With the stunning Tour de Yorkshire and the UCI world Championships later in the year, Yorkshire is fast becoming a cycling Mecca. With it’s vast rolling scenery and often brutal climbs the riding is what the locals refer to as ‘a bit grippy’. So, what do you do if you find yourself in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales having never ridden there before and wanting to explore – look no further than Wahoo’s brand-new model in their exceptional ELEMNT series, the ELEMNT ROAM.
To get a taste of the punch this neat little package holds, Wahoo invited us along for a ride in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Pitting us and the ELEMNT ROAM against the same roads the pro’s will be riding come September, needless to say the ELEMNT ROAM handled them a lot better than we did.
Simple to use
Wahoo have always pitched their products as being as user friendly as possible. Wahoo founder and CEO, Chip Hawkins – affectionately referred to as Chief Wahooligan – has previously said “Using a bike computer shouldn’t be the hardest part of the ride” and that sentiment has carried forward into the new ROAM. Wahoo have maintained their use of external buttons over a touch screen, claiming that if you need more than those buttons to operate the computer then it’s too complicated to be useful. In our experience with the ROAM this certainly is the case, there is huge amounts of functionality built into the computer but even the uninitiated Wahooligan never feels lost. You also never have to battle with the rain to get your screen to recognise your finger.
The ELEMNT ROAM still uses all the familiar features that made previous models easy to use, such as turn by turn navigation, perfect zoom on each page, live tracking, and climb – which lets you see a real time gradient profile for your chosen route. It now offers a whole host of extra features to help you explore places you’ve never been, and ultimately be able to ride your bike more.
Simple to Explore
One of the key areas of Wahoo’s previous computers that while not lacking was certainly under explored – excuse the pun – was their navigation. With the Roam they’ve gone beyond simple navigation and moved into true exploration. The ROAM still has the same basic mapping principles of being able to load a route onto your device from your computer or a previous ride and gives turn by turn directions, as well as the neat directional LED indicators. It also now features plenty of options for getting lost; the back on track feature will automatically calculate the optimal route to get you back to your planned route if you go off-course – your route which normally is indicated by black chevrons will turn blue until you’re back on track. It’s an automatic feature that means you don’t need to spend your ride with your eyes glued to the screen for fear of loosing your way. Equally if you find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew there’s always the route to start option. A function that will calculate the optimal route back to your starting point, or even the route to saved locations function if you didn’t happen to start from home.
The route to start feature is also useful when you’re exploring new places. Say for example you’re in a new area and have gone onto Strava to find a popular local route; just hit the button and the ROAM will take you to the start of the route from whatever car park/train station/hotel you find yourself at.
Simple to see
All of these features are great, but you still need to be able to see your route in the first place, and Wahoo haven’t disappointed here either. The first new element of the display that stands out is the new colour screen. This is the first time Wahoo are using a colour display, and in their characteristically pared back way it’s not in-your-face. Most of the display has remained black and white, while colours are used to enhance rather than simply for effect. The ROAM also features an ambient light sensor so that the display will be crystal clear in all lighting conditions. The LCD display has been raised and now sits flush to the durable scratch-resistant Gorilla™ glass screen, meaning there’s no longer any sense of double vision in bright light.
Built for the Ride
Whilst coming in slightly larger than the ELEMNT BOLT, the ROAM still maintains the same aerodynamic profiling and mounting system. The compact and rugged design fulfills Wahoo’s aim of producing a bike computer that you can almost forget about. Although our legs were no match for what looks like it will be a brutal World Championship course in Yorkshire this year, the overriding feeling of the inaugural #Wahooligan Summit was simply the sheer joy of getting out and riding your bike, and from a first look at least it seems like one of the best companions for that ride might just be the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM.