regional user-compiled stats. These reports have always had plenty of interesting tidbits and quirky trends. Of course, like most ‘Year in Review’ style annual reports, these trends are often created/worded in ways that make them more interesting to dig through. Sure, Strava still lists total stats and such, but most of that becomes kinda repetitive year after year – especially at Strava’s scale.

Thus, this year they added a new section – which was ‘This Year’s Top Gear’, which included top gear in things like bike brands, running shoes, and upload devices. Here’s this year’s section on that, for both the US & Global:

Part of this section is user-maintained (meaning, each user manually types out ‘Trek Pedaling Thingy’ or ‘Asics Footsy’, and then Strava matches based on that (or some loose matching logic). Ultimately though, in those cases, there is nothing in your activity file that is electronically inserting/connecting what brand of shoe you were wearing or bike you were riding (yes, this technology does actually exist for both bikes and running shoes, but Strava doesn’t really leverage it, which is logical given how limited the reach is).

Conversely, some of the report Top Gear data is indeed computer-driven, specifically around the bike computer and watch uploads. This data comes from a blend of data in the files that devices upload, as well as some manual massaging of the data on Strava’s side. Essentially, devices upload the actual device name in the files (which can be a bit messier, often a SKU number, internal model name, or such), but Strava will give it the official brand/model name, one that users actually understand and recognize (and probably what you call your device).

Now, at this point eagle-eyed spotters (including The5KRunner) may have noticed this particular line item on this chart, the cycling upload computer:

In the report it states that the Wahoo BOLT is the most popular upload bike computer in the US (whereas globally it’s the Garmin Edge 530). And while the Wahoo BOLT is very popular and well-loved, there’s simply no data that supports it being *THE* most popular upload device in 2023. After all, Wahoo now has multiple versions of the Wahoo BOLT: The Wahoo BOLT V1 (2017), and the Wahoo BOLT V2 (2021). In the same way that Garmin has the Edge 500, 510, 520, 530, 540, and so on. Just as Apple had the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, plus Ultra’s and SE’s. In the case of all of those, as well as almost every other company/model, Strava lists them individually, for example, here’s a Garmin Edge 840 upload:

How does this work? Well, in the files you upload (generally a .FIT file, but sometimes other formats like .TCX or .GPX), it’ll include details on the manufacturer and model information. Here’s how that looks for a Wahoo BOLT V2:

You can see the product code name listed there “Wahoo BOLT” with 43 as product name/ID. That’s actually the internal reference code that Wahoo uses. Each Wahoo product has a different internal ID. From there, Wahoo sends an e-mail to Strava’s devices team, which then links that internal reference name (43) to a pretty name (Wahoo ELEMENT BOLT). When Strava doesn’t have a corresponding entry in their database, a device upload will be ‘blank’, as in, it won’t show anything at all…just emptiness.

This human-led manual system actually protects all these companies from accidental uploads of unreleased/unannounced devices. These device pairings (effectively secret name to pretty name) are usually lit-up the day the device is announced. In fact, if you look at some of my activities that are ‘blank’ for weeks/months ahead of time (using unreleased devices), then they’ll magically show the correct name the moment the device is announced.

Now, with that backstory, the problem here is that for some odd reason, Strava has combined both the Wahoo BOLT V1 and V2 into a single device name, despite very clearly being two different devices. In fact, even in the files uploaded to Strava (when you select to ‘Export Original Data’ from Strava’s site), very clearly have Wahoo sending over two different device models. Here’s that data enumerated by the ever-awesome – which lets you see inside your .FIT files, from the actual files exported from Strava on two quick tests I did today, using both the BOLT V1 and BOLT V2:

Wahoo BOLT V1 (2017) = Wahoo BOLT (Product ID 31)
Wahoo BOLT V2 (2021) = Wahoo BOLT (Product ID 43)

(I then double-checked the ID against a second unit, to ensure it matches).

