Why I Love the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

I’ll be honest. I’ve been a bike computer skeptic. Coming from the world of triathlon, I never understood why cyclists loved their bike computers so much. Of course, cyclists probably say the same thing about triathletes and their Garmin watches.

When I first started riding gravel, I had no intention of purchasing a bike computer. I had my Garmin watch to measure pace and distance and my phone to look up routes. The looking up routes part doesn’t work so well when you’re out in the middle of nowhere. After a few miles of being certain that I had led a group of first time riders down the wrong path, I decided to invest in a bike computer.

Since Wahoo is here in Atlanta and I already had the Wahoo KICKR it made sense to invest in the ELEMNT (by the way, if anyone knows why Wahoo likes to wreak havoc on my spell checker by leaving out vowels, please let me know.

Because I do sometimes still ride tri bikes and get sucked into the most ‘aero products’ on the market (feel free to make fun of me), I went with the ELEMNT Bolt.

wahoo_elemnt_bolt_limiteded_1.jpg

Okay - for you techies, here are the specifics on the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt

  • Up to nine fields per page; side buttons increase/decrease which you see, in your order of preference (I typically pay attention to 3)

  • 170+ data field options (I have no idea what 162 of these are for)

  • Layout configured via Elemnt app (SUPER EASY TO SET UP)

  • ANT+, Bluetooth and WiFi

  • File uploads to your favorite sites wirelessly as soon as you end a ride

  • 2.2in/55.9mm screen

  • 2.1oz/60g

  • 15hr claimed battery life (up to 20hr with LEDs turned off)

  • Seven LEDs configurable for navigation, Strava Live Segments or targets for heart rate, power, speed and more

  • Aero design with integrated mount - (Mount is SUPER easy as well)

  • Three top buttons, two arrow side buttons, one power/settings button

  • No touchscreen

More importantly, here are the top 5 things that I like about the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt.

  1. Turn by Turn Directions. I can upload my GPX file or tap into a route that I’ve previously ridden for turn by turn navigation. That’s great for someone who ‘vaguely remembers’ all the turns on a route but sometimes gets a bit lost along the way. I’ve also heard that certain gravel events aren’t very well marked so it can be incredibly helpful during an event as well. I would get this computer for this feature alone.

  2. Easy set up. I still have to google how to set up any feature on my Garmin and I’ve been using a Garmin watch for almost 10-years. Wahoo makes set up quick and easy.

  3. Key Metrics. As mentioned in the specs, you can set up 9 fields per page with 170 total fields to choose from. That makes it easy for you to use the computer for any goal. I typically like to measure ride time and total time (for nutrition and hydration purposes), elevation grade (so I feel justified alternately whining and boasting about how much I climbed), and MPH (which is really a vanity metric but it’s fun to see how fast I can go downhill).

  4. Live Tracking. You can share a live tracking link via the ELEMNT App. This makes my mom somewhat happier when I’m out riding solo….although she probably obsessively watches the dot for 3 hours. It also gives me a bit more peace of mind that at least someone can find my last known location if I mysteriously go missing (I read way too many thrillers).

  5. Connects to my Phone for Notifications. I don’t always love this feature but sometimes I’ve been riding my bike while ‘working’ (it’s great problem solving time). This allows me to get important messages as needed.