Garmin Edge (or Wahoo Elemnt Roam) and Specialized Turbo e-bikes [RESOLVED]

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
Garmins touch screens work with gloves. You may have to press harder than usual. I had an 800, and still have an 810 and 820. Used to use them while commuting in the winter all the time. The touch screen models still have a few buttons for common tasks (power, start/stop, lap).

When I upgraded I went to the 530 just because I found navigating a touch screen while riding to be imprecise (especially while mountainbiking). I may go back to a touchscreen model next upgrade just because certain things are waaaaay easier to do on a touch screen (setting up data fields, for example).
 

abercrombie

Member
A dedicated computer is recommended, if only because, you don't want your phone in a vulnerable area in front of your bike in case of an emergency/crash and also battery life has been a problem. Also, one thing I noticed is the average MPH is more accurate with a Garmin 530 since the auto-start/stop is delayed on a phone where my average MPH for the same ride is often slower by 1mph because it doesn't stop as quickly at stop lights as a dedicated computer.

eBike specific fields I use on the screen are (1) battery power in percentage (2) power meter (3) cadence. I don't have the assist level on screen, since I don't change it much and it's just a quick glance to the TCU.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
A dedicated computer is recommended, if only because, you don't want your phone in a vulnerable area in front of your bike in case of an emergency/crash and also battery life has been a problem.
There are several factors for which I consider a bike computer:
  • Vulnerability of smartphone
  • Sensitivity to rain droplets (!!!)
  • Inability to operate smartphone in gloves
  • Battery life.
I actually consider a 830 and the Garmin remote, so I could flip the pages while wearing gloves.

P.S. I like Strava Live Segments as well as the detailed information on climbs ahead that Garmin Edge computers provide.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
Agreed on the "not having the phone where it can be damaged" thing. I've broken garmin mounts in crashes several times (though the garmin units themselves were fine) and I'm not sure a phone would have survived. My phone is a part of my safety gear if I get hit by a car or crash so I don't want to risk it.

For me, an additional advantage is I have several bikes that I ride regularly (electric and non), and its nice to just have a single device that displays data and tracks my rides that works on all of them. My 530 connects to my Giant gravel ebike as well as my YT EMTB (displaying ebike battery and assist level and similar for both) and it also tracks my rides on my non-electric bikes.
 

Onimaru

Active Member
Region
USA
Has anyone tried Wahoo Elemnt Roam with a Specialized Turbo e-bike?
Have you not seen or tried gloves that have the touch screen compatible pads on the finger tips? Let’s you use your phone and still keep warm. Worth a test. I have some by Columbia that work well for Michigan winters (general winter, not cycling). Mine aren’t waterproof, but I’m not using them to “play in the snow” but just every day use. They may make waterproof ones too.
 
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DJRib

Member
Region
USA
City
Columbus OH
Has anyone tried Wahoo Elemnt Roam with a Specialized Turbo e-bike?
I use the Wahoo Bolt which l understand is now discontinued since the Roam came out. Works well connecting to the bike. There were some quirky things happening, e.g. occasionally freezing up. Wahoo support told me they were working on it and indeed that was eventually fixed. Always a challenge keeping in sync with other people's software.
 

ava1ar

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Leonia, NJ
@ava1ar: I know you ride an e-bike of another brand but you have bought the Edge Explore. I'd be happy if you could report your experiences after several days of using the Explore here. Positive and negative experiences if possible. I'm not in hurry but the navigation capabilities of the Explore are of interest to me.
I glad to share my experience with Explore, however my use case for it is very limited - I use it ONLY for navigation. Which means I don't connect any sensors/devices to it or even sync my rides from it to the Garmin Connect (keeping them on device only). The only feature of Garmin Connect I am using it syncing planned routes from the Komoot and RideWithGPS to the device. And for this purpose Explore works very well - screen customizations are sufficient, touch screen navigation is way faster and logical than buttons on 520+ I tried before. So, for navigation only Explore looks like the best option Garmin has - cheapest and with bigger screen and nice touch interface.

For everything else I am using SmartphoneHub app on my Nexus 5 phone, which is always there when I ride. I have heart rate monitor paired with it, also it uploads rides data to komoot and strava, shows me power/cadence/heart rate data, allows me to control music (I have helmet with integrated speaker and mic, which I use sometimes - ability to control my music from Bosch remote is very nice!) and off course control assist level of the bike. Navigation functionality however is very limited in it, this is why I got Garmin for. Another option I use periodically is Google Maps (it works very well for bike navigation in US) - it can just show overlay window with navigation direction on top of SmartphoneHub interface.

