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Wahoo Elemnt Bolt – Test/Review

With the Elemnt Bolt, Wahoo has released a bike computer that – compared to the market competition – is aerodynamically optimized and with its high performance is aimed at ambitious racers.

Besides the top dog Garmin, Lezyne, Wahoo and co. now also offer high-quality bike computers. To what extent the models can compete and what advantages and disadvantages they offer we want to determine in the next few weeks. As the second model in this series, we test the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt.

The Elemnt Bolt bike computer advertises its compactness, ease of use and aerodynamically optimized shape. The whole package sounds very interesting and hopefully not only on the on paper worth a test.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt – Unboxing

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt comes in an easy-to-open box. When you open it, an overview of the bike computer is immediately revealed and the most important key data and capabilities are listed. In addition to the bike computer, a charging cable, two handlebar mounts (1 aerodynamic), the user manual and a few cable ties are included. The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt makes a good first impression. The case looks very carefully crafted and has very high-quality, small gaps. The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt bike computer is made of a relatively smooth plastic, which takes some getting used to and may not seem that high-quality to some.

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The bike computer has 6 buttons to operate it. One on the left and two on the right. The remaining three buttons are positioned at the bottom of the display. The buttons are very comfortable to press and seem to have a good pressure point. How that looks when assembled remains to be seen.

The heart rate sensor Wahoo Tickr is delivered in a cardboard box including chest strap and user manual. Here, too, the workmanship is of high quality.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt – Commissioning

The start-up and setup, of the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, is supposed to happen very easily via the manufacturer’s own app for IOS and Android. This works very well at first.

First, you turn on Bluetooth on your smartphone, and launch both the app and the bike computer. Then a QR code appears on the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt that you can scan with the camera open in the app. The Bluetooth connection between the two devices will then be established automatically and you should be able to start setting it up.

Unfortunately, there were more problems here at the beginning of our test. When setting up workout pages, the app always crashed, forcing us to use the default settings. Unfortunately, the connection of the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt with a WLAN network also did not work reasonably, so it was not possible to quickly perform a software update here.

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The Tickr chest strap is available in a bundle

During the course of our testing, a new version of the app came out, and with it, the workout page setup works flawlessly.

Otherwise, the app is very clearly laid out, and is definitely better designed than Garmin Connect in terms of some aspects. It’s easy to connect the app to various third-party accounts like Strava or Komoot. For example, navigation is possible with Komoot and your activities are uploaded shortly after finishing and stored in your training network.

Without a working app, the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt unfortunately offers a very sparse performance and cannot unfold its potential, as you can almost not make any settings directly on the bike computer. After the software update, Wahoo provides an extremely user-oriented and user-friendly system that is really fun to use.

Mounting the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

Mounting the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt using the aerodynamic mount is simple and quick. Only one screw needs to be tightened. The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt bike computer is then simply clicked into the mount with a twisting motion. In the mount, the Wahoo Elemnt makes a secure impression. If you still want to secure your Wahoo bike computer better, you have the possibility to tighten a small locking screw from below. Then the Elemnt Bolt Headunit is firmly connected to the mount and you don’t have to worry about stability on cobblestones.

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In our opinion, the influence of the aerodynamic optimisation on the actual driving behaviour can rather be neglected. However, the whole thing makes a very harmonious impression and is at least design-wise an eye-catcher of the positive kind.

The connection of sensors worked well and quickly. They are simply added in the app and configured as desired. In the test, we used the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt with the manufacturer’s own Tickr heart rate strap and a Favero Assioma Duo powermeter.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt – Usage

The use of the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt Headunit was by and large smooth. The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt has a relatively long charging time when booting up of about 30 seconds. After starting, the cycling computer – if switched on – connects all sensors automatically. From then on, he delivers a consistently good performance. Like the Lezyne Super GPS, the bike computer automatically pauses at traffic lights or intersections where you stop and restarts when you start riding. So it does not happen that you accidentally continue driving while the ride is still paused.

We really like the design of the training pages on the Wahoo bike computer. Here the manufacturer uses his own system which hopefully will spread. On a training page you can create and prioritize up to 9 data fields. During training or competition, you can then select how many of these data fields you want to have displayed using the two arrow buttons on the right edge of the display. Consequently – according to the defined priorities – the different data fields are displayed. We find this feature very useful. Basically, it allows you to display only 2 core data such as power and speed or cadence and to orient your training around this. Data that you want to check less frequently, such as distance, riding time, training stress score, average speed or performance, still remain quickly accessible.

The operation of all buttons is also very well possible while driving and wearing gloves. The pressure points are good. The readability of the display is good both in the sun and in the shade. One reason for this is, of course, the training page design, which means that you usually have the data nice and big on the display. The battery life is also sufficient for long trips. Even after a 10 hour day ride and 2 continuously connected sensors, the bike computer still showed 28%. During further training runs, the device confirmed the stated runtime of 15 hours. Even planned routes and navigation, such as with Komoot, are no problem and do not force the battery to its knees much earlier. The Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor was also convincing in the test. It worked smoothly and reliably throughout.

The Elemnt Bolt bike computer offers various navigation and training functions.

Navigation

The navigation on the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is not particularly extensive. You have the possibility to load planned routes on the bike computer and to be navigated along them. The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt can act completely independently and is not dependent on a permanent connection to the smartphone. Of course, we wanted to test that as well.

For this we planned a route in Komoot and synchronized it with the bike computer via the app. Basically, the directions are easy to see while driving and make it easy to follow the route. An exception to this is roundabouts, which are displayed in a very unclear way. In the course of the test, this led to us mostly showing the map and not the training display on the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. Whether that is the purpose of the thing, we leave at this point time times to the test.

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Too bad that’s all the navigation has to offer. After we make one deliberate wrong turn, the clues just stop. Neither back to the route, nor a detour is indicated to us.

However, since this is also not advertised by the manufacturer, it is to be forgiven. However, we think that you can expect a little more from a device in this price range and Wahoo should improve here.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt – Indoor Training

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is also suitable for winter and indoor training. It can control controllable roller trainers like the Wahoo Kickr or the Elite Direto in different modes.

You can choose between training sessions – for example from UCI Team Ineos, reliving a route, but also an ERG, gradient or level mode. Accordingly, the bike computer regulates the resistance of the roller trainer and promises a realistic riding experience.

So far we have not tested these functions. However, we have been assured that there are no complications in connection with devices established on the market.

We generally find the possibility of using the bike computer in home training with such a training mode very useful and practical, as the investment is really worth it.

Conclusion

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is a bike computer with features aimed at ambitious athletes. It facilitates the work with the powermeter and thus makes the training easier. The navigation makes it easy to discover the surroundings and has allowed us to train in a more varied way.

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The list price is 239,- €. In the bundle with speed, as well as heart and cadence sensor, the Wahoo Headunit is available for 329, – €. Since the price level is on a par with the top dog Garmin and its Edge models of the 5 series, customers will surely expect a color display in the future, which has long been standard with the competition.

All in all, the device delivers a clean, and nearly flawless performance. Thus, the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt can convince offers serious competition for Garmin. By the way, you can find all Wahoo products here.

Even after a good 10,000km I am super satisfied with the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. The battery usually lasts me for a good week of training. Connected to the mobile phone, calls and messages are displayed directly and I can quickly decide whether I stop for a moment or continue my workout. Since the synchronization of routes is so easy, I now also like to fall back on it for an after-work round.

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