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New Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt, the first aero cycling GPS

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Today Wahoo presents its new cycling computer, the new Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt. This GPS bike computer follows the path started by the original ELEMNT, with which it shares all its specifications. And certainly, the original model has caused good impressions among its users.

There was only one complaint among many of the potential customers: a size too big. And more than in terms of actual size, mainly because of its design, which does not disguise it at all. In fact it is like carrying a brick installed on the handlebar.

The new Wahoo proposal is focused precisely on reducing the size of the device. But this smaller size does not mean reducing the performance of the device, which remains the same as in the larger model. So we are going to go into detail in all the specifications so that you can know the ELMNTs if they did not sound like anything until now.

Characteristics of Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

Both the original Wahoo ELEMNT and the new ELEMNT Bolt are very complete devices. Of course it offers the basic functionality of any GPS computer: displaying speed, distance travelled, training recording and all the other usual features of this type of device. But it goes beyond this basic functionality.

Before I go in to evaluate some functions, if you think I'm going to detail all the features of the Wahoo computer. Yes, in bulleted listings. I know you like bulleted listings. Well, your wish is my command.

  • Small size: 74.6×47.3×22.1mm. By comparison, a Garmin Edge 520 has very similar measurements (73x49x21mm). And both are also very similar in weight, about 60 grams each
  • The screen is 2.2″. And again to "put a face to it", the Garmin Edge 520 is 2.3″, practically the same. In the case of the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt it is high resolution but in grayscale, there are no colors on screen as in Garmin although the contrast is high
  • Integrated aerodynamic design along with the stand itself
  • Compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+ simultaneously, allowing the use of both types of sensors
  • Wireless synchronization via Bluetooth Smart, WiFi or ANT+
  • Autonomy of up to 15 hours of GPS use
  • Programmable LED reference indicators for different metrics such as speed, power or heart rate
  • Three smart touch buttons on the bottom
  • Dedicated zoom buttons on the side of the device to enlarge or reduce the number of data fields
  • Route navigation and global map availability
  • Monitoring of live activities
  • Compatibility with Wahoo Kickr roller, electronic shifters (Di2, eTAP, EPS or FSA WE) or oxygen sensor in muscles. Generic compatibility with ANT+ FE-C rollers is coming, but not yet available
  • Compatible with live Strava segments

That is to say, exactly the same features as the original Wahoo ELEMNT, so the only difference between the two models is the smaller size of the new Bolt.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

And as they constantly point out from Wahoo, their aerodynamic design.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

Wahoo boasts a lot of that design and the integration between the device and its support. Let's be realistic, the aerodynamic difference that can exist between a traditional device and the new ELEMNT Bolt should be minimal, entering already the field of marginal gains (very marginal). But if we can get half a watt from there ... well half a watt more to the bag. Nobody rejects those free watts no matter how little they suppose.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

The screen is neither touch nor colourful, but has good resolution and high contrast, making it fully readable for route navigation.

The control of the ELEMNT Bolt is done, as in the original ELEMNT, with a total of 6 control buttons: one on the left side for power (and access to settings), two on the right side to increase or decrease the number of visible fields (which I will briefly explain later on how it works), and three under the screen, which are the "smart" ones.

That is to say, they don't always have the same function, but they are "software" buttons. Depending on where you are, they will do one thing or another, always indicating on screen what they are for.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

Buscador de chollos

As for sensors, it is totally versatile, allowing you to connect Bluetooth and ANT+ devices simultaneously. So you can connect, for example, a Bluetooth pulse sensor and an ANT+ potentiometer. Used to what is offered by brands like Polar or Garmin, which force us to opt for Bluetooth or ANT+, it is grateful that there are brands that try to leave the final choice in the hands of the customer.