Some other notes regarding gloves and rain. Both Garmin and my phone are waterproof, so rain is absolutely not an issue and I have ridden in rain several times already to confirm no issue there at all (one of the reasons I picked up Nexus 5). Regarding gloves, I am currently using no-finger one, as it is still warm (even hot) here. Once I will be looking for the full-hand one with fingers, I will make sure they are touchscreen-friendly before buying - it is quiet standard feature of the gloves (biking or regular) novadays.
 
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Vamos

New Member
Region
USA
Has anyone tried Wahoo Elemnt Roam with a Specialized Turbo e-bike?
Stefan, I have a Roam and use it on my Creo and road bike. It uses three good sized buttons rather than touch screen. When on the Creo it shows and records all the e bike data such as battery, watts that am generating, which level the bike is on, in addition to the normal bike data. The screens are easily modified to show what you want. It connects with Strava, ride with GPS AND Kamoots. It does turn by turn navigation both on screen and to ear phones via cell phone if wanted. Setup is very easy and the connection is via WiFi. Look at the Wahoo site, it lists everything.
Ray
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Stefan, I have a Roam and use it on my Creo and road bike. It uses three good sized buttons rather than touch screen. When on the Creo it shows and records all the e bike data such as battery, watts that am generating, which level the bike is on, in addition to the normal bike data. The screens are easily modified to show what you want. It connects with Strava, ride with GPS AND Kamoots. It does turn by turn navigation both on screen and to ear phones via cell phone if wanted. Setup is very easy and the connection is via WiFi. Look at the Wahoo site, it lists everything.
Ray
Ray, your information and a chat with my gravel-cycling buddy was what convinced me to order a Roam. Thank you!

P.S. My mate told me I could:
  • Configure the Roam from a smartphone
  • Plan my routes with RideWithGPS (the synchronization with Roam is as easy as A-B-C)
  • Do all the actions typical for GPS navigation en route
  • Use the large buttons in gloves
  • Export ride data to Strava
An online store consultant has re-confirmed your information the Wahoo was fully compatible with Specialized e-bikes. I will report after my first rides with the new bike GPS computer!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
The First Pancake Is Always Spoiled, or, First Impression of Wahoo Elemnt Roam with Vado SL

After some initial issues with configuring the Wahoo, all went well! Yet, I was scared I bought a wrong product until I fixed the device :)

1632860847108.png

Almost there. Later, I reorganized the data fields a bit, and freed a lot of real estate on the Vado SL handlebars!

I will write a proper report with pictures in the morning my time.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Brief Report of The First Two (Long) Days of Using Wahoo Elemnt Roam with Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 and Vado 5.0

I wanted to write a long and detailed review. Unfortunately, I lost most of the text already written. Posting remnants here, the concise way.

tl;dr: Both Wahoo Elmnt Roam and Garmin Edge 830 are equal devices working on somewhat different principles, and both are capable to connect to Specialized and Giant e-bikes that support ANT+ protocol. I'm very happy with my Wahoo Elemnt Roam that I tested with both Vado SL 4.0 and Vado 5.0.

Foreword

Wahoo Elemnt Roam is a competitor to Garmin Edge GPS bike computers (it is a direct competitor to Garmin Edge 830). There are several features making it different from Garmin:
  • Wahoo bike computer is solely button operated; and the buttons are large and practical, making it ideal for use during the cold season or rainfall; Garmin uses a touch screen.
  • You configure the Wahoo almost entirely on your smartphone; with Garmin Edge, almost all configuration has to be done on the device;
  • There are no external apps or data fields for the Wahoo: all functionality is in the device or on your smartphone;
  • To get the max out of your Wahoo, it is better to carry your smartphone with you on your rides. (In the pocket or bag).
Compatibility
Wahoo confirms the Elemnt Roam is compatible with all Specialized Turbo e-bikes equipped with either the TCU controller or the TCD-w display; and with all ANT+ compatible Giant e-bikes (ones equipped with the RideControl One remote or newer ones). Multiple e-bikes can be served by the Elemnt Roam (one at a time).

