Wahoo Bolt2 review

Wahoo is currently the only company that is able to realistically compete in the segment of cycling electronics with the tycoon such as Garmin. The devices of this manufacturer are not better, and you can even say that they are less in terms of functionality, but their difference attracts cycling fans.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Head unit

Their bicycle computers have always been guided by simplicity of use and much greater intuitiveness than Garmin solutions. It main asset is super simply configuration which is carried out via phone without fumbling in the device menu.

Wahoo has already several head units, and the ELEMNT BOLT2 is the successor to the very popular BOLT model which was a compact and fully functional bicycle computer. The device has received some interesting updates, and the most important ones include the addition of a color display and a significant rebuilding of the navigation module. So is it worth buying this device?

Wahoo BOLT2 – Gravel

First impressions

The new device fits well with the Wahoo ecosystem. You can easily find many similarities to the earlier version of Bolt, such as the same size or a similar layout of the buttons. The device is solid and the quality of the materials used for the unit does not raise any concerns in terms of durability.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Head unit

So what has been changed? First of all, the screen, because the gray display has been replaced with a color one. Color display has already been used in the ROAM model, but the new BOLT presents clearer colors and better contrast. The buttons are also better made, which are more convenient to use and more responsive.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Head unit

The LED lights which are the trademark of Wahoo devices, have also not been changed. One row of lights is available for notifications of training zones and for warnings before turn. The last important change is the new USB-C charging port which allows to charge quickly the device.

Battery life

The battery capacity, and thus the working time of the computer didn’t not change compared to the original version of the BOLT. According to the manufacturer’s assurances, the device can be used for up to 15 hours on a single charge, and this time was confirmed during the tests. This working times are now a standard that we meet among devices of this class.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Battery life

For comparison, the Edge 530 can work up to 20 hours, and the Karoo devices only 12 hours. People who would like to use BOLT2 for an ultra-type events, can have some small advantage with quick charging, because the devuce is fully charged in about an hour.

GPS

Wahoo BOLT2 has only one GPS track recording mode. When it comes to recording the track of the route, there is nothing to complain about, everything works fine.

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

In the city, Bolt2 behaves flawlessly. The GPS track fits perfectly into the roads, there is no offset, and the line is straight and without distortion. The situation is a bit more complicated when it comes to riding in woods. There is some offset which occur from time to time, but this is not a common situation.

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

  • Wahoo BOLT2 – orange, Garmin EDGE 1030Plus– blue

Sensors and accessories

Almost all sensors encoded in ANT + and Bluetooth technology can be connected to the device. I mean speed sensors, cadence, single and double-sided power meters, as well as the VARIA bicycle radar. Additionally, BOLT2 can be used to control SMART trainers, the only what is missing is support of Bontrager lighting support.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Connecting to Garmin Varia

How to use the device?

The device is operated with six buttons, without the touch screen. The lack of it is not a problem because the menu is arranged very logically and you can operate it with only buttons without any major problems. For people who have several bikes, only one default activity profile may be inconvenient. If you want to have different screens for sports such as mountain or road bike, it will be necessary to switch selected data fields in the mobile application. It is not inconvenient, but you have to remember about it.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Roadbike

Although the screen is not so big works well with 8 data fields. With 10, which is the maximum number of parameters that can be possible, reading all the data fields might be difficult.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Data Fields

One of the unique features of Wahoo computers is the ability to quickly increase and decrease the amount of data on the screen. Using the buttons on the right side of the device, we can easily and quickly expand the data view, without wasting time on complicated operations on the device.

Navigation

Navigation and the new map layer are the functions that has been changed the most compared to the previous version of Bolt. The main improvement is a colored map that includes a layer of additional bike paths. The detail of the map varies depending on the terrain you are. In the city you can find every road, but in the forest I’ve encountered lack of main paths.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Turn by turn notificationIn addition to the map feature, the device has support of a turn by turn notifications. You will be notified about about a turn maneuver, and the route will be recalculated when you’ve missed your turn. The Bolt2 handles the calculation of routes decently: It is really good in the city, but in the terrain it becomes more complicated, because the alternative paths chosen by the device are not optimal. In short, the BOLT2 is doing better than Garmin, but worse than the Karoo.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Route calculation

You can plan the route in several ways:

  • With the use of external applications such as Komoot or STRAVA
  • From the device
  • From the mobile app

Calculating routes from the device itself is not the easiest thing. This is basically the only place where the lack of a touchscreen can be seen. In this case, it is much easier to use the mobile app, where you select a point on the map on the phone.

It’s hard to find a week spot on the operation of the navigation itself. Everything works very smoothly, before every maneuver you get a notification about the turn, additionally supported by lights. In the city it works really well, the only problems are in terrain but only from time to time.

Smart trainer

All Wahoo devices allow to actively control the trainer. The control function is available only for trainers with the ANT + FEC and Bluetooth protocol, but the number of such devices on the market is growing every year. There are no problems with connectivity in the Wahoo family, only the Elite trainers are basically not cooperating.

Wahoo KICKR - Trenażer

Wahoo BOLT2 – Smart Trainer

More details about wroking with trainers can be found at the link: – http://www.goultra.pl/wahoo-trenazer/

Workouts and Strava Segments

The functionality of planned training and Strava segments has not been changed compared to the functionality available in the Wahoo Roam device, so I please check the review of the Wahoo Roam computer.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Planned workoutsShare Live tracking

LiveTracking is one of the features that I like the most about Wahoo computers which I used all time. It increases security because it allows you to track your position in real time, and it is also very easy to use. All we have to do is start tracking from the application and share the link. After clicking on the link, we will receive basic information about the activity and the planned activity course. Track refreshing is frequent and I strongly recommend using this feature.

Summary

Wahoo fans will not be disappointed. The new version of Bolt is another solid proposition from the US manufacturer, which can compete with Garmin meters. The long-established Bolt series has gained a new life thanks to the new display and the expansion of navigation possibilities.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Road Bike

The map, with the option of recalculating the route, louder sound notifications and a well-functioning GPS are the strongest points of this device. You cannot forget about the mobile application, which thanks to its simplicity. is just brilliant. All these changes are good, but the task of Wahoo to roll into the mid-priced segment is difficult. The price is not small, and there is very strong competitor Garmin 530, which has more options and cost less.

Garmin Edge 530 – Head Unit

One more argument for choosing Wahoo is the RIVAL watch, which is the first watch of US manufacturer aimed at triathletes. It has the ability to interact with the BOLT2. The choice is not easy, I am curious what you will choose.

Wahoo BOLT2 – Head unit

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