Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Test – Is it still the best GPS bike computer?

aktualisiert am: January 9, 2021 in: ,
Startseite > Gear > Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Test – Is it still the best GPS bike computer?

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT in test: Small, light and yet with a full range of functions. Many road cyclists are enthusiastic about the compact construction and the aerodynamic design of the GPS bike computer. Strong plus points are still the clearly readable display in any situation and the sophisticated setting options via smartphone. The Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT* has been doing a lot of things right since its release.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer Test
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT: The GPS bike computer with the aerodynamically shaped mount on the road bike handlebars

Via software update, the manufacturer Wahoo also provides running new functions to the GPS bike speedometer. So with its software improvements, the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT is better than the same bike computer on release.

You’re in a hurry? Click here to go directly to the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT GPS Bike Computer*
  • Downloaden, paaren, konfigurieren und fahren! Wahoos kostenlose Begleit-App automatisiert die Paarung und verwaltet den Konfigurationsprozess für eine schnelle, frustrationsfreie Einrichtung
  • Automatisches Herunterladen und Hochladen von Routen bei Synchronisierung mit kompatiblen Apps von Drittanbietern (Strava, RideWithGPS, Best Bike Split, Komoot, Singletracks, MTB Project
  • Paket beinhaltet: Wahoo Element BOLT, Vorbau, Vorbau

* Aktualisierung am 2021-10-17, Preis kann gestiegen sein, Werbung, Bild:Amazon

https://bikepacking-adventures.com/go/wahoo-elemnt-bolt-rose

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Highlights

Bike-optimized navigation including connection to sports portals like Strava, komoot, Ride With GPS, Best Bike Split and TrainingPeaks
clearly readable display in 2.2″ with clear map display and many data fields.
stable aero mounts for handlebars round stem: Thus good one-hand operation even while riding or wearing gloves.
Simple and convenient setup via smartphone: But the smartphone can also stay at home during the ride.
✅ Strava Live Segments
✅ Live tracking

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT bei Amazon kaufen*

Werbung
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Scope of delivery of the ELEMNT BOLT

Of course, the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT is included in the scope of delivery. For mounting on the bike, a stem mount and a aerodynamically shaped mount for the (road bike) handlebar are included. Also included is a short USB cable and a quick start guide.
There is also the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Bundle* with more accessories: Included here are additional sensors for speed, cadence and heart rate.

Wahoo BOLT Bundle
The Wahoo ELEMENT BOLT Bundle comes with Bluetooth sensors: Speed, cadence and heart rate sensors are included in the bundle

Will it still be worth buying in 2019? What are the alternatives and how does the GPS bike computer compare to the competition? Find out everything in my detailed Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT review.

Hardware and memory of the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT

The Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt is particularly small with dimensions of only 74 x 46 x 22 mm. Thus, it can be especially space-saving on the road bike accommodate and also makes a good figure. The weight of the GPS bike computer is only 62 grams – without mount.
The GPS Bike Computer is protected against water and dirt according to IPX7. Thus, the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT is waterproof up to 1.52 meters.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Mount
The mount of the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT holds securely and firmly

The Wahoo ELEMENT BOLT comes with a free world map. Already installed are maps for North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and South America. Additional maps for Russia, Asia and Africa can be downloaded via WLAN. The management of the maps including map updates is conveniently done via the Wahoo ELEMNT app and individual countries can also be downloaded.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Manage Maps on GPS Bike Computer
The maps can be managed (downloaded, updated, deleted) in the Wahoo ELEMNT app. Via WLAN the maps arrive on the GPS bike computer.

As already described above: The Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT comes with a stem mount and an aero handlebar mount. Both mounts make a very sturdy impression. Even if you press the side buttons, the GPS bike computer will not twist. I like this very much, because it allows the Wahoo ELEMENT BOLT to be operated well with one hand or with gloves while riding.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer Aero Mount
The aero handlebar mount of the ELEMNT Bolt GPS bike computer

The cycling computer uses GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU Galileo and QZSS to determine its position. In practice, the signal is usually found very quickly and remains stable even in difficult conditions. Reliable navigation thus works excellently even in urban areas or under a dense canopy of leaves in the forest.