The First Pancake Is Always Spoiled, or potential setup glitches of Wahoo Elemnt Roam
The setup of the Roam should be very easy. You start with installing the Elemnt companion app on your smartphone, creating your account for Wahoo, and pairing the device with the smartphone (which is an extremely easy process!) Here are issues I had with the initial setup of the Elemnt Roam:

Wi-Fi Connectivity
On the first use, the device tries to locate an available Wi-Fi network. It didn't work in my case. After I completed the initial setup, I could finally connect to my Wi-Fi. Transparently to me, the device downloaded software updates but I was not informed I should have restarted the Roam. As many things didn't work as expected, I restarted the device to see the Roam installing the updates only on the restart.

Pre-installed Maps
Wahoo has pre-installed as many maps as to leave no internal memory space to just update your local maps! I solved that issue by deleting maps for regions I wouldn't visit in near future (think of Albania; or, for that matter, the United States: I can download the maps of the U.S. later when I will need them). Deleting unnecessary maps freed as much of the device memory as I could update the map of Poland.

Pairing E-bike with the Roam
Your Specialized, Giant, or another ANT+ compatible e-bike is seen by the Roam as a sensor (the same way as your heart rate monitor is seen by the Roam). The first pairing of my Vado SL only connected the Cadence and Power sensors of the e-bike. That was wrong. Later, I deleted the sensor named E-Bike and paired my Vado SL again. Only that time, I could see the proper picture of fully connected e-bike in the Elemnt Companion App:

1632901876466.png

You need to see the Odometer status if the e-bike is properly detected as a full blown Sensor.

Note: I also paired my Polar OH-1 HR monitor with the Wahoo.

Configuration details

Wheel Circumference Is Critical!
As long as your e-bike has been connected to the device as a Sensor, you should verify the Wheel Circumference! Let me explain that, as the matter is not that simple.
  • All your e-bike really meters is the number of revolutions of the rear wheel per minute;
  • Your e-bike has the Wheel Circumference (WhC) value coded in the firmware by the factory or a dealer;
  • The RPM multiplied by WhC gives the Distance ridden;
  • The Distance ridden divided by Time gives Speed.
If -- by chance -- the value of WhC coded inside your bike is proper then no worries. However, changing your tyres to another size (or even riding at different inflation pressure than expected) will dramatically and badly affect the values reported by the e-bike. (It also can happen the coded WhC value is simply wrong!)

Now: Elemnt Roam will always report Speed as reported by your e-bike; you cannot change that behaviour. However, what really matters is the correct Distance ridden. And you can modify the Wheel Circumference value in the ELEMNT Companion App.

1632965724034.png

Elemnt Roam will read the Wheel Circumference value off your e-bike (it is 2180 mm for my Vado SL 4.0 and 2255 mm for my S-Vado 5/6). You are free to type any value instead here.

Let me give you an example: My Vado has the WhC value coded as 2255 mm, and that is for stock 29x2" Specialized Electrak 2.0 tyres. However, I swapped the stock tyres for 47-622 (28 x 1.75") Schwalbe Smart Sam. Consequences:
  • The Speed reported is (and will be) always too high (it depends on the WhC value stored in the bike)
  • The Distance reported will be correct only if I change the WhC to 2220 mm in ELEMNT Roam Companion (connected to the device, and the latter to the e-bike).
(Similarly, I'm experimenting to find the proper WhC value for my Vado SL with new 37-622 tyres).

E-Bike Data Fields
As long as your e-bike has been properly identified as a Sensor, there is pretty a lot of information extracted from the bike. For instance Speed, Cadence, Rider's Power, Assistance Mode, Battery % or Range are taken from the e-bike. There are three e-bike specific fields available:
  • LEV Battery: Your current battery %. It is not to be confused with Battery (which is the device battery %) or with Phone Battery %;
  • LEV Travel Mode: It is OFF, ECO, SPORT/TRAIL, TURBO, SMART (Or ECO or BASIC or ACTIVE etc. for Giant e-bikes)
  • LEV Range: The Range is not given by Specialized e-bikes but it is given by Giant ones.
("LEV" is for Light Electric Vehicle).

Here is an example how a well configured Workout Data page might look like:

1632963604414.png

Up to 11 data fields can be selected to the Workout Data. My selection was: Speed, Distance, Ride Time, Clock, Travel Mode, Bike Battery %, Distance to the Route Destination, Cadence, Rider's Power (average for last 3 seconds), Heart Rate, Device Battery %.

