Updated: Jun 1, 2020
I have decided to try something a little different today, and start writing product reviews about some of my equipment and bits of kit that I use for own personal training and racing. This may also include some recipe books, bikes, accessories, clothing, or anything else that I wish to rave about. These items will be 100% genuine reviews on my purchases, or I will state otherwise if they are sponsored or gifted. I will also try to keep them to a 5 minute read, or as my friend says, long enough to read on his phone whilst he attends to nature.
Just before lock-down, myself and my partner Helen visited a new area in Andalucía, Spain to explore new cycling territories. As it turned out, we loved the area so much we want to go back, this is now turning into another review on a cycling holiday, so I will put that on the list for another day and get back on track with this one.
So, to cut a long and potentially boring story short, my not so trusty Garmin Edge 800 broke. I contacted Garmin and they seemed very disinterested in helping me having it repaired, and only seemed interested in selling me a new one. At this point, I had literally one week to sort out a replacement, and if you read my regular blogs you will all know I will always support local before I buy offline.
So off I pop to my trusted bike shop, and straight away they told me to forget about Garmin's, and get a Wahoo Element Roam, as these are far more user friendly, sleeker, and overall a far better product. I was given a demo by one of the members of staff on his own personal device, and in particular, how to find the best cycle routes on Ride with GPS app, and how to also create simple routes of my own.
Straight away we found 100's of potential routes for my upcoming trip, and it was downloaded and transferred to his device within in a matter of 60 seconds. May I also point out, this is exactly why I support my local shop, because you just wouldn't get that service from an online store. If you are interested in checking out my local, then please click on the Vive le Velo logo on the bottom of this page, again I will highlight, I am not sponsored by this shop, they are just bloody awesome.
I collected my device the morning I was travelling abroad, and whilst I was waiting for my partner to finish packing her case, I had downloaded the app and had it set up in minutes by just simply scanning a QR barcode on the device. The application is very user friendly and it paired with all of my other related training apps at the touch of a button.
Fast forward to arriving at the hotel, I built our bikes, then with one simple bolt, the plastic mount clamped and sat neatly in a out-front aero position. Then my power meter and HR strap connected via the app in seconds. It is also worth me mentioning, that I did not have to calibrate the power meter like I did on my Garmin, but you do have to set the crank length. I later checked this with my Garmin triathlon watch, and they were both reading the same power. We was now ready to start exploring.
Other than two particular climbs we had seen online, we really did not know where or what was in the area. We had a rough idea of wanting to do two epic days, two coastal recovery days, then fill the gaps with sightseeing rides and take in some of the culture. We used Ride With GPS to choose our rides based on the reviews people had left, again they just downloaded in seconds.
On the device itself, I chose to have three pages visible that I thought would of been useful for my trip. I chose a data screen, a map screen, and a terrain profile screen. All this is done with the app, and again it is so user friendly as you just drag and drop each data section in the order that you require. One fantastic feature is that you can zoom in and out via the device which enables you to just see your preferred data, i.e. power, time, distance, HR, or zoom out and see more data fields than you could possibly need.
Whilst out riding, the buttons are very easy to navigate on the move, and I swapped a few data fields around on my first café stop to my own personal preferences as we went along. One thing I did change was power average over 5 seconds as this stopped it fluctuating, and I also changed my HR to zones rather than the actual reading, as I personally found this more useful. One function I particularly liked was the gradient data field, I took great pleasure in relaying this back to my girlfriend as she was shouting profanities whilst climbing gradients up to 25% but I'm still to find out if they was aimed at the climb, or myself.
Whilst back home, I have been using Ride With GPS to plan some local routes and I have also introduced MyWindsock app, as this helps me decide the direction to set off in to make the most of the wind.
Overall I am really pleased with the Wahoo Element Roam, and to be fair to Garmin, my device was old so they may of improved somewhat, but I will never go back. If I was to give any constructive criticism at all, and its not really a fault. But if you leave the device connected to your app, it drains your phone battery down so just remember to close it before you set off, and I also found I had to make the map as large as possible as it can be hard to navigate on various junctions, of course this will vary upon your eyesight.