I’m miles away from finishing the Wahoo Element Roam review, but I already found some imperfections that bother me enough to find workarounds. Wahoo Element series advertises mobile notifications, which are definitely a selling point, but it fails to explain (without reading the small print) that the Wahoo Element series supports SMS, Email, WhatsApp and WeChat notifications only, blissfully ignoring everything else. I’m sure cyclists are thrilled about having their choices made on their behalf. I’m not having it, I’m going to fix Wahoo Element Notifications.
This hack, lets you select the apps you’d like to see the notifications from and displays the content of the notification on your Wahoo Element device. It’s not the most elegant solution, it comes with limitations, but it’s better than pulling your mobile phone from your back pocket to see who’s bothering you.
This is how the new Wahoo Element Notification looks like:
- Application Name
- Notification Title
- Notification Text
- Other data available
- No support for new lines
- best for unlimited SMS plans
How does it work
If you are lucky enough to be on an unlimited SMS plan (like me) you can take the advantage of the fact that the Wahoo Element series supports SMS notifications. As these are natively displayed on your cycling computer, we can fake it and input the data from other notifications. I do that, by sending a pre-fabricated SMS message to my own number. (be mindful that SMS outside your allowance will turn this notification hack into a pricy system).
Incoming SMS messages will display on your cycling device thanks to Wahoo Element Notifications. What I need to do next, is to find a way to embed useful data into it and create a setup routine so you can pick the notifications that you find useful. This is where Tasker comes to play.
In case you are not familiar, Tasker is one of the best apps you can have on your Android device (sorry iOS users). It automates things for you, and in this instance, it will look for notifications that are interesting to us and will send the content of that notification to ourselves as an SMS message.
If you want to learn more about Tasker, I have a getting started guide for you. It will ease you into the interface, and you will be able to automate much more, not just Wahoo Element Notifications.
Wahoo Element Notifications
You can skip to the end of the article for the download, but if you keep on reading, you will benefit as well. I will briefly explain how things are set so you can modify the project to your needs and learn a thing or two.
Don’t worry, the imported project will only require Tasker and AutoNotification installed, and it will guide you through the setup process. So all you need to do is to enable associated permissions, select the apps you want notifications from and enter your phone number. The rest is taken care of.
The most complex part was the setup process. Tasker will check what applications are installed on your phone and turn these into Applications name in the list. Then it will ask you for your mobile phone number and for the name of the app that handles SMS messages.
That data is stored as global variables and used to set up the AutoNotification plugin. The name of the SMS app is needed to prevent loops, so if you select your SMS app by mistake in the app list, it won’t loop around and send dozens of messages.
As this is not a project you want to have enabled in any other scenario, I linked it to the presence of the notification from the Element app. To activate the profile simply open the Element app and you are good to go. Tasker will stop relaying messages as soon as you close the Element notification. I also added a routine to make sure the profile is off when the phone reboots, just in case.
I used the AutoNotification plugin to monitor incoming notifications (they only look for notifications issued by the apps selected in the setup mode) and extract the following information:
- %anapp – issuing app name
- %antitle – title of the notification
- %antextbig – text of the expanded notification
You can play about and add extra fields if you want to. By default, these fields would contain the name of the app, the name of the contact (if one is involved) and the entire text of the notification.
Unfortunately, Wahoo Element is not respecting new lines, and despite my best attempts, the layout of the message will leave much to be desired. I did my best to separate the information in the text message, so the data isn’t bunched up together. Wahoo Element Roam has about 14-20 letters across in the display (font width isn’t fixed), so knowing how long is the app name/title lets me align it better by adding spaces in front of the app name/title dynamically. It’s a quick fix, feel free to experiment more if your data is all over the screen.
If GCN ever comes across this post, I’d like to think they would think of this as a hack, not a bodge, but the truth is, it’s a clever workaround until Wahoo pulls the umbrella out of their development bum and implements notifications properly. Wahoo Element Roam is a £300 device, and having such a poorly implemented notification system is a crime. Thankfully you have me to hold your back, and Tasker to save the day. The same project can be used for other wearables that have limited support for notifications. Expect the full Wahoo Element Roam review soon. Questions? Leave it in this Reddit thread.
Download project files here. Bear in mind that Patreon supporters have early access to project files and videos.