New Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Overview

The newest Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT was upgraded with a colour display, extra navigation options, almost six occasions extra storage capability, and extra. We’ve put hundreds of miles on two completely different items, and you’ll find our detailed written assessment plus an in-depth video assessment right here…

Many people listed here are longtime followers of the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS unit. It was on the helm throughout a whole lot of scouting missions for the Japanese Divide Path and a great deal of different routes on the location. The ROAM’s easy-to-read colour display and companion app with wonderful route sync integration with RideWithGPS make it arduous to beat, though many opponents try as of late. The unavoidable draw back is the value tag; we’re properly conscious that the $380 MSRP for a GPS head unit is a little bit a lot for some individuals to swallow. Final 12 months, Wahoo unveiled the brand new ELEMNT BOLT, which is available in $100 underneath the ROAM and will get most of the identical options. A few us have been utilizing the BOLT for the final 12 months for this full assessment.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Review

  • Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Review

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Overview (Video)

Earlier than you learn on, Neil put collectively a video assessment of the BOLT. He questioned how the BOLT in comparison with the ROAM, contemplating that it’s smaller but nonetheless has a wide range of new options and changes. Neil shares his ideas on the BOLT and compares it to different GPS items on this tech assessment video:

What’s modified

The obvious improve from the outdated mannequin is that the brand new ELEMNT BOLT will get a 2.2” 64-color, high-contrast, scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass display, bringing it visually as much as snuff with the ROAM, and possibly even a little bit higher, which I’ll get to later. In my view, it is a large enchancment from the previous monotone display, and based on Wahoo, it helps with battery life. To enhance this, it additionally will get an Ambient Gentle Sensor, which helps with visibility and may help in sustaining higher battery life. Beneath the hood, the brand new BOLT boasts an enormous 16GB of inside storage, in comparison with the two.78GB arduous drive in its predecessor. It additionally comes with a USB-C port, which can clear up a uncommon port failure situation reported by a handful of customers. One other main change—which isn’t an enormous deal to me as I didn’t apply it to the ROAM—is the Good Navigation integration (beforehand accessible solely on the ROAM). Along with a number of different clever navigation choices, the BOLT can robotically reroute riders who stray off target when this function is turned on. It additionally sports activities an up to date consumer interface with customizable, color-highlighted fields, just like the ROAM. Right here’s the listing of options that had been upgraded or added:

  • 64-Colour Display (previously black and white)
  • On Machine Good Navigation
  • Up to date UI and Information Fields
  • 16GB of Reminiscence (previously 4GB)
  • USB-C Charging Port (previously USB)
  • Ambient Gentle Sensor



As you possibly can see within the picture above, the largest distinction between the BOLT and the ROAM is the dimensions. At 95 grams, the ROAM weighs about 26 grams greater than the brand new BOLT. And the ROAM is kind of a bit bigger too, measuring 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.7″ (89 x 54.4 x 17.8 mm), whereas the brand new BOLT is about 3.0 x 1.85 x 0.8″ (77 x 47 x 20mm). Nonetheless, the display itself isn’t markedly completely different. The ROAM has rather more bezel and area for flashers and alerts, notably a vertically oriented LED alert strip, one thing I truthfully don’t miss. The BOLT’s solely LED strip is on high and is a lot brilliant and readable in my view. The screens on the 2 items are nearly the identical width. Based mostly on my measurements, the ROAM is about 3.5cm (1.38”) large the place the BOLT is 3.4cm (1.34”). Nonetheless, the ROAM has a considerably taller display at 5.9cm (2.32”) in comparison with the 4.4cm (1.73”) display on the BOLT.


As talked about, the brand new BOLT has much more cupboard space (16GB vs. 4GB on the ROAM). They usually each have roughly the identical capabilities now, too. Except for a little bit little bit of display actual property, the one actual good thing about the ROAM now could be a barely longer-lasting battery. The BOLT presents a claimed 15 hours, whereas the ROAM’s is 17.

Though arduous to discern from the photographs, I’ve discovered that the BOLT’s 64-color display is far brighter than the ROAM’s, which is helped by the truth that there are extra colours within the show than that of the 8-color ROAM. The BOLT’s display additionally appears crisper and clearer than the ROAM. At first I questioned whether or not that was as a consequence of it being model new and never but smudged and scuffed up. However, after a whole lot of use in varied lighting conditions, I feel it’s rather more readable than the ROAM.

One other bodily distinction are the buttons. The buttons on the ROAM—in addition to BOLT v1—are recessed (concave) and I discover them barely arduous to press. The BOLT’s buttons are convex in form and far simpler to press. I discovered that to be a pleasant contact whereas driving because it’s a little bit simpler to toggle between screens. That will even make it a lot simpler to toggle with full-finger gloves, and even winter gloves.

