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