The New Wahoo Elemnt Roam GPS Bike Computer – Triathlete

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Basics

After Wahoo updated the Bolt, it was only natural that they would release an improved version of their Elemnt Roam. At first glance, the upgrades appear to be aimed at capitalizing on the adventure/gravel craze that continues to gain momentum. However, this device has many features for the enjoyment of triathletes. The unit catches up to its contemporaries with USB-C charging, support for multiple third-party apps, and on-board data display from Supersapiens.


Advantages

Improved color display

Increased storage capacity

Improved dual-band GPS

Tri-friendly features like custom alerts, improved unit interface, and preloaded workout plans

The inconvenients

Additional subscriptions, such as the Wahoo and Strava ecosystem, required for maximum utility of the unit


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It would be fair to assume that I was skeptical of the capabilities of the 2.0 version of Elemnt Roam, given my experience testing the 2.0 version of Bolt.

However, my worries were allayed on my first ride with the updated Roam. This Roam, like other Wahoo computers, is easily configured through Wahoo’s Elemnt app and provides customizable fields across multiple screens. The display is adjustable to suit user preference, easily accommodating those with eagle vision or those who prefer a larger font. Wahoo continues to use an ambient light sensor display, 2 rows of LEDs, customizable alerts, and various mounting options. In other words, they haven’t sacrificed any of the fan-favorite features that sometimes get killed off when companies release an updated version.

Wahoo Element Roam Review: The Good

Let’s eliminate that first. The computer feels like it was made for those who go on adventures or tackle gravel racing – And that’s not a bad thing. Instead of getting back on my soapbox and touting the benefits of gravel riding as off-season training and mental balance, and how more and more professional triathletes are taking part in events like Unbound or the Belgian Waffle Ride series (BWR ) – I will highlight the features that make it an excellent choice for triathletes. But if you’ve already followed my advice, or choose to do so now, this computer would also be a great choice for off-road riding.

Buttons

It’s just a tactile experience, right? Updated Roam buttons changed from indented to raised and textured. This update makes it easier to use when wearing gloves on cold weather rides. As a bonus, these buttons are much easier to use with wet bare hands – consider stepping out of the T1.

Battery life

Battery life is an impressive 17 hours. No matter where you ride, you’ll probably have enough juice for the day. As a running triathlete, the battery capacity is more than enough for an Ironman distance.

Personalization

The Element Roam can be configured with custom alerts, like notifications to keep you on track with your fueling and hydration strategies.

Like the updated Bolt, there are color displays in the heart rate and power zone fields. Using the Wahoo Elemnt app, your power zones and heart rate zones will be calculated automatically and the display color in these data fields will change depending on which zone you are in. I love this feature because it allows me to train/run based on zones just by glancing at the screen to make sure I’m hitting the targets I want. Speaking of training within your limits: the updated Roam also displays Supersapiens for those monitoring blood sugar.

64 color display

Okay, so it won’t make you any faster, but the improved color display makes using the navigation functions much easier to see.

Dual Band GPS

Not a flashy upgrade, but an important feature to ensure consistent connectivity and route accuracy. Unlike my experience testing the Bolt, I was impressed with the rerouting when I intentionally left my preloaded route. While installing I thought this was a bit of a novelty, watching my Roam update Maine maps (this is where I am currently testing the unit). After all, what could this little unit know that I don’t? I then followed a particular redirect because I was sure it was cause for criticism. After finishing my crow meal, the Roam route is now one of my favorite (and previously unknown) routes.

Storage

The increase to 32GB of storage provides plenty of space to store multiple routes and area maps. If you’re looking to vary your workouts but are worried about getting lost, put your worries aside.

Pre-planned training

Will this feature make you faster? Yes – if you follow it. Will this feature add more fun? No – if you follow it. You can follow structured workouts that are pre-planned or already stored on your device. It’s a great workout feature if you like to follow something structured.

Security

This should come in as an “awesome” or “must have” feature on all bike computers. The Wahoo pairs with an ANT+ backup radar and warns you of oncoming cars via the device’s LEDs or, my personal choice, with a display on the dash. There is a vertical color line on the left side, green is light, and red is the approaching car. The coolest part is that you see a car coming up on the screen as the vehicle approaches. Unfortunately, as of now in the US, the Garmin Varia has locked out the rearview radar market and is priced accordingly.

Wahoo Element Roam Review: Ok

The integration

This isn’t a swipe against Wahoo specifically – more about the industry standard attempt to generate revenue. To fully appreciate all the features and optimize the use of the device, it is preferable to use the entire Wahoo ecosystem: Wahoo X for a training subscription, Wahoo Rival Multisport watch for a transfer on the device (which is cool during a run), all Wahoo Kickr Devices, Tickr Heart Rate Monitor, Wahoo Pedals and Nutrition. (Okay, the last one doesn’t exist – at least not yet.) They’ve done it all. For everything to work seamlessly with Roam, you need to become a Wahoo convert. But in their defense: have you ever weighed yourself with the Garmin smart scale?

Vertex segments

This feature is best described as “How much pain is left?” Summit Segment functionality requires the use of pre-loaded segments through third-party apps, such as Strava, for the full experience. As you ride, your screen shows vertical gradients in color-coded sections (how steep it will get) and the remaining distance to the top – but only if you’re on a Strava section and a subscribed member with your account linked to the Element app. It’s a great feature that can motivate you to the top or help you keep up your pace on a long event. It also keeps Wahoo up to date with similar functionality already found in Garmin and Hammerhead.

The downside encountered with using Summit can be found when going off the preloaded route. Although your directions are redirected, the early escalation does not make the redirect patch. Also, at this time, Wahoo can only display climbing segment information on preloaded routes, not off-route or free climbing, which the new Hammerhead does. However, Wahoo is continually updating its software, so I anticipate this feature being a launch pad for more to come.

Wahoo Element Roam Review: Conclusions

The Elemnt Roam upgrades bring much-needed functionality to a device that was overtaken by competitors such as Garmin and Hammerhead’s new Karoo. Considered a standalone bike computer, the Roam is great, but not exceptional. However, as part of the Wahoo ecosystem, the new Elemnt Roam is a great addition to a complete training and racing system. I’d say that if you’re buying a new computer and aren’t limited by size/weight restrictions (such as aerobar constraints, when the Bolt would be your best option), the Roam deserves some serious consideration.

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