Bolt vs. Roam

Hey @JohnK et al,

So I’m unloading my Bolt because I simply can’t see much of the on-screen info anymore with my 50+ year old eyes. I’m considering switching to a Roam, but is it appreciably bigger than the Bolt? It’s mainly the turn-by-turn and map info that I can’t see.

Went out today with an iPhone 13 on the Wahoo app and Komoot. Not perfect, but much easier to see than my Bolt.

I recently got a Garmin Edge 530. Whenever you have to make a turn, an enlarged map pops up that shows you exactly where the turn is and you can see yourself getting closer. My old eyes (+2.5 reading glasses) can see it just fine. I had lots of trouble trying to read the turn by turn cues on the Bolt, although the new color screen (which my wife has) looks easier to see.

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I updated to the v2 Bolt (color) for similar reasons. The contrast made it hard to see (I’m just shy of 50).

I did put in a feature request for changeable font size. I’d rather lose half the screen or the entire screen for a moment to see the directions than try to read 9pt font at 30kph!


I can’t compare directly with the Bolt because I’ve never had one but my 56 year old eyes have no problem seeing the map. I normally have 4 data fields on the map screen and the zoom ratio set to 200m in the coutryside or 100m in an urban setting. The 200m setting + 4 data fields shows roughly the next 800m which I find perfect. Don’t know how an iPhone is in bright light but the Roam is super clear and never washes out - more like a colour Kindle screen than a phone screen.

Entirely personal opinion, but I am very happy with my Roam and would always choose it over a phone mounted on the handlebars.

Took a quick snap when I was out this morning:

By theway, the mount is a KOM cycling one that allows you to mount a GoPro under the Roam - works well.

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That certainly looks an improvement over what I’m looking at now!

And yeah, not fond of having my phone strapped to the bars. Plus I do routes in Komoot, which syncs directly to the Bolt/Roam, but NOT to the Wahoo app on my phone.

Getting closer to going for a Roam.

The new Bolt also has a color screen. My wife has that and it seems to help see it better.

Yes, I use Komoot too and the sync is flawless.

I’m sure if the screen was say 0.5" or 1" bigger it would be even better, but for me the Roam as it stands is a perfectly functional device and I have zero yearning to change for something else. When I’m on the bike it I never think “Oh, if only the screen was bigger…”.

When I bought the Roam the Bolt was still B&W screen. If that had been colour screen too I may have gone down that route but I do like the (slightly) bigger screen. The only use I make of the LEDs on the left of the screen is as an ahead/behind indicator on Strava Live segments - I like them for that and it’s good encouragement.

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So interesting workaround on a long base ride this morning - only the second time using Komoot for live navigation. Didn’t realize it does AUDIO cues! Put it on my phone and dropped in my back pocket and just listened for directions. Worked really well - though the computer voice could be better…maybe tap into iOS’s voice selection?

So maybe Bolt on the bars for biometrics, and Komoot in the pocket for directions?


I don’t much seek out Strava segments, but THAT is a clever use of the LEDs!

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Interesting, no I didn’t know that. I’ve never used Komoot app for navigation but I’ll give it a try sometime.

FWIW, as presbyopia inevitably set it, I bit the bullet, quit wearing contacts, and switched to progressive bifocals, which have worked great for me. I use prescription riding glasses (not the type with clip-in corrective lenses). No problems seeing the road/trail, my bike computer, phone, thorns in my tires, etc… How well these can work depends on what, if any, prescription you might already have. One reason these have worked so well for me is that I’m mildly nearsighted to begin with.


I tried the prescription bifocal cycling glasses, but my base prescription (-7.5 diopters) is so bad, that I could only find one company that would attempt them and they came out so thick (old coke bottles are thin by comparison) and so heavy, that I went back to contacts and squinting. And that was with the extra thin, super premium material! The curve in cycling glasses makes large prescriptions impractical.


My partner is at -10 and her glasses are not that thick. She’s at the age where bifocals will be needed soon. It will be interesting to see what we get next time we are at the doctors office.

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Yep. That’s a strong prescription. I’m -1.5 diopters so pretty mild. Even with that, I don’t get full wraparound style cycling glasses but go for something more moderate. There are a number of optometrists that specialize in this. One is and another is Prescription Cycling Sunglasses and Cycling Glasses | SportRx. There are others.


My regular glasses aren’t that thick either. The problem is that cycling glasses are wide and curve around your face. That makes the edges really thick. Maybe they’ve developed an even more super high index material, but I suspect that the wide wrap-arounds will always be a problem.

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That’s true. I cannot get any Cycling or Motorcycling specific glasses. Add that any internally mounted glasses are just about impossible to get or use…I have a set of glasses that ‘have to do’ for now.


Any insights on battery impact? Just recording rides with the app is fine, never thought of audio turn-by-turn.

Navigation with a phone is usually a no-go because of battery life.

I have a Lezyne Mega XL GPS bike computer that has outstanding battery life, but with a recent update they try to get involved in a business ending photosensitive epilepsy lawsuit for reasons I cannot fathom. :frowning:


I went out for two hours using Komoot’s audio cues. Wouldn’t say the drain on my phone was awful - especially since I could just turn off the screen and throw it in my back pocket. Constant screen-on is the vast majority of battery suck.

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I actually use the left LED’s to indicate approaching cars from the Garmin radar, instead of the left hand side of the screen like on your picture. I feel this gives me a little bit of real estate on the screen for better visibility. (When there are no approaching cars, the side LEDs revert back to indicating HR zone). That works well for me !


I’ll give that a try. Are the LEDs able to show multiple vehicles in any meaningful way? I find the strip on the LCD good for that. Pre owning the Varia I would often be overtaken by a car I knew was there only for it to be followed moments later by a “surprise second” car that I was unaware of. The Varia is very good at eliminating that issue.

Thanks for mentioning HR Zone on the LEDs - before I had a power meter that was one of my four fields on the map screen and I’ve been missing it - I’d forgotten that it could go on the side. :grinning: :+1: :grinning:

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Yes, each individual side LED can represent a car. Two cars = two orange LEDs moving up toward the top (i.e. you). The two lit LED may be spaced further out if the cars are spaced out. Pretty neat IMO.

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