Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM V2 Dual-Band GPS Bike Computer Review – 2022, 2nd Gen model

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Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM V2 GPS Bike Computer Review Rating

Summary

The navigation was excellent, and I was particularily impressed with the responsiveness of the rerouting features when you go off course. The cheaper price, smaller dimensions, multi-band GPS, and Supersapiens support make this a good choice for competitive athlete that needs something small and accurate.

Overall
80%
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  • Overall - 80%
    80%

Pros

  • Cheapest Multi-band/Dual Frequency GPS bike computer
  • 64-colour display makes is a big upgrade for maps compared to V1
  • Easy to use app
  • Excellent navigation and rerouting features

Cons

  • Not the best value for money when compared to the current V1 price
  • No touch screen

Early in October, Wahoo announced a refresh to the ELEMNT ROAM. This is an incremental upgrade with the product retaining its name, but to avoid confusion, I will refer to it as the ELEMNT ROAM V2.

While I have reviewed quite a lot of smartwatches and multi-sport watches, I have not reviewed many bike computers, the last one being Polar V650 back in 2018. Even my personal bike computer is the ageing Edge 520.

Therefore, as much as I love the new ELEMNT ROAM, you should be aware that there is perhaps a slight bias.

Specification / Features

  • New
    • Now with Dual Band GPS
    • 2.7″ 64 Colour Screen
    • 32GB of Memory
    • Integration with SYSTEM
  • Navigation
    • Global Maps
    • Turn by Turn Navigation with On-Demand Route Generation
    • On-Demand Rerouting (Back on Track)
    • Retrace Route
    • Saved Location
    • Navigate to Start of Route
    • Mountain Bike Trails
    • Automatic and Wireless Route and Workout Downloads
    • Bluetooth Sync
  • Safety
    • Ant+ Accessories, including ANT+ Radar
    • Smart Notifications include calls and messaging apps
    • Live Track
    • Specialized ANGi  Integration
    • Works with ANT+ LEV electric bikes
  • Training
    • SYSTM Outdoor Workouts
    • Summit Climbing
    • Customisable Screen
    • On-Device Planned Workouts
    • Custom Alerts
  • Hardware
    • Integrated Out in Front Mount
    • USB-C Charging
    • User Friendly Buttons (not touchscreen)
  • Smart Control of KICKR, KICKR CORE or KICKR SNAP
  • Integrates with:
    • Strava
    • Best Bike Split
    • Komoot
    • Ride With GPS
    • Relive

What's changed vs the original ELEMNT ROAM

The ELEMNT ROAM V2 has not changed a lot since the original model, but it could be quite important to you, depending on your requirements.

  • Added Multi-band/Dual Frequency GPS
  • Added 64-color display (same as BOLT V2, which was previously 16 colours)
  • Increased to 32GB of storage (was previously 4GB)
  • Changed buttons to be raised instead of divots
  • Changed to USB-C charging port
  • Added Wahoo SYSTM Outdoor Workout Sync
  • Added Supersapiens sensor integration
  • You can now backup and restore via Wahoo cloud

In the near future, Wahoo will be adding summit segments which shows upcoming climbs and public route sharing, allowing you to easily set up group rides.

I doubt any of that is worth upgrading from the older ROAM, but for some users, the Multi-band/Dual Frequency GPS, SYSTM integration and Supersapiens integration could be big selling points.

I am currently reviewing SYSTM, and it is good that you can take your workouts outdoors easily.

ELEMNT ROAM V2 vs Garmin Edge 1040 / 840 / 830 / 540 / 530

Wahoo faces an uphill battle when it comes to its goliath competitor Garmin. The original ELEMNT ROAM launched back in 2019, around the same time as the Garmin Edge 830 and 530. Back then, it received favourable reviews but perhaps not as overwhelmingly positive as Wahoo may have liked.

Since then, it looks like they have been proactive about adding new features and improving performance.

The ROAM V2 adds enough features to help it stand out from the Edge 830. In particular, this is now the cheapest multi-band/dual frequency GPS bike computer on the market, something that the Edge 830 and 530 lack.

It is also an easy choice if you are committed to using Wahoo SYSTM for your training.

