Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V2 vs Garmin Edge 530: Does The Up to date BOLT Change The Image?

Earlier in 2021, I revealed a put up evaluating the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT, as was, with the Garmin Edge 530.

Then Wahoo went and launched a brand new model of the BOLT, with some fairly important upgrades.

So that put up had a brief shelf life.

Now, having purchased the brand new model of the BOLT and given it a superb going over, I needed to offer an up to date model of my ELEMNT BOLT vs Edge 530 comparability.

On this put up I’ll cowl:

  1. A QUICK abstract of the upgrades that Wahoo has utilized to the V2 ELEMNT BOLT;
  2. How these enhancements change the evaluation as we examine the options and efficiency of two units; and
  3. Some up to date conclusions – in different phrases, now which one must you purchase?

Garmin Edge 530 vs ELEMNT BOLT V2

What has modified with the brand new up to date ELEMNT BOLT

I’ve achieved an entire put up on this (Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V1 vs V2), however listed below are the headlines:

  • The brand new BOLT has a color show, the display screen is bigger and fewer reflective. Simply typically, the viewing expertise has improved.
  • The case is black and the gadget is barely bigger. The buttons on the entrance are flush moderately than indented.
  • The V2 BOLT has correct on-board mapping. It may well, and does, re-route you if you happen to go off beam.
  • It has gone up barely in value. The brand new BOLT will set you again £265 or $299.
  • The charging port has switched from micro-USB to USB-C, which makes it faster to pump in your electrical energy juice.
  • The aero out entrance mount is barely longer so your outdated BOLT gained’t match on it. In all probability not all that related.

What has modified on the Edge 530?

In contrast to Wahoo, when Garmin launches a brand new gadget, it goes with the tried and examined method of … CHANGING THE NAME. Which helps all of us out.

The Edge 530 remains to be referred to as the Edge 530, which suggests…. it’s the identical gadget as earlier than.

Really, that doesn’t inform the entire story.

Garmin has launched a few firmware updates since my unique video, together with the fairly important improve to model 8.0.

This improved navigation by introducing new map themes which have higher visibility and distinction, including highlighting of widespread roads a la Strava heatmaps and including directional arrows to routes and programs.

A brand new ‘Sync Now’ menu merchandise was added to the Standing display screen, plus an entire raft of minor enhancements to numerous options that I’d in all probability wrestle to note.

Oh yeah. The updates additionally elevated course routing velocity however I’ve no approach of measuring that.

So the query is, do the upgrades to the BOLT, offset by the rise in value over the outdated model and the gentle tweaks to the Edge 530 firmware, change our tremendously advanced Edge 530 vs BOLT evaluation?

Let’s begin with the realm that has seen probably the most important improve on the V2 BOLT… the charging port.

(Not the charging port.)

The brand new model of the BOLT now matches the Edge 530 within the navigation and on-device routing stakes.

Beforehand the BOLT relied on breadcrumb navigation and was unable to re-route on the gadget.

Now, just like the Edge, if you happen to take a improper activate the course you’re following, the BOLT will robotically re-route to get you again on monitor.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V2 map

When you add a route file that doesn’t include turn-by-turn instructions, akin to one from Strava, the BOLT will create its personal cue sheet and flash up flip alerts over the course of your experience.

With the V2 BOLT, the ‘Take me to…’ possibility that was beforehand simply on the smartphone app has been replicated on the gadget.

Now, just like the Edge 530, you possibly can choose a degree on the BOLT’s mapping display screen and the gadget itself will calculate you a route. Additionally just like the 530, the BOLT can direct you to the the beginning of your route.

So, huge image smart, the navigation options are very comparable. And as you may count on, they’re fairly comparable in use.

Each units do certainly recognise if you’ve gone off beam and each, after just a few seconds, will give some kind of re-direction instruction.

Re-Routing When You Go Off Course

As you realize, this channel just isn’t one for exhaustive scientific testing. I preach primarily based on instinct and small pattern sizes.

My sense is that the Edge 530 tends to stay with the ‘Do a U-turn’ instruction, even if you’ve gone fairly far off beam and there’s a smart possibility for carrying on and assembly your course at a barely later level.

