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Wahoo Elemnt Bolt vs Roam Bike Computers

Everything you need to know about the Elemnt Roam and Elemnt Bolt, their size, features, and functions.

Wahoo Elemnt Roam vs Bolt - how to decide

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.

Wahoo Element Roam

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.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt V2 GPS Cycle Computer

The size and battery life

The Elemnt ROAM has a 2.7" colour screen, whilst the Elemnt BOLT has a 2.2" colour 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. Wahoo Elemnt BOLT features USB-C charging.As a result charge times faster than other Wahoo Elemnt units

The battery life of both units is dependant on whether you are using the LEDs, Bluetooth, and backlight.


LED indicators

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.

Wahoo Elemnt Roam Gorilla Glass

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 has a vibrant 64 colour display and made of hard wearing plastic to aim is to help you see your metrics when your training and racing.

New Wahoo Elemnt Bolt Wahoo Elemnt Roam Navigation

The Navigation

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 Elemnt 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.

Wahoo Roam Ambient Light

Ambient Light Sensor

The Roam and Bolt both feature 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.

Time to decide

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 a perfect training and racing partner. On the other hand, the Roam can help you discover new terrain and go further, and with large screen, additional LEDS's it isideal for mountain bikers, gravel riders, and explorers.

Elemnt Bolt
Elemnt Roam
2.2" screen, 3.05" x 1.86" x .84"
2.7" screen, 3.56" x 2.34" x 0.8”
Top & Side
Battery Life
15 Hours
17 Hours
64 bit colour
64 bit colour
Gorilla Glass (scratch resistant)
Gorilla Glass (scratch resistant)
Imported via app
Mapping on device and via app
Ambient Light Sensor
16 GB
32 GB
Live Tracking
Turn-by-turn navigation
USB-C charging cable
USB-C charging cable
Single band
Dual band

Should I buy a bundle or a unit?

The Elemnt Roam and Elemnt Bolt are both available as a bundle as well as the unit on its own. The bundle includes a Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor, Wahoo Speed Sensor and Wahoo Cadence Sensor. The sensors send data wirelessly via Bluetooth and have tool-free fitting, making them easy to set up.

Purchasing the bundle will provide a saving of 16% versus purchasing the sensors individually.

Do you need sensors?

Wahoo ELEMNT units use multiple types of satellite to track and record your position so you know how far, fast and where you’ve ridden. If you plan to use your Wahoo exclusively for riding outside, you’ll have real time speed and distance data without needing a sensor.

If you ride indoors on a set of rollers or non-smart turbo trainer, a speed sensor is required for recording your speed and distance. Riding through remote, mountainous areas or under dense tree cover will affect satellite accuracy and a speed sensor will continue to provide distance and speed data if your signal becomes weak.

A cadence sensor is beneficial if you are following a training plan, which requires you to pedal at different cadences, or if you are new to cycling and getting used to pedalling at 80–100 RPM, the sensor will send the information to the head unit when you ride indoors or out. However, if your bike is fitted with power-enabled pedals or a power meter chainset, this will automatically measure your cadence and pair with the Wahoo device.

Wahoo ELEMNT units can pair with any Bluetooth or ANT+ sensors. If you already own a heart rate monitor or speed/cadence sensors, you can use these to track your data.

Version 1 vs Version 2

You may see units for sale with V1 or V2 in their title or specification. BOLT v1 and ROAM v1 have a lower RRP than their newer, facelifted counterparts, known as BOLT v2 and ROAM v2. We'll explain the differences so you can decide which model is best for you.


Wahoo released the ELEMNT ROAM v2 in 2022, increasing the vibrancy of the colour screen. The changes between ROAM v1 and v2 are fairly subtle. The biggest change is that the 8-colour screen has been enhanced to 64-colour, giving you more clarity and easier to view navigation. Wahoo added an accelerometer, compass, and dual band GPS, improving the tracking and navigation accuracy in dense woodland or urban areas. For riders who just want to ride their favourite routes and explore locally, the ELEMNT ROAM v1 has the same memory, navigation and connectivity features you’ll need to explore but at a lower price to the more powerful ROAM v2.


The ELEMENT BOLT is a different story. V1 landed in 2017 and was completely overhauled in 2021.
The changes made give the device more functionality. Firstly Wahoo ditched the black and white screen, adding 64-colour and navigation. The vibrant, colour screen helps to better see different climb gradients, alert you to training zones or intervals, and make viewing your data and mapping whilst moving much easier.

Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt v1 and ELEMNT Bolt v2

The screen is flush rather than being recessed in the case, as well as being constructed from scratch resistant gorilla glass. It now features a USB-C port and the storage capacity increased from 4GB to 16GB, too. BOLT v2 has more connectivity. You can now receive WhatsApp alerts, and climb data via Wahoo Summit feature, live Strava segment and live tracking.

Wahoo added the ability to track your core body temperature when using a heart rate monitor. If you are considering a Wahoo GPS bike computer for performance riding, racing and training, the differences between the BOLT v1 and v2 are so vast that in our opinion the BOLT v2 is the best way to get the most out of your riding and access to Wahoo’s top features.

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