Opinions on Wahoo Elemnt Roam

HelenD123

Guru
Location
York
I'm finally pulling myself into the 21st century navigation-wise. I've always relied on paper maps and because I like to use Sustrans routes this, combined with the Sustrans signage, has mostly been fine. However, I'm sure many of us have experience missing Sustrans signs and I don't always want to stick to their routes. There are so many roads in the UK it's tedious stopping to check the map at every junction. So I've been experimenting with GPS navigation on my phone (cycle.travel and Komoot) to see how I get on. I love it! Well, except when I forget to turn on the socket and my phone isn't actually charging at the hostel... My phone got wet on Saturday so I'm thinking it's time to take the plunge and get a proper GPS device. I've watched this video and have come to the conclusion that the Wahoo Elemnt Roam best suits my needs (much better battery life, matt screen, easier re-routing). I know they've recently updated it. Does anyone have any comments, good or bad? I'll be using it for day rides and also for touring. I need to be able to plan routes on my phone while touring as I won't have a computer with me.
 

BianchiVirgin

Über Member
Location
Norn Iron
I run an Elemnt. Brilliant. I know loads of people that have changed from Garmin to Wahoo but none who've gone the other way. The new colour screen version looks even better. Go for it.
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
I'm with you on NCN signage and maps, usually the signs are good, then occasionally they and the maps are both woeful for miles and I've been well lost on a couple of occasions. Which is poor for a national route.
I've not got the Roam, (mine is the Bolt) but same principle largely and yes it's saved me that headache. Turn by turn, no mistakes, no stress.
 

Ridgeway

Über Member
All my vacation rides are done on a Bolt, not nearly as nice for GPS vs the Roam but I’ve recently switched to the Bolt 2 with colour screen and some other new features. A Roam will always be better for GPS with its bigger screen but my comments are about using your phone for planning and then syncing over to your Wahoo as this for me has been super solid and reliable. I typically plan 1-2 routes for the next day on our camping trips and then decide the next day which one to use (available time and weather depending) and as we’re away most weekends through the summer then I reply on phone route planning and a reliable synch process and it works well !!!

if I wasn’t such a weight weenie then I’d have gone for a Roam either though will be solid and reliable.

Ps the new Bolt has USB C for faster charging, useful for me usually charging from solar to 12v
 

newts

Über Member
Location
Exeter
I have the Bolt & been very pleased with it, i'm sure the Roam is even better. Planning an alternative route on your phone with Komoot & sending it to the bolt whilst your out & about is a breeze.
 
Roam user of about a year (upgraded from Elemnt) and used daily on tour for three months.

I'd say to anyone to think long and hard about how they want to use it before choosing the model or brand. They are not all the same.

I have the rerouting capability switched off on my Roam. I like to go off course and it annoys me. It will still offer to navigate me to the start of a route, though. Handy.

I fail to see any significant advantage in a colour screen. It's nice, not necessary. For me. Mind you, the Roam has a bigger screen than the Bolt.

I do not use turn by turn (since I like to wander the last ignored instruction stays on screen).

I tested the unit's own navigation in a big city and was quite impressed.
However, other than rerouting, taking me to the start of route or navigating to a "saved location" (all prepared in advance) actual route creation on the unit is difficult. You can use a "target" to identify a place on the screen (beyond frustrating) or you can use the app (beyond terrible).

Far better to use a dedicated planner.

The "saved locations" is a great thing. I use mine to mark "home" wherever that may be allowing me to wander where I will, select it and the unit creates a route home.
I use it to mark off possible stealth camping spots/accommodation or any other thing I may want to return to.
Visiting a city and travelling on foot or car? Save the places you want to return to on the bike.
This can be done on the unit or app, but the app needs the unit on. Dumb. I just use the unit.

I like the ability to personalise the screens. I use about 5 but the main one is just the map with temperature and speed. The other pages have everything else I might need to check but not under my nose every time I look down.

Battery life is great. I'll typically get three touring days out of one charge.

I have seen increasing complaints about customer service and I know some updates are just fixing the last updates.
I can't complain.
When my Elemnt battery started to fail I was offered a Bolt or Roam at a reasonably reduced price. I would have taken a Bolt but Covid meant they were out of stock.
Last week the connection thingy on the back of the unit broke off. 36 hours later l had a solution I was happy with ( I'm travelling and normal service won't work). I can't fault them. Unlike Thetmarest/Cascade Designs.:boxing:

I'll be using it for day rides and also for touring. I need to be able to plan routes on my phone while touring as I won't have a computer with me.
I've been planning routes on my phone for a while now.
I'm sure that some on here are sick of me mentioning this but Osmand is a fantastic app for the bike tourer. Ironically, not because of its wonderful routes (they're not!) but because it works offline, can create a gpx file that can be used on the unit.
It plays well with a lot of other apps and things like campgrounds can easily be saved.
It's elevation profiles are useful too and all offline.

I wouldn't trust Komoot to direct me to the bathroom. It has let me down in out of the way places and tried to kill me in cities. It is not the easiest to use on a phone either. The PC interface is far superior.

Cycle.travel all the way for me.

Just remember that the one time you might need to plan a route most (pouring rain) is the most difficult on a phone!

One of the greatest uses of my wahoo unit has been the recording of daily rides.
I upload it to Strava, throw in whatever photos I want from the day and have a permanent momento for me or to share.

