It’s going to take quite something to break Garmin’s stranglehold on the GPS bike computer market but Wahoo’s ELEMNT is a more than able competitor
Their previous computer – the REFLKT – was launched a few years back, albeit as more of a companion to their turbo trainers than a computer in its own right. It didn’t have GPS, and its range of functions was significantly less expansive than the new model. It was also a lot smaller – although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Wahoo have also dabbled with sensors, already marketing their own Bluetooth Smart speed/cadence sensors, and a pretty smart heart rate monitor called the TICKR+ (see a pattern here?). The TICKR actually has a decent claim to being the highest tech heart rate strap on the market seeing as it can work on its own without a head unit, recording and uploading the info when you’re home. Pretty smart.
Onto the ELEMNT and the most obvious feature is the screen. It’s a 2.7” screen Wahoo claim to be the largest on the market, even if that boosts the size of the unit itself to 2.3” x 3.5”, which is on the large side. But even with that large screen Wahoo reckon the unit has a battery life of 16hrs which is pretty good and, in any case, it’s USB rechargeable which solves that problem.
Another use of that battery power is the dual connectivity. The ELEMNT features both ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 meaning there won’t be any problems with connecting to whatever sensors you already have or any power meter you might want. Interestingly, Wahoo also say you’ll never have to plug the ELEMNT into a PC or Mac as all updates and uploads can be done wirelessly, which is pretty cool.
There’s also a smattering of the ‘next gen’ features you’d expect on a computer at this price point like text and call alerts and also Live Tracking, that gives the ability for someone to follow your ride real time and know where you are. The sort of thing that could prove really useful when trying to meet up for a ride in a new place, for example.
It’s going to take quite something to break Garmin’s stranglehold on the GPS bike computer market but Wahoo’s ELEMNT is a more than able competitor.