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Introducing the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM

1 May 2019

Wahoo gives its much-loved ELEMNT platform a sleek new look, complete with colour screen and improved mapping features

‘We realised the impact we’d had when the media and information outlets shifted from saying Garmin and the rest to Garmin, Wahoo and the rest.’ says Wahoo Director of Product Management Jose Mendez.

Over the past three years, Wahoo has taken the fight to cycling GPS computer giant Garmin, establishing itself as a genuine alternative to a company that had previously looked untouchable in this area of the cycling market.

That rise to prominence is mainly thanks to the success of the Wahoo ELEMNT, a GPS computer that delivers all the core functionality you need from a bike computer – whether it be mapping or performance data – in an easy-to-use format that seamlessly syncs straight to your smart device with the click of a button.

Now comes the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM, an evolution of the ELEMNT concept that offers the same intuitive and easy-to-use interface but with more advanced mapping capabilities, a colour display and improved battery life – all in a sleeker overall package that weighs in at just 95g.

As its name suggests, the biggest evolution of the ROAM is its smart navigation, which Mendez says is largely inspired by the growing popularity of all-road riding.

‘The emerging gravel scene is such a great compliment to the ROAM. We listened to our consumers and they asked us for the ability to re-route from the unit and add more robust mapping capabilities.’ says Mendez.

To that end, if you decide to explore a new road or trail off of a pre-selected route, the ROAM will instantly tweak your course to make sure you remain on track to your final destination regardless of any detours you might take along the way.

Alternatively, if you’ve downloaded a route you wish to ride but aren’t near the starting point, the ROAM will plot your course to get there, or divert you home via the shortest, safest course should you decide to end the ride early.

And if you’re out riding and you see a cool coffee shop or a new climb, you can save the location to the ROAM and it will able to instantly route you back there at any point without the need from a pre-downloaded course.

While mapping has advanced on the ELEMNT ROAM so too has its interface and, crucially, its battery life. The ELEMNT ROAM is Wahoo’s first foray into colour displays, and Mendez admits it was a long-debated decision.

‘We didn’t make the decision to add colour lightly, but with the development of new technology, we feel it enhances the experience now,’ says Mendez.

Wahoo’s approach has been not to introduce colour for colour’s sake, but rather to use it as a tool to further improve usability.

For instance, should you stray from your original planned route, direction arrows will be displayed in blue instead of black until you’re back on course, while training zones are colour-coded to make efforts easier to follow on the interface.

The majority of the interface remains monochrome, however, and despite the addition of colour, Wahoo’s trademark easy visibility in all light remains.

Another benefit of Wahoo’s restrained use of colour is it minimises the impact on battery life. Or as Mendez puts it, ‘you cannot call it ROAM if it doesn’t give you the battery life to go roam.’

Improvements in battery efficiency means the ROAM will now have 17 hours worth’ of use, even at full functionality. And even if you are running low, the unit can be connected to an external battery pack while riding, allowing you to continue using it even if you’re away from a fixed power source for an extended period of time.

It may be a small change but it’s something that will be welcomed by adventure and multi-day riders, and further evidence that Wahoo has taken user feedback on board.

And that includes everyone up to WorldTour pro level, with Wahoo ensuring the ELEMNT ROAM still offers all the qualities that has made the ELEMNT such an attractive GPS to those in the professional peloton.

For instance, the ROAM fits into an integrated mount to keep it as aerodynamic as possible, and it’s secured in place using a small screw – a feature that Mendez says benefits both pros and amateurs alike.

‘It’s a small thing but that screw is loved by our Bora-Hansgrohe and Katusha-Alpecin pro team riders as it means the computer can technically be seen as part of the bike, so the bike can be weighed with the unit attached, which really helps if you want the lightest bike within the UCI regulations,’ explains Mendez.

‘For the consumer, meanwhile, the screw means you can leave your computer on your bike while in the cafe without fearing that it may get stolen.’

It was exactly this kind of attention to detail, combined with more headline-grabbing strengths like its class-leading interface and mapping capabilities, that made the Wahoo ELEMNT so popular in the first place.

By building on that platform with some impressive new features, the ELEMNT ROAM looks set to keep Wahoo moving in all the right directions.

The Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM is available to buy now here.