The Garmin Edge 1040 has dual-band GPS, and it is a superior bike computer overall and perfect for anyone within the Garmin ecosystem. However, the base price is £520, so it is hardly a comparable product. It is also physically larger and heavier, something many cyclists would prefer to keep as low as possible.

Therefore, the ELEMNT ROAM V2 slips in quite nicely when looking at the current Garmin line-up. However, it is reasonable to assume that the Edge 840 and Edge 540 are not far from launching. These will almost certainly implement multi-band GPS, which will eliminate one of the main advantages Wahoo has.

The Edge 830 has an RRP of £350 and is available for £290, while the Edge 530 is £260 (£169 for the current Birthday Savings). I'd expect the new models to launch at a higher price point. I wouldn't be surprised if the 840 is close to £400.

Obviously, I have no idea of the release date, exact price or overall features, so it is hard to speculate exactly how the ROAM V2 will compare to these upcoming devices.

Set Up and App

One thing I dislike about the ROAM V2 is the start-up time, but this seems to vary. Sometimes it takes a few seconds, but on one of my outdoor rides, I must have waited for well over a minute.

Setting up the ROAM V2 is nice and straightforward, and I have found that the device is a refreshing change from my various Garmin devices.

I'd say the ELEMNT app is better than Garmin Connect, and pretty much everything is done on the app. This is generally good, as it is much easier to do than on-device like my Garmin, but at the same time, it would be good if there was the ability to manage things on the device itself. With this, you are always reliant on having your phone with you and getting it out to make changes.

One criticism I would have with Wahoo is that the whole platform feels a bit disjointed in comparison to Garmin.

You have the ELEMNT app, which has no web portal, then the SYSTM app and Wahoo RGT. SYSTM can sync workouts with ELEMNT, and you can view stats for activities both in SYSTM and ELEMNT there doesn’t appear to be much integration beyond that. One good example would be that the FTP set within the 4DP profile on SYSTM is not then reflected on the ELEMNT profile settings.

Perhaps it is just because I am so used to the way Garmin does things, but it would be good to see some performance/health data within the ELEMNT and for the performance from ELEMNT activities to be reflected within the athlete profile on SYSTM.

Wahoo has only recently acquired RGT and created a unified login for all Wahoo accounts. So, it is likely the deeper integration between the various platforms is something that is in development.

Pairing Sensors

It is a small thing, but I like how you pair your sensors with the ROAM V2. It is all done via the app, which I find much more convenient than the on-device approach Garmin uses.

I have an annoying amount of sensors paired up with my Fenix 6 Pro, and it can be difficult managing them (but much easier with the Fenix 7/Epix 2). With the Wahoo, it is much easier to see what each sensor is, and how it's connected, and you can also rename them.

The ROAM V2 also supports the Supersapiens, which will allow you to monitor your glucose level in real-time during rides. I have not yet had a chance to try Supersapiens.

SYSTM Integration & Indoor Cycling

At this time of the year, I mainly cycle indoors. Not keen on cycling on cold, windy days.

With SYSTM, you can add a workout to your calendar and sync it with your device. Wahoo has customised all the workouts so you can choose to use them indoors or outdoors. The outdoor option smoothes out the different power level requirements.

With the indoor option, the ROAM V2 can take control over smart trainers such as the KICKR, KICKR CORE, KICKR SNAP and KICKR Bike.

If you are heavily investest training through SYSTM, this seems like an excellent feature. However, it is worth noting that outdoor training plans were also available via the TrainerRoad app with TrainNow.

Routes and Navigation

One area where I may be biased with ROAM V2 is the maps and navigation. As you'd expect, the Edge 520 which I currently have, is rubbish in comparison.

I have also been reviewing the Mio Cyclo Discover Pal at the same time as the Wahoo. It is not a like-for-like comparison, but better than the Edge 520.

I like some of the mapping features of the Mio Cyclo Discover Pal. The way the map is displayed is easier to understand for navigation, likely due to the full-colour 240X400 display vs the smaller 64-colour display on the Wahoo.

Looking at images of the old Roam V1, the mapping appears to be significantly improved, thanks to the increased number of colours.

The Mio Cyclo Discover Pal also has better on-device functionality and a touchscreen interface which makes navigating maps easier. In particular, you can scroll to any point or select a point of interest and have the computer route to that point.

You can do the same with ROAM V2, but this needs to be done on your phone with the ELEMNT app. It is not a massive downside, the app creates the route almost instantly, and it sends it over within a couple of seconds.

