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Just got the Wahoo elemnt Bolt, any tips or things I should know?

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Just got the Wahoo elemnt Bolt, any tips or things I should know?

Old 12-23-17, 08:47 PM
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Just got the Wahoo elemnt Bolt, any tips or things I should know?

Ive read great reviews and also some people who just plain out didnt like them and some garmin heads (me for one) that was skeptical but I do have a buddy with 10,000 miles on his without a hickup. Gonna give it a whirl.
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Old 12-23-17, 09:07 PM
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Getting mine for Christmas. I'm one of those guys who researches something to death, Google "DC Rainmaker Wahoo Element Bolt". He has the best review I have found. He also has a very good review on You Tube. Should answer all your questions.
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Old 12-24-17, 08:12 AM
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I have an Wahoo Elemnt and will be selling it and replacing it with a Garmin Edge 1030. This decision is more reflective of my usage which is remote bikepacking where I don't have mobile [cell] range and hence trying to setup routing options on the go, having to use the phone [battery life gets precious] to interact with it just gets to be to much of a hassle and then add it that it does not auto-re-route and it is going.

Being able to do everything I need onunit without the phone is just so much easier for me.

Otherwise it is good unit, works pretty well and if I was not doing a lot of bikepacking I would probably keep it.
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Old 12-24-17, 09:04 AM
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It's a very good unit, mostly reliable, or more reliable than the Garmin 810 I had. Easy to set up, sync's painlessly with RideWithGPS. Good display, some folks like the buttons better then using a touch screen.

The reliability issues I had were it would lose the Blue Tooth connection with the phone. I was not always aware of this. Wahoo is aware as well, their answer was to "close and re-start the phone app", which while it worked, wasn't useful during a ride. As well, I couldn't read the navigation information, which is reversed image on the bottom of the data screen, while wearing non-polarized sunglasses. I'm like Aushiker as well that I need better maps then what Wahoo provides, so switched to a Garmin 1000. Bigger screen is easier to read as well.

But bottom line is there's a lot of very good things from Wahoo, screen readability and sync'ing are the 2 strong points. Good value out of the Bolt as well.
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Old 12-24-17, 12:46 PM
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I've had my Bolt for 5 months now and I really like it. I have not had the first problem with the unit itself since I bought it. Where the quirkiness lies is in the way Wahoo has designed some of the features. It's a long read but here is what I have found while using the Bolt.

WiFi Connection: The Bolt connects flawlessly to your home WiFi via use of the companion app, which you will need in order to make the first connection. Once you connect the Bolt to your WiFi, you no longer need the companion app to connect it. Now here is something I had to find out via Wahoo Support - if you home WiFi network has MAC Filtering enabled, you will not get the Bolt to connect to your network because the Bolt uses dynamic MAC addressing. It never sends the same MAC address twice, therefore, you will have to disable your MAC Filtering in order to connect the Bolt. Dumb but that's how they did it. If you don't use or know what MAC Filtering is, then this doesn't pertain to you.

Connecting the Bolt to the companion app can get tricky and takes a bit of getting in the habit of doing it a particular way. The Bolt does not require the companion app in order to be used so when you power on the Bolt, it does not do a search for a connection to your phone or the companion app. However, the companion app does search for the Bolt each time it is started. If you start the app before you power on the Bolt, the app will fail to find the device and will not connect until you shut down and force close the app, then restart it. If you power up the Bolt and then start the app, it will connect every single time. I have an iPhone and it never gives me problem but I have heard that with some Android models, the WiFi connection does occasionally get dropped.

Setup: Pairing and setup is done completely via the companion app. It's easy and super fast. I think the Bolt has a more user friendly setup then my friends Garmin 800. You have up to 9 options per screen page that are completely customizable as to what you want displayed and in the order you want them. You can have up to 5 user defined pages if you don't use the default pages provided by Wahoo.

Sensors: A piece of cake. You can pair the sensors via the companion app or by connecting directly to the Bolt. If you already have Ant+ sensors, not a problem; they connect flawlessly using either method.

Screen visibility: Personally, I prefer the black on white screen of the Bolt over the color screens of some of the Garmin models. However, what Steve B mentioned is true - depending on the light condition, it is often difficult to read a text message or phone number with the white lettering on the black background. I wear photochromatic sunglasses and when they get really dark, it's a hassle. I really like the zoom in feature of the Bolt. Even with the screen zoomed out, it's very easy to read. I also like the fact that the Bolt uses buttons vs touch screen to change pages and zoom in and out. My friend, with the Garmin 800, had to buy touch screen compatible, full fingered gloves for cold weather riding or take a glove off to use the computer.

Turn by turn: Turn by turn works great and I've never missed a turn on unfamiliar routes since using the Bolt. But again, the notifications are displayed on a white on black section of the screen and at times can be difficult to read. However, the LED's will flash and the Bolt will sound an alarm before the turn and the LED's will then blink in the direction of the turn. It kind of makes up for the notification display. You do need an account with RideWithGPS to create or copy routes to use in the Bolt. You can also get turn by turn by using the Bolt's Take Me To feature. You can not get turn by turn instructions from using past rides since waypoints are not stored with ride GPS data.

Downloading routes: The Bolt will automatically sync with RWGPS when it's connected to your WiFi network. The download will pull all of your routes from RWGPS and place them in the Bolt. The downloads are fairly quick and download flawlessly but the more routes you have on RWGPS, the longer it takes to get them all downloaded.

