The Elemnt Roam is the largest and most expensive cycle computer in the Wahoo range with a particular focus on mapping and navigation. The form factor is extremely familiar but the screen has gained more colours and contrast, there's more internal storage and Wahoo promises more positional accuracy. We've had a chance to have a pre-launch play with the updated second-generation computer, so here are our initial thoughts...
You'd be forgiven for mistaking the new device for the outgoing Elemnt Roam cycle computer thanks to almost identical dimensions. The new device is in fact ever so slightly thicker but despite this, it is still compatible with the old mount.
The display is also dimensionally the same at 2.7" with two rows of LED lights which can be programmed to show speed, power or heart rate, as well as notifications and turn signals just like on the old device.
This is the first Wahoo computer to make use of this technology. Wahoo says that dual-band GPS will "deliver an enhanced and more accurate navigation experience, especially when riding in areas where GPS reception can be limited - such as forests or urban areas."
The new Garmin 1040 Solar also boasts this technology but that has a price tag of £629.99.
I've been using the first generation Roam for about two years now and while I rarely found the location accuracy an issue (especially when road riding) there is a noticeable improvement with the new device. In the road.cc caverns the Roam V2 was quicker to locate me on startup, and when used side-by-side for navigation the new Roam was quicker to point out when I was off course on tight trail networks.
Wahoo has increased the internal storage capacity for the new device from a measly 4GB to a much more usable 32GB; this is also more than the latest Wahoo Elemnt Bolt Colour which gets 16gb of storage.
The new capacity means that the new Roam gets the most detailed maps in the Wahoo range as you can see in the video, and I found this particularly noticeable with bike paths. The additional storage also means that a greater number of 'regions' can be saved on the device, whereas I often found myself swapping out maps of certain areas using the Elemnt app when in new locations.
Of course, the storage can be used for more than just maps such as routes and workouts too.
The new Roam joins the latest Elemnt Bolt with a 64-colour screen, and also has higher contrast and appears to be more detailed than the older Roam device.
Wahoo says that too much colour can distract from important information, but thinks that its approach "allows users to easily navigate through their workout screens, while also experiencing more detailed mapping data and easier to read colour-coded charts, graphs and data fields."
I'm a big fan of the additional colour, and I've found during use that it's easier to see heart rate and power zones at a glance because these now appear in coloured boxes. It does sort of mean that the coloured LEDs now have limited use, though. The new climbing feature also makes use of the colours.
We've already mentioned that the form factor is almost identical to the outgoing Roam (89mm x 54.4mm) but many of us were hoping for a larger screen. We quizzed Wahoo on why this wasn't possible...
Megan Powers, Wahoo's cycling product manager, told us that it was necessary to keep the 'head' at the top of the device as this is where the GPS antennas are housed. Meanwhile, the bezels at the side are necessary to house the row of LEDs on the left, and Wahoo wanted to keep the device symmetrical hence why the screen doesn't extend further on the right.
A welcome change is the introduction of USB-C charging. Wahoo said that this could result in a minor improvement in charging speeds. Despite the increased screen colours and contrast, Wahoo says it has been able to maintain the impressive 17-hour battery life of the previous generation. I'll be testing this in my full review of the Roam, but initial impressions are positive.
As well as hardware updates, a series of software updates are also being rolled out both at release and in the coming weeks. Wahoo said that while some of the features will be exclusive to "newer devices" thanks to the increased colours and memory capacity, it endeavours to bring updates and new features to as many of its devices as possible to prevent them from becoming outdated.
One of these features that will be available from release (4th October 2022) is a restore from backup function. This will enable users to back up a previous Wahoo device and then restore their new device with saved training pages. This has the potential to save time and hassle when setting up a new device, and we'll be trying it out asap.
Wahoo has recently rolled out plenty of updates to its Summit Segments Climb feature, and shows no signs of slowing down. The brand says on the new Roam it is "even easier than ever, for cyclists to check on the progress of a climb."
Wahoo continues: "This already popular feature now automatically detects climbs in a preloaded route, shows any already completed climbs, and users can view more in-depth information about the current or upcoming climbs in their ride."
A feature expected within the first few weeks of launch is route sharing. This uses the Element app and Bluetooth to broadcast a route to nearby devices.
The new Elemnt device also claims to be more connected to Wahoo’s ecosystem of indoor and outdoor training solutions than ever before. Riders can now sync their workouts on the Roam with their Wahoo X subscription, allowing them access to outdoor structured workouts and a complete indoor and outdoor workout history in the Wahoo SYSTM app.
As with the old device, the Roam can also be used to control all Kickr Smart Trainers and the Kickr Bike, and it pairs with all Wahoo’s other connected devices.
In the coming weeks, Wahoo will reveal more information on the Roam's compatibility with Supersapiens glucose monitoring. This will provide a snapshot of your blood glucose levels, with the aim of helping you optimise your on-the-bike fuelling strategy without the need for a phone.
The Supersapiens system works via a biosensor, which is a small patch that sticks to the back of your upper arm. It has a thin, flexible filament that inserts just under the skin to access your interstitial fluid. This fluid surrounds the cells of the tissues just below your skin and by analysing it, the device can measure your glucose levels in real-time.
We've already seen professional riders using this system, and we reckon it could even be the next big thing for amateur endurance athletes to monitor. We've got one on its way so look out for more information in the full review of the Roam coming soon.
The new Wahoo Elemnt Roam has an RRP of £349.99 and is available now.
You'll be able to read our full review of the new Elemnt Roam in a few weeks' time, let us know what you think of the update in the comments section below...
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...