Long Term Review: Wahoo Bolt 2

I didn’t review the Bolt 1 proper. It was embedded in my post about moving from Garmin’s Edge to Wahoo’s ecosystem. The Bolt 1 continues to be a tremendously reliable bike computer. And when Garmin decided to crap out during its ransomware attack in 2021, I was grateful to have Wahoo as a backup ecosystem. Having two ecosystems provides much needed resilience for data junkies like me. (I use my Fenix 6 Pro Solar as backup.) The Bolt 2 builds on the Bolt 1’s success but to a limited degree. Some of the points below also apply to the Bolt 1.

The Good

  1. Small, focused, simply works. The Bolt 2 is as reliable as the Bolt 1 in my experience. Picks up GPS, ANT+ and Bluetooth signals well. Does not crash. Good data all the time. Some take this for granted, but my experience with the Fenix 5S has taught me otherwise. I do have to caveat that Wahoo is not faultless. Early launch units of the Bolt 2 suffered connectivity and reliability problems especially for those living in dense areas with detailed maps. I waited for a bit and received a later production unit. It has been rock solid.
  2. Improved screen. Two parts to this. First, the screen is easier to read than the already excellent Bolt 1 because the text is closer to the surface. Second, colour. Colour is not critical and I did not miss it in the Bolt 1 but the Bolt 2’s usage of colour is smart. I like how I can see my power and HR zones simply by checking what colour the fields are. Similarly, the use of red and green for Varia traffic pick-ups (green = no traffic; red = cars behind) is a good touch. Sensible, uncluttered design remains Wahoo’s strong forte.
  3. App integration. Like the Bolt 1, the Bolt 2 continues Wahoo’s fine tradition of integrating really well with Strava, Best Bike Split, Ride with GPS, etc. You do not need to download apps the way you do with Garmin. Everything works well out of the box.
  4. Non-recessed buttons. The Bolt 1 had recessed buttons which were ok for me until I caused a minor but noticeable damage to the LCD close to the right recessed buttons. Recessed buttons encourage you to press hard and deep, and that probably resulted in LCD damage. I smashed the button hard when going uphill. No such risks with non-recessed buttons on the Bolt 2.
  5. Improved charging flap. The Bolt 1’s flap was flaky and non-replaceable. Mine broke but was still workable. The Bolt 2’s version is sturdier and replaceable. Details matter.
  6. USB C. Bolt 2 has moved to USB C as all new devices should.

The Bad

  1. Slightly laggy. The Bolt 1 was leap in performance over the Garmin. The Bolt 2 is slightly faster than the Bolt 1 but it is noticeably slower than newer Garmins. Wahoo needs to improve in this area. It is by no means a deal breaker, and Wahoo might have downclocked the processor to ensure stellar battery life. But a better balance can be struck.

The Bolt 2 is a slightly improved version of the Bolt 1. I still recommend the Bolt in general. But for Bolt 1 users, it is not clear if the Bolt 2 is good enough to make a switch. The delta is not significant, minor updates like its improved screen and better hardware design are nice but not game changers. I would not have moved from the  Bolt 1 to 2 if not for the minor LCD issue. I bought my Bolt 2 from Carousell due to its low price. This was done via a mass import from Canyon.

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