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Wahoo ELEMNT MINI Review

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Author: Cat Gaskell

The third release in Wahoo’s line-up of bike computers, the ELEMNT MINI brings a more affordable option to the market for those riders who don’t require an all-singing, all-dancing unit. The MINI launched today and I have been testing this unit, and it’s capabilities, to see if it’s a viable option for many riders out there.

Wahoo ELEMNT MINI

First up, as it’s name suggests, the MINI really is tiny, yet perfectly formed. The dimensions are a mere 41mm x 58.4mm x 17mm with a diagonal screen length of 45.7mm. Once you open up the package, as well as the unit itself, you have a Wahoo Speed Sensor included; important if you want to record your speed without linking up your MINI to your phone for full GPS, and for indoor training. You also get a stem mount - even on the shortest stems, it’s all you really need for a computer this small - and this attaches with zip ties. Zip tie attachment is one of the few things I feel could have been better considered. The ability to attach the mount with rubber bands would have been far more practical, allowing you to swap the mount between bikes rather than having different mounts permanently attached to each bike you ride.

In the box

Another thing you instantly notice is there is no USB charging cable. This is because, unlike many others on the market, the MINI is not rechargeable. Instead, it includes a coin battery that lasts for approximately 300 hours before needing to be replaced. This also means there is no option to plug your MINI in to upload rides - this can only be done via Bluetooth. Some people may be put off by the lack of USB charging, and I think I would also prefer this, however, the positive is that you will never forget to recharge your bike computer between rides, and 300 hours is really quite a long battery life - lasting around 6 months if you ride 11 hours per week.

 

ELEMNT Companion App:

The first step is to download the Wahoo Companion App onto your phone and turn on Bluetooth. When you initially power up the MINI, a QR code will be displayed - this is scanned using the camera of your smartphone to pair the two. The app will then guide you through setup.

As with the other ELEMNT computers, the app is the main control panel, so you can configure data fields, authorise 3rd party apps such as Strava and TrainingPeaks and set up sensors and training zones.

Wahoo ELEMNT MINI

 

When you turn on the MINI, there are four options along the bottom of the screen; Ride, Results, Profile and Settings.

Ride

The screen will display a map of your current location and an option to choose outdoor or indoor. When Bluetooth is turned on, your smartphone will pair to the MINI and you just need to press start on the unit. There is also an option to ‘share live tracking link’ so your friends and family can see your planned route, your current location and your ride stats.

Results

Results from all rides are listed, and you can select a specific ride to take a look in more detail. You will get a summary of the ride; distance, active time and average speed, plus speed, elevation and time data. In the top right corner, you can choose what data is displayed here and there are plenty of options to add including heart rate, cadence, speed and map.

If you want to delete rides from the device, you can do that here too. Although you can auto-upload rides, you can also manually upload your ride to any authorised 3rd party apps via your phone's mobile network or Wifi from this page, or send an email with the ‘fit’ file attached.

Profile

On the profile page you can enter your personal details; name, height, weight, gender etc and edit your power and heart rate zones as a way of keeping track of all your stats.

Settings

This is the page where you can really personalise your unit and you need to have Bluetooth and your MINI turned on to access this.

Wahoo ELEMNT MINI

Customise Pages: You can choose one to three data fields per page and have up to seven pages in total. Various speed, distance, time, cadence, heart rate and calorie data can be selected so what you see when you ride is completely personalised. It’s easy to flick through the screens on the device by pressing the ‘page’ button.

Set up sensors: You can pair speed, cadence and heart rate sensors. It’s important to note that only Wahoo sensors can be paired. The speed sensor is included, but you will need to purchase the RPM Cadence Sensor and TICKR heart rate monitor separately if you want access to this data.

Live track: Turn this option on or off here.

Autopause: You can opt to turn on autopause, so when you’re stopped at traffic lights your average speed won’t drop. Unlike more advanced units, there is no option to set the speed at which the device pauses and in my unit I had a few issues with this. Autopause reacted quickly once stopped but it would then auto resume pretty much straight away before I pulled away. As the GPS is pulled from your phone, it could be a consequence of this, and use of the speed sensor may fix this too.

Automatic upload: Rides are automatically sent to authorised 3rd party apps via your phone's mobile network or Wifi.

Alerts: So you never miss an important call or message, when in phone mode, you can opt to receive pop up notifications on screen. You can toggle ‘do not disturb’ on if you don’t want to receive these notifications for a given amount of time.

 

There are two modes in which you can ride using the unit; phone-free mode and phone mode.

Phone-free mode:

This is pretty basic, with no mapping or GPS data available, but it is still possible to pair your speed sensor for speed, distance and time information. You can also still pair your cadence and HR monitor. At the end of the ride you will get a basic summary. If you don’t use the speed sensor you will only get the elapsed time and nothing else.

Phone mode:

By pairing with your phone via Bluetooth, more advanced features open up to enhance your ride data. Your ride will be mapped through your phone, so you get GPS data with a full ride history including your route and elevation. You can upload your rides to Strava and other chosen apps. If you upload your rides to Strava you’ll get included on leaderboards in the same way you would if using a GPS enabled device.

ELEMNT in hand

 

Live tracking

A great feature which has actually just had a comprehensive update. Once you begin a ride, and when the device is paired to your phone over Bluetooth, you can send an email link to friends and family and they will be able to see your location and follow your ride. This used to be just a dot on a map, showing your position but nothing else, but the update means that far more data is available; planned route, speed, elevation and sensor data. This is not only good for people to see how your ride is going but also doubles up as a great safety feature. The tracking link can be set up to ‘break’ at the end of the ride, after midnight that same day, or never - so anyone with the link can track any ride you do at any time - be careful with this one though!

 

Simplicity is what this unit is all about but if you would rather not have to pair your phone to gain access to GPS, or plan to use a power meter, you may be better off opting for the Wahoo ELEMNT or ELEMNT Bolt. However, this is a great little device that gives access to all of the features many cyclists may ever need. You can read about Wahoo's range of bike computers here.

 

About the Author

  • Cat Gaskell
  • Height: 165cm
  • Weight: 53kg
  • About Cat Gaskell: After being a runner, 3 years ago Cat discovered cycling and has never looked back. Predominantly a track cyclist, she can normally be found training and racing at Herne Hill Velodrome. A member of Sigma Sport Women's Race Team, Cat has a packed calendar of road and criterium races.

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