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Wahoo Halts ROAM Bike GPS Shipments

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We’re going to toss this post into the quick heads up post category – but Wahoo has semi-quietly announced to retailers and consumers that they’ve delayed further shipments of the just announced Wahoo ELEMENT ROAM GPS until early July. While the new color mapping and navigational unit did start shipping about three weeks ago in limited quantities, the company has run into a manufacturing snag.

Or, I suppose more accurately: Early users ran into said snag – their ROAM mounts broke.

The ROAM Mount:

The Wahoo ROAM includes a fairly similar out-front mount design to that of the BOLT, which is designed to look sleek and aero. While Wahoo shifted away from the aero claims of the BOLT with the ROAM, the general aero gist of the design is the same – just bigger. It also still retained the nifty locking screw on it allowing you to lock your head unit to the mount (which was more for UCI WorldTour Pro teams to get around minimum weight restrictions).

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Unfortunately, it seems as though the new design has resulted in some users’ mounts breaking. It’s unclear if that’s due to the larger design, or the added weight of the ROAM over the BOLT (95g vs 61g). In fact, about two weeks ago a DCR Reader hit me up on Twitter showing their newly received Wahoo ROAM mount had broken after just a few hours of use:

If you were to look at that same spot on a non-broken mount, it’s the hinge point where the mount lifts up:

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Note that the mount is exactly the same as the previous BOLT mount in this particular region. Here’s the two side by side:

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Combine that with notice to a bunch of DCR readers in the comments section over the last 10 days that had contacted Wahoo and were told of a delay until July, I reached out to Wahoo to see if the two were related. Here’s what they said:

Nothing.

No, for real – I requested comment or clarification four times over the last 8 days, all without any response at all on the topic – not even a ‘no comment’.

Update – June 3rd, 2019 5:45PM: Wahoo has provided the following comment regarding the mounts. Wahoo also noted that my previous four messages to three different individuals all ended up in their spam folder.

“We have seen some manufacturing delays on ROAM, related to a performance issue with the mount. Although there was a very small number instances, we decided to be cautious and made a minor change to ROAM mount which included switching sub-suppliers for this component. We expect to resume shipping product within the next few weeks.

 

Customers who have already received ROAM are encouraged to contact customer service in the event they experience any issues or questions with their computer.

 

ROAM and its suite of navigation features is ready to help cyclists navigate new routes, push further, and explore new places. We regret that shipping on ROAM has been delayed, but look forward to getting this groundbreaking new computer into the hands of cyclists.”

They have sent e-mails to retailers/dealers notifying them of the delay, and in the case of European retailers they also specified the mount breakages being the specific cause for the delay. Wahoo has also reached out to the small number of existing early ROAM customers (some units did go out) and offered them older Wahoo ELEMNT mounts, which are compatible and can handle the load.

Meanwhile, for customers that have not yet received their order, Wahoo has been responding to support inquiries with the following:

“Hello,

 

Thanks for purchasing the ELEMNT ROAM GPS Bike Computer. Unfortunately, we have had an unexpected delay in production and are not expecting ELEMNT ROAMs to arrive until early July. Based on this, we want to give you two options:

 

1. We can ship you your brand new ROAM as soon as it arrives and, as a token of our gratitude for your patience, we are able to offer a TICKR heart rate monitor or RPM Speed & Cadence sensors free of charge.

 

2. Alternatively, we can refund you for your purchase.

 

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and hope that this plan to get you ROAMing illustrates our commitment to assuring you are completely satisfied with your Wahoo purchase. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help with and thank you for being a Wahooligan!

 

Respectfully,
The Wahoo Team”

Obviously, mount failures are never good – though they are surprisingly rare in this industry. I can’t remember any of the major bike GPS makers ever having failed mounts (as a widespread/recall type issue). I have had some 3rd party mounts fail me over the years though – almost all of them on the cobbled streets of Paris. Guess I need to find myself another nice cobblestone test bed here in Amsterdam.

Speaking of which – I’ve had no failures of my test ROAM mount, nor any indication of it.  I suspect like most mechanical-driven failures, there’s likely a specific set of conditions that can cause it. Given the Netherlands has exceedingly good bike paths and infrastructure – I’m less likely to see it. When I was doing some off-road riding, I was just using the generic rubber mount on the handlebars as I was swapping between demo/rental bikes every few hours at Sea Otter and didn’t want to deal with yet more things to attach/detach.

