After over nine years of reliable service, I have retired my original Garmin Edge 800 cycle computer. I originally purchased it to use on my Land’s End to John o’Groats ride back in 2012, and despite an issue early on with the power button (which Garmin repaired in record time) it hasn’t missed a beat.
It was pretty much the best on the market when I purchased it, with a large colour touch screen (despite its relatively compact size), maps/navigation and decent battery life. Despite still maintaining a good battery life, and working with a range of modern sensors that support ANT+, there are a number of niggles that finally pushed my to upgrade:
- Maps and Navigation The old Garmin uses an interchangeable MicroSD card to upload localised map data. This meant buying a UK map kit when I first purchased the computer, and then an Australian kit when I emigrated down under. If I were to move again, or take my bike to New Zealand, for example, I wouldn’t have any maps for that region.
- Connectivity Despite supporting a wide range of ANT+ sensors, the Garmin does not have Bluetooth, so the only way to offload ride data is via a wired USB connection to a computer. Then, if you want an automated offload, you need to use a specific piece of software. This has often meant I may only transfer ride data from the device once a week (or less). Not exactly streamlined.
Whilst I have had no complaints with the Garmin brand, I have opted to try out the ELEMNT BOLT from Wahoo. The smallest of the ELEMNT family, it’s probably just over half the size of the Edge 800, but it seems to do everything I need (and more).
I took it out for its maiden voyage today, but I already like it a lot:
- Bluetooth and WiFi This is a biggie! Connect the device to your phone and it will load in map data on demand (although there is an option to download maps that I haven’t looked at yet). When you finish a workout, the device will automatically upload the data to your connected services (such as Strava).
- Colour-coded heart-rate zones My heart rate is something I tend to pay close attention to whilst riding. The ELEMNT makes this easier by having a range of customisable heart-rate zones that are colour-coded on the display. I have already found this so much easier to understand whilst on the move.
Once I have done a few more rides I’ll probably update this post with more things I find out about the Wahoo device, but so far I’m happily impressed.