Wahoo offers two rugged cycling computers: the $300 Elemnt Bolt, a sleek, compact, air-powered bike designed for racing; and the larger Elemnt Roam, about the size of a pack of Marlboros, designed to find a way. The Roam was on the market for three years when it was updated in October 2022. I have been trying this new version.
The latest iteration of the Roam, which looks exactly like its big brother, offers dual GPS. More detailed: dual frequency allows the GPS unit to operate on two frequency bands instead of one. One-of-a-kind GPS devices provide accuracy within 15 feet. Dual frequency GPS devices provide accuracy within centimeters.
Where can this change? Say you’re biking on a poorly maintained singletrack through an Aspen forest in the Rockies. With a single-mode GPS, things like tall trees can block or interfere with the signal, which can create route errors, which can lead you astray. This may not be a problem in urban areas where you can stop at the nearest coffee shop to ask for directions. But in the desert, going 15 meters away can mean a big mistake.
With dual signals enabled, turn-by-turn links to all maps of any type of file – imported or uploaded via apps like Strava, Komoot, or Ride with GPS – are accurate. If you take a wrong turn, there is a switch that will get you back on track. If you’re really lost, the “breadcrumb” feature guides you back to where you started even if the device is offline.
Also new: “The Summit,” colored gradients in the data column and a climbing chart when you climb a third-party route or Strava section. It’s no wonder the Forest Service mountain road looks so merciless and endless: Now you can see it had a 13 percent grade.
I loved the Roam’s easy-to-read screen, which uses a light sensor to adjust the LED brightness. Instead of a screen, there are three buttons on the bottom that allow you to navigate between custom displays such as the main map, nearby Strava sections to track, and the home dashboard. That dashboard includes miles per hour, mileage, clock, ride time, heart rate (when paired with a heart rate monitor), minute change (when paired with a power meter), and average miles per hour. By pushing a button on the bottom right, you can look in or out on the dashboard, a great feature for aging eyes.
Battery life is 17 hours on the newly updated Roam, the same as the previous model. This power level is less than the Garmin 1040 Solar, but Wahoo is still the standard choice for any activity under that time frame. With a large memory of 32 GB, there is more space to save your favorite routes, detailed maps of new locations, five workouts created from Wahoo, and planned workouts from partner programs such as TrainerRoad, Training Peaks, and Modern Plans.
One of my testers found the integrated connector to be too high, with the Roam encased in a plastic frame as large as the device itself. The computer won’t break or dislodge from its mounting position, but the long plastic bracket does tend to jump in the middle of damage.