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This is my comparison of Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM.
I have used them for a few months now. So, I summarized their differences, advantages, and disadvantages.
The main difference between Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 and ELEMNT ROAM is that BOLT v2 is newer, has a larger internal memory (16GB vs. 2.78GB), better display, and easier to click buttons. It also features USB-C charging port. On the other hand, it has shorter battery life (15 vs. 17 hours), a smaller display (2.2″ vs. 2.7″), and only one strip of LED.
Based on my experience, I believe BOLT v2 and ROAM belong among the best bike computers on the market.
Continue reading to learn more.
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ELEMNT ROAM Basics
Here is the summary of the main differences between Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ELEMNT ROAM.
|Feature||Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2||Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM|
|Display colors||Colored (64 colors)||Colored (8 colors)|
|Claimed battery life|
Real battery life¹
|Buttons||Easy to press||Hard to press|
|Smart navigation (rerouting)||Yes||Yes|
|Connectivity||ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi||ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi|
|Mounts in the box||Out front aero mount|
|Out front aero mount
|More info||Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 Review||Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM Review|
Check Price (Amazon)
Check Price (Amazon)
¹Based on my unscientific testing - multiple rides with multiple connected sensors (HR, power meter, radar), and navigation turned on during about 30% of rides. Auto brightness on.
²Brand new device
³Almost 2-year-old device
Let me now explain them in depth.
In the Box
Both bike computers come with a stem mount and an aero mount.
However, unlike Garmin Edge computers, the stem mount that comes with them is secured using plastic zip ties instead of elastic bands.
Due to the different dimensions of the devices, the BOLT v2 aero mount is not compatible with the ROAM. While you can fit the BOLT v2 into the ROAM aero mount, it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing.
Other box contents, like the manual etc., are the same.
Physical Dimensions & Weight
BOLT v2 is smaller and lighter than ROAM, weighing 25g less. Some may argue that the weight difference is insignificant, but those who care about weight might disagree.
I prefer BOLT’s compactness and find it more suitable for everyday riding. However, its display is logically smaller, which could be a dealbreaker for some people.
So, let’s now dive into the more important features.
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ELEMNT ROAM Features Comparison
Below, I’ll compare the features I find essential as a road cyclist and announce the winner at the end of each section.
Ease of Setup
As both devices are from Wahoo, they are equally easy to set up. You simply scan a QR code with the ELEMNT Companion app to connect the head unit to your phone.
Then you can pair sensors, such as an HR monitor or a power meter, and you’re ready to ride.
Wahoo excels in this area, as their bike computers are easy to set up and use (more about their usability below).
Winner: It’s a draw
The most significant difference between BOLT v2 and ROAM is the display.
The BOLT v2 received a significant upgrade from its first generation, now featuring a 64-color, 2.2″ display with a matte/glossy finish that’s easy to read in direct sunlight (see this comparison of the ELEMNT BOLT 1 vs. 2). The ROAM’s display is bigger (2.7″) but can only display eight colors.
Moreover, the BOLT v2 can change the background of some data fields based on your zone, such as power or heart rate zones, which the ROAM cannot.
I used the ROAM for around two years, so I got used to its larger display. It’s ideal for navigation or displaying more data fields.
However, the display size will probably be the most significant factor in deciding between these two bike computers.
Consider your preferences and how you will use the bike computer before making a purchase (my guide on choosing a bike computer can help you).
Even though the ROAM’s display is larger, I prefer the BOLT because of its compactness and colors.
Winner: BOLT v2
The ROAM boasts a claimed battery life that’s two hours longer than the BOLT. However, due to battery depreciation (my ROAM is about three years old), it doesn’t last as long as the BOLT, which is only a few months old.
I get about 14 hours of use of ROAM and 16 hours on BOLT v2 with 3 connected sensors:
- Power meter
- HR monitor
- Garmin Varia RTL515 radar
Please note that my battery life tests are not standardized. I recharge both computers to 100%, use the same functions, and monitor their battery life.
Winner: ROAM (assuming a brand new ROAM also surpasses the claimed battery life)
Control & User Friendliness
Controlling the ROAM and BOLT is easy since their menus are intuitive and straightforward.
To adjust the data fields, screens, and other settings, you’ll use the ELEMNT Companion app.
I appreciate this synergy, although it makes both bike computers reliant on your smartphone (unlike Garmin Edge head units).
The only difference in controlling the ROAM and BOLT v2 is the design of their bottom three buttons. The buttons on the BOLT v2 are not recessed and are more level with the screen, making them easier to press.
In contrast, I have difficulty pressing the ROAM buttons with full-finger gloves in winter. They are poorly designed and difficult to clean.
Winner: BOLT v2
Maps & Navigation
I divided the following section into two parts. One focuses on navigation, turn-by-turn directions, and so on, while the other focuses on offline maps.
The ROAM and BOLT v2 offer turn-by-turn directions, route recalculation when off-course, and navigation to a selected point on the map.
While their navigation features aren’t as advanced as those on the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus or Edge 1040 (they are in a league of their own), they are adequate for most use cases.
Since both bike computers rely on buttons for control, browsing the map can be unpleasant. Additionally, you won’t be able to create routes directly on the bike computers. You’ll need to use the smartphone app for that.
But overall, navigation on both head units works well. Route recalculation is quick, and turn-by-turn directions are displayed in advance, giving you sufficient time to react.
Both bike computers come with preloaded maps, and you can delete or download new maps using the Companion app.
However, due to the limited storage space on the ROAM, you can only download a few countries. If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll have to decide which countries to delete based on location.
In contrast, the 16GB storage on the BOLT v2 lets you download more maps, providing greater freedom.
Winner: BOLT v2
Another noteworthy difference is the LED strip. The ROAM includes two LED strips (one on the left and one on the top), while the BOLT has only one (on the top).
The ROAM’s strips seem brighter since each box has a dedicated LED.
These LED strips can indicate your speed, power, or heart rate. They can also show directions (when using navigation), notifications from your smartphone, or alert you about incoming cars if you use a bicycle radar.
While they can be useful to quickly check your power zones, I personally don’t miss them when using a bike computer without an LED strip.
The BOLT v2, released in 2021, comes with a USB-C charging port, whereas the ROAM (introduced in 2019) still uses MicroUSB. Hopefully, future bike computers will come with USB-C.
There are a few other minor differences, such as fonts, beeps, and so on, but these won’t significantly impact your overall experience.
Total score: BOLT v2 (3) | ROAM (1) | It’s a draw (1)
Overall winner: Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2
BOLT v2 vs. ROAM Pros & Cons Summary
I summarized the mutual pros & cons of both head units below.
BOLT v2 Pros
- Easier to read display (less glossy)
- Lighter and more compact
- Larger internal storage
- USB-C charging port
- Larger display
- Longer battery life
BOLT v2 Cons
- Smaller display
- Hard to press (and clean) buttons
- Small internal storage
- MicroUSB charging port
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ELEMNT ROAM FAQ
It’s unsurprising that for most cyclists, the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 is the better choice than the ROAM v1.
This is because it’s two years newer, featuring a better screen, larger internal storage, and can perform all other features that the ROAM does.
However, the ROAM is the way to go if you prefer a larger screen, suitable for improved map readability and navigation.
Do you have any questions regarding Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 or ROAM? Feel free to ask in the comments section below.