Wahoo challenges Garmin with Elemnt GPS computer

LED turn indicators, wireless two-way communication highlight features

Garmin largely owns the cycling computer market, but Wahoo Fitness is taking aim at the GPS giant with its not-yet-released Elemnt GPS computer, which incorporates most of the features modern roadies expect with a few new twists, such as LED turn indicators and two-way smartphone connectivity.


“In creating the Elemnt we took all the positives we like about certain GPS computers — the data, the ANT+ and Bluetooth integration with power meters and heart-rate monitors — but we removed the unnecessary complexity, such as too many menus and having to connect the unit to a computer to download routes onto it,” said Mike Stashak, Wahoo’s VP of sales and marketing.

Although the Element has all the features that come with built-in GPS — speed, distance, and so on — the heavy lifting of the customization is done via your smartphone. Instead of clicking through multiples folders and screens on the unit, users can configure their screen preferences with drop-and-drag ordering on their tethered phone.

There are three screens: workout, climb and map. The first two are configurable with the phone. Once you’ve set your preference of most important fields, you can zoom in or out on the workout or climb screens to see more or less data. For example, the workout preference might be: time of day, 3sec power, heart rate, speed, cadence, ride time, etc. Then you could zoom in to see just the top two, or zoom out to see them all.

Instead of wading through menus on the unit, wahoo is betting riders will prefer to use the familiar touchscreen of their phone:

Swiping fields on your smartphone arranges them on the Elemnt

A few computers such as the most recent Garmin Edge computers offer smartphone integration, so you can see incoming texts on your Garmin while riding or upload a completed ride through your phone. Wahoo pushes it a step further with Live Tracking – which can show where your friends with Elemnts are in real-time on the map screen, which could be used to meet up for a ride. The Elemnt also has two-way smartphone communication with Strava and Ride with GPS; meaning routes you favorite in either will wirelessly be populated on your Elemnt so you can use them to navigate.

Speaking of navigation, blue LED lights on the sides and top of the screen will provide indication of which way to turn when following a route, and how quickly that turn is approaching. Wahoo is still ironing out exactly how this will work.

The LED lights will also serve two other functions: phone indication for incoming calls and texts, plus performance indications. For the latter, you can set the unit to serve as a visual indicator of where you are in regard to a set speed, power output or heart rate zone.  

The elemnt will ship with this stem mount, plus and out-front mount and a tt-style mount:

LED lights can be used to indicate an upcoming turn when following a route, and to indicate where you are in relation to a desired speed, power output or heart rate level

Other pieces in the works include a Strava Live Segment page (similar to what Garmin offers), and functional integration with Shimano Di2 and GoPro videocameras.

The ANT+ / BLE Elemnt will be available this winter for $329. UK and AU pricing was not immediately available.

The Elemnt will ship with three mounts: out front, stem and TT. Notably, K-Edge will soon ship its alloy mounts with both Garmin and Wahoo inserts, Stashak said.

By tethering to a smartphone, riders with elemnt computers can find each out in real time:

Want to find your friends? If they have Elemnts you can track them as you all ride