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


I’ve been an enormous fan of Wahoo bike computer systems for the reason that starting of recorded time. Or 2017.

I’ve had a specific mushy 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 match them. So clip in, strap on and put together to zone out!

(Wait, what?).

Watch The Video Model Of This Publish?

Would sir-or-madam wish to see a stay motion comparability of the 2 units? 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 units.

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

To allow them to be used to document the place you’ve been on a journey, plus, at any given time, let you know your pace, distance coated and a raft of different time-space continuum factoids.

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

Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM vs BOLT v2 climbing data screen

The BOLT and the ROAM even have the flexibility to hook up with quite a lot of different information sensors unfold round your bike and physique.

On the bathroom commonplace finish of the sensor spectrum, this is perhaps pace and cadence sensors, or a coronary heart charge strap.

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

Much less widespread (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 price 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), many of the variations, in my un-esteemed opinion, favour the BOLT over the ROAM.

(By the way in which, take a look at 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 could 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 healthier 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 just a little bit too meaty, beaty massive and bouncy.

Though we’ve got this huge case, the proportion of it taken up by the ROAM’s display is comparatively small. The bevels are, how let’s consider this… er, gigantic?

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


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

About 25 of them. And as we’ve mentioned, virtually 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 similar 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 reduce out on the underside of every system.

ELEMNT BOLT mount vs ROAM mount

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

Principally, you must ensure you use a BOLT system with a BOLT out entrance mount, and a ROAM with a ROAM mount.

All of it comes right down to the scale of the cut-out.

A ROAM can match on the BOLT mount, but it surely leaves an odd wanting 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 one more publish.


A key characteristic 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 information like pace, energy and coronary heart charge, present alerts and combine with third occasion units 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 aspect.

You might use the row on the high to point out, say, present pace relative to journey common pace, and the LEDs down the aspect with a Garmin Varia to trace overtaking vehicles as they strategy.

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

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

As at all times, your LED-age could 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 in fact that you really want a bigger display.

With the introduction of the V2 model of the BOLT, each units now have a color display. So it’s all concerning the dimension (however nonetheless just a little bit concerning 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 in every single 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 an enormous quantity of additional display actual property. The BOLT doesn’t undergo from a scarcity of pixels.

By means 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 virtually achieves with its smaller display.

So the BOLT packs a mighty punch in a diminutive bundle. 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 Measurement

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

Many Wahoo-lean’s like the way in which that if you scale back the grid information show on a Wahoo down to 1 single area (e.g your pace), the font dimension will increase dramatically (the place Garmins cap out at a comparatively small dimension).

The only information area font dimension is bigger on the ROAM than on the BOLT. Certainly, you’ll be able to have two information fields on the ROAM and the textual content stays bigger than the one area show on the BOLT.

This relative benefit in font dimension for the ROAM continues as you improve the variety of fields in your information display. And, actually, the bigger ROAM display shows as much as 11 fields, whereas the BOLT stops at 9.

So in case you both wish to show one information area bigly or probably the most doable information 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 needed a color Wahoo system, you went with the ROAM.

Now not.

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 restricted 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 good 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 information fields, coronary heart charge and energy, to show which zone you might be 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 just a little washed out.

Lastly, and I’m unsure if it is a massive level or not however the way in which the ROAM display updates is a bit, er, totally different. It form of ‘wipes’ from the left as you progress between screens and up and down menu choices. It’s fairly noticeable.

The BOLT simply modifications within the regular method.

On stability I favor not excited about the display updating, however I suppose it’s not a dealbreaker.


I suppose that is form 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 determination for the rational bicycle owner. However then, arms up, who right here is rational?


For probably 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 aspect, Up/Down on the correct aspect 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 are actually flush with the highest of the system (i.e. with the display).

The ROAM follows the strategy of the primary era 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 really fairly like the way in which the ROAM strategy guides the fingers to the place you must press.

However I gained’t die in a ditch over it. The brand new BOLT buttons are wonderful. 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 commonplace micro-USB aperture.

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

USB-C makes the BOLT faster to cost – it may 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 impression my life, apart from that my listing of USB-C units is beginning to attain vital 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 determination (until you’re a peculiarly arduous line electrical engineer), but it surely’s positively one other plus within the BOLT’s execs column.

And it form of leads us in to battery life.

Battery Life

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

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 scorching energy injection.

In sensible phrases, there’s not a lot in it. Except you’re doing a sequence of monster rides, day after day, with no plug socket in sight, each units will keep charged for a enough variety of rides that charging won’t be an annoyance.


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

The Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM is greater 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 instances 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 information. In order that’s good… And really helpful for displaying the upcoming journey profile for routes calculated on the system.

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

The navigation mini-difference is that the mix 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, but it surely’s helpful to search out out the place you might be relative to close by cities and villages.

Except for that, the ROAM and the BOLT are the identical from a navigation perspective.

If you understand 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 units will re-calculate and supply revised flip instructions to get you again on observe.

You possibly can add routes to each in the identical method utilizing the ELEMNT app. On the units you’ll be able to choose a location on a map, utilizing a set of cross hairs, and the BOLT, or the ROAM, will create a route.

Other than 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 notably delicate ears. Which isn’t me.

Software program Options

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

The place doable from a technical perspective, the software program enhancements which have include the discharge of the brand new BOLT have additionally come to the ROAM through 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 believe). The ROAM has additionally acquired this enchancment*.

(* I’ll allow you to resolve 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 information fields that color code to the related zone, coronary heart charge or energy, that you simply’re driving in.

The smaller onboard storage signifies that the ROAM’s maps don’t include elevation information. 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 Deliver Out A New Model)?

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

I believe it’s secure 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 pair of.

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

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

I’ve bought no particular perception on this one although – actually nobody from Wahoo HQ is asking the Sportive Bicycle owner batphone frequently.

Pure hypothesis (which can also 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 units 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 assist, out of both the ROAM or the BOLT.


In my Wah-exuberance I practically forgot this one.

The ROAM prices greater than the BOLT. The dimensions of the worth distinction depends 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 consumers (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 just a little older, nearly all of the software program options and the performance of the 2 units are very related.

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

Arrange for each is basically simple.

Each are ‘smartphone first’. A few of the settings can solely be modified through the Wahoo ELEMNT app moderately than through the menus on the ROAM or BOLT themselves.

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

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

Each hook up with all the identical sensors, good trainers and different units, through ANT+, Bluetooth and ANT+ FE-C.

The ROAM and BOLT will add your journey information, and obtain any routes or exercises, robotically through wifi or by Bluetooth to your telephone. There’s no distinction in how they sync with third occasion 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 determination was primarily based on just a few clear distinctions. For those who needed a color display and/or on-device navigation, you went with the ROAM.

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

So then it comes right down to dimension. 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 type issue (and to be ).

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

Aesthetics smart, I’m as massive 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 favor the feel and appear of the BOLT, even when I do assume the flat versus recessed entrance buttons are a backward step… barely.

I beloved my unique monochrome v1 BOLT. Even with out the on-board navigation, it did (does) the whole lot I would like from a motorcycle pc. 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 effectively.

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

As at all times, your GPS mileage could range. Do your personal satellite-guided analysis. And many others.

Wanting To Purchase An ELEMNT ROAM or BOLT?

Listed here are the hyperlinks in case you wish to purchase a pleasant shiny Wahoo bike pc (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 street bicycle owner with solely average expertise. He began Sportive Bicycle owner in 2013 to document the journey to his first 100 mile journey, the RideLondon 100. Over time the weblog has expanded to incorporate coaching recommendation, gear opinions and street 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 individual.

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