Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM vs BOLT V2: Chunky Chops Fights Pint-Sized Pugilist

I’ve been a large fan of Wahoo bike computer systems because the starting of recorded time. Or 2017.

I’ve had a selected gentle spot for the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT. Earlier than my current bike GPS shopping for spree, the BOLT was my ‘go to’ selection.

However on account of stated shopping for spree, I’ve now purchased the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM and the model new V2 model of the ELEMNT BOLT.

And on this publish I’m going to check them. So clip in, strap on and put together to zone out!

(Wait, what?).

Watch The Video Model Of This Put up?

Would sir-or-madam wish to see a reside motion comparability of the 2 gadgets? Bien sur… [sings] BE… OUR… GUEST…!

What Do The Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT and ROAM Really Do?

Each the BOLT and ROAM are totally featured bike GPS gadgets.

They’ve onboard microchips, aerials and different techno-bobbins that decide up alerts from satellite tv for pc networks to find out the place they’re at any given second.

To allow them to be used to file the place you’ve been on a journey, plus, at any given time, inform you your velocity, distance lined and a raft of different time-space continuum factoids.

(All of which, as any self-respecting highway bike owner is aware of, is ‘VERY IMPORTANT’.)

Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM vs BOLT v2 climbing data screen

The BOLT and the ROAM even have the power to connect with quite a lot of different knowledge sensors unfold round your bike and physique.

On the bathroom normal finish of the sensor spectrum, this is perhaps velocity and cadence sensors, or a coronary heart fee strap.

More and more extra bathroom normal: energy meter, ANT+ radar.

Much less frequent (and albeit made up): parking sensors.

I’ll go into every of the primary options that the BOLT and the ROAM share later on this publish.

However first, in case you’re evaluating them, presumably you’re most within the variations. So let’s begin with these.

Be aware: hyperlinks like those above are affiliate hyperlinks – in case you click on and purchase one thing, I get a small fee at no further value to you (my affiliate hyperlinks coverage).

What Are The Variations Between The ELEMNT BOLT and the ELEMNT ROAM?

Previous to the discharge of the up to date V2 BOLT, the variations had been extra (Tony) stark.

Now there are fewer of them, and with out giving it away (okay, I’ll), a lot of the variations, in my un-esteemed opinion, favour the BOLT over the ROAM.

(By the best way, try this publish if you wish to see what has modified between the unique V1 ELEMNT BOLT and the brand new V2 model.)


With out even switching them on, it’s apparent that the BOLT is smaller than the ROAM.

While the brand new BOLT may be very barely bigger than the v1 model, it nonetheless stays a step change extra mini than the ROAM.

I may provide the size (okay I’ll: BOLT 77mm x 47 x 21; ROAM 89mm x 54 x 18) however the message is best delivered by fotografía.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT vs ROAM size comparison
The ELEMNT BOLT (center left) and ROAM (center proper) between the Garmin Edge 530 (left, in all probability) and the Edge 830 (proper, perhaps)

While I get the chunky look aesthetic, for me the ROAM is a little bit bit too meaty, beaty huge and bouncy.

Though now we have this huge case, the proportion of it taken up by the ROAM’s display is comparatively small. The bevels are, how shall we embrace this… er, gigantic?

I perceive that they should accommodate two units of LEDs, one down the facet and one alongside the highest. And clearly I’m not social gathering to the technical challenges of designing a good bike GPS. However personally I feel the ROAM’s thick edges are a bit a lot.


The additional measurement clearly interprets into extra kgs to lug round. Or gs on this case.

About 25 of them. And as we’ve mentioned, nearly to the purpose of boredom, an additional 25g is neither right here nor there for 99.99999 per cent of riders.


The Out Entrance Mount

The cleat-fixing-type-mounty-type system factor is identical between the BOLT and the ROAM.

(What?!? Attempt once more).

The ROAM and BOLT use the identical handlebar/stem mount.

Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM vs BOLT v2 underneath mount


The out entrance mounts are totally different. This is smart. Each are designed to combine considerably right into a minimize out on the underside of every system.

ELEMNT BOLT mount vs ROAM mount

Wahoo claims this makes the BOLT (hashtag) aero and the ROAM … properly, they’re silent on this (as a result of it seems good?).

