Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT review: Outrageously competent

Does the Wahoo stave off all the competition and will it be the bike computer you switch to?

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT

by Myles Warwood |

Do you keep your phone in your back pocket recording your ride with Strava? Long hours in the saddle can drain your phones battery for when you may need it the most. Cycling computers have had a bit of a boom in recent years with big names like Garmin, Hammerhead, and Wahoo.

Wahoo have two bike computers at their disposal the ELEMNT Roam and the one resident cycling expert Myles Warwood is going to be looking at: the ELEMNT Bolt.

About the ELEMNT Bolt

The Bolt is a small cycling computer that sits atop a mount on your handlebar stem, designed as such to not interfere too much with the aerodynamics of your bike. It’ll give you all the information you need while riding and will display maps, record Strava segments and, yes, even tell you the time.

Super lightweight at just under 69 grams, the BOLT houses a 15-hour rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, a 2.2inch 64-colour display, built in GPS and an altimeter. It’s also waterproof up to 5 ft (don’t go through any massive puddles).

All round, the BOLT at a price point of £264.99 gives great value and is a similar price as a Bryton Rider 750E or a Garmin Edge 530. But what is it that makes the BOLT stand out? There are a bunch of reasons why I think the BOLT is the best.

Verdict

The Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT is a fully integrated and very smart bike computer which will enable you to make the most of your ride. It’s amazing that given its weight (just 69 grams!) and size that Wahoo have managed to cram so much in.

The handlebar mount is super quick and easy to install with the BOLT twisting in to place quickly and easily.

Buying in to a GPS bike computer can be like buying in to a phone or laptop manufacturer, once you’re in and you start making further purchases, it becomes tricky to move away. Connecting heart rate monitors and power meters and cadence sensors, for example. Wahoo, like other brands, have this in abundance and they all talk to each other very happily with such little input from yourself.

The ELEMNT BOLT is an outrageously competent bit of kit which you’ll no doubt find slips into your cycling life very easily.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Amazon

View offer

Myles Warwood / What's The Best?

Usability

The useability of the BOLT is stand-out and class-leading. Its form is well sized, it has easy-to-press buttons and it’s easy to read in bright sunlight with and without sunglasses. You can navigate to the exact page you want within a few presses, which means there’s less time that your eyes are off the road and less time your hands are off the handlebars.

GPS

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT GPS
©Myles Warwood / What's The Best?

Some bike computers show you a map, and it’s up to you to navigate yourself to your chosen destination. Thankfully, we are starting to leave these days behind, and the Wahoo ELEMNT has brought with it its own navigational tool.

Before, cyclists needed to pre-set rides and follow on-screen prompts to get around the route without taking the wrong turn. Now the BOLT, utilising the lights above the screen, gives you prompts on which way to turn and when. If you prefer to see a map, you can have this on display as well as the LED lights, and chevrons will display the correct way you should be going.

With 16GB of storage, the BOLT can store your maps and routes you have made and if you take the wrong turn, it can also re-route you on the fly.

Screen Display

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Screen Display
©Myles Warwood / What's The Best?

A high contrast 64-colour screen with ambient light sensor makes it easy to read the display, even at a glance. The pages on display are customisable, which allows you to have your BOLT the way you want it giving you the information you need in one place.

If your BOLT is connected to a heart rate monitor, like the Wahoo TICKR or RIVAL, this is displayed on screen. Making use of colour, the BOLT will show you bpm in colour bands to reflect your effort, from blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Again, very handy for knowing where you are relative to your effort.

The screen will also bring up notifications of texts, phone calls and emails. You also have the option in the free Wahoo App for you to set notifications and reminders while out on your ride. Simple reminders like ‘drink water’ or ‘take an energy gel’ can pop-up on your screen after a certain time or distance.

If you have Strava authenticated in the ELEMNT Companion App, the BOLT will alert you when your saved Strava segments are approaching on your route. This will give you real time progress as you head up the segment and where you rank compared to the King or Queen of the Mountain.

Battery and Charging

Battery life on the BOLT is an impressive 15 hours, trumped by the Garmin 530 which has 20 hours of battery life. Consider how long you’ll be riding for; the likely hood is your longest rides will be around five-to-six hours long if you’re an experienced rider. If this is the case, then battery life shouldn’t be too much of a concern as you’ll know when to charge your bike computer.

The BOLT can be charged mid-ride with the purchase of a USB-C cable and battery pack.

Connectivity

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT connected to Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL
©Myles Warwood / What's The Best?

The only need for a wire on the BOLT is to charge it. Synchronisation of ride data, downloading maps and updating software can all be done via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or ANT+. As soon as you finish a ride, your BOLT will upload your ride data to where you want it for you to pour over the detail and whether you bagged that Strava segment.

The amount of detail which you can pick through during and after your ride will be endless. With connectivity to Shimano Dura Ace Di2, SRAM eTAP, FSA WE and Campagnolo EPS, you will see on screen your gearing metrics and where you are in your gears.

You can also connect to Muscle Oxygen Sensors and power meters, so if your budget allows for all the above, the ability to really pick your ride to pieces is somewhere in the professional’s category.

The ability to pair with popular apps such as Strava, Komoot, Best Bike Split, Ride With GPS and others, allows you to really start to explore your local surroundings and keep on target to your race plan.

Score 4.5/5

Wahoo really took the market by storm when they came about, and many users jumped from Garmin to Wahoo. They continue that trend with the ELEMNT BOLT, it’s a fantastic bike computer which could only be improved in small areas like battery life, where it falls short to it’s rivals.

Pros:

• Super lightweight

• Easy to read and see at a glance

• Great sat nav which will get your back on route if you take a wrong turn

• Compatible with many apps and wide range of supporting products

• Very competitive price point

Cons:

•Battery life beaten by rivals

Spec table

Specifications
Unit dimensions: 46mm x 11mm
Display size: 2.2 in / (55.9 mm), 320px x 240px
Display type: 64-Colour
Weight: 2.4oz (68.38 grams)
Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Ion
Battery life: 15 hours
GPS: Built in
Supported satellites: GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU Galileo,QZSS
IP rating: IPX7 (Waterproof up to 5 ft)
Mount types: Integrated out front and Stem
Altimeter: Yes
LED: One row customisable
Perfect View Zoom buttons: Yes
Ambient light sensor: Yes
Operating temperature: -20°C to 50°C

What to read next

Garmin Descent MK2S: deep-dive review

Treat yourself to the best protein snacks for a boost on-the-go

The best spin bikes for your workouts

Myles is a Commercial Content Writer for What's The Best, Parkers and CAR. His areas of expertise include cycling, fitness tech and hot hatches.

Subscribe to the What’s The Best Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews and recommendations from the What’s The Best team.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us