Similar to Band-Aid or Xerox, Garmin has become synonymous with the entire category of GPS cycling computers. Recently, there have been challenges from Polar, CatEye, Lezyne and others, but the biggest challenge yet just hit your handlebars: the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt.
While GPS displays, user interface, connectivity, sensors, communication protocol and price have been driving the conversation, Wahoo asked a different question: “Can the hardware itself help make a difference?” Wahoo could ask that questions thanks to the proven operating system it perfected with the release of the ELEMNT GPS in 2015. Wahoo already had the most powerful software with the simplest UI, thanks in part to its ELEMNT smart-phone app set-up, so why not look at the package?
The result is the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt. It envisioned the computer and mount as a single shape, then sculpted it to reduce as much drag as possible. It’s a slick package about half the size of the original ELEMNT. Sure, it’s a small part of the package, but it’s right at the leading edge of the bike so its influence is outsized. This little package can save 12.6 seconds over a 40-kilometer time trial versus the leading competitor (any guesses who that might be?). That’s 12.6 seconds not at a super human 50 kilometer per hour, but at a very achievable 21 miles per hour.
RELATED: Check out our Wahoo launch video.
Yes, 12 seconds might matter at the Tour de France, but for the rest of us, a paycheck won’t be decided by that margin. But at the same time, would you ride with your brakes rubbing a bit? Of course not. We all want that brake to stick on the Saturday club ride or get our wheel across the city limit line first. So why not get a bit of help?
When that help comes with Wahoo’s ELEMNT app, intuitive user interface and easy-to-read, generous 2.2-inch screen it’s an easy decision to make. ELEMNT Bolt does it all from text, call and email alerts to advanced navigation capabilities with LED indicators that can alert you when you need to make a turn or back off the wattage. As great as these features are, as much as we love saving precious seconds, there are two features we cannot live without. Perfectview Zoom allows you to toggle between as much or as little data as you like, while the companion ELEMNT app lets you push the ride to Strava before the sweat has crystalized on your sunglasses. This combination of software and hardware is the best package on the road and it’s just $250. New metrics indeed!