Beyond that, the ROAM V2 is better in every scenario. I found the bleeping quite jarring at first. It can be a little aggressively loud. However, I got used to it, and it is clearly helpful in making sure you know when a turn is coming up. It uses easy-to-see LEDs to give you a simple indication of the turn you need to make or when you go off course.

One thing I was particularly impressed with was the on-device rerouting when you go off course (I have no frame of reference vs current Garmin models). The Mio Cyclo Discover Pal is quite poor at this. If you go off-route, it basically asks you to do a U-turn and will nag you to do this for quite a while before it decides to reroute.

With the ROAM V2, the rerouting is significantly faster. It is not perfect, it lacks the intelligence of Google. In one scenario, it rerouted me around streets, so I was doing the same as a U-turn rather than intelligently working out that I needed to go straight ahead. However, when I ignored that, it rerouted again with a more sensible route.

During the warmer months, I will cycle in the Forest of Bowland quite a bit, where there is little to no phone signal, and I often change routes or just get a bit lost, so this kind of functionality is hugely beneficial for me.

GPS accuracy

Garmin drifting off as usual
Mio appears to lose GPS temporarily. Wahoo is a closer representation of the actual turn than Garmin

One of the main advantages of this bike computer is the Multi-band/Dual Frequency GPS which should improve accuracy and reduce lock on time.

In the past, I never used to be too bothered about super-accurate GPS, but I have been getting increasingly frustrated by the Fenix 6 and its questionable GPS. It is particularly problematic for running events where it will often fall short of the event distance and, therefore, not log PBs properly.

With this review, I use the Mio and Fenix 6 for comparison.

On one ride, I did some boring up and downs street riding to see how it handled the turns. It is not 100% perfect, but it is better than the other two devices. The Garmin seems to handle turns OK, but I find that it quite often gets confused going down straight lines, it will regularly drift off into where buildings are. The Mio seems to do when on straights but gets a little confused with turns.

Display & Buttons

I like the Mio map, but lots of reflection compared to Wahoo

Wahoo has opted to go for a 64-colour display, and they don't mention the resolution. Most competing brands have a full-colour display, and the Garmin Edge 830 is 246 x 322 pixels.

While this is less detailed and doesn't look as good, I wouldn't say this is detrimental to the overall performance. The glass on the front of the display is almost matte, and there is much less reflection than the Mio I used. While the maps didn't look as impressive, they remained more visible across cycling conditions, which is what is important at the end of the day.

The ELEMNT Roam v2 lacks a touchscreen display. This will avoid any accidental actions (my sweat has a tendency to mess around with touch screens), but apart from that, it reduces usability by quite a bit. In particular, browsing around maps is generally an unpleasant experience when using the buttons.

There is a nice chunkiness to the buttons, and apart from switching the page, I rarely find that I need to touch the device often. For simple actions like a page change, I prefer having a button to a touch screen as you have on the Edge 830.

Price and Alternative Options

The new Wahoo ELEMNT Roam is priced at £349.99. The ELEMNT ROAM V1 had an RRP of £300, but it is not around £220

This makes it the same RRP as the Garmin Edge 830 and cheaper than the Garmin Edge 1040.

One of the critical things here is that it is the cheapest dual-band GPS bike computer. Though I imagine this will change when the Edge 840 and Edge 540 eventually get released.

The Hammerhead Karoo 2 has proven to be a popular bike computer, and this is priced almost the same at £359.

I wouldn't say this is a good alternative option, but I have also been reviewing the Mio Cyclo Discover Pal, which is £330.

Overall

I am likely biased due to my lack of experience with recent GPS bike computers from the likes of Garmin.

However, I do like the Wahoo ELEMNT Roam a lot. It does absolutely everything I want, and it does it well and is easy to use. I'd appreciate a touchscreen, but I also understand why people wouldn't want one. Perhaps having an option where you can enable/disable it during exercise would be a good compromise (a la Epix 2).

The price of the older ELEMNT ROAM could be one of the biggest hurdles this has to overcome. The V2 currently costs 59% more. That's a significant price premium for not a lot of new features. The ELEMNT ROAM V1 looks like a bit of a bargain in general with its new price.

Last update on 2023-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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