Wahoo ELEMNT review – Part 1

imageThe ELEMNT bike computer is Wahoo’s foray into the GPS cycling computer market. Wahoo had always wanted to build smart training systems, all working together and complimenting each other to bring together the ultimate training experience. However as I have found its so much more than a training tool.

I have used Cateye, Polar, Magellan and of course the major market player Garmin, so I initially thought well this is going to be just another bike computer. Just another bit of tech; just another toy. Just something else that will be a pain to set up. Straight out of the box, I was wrong. I wont be using this as a “this is better than Garmin or the others” review, more just a this GPS bike computer is a great option at this end of the market.

Smartphone connectivity

Smartphone connectivity

The Wahoo ELEMNT was very easy to set up. Unlike others in the market, the Wahoo utilizes a mobile phone app (iPhone or Android) to process set up. It is very user friendly and intuitive, especially when you do not need to push a variety of GPS bike computer buttons that can often be hard work on the hands. Equally the display for set up is very easy to use and simply – it makes sense. I was very easily able to pair heart rate monitors, power meters, cadence and speed sensors all within seconds and I was ready to roll. It allowed me to very quickly change data elements important to me on the GPS computer screen. Like incredibly easy.

Okay so here is the important thing to me. I have used the ELEMNT alongside my Garmin Edge 520 and the data was almost a duplicate. Speed, time, distance, heart rate and cadence were all exactly the same. The only data difference was a small difference in vertical metres climbed, with the Garmin giving me an extra 16m out 950m+. So fairly insignificant difference in the grand scheme of things. This gave me a great deal of confidence that I was getting accurate data during training.

ELEMNT

So here is a few cool things I like about utilizing the ELEMNT during training. The ELEMNT has a series of LEDs on the side. These are used in conjunction with your profile set up and your heart rate or power zones. Sometimes when you are training, and putting in efforts so hard that you go cross-eyed, you can’t easily read and comprehend if you are hitting the zone you want. So with the ELEMNT as your heart rate or power rises and moves into the next training zone, the LEDs change and its easily seen. Makes it super easy to tell me if I am working hard enough or not.

imageAnother cool feature is the use of the amount of data elements on the screen. Other brands I have used take a while and lots of button pushes to reduce or increase the amount of data elements on the screen. With the ELEMNT you can change the number of fields, without even blinking. You can change it from 10 data fields to 2 data fields by just pressing an up or down button. So when I want to focus on power or heart rate and time, I can just reduce it down to 3 fields. Great for racing when you only want to focus on a couple of data numbers.

elemnt_bestbikesplitmapIt comes with a set of maps built in. Much better than the base maps you get with a Garmin, but it is still limited. Unlike Garmin which has built in route turn by turn navigation, the ELEMNT needs an app like Ride with GPS to integrate and handle that aspect. Still the maps showed me where I was and how far I had to go to finish off any particular hill. If you are racing you can utilize this feature to track how you are traveling against your race plan. I’m sure this would be very useful for anyone doing Time Trials or Triathlon.

Okay so here is another couple of COOL features, however I have not fully utilized them yet. If you have a Strava account and you have flagged some favourite segments, then the ELEMNT will tell you it is approaching. yes I know Garmin has it too, however I like the way the ELEMNT displays how you are tracking against your PB. Not one I would use a lot but for some a great training tool to help you beat your PB. The second one is that I can get a notification when one of my Strava friends is close by, perhaps trying to steal my KoM. Again not one I would use a great deal, but cool nonetheless.

So far I do not have a bad word to say about the ELEMNT. It is by far more simple to set up and use than the Garmin Edge 520. Yes there is probably more data I can capture with the Garmin, but what you need is captured by the ELEMNT. Loving it so far. Can’t wait to use it more and get around to using it with the KICKR.

Ok so this is part 1 – Look for part 2 after I clock up a few more kilometres in varying conditions. Will be published soon.