One of the new features of the ELEMNT was the intelligent LEDs. These can be configured according to various data sources and work as if it were the speedometer or tachometer of your car, to control some aspect in a more visual way. In the case of the ELEMNT Bolt and due to its smaller size, there is only room for one of these luminescent rows, at the top of the device.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

It is a curious and certainly intelligent option. You can set it up for example with respect to your power zones and know perfectly and at a glance if you are doing the intervals in the right zone or if you are fainting and are no longer able to keep zone 6 in your interval 17.

Best of all, it's always there, no matter what you're displaying on screen, such as the navigation map.

Finally, remember that the ELEMNT Bolt is compatible with route navigation you create with external applications such as Strava, RideWithGPS, Komoot or any other (such as Suunto Movescount) You only need to have a route in .GPX and you can transfer it to the device wirelessly, but you must plan the route in advance, as you cannot enter an address on the device and have it prepared for you.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

The maps are based on Open Street Maps, so cartography is available to everyone and without having to pay for them, as they are free (and continuously updated) maps.

In short, a quite interesting device for all that it offers and, above all, for what it offers in comparison with other manufacturers.

How Wahoo understands the configuration of data screens

Among those particularities that Wahoo prints on its products is also the configuration of the data screens. I don't want to go into too much detail, mainly because this is not a complete test. But I do think it is interesting to comment because what Wahoo does is not done by any other manufacturer.

All the configuration of the ELEMNT Bolt is done through the mobile application. But there are no data screens that you can edit with the fields you want, Wahoo asks you to establish a list of importance for each of the available data, for example power, speed, heart rate, cadence, etc.

With the list already built, when you use the zoom buttons you will be able to increase the number of data on screen, which will be ordered according to the importance you have previously established.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

It doesn't mean that there aren't several pages of data, which there are.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt, availability and price

The new Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt you can buy it NOWAs for its price, it's surprising. Despite not cutting any features from the original ELEMNT its price is quite a bit lower. The ELEMNT Bolt is on sale from 239.99 euro which, compared to the 329.99 euro of the ELEMNT (on sale now at 299.99 euro) is a substantial difference. You can also buy the device as a pack including additional sensors.

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My opinion

The Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt is an important bet for the American brand. It represents an important price reduction with respect to the device they already had in the market, so it is clear that Wahoo has a lot of hopes in its new computer. It is not usual that a brand launches a product renewal (although in this case it is not such, but a product that complements the previous one) and accompanies it with a price reduction.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

The goal is clearly to compete against the successful Garmin Edge 520. Compared to the Garmin device, the ELEMNT Bolt cannot match some of the Edge's main features, such as its ability to perform workouts, FTP calculation, the Garmin Connect platform (although we can export our workouts to it), set up alerts, or any of the many settings you can set up in Garmin. For some people this can be an insurmountable barrier, although a lot depends on how you are going to use the device.

But I don't want to say that the Wahoo is an inferior product, it's just different. Starting with the navigation possibilities, which thanks to a bigger internal memory allows to store bigger maps, one of the main cuts made in the 520 not to cannibalize the upper range. The map included in the Wahoo devices is worldwide, and also quite detailed.

The ELEMNT Bolt continues to offer all those features that made the ELEMNT a special and different device, putting special emphasis on aerodynamics, something that until now no manufacturer had done in their products, at least not giving it the importance that Wahoo has given it.

The new Wahoo model is another piece of good news for a market that is almost entirely dominated by Garmin. And it is good that it is being brought to market by a company like Wahoo, which has traditionally been quite disruptive, and which from its small market share has already achieved great things. For example, being able to finish off Computrainer, if not directly, then being quite "guilty" of having done so. An unmistakable sign that they take their work very seriously and that they take their customers' opinions into account. And in the end, that is what we appreciate most.

And with that... thanks for reading!

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19 Comments

  1. It looks good, waiting for your full test. Do you know if the screen linked to the Strava segments can be set arbitrarily as in the Edge range, I mean if when the segment jumps you can see the time or distance you are ahead or behind the time you have as a reference and at the same time in that same screen you can keep seeing your pulse, cadence, speed, etc as you can in the Garmin.