Here is where I think Wahoo has failed and I give it a -10. If you have several routes on RWGPS that you want to keep to share with friends or you have routes that you don't ride often enough to remember each turn (an annual charity ride, for example), all of those routes will get downloaded to the Bolt when synced. Now you have completed the ride and want to remove it from the Bolt. In order to do so, you first have to delete it from RWGPS and then do a sync operation. This now causes two problems: 1) you no longer have the route on RWGPS for future use and 2) the sync operation only removes the one route. If you want to remove all the routes from your Bolt, you have to delete all the routes from RWGPS. The companion will only remove rides from the Bolt but not routes. So now you're stuck with having to recreate the route, or copy it from another user that has done that route into your account. But once you recreate the route, it will get downloaded to the Bolt on the next sync operation which happens the next time the Bolt is powered on within range of your WiFi. My workaround for this is to have two RWGPS accounts, one for storing the routes and the one that the Bolt is connected to. You can then copy them from the storage account to your connected account and delete them from the connected account when you want to remove them from the Bolt. This will keep your routes intact in your storage account so you can still share them with friends and use them later. It's a royal PITA but it's the only way I have found to keep my routes. Hint: if you use this method for keeping your routes, make the storage account a Friend account to the connected account. This will give you a one click access to the storage account when you want to copy routes to the main account. Otherwise, you'll need to do a search for the account holder.

There are a few other things, but nothing to really write home about. The good thing is that the Bolt is a solid device and just does what it's suppose to do. Firmware updates, with new features, come more often than what you get with Garmin and their updates have, thus far, been bug free. The unit just works!
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Old 12-24-17, 02:49 PM
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Good write up John.

The BT connection issue I mentioned is not huge, IMO. When you have an Elemnt/Bolt up and running and THEN start the app and see a pairing, all is hunky dory except that the app can lose the BT connection. One issue that then occurs is you might lose the ability to receive text and call notifications, the other is Live Track drops out.

I found out all this when I would finish a remote ride and save. I would than discover that the ride was not getting to RWGPS OR the App. I then learned that due to BT dropouts, I needed to force close the app and re-start. Then all would sync and was good. Wahoo wasn't much help and didn't actually seem to care that this was an issue. I also got no sense that it wasn't an issue on the front burner and between that and the disappointing maps as well as the screen issues while navigating, I just returned the unit to REI and found a Garmin 1000 at a good price. I'm much happier with the screen and maps on the 1000.

That said, I would recommend the Bolt due to the size and otherwise reliability and general functionality. If you don't need fancy maps, get a Bolt or a Garmin 520.
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Old 12-24-17, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Good write up John.

The BT connection issue I mentioned is not huge, IMO. When you have an Elemnt/Bolt up and running and THEN start the app and see a pairing, all is hunky dory except that the app can lose the BT connection. One issue that then occurs is you might lose the ability to receive text and call notifications, the other is Live Track drops out.

I found out all this when I would finish a remote ride and save. I would than discover that the ride was not getting to RWGPS OR the App. I then learned that due to BT dropouts, I needed to force close the app and re-start. Then all would sync and was good. Wahoo wasn't much help and didn't actually seem to care that this was an issue. I also got no sense that it wasn't an issue on the front burner and between that and the disappointing maps as well as the screen issues while navigating, I just returned the unit to REI and found a Garmin 1000 at a good price. I'm much happier with the screen and maps on the 1000.

That said, I would recommend the Bolt due to the size and otherwise reliability and general functionality. If you don't need fancy maps, get a Bolt or a Garmin 520.
Guessing you have an iPhone. There is an issue with the latest iOS and Bluetooth. My wahoo and my Garmin Fenix 5 both are affected.
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Old 12-24-17, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by hagak View Post
Guessing you have an iPhone. There is an issue with the latest iOS and Bluetooth. My wahoo and my Garmin Fenix 5 both are affected.
Well, it was actually at least 2 iOS versions ago that I had BT issues with my Bolt. I returned it in and got the 1000. No BT issues with that (and itís a Garmin, go figure), but I have no BT issues with anything else either.
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Old 12-24-17, 09:33 PM
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I bought the Bolt about two months ago and think it is great. My one issue is with the turn by turn navigation. When I'm on a ride with a lot of closely spaced turns, it just doesn't keep up, and it is hard to tell which street to turn on. I live in NYC with a dense street grid so this will happen frequently. Also, the beeps seemed to happen after the turn, not before to let you know where/when to turn. I only used it once to try it since I know NYC well enough that I don't need no stinkin' GPS. Maybe I'll need it if I ever get out of NYC again with my bike. .
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Old 12-24-17, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I bought the Bolt about two months ago and think it is great. My one issue is with the turn by turn navigation. When I'm on a ride with a lot of closely spaced turns, it just doesn't keep up, and it is hard to tell which street to turn on. I live in NYC with a dense street grid so this will happen frequently. Also, the beeps seemed to happen after the turn, not before to let you know where/when to turn. I only used it once to try it since I know NYC well enough that I don't need no stinkin' GPS. Maybe I'll need it if I ever get out of NYC again with my bike. .
This isnít the Bolt, itís GPS in general. Seems the units donít process signal, location and directions fast enough for some fast activities. I think this is one of the reasons units for flight navigation use augmented GPS, which has supplemental signals sent from ground transmitters. I recall a ride report a few years ago from a cyclist using a Garmin 1000 in Switzerland and Italy, stating the unit could not keep up in towns with densely packed streets.
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