Edge 520 vs Elemnt Bolt


Is the OP looking at the 520 or 520 Plus? I never had a 520, but I have used the 520 Plus and Bolt both extensively. The 520 Plus is clearly better imho in several ways, but it should be, it is a much newer model.

But if I was in the market I think I’d compare the Plus and the Bolt.


OP isn’t sure what he’s looking for! lol It’s a tough call because I have a perfectly functional unit, plus I’m not even riding outside yet, so it hasn’t been totally front of mind, I’ve been leaning more toward the bolt though


I can probably wait, I have been trying to decide if I wanted to spend the $30ish to replace the back on my 500 as my “enter” button almost never works or buy a new computer for $200-$300…

I might just do the back replacement for now and delay a decision.


My Edge 520 battery seems like it needs replacing after 3.5 years… I’m about ready to do BatteryClerk’s $15 battery replacement as I have electronics skills and tools. I’m also waiting for Stages new L50 to ship any day now, on paper and from DCrainmaker it really looks like a winner and new leader in price/performance and ease-of-use.


I had a bolt and returned it after a lot of use.

Problems, Navigation is crap from phone to bolt. It routes terribly. On a 1500 km ride on day 3 it lost the route. I could keep riding following the bread crumbs and rode through about 30 points but it kept telling me I was getting further and further away from the start.
No Garmin Varia support.
I asked wahoo multiple time on this item. It started with we cant support it as Garmin will not allow it. Varia standard was open at the time. Then it was yes we will be supporting it in the future and then it was we will never be supporting it. As someone who likes to bike long distances and has a family I dropped the bolt on the point that I want a varia Radar. As far as I think I will not ride without a rear radar from now on period. On my long trip I had a couple of handlebar rubs with vehicles and Semi’s and did not here them coming because of wind noise.

Wahoo will not support a open source safety item. I will not support wahoo…

Bought a garmin 820 and no issues so far.

Lol… I did buy a kickr core a month ago. It just started the rubbing grinding noise today lol…


the larger elemnt is on sale for 3 hundo from 3 29. I love mine, big for my old eyes to see


I prefer bolt because of longer battery life and stable firmware.

But I am going to share some thing different. Garmin connect IQ store has lots of apps for 520, if you like new things, or new cell phones, or new whatever. You can find lots of interesting new apps for 520 on IQ.


How does this “radar” work? If it turns the light on than you could just run a light full time. You can buy a lot of batteries for the cost of the radar.
If it tells you a car is approaching how do you know the car is not coming right at you.
It seems that a mirror is the best option IMO.


The radar beeps on your head unit and also shows a dot moving on the screen as the car approaches you. I believe it shows red if the car is driving at a very fast speed. I do use a mirror on my glasses. It does not tell you that your about to get hit.

Where I have had most of my issues is when riding on highways with no shoulder or a shoulder of a couple inches or a shoulder that’s gravel. These roads were unavoidable and could not be skipped. On the roads with no shoulder I was concentrating on staying as far to the right as possible.

I do use a mirror on my glasses. It does work fine. But when concentrating on staying close to the edge I have trouble always checking the mirror.

Bottom line is that the more safety items I have working for me the better chance I have of making it home. I use lights, mirror, safety triangle and other items. A beeping radar might just get my head out of the clouds if I lose focus on a 10 or 11 hour ride.


Or just being confident in your ability to shoulder check without swerving into traffic. That’s better than any mirror.


I have the Bolt and the Garmin 1030. I swore never to buy Garmin after my poor Edge 800 experience. However, the Bolt is now in the drawer and the 1030 is my primary computer. Reasons- my Bolt screen failed twice in a year. Wahoo replaced it but it still happened. Second, I have gotten more safety conscious as I have gotten older and use the Garmin Varia radar on the road. Wahoo refuses to add support for this despite an open interface standard. They also don’t support smart lights- another thing I use. So, with trepidation, I bought a 1030 and can’t be happier. All of the functions that I use work perfectly. I got the 1030 instead of the 520 because I can actually read the screen without my glasses. This has become more important as I have gotten older.


