Wahoo Elemnt Bolt vs Roam Bike Computers
Everything you need to know about the Elemnt Roam and Elemnt Bolt, their size, features, and functions.
The Wahoo Elemnt Roam is Wahoo’s latest GPS cycling computer. Though it has new navigation features and a new colour screen, the Roam is, at its microprocessor heart, an Elemnt.
If you are confused about what device is best for your cycling, we've compared cycling's most popular bike computers and help you to decide what is best for you.
What's the same?
Customisation and set up for both devices is from Wahoo’s companion Elemnt app, as is compatibility with both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart sensors (including FE-C trainers, like Elite and Tacx). Through the app you can sync routes, navigation, and turn-by-turn directions. Both are compatible with Wahoo's KICKR smart trainers, and you can control the Kickr from the your Elemnt Roam or Bolt. Changing settings such as resistance or incline, switch to Erg mode and relive a route, are the same. Third-party app pairing for Strava, RidewithGPS, TrainerRoad, and more are compatible with both.
Unlike its major rival, Garmin, Wahoo have remained anti-touch screen. We can see why — in the winter it is not often you want to take your gloves off to use your bike computer. The Elemnts have three nice big buttons on the front instead.
The size and battery life
The Elemnt ROAM has a 2.7" colour screen, whilst the Elemnt BOLT has a 2.2" screen. And because the screen is smaller, the Bolt naturally weighs less — 30g less, to be precise. The Roam offers up to 17 hours of battery life, whilst the Bolt offers 15 hours. The battery life of both units is dependant on whether you are using the LEDs, Bluetooth, and backlight.
Unlike Garmin devices, all Wahoo Elemnt units have LED indicators that flash to help you when you are riding. The Bolt has a row of indicators along the top that can flash white, green, red, orange, and yellow. The Roam has a row along the top and side, also flashing all sorts of colours.
The LEDs light up when you're riding a training session, and visually guide you if you want to hit certain metrics; power, heart rate, speed, RPM or to signal the start and end of an interval.
If you've paired the unit with Strava, the LEDs will flash to let you know you've entered a segment.
The difference with the Roam is the additional side indicators that count you down to turns, intervals, or show a visual representation of speed or power.
The Bolt and Roam's LEDs show you the direction of the turn by moving from right to left.
Colour screen and Gorilla Glass
The first major difference between Roam and Bolt comes in the hardware of the Roam unit. Gorilla Glass, often used on smart phones, is tough and scratch-resistant, plus it boosts the clarity of the screen. The screen has a slightly matte finish, which helps avoid glare, and Wahoo positioned the screen closer to the surface to further improve clarity on the Roam device.
The effect is reading little numbers, words, and arrows as you bounce over rough tarmac is much easier to do with the Roam. Colour is used sparingly help you to differentiate between different types of roads or green spaces.
The Bolt screen is monochrome and made of hard wearing plastic.
This where the Bolt and Roam can truly be separated. Navigation on the Bolt allows you to follow your ride with turn-by-turn directions. However, you can only make changes or add a route using Wahoo's companion app on your phone. If you get lost or want to head home early, you'll need to stop to create a new route on your phone and sync via the app. You'll need phone signal and power, and may require offline maps added to your smart phone.
Everything changes with the Roam. You can navigate from within the device — pick a new destination, retrace, go back to the start, plus pan and zoom on the map.
The Roam will automatically reroute the rider if they turn off an active course — Wahoo’s previous computers alerted the rider if they deviated, but did not automatically send them back to the selected course.
In each situation, you don't need to stop and get your phone out.
The Roam also includes an ambient light sensor, which automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen’s backlight and the unit's LEDs.
The Bolt is optimised to be as aero as possible and was wind tunnel tested as part of its design process. Wahoo claim the Bolt offers 50% less drag (air resistance), saving you 1.5 watts when fitted with Wahoo's aero out front mount for extra wind slicing advantage.
|Size/Weight||2.2" screen / 63g||2.7" screen / 94g|
|LEDs||Top||Top & side|
|Battery life||Up to 15 hours||Up to 17 hours|
|Screen||Hardwearing plastic||Gorilla Glass (scratch resistant)|
|Strava segment pairing|
|Quick zoom on data|
|ANT+ & Bluetooth compatibility|
|Route navigation||Via app||On device or via app|
|Shop Elemnt Bolt||Shop Elemnt Roam|
The differences between the Bolt and Roam are subtle. Both offer free worldwide map downloads, and the Elemnt’s signature quick zoom function, which lets a rider increase or decrease the number of data fields on the screen on the fly. When the number of fields decreases, the size of the remaining fields get larger. This feature is particularly helpful if your near-distance vision isn't great.
If you ride the same training routes or regions and prefer to focus on your performance stats, the Bolt should be your go-to device. It is focused for riders looking for a training and racing partner. On the other hand, the Roam can help you discover new terrain and go further, and with the scratch-resistance screen is ideal for mountain bikers, gravel riders, and explorers, but the added navigation comes at a price.
- Tags: Product Focus