If there’s one thing that any piece of fitness tech needs to be, it’s easy to use. Fortunately, Wahoo’s new 16GB Elemnt Bolt ticks that box with aplomb. Mounting and setting up the new Bolt is an entirely painless process (you can even use the same mount as the original 2017 Bolt), with the brand’s user-friendly Elemnt app providing clear instructions.
Once connected with your phone, you have the usability of the Bolt at your fingertips. From the app, you can easily import GPX files, review previous rides, upload rides to compatible apps like Strava, and customise the data fields that your device displays.
Updates to navigation are where you’d expect the Bolt to really show its value, and it’s fair to say it does the job really well. It’s easy to send routes to your device via Bluetooth and the GPS picks up signal in no time at all. When following a route, turn-by-turn directions appear on screen, while piercing beeps let you know when you’re coming up to a turn (thankfully, these can be turned off).
You’ll also find an LED strip at the top of the Bolt, which guides you along your route by lighting up in the direction of your next turn. Roundabouts are shown by a circular symbol, with a number in the middle denoting which exit you should take. Meanwhile, the new options to retrace your ride to the start or to take you to the start of a route are really handy and well thought-through additions.
One of the most game-changing new features, in theory, is the ‘take me to’ navigation function, which allows you to pinpoint a location on the map for the Bolt to then direct you to. This can be done in the app, or on the Bolt itself, so there’s no need to create and send over a route on an extra device via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The function works excellently when connected to Wi-Fi, but when lost mid-ride and relying on the device’s in-built maps, we found it frustratingly slow to pinpoint and then load.
The map display on the updated 2.2in colour screen (a scaled down version of the 2.7in Roam) is clear to see in a range of conditions, aided by the new ambient light sensor that adjusts brightness to your riding conditions. And we liked how easy the upgraded convex buttons are to use, even in gloved fingers.
Like the original Bolt, battery life is impressive, with a six-hour ride only draining 35% of the claimed 15-hour reserve. If you like the look of the Wahoo Roam but fancy a smaller, more aerodynamic option, the new Bolt has it all and is £50 less, too.
Verdict: All you need and more; great navigation options and a clear screen
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Wahoo Elemnt Roam
The Elemnt Roam shares a lot of the same functionality as the Elemnt Bolt reviewed here, but it comes with a larger 2.7in screen. This is ideal if you prefer a larger viewing area or struggle to focus on particularly small details.
You’ll get a range of navigation features similar to the Bolt including turn-by-turn navigation (with help from the LED lights), smartphone notifications, a full colour screen with global mapping and third-party integration with apps like Strava, Komoot and Training Peaks.
Battery life is touted as an impressive 17 hours, while large textured buttons are designed to be easy to use, even when wearing gloves.