Bolt vs Roam

I am in the market for a new bike computer. I’ve done my research, read a bunch of reviews (DCRainmaker, GP Llama, etc.) and am deciding between the Wahoo Bolt and Roam.

But I wanted to see what others real world experiences have been, especially if in hindsight you would’ve made a different choice:

  • I have a Roam - but Bolt would have been OK.
  • I have the Roam and it’s what I need
  • I have the Bolt - but the Roam was what I should’ve bought
  • I have the Bolt and it’s all I need

0 voters

hey @Erik-KOS … My recommendation would change, depending on what your requirements are? Just want training and riding stats or navigation is important?

Navigation is where the units are separated (aesthetics of a colour screen aside).

Unless you are really interested in discovering new routes and working from the device rather than the phone app then I do no see much benefit in the roam. Equally if you are seeking superior navigation … I think you should look at competitor units (garmin, hammerhead)

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@Joe good question. I typically ride my own routes and plan ahead, but occasionally I (used to - pre-COVID) cut a group ride short and head home, some times with detours, not the best route. If there is a way to create a route on the spot, on a phone and then sync that to the bolt, then the Bolt is prob sufficient.

But what about the size/color display? Does that matter. Currently have a garmin520, which works fine both for navigation and size. The color map does help, though.

Mostly trying to figure out if anybody regrets their choice in hindsight …

Overall very happy with my Roam.

Chose it over the Bolt because of the screen being bigger & colour. Colour screen is nice on the map and useful with the Varia (the stripe is green prange or red). Usually I’m riding routes that were pre-planned using Komoot so no real advantage there. A couple of times I’ve come across unexpected road closures and found the on-the fly auto-rerouting on the Roam useful. Not sure if the Bolt does that?

Have to say my Roam has a habit of dropping the GPS signal under light tree cover which is less than impressive - don’t recall my old Garmin Etrex ever doing that.

If I was buying again now I would definately look at the Hammerhead but my feeeling is I would still settle on the Roam because I find the display very easy to read in any and all lighting conditions. I also like the way you can “zoom” on data screens to see more or less fields (can’t remember what the feature is called), but perhaps Garmin & Hammerhead have that too?

For me the Bolt fits everything I need … training and navigation (albeit not that intense). It has served me well across continental Europe for routes.

Screen Size and Colour does not bother me much. But I think this is very much personal … if you want it go for it :slight_smile:

Direct response to your question … I do not regret my choice for the bolt.

I decided against the color display back when I made my choice. Went for the Bolt.
If I had to choose now, I’d upgrade to the Roam just because I like new shiny things. The Bolt performs perfectly.
Aside from the display, the only feature I find noteworthy on the Roam, is the automatic rerouting, but even then, I would’ve only made use of it once or twice over the timespan that I’ve used my Bolt (~2 years).
Conclusion: Bolt is king, Roam is a sweet 2nd.

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Another Bolt user here.
I use it for navigation on almost every ride I do and it works perfectly for my needs. I tend to plan my routes well in advance, though and haven’t ever really needed re-routing, plus I often know the areas to figure out my own route if a road is blocked off, I just use the navigation to keep me on the track I decided on for the day.

It’s super simple to design your own page layouts to get the data you want laid out the way you want, the buttons are easy to find and use, even in thick winter gloves and the screen is always visible whether it’s bright, direct sunlight or getting dark.

For me it’s everything I need in a bike computer, very happy with it.

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Thanks all, this has been super helpful.

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Hi @Erik-KOS.

Did you already make a purchase?

I just wanted to let you know; Wahoo released a new version of their Elemnt Bolt today. It‘s basically a mini-Roam with more colors, more storage and a few neat tweaks. I love the screen.

I highly recommend you check it out.

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I ordered the new Bolt, waiting for it to arrive.
Off topic: why does the Wahoo website allow to select a country at checkout, but then it hides the shipping options? Had to ship to mail forwarder in Germany in order to get it to Croatia. Sorry for the rant, it was kind of a frustrating customer journey.

On topic: Navigation updates and colored display of the Bolt v2.0 make it quite interesting not only as a contender to Garmin 530, but to me it seemed a really good (read cheap) alternative to current Roam. I’d recommend checking out GP Lama’s & DCR’s reviews for comparison against the previous version. DCR also found out some issues in urban environment that Wahoo people sorted quickly (or are working on ironing that out). Thumbs up to devs for quick fix.

I have had 2-3 gamins. I prefer their colour touch screens, but non of them were stable.My bolt has been rock solid, and has done everything I have asked of it regarding training and navigating.If a road closure takes you off route it adds a bit more challenge .It will see me through a day long ride, and I trust it.

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I find my roam really useful in long events where support is minimal and signage is mostly unclear. It has saved me from missing a turn in a race. The elevation map being a bit larger, can give you the advantage in attacking on the climb.

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So update from me.

I opted for the Roam. I got it about 2 weeks ago. It’s been great. I decided on the roam because of the navigation features, that while I may not use often, do come in extra handy when needed, and this worth the extra cost in my mind. And i needed them sooner than expected, on a recent group ride I opted to go longer and took a detour, the navigation worked great.

The data screens and the zoom feature are awesome much more user friendly than Garmin.

All in all very happy with my purchase.

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I’ve got a bolt. Wanted the tiny aero advantage, and I almost never ride to maps. I’ve only used it once to try and follow a 200km route. I came a little bit undone because the google route I had built and Uploaded didn’t understand that the road it was trying to send me down wasn’t actually a road. In real life it was a mostly dirt track underneath major power lines… With a lot of growth everywhere. No road. Fine if you happened to be driving A big 4wd. I’m not sure this was strictly speaking a fault of the bolt - but it certainly didn’t help after that point.

Colour screen would not have helped, but a better gps engine would have.

Most of the time the bolt is really good. I generally know where I’m going however so just want to record my ride, and have a speedo and clock I can view.