Mainly, you might want to ensure you use a BOLT system with a BOLT out entrance mount, and a ROAM with a ROAM mount.

All of it comes all the way down to the dimensions of the cut-out.

A ROAM can match on the BOLT mount, however it leaves an odd trying hole that negates the entire built-in mount factor.

The BOLT’s recessed bit is simply too small, so it gained’t match on a ROAM mount.

Fast apart: the brand new BOLT will match on an outdated BOLT mount, however not vice versa.  That’s a topic for an additional publish.


A key function of Wahoo bike computer systems is the usage of LEDs constructed into the bevels across the display. I like my Wahoo LEDs, as do many different Wahoo-la hoopas.

They can be utilized to show knowledge like velocity, energy and coronary heart fee, present alerts and combine with third social gathering gadgets like the Garmin Varia radar.

In easy phrases, the ELEMNT ROAM has extra of them. It has a row above the display, and a column down the left hand facet.

You could possibly use the row on the high to point out, say, present velocity relative to journey common velocity, and the LEDs down the facet with a Garmin Varia to trace overtaking automobiles as they strategy.

The ELEMNT BOLT solely has the row of LEDs above the display.

While I’m very a lot keen on a well-used LED, and having two units is good, I can actually handle with one. So the BOLT single line arrange is simply effective for me.

As at all times, your LED-age might range.

Display screen

The primary promoting level in favour of the ROAM, now that Navigation has been equivalent-ised (extra on that in a bit), is the bigger display.

Assuming after all that you really want a bigger display.

With the introduction of the V2 model of the BOLT, each gadgets now have a color display. So it’s all in regards to the measurement (however nonetheless a little bit bit in regards to the colors).

The ROAM sports activities a 2.7″ show, whereas the BOLT’s measures (diagonally) 2.2″. In decision phrases, the ROAM will get an additional 80 vertical pixels (it has a 400×240 show, the place the BOLT is 320×240).

Numbers, numbers all over the place and never sufficient to drink… what does this imply in sensible phrases?

For me, it doesn’t really feel just like the ROAM has a large quantity of additional display actual property. The BOLT doesn’t undergo from a scarcity of pixels.

By the use of an additional comparability, the Garmin Edge 530 and 830 each have a 2.6″ show – akin to the ROAM – with a 246×322 decision – which the BOLT nearly achieves with its smaller display.

So the BOLT packs a mighty punch in a diminutive package deal. The show is sharper and clearer than on the ROAM. The ROAM is clearly pixelated, the place the BOLT is a little more HD.

Textual content Dimension

Earlier than this pixel social gathering descends into full on (hashtag) BOLTlove, the ROAM’s bigger display does retain one profit.

Many Wahoo-lean’s like the best way that whenever you scale back the grid knowledge show on a Wahoo down to at least one single subject (e.g your velocity), the font measurement will increase dramatically (the place Garmins cap out at a comparatively small measurement).

The only knowledge subject font measurement is bigger on the ROAM than on the BOLT. Certainly, you may have two knowledge fields on the ROAM and the textual content stays bigger than the one subject show on the BOLT.

This relative benefit in font measurement for the ROAM continues as you enhance the variety of fields in your knowledge display. And, in reality, the bigger ROAM display shows as much as 11 fields, whereas the BOLT stops at 9.

So in case you both need to show one knowledge subject bigly or essentially the most attainable knowledge fields little-y, then the ROAM shades it over the BOLT.

And speaking about shades…

Color Show

I discussed BOLT’s V2 model introduced with it rainbows and unicorns. The unique BOLT show was monochrome. It was a easy selection: in case you wished a color Wahoo system, you went with the ROAM.


And in reality the BOLT has leapfrogged the ROAM within the color stakes. It shows a positively vibrant 64 totally different hues the place the ROAM is proscribed to eight.

These further shades are (clearly) used throughout the BOLT software program wherever subtly totally different colors are useful.