Display of the ELEMNT BOLT

The hard facts don’t sound too exciting at first: 2.2 inch diagonal with 240 x 400 pixel resolution. Out on the bike, the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT then shows what it can do: The map display is clear and the screen always easy to read. This also applies to difficult lighting conditions such as brightly shining sun or changing light conditions under a canopy of leaves in the forest. Also reflections hardly occur. If it does, you can still read the screen content very well. In terms of readability, the screen is among the best currently available.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Bike GPS Navi Display
Excellent readability and hardly any reflections: The display of the bike GPS Navi

Wahoo has really gotten everything out of the small 2.2 inch display: Maps are clearly visible at all times during navigation. Turn-by-turn directions are also displayed clearly, so you always know where to turn. City names are also displayed, but the map display is otherwise quite plain. More about this under the heading “Navigation with the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT”.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt 2 data fields
The navigation buttons on the right side of the housing can be used to zoom in and out: 2 data fields are displayed here

If data fields are displayed then up to 9 data fields can be displayed on one page. The information is then displayed quite small, but is still very recognizable.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt 9 data fields
The display of up to 9 data fields on the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT display is possible

Above the display there is a row of LEDs. You can use it to see whether you are above or below the average of certain values. So above or below speed, power and other values. Turning instructions to the left or right can also be displayed. The LED bar is quite nice and looks great. Functionally, however, I could do without it: I find a quick glance at the display more practical. The necessary information can also be identified more quickly.

Battery life of the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT

The battery of the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT is permanently installed and can be recharged via a micro USB socket on the bottom. The socket itself is protected from water and dirt by a rubber cover. The good news is that the GPS bike computer can also be charged during operation with a powerbank. Mounted on the stem, the micro USB socket is also freely accessible. If the GPS bike computer is mounted on the aero stem mount, you have little space to access the micro USB beech. In this case, the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT can be charged with a USB cable angled on one side.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer USB Jack
The Micro-USB socket for battery charging and data exchange is secured with a rubber cover.

Fortunately, recharging is rarely necessary: Because, the battery of the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT lasts a long time. Wahoo specifies the usage time as 14 hours. In my Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT test, I get a battery life of a good 12 to 15 hours. This means that the GPS training computer is also suitable for a long all-day tour.

Aerodynamically optimized Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS bike computer
Aerodynamically optimized: The Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer and the Aero Handlebar Mount

To optimize battery life, it is recommended to turn off the backlight during daytime riding: The GPS bike computer will then last longer and because of the clear display the backlight is not necessary during the day anyway.

Sensors and connections on the ELEMNT BOLT

The Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT is almost unbeatable when it comes to connecting external sensors: The GPS bike speedometer masters with Bluetooth and ANT+ both important wireless technologies. So probably all current sensors can be connected with the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Add Sensors to GPS Bike Computer
Sensors can be added via the Wahoo ELEMNT app and directly on the GPS bike computer

In practice, I have not yet tested the connection with external fitness sensors. Simply because I do not own any suitable equipment. I’ll update my experience in this review once my Wahoo Bluetooth sensors are delivered.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Test: Operation and settings

Please note: You will need a smartphone to set up the Wahoo GPS bike computer. The Wahoo ELEMNT app is available for Android and iOS. After setting up, you also need your smartphone to start a route.

You don’t need your smartphone for actual navigation or to start a workout. This may sound unusual at first. I got used to it very quickly and have my smartphone with me on every ride anyway.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS bike computer in test
Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt: GPS bike computer in test

How do you get started with your Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT? First, download the free Wahoo ELEMNT app.

ELEMNT
Price: Free

At the beginning of the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT test, the BOLT may be paired with the smartphone. Setting up the GPS bike computer is simple and intuitive via a QR code scan in the app. Launch the Wahoo ELEMNT app. The cycling computer automatically displays a QR code the first time you start it. This is scanned with the app and the two devices connect within a few seconds via Bluetooth. You only have to do this once.

Configuration of the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt via smartphone app
The Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt can be configured extensively and conveniently via smartphone app

From now on, the devices are automatically connected to each other. To be sure, the GPS bike computer shows “paired with mobile phone” on the display. In practice, the connection between Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT and smartphone is established between 10 and 20 seconds or faster.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt paired with Android and iOS phone and app
The ELEMNT BOLT is usually automatically connected to the smartphone after 10 to 20 seconds.

Pairing takes a few minutes, even for the inexperienced, and goes very easily. Once the devices are paired, you don’t have to do anything and can start cycling immediately. Alternatively, you can set up your Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT individually. Most settings can be made directly on the large smartphone display. This starts with the basic settings such as language and unit of measurement. More importantly, you can also conveniently set the display of the data pages via smartphone. This works much more comfortable and faster than on the display of the GPS bike computer.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Customize Pages on GPS Bike Computer
The data pages of the GPS bike computer can be fully customized on the smartphone. Changes are reliably applied within a few seconds.

