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Wahoo Element Bolt bundle worth $90 more than Garmin 520 bundle?

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Wahoo Element Bolt bundle worth $90 more than Garmin 520 bundle?

Old 02-23-18, 06:40 PM
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johngwheeler
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Wahoo Element Bolt bundle worth $90 more than Garmin 520 bundle?

Iím in the market with a new GPS computer with heart, cadence & (optional) speed sensors. Iíve been looking at the Wahoo Element Bolt and Garmin 520 bundles.

It seems that the Garmin 520 can be easily found at a discount - the lowest price Iíve seen (including shipping) is wiggle.com for AU$395. The cheapest Iíve found the Wahoo bundle in Australia is $519 - so over US$90 more. When it was launched the Wahoo was considerably cheaper than the Garmin, or so I understand.

Most reviews conclude that the Wahoo is the better unit, and I like the fact the sensors are Bluetooth & Ant+, allowing them to be easily used with smart phones and laptops without buying an Ant+ dongle.

Does anyone has any opinion on this? Is the Wahoo really US$90 better?

Thanks!
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Old 02-23-18, 07:12 PM
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waters60
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Love my Bolt! It is absolutely perfect for my purposes.
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Old 02-23-18, 08:19 PM
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If the compatibility to a laptop or smartphone was important, why not just get the sensors and skip the head unit ?. But since you want the head unit as well, kind of doesn’t matter about compatibility, ‘cause you are likely to always be using the sensors with the head unit.

The Bolt is a good unit, very reliable, good support from Wahoo. The 520 is also a good unit, likely the most reliable from Garmin currently. Some of the reasons folks like Wahoo over other Garmins is no touch screens, which some folks hate. The 520 has buttons, so narrows the choice if you want buttons. Then it kind of comes to do you want color or B&W.

All this kind of really shows how close the units are and at that point $90 becomes a hard sell for Garmin.
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Old 02-23-18, 10:08 PM
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I have a 520 and I love it. I did look at the bolt when my LBS got one to play with. It was a nice unit but for the extra cost I would still have my 520. I hate a touch screen on a head unit. I like buttons but that is a personal choice.
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Old 02-25-18, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
If the compatibility to a laptop or smartphone was important, why not just get the sensors and skip the head unit ?. But since you want the head unit as well, kind of doesnít matter about compatibility, Ďcause you are likely to always be using the sensors with the head unit.

The Bolt is a good unit, very reliable, good support from Wahoo. The 520 is also a good unit, likely the most reliable from Garmin currently. Some of the reasons folks like Wahoo over other Garmins is no touch screens, which some folks hate. The 520 has buttons, so narrows the choice if you want buttons. Then it kind of comes to do you want color or B&W.

All this kind of really shows how close the units are and at that point $90 becomes a hard sell for Garmin.
The compatibility options of the Wahoo add value (in my opinion) because they can be used with both the Wahoo and other devices, such as smartphone apps, laptop computer (for Zwift). I see it quite likely to use the sensor with the head-unit on the bike, and a computer (via Bluetooth) at home on the trainer. I like the idea that I can use the same sensors with my phone (again via Bluetooth).

My gut feeling is that a $90 surcharge is probably going to be worth it for the Wahoo. I'm the kind of guy who regrets not buying what I wanted just for the sake of a "good deal".

It's just a bit galling that the Garmin 520 seems to be easily found at a discount, and not the Wahoo Bolt. This may well just be an indication of the Garmin's falling popularity though :-)
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Old 02-25-18, 08:00 AM
  #6  
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What's included in the bundles? In most bundles that I've seen, a HRM is included, but I don't want one (at least not the one included in the bundles). From a base unit to base unit perspective, are they similarly priced? They should be pretty close.
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Old 02-25-18, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by NTX_Cycler View Post
What's included in the bundles? In most bundles that I've seen, a HRM is included, but I don't want one (at least not the one included in the bundles). From a base unit to base unit perspective, are they similarly priced? They should be pretty close.