The BOLT appears faster to acknowledge the psychological maelstrom brought on by driving again the way in which you got here.

Once more, my ‘feelz’ is that the Wahoo is extra prone to give you new instructions that may hold you transferring ahead after which re-join your route just a few kilometres down the street.

Each units appear fairly fast on the precise calculation of the re-route – you’d hope so when the reply is ‘Do a U-turn’ – so not a lot to separate them there.


The map on the unique V1 BOLT was, in hindsight, fairly garbage. It was a small monochrome show populated by a load of gray traces.

The V2 BOLT clearly now has a color one. It’s nonetheless fairly simplistic although. It doesn’t appear to indicate street names. The Edge 530 maps are extra detailed. They do label street names and different locations.

The Edge’s v8 firmware replace (June 2021) introduced two new map themes. Along with the Traditional map color scheme (that everyone knows and love?!?), we now have Excessive Distinction

[Danger danger, high contrast]

… and Mountain Biking.

Garmin Edge 530 map screen

The ‘Excessive Distinction’ theme replaces many of the shades of inexperienced and gray depicting fields, woodland and constructed up areas with a predominantly white background.

The Edge 530 offers extra skill to tweak the map settings.

In addition to selecting the theme, you possibly can change the historical past line color, show contour traces, and establish widespread routes primarily based on Garmin’s experience site visitors knowledge.

With the ELEMNT BOLT, you get what you’re given. Which, to be honest, is a transparent, easy-to-understand map, with adequate element for my wants.

Your private color philosophy could require a darkish inexperienced or yellow experience monitoring line. Me, offering I can see it, I couldn’t give a Grandad’s Trumpet.

For me, the BOLT V2 has overtaken the Edge 530 within the navigation stakes, at the least from a street biking perspective.

I do know early models of the brand new BOLT had been reported to have technical points, perhaps brought on by mapping knowledge in cities. My gadget hasn’t had any issues, not least as a result of I stay within the countryside.

I do have a slight question as as to if the BOLT’s GPS is ‘barely off to the facet’ by way of positioning. There’s one specific Strava Stay Section which doesn’t kick in on the BOLT as a result of I miss the beginning level, nevertheless it triggers on the Edge 530. It appears I miss it by about 10 yards.

However this might simply as simply be the beginning place of the Strava section itself. All BOLT-recorded rides on Strava look correct, definitely for my wants.

By way of distinction, it’s not a lot the underlying navigation ‘engine’ (stated the non-software engineer) driving both gadget, however how they translate that into the consumer expertise.

And right here the BOLT wins.

It’s extra intuitive to make use of, significantly if you’re concurrently making an attempt to experience the bike.

From the map display screen, the labeled buttons on the entrance of the BOLT establish shortly methods to get to the cue sheet. It’s simpler to zoom out and in and transfer across the map.

Upcoming flip path alerts on the BOLT, which flash up just a few hundred metres prematurely, are clearly alerts. The Edge ones can look just like the map display screen itself, inflicting confusion till you realise you could clear them with the intention to get again to the standard knowledge screens.

There’ll little doubt be knowledgeable Edge customers rolling their eyes as a result of all of those options might be tweaked to swimsuit my preferences (I don’t know). My level is that the BOLT is simple and intuitive proper out of the field. It is sensible shortly to the non-expert consumer.

Show and Readability On The ELEMNT BOLT V2 Versus The Edge 530

I discussed already that the brand new ELEMNT BOLT has a color show. It now matches the Edge 530.

The BOLT has 64 colors. I’m undecided Garmin states what number of colors there are on the Edge 530.

Regardless of the quantity, the 530 appears to make extra use of them. Wahoo’s color deployment (which might be not the time period) is extra refined and restrained.

However no matter Wahoo is doing, it really works for me.

I all the time used to seek out the unique BOLT extra readable than the Edge 530. Though it had a monochrome show, textual content and numbers appeared sharper than the color Garmin.

While you decreased the variety of fields on the BOLT knowledge display screen to 1 or two, the font dimension elevated significantly.

