WAHOO ELEMNT COMPUTER
Garmin isn’t the only one with skin in the bike GPS game. Tim Robson tests the Wahoo Elemnt, a full function computer with a lot of ability.
RRP $600 (sample online price, Australian retailer) WEIGHT 105g (head unit only)) INFO http://au.wahoofitness.com/ gps-bike-computer-elemnt TESTED BY Tim Robson
THERE IS a bewildering array of products out there if you’re looking to record your cycling performance, be it as a happy amateur looking for simplicity of use, or as a more serious user trying to maximise performance via data.
The leader in the field of GPS cycling computers to this point has been Garmin, which offers a solid range of computers across a wide price spectrum. Wahoo is a late starter to the game, but has made a name for itself via a range of so-called ‘smart’ trainers that can be linked to online programs to improve the stationary cycling experience. It’s also branched out into the GPS head unit space with this, the Elemnt.
I’ve used a few devices over the years, and I’ve recently wound back to a tiny Garmin device that basically told me how far and how fast I was going – but it wasn’t quite enough info. I was still keen on something that was easy to read and easy to customise, with the ability to pre-load mapped routes.
The Elemnt can be had for around $500-600 depending on where you shop, and it comes complete with three different mounts and a USB charging cable. It’s a fair size both in screen size and thickness, and uses three easy to use buttons along the bottom, a zoom button on the side and a bank of LED lights up the left side to help you monitor things like average speed or heart rate zones.
The lights are actually pretty useful – I’ve set them to tell me what heart rate zone I’m in. Blue is good, green is great and orange is pushing it, and straying into the red tells you its time to wind it back a bit.
It’s designed to pair up with your smart phone via a Wahoo app in order to set it up and maintain it, which was an easy, painless process using an iPhone 6 S Plus. We’ve also tried the Elemnt on a Samsung S6 with similarly good results.
It also works seamlessly with apps like RideWithGPS and Strava, allowing you to download your results and upload routes with ease via the phone.
In use, the black and white Elemnt is easy to view even on bright days with simple graphics and good contrast, and it teamed up with a Garmin-branded heart rate monitor with zero fuss.
The main screen can be configured to show as little or as much information as you need, including the basics like elapsed time, speed and distance as well as more advanced features like upcoming topography (or, as I called it on a long ride, the suffer meter). It also offers a turn-by-turn navigation function, with inbuilt maps for both Australia and NZ included.
It can be used for a heck of a lot more than that, too, including recording and displaying data from power meters and wireless electronic shifters from SRAM, but it’s equally at home relaying more basic information in a simple-to-use and simple-to-view format. It will even send message and call notifications to the screen if your phone is connected via Bluetooth.
The Wahoo Elemnt has frankly amazing abilities that I may well never tap into, but it doesn’t detract from its job of being a useful, functional bike computer. With an incredibly easy yet robust interface, the Elemnt will also appeal to people looking for a simpler life.
IT WORKS SEAMLESSLY WITH APPS LIKE RIDEWITHGPS AND STRAVA, ALLOWING YOU TO DOWNLOAD YOUR RESULTS.
The Elemnt is rated to last 15 hours on a single charge, though it fell to less than 10 per cent charge after 10 hours. There is an out-front bracket included in the box, but it is a bit too flexible when pressing buttons.