Wahoo Bolt II Review

The updated colour screen and built-in route planning bring the Bolt back to the top.

Having used the original Bolt for a few years before upgrading to the updated version, I'm familiar with the Wahoo ecosystem and all the nuances that made the original bolt just ‘good’. My list of niggles and annoyances from the original bolt has been addressed and the new bolt not only competes with the Garmin 530 but supersedes it.

Wahoo Bolt II Key Features:

  • High-contrast 64 colour screen

  • Smart navigation with thousands of miles of onboard maps

  • Aerodynamic design with semi-integrated out front mount

  • Three convex buttons

  • The ambient light sensor adjusts brightness automatically

  • Configurable Quicklook LED’s

  • 16GB of onboard storage

  • Easy setup via ELEMNT app

The original Bolt's selling point was its aerodynamic shape and integration with the out-front mount. While I can’t say any of us mere mortals could notice the difference between a Wahoo aero mount and a Garmin standard mount, the pro peloton was quick to adopt the original Bolt and the associated marginal gains. The new bolt maintains this aero shape with an updated mount that isn’t back compatible with gen 1 bolts.

A note about the Wahoo warranty. Just before I upgraded to the new Bolt II, my gen 1 Bolt started feeling really loose in the mount. Closer inspection revealed one of the mount tabs had snapped off inside the mount. A quick email to Wahoo and within two days a replacement bolt was at my doorstep before I’d even had the chance to send my old one back. It’s great to see such a swift warranty on a product, especially one which takes quite a beating like a cycling GPS.

One of the biggest upgrades for the new Bolt is the colour screen. Previously only seen on the Wahoo Roam, the new colour screen on the Bolt II is a step above this again.

The colour screen sits behind a scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass and the 64 colour display, shows maps and navigation in great detail and contrast. Whilst it’s still quicker to connect to your phone through the super easy to use Wahoo ELEMNT mobile app and set a new route. It is possible to select a destination through a crosshair you control via the three buttons on the front of the unit.

Sometimes the ambient light sensor isn’t quite as responsive as I'd like it to be. On the mountain bike going through sections of strong tree cover and back into the harsh sunlight, the display is often still too dim until I'm back undercover. However, on the road with much more predictable lighting this isn’t an issue.

On the data fields page, metrics such as heart rate and power appear in the colour that corresponds to their training zones, a much simpler way to gauge your effect at a glance - particularly during races or interval sessions. Furthermore, you can program the LEDs at the top of the unit to also highlight either power or heart rate which means you don’t have to distinguish between the two training metrics when your vision goes blurry during extreme efforts.

The fit and finish of the new Bolt II feels much nicer than the original Bolt. While the body is still made from plastic, the Gorilla Glass screen and smoother bevels give a much more premium feel to the device. One of my biggest gripes from the old bolt was the concave buttons which collected mud and water during wet rides which would then smudge over the screen making viewing tricky. The Bolt II fixes this issue with convex buttons and as such, water and mud no longer collect on the face of the device. Furthermore, the switch to usb-c for charging is welcome and means the rubber port cover sits securely. Possibly the most common complaint of the old Bolt was how tricky it was to get the cover to actually stay in the port.

The Good:

  • Touch of colour to highlight performance

  • Crisp display is easy to read

  • Aerodynamic design

  • Wahoo ecosystem is delightful to use

  • Super reliable

  • Long-lasting battery

  • Easy to follow route guidance

  • More premium fit and finish

The Bad:

  • Creating a new route directly on the device is fiddly without a touchscreen although still a nice feature to have

  • The obnoxiously loud beep can only be turned on or off, not volume-controlled

This review was written entirely independently of Wahoo and The Ark Cycles by our staff member Jay who purchased his Wahoo Bolt with his own money before we were stockists of Wahoo. All opinions and thoughts are independent of Wahoo.

Check out our range of cycling computers and training accessories from Wahoo and Garmin here: https://www.thearkcycles.co.uk/wahoo

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