You can also easily connect to online sports portals like Strava and komoot directly on your smartphone. I have connected the GPS Bike Computer to these services. After each ride, my activities are automatically and wirelessly published on these platforms. Up to now, this has always been done quickly and reliably.

Reading tip: How to set up the synchronization between the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT and komoot, you will learn step by step in the great komoot tutorial. The setup from the ELEMNT BOLT to Strava is also explained in this article in a simple and understandable way.

Other supported platforms include Ride With GPS, Best Bike Split and TrainingPeaks. However, I have not tested these yet.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Training Programs on GPS Bike Computer
The Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer offers extensive training programs

Different bike profiles like road bike or mountain bike are not supported by the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT. Reducing it to the essential of course simplifies handling. Whether this function is important, everyone may decide for himself.

Without a touchscreen, the GPS bike computer is operated using the buttons on the housing. These have a clear pressure point, can be operated well even in the rain and wet and even the operation with gloves is quite simple. So I think the choice of button operation is a good choice.

The Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT has the following buttons:

  • Left on the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT: The combination button for switching on and off and for starting and exiting the menu.
  • Right side of the housing: Navigation buttons for up and down in the menu
  • Below the display of the GPS bike computer: Three buttons with a clear pressure point. The function is explained at the bottom of the screen. The assignment depends on the current screen

The keys are all easy to reach and have a clear pressure point. This also allows for one-handed operation while driving. The buttons at the bottom of the display have a new ribbed surface and look super slick. Compared to its predecessor, the Wahoo ELEMNT, the pressure point has been greatly improved.

Both original mounts (stem mount and handlebar aero mount) hold the GPS bike computer securely in place. No matter which key is pressed: Nothing warps here! The mounts and the connection of GPS bike computer and mount is really securely designed – great!

Navigation with the ELEMNT BOLT

Let’s get to the most exciting question of all: How easy and useful is the navigation on the 2.2 inch display of the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT? And how are my experiences with the Navi function of the GPS Bike Computer?

Ideal is the re-biking of prepared routes. There are plenty of options available to you for planning the routes: For example, you can plan your tour in advance with komoot. This gives you access to all the advantages of the outdoor route planner komoot! Once you have connected komoot to your Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT, the GPS bike computer automatically downloads the route via Wi-Fi. Alternatively, you can enter a new destination directly in the Wahoo ELEMNT app while on the go.

Once the tour is started, navigation is done by map, well visible arrows and support by the LED bar at the top of the housing. Optional beeps can also be set.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Navigation with the GPS Bike Computer
Navigation with the GPS Bike Computer: Reduced and always perfectly recognizable

The map and arrows are clearly displayed and you can easily see where to turn. The view can also be zoomed in and out with the side buttons.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Bike GPS Navi Navigation
Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Bike GPS Navi – Navigation aimed at road cyclists

As mentioned earlier, viewing on the display is always easy even in difficult lighting conditions. Wahoo has really done a good job here.

However, the map is also quite poor in detail. Only place names are displayed and scrolling the map is not possible. If you want to explore the area close to the planned route, all you can do is zoom in and out. I have often used my smartphone instead of the Wahoo GPS Navi to explore the surrounding region.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer Navigation
Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS bike computer: Navigation on a zoomed out level

The display of contour lines and POIs is also not possible. If you get lost then no recalculation of the route takes place. Fortunately, Wahoo has improved this feature with its successor Wahoo ELEMENT ROAM*!

Overall, the navigation is displayed crystal clear. Thanks to seamless komoot integration, one of the most powerful outdoor navigation services is on board. Beyond that, unfortunately, the nav function is limited to the basic functions and those who want more should look at the Wahoo ELEMENT ROAM*, for example.

