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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:36 pm 
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Posts: 244
After pre-ordering in December, and a couple delivery delays, Wahoo finally delivers their new ELEMNT computer yesterday.

I haven't gotten to take it for a ride yet, but here are some photos, including the all-important scale shot.

Image

It's a bit of a pig at almost twice the weight of a Garmin Edge 500. However the software seems to be a big upgrade over my old Garmin so I can tolerate the extra 50g (and it's comparable to an Edge 810 at 98g). I'm especially excited about the navigation features compared to the nearly unusable navigation on the Garmin.

Tell me if there's anything you want to know. I'm happy to answer questions!


Last edited by Krackor on Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:51 am 
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Location: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Nice. Keep us posted on your impression of it.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:54 am 
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So the main thing I see here is the high contrast screen. That looks a ton better than what's on the Garmin 500. I also like the LEDs on the edges.

If you don't need the navigation (I mostly ride the same n routes) do you think it is still a worthwhile upgrade?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:01 am 
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One "ride" now in the books, on the trainer though so I haven't yet gotten to see how the GPS is.

The LEDs on the side are really bright. I was riding in a darkened room and it was almost impossible to read the screen due to the LED glare unless I turned the backlight on. Annoyingly there is no on-unit setting for turning on or off the LEDs so I was stuck with it. The LEDs can only be configured from the phone app - you can choose speed or power which shows blue LEDs above middle for above-average speed/power or orange LEDs for below. Or you can choose heartrate, which shows an LED for the current heartrate zone (7 LEDs in total on the side). There is an on-unit setting for the backlight - off, 5 seconds, or on. I tried keeping the backlight on for an hour or so, which seemed to drain the battery about 30% of max. In comparison, riding for 30 min with the backlight off drained about 3%. There is also an on-unit setting to turn on/off the gps, which is probably nice for battery life, but I can't imagine an indoor ride long enough for that to matter.

I had the auto-pause kick in a couple times during my ride while I was pedaling. You guessed it - no on-unit setting to change that behavior. I turned off the GPS, which seemed to deactivate the auto-pause feature as a side effect, so maybe it's not so bad to be missing a setting specifically for auto-pause.

Using the phone app you can configure quite a few pages of data. I created 13 before I got bored trying to find the limit. Each page has a maximum of 10 fields. With 10 fields on a page you can use the up/down buttons on the device to change between 10/8/6/4/3/2/1 fields visible. With either 1 or 2 fields shown each field is essentially the same size, so I don't see much point in the single-field option. Maybe this makes more sense with a map shown or some other non-numeric data. With 5 or fewer data pages configured you get an LED at the top indicating where in the rotation the current page is. Pages 6 and up share the rightmost LED with page 5.

Buttons take a bit more pressure to activate than the Edge 500 buttons. It's somewhat awkward to get the proper leverage to press the side buttons (power/settings button on the left, and up/down buttons on the right), but it's easier when the unit is mounted on the bike. Buttons at the bottom of the unit (stop/lap, pause/resume, and page) are easier to press and have a satisfying tactile feel. I've had trouble with the Enter button on my Edge 500 wearing out after 2.5 years of use, so I'll be interested to see how the ELEMNT holds up over time.

That's all I can think of for now. I'll ride outside tomorrow and get a better impression of how the GPS and navigation features work.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:30 am 
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loudtiger wrote:
So the main thing I see here is the high contrast screen. That looks a ton better than what's on the Garmin 500. I also like the LEDs on the edges.

If you don't need the navigation (I mostly ride the same n routes) do you think it is still a worthwhile upgrade?

We'll see how the screen performs in the daylight tomorrow. Indoors without a bright light around the screen looks fantastic. It's not as "pretty" as a color screen might look, but it's highly functional and easy to read. At the beginning of today's ride the room was brightly lit and I was having a little trouble seeing the numbers. With the backlight on it was easier to see, both with bright lights and in the dark. I've never had much trouble reading my Edge 500 in the sun outside, but I've heard that the 520 has glare issues. Maybe they changed the material or finish in the screen window?

I've grown to hate the user interface on my Edge 500 lately. I regularly ride two different bikes, each with their own crank-based power meter. Especially with the mostly-broken Enter button it's a huge pain to switch bikes on the 500. It's something crazy like 10 key presses to do the switch - hold Enter for 1.5s to access settings, arrow down 3 times to Settings, enter, enter on Bike Settings, arrow down once and enter, enter on Bike Details, enter on the bike dropdown menu, arrow to the other bike, enter, then hit back 5 times to return to the data screen! So that's actually 17 key presses! Unbelievably clunky interface. I'm sure they must have improved on that for the 510 and 520, but I haven't used those so I can't say how they are.

The ELEMNT interface is more elegantly thought-out. Granted, that's partly because most of the settings are on the phone app instead of on the device, but it works out well. Sensor acquisition is one of the few settings accessible from the device. Adding a sensor was a pretty impressive experience on the ELEMNT. I was doing it in a cycling studio with a room full of cyclists, each with their own power meters and heart rate straps. The device instructs you to hold it close to the sensor while it listens for a signal. I paired my power2max and my Garmin heart rate strap this way with two other riders within arm's reach of me, and the ELEMNT identified my sensor, and only my sensor. Compare that to the Edge 500 which I had to take 50 meters from the nearest bike before it would pair correctly, and I'm entirely satisfied with the improvement. The device also remembers multiple sensors not associated with a particular bike, so I'll be able add all three of my sensors (2x power meters, 1x heart rate strap) and switch bikes without much fuss. I don't yet know what happens when I have both of my power meters paired, turned on, and in range. Maybe I'll try that tomorrow morning.

