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  1. #1
    Sswitzky
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    Wahoo Elemnt Bolt or Garmin 520 Plus

    Which one? Why? Thanks.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    They are very similar but, I went with the Wahoo. At the time it was cheaper, and reported to have better battery life. I also liked the simplicity of connectivity/pairing and the data representation in the app. Lastly, I like the mount better.

    From observing friends with the 520 it looks like the map features and screens of the 520 are better.

    Now that Wahoo has paired or come to an agreement with Pioneer I've noticed friends moving away from the 520 to Wahoo who use Pioneer PM's. I don't know why though. Maybe the pairing or downloading of data is better but, I doubt it.

  3. #3
    Slowski
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    I love my Bolt. Just turn it on and ride. Pairs automatically with no hassle. The only time I ever had the battery die on me is when I went out on a 5+ hour ride without having charged it from previous ride(s).

  4. #4
    Neophyte
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    The 520 is very feature rich in a very manageable form factor (size). The 520 Plus is just the next evolution of it... For me the 520 is one of my favorite bicycle purchases of all time. The screen is excellent, the battery life is great, the size is good. Screen customization is great as well.

  5. #5
    wut?
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    I used a Garmin Edge 510 for about 5 years. It was a good unit, but I was a bit frustrated with how Garmin did (or did not) do things, especially regarding firmware and software upgrades and the reliability of some features.

    I went to a Bolt this year and I really like it. I like changing the settings on my phone rather than the unit, and it integrates really well with my structured workouts on Training Peaks. No complaints.
    There I was...

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I liked the Bolt as compared to a Garmin 810 I used for a year, except the white text on black background of the navigation info was impossible for my eyes to read unless I took off my sunglasses (and no, it was not a problem of Polarized sunglasses).

    The navigation screen on the Garmin 1000 I use is better as are the quality of the maps. The 1000 has been a rock solid unit, but the Element is a great device as well.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I've used an Edge 520 for about 3 years, and mostly loved it. Once I downloaded openstreetmaps, it was a joy for navigation. Wanting to try the latest and greatest, I bought a Bolt. I used it for about 2 months and decided to go back to my 520.

    As I see it, the best thing about the bolt is the ability to configure it from your phone.
    But I experienced a lot of sensor dropouts. I missed the ability to set up different activity profiles, as you can on the 520.

    The biggest disappointment for me though with the Bolt was that the screen wasn't as bright or readable in daylight as the 520. Even with the backlight on, the Bolt seemed dimmer or less contrasty than the 520. This may be a function of older eyes. I also like the color screen on the 520, which is lacking on the Bolt.

    As far as battery life is concerned, I've done several century rides with the 520 without a problem. I did need to shut off Bluetooth, and make sure the backlight was off. But you don't need the backlight on during the day.

    More usually though, my rides are 2-4 hours, and I'll recharge my 520 after every second ride.

    The biggest downside of the 520 is the inability to set up the screens via phone. You need to go through a somewhat non-intuitive menu system and a bunch of button pushes. However, you can set up different activity profiles with things like different data screens, gps on/off, alerts and so forth. So once set up, you just really need to choose a profile and go.

    In the end end though, the reason I stopped using the Bolt and went back to the 520 was the sensor dropouts on the Bolt, and the superior screen on the 520.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I used the Garmin 800 for many years (still own it) with the OS maps and I liked the color screen, but it required too many steps to get the turn by turn routing going. In comparison, the Wahoo Element only requires you to simply select the route that's in your route library and go. It syncs all your routes, in my case, from my Ridewithgps account (there are others you can use beside RWGPS).

    Note: The 800 is older technology without BT and wifi, so I can't give any feedback on the newer unit functionality. They may offer the same or similar things as the Wahoo.

    What kind of turned me off about Garmin was they did not provide any maps years ago and wanted to nickle and dime you for it and everything in between, but the competition has changed their game plan. I debated going with another Garmin, but wanted to try something new and found the Element Bolt Yes, it doesn't have the color screen or some of the fancy stuff that Garmin has, but it's the simplicity that attracted me to it. It's so easy to just choose a route and go. I also like how you can shrink or enlarge the data fields to see only the data you want in larger font. Also, the simplicity of setting up my pages, via the app.