Btw: Fun historical fact for you – Wahoo’s second original product (after the Wahoo iPhone adapter) was a bike phone case mount kit. Check out either of those nearly decade old posts for some ‘way back when’ moments. Or, pictures of my bathtub and rubber duck testing things out.

Going forward:

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In any case, this will hopefully allow the Wahoo software development team to focus more on the slate of firmware improvements that they had scoped out for May/June for the ROAM. With only a handful of paying ROAM customers out in the wild to support, they won’t likely have as much ‘new device’ support overhead that most all companies have in the first few months after releasing a product.

And in fact, that seems to be the case – Wahoo is set to release a moderate firmware update next week to production users that adds in Strava routing support (as well as support for other platforms that don’t provide underlying routing details), in addition to a substantial routing speed update (3-4x, one of the issues I was critical about). The update will also include a slew of smaller bug fixes. I continue to ride with ROAM on certain rides, and will be giving things a whirl.

Wahoo has pegged the current resumption of ROAM shipments timeframe as “early July”. I believe that’s a reasonable amount of time for an experienced company like Wahoo to redesign, test, manufacture and start shipping the mounts (since they likely started 2-3 weeks ago). The company has multiple worldwide production facilities that they can call upon to move things along. They also have existing partners within the mount sphere (both Tate Labs/BarFly as well as K-Edge) that they can probably tap for more extensive guidance and testing (they work with both companies for custom mount inserts).

Of course – Wahoo has had a rough go of hardware related issues in the past year. But it’s hard to be too critical this time, since unlike last time they have immediately stopped shipments of ROAM to address it. Best I can tell they actually stopped shipments over two weeks ago – meaning, they only shipped out at most a few limited batches in the first week. Compare that to the KICKR/CORE 18 issues where they continued to ship units throughout the entire multi-month time period. Atop that, with ROAM they’re offering customers free sensors as well, something everyone loves like candy.

And lest you think Garmin avoided rough trails on this release cycle, they too had some hardware teething issues with the also just announced Edge 530. Some early shipments had defective ‘back’ buttons that were hard to press. The company says they’ve already found and fixed the issue on the manufacturing line, and are swapping out units for anybody who got a bad unit.  And then there’s Stages – which is now some 6-8 months behind schedule on their new Dash units, though now slated to start shipping in the next 10 days.

Making hardware is hard. Really hard.

Hopefully all these companies can quickly get this behind them and things back on track so we can get out and ride our bikes.

With that – thanks for reading!

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54 Comments

  1. Hi Ray,

    Thanks for sharing. When you say:

    ” I can’t remember any of the major bike GPS makers ever having failed mounts (as a widespread/recall type issue).”

    I remember an issue with a plastic out-front mount from Polar at the V650 release time: link to nakan.ch

    Greg

    • Funny, that seems a lifetime ago. I don’t remember it, but then again at the time (and I guess even till now), Polar didn’t really get widespead love on that unit. Too bad, in many ways they had real potential. As many journalists noted at launch, had it been ANT+ compatible then in those days which was largely prior to widespread BLE adoption, I think they’d be a legit Garmin competitor now on the bike side.

    • Chris Woodhouse

      Original Garmin bike computer mounts (605/705 era) failed frequently – but not as frequently as their software

  2. Tom

    What’s going on with Wahoo at the minute,

    Last year Kickr/core problems for months people having up to 7 units.
    Big announcements coming and it’s a pink wahoo bolt.
    Overpriced and underfeatured roam, with production stop issues.

    Seems like you can’t trust them to deliver a good product on day 0.

    • People need to adopt the THREE STRIKES rule to technology. Seven units? Seven?! I’d take up lawn bowls after four.

    • Dave Lusty

      I returned it after one and bought a Neo 2. A very quick browse of the Facebook forum for a given product is enough to see whether you have one faulty unit or if the whole product line is FUBAR. Unfortunately I checked Facebook too late on that occasion so had a very short ownership of a very wobbly Kickr Core.

      I feel you guys need to review these units on wooden floors to really highlight these issues. In the shop that wobble was barely noticeable on the concrete flooring, just felt a bit of vibration at high speed. At home it was like a jet engine and shook the floor. Neo 2 is perfect 🙂

    • Tom

      And where’s the watch that was almost launched?

      I’m in the market for new cycling computer too, looks like it’ll be the 830!

