The Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM was one of the more contentious new product launches of 2019. Priced at $379, it was widely panned because of the features it didn’t have. Or, that it didn’t include upon launch.
Chief among the ROAM’s features not-yet-finished was integration with Garmin’s Varia rear view radar. Wahoo has solved this with its latest firmware update, announcing, “ANT+ Radar support for all ELEMNT GPS models, including the recently launched ELEMNT ROAM, allowing those ELEMNTs to be compatible with ANT+ Rearview Radar devices for added road safety.”
Since the ROAM’s launch, Wahoo has been steadily adding features with successive firmware updates, most notably Waze-inspired turn-by-turn map navigation and last week’s Varia integration. Wahoo also included in this update integration with TrainerRoad’s on-road workout series. One point of differentiation between Wahoo and its chief GPS head unit competitor, Garmin, is Wahoo’s third-party integrations. Here’s a comment from our Reader Forum, from a discussion back in June of 2019: “My biggest issue with the Wahoo is the fact that they've farmed out all of their features to 3rd parties. Want to do custom workouts? Need to either create the workout the day of or pony up for a Training Peaks subscription. Want GPS mapping? Need to create a route on Ride With GPS first. Want to set up segment based goals? Need to subscribe to Strava Premium. Meanwhile Garmin has all of this housed within Garmin Connect.”
Others, and I’m one of them, prefer third-party syncing, and one of my favorite among Wahoo’s handshakes is mentioned above: Making routes on Ride With GPS (free) and syncing back with the ELEMNT. In my experience this is the best cycling route builder. Wahoo’s decision to pair with strategic partners rather than build all functionality itself is a strength to some, a weakness obviously to others. One critique of Wahoo is that many of its sync partners offer paid rather than free services.
DC Rainmaker wrote in June that, “Garmin’s Biggest Competitor is Their Own Software Instability,” discussed at the time on our Forum. One DC Rainmaker beef with Wahoo is that its software functionality for the ROAM was promised but not delivered upon launch. Some or most of the tardiness appears to have been cure as of today’s firmware announcement.