The Wahoo and the Garmin 520 for just the head unit is the same price pretty much everyplace. $249-$260. when you put in the HR bundle in Wahoo it goes up to about $330 or so. I paid $60 for the newer HR strap for my Garmin 520. The prices are about the same, but I can see the liking for the Wahoo no doubt. I just wont swap out my Garmin until it dies, $250 is a good amount of money really and not going to throw it around just becuase a new unit comes out. They are cool though but I do like my Garmin a lot. And when they move on from the 520 to the 530 or whatever the 520's will be really discounted then too.

I am a Garmin fan, but wouldn't be apposed to the Bolt, its getting great review from everyone. I don't think you will go wrong with either unit. Garmin has one thing though you can customize the display and what it can do from the Garmin connect store. They are all free too. Bolt can't do that yet....
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Old 02-25-18, 01:04 PM
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Well....if the heart rate monitor doesnt have jewelers screws that strip after changing the battery. YES! What a piece of crap Garmin put out.
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Old 02-25-18, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
T. Garmin has one thing though you can customize the display and what it can do from the Garmin connect store. They are all free too. Bolt can't do that yet....
Could you expand on this, Iíve a 1000 and outside of widgets, have no clue what this feature is.
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Old 02-25-18, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by johngwheeler View Post
The compatibility options of the Wahoo add value (in my opinion) because they can be used with both the Wahoo and other devices, such as smartphone apps, laptop computer (for Zwift). I see it quite likely to use the sensor with the head-unit on the bike, and a computer (via Bluetooth) at home on the trainer. I like the idea that I can use the same sensors with my phone (again via Bluetooth).

My gut feeling is that a $90 surcharge is probably going to be worth it for the Wahoo. I'm the kind of guy who regrets not buying what I wanted just for the sake of a "good deal".

It's just a bit galling that the Garmin 520 seems to be easily found at a discount, and not the Wahoo Bolt. This may well just be an indication of the Garmin's falling popularity though :-)
Sounds like you answered your question.
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Old 02-25-18, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Could you expand on this, Iíve a 1000 and outside of widgets, have no clue what this feature is.


Yeah, I couldn't think of the feature name, widgets is what they are called. Little in head programs/apps. They are nice some are really good and some are just dumb. They don't really make the unit do anything it wasn't intended to do but all the customization features it does is nice. I downloaded one that turns your head display into a car cluster instead of the digital read outs. Its kind of fun......Has some other options but I have not explored them all that much I am a plain kind of guy. I don't know of a single person who chose Garmin over any other brand because of this feature....just another option to play with.
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Old 02-26-18, 10:17 AM
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Have you considered used? I got an Edge 510 for $90 and a Vivoactive HR for $60. Paired it with a $30 cadence sensor and $10 out front mount and you are out the door for $200 and you can wear the Vivoactive for 4-5 days at a time per charge.
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Old 02-26-18, 04:26 PM
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I was recently jonesing for a new GPS and narrowed it down to the Wahoo element and the 520, and would have gone with the 520 (you can find them for a little over $200 as a standalone unit).

However, sanity restored, I stuck with my old Garmin 800. It pretty much does what I need, navigation is OK and there are no whizbang features. I think the 520 was released in 2015, so it's getting a little long in the tooth now. Might want to wait till the inevitable new model and grab one on sale.
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Old 02-26-18, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Could you expand on this, Iíve a 1000 and outside of widgets, have no clue what this feature is.
Connect IQ. Developers can write apps that add custom fields and displays. Some apps are planned that handle extra sensors. For example, there will probably be a few air speed and yaw sensors coming out in the next couple of years that will allow a developer to combine data from a power meter to produce estimates of CdA. Basically, Connect IQ is an interface that allows app development, like on your phone.
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Old 02-26-18, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
Connect IQ. Developers can write apps that add custom fields and displays. Some apps are planned that handle extra sensors. For example, there will probably be a few air speed and yaw sensors coming out in the next couple of years that will allow a developer to combine data from a power meter to produce estimates of CdA. Basically, Connect IQ is an interface that allows app development, like on your phone.
Yes, widgets and Connect IQ. I did download a weather widget, still havenít figured out how to get it on the device. I think it loaded when I last hooked up to the laptop, just havenít figured out out to use it yet.