Overall it's a joy to use the ELEMNT's interface, which is in stark contrast to the hassle of using the Edge 500. Of course there's a massive 6-year difference in release date between the two devices, so it's a rather unfair comparison. However if you have a 500 and wondering if it's worth purchasing an ELEMNT I'd say it's certainly worth it. No idea how the 500->ELEMNT upgrade compares to the 500->520 upgrade though, which is the real choice.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:22 am 
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I'm curious why you chose the Element instead of a Garmin 520?

I went through the 500 -> 510 -> 520 upgrade path. I have to say, the 520 is the best cycle computer I've ever had. I wish though that the UI were configurable from a phone app. The UI while using the 520 is ok. Better than the 500 for sure. Configuration of the data screens though is still a pain.

I wonder how the Element compares to the 520.

If it were better, I'd consider switching.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:52 am 
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interested in your thoughts about the navigation. Can it do turn by turn navigation?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:02 pm 
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I've had a demo unit since xmas, and been really happy with it. Coming from a Garmin 500 it feels like a massive upgrade. Setting up the Element is an absolute breeze, I have my standard riding page with 10 metrics, my intervals page with 10 metrics, and I have the mapping screen. Haven't tried the navigation yet as I don't really need to. Best thing is the display, looks great in all lights, and not being colour is a massive plus for me. I've gone back and used my 500 a few times since using this and I don;t think I can go back.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:17 pm 
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eaglejackson wrote:
I'm curious why you chose the Element instead of a Garmin 520?

Mostly because I wanted to try something new. I didn't really consider the 520 while shopping because I was fed up with my 500. Plus I'm always more interested in a new market entrant more than the next model of the industry standard.

benzebub wrote:
interested in your thoughts about the navigation. Can it do turn by turn navigation?

Spec sheet says it can. I haven't done it yet. On the device you switch to the map page and the History/Lap button turns into the Route button. It automatically pulls routes from your Strava/RideWithGPS/etc. account that you've paired, seemingly sorted by proximity to your current location. I have several routes on my Strava account that are in another state; my local routes were put into a "Nearby Routes" section near the top of the Routes screen, while the out-of-state routes were put in an "Other Routes" section. Super convenient, and just another example of the interface designed to be used efficiently.

The map page draws a street map of your location whether you're navigating on a route or not. This was one of my must-have features while shopping since I like to go exploring when I visit a new place.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:05 pm 
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benzebub wrote:
interested in your thoughts about the navigation. Can it do turn by turn navigation?


Murray on the software team says it does not in the current release, although they plan to add that feature this month.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:27 pm 
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FWIW, I created a Wahoo ELEMNT Users googlegroup

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum ... emnt-users

to try to centralize issue reports, work-arounds, etc.

Second hand reports I've seen elsewhere which concern me so far are:
- Reported battery life remaining decreases quickly
- Can't display power with 10 second, etc. smoothing
- No way to manually zero power meters or display the current calibration (Murray added that to to todo list)
- No turn by turn directions (Murray says March, 2016)
- Auto-pause can't be disabled

Mine left Georgia for California on Friday March 4th; so it shouldn't be long before I see which of those impact me and what I discover.

I have never been happy with Garmin software features or quality (my professional opinion is that they don't have product managers or testers who are cyclists), needed to upgrade from my Edge 500 to something with maps which can be charged while operating, and figured the ELEMNT was destined to be better than Garmin's offerings where it mattered.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:28 am 
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I have the option to show 5s/20s/30s/1m/5m/10m/20m/1h average power. I also have the option to show max power for the same time intervals. (I don't know if that means max 5s power across the entire workout, or if that means max instantaneous power over the last 5s. I haven't used that field yet.)

I can turn off auto-pause, but only on the phone app.

The rest of your list seems accurate. My battery life today was pretty decent - lost 30% in 3 hours, but I wasn't following a route. I had battery issues while following routes on my Edge 500 - only about 5-6 hours total before it would die. I expect the ELEMNT will also not last as long while navigating. Hopefully it will be improved soon over the current performance that you're reporting.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:33 am 
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One quite strange thing I saw during my ride today was an abnormally high normalized power reading. According to Strava, average power was 178W and weighted average was 216W. The ELEMNT reported normalized power as 263W, which is close to what I can do during a 30 minute cx race, but there's no way I did that much on my 3 hour ride today.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:18 am 
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dreweckhardt wrote:
benzebub wrote:
interested in your thoughts about the navigation. Can it do turn by turn navigation?


Murray on the software team says it does not in the current release, although they plan to add that feature this month.


great, this makes the ELEMNT a great contender for my next head unit.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:24 pm 
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Posts: 29
Is there anywhere on the unit to attach a leash? I've learned my lesson with a Garmin Edge mount failing on a bumpy road, resulting in a computer left behind with a few miles left in an important race.


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