The Wahoo Elemnt Roam is the flagship device from the company that started out making some of the world's best bike trainers (opens in new tab) and it sure shows how far Wahoo has come. A competitor to the otherwise apparently-unbeatable Garmin, the Wahoo Elemnt Roam adds a color screen and app support to take it to the big boys in our best bike computers (opens in new tab) guide.
Wahoo Elemnt Roam: What you need to know
The Wahoo Elemnt Roam is the most expensive bike computer from the company placing it up against the likes of Garmin's Edge 520 Plus. As such it also crams in similar specs including mapping navigation and a compact yet rugged build.
Reliability is what you can expect from Wahoo, as we've seen from its contribution to the world's best exercise bikes (opens in new tab) in the form of the Wahoo Kickr Bike. This is crucial when out on a ride, something Garmin users may now take for granted. But if you want painless pairing and glitch free software then the Elemnt range is the way to go.
The big step up here, over the other models is that color display with Gorilla Glass toughness to protect it. But the compact form and lightweight build will also be a big appeal to many riders that count every ounce.
Global maps preloaded is another nice feature for those traveling riders. But that's just the start of the features on offer here. Let's drill down into the detail to see if the Wahoo Elemnt Roam is for you.
Wahoo Elemnt Roam: Design and build
- 17-hour battery
- 3.3oz weight
- 2.7-inch LCD color screen
The Wahoo Elemnt Roam is a compact bike computer at 3.3oz with its 2.7-inch LCD color screen that can display up to 11 data fields. But that compact size doesn't mean it is weak, far from it with that Gorilla Glass screen lens and IPX7 rubberized covering that can withstand weather and a knock or two.
Inside you get lots of smarts including - deep breath - GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU Galileo and QZSS plus ANT+, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. So everything you could want, then.
The screen features an ambient light sensor which is able to dim and brighten the screen so it's always clear, even in sunlight. But also saves you on battery when it's darker out.
This model is button controlled with three face buttons for main functionality, a power and menu button on the side plus two buttons on the other side to vary display data and map zoom.
Rather uniquely Wahoo uses two programmable LED strips along the side and top to give updates at a glance. This is a nice touch to notify you of turns when using navigation but without maps displayed.
Wahoo Elemnt Roam: Features and connectivity
- Turn-by-turn navigation mapping
- Strava Live Segments functionality
- Kickr control
- LED alerts
The Wahoo Elemnt Roam offers an improved mapping service over the Elemnt Bolt. The color screen immediately helps clarity on maps but also the addition of features like Route To Start, Get Me Started, Retrace You Route, Take Me To and Saved Locations are all really powerful and useful features.
Perhaps most important is the re-routing smarts that will show you a way to get back on track when you've deviated from the path by taking a wrong turn. This displays your route with black chevrons on the road and then uses blue chevrons to show the new route taking you back to the correct path.
Strava Live Segments is fully integrated so you can enjoy logging and competing against routes tackled by other riders. Strava integration also allows you to pull in routes making it easy to pick and upload cycle rides to do in your area or a new place you're exploring.
The LED lights around the display are programmable to display what you need. There are a set along the left and a set along the top. Side light colors helps to show speed too with white as average, blue as faster than average and yellow as slower than average. These can also be used for power or heart rate. The top LEDs can be used for alerts for workout paused or resumed, notifications received, turn by turn directions or Strava Live Segments.
The Elemnt Roam is, of course, fully compatible with Wahoo Kickr smart trainers too with lots of modes to pick. This lets you track indoor training rides just as easily as you would when out on the road.
Wahoo Elemnt Roam: Performance
- Reliable performance
- Great smartphone integration
- Superb alerts
The Wahoo Elemnt Roam is super simple to get setup for a ride. Pairing a phone for notifications and adding rides is also a breeze. Get out on the road and the display is crisp and clear, no matter the light or weather. When notifications pop up they're clear but without being annoying based on what you're doing. Color on the map was used well, only to show key features like busier roads or routing, allowing the key information to pop out.
The elevation measurements are clear and displayed well enough so that you can gauge how far a climb is and how long it's going to go on for. It's not quite at the ClimbPro level of a Garmin Edge, but it just works in a more minimal kind of way.
The battery unit is good for 17 hours of use tops, but start adding on ANT+ power meters, a connected phone and max that screen brightness and you'll see that reduce.
The maps are useful but if you're jumping between data displays and map screens you may notice a slight delay. That lag is annoying, for sure, especially if you want to get to your map for an imminent turn. However it's something a firmware update will likely fix. In fact by the time this article is live it may already have been fixed.
Rerouting was also a bit hit and miss. While it can sometimes take you back to the route, further along the path, if you're riding near parallel, it can also take you back. Sometimes it's not smart enough and will simply point you back to where you left the route. However, since you can see both the original route, in black, and the re-route, in blue, you can decide if you want to follow of take your own cut back - just expect to put up with some bleeping until you're back on track.
Should I buy the Wahoo Elemnt Roam?
The Wahoo Elemnt Roam is a powerful bike computer, as you'd expect for the price. It's ideal for anyone that likes lots of data at a glance, ease of use and a compact build. But also for anyone that uses a Kickr trainer at home or uses Strava a lot and wants easy integration to a head unit.
Mapping and navigation are improved but they're still not as capable as Garmin.
Wahoo Elemnt Roam: Verdict
The Wahoo Elemnt Roam is the flagship cycle computer from the company and the feature list reflects this. You'll be hard pressed to find it lacking in a feature you need. But since it does the basics very well, with reliability and clarity, it's a really decent unit for most riders.
Some navigation issues do make that price seem steep but they're likely fixable with an update. The competition at this price range is great now but if you want a nice blend of old school simplicity that just works with some of the newer high-end features, this is the bike computer for you.
Looking for more fitness content? Then take a look at our guide to the best fitness trackers (opens in new tab)to track how hard you're working when riding.