There is an interesting (Wahoo specific) way to limit the number of fields visible, and to increase the font size: just operate the Up and Down buttons. As the font increases, the less important data fields are removed from the view. That's why you are expected to not only select the desired data fields in the Companion App but also sort them from the most to the least important to you.

Data Pages
There can be maximum as many as four flippable data pages:
  • Lap Data
  • Workout Data
  • Climbing
  • Map (GPS Navigation/Routes)
  • Strava Live Segments
  • KICKR control
  • Planned workouts
These screens are configurable by the user.
I have found it practical to limit the number of Data Pages to just two: Workout Data and GPS Navigation. (I will only turn the Climbing screen on when I go for mountain trips). Having just two Data Pages makes it very easy to flip them on the ride.

Necessary to mention, the interaction between the pages is automatic. For example, you might stay in the Workout Data but you will get turn-by-turn indications when you're approaching a turn. Or, the Climbing page would pop up if you approached a climb.

All you need to do to flip the pages is to hit the large right button at the device bottom.

Connectivity to Sports Online Services
That's a breeze! The easiest thing to do. Let's say, I use a free RideWithGPS service for route planning but I'm a Strava subscriber for my workout tracking. You just need to authorize the Element Roam to use both services. Synchronization of planned routes is automatic! Just create your route in RWGPS, hit "Send to device" and your route is in the Roam! After you have completed your ride, your ride data are synchronized to both RWGPS and Strava as long as your smartphone is connected to the device (and it has an internet connection).

More Sports Online Services are available, too.

Ride Impressions
Just fantastic!
  • All ride, rider and bike data are clearly visible to you, as if you had an advanced display
  • Should you navigate, flip to the GPS Navigation page, or just watch the turn-by-turn indications in the Workout Data
There is an advanced system of LEDs at the left and top edge of the ELMNT Roam. The vertical row can, for instance, show your speed relative to the current average (faster, much faster, slower, much slower, at the average). Or, that might refer to your leg power. Or, to your heart rate.

The top row of LEDs visually indicates a turn to be taken. It is also for notifications.

There are so many navigation modes! The two most useful are:
  • Get Me Started: No navigation. Just press the button indicated as Start and ride. You get the Workout Data displayed and recorded
  • Turn-by-Turn: Activate a route and ride with GPS navigation
I won't describe all the modes: There are too many of them, and that's what you could expect from a premium GPS e-bike navigation!

Live Track
You can share your ride with family or friends: It works exactly as Strava Beacon.

Post ride report
You will get all vital ride stats. Very important information is how much of e-bike battery you used for the ride.

Recovering the real estate on your handlebars

Regarding Vado SL, I got rid of the smartphone and the TCD display from the bars:
1632967746027.png

Clean & sleek

1632968015624.png

I could get rid of the smartphone from the bars. The display of the "big" Vado is mandatory, though.

Specialized Display Mount and Wahoo

The Specialized Display Mount is for Garmin. If you want to re-use it, Wahoo comes with an inexpensive Garmin adapter:
1632968200187.png


The Wahoo ELEMNT Roam comes with a rock-solid dedicated out-front mount (I used it on my full-power Vado) and with a stem mount to be installed with provided zip-ties.

Wahoo and KICKR
ELEMNT Roam is a must if you use the Wahoo KICKR indoor cycling trainer.

Final Warning
Neither Wahoo ELEMNT Roam nor Garmin Edge 830 are for people with bad eyesight :D These displays are too small!
 
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ActionJackson

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Compatibility
Wahoo confirms the Elemnt Roam is compatible with all Specialized Turbo e-bikes equipped with either the TCU controller or the TCD-w display; and with all ANT+ compatible Giant e-bikes (ones equipped with the RideControl One remote or newer ones). Multiple e-bikes can be served by the Elemnt Roam (one at a time).
Also compatible with Garmin Varia Radar units !
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Just calibrated the Wheel Circumference of my Vado for Schwalbe Smart Sam 47-622 tyres. The value is 2,220 mm, and the distance ridden is only 0.1% off the GPS measurement. Original WhC stored in the e-bike has been 2,255 mm and it was related to 51-622 Specialized Electrak 2.0 rubbers.
 

minigrrl

Active Member
Region
Australia
City
Brisbane
So, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but your rides in Strava don't seem to have all the information about battery power used, percentage from rider, etc. any more (which I alway thought was super interesting information btw and one of the main reasons I want to upgrade to a vado sl). I presume that's because the Roam only records the power you put in? And i guess that data is the important data for a Strava workout...