However, in the eyes of Strava, they consolidated this all down into simply ‘Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT’. Whereas for most other companies, they list individual models:

But why does Strava only list a consolidated Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT?

You see, when Wahoo announced the Wahoo BOLT V2, Wahoo’s PR teams at the time went to great lengths to remind journalists/media that the official name of the device was simply the ‘Wahoo Bolt’. Not V2, not 2021, not Wahoo BOLT 2, or anything else. They saw it just like Apple releasing the Apple Mac, or Apple MacBook Pro. No marketing model or such named on the site, just forever one name in most places. Akin to what Wahoo also does for their KICKR trainers.

In fact, I even got in a bit of a back-and-forth with Wahoo and their PR team about this at the time, after I titled my review “Wahoo BOLT V2/2021” rather than just “Wahoo BOLT”. Obviously, I ignored their preferences – because as consumers, we want clarity on what the heck we’re buying. Me titling something after a device name from years prior doesn’t make sense (either for consumers, Google Search algorithms, or heck, even for Wahoo’s goal of selling new model bike computers).

Thus, back in 2021 when Wahoo e-mailed Strava the new model name of the Wahoo BOLT V2 to correspond with ID “43″, they probably just requested ‘Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT’ instead of ‘Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V2’ or something else. And for whatever reason, Strava agreed. Thus explaining how two different models spanning 7 years, has managed to unseat one of the most popular bike computers of all time. And in case you’re wondering, yes, the Wahoo ROAM V1 and V2 are both consolidated under a single ‘Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM’ name.

So, armed with all of this useless information, I did what I do best: Stir the pot. Thus…I asked Strava why this was all worked up, and who the actual top-device was.

[Side note: I’m pretty sure the Strava PR folks dread seeing a reply from me in their inbox. It almost always means something has gone sideways. Whereas if it works perfectly, I rarely have need for further communications. Maybe I’ll start sending random happy notes to them too.]

Strava responded within an hour or so, confirming that they’re digging into it. Given they were digging, I let them be for a bit. Then, 24 hours later, I got a response:

“You are correct, the top upload device in the US was printed in error and should be Garmin Edge 530. This correction is being updated now, and the new US fact sheet is available


.” – Strava PR Team, Jan 4th, 2024

They even updated the top of the press release page too:

Obviously, my follow-up question was asking whether or not they’re going to properly split-out the Wahoo BOLT units/models going forward, like all other bike computers out there, to which they said:

“Great question – unfortunately, I can’t speak to this at the moment.”

Of course, Wahoo could also easily request Strava update the device name to something unique. Given Wahoo themselves now call it “v2″ on their support pages, perhaps they should go with that. But equally, it’s probably time for Strava to set some rules around this, as Wahoo isn’t the only one. Peloton combines both Peloton Bike & Peloton Bike+, and Whoop just consolidates everything as ‘Whoop’. Certainly, it’s hard to police every tiny device in the world, but when you start talking the biggest fitness companies in the world, it’s not that long a list.

I will now get back to whatever review I was writing before I got distracted with this rabbit hole of a post.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!


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  1. thank you for the link back and also for the further investigation.
    I requested more details on The top 5/10 running/biking devices according to Strava but am still waiting. It might be a very long wait, I know!!!

    What you found was suggested by others as a likely reason for the top spot given to Bolt even tho there is an identifier in the FIT files.

    Even so, it’s still surprising that Bolt 1+2 > Edge 530 in the US And not, for example, also in England. I wonder if there are any other country variations in other stats that Strava might have produced for FR, AU and DE?

    • tfk, the5krunner

      oops, GB

    • Cheers! Yeah, I didn’t seem to get the other-country stats this year, nor have I seen them. Historically they were in the press/media Dropbox share, but this time it was a smaller selection. Admittedly, it kinda became too much in years past, so I don’t blame them if they skipped it this year.

