The ELEMNT ROAM is the new flagship GPS from Wahoo Fitness. The design brief was as ambitious as it was simple.
“to help cyclists ride further, longer, and explore new roads or trails”
What we want to know though is, what’s new, does it work and is it any better than the original ELEMNT that we’ve come to love so much?
Don’t lose your way
Wahoo’s navigation has always been pretty slick. Right up until the point that you went off course that is.
Setting the system up has always been a breeze. Simply ‘push’ a .gpx from your phone to the Wahoo device via the proprietary app and off you go.
If you strayed off the route however, you were in trouble. The ELEMNT and it’s smaller BOLT sibling, cannot not recalculate your route on the fly so you had to resort to a basic workaround. Zoom out the map display until you found the original course, point your front wheel in the general direction and hope for the best.
The new ‘Smart Navigation’ features sort all of this out. Wander off the straight and narrow and ROAM will automatically help get you back on track.
If you are feeling incredibly brave you can create a new route on the fly, or if it all goes horribly wrong, ROAM will help you find the fastest way home.
The Right to ROAM…
A new crystal-clear 2.7” colour display makes navigation easy. And the 17+ hour battery life means your legs will probably give out before the battery does! Additionally, the USB port has been repositioned so unlike the original ELEMNT, you can now run a USB battery booster to the unit with ease.
Wahoo have retained the same customisable interface that existing users have become accustomed to. Perfect View helps you see the map more easily via the zoom in/out button functions and you can customise data fields on the fly.
The new ‘Smart Navigation’ features, include:
- Get Me Started — Takes you back to the start of the route
- Back On Track — Points you in the right direction if you lose the route.
- Take Me To — Select a location using the new ‘pan and zoom’ functionality, and let ROAM work out the route for you.
- Saved Locations — Easily route to locations saved on ROAM
- Route To Start — Find the shortest route back to the start of your ride
- Retrace Route — Reverse your route to navigate back to the start along the original route
Other new features include an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the display and LEDs for optimal viewing.
An integrated out-front mount, similar to that found on the smaller BOLT, gives ROAM a clean, sleek look on the bike.
Fully Wahoo Integrated
Like the rest of the ELEMNT range, ROAM integrates with the entire Wahoo Fitness Ecosystem. This includes KICKR smart trainers, TICKR heart rate monitors, and RPM Speed and Cadence sensors. If you don’t want to go ‘Full Wahoo’, ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart connections allow ROAM to work with non-Wahoo sensors too.
ROAM is available today at WahooFitness.com for £299.99
First Look & Opinion
Back in April, ADVNTR went to the launch of the new ROAM for a look at one of the first 30 units to arrive in Europe. These units were pre-release and running a development version of the software which may differ slightly from retail versions once released.
As a long term user of the original ELEMNT (yes, I bought my own) I was keen to see what ROAM would bring to the rapidly evolving world of GPS cycle computers.
I was really pleased to see that the new system lets you reroute on the fly. The absence of this facility always used to annoy me. Jose Mendez, head of Wahoo product management, confirmed that not only will ROAM get you back on course but Smart Routing will keep you off busy or dangerous roads too.
The unit is the same size as the ELEMNT. It is still a fairly chunky unit at 70mm wide x 95mm long. The new Gorilla Glass screen is now flush to the edges but there is still a bezel around the display rather than a full edge-to-edge LCD.
Considering this is Wahoo’s first colour screen, it’s surprising how restrained they have been. I was expecting the info pages and map to be awash with technicolour and yet, it is all very subtle. Wahoo have kept the familiar black and white display using colour to highlight roads, trails, boundaries and bodies of water. Like other ELEMNT devices, the ROAM mapping is based on OpenStreetMap (OSM) and the unit comes preloaded with the entire world.
Wahoo Test Loop
The Wahoo Team led our small group out onto a 36 mile loop around the Yorkshire Dales. The route was pre-loaded onto the ROAM, all we had to do was load it up and get on our way.
My first impression was just how useful the subtle colour highlights are for differentiating between major roads and smaller lanes.
Riding in a group with the ride leader up the front, shouting directions, is not an ideal test for a new GPS. We simply followed the wheel in front and turned our brains off. Having said that, the routing was clear and alerts are both audible and visible.
A couple of pre-planned diversions to take us off the designated route demonstrated how good the Smart Navigation is. An initial warning is soon replaced by a message that the device is recalculating. In no time at all, the route is updated and you get revised instructions to get you back to the original re-planned route.
A desire to roam
My time with the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM was brief, but on the evidence thus far, this little device should definitely be on the short list for anyone who loves exploring by bike.
The ROAM is a subtle evolution of the ELEMNT. It was only when I went back to my old ELEMNT the next day however, that I realised just how much more advanced the ROAM is.
- ADVNTR will have a new Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM in for long term test soon. So keep your eyes peeled for a full review soon.
Last modified: 1st May 2019