Right smack-dab in the middle of Interbike 2015, Wahoo Fitness raised the curtain on their brand-new GPS Cycling Computer: the ELEMNT. Now, is this a cycling computer, or is it a GPS unit? At first I was a little confused, as Wahoo mashed the two words together, but after meeting with them at Interbike, I decided: essentially, it’s a GPS unit that’s cycling-specific, like you might have seen from some other brands.
However, Wahoo didn’t want to create yet another GPS unit. So, they focused on solving some of the problems that users often experience when trying to learn how to use a new unit. Basically, they’ve made it as easy to setup and use as possible.
Much of this setup and control takes place via a mobile phone app that’s paired with the unit, using Bluetooth. You can easily pair the device with your phone right off the bat, using a QR code displayed on the unit, and set up the screen to display the stats you want by default. There’s no end of ways to customize the home screen, but importantly, you don’t have to do much of anything if you don’t want to.
Once you’ve finished riding, you can port your ride data straight out of the ELEMNT unit and send it to Strava and other ride tracking services, without having to connect your GPS to your computer. Not only does this help conserve battery life on your smartphone by not having to run GPS on that power-draining unit, but you don’t have to take your GPS off your bike until it needs to be recharged.
Around the sides and top of the unit are LED notification lights. You can program these lights to display all sorts of information at a glance, including turn-by-turn directions. According to Wahoo, “the ELEMNT’s innovative QuickLook LED indicators provide visual indicators for critical alerts and data. Fully programmable, the indicators can be set to display metrics such as speed, heart rate, power, turn-by-turn navigation cues and more. ”
While the ELEMNT is packed with all sorts of other features, there was one key ingredient that sold me on it: loading maps. You may or may not be aware, but Singletracks.com is home to one of the largest mountain bike trail map databases in the world, and for about 16 years now we’ve been collecting GPS tracks of mountain bike trails all around the world. With tens of thousands of GPS tracks at your disposal, getting lost should no longer be an issue. 🙂 However, sometimes accessing this data out on the trail can be a challenge.
We’ve tried to make our map data extremely easy-to-access via our mobile apps for iOs and Android, but if you want to get the data onto a dedicated GPS unit and not just your smartphone, that’s been a bit of a challenge in the past for some users. Generally, you’d need to download the GPS track off of Singletracks.com to a laptop or desktop computer, physically connect your GPS unit to that computer, and use a program from the GPS unit manufacturer to send that data to your GPS. While that process in and of itself has been a challenge, with the continuing transition to mobile, fewer and fewer people are using full computers–heck, I’ve met people that don’t even own a computer and just access everything on their smartphone!
Now, with the mobile companion app for the Wahoo ELEMNT, you can load GPS tracks to your ELEMNT GPS unit completely independent of a computer! While you can email the files to yourself and then download them to the ELEMNT app, thanks to our totally mobile-responsive website, if you’re a Singletracks Pro member, you don’t even need to use that step. Simply navigate to Singletracks.com on your smartphone, log in with your Pro account, navigate to the trail you’re interested in, click on the Topo Map, select the route you want, and open the .gpx file in the ELEMNT app. Then, use the ELEMNT app to wirelessly send it to your unit.
Thanks to the innovation apparent in the ELEMNT, the entire Singletracks trail map database is now available at your finger tips, solely via mobile devices. You may or may not be aware, but for many trails and trail systems we have 2–or in some cases, many, many more–different map variants depicting different ways you can ride each trail. While we can currently only display the top-rated trail map in our mobile apps, utilizing our mobile-responsive site with the ELEMNT unit will allow you to access any and all trail maps that we have available.