Do you still save that information somewhere (% power from user etc.)?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Do you still save that information somewhere (% power from user etc.)?
I still use BLEvo, only the smartphone more typically resides in the back pocket of my cycling jersey than on the handlebars. I can copy the detailed ride information to Strava by hand only I have become too lazy to be doing that. I will copy that info for the "Bolimoza with Jacek" ride.

What I like about Wahoo/Garmin is these bike computers include a thermometer (important information related to clothing change on the ride).
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
@minigrrl:
The reasons I bought the Roam have been:
  • A small, compact and strong command centre for my rides, including GPS bike navigation, live ride/rider/e-bike/weather/etc. data (including live tracking of the e-bike position)
  • Ability to use it in gloves and during rainfall
  • Great battery life (advertised 17 h seems to be accurate).
If I'm riding in the flatland, I only need two data screens (Workout Data and Map) that can be flipped with a large button. (If I rode in the mountains, I would activate the Climbing screen in addition).

Of course, Roam is not Specialized e-bike specific, therefore it cannot extract and analyse as much of e-bike data as BLEvo can. I actually need to be running BLEvo solely for very accurate Range estimation; and for the on-the-fly assistance level adjustments.

It is necessary to calibrate the wheel circumference in Roam for this reason:
The only distance information Roam actually gets from an e-bike is the RPM of the rear wheel. That rotational speed needs to be multiplied by exact wheel circumference to give accurate distance ridden; and such calibration is the best done by comparing the measured the figure of GPS distance ridden to one calculated by the Roam and based on the e-bike wheel RPM. (Garmin Edge users can just select "Auto" for wheel circumference estimate: My brother tells me the Auto feature is not very accurate in the Edge, so he calibrated the WhC for his e-bike by my method).

Interestingly, both Garmin Edge and Wahoo Element bike computers rely on sensors. For example, a Wahoo speed sensor is a necessary buy for a traditional bike, with the Wahoo power meter as a nice extra. If no sensors are present, Garmin or Wahoo rely on the built in GPS module. (Specialized and Giant e-bikes with ANT+ already have the appropriate sensors that supersede the internal GPS of the device).

To get detailed Specialized e-bike info, I still need to run BLEvo but the smartphone doesn't need to be on the handlebars anymore.

Finally: You can determine my e-bikes in Strava easily: "Grizzle" is the Vado 5.0, "The Bike" is Vado SL 4.0.
 
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minigrrl

Active Member
Region
Australia
City
Brisbane
@minigrrl:
The reasons I bought the Roam have been:
  • A small, compact and strong command centre for my rides, including GPS bike navigation, live ride/rider/e-bike/weather/etc. data (including live tracking of the e-bike position)
  • Ability to use it in gloves and during rainfall
  • Great battery life (advertised 17 h seems to be accurate).
If I'm riding in the flatland, I only need two data screens (Workout Data and Map) that can be flipped with a large button. (If I rode in the mountains, I would activate the Climbing screen in addition).

Of course, Roam is not Specialized e-bike specific, therefore it cannot extract and analyse as much of e-bike data as BLEvo can. I actually need to be running BLEvo solely for very accurate Range estimation; and for the on-the-fly assistance level adjustments.

It is necessary to calibrate the wheel circumference in Roam for this reason:
The only distance information Roam actually gets from an e-bike is the RPM of the rear wheel. That rotational speed needs to be multiplied by exact wheel circumference to give accurate distance ridden; and such calibration is the best done by comparing the measured the figure of GPS distance ridden to one calculated by the Roam and based on the e-bike wheel RPM. (Garmin Edge users can just select "Auto" for wheel circumference estimate: My brother tells me the Auto feature is not very accurate in the Edge, so he calibrated the WhC for his e-bike by my method).

Interestingly, both Garmin Edge and Wahoo Element bike computers rely on sensors. For example, a Wahoo speed sensor is a necessary buy for a traditional bike, with the Wahoo power meter as a nice extra. Specialized and Giant e-bikes with ANT+ already have the appropriate sensors.

To get detailed Specialized e-bike info, I still need to run BLEvo but the smartphone doesn't need to be on the handlebars anymore.

Finally: You can determine my e-bikes in Strava easily: "Grizzle" is the Vado 5.0, "The Bike" is Vado SL 4.0.
Thanks for all the info, very interesting!