I did figure out that on the 1000,if you swipe down, one of the windows is weather and that if you press on that a larger window pops up with more detailed weather info.

The 1000 is a MUCH better device then the 810, no doubt.
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Old 02-27-18, 09:12 AM
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I think the BOLT is worth it, but not sure the bundle is worth it. I've love my BOLT but I have a Wahoo HR monitor and the garmin magnetless speed-cadence sensors. I got everything peicemeal but I also know a Garmin employee who got the sensors for me at a discount, so they ended up being like $35 instead of $50.

Any ANT+ sensor will work, but you're not going to find more than about $10-15 in savings among sensors and it's probably not worth it to go with super cheap no-name mystery sensors because they *will* fail (he said, speaking from experience).
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Old 02-27-18, 11:11 AM
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If you've ever tried to load a route on a Garmin, then done it on a Wahoo... yeah, it's pretty clear Wahoo is ahead of Garmin. Wahoo's stuff is much more intuitive - setting up bikes, pages, etc. It seems like Garmin was busy with their Aviation, Marine, Running, Swimming, Golf, Baseball products, while Wahoo was building stuff for cyclists.
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Old 02-27-18, 11:13 AM
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I wouldn't pay $100 extra.
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Old 02-27-18, 12:26 PM
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I recently got a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt to replace my old Garmin 500. Man, what a difference! Very intuitive set up, the backlit screen is VERY clear and just very user friendly. Connects to all the cadence and speed sensors effortlessly and finds a signal way faster. Of course, I'm comparing to the old Garmin tech (the 500), but I'm sold!
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Old 02-28-18, 11:16 AM
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As for navigation, (GPS), which is better?
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Old 02-28-18, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cycledogg View Post
As for navigation, (GPS), which is better?
Neither.

The 520 has very basic map functionality and if using on-screen maps is a requirement, you would be better off with a Garmin 820, 1000 or 1030.

The Wahoo Bolt and Element do better nav (IMO) then a Garmin 520, but has more basic map images then the other Garmins, in that it's a B&W screen with little actual detail on the screen. The Wahoo's turn-by-turn direction capability is very good, so are the Garmins, including the 520.

I had issues with my Bolt in that I could not see the TBT screen information (white lettering on black background) while wearing non-polarized sunglasses, I would have to remove the glasses to view the screen. I found this very annoying and as Wahoo was not offering a fix (at the time) I returned the Bolt and got a Garmin 1000.

The screen displays are better on the 1000 then the Bolt (again, IMO) and I prefer the touch screen in any event.

Thus I would suggest going to a shop that offers both a selection of Garmin and Wahoo, boot up, and play around, especially outside in the sun. Thus you can see for yourself how the maps display function. Or buy a 520 a 1000 and a Bolt and return whichever you don't like. Just don't show the wife the credit card bill.
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Old 03-02-18, 05:32 PM
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Here’s a head to head comparison of the 520 and the Bolt.


Failing that, read DCRainmaker’s reviews on both.

J.
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Old 03-02-18, 09:01 PM
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Watch dc rainmaker review. This one stated all the obvious but didn’t compare. It’s true you will need new mounts. Yes the phone set up is easier but I don’t find the Garmin that hard at all to navigate. They are both imo easy to read in full sun. I have played with both and can’t say one is better than the other but this video wasn’t good at all. Garmin does need to update that is a fact. Hopefully next generation does that. I hope. Dc rainmaker does a very good job.
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