In our ELEMNT: reviewing the Wahoo GPS Bike Computer

Over the winter period, we’ve kept the training ticking over, both indoors and outdoors, taking our time to get to grips with the Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer.

Going up against the likes of Garmin, TomTom and Polar, Wahoo have no shortage of competition in the cycling computer market. Here’s the lowdown on our favourite qualities of the ELEMNT.

By Samuel Dixon

 

wahoo-elemnt-gps-bike-computer

 

Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer

– Dimensions: 2.3″(W) x 3.5″(H) x 0.8″(D)

– Display: 2.7”

– Weight: 104g

– Battery Life: 17 hours

 

Pair and go

The Wahoo ELEMNT is reliant on pairing with its companion ELEMNT app, available on smart phones – iPhone 4s and newer; Android 4.3+. Downloading the app is a necessity, so we’d recommend checking your phone’s compatibility before getting started. Once the app is downloaded, your mobile device and ELEMNT are paired by scanning a unique QR code which appears when you boot up your unit for the first time. The ELEMNT’s dual band technology means that pairing your unit with a wide range of ANT+ and Bluetooth devices/sensors is a breeze. You’re now good to go – but you would only be skimming the surface of the multitude of features packed in to the ELEMNT, so bear with us..

The partner app will be your master key to organising the pages, metrics, alerts, LED patterns, routes, live segments and much more on your cycling computer, so it is well worth taking your time to learn the basics of what’s at the touch of your fingertips before adventuring into the unknown.

 

GPS Functionality

In comparison to some other GPS devices, the ELEMNT finds your location with ease – meaning there’s no awkward hanging around before getting started on your adventure. Plus, if you’re looking for some guidance on an upcoming route, the ELEMNT features turn-by-turn navigation. Simply draw out your route using a GPS tool such as Strava routes or Ride with GPS, then connect your account with the Wahoo companion app, sync your devices and select your chosen route. One thing that’s important to note – if you plot your route using Strava routes, the device will not provide you with turn-by-turn navigation, but will display your current location on a breadcrumb trail. Once you conclude your ride, sync back up with your smartphone to upload your route instantly via Bluetooth with just one click!

 

Metrics & Display

The ELEMNT boasts a crisp 2.7” display that’s bold in daylight conditions and has no issues in tackling evening rides with an impressive backlight. Some may argue that the unit is slightly bulkier than other computers on the market – alternatively, take a look at the ELEMENT BOLT, which Wahoo claims to be the most aerodynamic on the market by 50%, which would equate to saving 12.6 seconds over a 40km time trial at a 21mph average – definitely one for those seeking marginal gains!

Pairing your Wahoo ELEMNT with the correct sensors will provide you with a detailed range of metrics, which are customisable for your unit using the partner app. Stats on the default performance page include speed and cadence, distance travelled, average speed, HR zones, also an array of power based metrics and endless opportunities for customisation to tailor the ELEMNT to your cycling needs. Wahoo has even implemented the option to pair with muscle oxygen sensors to display saturated and total haemoglobin metrics. Even if you change your mind during your ride, the zoom buttons on the right-hand side of the unit brings your most valued metrics more prominent by blocking out your less significant values.

Cycling through the other pages pre-programmed into the ELEMNT will provide you with an in-ride view of the ascent you’re currently grinding through and an on-map location. If you hadn’t got the impression already, customisation is very accessible using the app to create your own unique pages with metrics that matter to you most for each work out and even connect with Strava to utilise live segments – a feature that we will move on to shortly..

 

Smart Buttons

The three buttons at the base of the ELEMNT will cycle through the customised pages on the unit and provide you with standard options to start/pause/resume/end your activity. Whereas some users may be used to touchscreens of other units, the ELEMNT’s easy press buttons gives you the option to make in ride changes even during those chilly, winter glove-essential rides.

 

Sensor Versatility

The dual band technology of the ELEMNT allows users to connect the device with a huge range of ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors. Wahoo currently offer an impressive starter pack with the essentials: the TICKR (Wahoo’s heart rate monitor), speed sensor and cadence sensor.

Having the rider in mind for all weather conditions, the ELEMNT goes hand in hand with connecting features on Wahoo’s turbo models: KICKR and KICKR SNAP. Pair the ELEMNT with your Wahoo turbo (or those equipped with ANT+ FE-C) to control your ride in 3 different modes: level mode, ERG mode, and routes & ride history mode. Whether you choose to pair the ELEMNT with a Wahoo turbo or an alternative compatible model, you’re still treated to 3 pre-loaded Team Sky designed workouts programmed into the unit at your disposal.

 

Mount Options

Wahoo provides three positions to attaching the unit to your noble steed: handlebar, out front and a TT positioned option. Whichever you utilise, the unit simply twists into the mount grooves by twisting the ELEMNT, similar to attaching other cycling computer units. The mounts are all included with the ELEMNT.

 

Strava Live Segments

One of our favourite features – looking to nab a KOM on one of your local climbs? Once your Wahoo and Strava accounts are linked, your starred segments will be synced on to your unit. When in approximately 100m range of your starred segments, the ELEMNT will alert you of your close proximity and automatically switch to the live segments page. From the beginning of the segment, it will coach you through your gruelling effort, showing you the gradient profile, how close you are to the end and if so, how far ahead (or behind…) you are of your previous PR or the current KOM.

 

On Screen Alerts

Perhaps not one for everyone, but a great feature for some required to stay on alert is the on-screen notifications for phone calls, texts and emails.

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