Review: Wahoo Elemnt Roam GPS bike computer
When my Garmin Edge Touring died, I asked friends and the internet for advice on a replacement. The Garmin had taken a long time to get to grips with but with understanding had come (grudging) acceptance. Should I get another? No, I was told: ditch Garmin, go Wahoo.
My needs for a bike computer are straightforward: clear navigation for both on and off-road multi-day international riding; long battery life; a clear, visible screen that I can read without my specs in all light conditions; how far/high/fast I am; and, what I used to think impossible, the ability to change the route easily on the go.
All signs pointed to the Elemnt Roam with its 2.7in display and 17-hour battery life. I’m suspicious of products that drop vowels to stand out, but put my misgivings aside and made the purchase. It took some soul searching: £300 is a lot of money to spend on a bike computer. Having used the Wahoo for more than a year, the financial sting has gone and only pleasant memories remain.
Unlike my old Garmin, you do need a modern smartphone with Bluetooth and the Wahoo app to get the most out of the computer. I’ve also linked it with my Komoot and RidewithGPS accounts, which means I can access all the routes I’ve designed, and even better adjust them on the fly. Setup was self-explanatory and took only minutes, and it’s been easy to use ever since. The display is fully customisable via the app, but the factory-set displays give you most things you need.
My first real ride – an off-road route in Sardinia – was a baptism of fire but it worked like a dream. At one point my route was barred by a gate my mapping software had failed to recognise. A few taps on my phone, a beep on the Wahoo, and I had a workaround.
Are Garmin’s days done? I doubt it, but Wahoo’s a contender I’m happy to stick with.
A game changer for tourers who want the security of GPS guidance and the flexibility for spur-of-the-moment changes to the itinerary. I’m glad I made the switch.
Garmin Edge 830 £299.99
Wahoo’s newest computer is smaller, cheaper, has less battery life but more memory than the Roam. Geared at roadies over tourers.
First published in Cycle magazine, August/September 2021 issue. All information correct at time of publishing.
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