Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wahoo Enters GPS Market With New Bicycle Computer

elemnt on bike_600_479

The GPS market is pretty saturated and in most segments is pretty well controlled by Garmin. And, while I think that Garmin makes some pretty solid products, it’s always nice to see newcomers getting their feet wet in this rapidly growing market. The most recent entry into the world of GPS is the fitness company Wahoo, who recently introduced its first GPS cycling computer, a device called the Elemnt.

This standalone unit does all of the things that you would expect from a midrange GPS device including measure key metrics like speed, distance and elevation as well as provide route navigation, live tracking and even notifications from your smartphone. It is designed to be simple, although I haven’t personally tested it to see if that’s actually true.

elemnt front_436_600The device does have one really feature that stood out to me. It’s called the QuickLook LED and is meant to reduce the amount of time riders are staring at their computers instead of the road. Basically made up of a line of LED lights along the edge and side of the device, the indicators are designed to convey information easily to riders so that you don’t have to try and read numbers on a tiny screen. The indicators can be customized to show different information such as speed, heart rate (if paired with a monitor), power or turn-by-turn navigation cues.

Of course, since Wahoo is, first and foremost, a fitness company that deals with smartphones, the Elemnt has a lot of connectivity features including smartphones so that users can keep track of notifications and more. The device is also ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible and can connect to Wifi to quickly upload your ride.

Unlike Garmin and other more established companies, Wahoo doesn’t seem to be trying to tie users to their own apps or ecosystem and while the device is designed to work with other Wahoo products, it can be connected to any number of devices. Likewise, users have the option of uploading information to Strava, Ride With GPS or a handful of other sites.

The Wahoo Elemnt isn’t currently available, but users can preorder the device for $329.99 on the Wahoo website. Devices are expected to ship in November 2015.

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