First Look: Wahoo ELEMNT Roam Cycling Computer

Words by David Hicks

on 01/05/2019 13:01:51

Wahoo Element Roam Hero

In the three years since they entered the cycling GPS arena, Wahoo have become a popular choice for cyclists across the UK with their slickly designed and simple to use computers - since their launch, over 12 million rides and 400 million kilometres of riding have been logged on Wahoo computers around the world. But not content with that, Wahoo are constantly on the hunt for problems that can address, things they can improve, and pursuing those improvements. After all, according to Wahoo's founder Chip Hawkins, �using a bike computer shouldn't be the hardest part of the ride�.

While Wahoo's user-friendly approach has been well received, navigation hasn't always been their strongest suit compared to some competitors. That changes now with the brand new ELEMNT Roam - built for the ride and designed to help you explore further.

We caught up with Wahoo's Director of Product Management, Jose Mendez, to find out more and take the new Roam for a test ride round the roads of Yorkshire.

Built for the ride

�The Roam is really the evolution of the ELEMNT�, says Jose, �in developing the ELEMNT we really keyed in on the user experience and ease of set up and we learnt a ton. Over time we developed the Bolt which took everything we'd learnt and put it into a performance package. And again, we've continued to learn and continued to listen to our customers and that has bought us to where we are today with the ELEMNT Roam.�

The big brother of the Bolt, the Roam is designed for a new need, not a new breed - it takes all of the features that people love about Wahoo computers and wraps them up in a more capable and complete package.

See the Wahoo ELEMNT Roam >

The experience of riding is still the most important development factor for Wahoo, and the new unit embraces an appetite for adventurous riding across all sorts of terrain by delivering you the tools you need to explore, but in a simple, easy, way. You can still see your watts and heart rate if you want - but the Roam will also give you smart navigation, on the fly re-routing and mammoth battery life. �It's all about adventure, exploring further, going off road and losing yourself without getting lost,� explains Jose - �it all combines into this idea of making exploring more achievable.�

Simple to explore

The headline feature for the new ELEMNT Roam is vastly improved navigation and mapping, an area where other Wahoo units had lagged behind the competition. �One of the key features that the consumer will really appreciate,� says Jose, �is that we've made the mapping experience more robust so now you can do a lot of the onboard routing that we weren't able to do before - so you can get re-routed if you go off course, or you can navigate to the start of a course. You can also re-route to the start so if your legs give in or you run out of time, you can tell Roam to take you back to the start and it'll find a route for you.�


Wahoo have boosted the routing capability of the Roam by building map packs into the unit. Previously, you could take a route from Strava or RidewithGPS, for instance, and lay it over a base map via the app - but now the Roam's smart navigation and built in maps means you have a lot more options to create routes on the fly. Included in that package are options to route to the start of a ride, re-route when you go off course, retrace your route, take you to a destination, and route to any of your saved locations - all within a few clicks on the unit itself. The Roam uses Open Maps which includes off-road trails and bridleways already, but Wahoo have also teamed up with Singletracks and MTB Project to add more detailed off-road routes. The Roam also adds the ability to pan the map around on the navigation page of the unit, something which was missing from the ELEMNT.

See the Wahoo ELEMNT Roam >

Simple to see

All that extra routing ability is boosted by the introduction of Wahoo's first colour screen unit - something which Wahoo have been tirelessly searching for to find quality that they wanted to do justice to their computers. The new screen delivers colour in a subtle way, only where it is needed to delineate important map features or to highlight key data for instance, to create an easily visible field of view which isn't overwhelming. The Roam also gains a light sensor so the brightness of the backlight will vary depending on the conditions to make it more easily visible in all conditions. The same goes for the LED displays across the side and top of the unit which carry over from other Wahoo units - their brightness will vary with the environmental light conditions to make sure they're always visible without being too intense. The Roam keeps the 2.7inch screen size from the ELEMNT but with a new construction which mounts the LCD display flush with a Gorilla Glass upper to bring the display closer to the surface of the unit to make it for visible.


Simple to use

So that covers what's new...but what about all of the things we've come to love from Wahoo computers? Powered in a familiar way, the Roam keeps the user friendly set up via the companion Wahoo app and the smart Perfect View Zoom function, and it takes clear design cues from the sleek Bolt, using a similar integrated mount to make sure it looks at home on the bike. Plus, you can still screw the unit to the mount to keep it extra safe at the caf� (or, if you're a professional, work around the UCI weight limit).

That new screen measures up at 2.7in and the unit itself is similar in size to the ELEMNT it replaces, albeit with the more visible design and colour screen. The unit weighs in at 93.5 grams and connects via Bluetooth, ANT+ and Wifi. There's still a slew of integrations for the unit as before, and the Roam will link up to your phone with push messages as well as Wahoo's ow turbo trainers. Plus, Wahoo quote a huge 17 hour battery life.

First ride review

First ride impressions of the new Elemnt Roam - it's sleek, stylish and has all of the features you could want from a cycle computer... and more.

Putting the unit to the test out in the lanes of Yorkshire, dodging potholes and keeping your eyes on the road sometimes takes priority over staring down to admire the new gorilla glass screen of the Elemnt Roam. As such, it was easy to miss a turn or overshoot a junction but this was no problem as the Roam quickly provided us with a new route to take to get back on track. Handy for saving yourself the embarrassment of shouting �everyone... we've missed the turning!!!!� - whether you'll admit it or not, we've all been there on a club ride once or twice!

The challenge with many computers today is following your route on the navigation page, while simultaneously trying to monitor your power, speed and heart rate data on another. One feature that really stood out for me was the Roam's ability to indicate when to turn, making use of the LED lights across the top and along the side of the unit. Using a sweeping motion towards the front, left or right, it's hard to miss which way to turn when you are on any of your data pages.

I'd move across to using the Roam tomorrow. In my opinion the bigger screen, quality navigation and super easy to use interface makes this computer one of, if not the best cycle computer you can get your hands on right now.

Review by Mike Greenshields, road cyclist and Graphic Designer at Rutland Cycling.

Wahoo ELEMNT Roam GPS Cycling Computer

Wahoo ELEMNT Roam

  • On-board mapping and smart navigation
  • 2.7in colour screen
  • 17 hour battery life
  • Bluetooth, ANT+ and Wifi connectivity
Shop now > Shop all Wahoo >

Find your nearest Rutland Cycling store

See the new full Wahoo range, including the ELEMNT Roam, at your nearest store.