First Experience

Setup was as simple because the ROAM. You merely scan the barcode and it pairs to the app. Then, you possibly can sync a route immediately from RideWithGPS, which is fingers down considered one of my favourite options. As soon as the route masses, it’s on the unit and may be adopted or ridden anytime. Additionally, just like the ROAM, you possibly can change menus and settings. I at all times flip auto-pause and auto-reroute off as I like to remain in management and never hear incessant alerts beeps. After tweaking the settings to my liking, I loaded up a route and rode off. The dotted arrows for the route instantly confirmed up and I used to be on my approach.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Review

  • Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Review
  • Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Review

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Review

Sadly, I ran right into a little bit of a SNAFU on my first journey with the BOLT. As soon as I hit the trailhead, the unit stopped registering pace and mileage knowledge. The journey clock was nonetheless counting, and so far as I might inform, the map was nonetheless monitoring, however in the long run, the BOLT was displaying knowledge for rather less than half of my journey. Finally, as soon as I received again dwelling, it appeared that the tracks had been all recorded, but it surely nonetheless wasn’t exhibiting correct mileage or common pace on the unit—therefore the “3.5-mile” 46-minute journey. Then I remembered after I initially powered up the unit, it displayed a message about prototype firmware and prompted me for an improve, which I ignored. So, I upgraded the firmware and I’m hoped that it could clear up the problem. I’ve by no means had any issues pairing or recording on the ROAM, and I’ve used it lots, so I suspected this was only a glitch.

I later upgraded the firmware on a number of extra events and continued have the identical situation. Finally, the leaves fell and I gave up. Nonetheless, there’s a catch. I’ve solely had this situation on one set of trails, a few of my common afternoon trails in a thickly forested space close to my dwelling. In any other case, I’ve used the BOLT on hundreds of miles price of scouting journeys for the Japanese Divide Path and by no means had that situation spring up throughout any of these journeys. So, what offers? It’s arduous to say precisely, however I feel the BOLT is healthier fitted to gravel and mixed-terrain driving than it’s singletrack mountain biking, notably in case your common trails are underneath a thick cover.

Battery Life

On scouting missions with my outdated ELEMNT ROAM the place I used to be driving near 100-mile days and pedaling from morning to nightfall, I’d both need to cost the unit at evening or plug it into the dynamo throughout the day. I anticipated the identical from the BOLT. That was largely the case. On two completely different scouting journeys by means of Alabama-Florida and Nova Scotia-New Brunswick, I used to be averaging about 100 miles per day, typically backtracking and such. These had been some lengthy days beginning round daybreak and infrequently driving into the darkish hours of evening. Most days concerned between 12 and 16 hours of time when the unit was lively and the BOLT was typically at all times on the map display. Normally after I powered it down after stopping, it nonetheless had between 10 and 20% of battery remaining. With that, I feel Wahoo’s 15-hour battery life estimate is a little bit on the conservative facet. You continue to need to cost it nightly, but it surely’s spectacular, nonetheless.

  • Bodily Dimensions: 3.0 x 1.85 x 0.8″ (77 x 47 x 20mm)
  • Precise Weight: 69 grams
  • Place of Manufacture: China
  • Worth: $279.99
  • Producer’s Particulars:


  • Good brilliant display in a small kind issue makes it good for these of us who don’t like overbuilt items with too many bells and whistles
  • Glorious battery life
  • Convex buttons are simpler to make use of than ROAM’s concave buttons
  • The change to a USB-C plug appears extra sturdy and dependable


  • Doesn’t appear to work in some densely forested trails
  • Syncing on the app may be time consuming when you might have a whole lot of routes

Wrap Up

I’m a easy man relating to GPS items. I actually don’t use a fraction of the options this stuff ship with. For me, the perfect unit simply has an honest base map and permits me to simply load up a route and comply with the road. I often do all of the heavy lifting for analysis and detailed inspection with the RideWithGPS or Gaia apps which have extra detailed topo and OSM basemaps and an easy-to-use (and huge) contact display. The BOLT is the proper companion for this method. It’s small, easy, intuitive, and nonetheless has a transparent sufficient display that’s seen in all lighting conditions. It additionally has an important battery life, and the ELEMNT companion app is comparatively user-friendly for loading routes and syncing rides. The massive hiccup is utilizing it on densely forested singletrack, however typically, I’ve discovered it to be good for all method of scouting conditions for the Japanese Divide Path.

Associated Content material

Make sure that to dig into these associated articles for more information…

Please hold the dialog civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your remark can be eliminated.