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Riding with a GPS computer is great, but who has time to plug in the head unit to their computer after the ride? Or maybe the stumbling block is figuring out how to use all of the complex menus and buttons to find the desired data during or after your ride? Whatever the reason, after numerous consumer requests Wahoo set out to build a GPS unit of their own that not only offered great features, but did so in a way that was extremely easy to use.

As a result, the only reason you will need to plug in the ELEMNT to your computer or an outlet will be to charge the battery. Otherwise, everything is updated or transferred through the built-in Wi-Fi. That opens up a number of clever features without ever being anchored to your laptop…

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Starting with the hardware, the ELEMNT is built with a 2.7 inch diagonal black and white non-touch screen DayBright display with actual computer dimensions of 2.3″ x 3.5″ x 0.8″ (57.5mm x 90.5mm x 21.2mm). Wahoo says they chose to use the black-and-white screen rather than color because it allows it to be easily viewed in all light conditions and includes a backlight for viewing at night. Weighing in at 3.5 ounces (99.22g), the ELEMNT has a built in USB rechargeable battery that is good for up to 17 hours of use and will fully charge in three hours. The head unit carries an IPX7 waterproof rating and is shockproof as well. In addition to Wi-Fi capability, the ELEMNT is also Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ compatible.

At the bottom of the unit are three tactile buttons that are easy to use with gloves and are meant to allow for easy navigation between screens. Part of the allure to the ELEMNT is that there are basically no menus, instead there is a page for every “ELEMNT” of your ride. These pages include performance metrics, climb view, map view for real time navigation, live tracking of your friends who are also riding with an ELEMNT, and others which will be added in the future. Additionally, there is a companion app (iOS or Android) included that allows you to create all of your rider and bike profiles as well as setting all of your preferences for the computer. One clever feature – to pair the ELEMNT with your phone you simply take a picture within the app of the unique QR code on the head unit and everything is synced automatically. Wahoo claims the ELEMNT will come preloaded with maps for the entire world on the 4gb internal storage. If you happen to find yourself in a place without local maps already loaded, connecting to Wi-Fi in that area will automatically download the maps if they are available.

The two buttons on the side of the unit are part of the Perfectview Zoom system which allows you to select from 2-12 fields of data to be displayed at the touch of a button. All of the metrics can be easily customized through the app so you can see exactly what you want.

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On the left side and the top of the head unit you’ll find QuickLook LED indicators which will be able to display different data like heart rate zones and turn by turn navigation.

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Right off the bat, the ELEMNT will be compatible with third party apps like Strava and Ride With GPS which will allow you to upload routes directly to the head unit where you will immediately be able to follow them with either turn by turn navigation where available or breadcrumb trails. The ELEMNT will even have email integration where friends can email you a route that you can upload to the head unit with one touch from the email on your phone. Additional integration for the future will include Di2 functionality and even GoPro controls. When you’re finished with your ride, the ELEMNT will effortlessly share your ride to a number of third party apps without ever connecting to a computer once connected to wi-fi or your phone’s data connection.

Additionally, the connectivity of the ELEMNT allows for live tracking of your friends while riding, or for your family to track you at home. You can also stay up-to-date with texts, calls, and email alerts while riding – or not. You’ll even have the ability to control your KICKR trainer through the ELEMNT with three different modes that will allow you to ride any outdoor route in your basement when necessary.

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A new GPS means a new mounting standard, which means for now the ELEMNT will only work with the three included mounts – the out front, stem, and aero. However, the platform is open for third party companies like K-Edge to make their own, which we’ve heard there are a few of them which already have something in the works.

Available starting in November the ELEMNT will Retail for $329.99.






  1. Got an Edge 520 a few weeks ago and the bluetooth connecting to my phone is handy for uploading. Problem now is remembering to charge it. With my 500 it charged as I was uploading via USB. Also, now I don’t connect it at all, I haven’t cleared out old activities like I used to. First world problems…

  2. my GPS unit can run almost any Android software I want, is waterproof to 1 m for half an hour, has ANT+ to connect to all the sensors, does not even need to sync to a phone / computer via wireless (but could do so) and can even make phone calls!.

  3. @yogi. Yes, but can it do it for 17 hours straight?

    To me that is the real advantage of a unit like this. No smartphone can match the battery time when gps, bluetooth, and the screen are always on.

  4. The title of this article is horrible. It makes it seem like Wahoo is the first to not require you to use USB to upload your workouts, even though Garmin has been doing that for a couple years now since they introduced BlueTooth to their devices and have had the Connect Companion App (And newer devices have WiFi too).

    The fact this unit costs more than the new 520 unit from a company who has a reputable history of manufacturing such devices, does not have GLONASS (that I am aware of by looking at all the articles on it, plus Wahoo’s site), and even lacks new standards like ANT FE-C control of devices, makes me wonder where their value in it is vs going the 520 route.

    If they would have come in at a price point of 250, I think they would have had a winner, but I think a price point higher than a 520 is going to hurt sales.

  5. “Wahoo claims the ELEMNT will come preloaded with maps for the entire world”

    Anybody have an idea which maps? If they’re the kind of maps originally meant for cars / motorcycles (as was the case with the maps I got standard on my Garmin 820), they’re complete and utterly worthless. You’re better off riding without navigation in that case. If on the other hand we’re talking Open Fiets Map, Open MTB Map, or plain old Google Maps, then we’ve got something.

  6. I really hope this works better than my Garmin products. I’ve been through a 500, Touring Plus, and now 510. All have continual glitches and issues that have been driving me crazy. Rides get lost, mis-read mapping, crashes, forgetting prior setups with page layouts, the list goes on. Plus, Garmin customer service and warranty is awfully sub-par. It sucks that they have close to a monopoly in high-end GPS computers, so I’m optimistic about this.

  7. @bb_nl, according to a different article I read it’s using a modified version of the bike version of open street maps, so should contain a lot of trails for offroad use. They also said updates to the maps will be fairly seamless.

    I was going to purchase a Garmin 520, but think I will now wait to read reviews on this one. Garmin UI is always awful and this seems promising.

  8. @glancing aft

    Ah nice! That will hopefully/probably be Open Fiets Map or Open MTB Map. The former is better for road, the latter for offroad, but both ar by far the best bicycle base maps

    I’ve had to spend several frustrated installing the OFM / OMM on my Garmin. If this comes shipped with them installed: That’s at least one prime reason to get the Wahoo ELEMNT right there

  9. @Mike

    The ELEMNT does have Glonass and the Ant+ Fe-C is coming.

    As for Garmin being reuptable making these devices, i think youre talking out your backside. Just look at the Garmin forums to see how many problems people have had with their Garmins. Reputable for one thing yes, being totally unreliable.

    This Wahoo is a winner. Cheap for a gps with full maps too.

  10. I’ve ordered mine. Anything to get rid of my Garmin Touring. I’ve lost count of the times the Garmin has ruined a ride by getting lost, even when the course was created by a ride recorded on it! I’m very hopeful the ELEMNT will be as good as all their other products. The RFLKT works ever time, and the KICKR is a fantastic turbo trainer. Goodbye Garmin.

  11. I tried the Garmin 820 and the Wahoo Elemnt. I’m keeping the Elemnt. MUCH easier to read. Easier to use and navigate, too, even though I’ve been using a Garmin 800 for 10 years. I’m loving it. And the folks at Wahoo actually answer your questions and concerns whereas the Garmin customer support just gets a barely passing grade from me.

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