Wahoo Elemnt Roam V2 review: Climbing to new heights - MrLiambi's blog


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Monday, 19 December 2022

Wahoo Elemnt Roam V2 review: Climbing to new heights

Wahoo's second edition of their Roam bike computer arrived on the scene back in October, and sits above Wahoo's other offering, the excellent Bolt, in its two-tier bike computer range. 

While not much has changed from a design perspective, it brings with it a number of improvements, including an improved screen, more storage and dual-band GPS for better accuracy. However, as we now know is the norm with Wahoo products, the initial hardware release is just the beginning of the story, with future software updates being promised to bring additional functionality later down the line.

Those software updates will be rolled out to all the hardware that can run them, so both the original Roam and the second generation Bolt will get many of these too at first, but more on that later.

When we reviewed the Roam back in the summer of 2021 we felt it was a good bike computer, but that its hardware was a little under powered, causing some lagging, and that it lacked some of the features of competitors such as a Garmin's ClimbPro. So how does its successor compare? We've been putting it through its paces to find out.

Connectivity, setup and the Wahoo App

  • ANT+
  • BLE/Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi

In order to get the Roam set up you have to download and install Wahoo's free companion app. We find this a quick and easy way to set up bike computers rather than trying to do it on the device itself via a series of fiddly menus.  It's here that you can customise or add pages to show the data that you want on the screen at any time and whether you want it colour coded to show your heart rate or power zone, for example.  

You'll need to use the Roam itself to save any sensors you may have. Wahoo make a point of their willingness to integrate with other manufacturers' hardware, so whether it be Powertap pedals, Polar heart-rate monitors or Garmin's Varia rear radar light, you should find them easy to pair and that the connection is as stable as if they were one of Wahoo's own. We certainly didn't come across any issues with the accessories we tried, including the new Supersapiens sensor. This allows you to live track your glucose level as a data field on the Roam, meaning you can stay properly fuelled throughout your ride, and avoid bonking mid event - not to mention fuel your recovery properly.  

Included in the box are both a stem and an out-front mount that the Roam clips into securely with a quarter turn. And with that, you're ready to ride. You won't really need to touch the app again as you can set the Roam to automatically connect to your home Wi-Fi and upload data to your chosen fitness apps, such as Strava or Training Peaks, though you can use it to look at the data history from your past rides too.

In addition, Wahoo has now introduced a back up feature that will store your customised page preferences and allow you to restore them to your device after a factory reset so that you don't have to go through this again.  We hope that in future you would be able to transfer your settings to a new device too when you upgrade, though this isn't currently an option.

Design & Display

  • 2.7-inch colour LCD screen
  • Dimensions: 90.5 x 59.5 x 20.5mm / Weight: 94g
  • USB-C rechargeable battery
  • Claimed battery life 17hrs
  • IPX7 water protection

The Roam's polycarbonate body and toughened glass display give it a rugged and well-built feel.  Whether it was the rough and tumble of an off-road adventure, a gravel trail or city riding, the Roam proved up to the task and looks like it will be able to shrug off a few of the inevitable knocks it will take over its lifetime.

Its IPX7 waterproofing was well tested by a few meaty downpours when we were out and about and it was notable that the display remained readable when wet, while the three buttons that line the bottom of the Roam now shed water rather than collect it as they are now concave rather than convex.  

These three buttons' main functions are to allow you to scroll through your pages and start/stop rides or select functions, while a further two buttons on the right of the casing allow you to travel up and down menus or zoom in and out of data screens or maps. It's all pretty intuitive and we soon learnt what each did and were able to easily access features while riding.  

One welcome change that we did notice was that there had been a little tweak to make the buttons more responsive than on the original Roam (pictured on the left below), where it often felt as though you had to press hard or hold the button down a little which could then end up with you flicking through two pages rather than landing on the one you wanted.  Happily, that bug bear has been put to bed with this upgrade.

It's probably worth noting here that Wahoo have decided not to make the Roam a touchscreen device.  This is going to split the crowd somewhat, but for our money, a touchscreen on a bike computer is problematic, with rain, mud and gloves making it impractical at times. We like the Roam's well thought-out physical buttons and given that in nearly every scenario other than races riders will be carrying a touchscreen phone that can be used to edit screens and upload routes, it seems unnecessary to us. 

The display, with its 64 colours, proved easy to read with the option to highlight heart rate or power zones through colour coding added to this. The display is going to be large enough for most people to read with seven data fields showing, but a quick press of the side buttons can zoom you in or out to show either more or less data in a bigger or smaller font size.  

The mapping uses the colour screen intelligently to make it easy to read and we found the detail level to be adequate for our needs, though when we spoke to Wahoo they did reveal an aspiration to utilise the increased on-board memory to enhance the detail level, though this may also refer to the topography and terrain as well as to ever smaller off-road tracks and trails.

We found that the display benefited from an effective ambient light sensor that dialled in the screen brightness to make it easily readable in an array of conditions, from night to bright daylight, aided by the anti-glare glass.  Although the screen is comparable in size to its direct competitors, we couldn't help but feel that Wahoo had missed a trick by not expanding the screen size and ditching the physical LEDs (which they could replicate with virtual ones on the screen if users chose). Underlying that decision are probably two factors - an increased screen size would cost more to produce, plus they are already packing a fair amount of hardware into a small and lightweight package, so it would admittedly be easier to say than do.  

