Wahoo shook the cycling computer market four years ago when they released the original BOLT. That unit offered a remarkable array of features in a small package and small price. Today’s BOLT does more of the same—all the features Wahoo gave us in the ROAM, plus some, in a great little package and an attractive price.
Though it looks similar, there are some substantial differences. The most obvious is its color display with new color data fields indexed to HR zone and power zone. These fields alone are deal makers. When I race, I am laser focused on 2 performance numbers: power and heart rate. With the BOLT’s color fields, I can simply quick-glance at the colors on my screen to know when I am in and out of range. The second improvement is the clarity of the display. I am blessed with presbyopia, so I have one of the large screen bike computers on my road bike. This screen seems much sharper and higher contrast than the Garmin 530 shown in the picture below. It is hard to capture in a photo, but this screen is great.
• 47mm x 77mm x 21mm
• 56mm 240x320 color display
• 15-hour battery life
• USB-C charging
• Integrated aero handlebar mount & stem mount
• Pricing: $280 USD, €280, $380 CAD, £250, $420 AUD, ¥35,000
EASE OF USE
Wahoo has a big fan base because of its simple phone app setup. For those unfamiliar, you can do almost every setting from the phone and see the changes real-time on the Wahoo screen. Even sensor setup is done on the phone, which is massively easier, and it begins with the simple scan screen below that accelerates pairing to your phone and gets you going. It takes me about an hour to setup a Garmin 530 with all my sensors, all my screens, and every data field the way I like it. The same only takes about 15 minutes on a Wahoo BOLT. Wahoo also has a couple dimensions of how it can show the screens. It has the usual multiple screens you can create and customize. Plus, all the screens can zoom in and out to show up to 9 fields. So, you can setup a screen with the main fields you want higher in the priority with extra fields if you zoom out. And the magic is that all the fields are legible thanks to the great display. The trade-off is that Wahoo does not give you explicit control over the screen layout and data field position. But it is extremely easy to experiment in real time to tailor a screen exactly to your liking.
The other unique feature to the Wahoo cycling computers are their LEDs above the screen. The BOLT uses the LEDs for a variety of functions, including Radar alerts and navigation. The bright lights add an additional level of awareness and instruction. (It actually does radar better than Garmin units.) When you have cars approaching, you get the green/orange/red sidebar to indicate proximity and closing speed. And the BOLT also uses the LEDs to catch your attention.
With navigation, the LEDs alert to coming turns, and then it does the sweeping left or right animation to indicate the turn direction. The unit’s navigation is among the best I have used. In fact, it handled my complex route with multiple overlapping segments better than the Garmin, that lost its head several times. Garmins seem to handle off-course rerouting a little better. Wahoo does not have a route creation feature in its App; however, it offers many ways to easily import a route from several integrated websites to direct imports from email, Dropbox, and other file hosts. I created a route and emailed the FIT file to my iPhone. I just clicked, and it easily imported the route to the app and then to the BOLT.
The other subtle feature that many will love is USB-C charging. The end is finally getting closer for Micro-USB. The case and button designs seem a little better designed for touch and feedback. The speaker is loud and easy to hear in most situations. And it has the other table stake features like barometric altimeter; GPS, GALILEO, & GLONASS; smart elevation; ample memory for more maps; smart trainer control; text and phone notifications; Strava live segments; workouts; and smart navigation. If you do triathlons, this integrates with Wahoo’s RIVAL for Multisport Handover, which is pretty fantastic.
The new Wahoo BOLT is a compact device with most of the features of the highest priced products on the market. The first BOLT was impressive; this one will dazzle you.
The Good: The Price, Easy Route & Workout Import
The Great: Setup & Ease of Use, Wonderful Screen, Multisport Handover
The Gaps: 3rd Party Tool Dependency, No Web Interface, Small Screen