My Garmin 510 died while racing the Jungle Cross II last weekend, I thought it was a dead battery but after trying to charge the unit it was clear something more serious happened.
I got 3 and a bit years of solid use out of the trusty little unit, which roughly equals 1,360 hours and although the touchscreen was not fantastic in the wet the unit worked more or less perfectly.
I had been thinking about a new cycling computer for a while and the decision came down to 2 units. The Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT and the SRM PC8. Both units are excellent products but have a slightly different target market.
I won’t get into the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT and SRM PC8 differences here, however the deciding factor for me was the mapping ability of the ELEMNT BOLT.
I like to think of myself as an explorer and having the ability to map a route and ride it is a massive positive, and ultimately what sealed the deal.
ELEMNT BOLT Reivew First Impressions
I’m not one for user manuals or quick start guides. I turned the ELEMNT BOLT on and started playing with the settings.
The first thing to note is the ease at which to navigate the settings using a smartphone and app.
It’s incredibly easy to link services such as TodaysPlan or TrainingPeaks.
For me it was a bit confusing setting up the riding screens. I tried to replicate my Garmin screens and felt a bit confused as I flicked through the options.
The ELEMNT BOLT ships with a few pre-named default screens which only really made sense after the first ride.
I wasn’t sure when or how these screens were used, or how to change through them. Did the ELEMNT BOLT know what terrain I was riding? Was it going to change to the climbing screen as soon as I started climbing? Thankfully no.
Changing between screens is done by a simple press of the page button on the unit.
The Workout screen is displayed during a workout, or while free riding. While a workout is running an 2 additional boxes are displayed with target power and countdown to the next lap/effort.
The Climbing screen is another screen, however it has the addition of a vertical profile on the lower half.
The Lap screen is another screen, when you click a lap you are automatically switched to this screen, which also contains a lap count and lap metrics.
The features I love immediately
Workout Syncing with TodaysPlan or TrainingPeaks
You can check Shane Millers workout preview video for a look at the features.
The easy of use of the workout sync feature is second to none. Wahoo have nailed this feature.
Workouts in TodaysPlan (and the same goes for TrainingPeaks) sync to the device automatically while on WiFi.
When the device starts it prompts to start today’s workout, or skip and free ride.
When you click start your page is changed to the Workout page, and displayed on screen are the additional fields mentioned above.
This feature is so fluid and easy to use i’m not sure how I possibly managed to do my sessions outdoors before using this device.
I used to have to write my efforts and break timings on my hand or arm with pen, which rubbed off and I constantly forgot how many laps or efforts I’d completed.
You can also select indoor mode from the menu (tap the on/off button once, select Indoor) and have the ELEMNT BOLT control an FE-C compatible trainer like the Wahoo KICK-R or TacX Neo with the selected workout.
Route Sync with Strava and RideWithGPS
Riding a route and loading maps is also easier than waking up in the morning after a good nights sleep.
The route integration from Strava is ace. All of your saved or created routes are available right there on the ELEMNT BOLT or in the companion app.
Select Routes, select your route and click go. It’s as easy as that.
There is a few more things to consider if you are after turn by turn navigation. You can see Shane Millers tips in the link above for those.
ELEMNT BOLT Review Conclusion
This handy little device is a game changer in my opinion, with the limited use I’ve had so far I’m amazed.
The ease of syncing, adding map data for other countries, setting up screens, linking services and the simplistic design are almost too good to be true.
There is a lot of hype around the Wahoo ELEMNT and ELEMNT BOLT and in my humble opinion the hype is real.
This is a fantastic unit with a very reasonable price tag.