Wahoo's claimed battery life of 17 hours has stood up well to testing. Admittedly, with the stopping and starting of shorter 2-4 hour rides, plus the obligatory coffee stops, it's a little harder to track than if we had been able to head off on an epic all-day adventure. However, when we totted all of those up we found that the battery was performing around its promised figure, with a heart rate and power monitor attached. That makes its real-world performance comparable to the Garmin 830 and a bit ahead of the Hammerhead Karoo 2, but they've all been left in the wake of the Garmin 1040 solar, which is leading the way both in longevity and innovation - albeit at an almighty price point that is way above the others.

When it is time to recharge, the USB-C charging point can be found on the bottom of the Roam, hidden away from the worst of the road spray, muck and dust and concealed by a rubber flap.


  • WhatsApp connectivity
  • LiveTrack allows opt-in tracking
  • Rival watch integration
  • Kickr control

The Roam retains the same connectivity features as its predecessor, such as the ability to display Whatsapp or text messages that are delivered to your phone on screen, as well as notifying you of incoming calls, though there is no ability to answer or respond with an automatic message, which would be a helpful function.

The Livetrack feature allows you to give permission to people to track you, which is both a neat safety feature and can prove useful for people to gauge when you might return home.  As before, all of this can be turned off if you want to enjoy a simpler life away from these kind of distractions but it's great to have the option. 

Also retained is the integration with the Rival watch, allowing the Roam to mirror the Rival's display data, which will appeal to multisport athletes as they transition from one leg to another, plus the ability to control the Kickr family of indoor trainers from the Roam.

Mapping and navigation

  • Dual-Band GPS
  • On board maps
  • Route syncing and rerouting

The Roam's biggest hardware upgrades, the inclusion of dual-band GPS and increased memory, make for big improvements in the Roam's mapping and routing capabilities. Firstly, we'll take a look at the dual band GPS.

Despite the Roam taking a reasonably long 35 seconds to start up, we found that it was then quick to lock on to a satellite signal, taking another 10 or so seconds on average.  We tested it through dense tree cover and in amongst the high-rise London landscape and found it to be a consistent performer, holding signal and accurately guiding us through our selected routes. This feels a real improvement over its predecessor (and competitors at this price point), and sets it apart from similarly priced bike computers that use single-band GPS.  

The 32GB of memory means that the Roam now ships with pretty much a whole world of maps loaded and space to add anything that might be missing or that needs updating. Route planning remains the same as it was before, with features such as 'Take me to…' (which allows you to select a location on the map to ride to or to select a 'favourite' saved destination, such as your home), 'Route to start' (which guides you to the start of a saved route) and 'Retrace ride' (which takes you back to the starting point of the ride you're currently on), as well as the ability to follow routes saved in Strava or other apps.  

The turn-by-turn directions are clear and the mapping, with the ability to zoom in and out to your required detail level is excellent, supported by the simple but well thought out colour scheme.  If you miss a turning then the Roam is quick to alert you through its beeping and top row of flashing LEDs, allowing you to turn around or for the Roam to reroute you.  Rerouting continues to be a slightly hit and miss affair and we would like to see some simple options that allow us to choose the most suitable rerouting option in future to avoid what can end up being long detours. 

Training and workouts

  • Live climbing info via Summit Segments
  • Integration with Wahoo's Systm training programme
  • Strava Segment support

Undoubtedly the biggest software upgrade ask from Wahoo users in the last two years has been for a page that displays live climbing information such as Garmin's Climb Pro or Hammerhead's Climb do. Well, it's finally here and is called Summit Segments.  

Summit only works on pre-loaded routes; it is not able to identify climbs on the fly if you are out riding without using navigation, so this is certainly the next development we'd hope to see Wahoo make. Once you've selected a route, the Roam will automatically classify any slope that is over 500 metres long and with average gradient of 3% or greater, as a climb. On the Roam you can then scroll to the Elevation page and choose to see the climbs you will encounter on your planned ride, all listed in the order you will do them. This includes the distance until you will reach the climb, the length of the climb and the average gradient listed. Colour coding also indicates the severity of the climb, ranging from green to dark red.  

Out on the road, no matter what page you are using on the Roam, it flashes up with a notification as you approach a Summit Segment, then flashes "Climb!" and automatically changes to its Summit page. It displays key data such as the gradient and distance to the top, while pictorially displaying the climb - complete with colour coding to show the differing severity and where you are on the climb.

All in all it looks similar to other manufacturers' climbing pages, which in itself is no bad thing, but does rather point to the fact that Wahoo are very much playing catch up on this one. All in all, it's a competent addition to the Roam's offer, but after such a long wait it doesn't do much to excite or develop this area. 

We have been using Wahoo's excellent Systm training programme recently, which comes bundled in one package with RGT, so we were keen to try the new feature that has been rolled out that gives you the ability to load a simplified version of your planned Systm indoor training ride onto the Roam and complete it outside.

Trainer Road brought this functionality to their workouts a few years ago so, once again, this is not entirely new, though it does give welcome flexibility to Systm users. If you have a workout planned in your Systm calendar for the day when you turn on the Roam it will recognise this and ask whether you would like to do an outdoor version of this workout now.

In reality, we found that it was a little difficult to stick to the prescribed power zones out on the road due to traffic and the changes in incline, but for those people lucky enough to have a relatively traffic-free, flat-training ride, it could be ideal.  Even in our imperfect neighbourhood, it's still good to have the option to take the training outside when we've had enough of riding on the turbo - particularly in the summer months.

Strava Segment support on the Roam remains as it was, allowing PB and KOM/QOM chasers to measure their progress in real time.  

Source : https://www.pocket-lint.com/fitness-trackers/reviews/wahoo/163867-wahoo-elemnt-roam-v2-review

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