The Wahoo Bolt
or many years, if you wanted to take your riding and training to the next level with a GPS computer for your bike, you bought a Garmin, end of discussion. No other company came even close to offering as sophisticated, reliable, and easy-to-use product to the masses.
n recent years, though, Wahoo Fitness has risen and challenged Garmin’s near-monopoly on the market, striving to take the giant’s product line to another level. Wahoo began with the Elemnt and after only a couple of years launched the auxiliary model, the Elemnt Bolt.
dvertisements for the Bolt emphasize that it was designed to maximize aerodynamic efficiency, cutting edges and contours to leave a near-seamless integration of the computer and mount that is claimed to save 1.5 Watts at 20 kph. While I cannot verify that last claim, I can attest that just as much attention to detail was paid to the inside as the outside.
he true beauty of the Bolt is its stupid-easy usability. To get up and going, you literally just have to download Wahoo’s partner-app and scan the QR code on the screen. From there, you can change the data fields displayed on the activity pages (everything from speed to lap times to 5 second balanced left-right split) with just a couple clicks. Furthermore, the front face has 7 multi-color LED’s that can display heart rate zones, power zones, and even turn-by-turn navigation. Linking the app with other accounts like Strava, RideWithGPS, etc. is extremelysimple as well: completed rides will upload in seconds and you can even import maps completely over Bluetooth. No computer or USB required!
n the bike, one controls the main features of the Bolt (starting and stopping rides, scrolling between pages, etc.) with the three buttons on the bottom of the front face. Additionally, one can zoom in and out on the map or on the ride data (displaying more or less data fields of smaller or larger size, respectively) using the two buttons on the side.
oing from a Garmin Edge 810 to the Bolt did entail a couple of lost features, namely a color touchscreen in addition tothe ability to keep up with multiple pieces of equipment and tohave multiple activity types saved. However, with a couple of small adjustments on my end, I was quickly able to customize the Bolt to meet all my needs. For the pure ease-of-use, the superior mobile uploading speed, and the LED feature at a significantly cheaper price, I have no regrets with the swap.
To all my fellow riders, if you want a reliable, yet simple training and navigation computer without any unnecessary bells and whistles, you should seriously consider the Bolt. To Garmin, you should seriously consider taking a look as well.