      On the Top 5/10/etc devices, one thing I wish Strava’s new CEO would ‘undo’ (since he started on Tuesday), is their policy prohibiting automated research of public segment data. You’re allowed to manually do it, but that’s incredibly difficult compared to a 2-second script. I’m totally OK with some sort of policy agreement, just like the developer API.

      Historically, we could quickly look at things like Top Watches or Bike computers for the Ironman World Championships, or various Marathons, Gran Fondo’s, etc… It was fascinating, and super cool (and frankly promoted frequently how Strava has become the de facto place for data).

      Examples of this were:

      Kona 2017 Device Deep-Dive: link to
      Boston & London Marathons: link to
      Ride London: link to


    • tfk, the5krunner

      that sort of data must be quite valuable for market research on changes to market share (albeit complicated by individual usage patterns), even to the point where i’d say it has value.

      i guess that’s why they stopped programmatic access ;-)

    • okrunner

      Do I get to say “I told you so”? No, I won’t. Glad Ray chased this down. Love the content from both of you.

    • Fraser

      Why does any of this really matter? People are too concerned with what others have these days. Get what works best for you and your budget/setup.

    • Morbo

      Garmin and Wahoo are fighting hard for market share. They are sure interested in this kind of info. Other people follow the whole market and like to keep tabs on it to see where it is headed because that kind of thing interests them. I don’t think this is about fashion and wanting to follow trends and look cool for individuals like it seems like you might be suggesting.

  2. Good catch, Ray. 👏
    I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that the 530 is so popular. Yes, it’s more affordable than the touchscreen E830 and offers more features than BOLT v1 (v2), but it’s sooo annoying to use. 🤷‍♂️

    • usr

      Don’t underestimate how pervasive the idea of buttons over touchscreens is in mountainbiking. I suspect that quite a few would have picked 530 over 830 even if there had been no price difference.

    • Thomas

      Yep! Always prefer to use the buttons over the touchscreen, not only on the mtb, but also on the road.
      If you are used to the garmin button usage in general, I don’t find it annoying at all.

    • Duncan Granger

      This is exactly why I still use a 530

    • Oleg

      A lot of people upgrading from older Garmins and they used to the system. Especialy when they also own other devices (like Garmin smart watch).

    • Good points, guys. So, if the Edge 840, which combines a touchscreen and buttons, wasn’t so expensive, it would probably be the next most popular choice.

  3. Keith

    I assume the Strava PR team know they’ve got the year wrong in their correction!

  4. Andy

    Pop up ads (the full screen kind you can’t close) are absolutely going crazy on my iPad as I’m trying to read this and all other articles – we’re talking every 15 seconds. I do have block pop ups on. I had to type this in Notes and quickly cut and paste it to your comments. I haven’t had this problem in the past but right now you site is completely unusable for me.

    • Hi Andy-

      Hmm, that’s definitely odd, and shouldn’t be happening. If you can take a screenshot next time, that’d be great – and just shoot it to ray @ my domain name.

      (Also good to know if on the iPad you’re seeing the mobile version of the site, like on a phone, or the desktop version, like on a computer. You can set it either way.)


    • Sent desktop popup. Good Luck Hunting it down.

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Yeah, I’m seeing the same thing on my iPad and Mac. If I’m not logged in and reading an article, after a couple minutes it redirects me to some scammy sites. Seems different each time. Here are a couple.

      link to
      link to

    • Thanks Bruce and Duaine (got the images), and Andy. I’ve got the ad provider running down stuff to see what’s up.

      Appreciate the heads-up!

    • Don Rhummy

      Ray, I get the same issue on android and messaged about it on a previous post

    • Steve

      I had the same thing earlier today on my MacBook Air on FireFox and Safari … I signed in and now (3pm MST) it seems to have stopped. I was thinking I’d picked up something on my laptop – but couldn’t find anything on Activity Monitor, and it wasn’t on any other sites.

    • Thanks all.