Most screens have an elemnt (ha!) of color the place the ROAM has to stay to monochrome, whether or not that’s the great blue begin button label, or the salmon stars subsequent to your favorite routes.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs ROAM colour details

Extra usefully, the additional colors are used as backgrounds for sure knowledge fields, coronary heart fee and energy, to show which zone you’re in, with these zones being set and colour-coded within the Wahoo ELEMNT app.

Within the color stakes, and the ‘show expertise’ as an entire, the brand new BOLT is simply higher than the ROAM.

While it has colors, the ROAM nonetheless feels a bit monochromey. The white backgrounds are extra like a boring yellowish gray. The blocks of black don’t fairly get there both. In comparison with the BOLT, all of it feels a little bit washed out.

Lastly, and I’m undecided if this can be a huge level or not however the best way the ROAM display updates is a bit, er, totally different. It type of ‘wipes’ from the left as you progress between screens and up and down menu choices. It’s fairly noticeable.

The BOLT simply adjustments within the regular approach.

On steadiness I want not occupied with the display updating, however I suppose it’s not a dealbreaker.


I assume that is type of linked to the show part, perhaps combined in with a touch of person expertise.

[Stop whiffling Mont…]

The brand new BOLT makes use of a better number of fonts than its predecessor and the ROAM. Or maybe it’s the identical font, simply with extra liberal use of decrease case.

ELEMNT ROAM vs BOLT v2 fonts

The place the ROAM makes use of capital letters all through, the BOLT makes use of a mixture of the 2. Pop up alerts appear primarily to be in decrease case.

I’ll admit, it doesn’t really feel just like the ROAM spends all its time shouting at me. The BOLT stays closely skewed in direction of the capital letter.

I can’t see this distinction forming any a part of the shopping for choice for the rational bike owner. However then, palms up, who right here is rational?


For essentially the most half, the buttons on the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM and the BOLT are the identical.

ELEMNT BOLT vs ROAM side buttons

They’ve the identical quantity and so they’re all positioned in broadly the identical locations: Energy/Menu on the left facet, Up/Down on the fitting facet and three multi-function buttons on the entrance, beneath the display.

The primary distinction, and this outcomes from the current redesign, is that the buttons on the entrance of the BOLT at the moment are flush with the highest of the system (i.e. with the display).

The ROAM follows the strategy of the primary technology BOLT the place the entrance buttons are barely recessed.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT mount vs ROAM front buttons

The change on the BOLT got here, apparently, from some customers having issue urgent the indented buttons.

I truly fairly like the best way the ROAM strategy guides the fingers to the place you might want to press.

However I gained’t die in a ditch over it. The brand new BOLT buttons are effective. Not a dealbreaker.

Charging Port

Who’d have thunk the charging port would have merited a sentence, not to mention a piece. However right here we’re.

The brand new ELEMNT BOLT has (shock, horror) a USB-C charging port, versus the ROAM’s quaint normal micro-USB aperture.

In bike GPS world, it’s the BOLT that’s uncommon somewhat than the ROAM. Garmin nonetheless makes use of micro-USB, as do Bryton and others.

USB-C makes the BOLT faster to cost – it might probably take as much as 5 Amps in case your energy adapter and cable can provide it. The ROAM’s micro-USB is extra like 1.5A.

ELEMNT BOLT v2 USB-C vs ROAM micro USB charging port

This isn’t one thing that might ordinarily influence my life, aside from that my record of USB-C gadgets is beginning to attain crucial mass.

However within the situation the place you realise simply earlier than a journey that your GPS isn’t charged, the USB-C port means BOLT will extra shortly attain the purpose of enough cost (no matter that is perhaps) than the ROAM.

Charging port sort will not be going to drive your shopping for choice (until you’re a peculiarly laborious line electrical engineer), however it’s positively one other plus within the BOLT’s execs column.

And it type of leads us in to battery life.

Battery Life

The ELEMNT ROAM’s bigger measurement homes a extra capacious battery. Wahoo states as much as 17 hours between expenses.

The BOLT, as befits its extra humble dimensions, accommodates a extra modest battery. This provides it a claimed 15 hours of use earlier than requiring a sizzling energy injection.

In sensible phrases, there’s not a lot in it. Until you’re doing a collection of monster rides, day after day, with no plug socket in sight, each gadgets will keep charged for a enough variety of rides that charging is not going to be an annoyance.


