Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

When it comes to cycling computers - more functionality does not necessary need to mean more difficult to use.  This is the case with the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. To begin with, the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is super simple to use. You will be able to get your computer set up quickly straight from the box. The screen has a QR code on it that you simply scan with your phone to download the Wahoo ELEMNT companion phone app, then you’re underway. Don’t switch off here – I promise it is a simple set up. You need the app as it is required to make the ELEMNT BOLT work. 

Once you are up and running all you need to know is what each button does and what the different screens can do for you. The left button is used for power and accessing the settings. The right buttons are used for going up/down menus, and increasing/decreasing data fields. And the lower buttons allow changing of data pages and confirmations within various prompts. What can sometimes make the set-up of a new system a little difficult is, having to fit the computer just before a mission down country on a 10-day bikepacking escapade. Philippa says;

‘I tend to have a small window in which to get things up and running or else I get bored/lose patience and throw in the towel. I had a lot working against me on this day – we were running out of time to catch the train in order to make a ferry crossing, I had left complicated bike bag packing decisions to make and I was hungry! Any complication in the bracket attachment or computer set up was bound to end badly. Firstly, I found the bracket quick and easy to attach. Buoyed by my success I approached the computer set up with a bit more optimism.  A quick check over the instruction, a quick photo of the QR code with my phone and we were up and running. Stoked and feeling quite smug, I announced to Liam that my Wahoo says we need to hustle!’

The compatibility is superb and on-trend with current units on the market. It can communicate via ANT+, Bluetooth Smart and WiFi and is compatible with both iPhone and Android and with popular apps like Strava. Heck, you can even set it so that phone calls, messages and email alerts pop up on the display as you ride. Well, to be honest, I ride to get away from the noise! And, that’s why I search for riding places that don’t have reception! But, it’s handy if you don’t want to miss anything?!


Another super handy addition, is that the unit can also talk to electronic shifting systems. Such as; Shimano Di2, SRAM Red eTap or Campagnolo EPS. It can display a visual and numerical indication on screen of the gear you're currently using along with the amount of battery that remains. Di2 also allows you to skip between the Elemnt's various display pages via buttons in the hoods.

Once in use, the visibility of the data on the screen was faultless. The unit makes the suffering feel a little more comfortable in some cases when you glance down at the unit to see the hill is over 10% gradient. Okay, that’s why I’m outta’ breath and why the rear tyre is slipping on the gravel. Philippa says; ‘On long days in the saddle, you can entertain a wandering mind with facts such as metres above sea level and temperature. I also really enjoy being able to read the gradient to not only appreciate the horse power in the pro peloton but to also rationalise why some hills are tough or the truth behind that false flat.’


Bikepacking missions aside, this is the first GPS cycling computer and mount developed as an integrated system to reduce drag. The head unit itself fits almost seamlessly onto a smooth-edged mount that sits directly in front of, and level with, your stem. If you are lucky enough to also have the Wahoo Kickr, this nifty unit can control the trainer too (but, no other trainers). Philippa says;

‘I am one of those weirdos who looks forward to rainy days and an excuse to get onto the trainer. What I am loving about this device on the trainer is that I can set a target power output and the computer will tell the trainer what resistance to provide to ensure I stay at that power – no more cheating with my towel covering the power and fooling myself that I am keeping within zone – these guys are keeping me honest. From set up to action – I have been impressed with this system. The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt has multiple levels of function depending on what you are looking for in a bike computer. And the marriage with this device and the Wahoo Kickr spells out ‘no more junk miles this winter’.

Distributor: FE Sports

RRP: Head Unit $479.95, bundle $579.95

Words & Images: Liam Friary/Philippa Friary & Cameron Mackenzie

For the best of NZ cycling, subscribe to our print edition.