The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is neat, compact bike computer with a great screen, mapping and easy to link with your phone - a true rival to Garmin

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt arrived this year – its USP being a greater aerodynamic profile when compared with the market leader. 

It’s a great value unit with battery life for days – and some clever connectivity with Android and iOS smartphones. It also outshines market leaders Garmin earning it an Editor’s Choice 2017 spot.

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is a neat, compact cycling computer that is designed to be more aerodynamic than rival products.

Pairing the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt with a smartphone is easy with the corresponding app efficiently taking you through the process. Once paired you can set up your data screens in the app and connect sensors such as heart rate and power.

We found the software easy to use and the app really useful for customising data fields, setting up how many screens you have, and the fields on those screens – to us it just makes sense to be able to do it all through a smartphone. Once set up the unit is controlled by way of two buttons on the side and three on the bottom.

The Bolt has been designed to be aerodynamic and Wahoo claims that it exhibits a 50 per cent reduction of drag relative to competitors’ products such as the Garmin 520. Wahoo says that it has worked with aerodynamics expert Dimitris Katsanis, who was responsible for UK Cycling’s groundbreaking track bikes and equipment, as well as working with Team Sky and on Bradley Wiggins’s Hour Record bike.

Aero design and simple screen means the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt out shines the Garmin

Wahoo’s Elemnt Bolt aims to reduce drag by cleverly integrating the design of the computer and its mount together. Wahoo says it’s used computational fluid dynamics to model airflow over the Elemnt Bolt, finding that it results in drag savings. Put into context, Wahoo says that this equates to a decreased time in a 40km time trial time of 12.6 seconds when travelling at a rather leisurely 21mph.

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt shares some of the features of the original Elemnt computer launched in 2015. So it has Wahoo’s Quicklook customisable array of LED indicators and Perfect View zoom feature – though we found in testing we didn’t use the LED indicators that much, they’re a nice-to-have.

The 2.2in display on the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is clear and numbers are easy to read on the black and white screen.

Maps are included on the base unit. The lack of colour means the tracker is a tiny bit harder to follow, but competitors at this level only provide maps as an add on so the Wahoo is still ahead of the game here.

The zoom in and zoom out buttons on the side are useful as they work on any screen. This means that if you are viewing a data screen populated with nine little fields, you can zoom in until it becomes three or one large field – useful to short-sighted riders, or when you want to concentrate on fewer numbers.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt best cycling computer

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt cycling computer works very well

Battery life really impressed us. The Garmin Edge 520 claims to be around 15 hours, but when navigating we’ve never achieved anything close to this. The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt does however exhibit great battery life lasting typically two or three times longer than the Garmin 520.

Another little detail is a screw can be used to secure the computer to mount to give a little added security should your riding warrant it.

The Elemnt Bolt also offers full Strava integration, including Strava Live segments, as well as text and phone alerts. Retailing at £199.99 the Bolt is considerably less expensive than a £279.99 Garmin Edge 520. It’s also available as a bundle with Wahoo’s Tickr heart rate monitor and RPM speed and cadence sensor priced at £259.99.