This is a kinder, gentler reply than the usual “why bother” or “its stupid” responses I’ve seen elsewhere :wink:

A lot of my riding is on country roads where you won’t see a car for 10-15 minutes, and I’m often riding into a strong headwind and can’t hear cars coming from behind. These are narrow country roads with no gutter and no shoulder.

After trying several different mirror systems, I settled on this “looks a little goofy” rear view handlebar mirror:

However in my experience is that relying on the mirror for awareness is hit or miss. So I was still getting surprised. :cry:

After reading about it on DCRainmaker, I bought the Varia 500 and planned to return it if not satisfied. Loved it, and honestly its just as useful riding in city traffic. I’ll never ride without my mirror and Varia radar. The Varia 500 has dim lights, so I have a Bontrager Flare RT rear light and using the Edge 520 light network feature the Varia LEDs are disabled and I just use the Flare RT to be seen. My new muscle memory in the city is to glance at head unit, check rear view mirror, and turn my head to visual confirm. So much better.

I said it earlier, after initial setup the Edge 520 and Bolt are more similar than different. For me, a couple of things tip the balance toward Edge 520 - I’d recommend the Plus version if purchasing now. Radar and light network support are two reasons. I can quickly take a TR workout and create an outdoor version on iPhone sync to Edge 520. After initial setup and one tweak, I don’t want to change the fields displayed so the Bolt’s ease-of-config is a don’t care. Strava routes have turn-by-turn - shape based on 520 and full routable on 520 plus. And full routable maps are handy if you want to re-route and there is no cellular data (or no phone).

IMHO if you just want something drop-dead easy to configure out-of-the-box via smartphone, then Wahoo is the answer. But if you have some patience on initial setup, then you are rewarded in the long run with Edge 520 plus.


I don’t see how properly being able to look behind you is ever going to be better than being able to look behind you and having a mirror.
I’ve never been on group ride where everyone was constantly looking behind them. In reality you would have to check every few seconds which is very simple with a mirror IMO.


For everyone promoting shoulder check as “the answer” I’d kindly ask you remove all rear-view mirrors from all your cars. Because safety devices are overrated and unnecessary. :rofl:


Actually, you guys have convinced me that adding a radar along with my mirror is probably the safest thing to do. I just bought the bolt last week so I’ll have to keep a lookout for a radar setup that I like. Thanks for the thoughtful answers to my question.


I had my doubts about the radar when I bought it but I love it. I ride out in the country a lot and the cars are going fairly fast and are often hard to hear until they are right on top of you. With the radar you get a visual and audible warning when they are about 500 yards away and it also tracks up to 8 cars at the same time. I used to use a mirror but the radar tracks at a far larger distance. Now I use both. Also, the newer RT510 radar has a much brighter tail light so you don’t need a separate light.


I was reluctant to spend $150 on the Varia, but after using it was immediately convinced it was one of the best purchases ever. For example last night I was out in a 16mph NNW gusty wind. Was on a few roads with cars blasting closely past me at 35-45mph, while riding into the headwind and couldn’t hear them and didn’t always see them in rear view mirror. But a quick glance down at head unit told me cars were approaching and I’d better pay attention to my line. Tonight is a group ride on country roads, wind forecasted at 20+mph and cars blow by at 60+mph.

What bothers me the most - in the last year I’ve noticed more and more drivers must be texting and will wander closer and closer as they approach (instead of giving more room). So the radar lets me know its time to look in rear view mirror, and if I see them hugging the line its time to move as far to the right as I can. Personally I feel that has tipped the odds more in my favor (of not getting hit, or last minute swerve to right) more times than I care to admit to my wife.


Same here about checking my line, not drinking, etc when a car approaches. Also, the same about notifying my wife about the hazards of riding :slight_smile:


Why would people constantly be looking behind them? Even if you have a mirror, riding along concentrating on what’s in the tiny little mirror (that’s likely only showing you road or sky depending on how your head is tilted) seems way more dangerous than looking back before you pull out to get off the front.

If you’re in the middle of the paceline then why are you looking behind yourself at all?

I don’t know a single longtime roadie who uses a mirror. The only guys I know who use mirrors are old guy triathletes.


Out of interest, when you’re on a group ride what does the radar do if you’re not the last rider in the paceline? Does it pick up the other riders or not pick up cars?