Author Topic: Elmnt or Elmnt Bolt  (Read 1181 times)

Baron Brymbo von Pickelhaube

  • Adel auf dem Radel
Elmnt or Elmnt Bolt
« on: April 03, 2018, 07:09:46 pm »
I've inherited a fortune and now a man of indepedent means  :P  I'd like to splash some cash on a Wahoo bike computer because it will make me fitter and faster.

Any pro's and con's of the two units which I can't get from the DC Rainmaker reviews?
The present is a foreign country: they do things differently here.

Re: Elmnt or Elmnt Bolt
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2018, 07:15:26 pm »
Screen size on the Bolt. It's small. I can follow the arrows but I can't see the words


  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Elmnt or Elmnt Bolt
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2018, 07:28:52 pm »
HK likes her non-Bolt. Readable screen and seems reliable but it doesn't like being switched off in the middle of a ride.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Elmnt or Elmnt Bolt
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2018, 10:35:08 am »
I'd like to splash some cash on a Wahoo bike computer because it will make me fitter and faster.

It's not dark yet but it's getting there.


  • Cyclist, bushwalker, phottographer (amaturer)
    • Aushiker: Bicycling and Hiking in Western Australia
Re: Elmnt or Elmnt Bolt
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 01:38:03 pm »
I am an ex Wahoo Elment owner having jumped from Garmin to Wahoo and then back to Garmin.  My usage is a combination of comuting/local rides, audax rides and remote touring with a focus on avoiding bitumen. So that should be kept in mind (particularly the touring aspect) as to why I sold my Elment and went back to Garmin.

My concerns where:

(1) The Elemnt on 100 km+ rides loose tracking for a while. Others reported this as well;
(2) I found the lack of street names on the maps more frustrating than I expected;
(3) The inability to auto re-route on the "run" was quite annoying as I often find myself taking a different path. More so when touring, particularly off-road touring;
(4) The need to use a phone/wi-fi/computer in-combination was more of a pain than I expected. I had planned out for example my 10 day tour last December but what I planned and what I experienced where too different things on a couple of days. Trying to use my phone to sort out route changes (screen is hard to read in bright sunlight) and then finding I couldn't get a route of sorts from the phone to the GPS was very frustrating. At least with the Garmin I can easily re-route on the unit without having to need a second device. I also don't take a laptop touring, preferring to just use my tablet. Again this limits the functionality of the Elemnt more so when changes are needed on the tour/ride;
(5) On the positive side when it is tracking and recording okay it did it well as could be expected given I was riding pretty remote tracks and a route worked out from old satellite images.

So all of that put together just added a level of frustration I don't need riding so I have gone back to Garmin, a Garmin Edge 1030 in my case. Oh I also find I really appreciate the colour screen more than I realised.

Hope that helps.


Re: Elmnt or Elmnt Bolt
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2018, 11:14:17 am »
I was an early adopter of the Elemnt but wasn’t impressed and sent it back - in particular the feel and action of the buttons was too vague and it was too big for what it delivered. I subsequently bought a Bolt which had the button issue sorted - they are excellent, and I’ve used it for a year now. Whilst loving it to start with, the software cracks started to show and I’ve become frustrated at Wahoo’s inability to fix them. That said, battery life is excellent, to the point where I rarely even think about it, just plug it in once a week or so. The navigation integration wirth RideWithGPS works really well, but, as noted, the GPS dropping on 4 hour plus rides is still unresolved 6 months after I logged it as a fault - the latest firmware says its fixed - it isn’t. Mixed units reset each time I open the app which drives me nuts - again 6 months, again the latest firmware says its fixed - again it isn’t. Custom ratios for my eTap display also reset each time I open the app and wireless upload has stopped working since I moved to iOS. With the Garmin 520 now about £175, I’m tempted to jump back. I miss a colour screen when navigating - I could put up with the Wahoo if when I looked down it hadn’t jumped back to kms!

Re: Elmnt or Elmnt Bolt
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 06:02:46 pm »
I've only tried the Bolt and have (mostly) been very happy with it. The only Garmin I've used in the somewhat distant past was an Edge 705 and then an Etrex HCx unit - I found both of these much more clunky to use, though the Etrex slightly less so. After the Garmins I just used my smartphone in a waterproof/shockproof case in a mount on my handlebars, but with my most recent phone upgrade (a Google Pixel), I decided I didn't like having a large expensive phone on my handlebars, and also wanted something that worked better in the wet (buttons), was easier to read in sunlight (LCD screen) and had a better battery life (I do have a Schmidt dyno hub and means to convert to USB, but I don't always want to deal with the faff of all the cables).