      The ad provider made some changes to allowed advertisers around 11PM CET (5PM US Eastern) yesterday that hopefully will have undercut any pop-overs or redirections. We haven’t previously had issues there, and nothing changed recently, but hopefully the change will get rid of it.

      If not, feel free to shoot me a note (ideally with a screenshot) to ray at my domain name.


    • Dan

      Hi Ray! Best wishes for 2024! A somewhat naive question: Does reading your site on a browser (e.g. Safari) with activated ads as opposed to using measures to block ads (e.g. DuckDuckgo) support your channel in any shape or form? Or is it without negative consequences for you if I block ads?
      Regards! Dan

  5. Interesting story, thanks for the follow-up and posting. Cheers!

  6. Fabio

    Aren’t A145 and CE5D the unique ID of your specific devices? My v1 for example was “ELEMNT BOLT DE05”, I don’t own it anymore but I guess it may have been matched with a couple bytes from the Bluetooth or WiFi MAC or something like that. If that’s the case then Strava just can’t tell between the two from the fit data alone.

  7. Tommy

    I hate Mcafee. I was reading your article and Mcafee took over my screen, started scanning. F’ing annoying. Why do you even let them advertise on your site.

  8. Andy

    It looks like it must have been because I was allowing JavaScript. I figured out things were okay when I opened as a private tab and then I went back and started changing the iPad Safari settings one by one. It is strange that your site was the only one I could recreate the problem with but it did it every time until I turned off JavaScript.

    Sorry for bothering you and thanks for your reply. It was important to get it working because your site is part of my daily breakfast reading – even when it’s about products I don’t own and have no intention of ever buying. Thanks again!

  9. Andy

    It looks like it must have been because I was allowing JavaScript. I figured out things were okay when I opened as a private tab and then I went back and started changing the iPad Safari settings one by one. It is strange that your site was the only one I could recreate the problem with but it did it every time until I turned off JavaScript.

    Sorry for bothering you and thanks for your reply. It was important to get it working because your site is part of my daily breakfast reading – even when it’s about products I don’t own and have no intention of ever buying. Thanks again!

  10. Duncan Granger

    While the files uploaded from the head unit include data that indicates its manufacturer and model name, an area where these statistics are much less accurate is equipment. When I do a bike ride, in the Strava app on my phone, I am not able to change which bike I was riding for that activity. So 90% of my rides end up being attributed to my default bicycle, when in fact probably only 50% are ridden on that particular bike. Because I would have to go into the desktop version to change the equipment for the ride, and I rarely use the desktop version, my “equipment“ data is wildly inaccurate. I suspect this is probably the case for many other Cyclists, and runners as well. Something to keep in mind.

  11. Jojo

    Thanks for this interesting article Inspector Raynmaker

  12. pat

    Is this bike computer Pareto just for rides and exclude virtual rides. I bet most virtual rides (Zwift/rouvy/Fulgaz) are Garmin 530 correct? Will that skew the results

    • Paul S.

      Certainly not for me. Outside I use my Edge 1040. Inside, it’s the Zwift app on my iPad mini (or occasionally, the Zwift app on my MacBook Air). Inside I don’t use the Edge at all.

  13. Greg Franks

    I suspect that there are lots of people like me with multiple Garmin/Wahoo/… gizmos. Perhaps it would be more useful to aggregate all Garmin/Wahoo/.. data into buckets. I’m still using a 520 plus for winter riding (buttons, where I don’t care about anything except start and stop, an 830, and now a “new” 1030 plus because I’m turning and the big screen is nice. I say “new” for the 1030 because it is EOL and therefore cheaper and works just fine. I have to admit I prefer buttons on my watch (Fenix — again older model), but the touch screen interface on the edge gizmos. I guess I am weird.

  14. Derek

    Ray, you may want to look up the word “inversely” and then a second later look up the word “conversely”. You use the former in basically everything you write, and your usage is not correct. May I suggest you try running your copy through a GenAI tool for cheap fast editing? Great blog, been reading for years.