Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ROAM: Which One to Choose?

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ROAM in my hands

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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.

FeatureWahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM
Mounts in the boxOut front aero mount
Stem mount
Out front aero mount
Stem mount
Dimensions77.5×47.2×21.3 mm
3.05×1.86×0.84 in
77.5×47.2×21.3 mm
3.05×1.86×0.84 in
Weight68g93g
Screen size2.2″2.7″
TouchscreenNoNo
Display colorsColored (64 colors)Colored (8 colors)
Claimed battery life
Real battery life*
15 hours
16 hours
17 hours
14 hours**
ButtonsEasy to pressHard to press
Smart navigation (rerouting)YesYes
ConnectivityANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
ChargingUSB-CMicro-USB
Start-up time∼35s∼40s
Crash/incident detectionNoNo
More infoWahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 ReviewWahoo ELEMNT ROAM Review
BuyCheck Price
Check Price (Amazon)
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
Check Price
Check Price (Amazon)
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
This table compares the main features of ELEMNT BOLT v2 and ELEMNT ROAM.
*Based on my unscientific testing.
**On a 3-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.

Unfortunately, the stem mount comes with plastic zip ties, not elastic bands like Garmin Edge computers.

Due to the different dimensions of both devices, the BOLT v2 aero mount is not compatible with the ROAM. You can fit the BOLT v2 into the ROAM aero mount, but it doesn’t look good.

Other box contents like the manual etc., are the same.

Physical Dimensions & Weight

BOLT v2 is smaller and lighter than ROAM.

The weight difference of 25g is negligible, but weight weenies may argue.

I like BOLT’s compactness and find it more suitable for day-to-day riding. But, its display is logically smaller, which can be a dealbreaker for some of you. 

So, let’s now dive into the more important features.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ELEMNT ROAM Features Comparison

Below, I compare selected features I find essential as a road cyclist. You will find the winner at the end of every section.

Ease of Setup

Because both devices are from Wahoo, they are equally easy to set up. You must scan a QR code using the ELEMNT Companion app to pair the head unit with your phone.

Then you pair the sensors like an HR monitor or a power meter, and you are good to go.

This is the area where Wahoo excels. Their bike computers are easy to set up and use (more about their usability below).

Winner: It’s a draw

Display

The most significant difference between BOLT v2 and ROAM is the display. 

BOLT v2 got a big upgrade over its first generation. It now has a 64-color, 2.2″ display with a matte/glossy finish that is easy to read in direct sunlight. ROAM display is bigger (2.7″) but can only display 8 colors. 

Additionally, BOLT v2 can change the background of some data fields based on your zone (for example, power or HR zones). ROAM can’t do this.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 zoomed data fields
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 – zoomed data fields
Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM zoomed data fields
Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM – zoomed data fields

I used ROAM for about 2 years, so I got used to its larger display. It’s great for navigation or displaying more data fields. 

The display size will probably be the biggest deciding factor between these two bike computers.

Think about your preferences and how you will use the bike computer before pulling the plug (my guide on choosing a bike computer can help you).

So, although the ROAM’s display is larger, I favor the BOLT because of its compactness.

Winner: BOLT v2

Battery Life

The claimed battery life is two hours longer on ROAM. However, due to the battery depreciation (my ROAM is about 3 years old), it doesn’t last as long as the BOLT, which is just a few months old.

I get about 14 hours of use of ROAM and 16 hours on BOLT v2 with 3 connected sensors: 

  1. Power meter
  2. HR monitor
  3. Garmin Varia RTL515 radar 

Please, note my battery life tests are not standardized. I just recharge both computers to 100%, use the same functions, and monitor the battery life.

Winner: ROAM (assuming a brand new ROAM also surpasses the claimed battery life)

Control & User Friendliness

The way you control ROAM and BOLT is the same. Their menus are easy to understand and intuitive. 

You have to adjust the data fields, screens, and other settings using the ELEMNT Companion app.

I like this synergy, although it makes both bike computers dependent on your smartphone (unlike Garmin Edge head units). 

The only thing that differs between ROAM and BOLT v2 in terms of control is the bottom 3 buttons. 

Those on BOLT v2 are not recessed and are more level with the screen. As a result, they are easier to press.

I struggle to press the ROAM buttons with full-finger gloves in winter. They are not well-designed. Additionally, they are hard to clean.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 - buttons detail
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 – buttons detail
Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM - buttons detail
Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM – buttons detail

Winner: BOLT v2

Maps & Navigation

I divided the following part into two sections. One focuses on navigation, turn-by-turn directions, etc., and the other on offline maps.

Navigation

ROAM and BOLT v2 can show turn-by-turn directions, recalculate routes when off-course, or navigate you to a selected point on the map.

Their navigation features are not as advanced as on Garmin Edge 1030 Plus (it is in a league of its own) but are sufficient for most use cases.

Because both bike computers are button-based, browsing map is not pleasant. You also won’t be able to create routes directly on them. You need to use the smartphone app for that.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 (left) vs. ROAM (right) - navigation
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ROAM – navigation

But overall, the navigation on both head units works fine. The route’s recalculation is quick, and the turn-by-turn directions are shown in advance, so you will have enough time to react.

Offline Maps

Both bike computers come with a set of preloaded maps. You can delete or download new maps using the Companion app. 

Unfortunately, due to the limited storage space on ROAM, you can download only a few countries. So, if you are a frequent traveler, you will have to decide which ones to delete based on the location.

The 16GB storage on BOLT v2 lets you download more maps, providing more freedom. 

Winner: BOLT v2

Other Differences

The other difference worth mentioning is the LED strip. ROAM includes two LED strips (on the left and top) and BOLT only one (on the top). 

The ROAM’s strips seem to be a little brighter because every box has a dedicated LED.

Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM - Top LEDs
Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM – Top LEDs
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ROAM - LEDs
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ROAM – LEDs

These LED strips can indicate your speed, power, or HR. They also can indicate directions (when you use navigation), notifications from your smartphone, or notify you about incoming cars if you use Varia radar.

They are helpful because you can quickly check your power zones, but I honestly don’t miss them when I use a bike computer without a LED strip.

BOLT v2 was released in 2021, so it comes with USB-C charging port. ROAM (introduced in 2019) still uses MicroUSB. Hopefully, future bike computers will come with the USB-C.

There are a few other small differences, like fonts, beeps, etc. But these won’t influence your overall experience significantly.

Total score: Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 (3) | Wahoo ELEMNT 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

ROAM Pros

  • Larger display
  • Longer battery life

BOLT v2 Cons

  • Smaller display

ROAM Cons

  • Hard to press (and clean) buttons
  • Small internal storage
  • MicroUSB charging port

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 vs. ELEMNT ROAM FAQ

My Verdict

It’s not a big surprise that Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 is a better choice than the ROAM for most cyclists.

This is because it’s 2 years newer, so it has a better screen, larger internal storage, and can do all other features as ROAM does. 

However, if you prefer a larger screen, for example, for better map readability and navigation, ROAM is the way to go.

Do you have any questions regarding Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 or ROAM? Feel free to ask in the comments section below.

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