I’ve been using a wahoo elemnt for a while now, and the Garmin 520 has Sat all forlorn on the shelf.
Today however saw it dusted off, and remounted after the elemnt mount broke. It’s a bit of a bad design. You can never have it just tight enough on the bar not to slip. Which meant I tightened it, only to pull the brass press fit screw thread out.
But going back to the garmin, made me realise that there is actually stuff I’d missed that the elemnt hasn’t got. And the opposite too. I missed some of the features of the Elemnt.
So, in no particular order here is what I miss when using the 520
- Screen and font size. The elemnt screen is huge compared to the garmin, and easier to glance at to get the information quickly
- Button location. The buttons on the garmin are awkward, and located oddly
- Maps. Maps are a hell of alot easier and clearer on the elemnt.
That’s just what comes from the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more.
Things I miss when using the Elemnt
- Recovery advisor, Vo2 and auto FTP. A small and insignificant feature set, but one I like to have.
- Varia light control. I’ve got a full set of Varia lights which obviously don’t work with the Elemnt. Yet. With See.Sense working on their Ace light set, it might get supported.
- Beeps and other bongs. The Elemnt is mute when compared to the 520, with a much smaller speaker.
- Not having to correct speed spikes after autopause. Seriously wahoo, that’s annoying
Again, just off the top of my head.
But weighing up the pros and cons of each unit, it’s clear to me that the elemnt is the first computer I reach for when getting ready.
It’s that time if year again. Time to dig out the lights, although some say you should always run lights. And there has been times I’ve not noticed a cyclist due to having a backdrop of dark.. Or dappled light.
So you get your lights out the cupboard, find a charging lead and hope their still holding a charge. Mine where, but the volt 300 just dos’nt really cut it for me now. I’ve got a Garmin varia system as well, but tend not to use it since switching over to the wahoo elemnt.
So off to buy a new front light. But as is always the case with me, I came back with two. I stayed with cateye, and decided on VOLT 800 for my main light, which I rely on too see, and a swanky set of See.Sense icon+ lights for my too be seen lights.
One thing I really like about the volt is a double click no longer sets the light to epileptic inducing strobe, instead it switches the output to high mode. This is much more sensible. The high mode is great for the unlit cycle paths, even the medium setting of 400 lumens will do on them, but it’s good to have the 800 lumens setting to fall back on.
These see.sense lights are something special, they have a certain level of intelligence being able to sense light and motion. So brighten in dark areas or car headlights, junctions and slowing down. They are my permanent lights, now the days are shorter and more gloomy. They pack one hell of a punch in the output. Some might say they are stupidly bright, but brighter the better too be seen in the day light.
My lighting system now features two front lights, a flashing light and a solid on the front, and a flashing and solid light on the back.
I’m an avid user of speedplay. However, I’m now Considuring going back to SPD-SL because they have discontinued the origional zero cleat and only now supplying the walkable cleat. And I hate that cleat.
While the new walkable cleats do solve many of the issues reported with the origional cleats, they bring their own drawbacks. All of which I despise.
I’ll stick with speedplay for awhile longer, see how it goes but I might have to start practicing the old poke and clip.. 🙂
So, on today’s ride, I had an issue with gear changes. The rear Derailleur would not shift down from one particular cog. So it was onto the repair stand when I got home.
I looked at the rear Derailleur, looked fine and moving fine. The hangar looked straight and true. So the process of elimination was almost complete and I moved on to cabling. I shifted to the highest gear and made some slack in the cable system. The rear housing looked fine, cleaned it off and applied some oil to the cable.
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” — Arthur Conan Doyle
The bike still did it. Would not shift down over the second highest cog. Thinking I’d checked almost everything, and it was down to a cable tension issue I was considering ripping out the whole system and re cabling. But before that I thought I’d just try adjusting the barrel adjuster at the top of the down tube. Low and behold, the bike shifted fine after slacking that off slightly. So with no cable tension, I removed the cable from the adjuster, and there was a shed load of grit in there. It must of been thrown up by the front wheel during a rather wet ride I had a couple of days back.
Sprayed a good helping of GT85 in the adjuster, oiled it over and reassembled. It was shifting like a dream again.
So the whole moral of the story, is one of trouble shooting the system, work backwards, don’t head down blind alleys and you’ll get there.
Going around the various forums, one of the common questions I see, is “what fields should I have?” when setting up a GPS computer.
I’d previously done this type of post for my garmin so I’d thought I’d do one for the screens on my elemnt.
The first page is pretty much on screen most of the time. It contains all the critical information.
- W 5 sec, this simply shows my 5 second average power.
- KPH, is my current speed. I’ve found d myself looking at power more than speed recently, so speed is relegated to second field.
- BPM, current heart rate I have my heart rate zones displayed on the left hand LED display.
- RPM, my current cadence
- KM, Distance travelled
- Elevation, current elevation above sea-level.
- DEG-C current temperature
I don’t need much else on that screen. Using the zoom function on the elemnt, the 4 top items are the ones that are most important and on screen in a zoom state.
The climbing screen is pretty much the default. I think I just added RPM and BPM datafields.
There is the default Elevation display at the bottom of the screen.
Similar to the Main screen, this screen shows all the important metrics, along with a KM to go display for the currently loaded course and a ride time display too. As the Elemnt lacks the timed course feature on the Garmin, we have to remember the time we are out to beat and do it manually.
So, I’ve changed over from a Garmin 520 to a Wahoo Elemnt. And despite the missing vowel, it’s a worthy Garmin competitor.
Initially, I thought the LED’s where a little gimmick, but they are actually bloody useful. I’ve currently got mine set to display heart rate zone but have also used them for average speed, and found them useful for a quick reference point.
Screen wise, it’s a lot more readable in all conditions than the garmin, with better field presentation. Speaking of fields, setting up screens on the elemnt is stupidly easy. You just select the fields in the app, and drag and drop to were you want them on screen. Nothing could be easier. Non of this many button pressing garmin malarkey.
I’d replaced the maps on the garmin with open street maps from garmin.openstreetmap.nl which where miles better than the tosh you got preloaded. You can’t replace maps on the elemnt, however they are more than good enough to use as is.
All in all, a great bike GPS unit, and one that’s earned a place on my bike. Just a shame it dos’nt support my garmin lights. Yet.
Today was the one day a year Yorkshire water open the outfall of thruscoss dam, and allow the Washburn to flood down to fewston reservoir. The canoe club is not one to allow this opportunity to go to waste. And I’m not one to allow a photo op go either.
the day was grey with a lot of cloud it really was dull and this meant there where a few issues with photography. Most of the river is under tree cover, which meant the lack of light was further limited. I had to really bump up the ISO to get the shutter speed I needed, and the fastest lens I had brought was a 2.8 17-50.
I switched to full manual and constantly tweaked the exposures. It was hard work. But well worth it as I feel I got some good shots, and I worked for them. I would of used a flash but felt it would be off putting to the canoeists.
More images of course available on my ipernity site: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/mikethompson/album/505491