The brand new V2 BOLT is even higher. White backgrounds are actually correctly white moderately mild gray. Distinction is superb.

The display screen on the BOLT is matte moderately than shiny, so shiny daylight doesn’t trigger reflections. It has retained the power to indicate a small variety of knowledge fields in a big font.

In comparison with the BOLT, I discover the show on the Edge 530 to be a bit blurry. The textual content is much less outlined. Garmintext all the time appears to stay comparatively small, nonetheless many fields you present.

Speaking of brightness, the V2 BOLT now has an ambient mild sensor, so it’s going to react robotically to the sunshine situations you’re driving in. This now matches the Edge 530, which all the time had a sensor.

As a considerably non-interesting apart, neither the Edge 530 nor the ELEMNT BOLT is as shiny as the Phases Sprint M50.

Garmin Edge 530 vs ELEMNT BOLT V2 vs Stages Dash M50 handlebars

To sum up on the display screen and show entrance, I don’t suppose the Edge 530 is unhealthy, per se (pig). The brand new BOLT is simply higher.


On gadget operability remains to be extra simple on the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT. Partly, maybe all-y, it is because there are fewer issues you are able to do on the gadget.

For the options that the BOLT does have, a variety of the tweaking, choosing and importing is finished by way of the Wahoo ELEMNT smartphone app. The stuff that may be managed on the gadget itself is restricted, making menus cleaner and the BOLT typically extra intuitive.

I’ve additionally all the time been a fan of the three buttons on the entrance of the BOLT, beneath the display screen. These have been retained on the V2, albeit they’re not indented. They’re nice to press (if you happen to can have an emotional response to working a button). Extra importantly, they permit for labels to look subsequent to them, explaining what they do on any given web page.

With the Edge 530, the buttons are on each side and the entrance, er, Edge. You must keep in mind what each does. I’ve misplaced rely of the variety of instances I’ve pressed the Again button (backside proper button) after I meant to press Enter (high proper button).

When driving, I typically discover myself squeezing the Edge with the intention to press a button on one facet and by chance urgent the one on the alternative facet.

For all that, given how a lot you are able to do with the Edge 530, the onboard consumer interface isn’t unhealthy. The varied choices are unfold round quite a few smart menus. Various settings and options might be accessed from a fast begin type menu on the house display screen.

The Edge 530 simply takes extra getting used to and a bit extra work to seek out issues. If you are able to do one thing on the ELEMNT BOLT, you’ll work out methods to do it shortly and intuitively.

Options! Options! Options!

The unique ELEMNT BOLT had fewer options than the Edge 530. The brand new V2 BOLT nonetheless has fewer options.

The revamp to V2 seems extra targeted on {hardware} enhancements, and no matter software program adjustments that resulted (e.g. including on-board navigation), moderately than including extra particular person options.

The Edge 530 has extra stuff constructed into it: Climbpro, a broader swath of coaching and efficiency metrics, numerous mountain bike particular metrics, to call however just a few.

Garmin Edge 530 ClimbPro

You will get, and I’ve obtained, very excited studying about all of the flashy whizzbangery on the Garmin web site.

BUT, on a day after day foundation, my utilization is restricted to a smaller variety of options, most of that are additionally current on the ELEMNT BOLT.

While the bike alarm characteristic, which kind of acts like a automotive alarm while your steed is parked exterior a favorite espresso cease, sounds cool, I’ve by no means discovered trigger to make use of it. Your bike safety mileage could differ.

The exception that proves my decidedly imprecise rule, is Garmin’s ClimbPro characteristic.

ClimbPro identifies every climb in your route and gives a colour-coded gradient chart. Very useful, if like me, you spend most of a given climb questioning when it’s going to end (and hoping it is going to be quickly).

The BOLT does monitor progress in your route elevation chart, and you’ll zoom in, nevertheless it’s not as clear precisely how a lot ache you’ve obtained left on a climb.

Mountain Biking

I may also see, if you happen to swing to the mountain bike darkish facet, that Edge 530 could attraction over the BOLT.