From what I've read, the main downsides of the original Elemnt are that the buttons are very spongy, with little tactile response and the beeper is far to quiet - both of these issues are fixed in the Bolt, which has a very positive response to the buttons and a load beep. Some also thought that the original Elemnt was too large and ugly, but I guess that's subjective.

My Bolt has been pretty reliable, it's cocked-up on a few rides, not recording the whole route for some reason (or at least not recording the all the track, despite displaying the total distance traveled fine), but I think it's only done this 3 times and not recently, even on some long rides. Don't think it's ever crashed as such.

I like how it's very fit-and-forget, as well as for use on long leisure rides and short tours, I use it everyday as a kind of odometer, and it records and uploads to Strava (and RidewithGPS) without me having to do anything, apart from remembering to turn it on and press "start" on the device (which it reminds you to do with bright flashing LEDS if you start moving with it on and haven't pressed start..).

I usually plan routes in RideWithGPS and the integration is very good with that, with turn-by-turn directions provided (and associated beeps) as well as the snake to follow on the map and coloured LEDS showing which way to turn, or to go straight on. I wish the RideWithGPS Android app was better for route-planning, though - this is still best done on a PC, though if you do need routing to somewhere quickly when on the move, the Elemnt Android (and presumably iOS) app does have a route-finder (think it uses Google Maps under the hood) which you can use to create a new route and send to the Elemnt - the routing is better with RideWithGPS, though.

The maps on the device are mostly fine, if following a route, street names would be nice, but would probably be impossible to read on such a small screen and if using RideWithGPS routes, the text prompts do usually give the street name. I do miss being able to pan the map, though if I really need to do that, I just get out my Android phone and use the one of the mapping apps on that to check where I am etc.

As well as the routing and trip-recording, it works very well as a "cycle computer", with all the functions you would expect, but displayed very clearly (without annoying reflections) and it has a neat zoom in/out feature which lets you quickly see additional (or fewer) fields, adapting the font size automatically. The smart phone apps make the configuration of the device very easy, including which fields to display and in which order. The is no built in real "odometer" function, though I kind of use the Strava integration for that.

Basically, I'm very happy with my Bolt, especially for the relatively reasonable price, and I'm still glad I went for the Bolt, rather than the older Elemnt. After the fiasco of the Garmin 820 (which I almost bought), and my previous less than satisfactory experiences, I was put off buying a Garmin, though the new 1030 sounds pretty decent, though is larger really than I want for a bike GPS unit.
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Baron Brymbo von Pickelhaube

  • Adel auf dem Radel
Re: Elmnt or Elmnt Bolt
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2018, 05:56:13 pm »
Thanks very much for the replies.  I went for a non-Bolt.  Took delivery on Friday, configured it by smartphone (earlier gen Moto G) on Saturday and rode with it as a bike computer on my Audax bike on 140km Sunday clubrun.

My experience is of several cycle computers (cateye wired, cateye wireless, VDO wireless) where only the simple wired variant was good and reliable, and two Garmin navigation units (Etrex Vista HCx and current Etrex 20) which are, well, Garmin.  They work, but you really do wonder about the software at times.  So I was prepared to try Wahoo rather than Garmin for a modern GPS cycle computer.  Oh, and I did have a very simple Polar HRM 10 years ago.

My intended usage is mostly as a training aid (HR and cadence while on rollers and outdoors) and as a bike computer on the road.  If it can do that well and reliably then that's a good start.  I'll check out the navigation aspects of the device on a few close-to-home DIY 200s and take it from there.  The other thing I intend to do is checkout what all this upload-to-Strava, dowload-from-RideWithGPS stuff is about.  I've been waiting for some time to see how these GPS cycle computers and the associated cloud infrastucture evolves, and thought it about time to step on board.

Initial impressions are good.  The Elemnt is big, but for me that is good as it's very legible.  I don't know if the unit has any differences to the original, older Elmnt but the buttons are similar to those of the Etrex 20 - difficult in gloves, otherwise ok.  I mounted it on my Audax bike before Sunday's clubrun from Reading to Bicester and it just worked (yes, very fit-and-forget):

Brymbo: turn unit on
Elemnt: start ride? (or somesuch)
Brymbo: press Yes button
Elemnt: auto-pause at cafe stop, Continue/Pause/End Ride? (or somesuch)
Brymbo: press continue button
Elemnt: auto-pause at finish, Continue/Pause/End Ride?
Brymbo: press end button

It did prompt continue/pause/end when I stopped for others to catch up mid-ride (no kidding, folks) and when I continued riding without pressing any button it appeared to get the idea and continued to show speed and  the correct total distance.  Maybe I'll try uploading the recorded track to see what that looks like...  Once again, thanks all for taking the time to reply.
The present is a foreign country: they do things differently here.