    • I actually had wood floors in Paris. But given the Wahoo feet adjust individually, it’s actually easier to adjust a Wahoo unit to a wonky floor than a Tacx Neo

    • Dave Lusty

      It wasn’t a wonky floor issue, it was a wonky flywheel issue. 1mm of movement in the flywheel due to poor manufacturing tolerances caused a huge amount of vibration which on wooden floors makes a big racket and vibrates the whole floor.
      I wasn’t criticising your methods though, just highlighting how environment can make a “silent” trainer anything but.

    • Ahh, that makes far more sense. Sorry, I read it was a floor issue (like, you didn’t know how to use the little floor feet thingy). Fear not, I just drank a cup of coffee and two stroopwaffles, now I’m back on all cylinders.

    • John

      I remember some of the first Neo trainers were like pedaling with a box of rocks inside.

    • Frank-enstein

      @Tom — good summary

      Makes me feel lucky with only one KICKR replacement

      A broken mount does distract from ROAM’s biggest problem. They added no features + the price is silly. This is simply a $249-279 unit pretending to be a $379 unit.

    • gt7

      Yeah, I thought I’d try a Climb out on one of those Memorial Day sales, I was never able to get it to work. I tried contacting Wahoo support via three different mediums and their responses on all three were bordering on comical. One finally replied to my follow up questions over a week later asking me about the manner in which the Climb was “stuck”, I told them at this point it is “stuck” in a box on it’s way to back.

    • Philipp

      Yeah, same issue with my Kickr. Had 4 replacement units before the last one finally worked (ok but not perfect) on my wooden floor.

      In general I think Wahoo struggles with significant quality issues across their products. The last software update in April for the Bolt was a desaster for SRM users. Still not fixed. But also had issues with my Garmin Vector 2s.
      I have the impression the amount of features they are trying to stuff into their cycling computer cause a lot of issues due to complexity. And I think there is the struggle: the market seems to demand features like WhatsApp notifications on the screen while basics such as correct cadence power readings fall off the cliff.

  3. Dave Lusty

    Probably those heavy bezels… 😉

  4. colin

    Hey Ray

    I also had the mount break on me on my second ride (Manchester , UK….roads alas nothing like Amsterdam).

    I took it back to Evans two weeks ago and they looked at me like I was lying and had crashed my bike as a consequence !

    Glad to see this update today that confirms it was a fault of Wahoo…Evans still to get back to me {tut tut} re: warranty etc. Maybe Wahoo have been swamped by retailer returns.

    Cheers
    Colin

    • Yeah, dealers have been sent e-mails about it. Though whether that trickled it’s way to your support person is a different matter.

      Still, it’s probably easier for you just to reach out to Wahoo support directly – they’ve been responding pretty quick to folks. I doubt they were swamped by returns, as honestly I don’t think a lot of units went out. I’m sure they’ve also got a pretty good supply of original ELEMNT mounts they can quickly ship people (which is what they’ve been doing to date).

  5. scott g.

    Ship the Roam without the mounts, they go in the bin anyway.
    Like the saddles that come on factory built bikes.

    Happy K Edge and Barfly user, Barfly is B quality, but they
    have the only mounts for old timey 23.8 Compass/Nitto bends.

    • mjciv

      I wonder how feasible it would be to offer waiting customers the option of immediate delivery, with a barfly/k-edge coupon instead of a mount

    • …or just add an older ELEMNT mount to the box. Gotta believe that’s cheaper than sending out a new box of sensors.

    • John

      I’m a big fan of the K-Edge mounts, sturdy and they are available for either 31.8 or 35mm bars.

      Barfly (and Garmin) mounts are 35mm only — with a shim for 31.8mm bars, even though the vast majority of bars are 31.8mm. Probably saves them a few pennies, at the cost of a worse customer experience.

  6. Nicholas

    I forget if it was your video on YouTube or someone else but each time the buttons were bring pressed I was watching the mount flex. That just struck me as not good and odd.

    Seems my impressions were correct.

    Glad they are quickly working to resolve it but eight days with no return emails seems strange.

  7. Mark

    Working in Product Quality, I see two things here:

    1. During product qualification, there should be a shock and vibration test that the product should pass. Highly accelerated life test should have also uncovered this weakness. It could have been that they didn’t perform this test (a bit unlikely) or their testing wasn’t able to uncover this.
    2. It could be that there is a supplier related issue (mount supplier) that caused the failure on a certain batch. It could also be the reason why your unit is good. It could also account for the qualification test described in # 1 to pass if it was done.