Along with containing higher path maps (I believe… do your personal analysis on this), the Edge 530 tracks numerous MTB metrics, akin to circulation, grit and air time.

My plan (whisper it) is to do extra mountain biking over the approaching 12 months. I’ll definitely be monitoring circulation and maximising air time. I’ll report again in. Within the meantime, I’ll simply observe that the Edge 530 might be a greater gadget in case you are extra mountain biker than street bike owner.

So, to conclude this part, by way of characteristic set, the Edge 530 undoubtedly wins over the ELEMNT BOLT. Merely put, the Edge 530 has extra of them, significantly in case your velo pursuits prolong past street biking.

I’ll go away it to you to resolve what number of options you really want (trace: it’s in all probability not all of them).

Security and Safety

The Edge 530 is healthier than the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT by way of security and security-related options.

The aforementioned Bike Alarm will sound an alarm and ship a cellphone notification in case your bike is moved. Sadly it doesn’t act as an immobiliser like your automotive. For this you want a … bike lock.

There’s no equal alarm characteristic on the BOLT.

Stay Monitoring, which in addition to being of profound health efficiency curiosity (I’m certain) to my dot-watching spouse is a safety-cum-logistics characteristic, is widespread to each the Edge 530 and the BOLT.

In each circumstances, if you provide them with a hyperlink, VERY INTERESTED relations (or anybody with a passing curiosity) can monitor your progress on a map.

Edge 530 vs Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V2 bike GPS

Garmin shades it by way of incident detection. That is constructed into the Edge 530. Through some software program plus movement sensing plus algorithms (?) wizardry, the gadget will decide if you happen to’ve had a crash.

After providing you with just a few moments to cancel (for a false alarm), the Edge 530 will ship a textual content message and e-mail to your emergency contacts (supplied the Edge is linked to your cellphone).

You may also ship the request for emergency help manually as nicely.

While Wahoo has an identical characteristic, it depends on you having a separate particular Specialised ANGi sensor (usually hooked up to your helmet).

So to realize with the ELEMNT BOLT what the Edge 530 does out of the field, you’d have to pay for a particular sensor in addition to (I believe) an annual subscription to maintain the ANGi working.


Once we speak coaching options, there’s a very actual threat that I shortly recover from my skis. My coaching type is, how-you-say, ‘intuitive’.

I primarily simply experience about. Typically there are hills.

So my comparability of the Edge 530 and the V2 ELEMNT BOLT on this enviornment is considerably hypothetical.

From what I can see, I’d be pleased with each of them. As soon as once more, the units break up throughout the identical philosophical divide: Garmin goes for plenty of options and complexity; Wahoo retains it considerably easy.

You may add structured exercises to each the ELEMNT BOLT and the Edge 530. There are just a few constructed into Wahoo Health app, plus you possibly can sync from third get together apps. Garmin Join may also join with third get together coaching platforms.

If you wish to construct your personal structured exercises for the BOLT, I suppose you could have an account with one among these apps (akin to TrainingPeaks). The free plans could also be sufficient for you. In any other case you’re paying to subscribe. For the Edge 530 you possibly can create them immediately in Garmin Join, which is unquestionably free.

The power to add and observe structured exercises is about it for the ELEMNT BOLT, by way of particular coaching options (and it would nicely be sufficient for most folk).

On the opposite handlebar, you possibly can lose weeks of your life studying about all of the coaching and efficiency options in-built to the Edge 530.

The Edge will monitor issues like coaching load and VO2 max over time, estimate restoration time wanted after a experience and use exercise historical past and efficiency knowledge to evaluate whether or not you’re coaching productively.

You probably have different appropriate Garmin health units, akin to a watch, you possibly can sync these metrics in order that an exercise recorded by any of them updates all of them.

That’s earlier than we discuss a few of the efficiency metrics screens, akin to Biking Dynamics, and the reminders to eat, drink and be merry.

A few of the equal knowledge to Biking Dynamics might be proven on the BOLT knowledge pages (e.g. left/proper stability for these with the pedal energy meters).

Finally, if it’s most coaching whir-clangery you’re after, the Edge 530 is the gadget to go together with.