    Have you checked out DCRainmaker's review of both units? If not, it would be worth the read to help you decide.

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/03/...th-review.html

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/07/...min-wahoo.html

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/03/...th-review.html

    Edit: Also check out the forums for both units where you get real people feedback on the unit.
    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!fo...o-elemnt-users

    https://forums.garmin.com/forum/into...ng/edge-520-aa
    Last edited by Methodical; 10-08-2018 at 05:45 AM.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    On a Garmin 1000, I send the course to the device via BT from the app on my phone. On the main screen on the 1000, its a press of the Courses button, then press the course you want from the list and start it. You still do need to press the tracking start button (or whatever the hard button is that starts a track). Itís pretty easy and not really much different or more complicated then how the Bolt works.

    I didnít find learning the menu system of the 1000 all that difficult and most everything was where I expected it. Itís a bit more complicated with stuff like a particular map (Garmin road set or the Topo maps) which are selected in an Activity profile. But different maps are not available on Wahoo anyway, so nothing to compare to.

    Pretty much like any device, thereís a learning curve to how to get the device setup. Android does some stuff different then iOS, just like Garmin sets up on the device, vs. on a smartphone with a Wahoo. Having used an 810 and 1000 from Garmin as well as a Bolt, I canít say one method was superior, itís just different.

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    On a Garmin 1000, I send the course to the device via BT from the app on my phone. On the main screen on the 1000, its a press of the Courses button, then press the course you want from the list and start it. You still do need to press the tracking start button (or whatever the hard button is that starts a track). Itís pretty easy and not really much different or more complicated then how the Bolt works.

    I didnít find learning the menu system of the 1000 all that difficult and most everything was where I expected it. Itís a bit more complicated with stuff like a particular map (Garmin road set or the Topo maps) which are selected in an Activity profile. But different maps are not available on Wahoo anyway, so nothing to compare to.

    Pretty much like any device, thereís a learning curve to how to get the device setup. Android does some stuff different then iOS, just like Garmin sets up on the device, vs. on a smartphone with a Wahoo. Having used an 810 and 1000 from Garmin as well as a Bolt, I canít say one method was superior, itís just different.
    So I see Garmin has simplified things since my old 800. Which model did they start to simplify things?

    OP, I forgot to say I also did not want to spend $600 this go round on a bike computer.

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Methodical View Post
    So I see Garmin has simplified things since my old 800. Which model did they start to simplify things?

    OP, I forgot to say I also did not want to spend $600 this go round on a bike computer.
    My 810 functioned this way as well, including the use of the Garmin Connect phone app. The 810 was otherwise a very unreliable unt, which is why I tried the Bolt. As the 810, like the 1000, use a touch screen, I've no idea if the functionality of the 520, and 520 Plus are the same as they use buttons for functions and I've never seen a n 820 or 1030.

    No need to spend $600 for a 1030. Lots of options. You can still get a 1000 for about $340, it just got a map update, so Garmin still supports it. Or the smaller 820, I think the same price as the 1000, so not much point. An Elemnt is around $330, the 620 Plus @ $280, standard 520 and the Bolt @$240.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I'm new to uisng a GPS on a bike unit but went with the Bolt 2 months ago and love it for it's simplicity and adjustibility. I am now using on all 4 out of 5 bikes ( not my commuter ). I am using a wheel sensor on my MTB for accuracy in the woods on tight trails.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    If you mt bike at all the 520+ has trailforks pre-loaded, beats having to whip out your phone to check out a new route.
    In reference to the Assault on Mt Mitchell...
    Quote Originally Posted by merckx56
    The easier solution is to find a biker bar in Spartanburg the night before, go in and pick a fight. The ass-whipping you'll get will be far less painful than the one Mitchell will give you the next day!

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