    • K Xiao

      I see what could be the causes:

      1. The design as you noted, Testing and Validation process didn’t have a check for the strength and reliability of the mount, or it did but the testing was not performed properly;

      2. The testing was passed, but the material the manufacturer used various from batch to batch. Since it is a plastic part, it is likely that the manufacturer wants to cut the corner by using or adding some recycled plastic to inject the part.

      Nevertheless, this shows Wahoo has a poor Quality Assurance program in place, if they ever have one.

  8. Jacek Thomann

    I am curious if they will replace the old ones for the customer who already bought it.

  9. Derek Chan

    My usb cover broke off on my Bolt. Reached out to wahoo but it’s not a replaceable part. At best a $2 mass produced non replaceable part. They would only offer a 40% off under crash replacement since it’s more than a year old.

    I’d be inclined to go back to garmin if it wasn’t for the ease of maps on the wahoo.

    • Jim

      Do you generally expect companies to replace products outside of warranty? I’ve personally never been successful in this endeavor, so I wouldn’t expect Wahoo to be any different.

      Let me get this straight, though, you like the product and find it to be easier to use than Garmin, but because Wahoo wouldn’t replace your out of warranty unit, you are now inclined to go back to Garmin? Do you expect Garmin would send you a replacement? You’ve obviously never had to deal with Garmin

      I’d take my 40% off and be happy I was even offered that.

    • Fwiw: I believe the BOLT is IPX7 rated, so it could actually go underwater even without that cover there. Of course, the cover does help prevent things like sand or sports gel from getting in there and causing a mess. I used to put head units under to demonstrate this: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Derek Chan

      No, I’d like a small replacement usb cover that doesn’t break off. The unit itself is fine and I find it ridiculous to get an entirely new one just to fix this bit. Heck I’d have bought a new cover if there were parts floating around.

      Ray: Wahoo support said the port is waterproof only when the cover is on. I take that to mean its not like the Garmin port.

    • Eric Tiffany

      Also FWIW, the rubber USB port cover on my Garmin 520 broke off, and I called Garmin and they sent me one for free. Ray, if there is an item in your review database for “free replacement of USB cover”, put a check mark in the Garmin column.

    • Scott Millns

      It’s the USB cover, a consumable part surely? It’s not about product replacement outside of warranty.

      Seriously though, our attitude to WEEE needs to change.

    • Damien

      Powertap fixed my P1 pedals for free without any questions even though the warranty period had expired.

  10. Tom in MN

    Great fracture surface picture. You can probably count the bumps he went over by the beach marks. It clearly started the fractures at the hole edges (corners on the fracture surfaces) on the right side and the cracks propagated to the left (with each bump) until all that was left was the left quarter of the upper part, which then pulled away. The bottom part might have fatigued through first and then the top started, so the bump count would be the sum of the beach marks. Looks like he either hit one massive bump (middle of bottom section has a wide gap between marks) or this is from when he tightened the mount originally. /mechanics nerdiness

  11. Jose

    Funny how Ray said that Wahoo had contacted either some or all of the owners of the units that were shipped out. Funny enough, if it wasn’t for this blog, I wouldn’t have known this issue. I wasn’t contacted so I contacted them. Let’s see what they say. Ball’s in their court.

  12. Kirby Krieger

    When they add “Climb Pro” via firmware I’ll buy. (Until then sticking with my Elemnt, which is still a work of exemplary design and a pleasure to use.)

  13. Hector Bido

    Hi Ray
    Maybe Wahoo will install a quicker processor on the Roam and get rid off that slugishness.

  14. Mark

    Problem solved. I’ll stick with my Garmin thanks very much 👍

  15. Christian Fredrickson

    I would love to get the Roam now please. I am not using the Wahoo mount on my existing Elemnt. So a broken stock mount has nothing to do with me.

    I have a hidemybell with GoPro and am sticking with that.
    link to closethegap.cc

  16. My LBS saw I had a Bolt and asked if I wanted to upgrade to a Roam. Offered me a crazy good price on it, so I went for it.

    It’s a great little computer. The sluggishness is a little irritating, it doesn’t seem to be the device’s CPU but rather a transition animation they’ve added – it seems like it could be easily fixed. The UI is near identical to the Bolt for most things.

    I’ve noticed that the buttons are much harder to press/less tactile feedback than my Bolt and when you use the stock mount, if you don’t support the device it bends a lot.

    So in short, the mount breaking is probably a product of a weak mount + hard to press buttons.

    I still like it though… but I also like my Bolt. I want ALL THE THINGS.

  17. I have had the same issue. My initial issue was that the out front mount that came with the unit had a disturbing amount of movement in it whilst riding. So I challenged Wahoo on this. They sent me a pre production stiffer mount, an element mount and a leash.