Charging Port

Lastly we get on to charging port!

The V2 model of the ELEMNT BOLT actually set the ability cable cat amongst the GPS gadget pigeons. If we conveniently ignore the Hammerhead Karoo 2.

The brand new BOLT has a extra trendy and sooner charging USB-C port, the place the Edge 530 sticks with the outdated fuddy duddy micro-USB aperture.

For me, in sensible phrases, it hasn’t made a variety of distinction.

I are likely to hold charging GPS units on a reasonably frequent foundation, so I don’t typically discover that I’m low on juice forward of a experience (nicely, aside from in my legs and physique battery).

BUT. If you’re somebody that lives and rides near the sting (of a low battery), the important thing attraction of USB-C is that it’s going to cost the V2 BOLT to a significant cost stage extra shortly. For the electrical energy boffins, I believe the BOLT can take 5A of present, versus one thing like 1-1.5A on the Edge 530.

USB-C is unquestionably the extra trendy charging port customary (and presumably is the way in which Garmin will go sooner or later). When you’ve solely obtained quarter-hour to cost a tool, you’ll get extra minutes of experience monitoring into a brand new BOLT than the Edge 530 (all else being equal).

Battery Life

Wahoo states as much as 15 hours for V2 BOLT… which is precisely what it said for the unique V1 BOLT.

You may cost it while driving by way of a conveyable USB charger, though Wahoo doesn’t supply a neat, front-mountable cost just like the Garmin, er, Cost.

For the Edge 530, Garmin specifies as much as 20 hours of battery life.

So there isn’t a change within the Edge 530 vs ELEMNT BOLT evaluation following the improve of the latter.

My experience lengths don’t hassle the battery capacities of both, even when I go away it just a few periods between charging. Recharging units has develop into fairly ordinary for most individuals.

When you’re an ultra-endurance rider, the Edge 530 plus the Garmin Cost energy pack might be a neater total resolution. In any other case it’s just about a wash.

How Does The New V2 Change The ELEMNT BOLT vs Edge 530 Shopping for Choice?

Ooh, good query (that you simply’ve in all probability had while studying this complete put up).

As a part of this, we have to discuss value.

Within the interval BV2 (earlier than V2…), there was a noticeable value distinction between the Edge and the BOLT.

The latter was cheaper, reflecting (I believe) extra the monochrome scheme and lack of true navigation, moderately than the general decreased characteristic set.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V2 in my hand

The BOLT now retails for £265/$299. The Edge 530 is generally £260/$299 (albeit I can see it’s on sale within the UK).

They’re nearly as good as the identical value.

When you preferred the BOLT earlier than (as I did), I believe you’ll actually just like the BOLT V2 (as I do).

I don’t suppose you’ll really feel short-changed paying the upper value. You now have full navigation and a very good color display screen to recompense you in your additional moolah spent.

The justification for selecting the V2 BOLT over the Edge 530 on the identical value is that you simply’re paying for the cleaner, extra streamlined consumer interface.

When you had been a rider that wanted (or needed) navigation and a color display screen, and went for the Edge 530 regardless of by no means being probably to make use of all of its options, the BOLT now turns into the higher selection.

If you’re firmly ensconced within the Garmin ecosystem, loves enjoying round with all of the technical element or is a eager mountain biker in addition to street bike owner, or all the above, then the appearance of the BOLT V2 shouldn’t divert you from going with the Edge 530.

Oh, and if you happen to actually preferred the massive font dimension on the unique BOLT then you definately’ll additionally actually prefer it on the V2.

With that I’m away. I hope you discovered this put up useful. Shopping for hyperlinks and all that kaboodle beneath.


Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic street bike owner with solely reasonable expertise. He began Sportive Bicycle owner in 2013 to document the journey to his first 100 mile experience, the RideLondon 100. Over time the weblog has expanded to incorporate coaching recommendation, gear opinions and street biking tales, all from the attitude of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Because you’re right here, Monty would additionally such as you to take a look at his YouTube channel. Additionally, Monty actually must cease referring to himself within the third individual.

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