PRODUCT REVIEW: Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Smart Cycling Computer
Author: Tim Lofthouse Date Posted: 19 May 2017
As Tim has alluded to in my blogs of late – he's becoming a bit of a Wahoo fan-boy. And needless to say, he wasted no time getting his hands on Wahoo's newest addition to the ELEMNT family – the BOLT.
Having ridden with their flagship GPS computer, the Wahoo ELEMNT for a touch under a year now, I can confidently say I’ve become rather fond of the unit, and managed to pull a few fellow riders onto the band-wagon as well. For the smartphone wielding, discerning cyclists of today, it is the most ‘modernised’ cycling computer available on the market, as far as functionality goes (My full review of the ELEMNT can be found HERE). But, like every good thing in life, there is room for improvement. And Wahoo Fitness were quick to re-join the party.
While I didn’t consider it an issue, if I had to pick one thing about the ELEMNT which I liked less than the rest of the features, it would be the slightly chunky, heavier nature of the unit. And what do you know, a year later and Wahoo deliver the BOLT, everything I love about the ELEMNT, packaged into a smaller, lighter, sleeker, more aerodynamic unit.
If you’re considering buying this unit, it’s likely you are also looking at Garmin’s Edge range as well, so I’ll make things easy for you. Wahoo ELMNT BOLT is superior to its closest competitors in the Garmin Edge range (520, 820) in terms of:
- Functionality - A breeze to set-up and use! Like the ELMNT, The ELMNT BOLT gives you the ability to chop-and-change 170 data options from your smartphone on the move. Also, hit stop, and the unit (when paired with your smartphone) will have automatically uploaded your ride data to Strava, Trainingpeaks etc. before you are even able to pull your phone out of your pocket.
- Battery-life – In my experience, the BOLT is at least twice as good as any Garmin unit, even during navigation. I have seen others (namely, BikeRadar.com) claim the unit battery lasts three times as long as their Garmin units. The device also charges swiftly.
- Aerodynamic/compact design – Wahoo certainly did not cut any corners with the design, employing the likes of Dimitris Katsanis (the cycling mechanic responsible for developing the British cycling track team’s success as well as Bradley Wiggin’s world hour-record winning bike) to develop the unit and its integrated mount. The construction of the unit truly is impressive, every detail has a purpose, from the bullet-like shape of the unit as it sits flush in the mount, to the slight, dimpled curve of the function buttons which channels airflow over the head of the stem, there is nothing on the BOLT that feels unnecessary.
- Price – The BOLT is incredibly competitive on price with its closest Garmin rivals, at a very reasonable $399 for the head unit (+mounts), it’s also $100 cheaper than the original ELEMNT.
Garmin only have an edge (excuse pun) over Wahoo in two aspects of their units, being Garmin’s more detailed, colour navigation, and the ability to load pre-recorded interval session layouts onto the device.
If you’re after a unit which is easy-to-use, yet gives you the ability to meticulously analyse your ride data, is light, aero, aesthetic and all around a good value-for-money buy, I would strongly recommend giving the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT a try.
If you’re in need any further convincing – come instore and chat to myself or one of our friendly staff!