Know-how huh? It’s a humorous outdated trout.

The Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM is larger and due to this fact has a bigger battery. The BOLT is smaller and but has extra onboard storage (of the digital selection).

That is Moore’s legislation in motion (to not be confused with Murphy’s, Parkinson’s or Sod’s).

I’ll cease techno-wittering.

The brand new BOLT has 16GB. The ROAM has 4GB. I consulted Euclid and he instructed me that that is 4 occasions as a lot.

BOLT makes use of its further reminiscence banks to retailer maps for Europe, Australia and North America, that are already loaded onto the system.

And these maps now embrace elevation knowledge. In order that’s good… And really helpful for exhibiting the upcoming journey profile for routes calculated on the system.

That is primarily a similarity somewhat than a distinction however I’ll record it with the latter as a result of, hey, it’s my weblog.

The navigation mini-difference is that the mixture of extra colors and pixels on the brand new ELEMNT BOLT means the displayed maps are extra detailed than on the ROAM.

That is most evident as you zoom out. The upper def BOLT can present extra place names and smaller roads.

Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM vs BOLT v2 mapping screens

Now clearly you’re not going to comply with a route on a map this scale, however it’s helpful to search out out the place you’re relative to close by cities and villages.

Other than that, the ROAM and the BOLT are the identical from a navigation perspective.

If you already know your Wa-history, you’ll know this wasn’t the case with the older BOLT. The brand new v2 BOLT now has full on-board routable mapping, which the ROAM at all times had.

Whence following a route and also you go off-course, each gadgets will re-calculate and supply revised flip instructions to get you again on observe.

You possibly can add routes to each in the identical approach utilizing the ELEMNT app. On the gadgets you may choose a location on a map, utilizing a set of cross hairs, and the BOLT, or the ROAM, will create a route.

Aside from the display def, navigation is the sameballs.


The bleeps! They sound barely totally different. However they happen in all the identical locations (i.e. for alerts primarily).

Solely of curiosity for these with significantly delicate ears. Which isn’t me.

Software program Options

One other class that would additionally slot into the ‘similarities’ part, however right here we’re.

The place attainable from a technical perspective, the software program enhancements which have include the discharge of the brand new BOLT have additionally come to the ROAM by way of firmware updates.

For instance, the brand new BOLT added notifications for WhatsApp messages. Beforehand the display pop-ups had been restricted to texts and emails (I feel). The ROAM has additionally obtained this enchancment*.

(* I’ll allow you to determine whether or not having your journey distracted with memes and questionable humour is an efficient factor).

There are a few areas the place the ROAM’s limitations imply new software program options can’t be ported throughout.

The ROAM’s restricted palette means it doesn’t get knowledge fields that color code to the related zone, coronary heart fee or energy, that you simply’re driving in.

The smaller onboard storage signifies that the ROAM’s maps don’t include elevation knowledge. You’ll depend on the route you add, from Strava or wherever, to include the info wanted to see the upcoming elevation chart over the course of your journey.

Age (Or Will Wahoo Convey Out A New Model)?

Nicely, Wahoo simply ‘stunned’ us all with the discharge of the brand new V2 color model of the ELEMNT BOLT, so there’s clearly at all times the potential for this to occur.

I feel it’s protected to say that we gained’t see a brand new model of the ELEMNT BOLT for a while. It’s model new and 4 years elapsed between model 1 and a couple of.

The ROAM is (clearly) now older than the BOLT. It was launched in 2019, making it 23 in squirrel years.

If Wahoo preserve the identical replace cadence because the BOLT, that provides us a pair extra years with the present ROAM mannequin.

I’ve obtained no particular perception on this one although – actually nobody from Wahoo HQ is looking the Sportive Bike owner batphone regularly.

Pure hypothesis (which can be the unofficial tagline of this web site).

I ought to observe, although, that Wahoo appears to have a coverage of updating the software program of older gadgets with options launched on newer ones (restricted to these options that may be supported by the older {hardware}).

So I’d be fairly snug about getting loads of use, together with continued Wahoo help, out of both the ROAM or the BOLT.