Comparison and difference: Current Wahoo models

Vorschau
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT GPS-Fahrradcomputer
Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT ROAM GPS Bike Computer, Black
Preis
239,99 EUR
Price not available
Prime-Vorteil
-
Kundenbewertung
-
-
Vorschau
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT GPS-Fahrradcomputer
Preis
239,99 EUR
Weitere Infos
Prime-Vorteil
Kundenbewertung
-
Vorschau
Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT ROAM GPS Bike Computer, Black
Preis
Price not available
Weitere Infos
Prime-Vorteil
-
Kundenbewertung
-

* Aktualisierung am 2021-10-17, Preis kann gestiegen sein, Werbung, Bild:Amazon

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Experience and Summary

One of the best GPS bike computers Wahoo packs into a small and sleek case. Even with many data pages and navigation, the display is always easy to read. The data and routes are always easy to read. The operation via the buttons with a clear pressure point is also well thought out and also possible with gloves and while driving.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Experience
The Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt is optimized for road cyclists – experience and summary

The navigation is designed for road cyclists: The navigation arrow is always clearly visible on the simple map. The departure of pre-planned routes is thus very simple. For road cyclists, this creates a package that fits perfectly.

Touring cyclists and mountain bikers may miss features in navigation and prefer to reach for the Wahoo ELEMENT ROAM* with improved nav features.

Buy Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT – yes or no?

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT GPS Bike Computer*
  • Downloaden, paaren, konfigurieren und fahren! Wahoos kostenlose Begleit-App automatisiert die Paarung und verwaltet den Konfigurationsprozess für eine schnelle, frustrationsfreie Einrichtung
  • Automatisches Herunterladen und Hochladen von Routen bei Synchronisierung mit kompatiblen Apps von Drittanbietern (Strava, RideWithGPS, Best Bike Split, Komoot, Singletracks, MTB Project
  • Paket beinhaltet: Wahoo Element BOLT, Vorbau, Vorbau

* Aktualisierung am 2021-10-17, Preis kann gestiegen sein, Werbung, Bild:Amazon

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT GPS Bike Computer Set*
  • Download, pair, configure and ride! Wahoo's free companion app automates pairing and manages the configuration process for fast, frustration free setup
  • Automatisches Herunterladen und Hochladen von Routen bei Synchronisierung mit kompatiblen Apps von Drittanbietern (Strava, RideWithGPS, Best Bike Split, Komoot, Singletracks, MTB Project
  • Package includes: Wahoo Element BOLT, TICKR, RPM Speed and Cadence Sensors; out-front mount, stem mount

* Aktualisierung am 2021-10-17, Preis kann gestiegen sein, Werbung, Bild:Amazon

From the racing bike sector comes Wahoo! You can see that in the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT: It is a training computer that particularly to road cyclists will fit perfectly. Add to that the good user interface, outstanding software and the integration of many useful sports portals.

Good

✅ Clearly readable display with illumination
✅ Navigation when driving along pre-planned routes
✅ large selection of integrated sports portals (Strava, komoot, etc.)
✅ easy operation and setup – sophisticated software
✅ sensible key arrangement and keys with clear pressure point
✅ stable mounts (aero handlebar and stem mount)
✅ Good product maintenance: Constant software updates and new functions

Bad

❌ Map with little detail for navigation: but clearly readable
❌ No rerouting if route is exited
❌ Map not scrollable during navigation
❌ no wheel profiles
❌ missing routing settings

Alternatives to the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT

Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM

A model sold in parallel by Wahoo. In my eyes the direct successor with many improvements. You get a bigger display with more displayable colors with the ROAM. What remains is the ease of use, the ingenious software and the integration with many sports platforms. The navigation function has been greatly improved: rerouting is now also possible when leaving the track. Thanks to the larger display, the presentation is even better. The price has been raised a bit.

Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT ROAM GPS Bike Computer, Black
  • Spezifische Aktivität: MTB-Trail, Rennrad

* Aktualisierung am 2021-10-17, Preis kann gestiegen sein, Werbung, Bild:Amazon

To the detailed Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM field test (test & experiences)

How do you like the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT? Do you have any questions? Then feel free to drop me a comment.

The GPS bike computer tested here doesn’t suit you? In the extensive Bicycle Navi Test I have all recommendable Fahrad Navis clearly in the comparison. I regularly update the test. Best check out the article now.

Geschrieben von Michael Luplow
Hallo, ich bin Michael, Bikepacker, Abenteuerfan und der Mensch hinter Bikepacking-Adventures. Die Idee für bikepacking-adventures.com entstand direkt hinter dem Fahrrad-Lenker! Nämlich als ich auf einer Fahrrad Tour von Deutschland nach Istanbul war. Hier geht es um Abenteuerreisen mit dem Fahrrad und um Bikepacking auf allen Kontinenten dieser Erde! Du möchtest mehr wissen oder hast Tipps? Schreib mir einfach!

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