In the cycling industry, trends come and go with regularity. Riding off the beaten path, be it on a mountain bike, gravel bike, or somewhere in between, has changed how we ride, and how we use our cycling computers. The new Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM
is a perfect example of this change. It features off-road mapping and navigation with Singletracks, MTB Project, and Trailforks, and tons of other features that make this a great companion for those seeking a bit more dirt than asphalt.
First, a bit of background. Years ago, the Garmin 510 was the go-to computer for cyclists looking to keep track of heart rate, power, and myriad other functions. And while it was a powerful training device, it was anything but easy to use. Wahoo saw a way to improve this, and they did it with the ELEMNT and ELEMNT Bolt computers.
We’ve come to enjoy the Wahoo ELEMNT ecosystem quite a bit since it's release two years ago. Wahoo transferred most of it's deeper settings and configurability to a smartphone app, allowing their computers to have a simple, easy-to-use interface. It also offered a native turn-by-turn navigation option, Strava Live Segments integration, and true Wahoo smart trainer integration, among other things. Since then, Garmin’s new options, as well as options from myriad competitors, have upped the ante with automatic rerouting, on-device navigation, and other features. Wahoo needed a response, and they’ve come out with the new ELEMNT ROAM.
As mentioned above, the ROAM receives integration with Trailforks, MTB Project, and Singletracks, as well as the current integration with Strava, RideWithGPS, and the like. Additionally, ROAM receives an upgrade to a full routable mapping, complete with street and trail names. It can navigate completely without help from a smartphone, showing street addresses as opposed to simple GPS coordinates of the Bolt and ELEMNT. Integration functions similarly to how Strava and RideWithGPS work; add a ride or route to your favorites or pinned section and it automatically uploads to your rides section in the Wahoo companion app. Wahoo claims Strava turn-by-turn will arrive in an update this summer, though RideWithGPS already offers that functionality.
There are a wealth of new on-device navigation features. Perhaps the most-used option is Take Me To, which brings up a list of pre-selected locations from the companion app, and puts together a route from wherever you are currently. Route to Start routes you to your starting point in the shortest route possible. Get Me Started guides users to the starting point of your route. Retrace Your Route brings you back to your starting point based by bringing you along the same route you used to get there.
Its good to have improved navigation, though none of it matters if the screen is illegible. Turn-by-turn navigation uses easier-to-follow color-coded graphical prompts (instead of the usual black line) and faster reroutes if you take a detour or miss a turn. Most mapping and graphical details are in an easy-to-read black and white, with key highlights rendered in color. This should make navigation much easier to understand, particularly if you're riding through a crowded network of trails or forest roads.
You’ll also find that Wahoo continues to forego a touchscreen interface, sticking to the tried-and-true six-button layout found throughout the ELEMNT line. There’s one button on the left side, two on the right, and three on the lower edge of the front face (which, thankfully, are still easy to access when the computer is positioned on a close-fitting out-front mount). The face also features colored LED lights that can be programmed for use in a variety of ways, including navigation, heart rate, and Strava Live Segment notifications.
After a bit of a delay in the release of the ELEMNT Roam, we finally have this highly-anticipated computer in the shop and are excited to get our hands on it. While we haven’t gotten long-term use out of the new Garmin 530 and 830, we thought that Wahoo’s original ELEMNT computers were the jolt to the system that cycling computers needed. Regular updates, reliable functionality, and an easy-to-use interface (using both an app or hardware) make the ELEMNT range an just as easy a recommendation at the shop now as it was when the first ELEMNT was released.
Is this worth the upgrade over your current Wahoo computer? Depends. It has the same display size as the soon-to-be-replaced ELEMNT but strategically adds color for data graphing and mapping that makes data easier to read at a glance. The additional mapping functions are fantastic and make the device a truly viable option for mountain bike and gravel riders who care more about trail guidance than tracking data. Like other Wahoo computers, we fully expect additional updates down the line that add features, streamline performance, and ensure the computer stays fresh for years to come.
We have the Wahoo ELEMNT Roam
computer in stock! Contact us by phone during business hours, or send an email any time to email@example.com