In my Wah-exuberance I almost forgot this one.

The ROAM prices greater than the BOLT. The scale of the worth distinction is dependent upon the place you reside.

On the time of writing, the costs on the Wahoo web site are as follows:

BOLT: £250 / $280

ROAM: £299 / $380

These are costs for the system solely, however together with the related out entrance mount.

Two observations:

  1. The worth step-up appears better within the US versus the UK ($100 is greater than £50); BUT
  2. Costs general are decrease for US patrons (e.g. £250 translated to USD is rather a lot increased than $280)

Similarities Between the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT and the ROAM

(Which is an inelegant sub-heading if ever I wrote one)

You’ve in all probability labored these out already.

Aside for some apparent bodily variations, and a few technical ones reflecting the ROAM being a little bit older, nearly all of the software program options and the performance of the 2 gadgets are very related.

The person expertise, which is Wahoo’s key benefit over Garmin, is excellent, whether or not on the ELEMNT ROAM or the BOLT.

Arrange for each is admittedly easy.

Each are ‘smartphone first’. A number of the settings can solely be modified by way of the Wahoo ELEMNT app somewhat than by way of the menus on the ROAM or BOLT themselves.

This makes the screens and choices truly on the gadgets cleaner with fewer menu rabbit holes to fall down.

While we’ve talked about that the BOLT has a sharper show, each gadgets can scale back down the variety of fields proven on the info screens to maximise the textual content measurement for simple viewing.

Each hook up with all the identical sensors, sensible trainers and different gadgets, by way of ANT+, Bluetooth and ANT+ FE-C.

The ROAM and BOLT will add your journey knowledge, and obtain any routes or exercises, routinely by way of wifi or by way of Bluetooth to your telephone. There’s no distinction in how they sync with third social gathering apps like Strava.

In abstract, each the ROAM and the BOLT simply work. Which is good.

Which One Would I Suggest / Which One Would I Purchase?

Again within the model 1 BOLT days, the ROAM vs BOLT choice was primarily based on a couple of clear distinctions. Should you wished a color display and/or on-device navigation, you went with the ROAM.

Now there are fewer materials variations (although I’ve managed to jot down 3,000+ phrases on the subject “LOL”). The v2 BOLT has a color display and has on-board mapping.

So then it comes all the way down to measurement. You’d anticipate the ROAM’s 2.6″ display to swimsuit these wanting a bigger show, while the BOLT appeals to these wanting a smaller kind issue (and to be ).

However the brand new BOLT’s brighter, extra colourful and seemingly extra outlined display, for me offsets the ROAM’s measurement benefit.

Aesthetics clever, I’m as huge a fan of chunky as the subsequent man, however the ROAM is a bit an excessive amount of. That’s fairly a lump of motorcycle GPS on my handlebars.

I want the appear and feel of the BOLT, even when I do suppose the flat versus recessed entrance buttons are a backward step… barely.

I cherished my unique monochrome v1 BOLT. Even with out the on-board navigation, it did (does) all the pieces I want from a motorbike laptop. I didn’t as soon as want I had a bigger show.

I just like the upgrades on the brand new BOLT. I’m not going to say no to the whizzbang mapping or the engaging color graphics. It continues to do all the unique stuff properly.

So I’d nonetheless select the brand new BOLT over the ROAM. And that’s earlier than noting the decrease value of the smaller system (a serious plus to this deep pockets brief arms Yorkshireman).

As at all times, your GPS mileage might range. Do your individual satellite-guided analysis. And so on.

Wanting To Purchase An ELEMNT ROAM or BOLT?

Listed here are the hyperlinks in case you need to purchase a pleasant shiny Wahoo bike laptop (affiliate hyperlinks; I get a small fee in case you click on and purchase one thing):

En garde!

Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic highway bike owner with solely average expertise. He began Sportive Bike owner in 2013 to file the journey to his first 100 mile journey, the RideLondon 100. Over time the weblog has expanded to incorporate coaching recommendation, gear critiques and highway biking tales, all from the attitude of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Because you’re right here, Monty would additionally such as you to take a look at his YouTube channel. Additionally, Monty actually must cease referring to himself within the third particular person.


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

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