20 October 2016

REVIEW: Wahoo Elemnt Bike Computer

Ride companion.

If you're serious about cycling, a bike computer is great way to keep track of everything you've done upon two wheels, while helping you to not get lost. Last year we reviewed the impressive Rflkt+ computer from Wahoo, but since then it seems they've decided to put at least a couple vowels in the name of their latest product. But have they put any more clever tech in there? We review the Wahoo Elemnt Bike Computer.

For those not in the know, a bike computer is a small removable device that clamps to your handle bars and acts like a dashboard display while you cycle. Speed, elevation, time, distance and so much more is displayed, as well as a map of your surroundings, SatNav style. For the casual cyclists and commuter all this data might not be necessary, but for anyone who cycles for fitness, training, and adventure, a decent computer up front on your handle bars is invaluable.

Bigger than than the Rflkt+ (even typing that makes us feel uneasy), the Elemnt has a 6.8cm screen which displays info in black and white only. To be honest, considering the price, we were expecting a full colour touchscreen on the device, but everything is controlled via tactile buttons on the base and edges. Some hardcore cyclists might prefer that, especially if you're wearing gloves with fingertips, but some on-screen controls would've been nice.

One thing we did love was the set up. Once charged up and switched on, the Elemnt displays a QR code for your phone to scan. Do so, and all the info between app and computer will be exchanged and you're good to go. After that, you use your phone to prepare it for a ride, customising the tabs on screen to show what you'll need, as well as adding other sensors your bike, or other equipment, might have. Oh, and we were happy to see that it found lots of satellites as soon as it was switched on, nailing the GPS location.

The Wahoo Elemnt Bike Computer attaches to your stead by way of a mount, with the computer itself detaching from it with a twist. This means you can take it with you when you dismount, without having to undo all the attachments. However, the mount itself is secured with the included cable ties, which can look a bit ungainly and need to be cut off when removing it all from your bike. Still, it holds it very firmly.

Getting a ride started is a simple case of pressing one of the buttons, and then you either press another to stop or to pause your ride. You can also track your progress with the blue LED lights that span the left side of the device, which fade out the closer to your target you're getting. It's a nice touch, and very useful for a quick glance to the computer. Once done, all collected data can be updated via the app, so you can track your progress and see your routes and times.

So although relatively chunky, pricey, and lacking a colour touchscreen, the Wahoo Elemnt Bike Computer seems pretty spot on at accurately tracking your movements while cycling. We like the easy as pie set up, as well as the Wahoo app itself, and the easy to find tactile buttons. A solid build, with some nice and simplistic software, means it should keep you more than satisfied for many miles to come.


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