I have never used my units for anything other than navigation and recording so I can't comment on external sensors and the like.
I can think of maybe two times that the Roam hasn't functioned properly on the road and I lost the data. It pretty much just works.
 
OP
HelenD123

HelenD123

Guru
Location
York
@HobbesOnTour Thanks so much for the detailed response. It's the turn by turn navigation whilst on the road that is the most important thing for me. I'll have a look as Osmand. I've only used Komoot for displaying a route I'd mapped in Cycle.travel as that doesn't have an app. I'm not at all interested in attaching sensors etc to the GPS. I'm vaguely interested in my average speed for the day and distance travelled, nothing else really.
 
@HobbesOnTour Thanks so much for the detailed response. It's the turn by turn navigation whilst on the road that is the most important thing for me. I'll have a look as Osmand. I've only used Komoot for displaying a route I'd mapped in Cycle.travel as that doesn't have an app. I'm not at all interested in attaching sensors etc to the GPS. I'm vaguely interested in my average speed for the day and distance travelled, nothing else really.
You're welcome!
Just to let you know.....
There appears to be an issue at the moment with turn by turn on Wahoo. There's a discussion with workaround on the Cycle.Travel forums here:
https://cycle.travel/forum/thread/3542

There is a cycle.travel app on the way - for Apple first.

I'm using Osmand daily and think it's fantastic. However, there is a steep learning curve to it. I think it more than repays the effort.
You can use it in the same way you currently use Komoot (load a cycle.travel route).

One reason I went down the gps route was to make navigating by the Dutch knooppunten easier - similar to your attitude to missing signposts.
Even with my Elemnt (no rerouting) and its basic maps it really boosted my confidence for heading off piste.
I'd typically make several versions of the same route, wander off course as the feeling took me then when I needed to get to my destination look to see which of my routes was the closest^_^

In urban areas it is a godsend. I may not stick to the planned route but I can easily navigate and get to where I need to be.

If you know someone with one, I'd suggest asking for a demo to make sure it works the way you expect.

Good luck!
 

rivers

How far can I go?
Location
Bristol
Bolt user here. I use a wide variety of apps for planning purposes (Komoot, Ride with GPS, cycle.travel being the main 3). I just did a quick bikepacking trip through the west country, and had to do some last minute re-routing due to weather (I was planning on mainly gravel for my last day of the trip, but switched it to road because it was going to hammer it down). I used Komoot to re-plan the route before leaving my campsite, and downloaded it to my phone and opened it with app to transfer to the Bolt. It is so quick and easy to do. Battery life is fantastic. I've had my wahoo at least 3 years and I can still get 12+ hours of riding out of it (including navigation), but also easy to charge on the fly if needed with an external battery pack. Navigation and turn by turn directions are great- I have mine set to beep to alert me to an upcoming change in direction so I don't need to be constantly looking at the map.
 
OP
HelenD123

HelenD123

Guru
Location
York
Bolt user here. I use a wide variety of apps for planning purposes (Komoot, Ride with GPS, cycle.travel being the main 3). I just did a quick bikepacking trip through the west country, and had to do some last minute re-routing due to weather (I was planning on mainly gravel for my last day of the trip, but switched it to road because it was going to hammer it down). I used Komoot to re-plan the route before leaving my campsite, and downloaded it to my phone and opened it with app to transfer to the Bolt. It is so quick and easy to do. Battery life is fantastic. I've had my wahoo at least 3 years and I can still get 12+ hours of riding out of it (including navigation), but also easy to charge on the fly if needed with an external battery pack. Navigation and turn by turn directions are great- I have mine set to beep to alert me to an upcoming change in direction so I don't need to be constantly looking at the map.
That all sounds great for what I need. Thanks.
 

Alex321

Well-Known Member
Location
South Wales
I'm finally pulling myself into the 21st century navigation-wise. I've always relied on paper maps and because I like to use Sustrans routes this, combined with the Sustrans signage, has mostly been fine. However, I'm sure many of us have experience missing Sustrans signs and I don't always want to stick to their routes. There are so many roads in the UK it's tedious stopping to check the map at every junction. So I've been experimenting with GPS navigation on my phone (cycle.travel and Komoot) to see how I get on. I love it! Well, except when I forget to turn on the socket and my phone isn't actually charging at the hostel... My phone got wet on Saturday so I'm thinking it's time to take the plunge and get a proper GPS device. I've watched this video and have come to the conclusion that the Wahoo Elemnt Roam best suits my needs (much better battery life, matt screen, easier re-routing). I know they've recently updated it. Does anyone have any comments, good or bad? I'll be using it for day rides and also for touring. I need to be able to plan routes on my phone while touring as I won't have a computer with me.
Like you, I had been using my phone (in a waterproof transparent holder on the handlebars), but I bought the Elmnt Roam at the same time as my new bike, a few days after you started this thread.

I love it. Far easier to read on the bike, even though I normally use reading glasses for reading or screen work (I normally have it set so the main screen shows 9 items rather than the maximum 11 though). And while it doesn't show much map at once, it is enough for navigation, and is much clearer to see than maps were on any app I found on my phone.

The one minor complaint I have is that the cues are always a little behind - so it is still saying you have 60-80 feet to go when you actually reach the turn point. But once you are aware of that, it is easy enough to handle.

The gradient shown is also a few seconds behind, but I think that is an inherent issue with calculating gradient by changes in barometric pressure combined with GPS distance.
 
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