    As the element bolt mount was not ‘aero’ I used the pre production mount as that was marketed to me in the first place. The Pre production mount snapped.So on going back to Wahoo they sent me a K edge ally out front mount, not aero. So went back to the aero out front mount which came with the unit. That has broken as well.
    Although Wahoo have been supportive and have said they will sort out the problem. Replacement will be a K edge specific to the Wahoo Roam. My only concern is how on earth were they marketing this as a trail finding unit with an out front mount likely to snap. Also not one of the companies picking up on the mount flapping about like i did on my first ride with it.

  18. Hylco

    They have started shipping again. I’ve received my unit today (The Netherlands) and the mount worked fine today.

  19. Baron_Keiler

    Yesterday a strange mail flew into my mailbox.
    The (private) German mail service DPD notified me of a shipment from Wahoo Netherlands that was supposed to bei delivered on the same day.

    Bad: I was at the office.
    Good: my (retired) neighbor wasn’t.

    And guess what: yesterday evening I was able to Pick up my brand new ROAM and start playing around with it. Did a couple of Soft-/Firmware-Updates (2 actually) and downloaded maps for Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg.

    Today I decided to drive to my office extraordinarly early. Two and half hours early. And I took a longer route. I skipped the daily morning jog to the office and replaced it with my first ride as a wahooligan.

    Right now I am perfectly satisfied. The display is easy to read, the GPS works like charm and navigation following a preparing track is a piece of cake. The mount looks 99% the same and if it weren’t for the for lack of any hollow structures or the suprisingly high weight, I wouldn’t have realized it is one of the new mounts. And actually I didn’t notice any flex or so. On the other hand I have to admit the ride was only 55km and some 80-85% paved roads.

    For now I have no idea about battery life, the sturdiness of the mount in “tough conditions” or the navigation without prepared tracks.
    But besides that: the first impression is an extraordinarly good one.

    (Man, the unit just FEELS high quality. Having multiple chances to get my hands on a Garmin 530, for me personally the ROAM feels way more “reputable”)

    • Brian

      I got mine 7/9 though I’m in the USA. The new mount seems much beefier than the one shown in the article. The lower part of the bar clamp is significantly thicker and extends below the bar enough that it pushed against my front brake cable housing and required that I adjust my front SRAM Red caliper. I may need to shorten the cable housing by a cm or so just a bit to provide more clearance. In comparison, the Bolt’s mount clamp had no issues.

  20. Phil Hurst

    DO we know what’s going on with the ROAM as even Wahoo are showing it out of stock? Are there more problems than we know about?

  21. Christian Fredrickson

    Just spoke with Clever training. My Wahoo ELEMNT Roam is being picked and shipped today should have it in 2-3 Business Days. (USA). FINALLY!!

  22. Tom

    any idea if they plan to make it possible to choose whether you want to disable or enable randomizing the mac address?
    I dont wanna have to disable my mac address filter every time i want it to connect to my network…

  23. Richard

    Hey guys just received my new wahoo element roam unfortunately the out front mount supplied doesn’t fit my aero handle bars are wahoo going to sort this or does anyone know of any options other than a simple plastic mount adapter surely wahoo should consider new bike designs and give options as it sells the new roam on its aerodynamic mount ?

    Richard

    • In general, aerobars are the bane of bike computer mounts existence.

      Is the issue that your aerobars are too small? Or that the bars aren’t round? If they’re too small – Wahoo does make an aerobar mount for their units, though I’m not sure offhand if it’s valid for the ROAM in terms of weight.

      The other option is 3rd party mounts. K-Edge is pretty much the leader there in terms of creative aerobar type mounts, though Tate Labs (Barfly) is another option. With both companies you can swap out the inserts. The blue insert is one designed for Wahoo units. I use a K-Edge mount on my TT/triathlon bike.

  24. Phil Hurst

    Well I opted to upgrade from the ELEMNT. Almost went back to Garmin, but thankfully remembered all the woes experienced with the last two Garmin’s that I owned (810 & 820) plus the convoluted set up process. The ROAM was a doddle to set up just like the ELEMNT and the limited colour helps differentiate between A roads.

  25. Chad Trent

    I just picked up a Roam over the weekend. I’m not sure how long it had been in the store. Is there a way to tell if mine has the new mount or the old mount?

  26. Justin Hagan

    Yeah. Picture added. They have thickened up the arm of the out front mount.