    1. No, the Strava screen is for Strava data only.
      You can change the reference time against which you compete (KOM or personal record, not best friend time), but not display other speed or heart rate data.

      1. What a glitch. During the segments you want to beat, having the time you're ahead or behind is more than enough for me. Let's see if they can fix it with updates. Garmin also took a long time to incorporate it into the Edge 520. I think it's great the way you configure the GPS from the phone. One of the big glitches of Garmin where you have to do it from the device itself and it's a glitch. I'm not telling you anything if it's one like the 520 without a touch screen. This Wahoo has details that fall in love.

          1. I'm sorry, maybe I misspoke. I mean, while you're on a Strava segment, on the main screen of the device, the one with the pulse, cadence, distance, etc., you can also enter the time you're ahead or behind on that Strava segment with respect to your target or the distance you have left to finish that Strava segment as another data field on that main screen, not on the Strava segment screen. This is possible and very practical on Garmin Edge and I'm not sure if wahoo has already implemented it.
            On the other hand, do you know if the time in the segment is with the total average of the segment, or on the contrary it is like in the Garmin with instantaneous value in each point of the segment. Thanks for your attention.

          2. Well, I'm sorry I can't give you any more details, but I don't have any Wahoo right now to check and test

          3. If it's as imprecise as the times that Strava sets when competing in a segment... it doesn't matter if it puts it in or not.
            In Garmin there are gaps of more than 30 seconds, so beating a time is quite a "surprise" ending.

  2. Hi, Eduardo!
    Question: Could my H7 (polar) tape be used with this Wahoo? And could the sensors be the panobikes? (Sorry if these are questions chorras😬😬).
    Finally, if you had 300 euros, you who have had both, which would you keep, Garmin 820 or this one (or even his big brother)?

    Greetings! And thank you! I'm still reading!

    1. No problem, because the Wahoo supports ANT+ and Bluetooth.

      Starting from the sensors you already have the investment in the Wahoo is clear. With this one you will be able to use them, while with the Garmin you won't. And the Wahoo is a device that works very well.

      1. Thank you very much! I will listen to you and I will ask for it (through your web, of course this 😁), although I don't know if the cartography will be a little short in my outings with the mtb.

  3. Hi, I have a garmin 910xt with pulse and cadence sensors on my bike, could you tell me if these sensors are compatible with wahoo? Both are ant+ but I ask because apparently they are not compatible with the latest generation garmin (520,820, fenix 5..etc) despite being of the same brand.
    Thank you and a greeting.

    1. ANT+ is a standard and as such, everything works as long as it is compatible with this type of transmission, so not only the Wahoo is compatible but all the Garmin you have indicated as well.

  4. Hi, Eduardo.
    I wanted to know if you're going to do a test soon because I'm thinking of buying one but I wanted to see your test first.
    My main interest is to follow routes. Currently I do it with the Garmin 520 but it is very cumbersome. Do you recommend it to follow routes?
    Thanks a lot for all your help

    1. It's not planned, because I couldn't get Wahoo to provide me with a test unit.

      It's a very good device, but it may not be the best choice for following navigation routes, especially if there is a change in the middle of a route. For this case I would personally lean towards Garmin Edge 820 or Garmin Edge 1030.

  5. Thank you, Eduardo.
    I have been working with the Garmin 520 and an old mobile phone in which I have opened the wikiloc or the strava. In the wikiloc or the strava , the day before I prepared the route I want to do and so far it has worked well because I have always been able to follow the route perfectly on the mobile screen.
    The question is whether the wahoo or the Garmin 1030 would greatly improve the tracking.
    The question is, how would it get better?
    I wanted to know this to assess whether it is worth spending more than 500 euros
    Thank you very much.

    1. Primarily turn-by-turn navigation, route changes or navigation to specific points (one way), I recommend you read the specific section of the Edge 1030 test for full details.

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