Since it made its name producing indoor suffer machines (some might call them trainers), we've long associated Wahoo Fitness with pain. The company has recently expanded its purvey to include GPS-enabled head units, though, so the ELEMNT Bike Computer Bundle has begun changing that association from stationary pain to mobile, fully engaged exploration. The ELEMNT itself is well-equipped for navigating routes and charting data, but the addition of a TICKR heart rate monitor, RPM speed sensor, and RPM cadence sensor expand its capabilities to include even more ride metrics. All of this means we'll still be using it to more effectively inflict pain on ourselves (intervals and hill repeats are calling), but we'll at least be on actual roads instead of dripping sweat onto the living room floor while doing it.
Keeping with its bent for innovation, Wahoo created a free ELEMNT app designed specifically to set up and manage screens, pairings, and general settings wirelessly from your smartphone. It's available for iPhone (models 4S and newer) and Android 3.2 smartphones with Bluetooth 4.0. The bad news is that you can't set up or really use the ELEMNT without a smartphone, but the exceptionally good news for those of us who do have a smartphone is that managing settings from the app makes getting started and using the ELEMNT about a million times easier than any other cycling computer on the market. No more digging into a rabbit warren of menus, sub-menus, and sub-sub-menus while squinting at a tiny screen, hoping you don't accidentally fat-finger the wrong item and have to start over. Instead, it's just easy peasy scrolling through user-friendly, highly-readable screens on your smartphone.
In addition to the included ancillary sensors, the ELEMNT can pair with Wahoo's KICKR line of power trainers and transition seamlessly from the road to indoor torture time. This functionality allows riders to control workouts from the head unit without any fuss from trying to make sure a computer, tablet, or phone are nearby, connected, and properly set up. With very few exceptions, no one actually looks forward to trainer season, but at least this inter-functionality ensures you'll get the most out of the time you spend training indoors. (And yes, we do know cyclists who actually enjoy multi-hour stints on the trainer. They may be borderline certifiable, but they sure are strong during the early spring.)
The ELEMNT's GPS capabilities really shine on the roads, though, and it can actually track your riding buddies in real time while they're out, too. After a few months or years with the same crew, you know who's going to be late or who's going to ride ahead to do repeats on a climb's crux while the rest of the group clambers up together. With the ELEMNT, you can not only ensure a timely meet-up with multiple partners; you can also watch the perpetually tardy cyclist's progress in real time or verify whether or not your group's KOM champion is actually grinding repeats or just waiting nonchalantly at the top.
The ELEMNT also boasts the ability to display gear positioning when paired with SRAM eTap or Shimano's Di2 D-Fly ANT+ transmitter, so you always know exactly where you are on the cogs when ramping up for the next county line sprint. Its compatibility even extends to BSXInsight and Moxy Muscle Oxygen Sensors to display metrics so you can really get your nerd on while getting your hurt on.
The ELEMNT is compatible with both ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 devices. That means that, in addition to the supplied accessories, it'll pair with almost any power meter your bike might have to gather every last bread crumb of training data. Wireless connectivity lets you upload ride files, download saved rides from third-party tracking apps, and edit settings via the ELEMNT smartphone app. It also alerts you to incoming calls, texts, and emails so you can decide whether to stop and check in, or just keep on keeping on—after all, as long as you don't divulge the ELEMNT's capabilities, you can always claim the "on the bike" excuse as to why you didn't immediately respond.
And while you're on the bike, the ELEMNT is controlled by what Wahoo dubs "smart buttons," with three buttons on the lower face taking on the page view and general start/stop/pause duties while two buttons on the right side control the data zoom. In something of a unique approach, the ELEMNT lets riders set screen blocks by priority in the phone app, which then can be viewed in chunks ranging from the top two data blocks up to ten metrics depending on your mood and activity. The ELEMNT comes with three main screens preloaded—workout, climb, and map—which are all customizable. Users also have the option to add additional screens to best fit their riding needs.
- A head unit bundle that tracks ride metrics indoors or out
- GPS connectivity maps yours and others' positions
- Wirelessly controls KICKR Smart Trainer
- Included accessories gather biometric and ride data
- Downloadable app manages settings and stores data
- Displays smartphone notifications mid-ride
- Compatible with most electronic drivetrains
- Mount options for flat, drop, and aerobars
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Reviews & Community
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This is a very very good bike computer. Best I have ever used. Totally intuitive in set up. Easy connection of cadence and speed sensors. Love the fact that the cadence can clip to my shoes. Only downside is the Wahoo mount is unique from Garmin. There are so many more garmin mount options available and the Wahoo mount is just plastic and seems flimsy compared to my Garmin out front mounts. Need to find a solid aluminum out front mounting option but that will mean replacing the mounts on three bikes......
BIG INFO; LITTLE TROUBLE
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
After a little confusion getting set up, this unit outshines my old Garmin.
It has a great deal of flexibility to give you what ever info you want. One of my favorite features is its ability to find my home network when I finish a ride and download all the data without any worries from me. I have used it over two months and it has not failed to perform perfectly.
So far so good
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Love the large format and the zoom in and out feature is awesome. For me physical button is the way to go over touch. Only used it a couple times but very satisfied with purchase. I'm coming from a Garmin Edge 500 so this is a big upgrade.
Just what I needed
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
These is my first bike computer. And I choose the element because I really like all the functionality and easy setup with the companion app that it has.
So once that I got it, it was as wahoo advertise it, you just know how to set it up. That was really nice.
The ride, I use it in a short ride and I never lost connectivity on any of the sensors (RPM, Speed, HRM) and the LEDs notifications are amazing. For example, I went to a velodrome and I wanted to keep my speed a certain level so I configure the LEDs to let me know that I was riding in that average. (NOTE: The average is calculated as you start riding, is not a setting. Or at least I haven't found it). So that was something nice because instead of keep looking at the screen with a single quick view of the LEDs I knew I had to ride faster. Then I went for a 100 miles ride, where I was interested on my heart rates, so that I don't burn all my energies at the beginning and boom, just set it up for it.
In that same ride, I got lost, lucky me I had the route from strava so I just load it and that save the day. I'm not good with directions, so this was very important for me and it does the job.
For a six hour ride, the battery went below 50% which I think is good enough for my rides.
I also was able to test the Strava live segments, and they are nice. (Not as the strava app) but you can setup the screen to compare your current effort against your PR or vs the KOM.
Finally, the mounts are not very nice because you need those straps that once that you put them in your bike you need to cut them in order to remove it. But nothing too important.
Time to KOM Hunt!