Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. v2: Which One to Buy in 2022?

Me holding Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. v2.

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This is my comparison of the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. BOLT v2. I tested them both to find their advantages and disadvantages. 

The main difference between BOLT v1 and BOLT v2 is that BOLT v2 comes with full on-device navigation so it can recalculate routes when off-course. It also has a better, colored display and easier-to-click buttons. In addition, BOLT v2 features USB-C charging port (BOLT v1 uses MicroUSB). Other features remained similar.

Continue reading to learn more.

ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. BOLT v2 Differences

Here is the summary of the main differences between ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. BOLT v2.

FeatureELEMNT BOLT v1 ELEMNT BOLT v2
Mounts in the boxOut front aero mount
Stem mount
Out front aero mount
Stem mount
Dimensions74.6×47.2×21.3 mm
2.94×1.86×0.84 in
77.5×47.2×21.3 mm
3.05×1.86×0.84 in
Weight62g68g
Screen size2.2″2.2″
TouchscreenNoNo
Display colorsMonochromatic64-colors
Claimed battery life
Real battery life*
15 hours
9 hours**
15 hours
11* hours
ButtonsEasy to pressEven easier to press
Smart navigation (rerouting)NoYes
ConnectivityANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
ChargingMicro-USBUSB-C
Start-up time∼35s∼35s
Crash/incident detectionNoNo
More infoWahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 ReviewWahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 Review
BuyDiscontinuedCheck Price
Check Price (Amazon)
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
This table compares the main features of ELEMNT BOLT v1 and BOLT v2.
*Based on my unscientific testing.
**On a 3-year-old device.

Let me now explain them in depth.

In the Box

Boxes and their contents remained similar. Both bike computers come with a stem mount and an aero mount.

Unfortunately, the stem mount comes with plastic zip ties and not with elastic bands like Garmin Edge computers.

Due to different dimensions, the BOLT v2 aero mount is incompatible with the BOLT v1. But, you can fit the BOLT v2 into the BOLT v1 aero mount.

Physical Dimensions & Weight

The physical dimensions and weight also remained similar. 

BOLT v2 is slightly larger than v1. But don’t worry. It still feels as compact as the previous generation. And that’s exactly what many cyclists, including me, like about BOLTs. 

The BOLT v2 is 6g heavier than the v1. Maybe this is a reason for weight weenies to stick with v1? 

Ease of Setup

The setup process remained the same as we know it from Wahoo ELEMNT bike computers.

It’s easy and quick. You only have to scan a QR code using the ELEMNT Companion app and pair sensors.

Me holding Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 with QR code for pairing with a phone.
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 QR code

It’s a shame that the app doesn’t import data fields, sensors, and other settings from the previous generation like some Garmin bike computers do.

Display

The display of the BOLT v2 got the biggest upgrade. It’s now colored (can display up to 64-colors) and not monochromatic as BOLT v1. 

Thanks to a less glossy display, the readability in direct sunlight is even better than on v1.

Display colors are helpful when browsing the map (so it’s easier to orient in it) and when climbing because BOLT v2 colorizes gradients, depending on their difficulty.

Me holding Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 and v2 in palm showing screen readability.
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. v2 screens

The dimensions of both screens remained the same, but thanks to the redesign, the BOLT v2 display seems larger because the glass goes from edge to edge.

Also available at rei.com, amazon.com, wiggle.co.uk, and wiggle.com

Battery Life

The claimed battery life of both BOLTs is 15 hours.

I tested the real battery life by riding with a connected Varia radar, power meter, HR monitor, and some rides with a pre-planned route (turn-by-turn navigation turned on). 

BOLT v1 lasted about 11 hours, but it’s 3 years old already, and the BOLT v2 about * hours. However, my BOLT v2 is a few months old.

Control

The way you control both head units remained the same. You can rely on their button-based interface.

BOLT v2 comes with improved, easier-to-press buttons. This is because they are more in level with the rest of the device than recessed into it. 

Me holding Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 and v2 showing buttons.
ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. v2 buttons

Maps & Navigation

BOLT v1 has no idea where you are when you start a pre-planned route. It just overlays a set of waypoints on a map, and when you go off-course, it won’t find a new way.

The BOLT v2 has a full on-device navigation capability.

Me holding Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 and v2 showing screen colors (maps).
ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. v2 screen colors

This means that if you go off-course, it will recalculate the route. It can also take you to a selected point on the map. 

Thanks to this upgrade, the only reason to buy ELEMNT ROAM (if you want a Wahoo bike computer) is the larger display. It also made BOLT v2 more suitable for bikepackers and adventure seekers.

Did you know that World Tour teams like AG2R Citröen Team, Bora-Hansgrohe, Cofidis, EF Education-Nippo, Team DSM, and Trek–Segafredo used the ELEMNT BOLT v2 in the 2022 cycling season?

Other Differences

Here I list other less obvious differences between BOLT v1 and BOLT v2.

  • BOLT v2 uses different fonts than v1. In addition, some alerts on v2 are now written in lowercase (all alerts on v1 are written in capitals). 
  • BOLT v1 LED strip is brighter than v2.
  • BOLT v1 uses a micro-USB charging port. BOLT v2 uses USB-C (thumbs up!).
  • BOLT v2 has a larger, 16GB internal storage (vs. 2.78 GB). 
  • BOLT v2 has louder beeps than v1.
Me holding Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 and v2 showing charging ports (MicroUSB vs. USB-C).
ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. v2 charging ports (MicroUSB vs. USB-C)
Me holding Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1 and v2 showing LEDs.
ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. v2 LEDs

Did you notice any other difference I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments.

ELEMNT BOLT v1 vs. BOLT v2 FAQ

My Verdict

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 removed the main flaws of the first generation BOLT.

The screen and navigation got the biggest upgrades, making the BOLT v2 one of the most popular bike computers

You probably don’t need to upgrade if you already have the BOLT v1 unless you want full-on-device navigation features and a colored display.

But, the combination of the sleek form factor, flawless user experience, and new features make the BOLT v2 an important player in the bike computer market.

Also available at rei.com, amazon.com, wiggle.co.uk, and wiggle.com

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