I’ve used a Garmin Edge 520 for a while now and having recently purchased a Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt in limited edition fluro yellow, I thought it an opportunity to pit them head to head in a Bolt vs Edge review
Does it have the Edge?
The Garmin Edge 520 has been my go-to head unit for a couple of years and its never really let me down. Other than some questionable ‘Total Gradient’ estimations and issues with phone syncing, the Edge did the intended job. It looks neat and clean with its black/white design and colour screen, the buttons were easy to operate and the battery life lasted me well over 8 hours, using navigation.
I could link my HR sensors, speed/cadence with no issues whatsoever and the recently updated phone app meant that it was easier than ever to upload my rides to third party apps like Strava. However, I’ve never particularly enjoyed setting up routes I’ve created on my Garmin. Having to plug it into a laptop, download the file and then pull it into a folder was easy enough to do, but seemed a bit archaic.
A Bolt from the… Yellow
Despite the outdated setting up of routes, I was more than happy with the Edge and if it wasn’t for the limited edition fluro yellow Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt, that seemed to match my bike perfectly, I would have kept it as my No. 1 bike computer for many years. Wahoo had me in suckered in and having parted with £200 I got my hands on a very similar but in many ways different bike computer.
Spot the difference
The screen size is the same (more or less) with the Edge 520’s colour screen ever-so-slightly bigger than that of the Wahoo. They both use buttons which I prefer over a touchscreen for those sweaty or wet rides, although I did find the buttons ergonomically easier to operate on the Wahoo over the Garmin. The main buttons for cycling through screens and starting/stopping are on the face of ELEMNT Bolt as opposed to the side and although a small detail, they just seemed easier to press. Turn by turn navigation is possible on both units and both are easy enough to follow, without getting lost or missing a turn. If I was picky, I’d say the Garmin Edge 520 does navigation a little better, although downloading my routes to the Wahoo was far easier.
Both head units come with a Strava Segments feature, that pop up when out riding, and they both sync perfectly fine with Power Meters, HRM’s, Turbo Trainers using ant+ or BlueTooth.
I did find the ELEMNT Bolt so much easier to setup. The Wahoo phone app was night and day compared to Garmin Connect. I could setup my Bolt, sort out the information I want on my screen and sync all my routes from Strava within minutes. I was amazed at the ease of it, instead of digging into and scrolling through various menus on my Garmin.
I find the Zoom in/out feature on the Bolt handy too. On my Garmin I had a few pages setup with various information displaying on them. For example, most of the time I ran with HRM and Cadence. But occasionally I didn’t want all that information and I found myself having to cycle through my created profiles. It was especially irritating when I was using navigation and I’d have to continuously cycle through various pages, back and forth to my map. The Wahoo however has a Zoom feature in which you prioritize information and Zooming in means that unwanted data can be removed from the page making a less cluttered screen depending on your ride. I think this is a great feature.
It’s very difficult to sepearte the two. They both do their job well.
Am I happy with my purchase of the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt? Absolutely, but I was also happy with my purchase of the Garmin Edge 520. If I had to pick one, I’d go with the Wahoo. The app is better, I find it easier to use and in my opinion it looks better with its aerodynamic dock integration. You’ve got yourself a bloody good head unit if you own any of them though.