So I’ve been using my new Wahoo Elemnt head unit for about a month. All in all I’ve enjoyed it very much and I’m glad I purchased one!
Some of the oddities I encountered and resolved first:
- While it paired immediately with my Power Tap wheel on the roadie, it couldn’t find the Quarq on my MTB until I put it in pairing mode and held it right next to the crank set. Took me a few irritated minutes to learn that so I carried two devices on a few short rides around town while I figured it out. I’ll try it soon with the Quarq on the TT and see if it’s consistent issue.
- Unlike the Garmin units I’ve used 500 and 520, Elemnt records None instead of 0 when you’re either not moving or not pedaling in the watts stream. This led to me only having Peak Power Thresholds for 1 and 5 minutes for about 3 weeks until I dug into the issue within our strive.ai sync process. Not a huge issue and it’s fixed if anyone else is experiencing this. It’s led me to consider capturing what type of head unit is being used to record the activity for analysis of issues.
Things I like about this unit:
- I really like configuring the screens on the mobile and I especially like having the ability to disable screens not needed when I’m renting a bike (no power) or racing (only want 1 or 2 screens).
- The ability to set up a screen with many variables in a priority order and then zooming in and out is outstanding. I use this on every ride. When trying to sit in on our fast Tuesday ride, I just want the 5 second watts, lap NP and HR fields to see if I’m going to blow up holding on for dear life!
- The native integration with ridewithgps.com is very helpful when doing rides for the first time or with a group who’s faster than you in the event you get dropped at some point.
- The Strava Live Segment feature seems more intuitive on the Elemnt and it’s just one click to get back to your screen if you don’t want to engage in that experience. My experience with both Garmin and Wahoo Live Segments is they are great for short segments where you don’t cross another starred segment. If it’s a long segment, or overlaps with another you get too many screen pops to make it useful. The other negative thing is the average speed is used as the barometer of success so you’re either getting too much confidence or too much encouragement based on the average when traversing a segment with variable gradient. It would be best to know that the average speed at the distance completed real time compares to your PR vs the overall average speed. Sounds like a feature for strive.ai!
- They ship the unit with 3 mounts! An out front mount, a TT extension mount and a stem mount. I’m using all 3 and felt this was a great bonus. It’s also good to know that you can use the Garmin mounts provided you can pivot the mount given the only real difference is the direction of the mount. I used the Garmin stem mount while in Leadville on my rides.
- The lights on the top and side of the unit are helpful. It can be tough to screens when you’re pushing hard to set a PR or complete an interval. The fact that a quick glance at the lights can tell you if you’re on pace is awesome.
- The screen is big enough to make the navigation page useful.
Only real issue I’ve not been able to fix is the uploading is inconsistent. I’ve never had to manually upload a ride, but I frequently (more than 50% of the time) have to go to the export screen and resubmit the uploads.
I’m going to hold onto the Garmin 520 and this Elemnt as my two computers. Was happy to get $80 for the Garmin 500 that had been collecting dust.
The real question is which platform has the best native app development solution as you know where strive.ai is going!