BUYING GUIDE – WAHOO ELEMNT

Shaun George BOTS Guides

The Wahoo Elemnt series of sensor-based bike computers aim to make your rides more enjoyable by providing you interesting ride statistics along with navigation along the way.

Wahoo has a broad range of cycling computers in the elemnt series ranging from their entry-level Elemnt MINI to their range-topping Elemnt Roam.

Why do I need a cycling computer?

A cycling computer can be thought of as an accessory to help improve your rides. A cycle computer will keep track of where you have been, when and how fast. If cycling is a one or two-day a week thing for you, it’s probably not essential to lug around a cycling computer. But if you’re training for a race and on the bike, five or six days a week, or even just commuting more often to work, a cycling computer will give you more useful data that you can use to help improve on your fitness goals.

A cycling computer is also a great device to keep you motivated in case cycling is a fitness-oriented sport for you. Besides, most cycling computers these days especially those by Wahoo, have inbuilt GPS’s and a wide route and map selection that can essentially serve as a navigation unit for those not interested in its data tracking capabilities.

These days it’s a rare sight to not see a cycle computer on the handlebars of a rider. Wahoo has a wide range of bike computers for all kinds of riders with different requirements and budget restraints.

What should I look out for in a cycling computer?

There are mainly 3 categories of riders in the market who look to buy cycling computers.

CASUAL

Usually, just cyclists who want to know the distance, speed and time of their rides: How far have I ridden? How fast am I going? How long did my ride take?

FITNESS ORIENTED

Often riders, commuters, and tourers who like a few more options such as trip distance, total odometer, average speed, and maximum speed. These kinds of riders often look at these statistics as room for improvement over a period of time.

COMPETITIVE

The really serious lot of cyclists who want all of the features above and more. Such as a cadence sensor, speed sensor, heart rate monitor, GPS tracker and a power meter.

The primary features to look out for-

  • Battery life- Most GPS watches have inbuilt rechargeable batteries that last about 20hrs. Magnetic units often use watch batteries that can last anywhere from 1-3yrs.
  • Readibility- Font style and size can play a big role in ease of redibility on the move, especially at night.
  • Backlighting – Backlit screens are easier to read in harsh sunlight and in the dark.
  • Data transfer- Do you want to move data to a training software, upload it on social media or other fitness platforms? Look at connectivity features such as wireless transfer and Bluetooth connectivity.

WAHOO ELEMNT SERIES LINE-UP

ELEMNT ROAM

The Roam is Wahoo’s flagship model that features powerful onboard smart navigation features, a crystal clear 2.7″ color display, long-lasting battery, and integrated mount design. 

The Wahoo Elemnt Roam has multiple Smart Navigation Features such as

  • Automatic re-routing to get back on course if you take a wrong turn.
  • Turn-by-turn directions for the shortest route back to the start of your ride.
  • Turn-by-turn navigation to the start of your route.
  • Favorite locations to easily generate turn-by-turn directions on the fly.
  • Turn-by-turn directions to retrace your route back to the starting point.

The new vivid color display, ambient light sensor, and programmable LED indicators to provide you crystal clear vision in all light conditions. The rugged and durable Gorilla Glass can handle everything your adventures throw its way. The Roam has the ability to provide you with a solid 17hr battery life too.

The Roam is also 100% wireless which reduces all cockpit clutter. You no longer have to think twice about the time taken to tether your Roam to a laptop or your mobile phone. It takes seconds. LITERALLY

ELEMNT BOLT

The Elemnt Bolt is positioned as elemnt’s most aerodynamic, and sleek head unit. The sides of the Bolt are tapered to maximize its wind-slicing properties. Making it more efficient.

To give you an idea about how much the wind resistance efficiency actually matters – Wahoo conducted Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) tests that visualize and study how air flows and reacts upon interacting with an object.

The test revealed that in a 40KM TT, a rider averaging 34 kph will shave approximately 12.6 seconds off his time using the Bolt compared to other cycling computers. The Bolt also gives you 50% less drag which can make a huge difference on the road.

It also features programmable LED indicators that offer a newer and easier way to monitor performance and stay connected with nothing more than a glance. The Bolt comes in with an impressive backup of 15hrs of screen time.

ELEMNT

The Elemnt is the perfect navigation and cycling device for weekend warriors looking to explore new routes and also serious riders who plan on touring.

Besides its exceptional navigational properties, the Elemnt shares most of its other features and hardware with the Bolt. An incredible 16hrs of battery life under usage is what you expect from the Elemnt. What’s cooler is that the Elemnt is ANT+ and trainer compatible making it ideal for even the hardcore riders on a budget. The Elemnt can do anything and everything the average rider can ask for.

ELEMNT MINI

The Elemnt Mini is Wahoos’ super-compact, sensor-based bike computer that makes it simple to see and share ride data. The Mini, as the name suggests, has a super tiny footprint that makes it ideal for carrying around on your trips for when you need it and when you don’t. It’s also a super sleek unit that you may almost not notice on your bike. The best feature here is the MINI’s ability to provide you hassle free data collection and ride assistance without the need for a charge for up to a year. The watch style batteries last up to 12 months before requiring to be changed.

*NOTE* The MINI does not have inbuilt GPS like all the other Elemnt series. It can, however, use the rider’s phone for GPS information.

The Mini comes along with a Wahoo RPM Speed sensor so you are ready to record speed, distance and time without needing a magnetic sensor, any other additional equipment or having the need to be connected to a phone right out of the box. For even greater data analysis and collection, you can even pair up a heart rate sensor and cadence sensor.

SUMMARY

The entire Elemnt line-up has a lot to offer to each category of rider out in the market looking to invest in a cycling computer. Each model has features unique to itself. Meaning, there is greater availability of choice and features for a rider who may not want to invest in the most high-end model.

Read up on the whole series to figure out which model gives you the most bang for your buck.

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