My Hammerhead Karoo 2 Overview (And Why I Left It Within the Field for 12 Months)

On this put up I evaluate the Hammerhead Karoo 2. Which is a motorcycle laptop. And an excellent one.

I purchased the Karoo 2 approach again in August 2021 however solely managed to get it out of its field in August 2022 attributable to [insert unsatisfactory excuse here].

Hammerhead Karoo 2 unboxing

I’m glad I did although. Over the past 3 months, I’ve grown to quite prefer it.

It’s not a supernew gadget. The unique clunky trying Karoo was launched in 2017 with the extra svelte Karoo 2 following within the second half of 2020.

I’ll prevent an excessive amount of of the spiel.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 device

Mainly it’s a excessive finish touchscreen bike GPS, constructed on the Android working system quite than a bespoke Hammerhead one.

And, because it seems, it’s a VERY viable different to Garmin and Wahoo on the prime finish of the bike laptop market.

Watch The Video

There’s a YouTubez model of this put up! And you’ll WATCH IT HERE! You LUCKY individuals! (cease shouting)

The Fundamentals

Stated bike GPS market is sufficiently mature that there’s a set of options frequent to all mid and higher-end units.

The Karoo 2 has all of them, besides one. Hmm, mysterious….

Hammerhead Karoo 2 ASMR

In no explicit order, the Karoo 2:

  • Makes use of the magic of satellites to trace and document your bike rides;
  • Connects to ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors to show and document session knowledge;
  • Hyperlinks to and controls your good coach;
  • Whispers candy Bluetooth notifications to your smartphone; and
  • Has full on-board navigation.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 trainer workouts

And earlier than you begin worrying, the lacking characteristic – syncing experience knowledge along with your smartphone through Bluetooth – is form of redundant. I’ll come to that later within the put up.

The Karoo 2 is constructed on succesful {hardware}. There is no such thing as a lag when shifting across the gadget. It won’t be iPhone fast nevertheless it feels zippy sufficient as a motorcycle laptop.

Hammerhead continues to develop the software program working system, releasing updates and new options each couple of weeks, which is, in fact, wunderbar.

This Karoo 2 firmware refresh thingummy appears to get referred to as out rather a lot – in way more respected media institutions than this one – and it’s undoubtedly factor. However Garmin and Wahoo additionally replace firmware on a reasonably common foundation – so I’m unsure it’s the differentiating issue that individuals appear to suppose.

That mentioned, a type of software program updates introduced the CLIMBER characteristic. Which is a differentiating issue. And I’m an enormous fan. So let’s sink our tooth into the meat of the evaluate there.

CLIMBER Function

My hands-down favorite factor on the Hammerhead Karoo 2 is the CLIMBER characteristic. All caps.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 Climber detail

As a bicycle owner, if there may be something weaker than my 43-year outdated legs, it’s my 43-year outdated psychological resolve. On longer and tougher rides, I battle not figuring out how a lot distance is left or what number of metres of complete ascent are left to accrue.

The identical applies to particular person climbs. I really feel rather a lot happier if I do know the place a climb steepens, the place it flattens to supply respite and whether or not there may be one other vicious ramp across the subsequent bend.

So the elevation display screen is my pal on a tricky experience, outmoded extra not too long ago by ClimbPro from Garmin and the Wahoo Summit characteristic (which in reality is only a vibrant elevation chart).

CLIMBER on the Karoo 2 is best than each of them as a result of, crucially, it really works even once you’re not following a pre-defined route.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 climber handlebars

Utilizing mysterfarious software program whizzbangery and, presumably, the gradient knowledge constructed into the map file, the Karoo 2 will work out when you’re heading in the direction of a considerable climb after which current you with a display screen of helpful knowledge to quieten the psychological monkey.

The format of the display screen is vibrant and clear, and I prefer it.

The climb is split into 500 metre chunks, every of which is color coded by gradient. Darkish inexperienced is less complicated, getting steeper as you progress by means of yellow, orange and pink. Fortunately I’ve not but hit purple.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 climbs

The horizontal grid beneath, once more color coded, exhibits the gradient over the following few 100 metre increments. So that you get the total extent of the climb on the chart, necessary for my long run psychological state, after which extra granular knowledge within the grid.

Apparently accuracy could be a difficulty on the 100 metre stage. At this scale, the quantity proven could be distorted by incorrect spikes within the underlying mapping knowledge. I’ve usually discovered it okay however then I’ve not been utilizing the Karoo 2 in mountainous terrain with switchback bends, the place the problem is extra pronounced.

Both approach, I just like the CLIMBER display screen itself. It does job of cooling my fear jets. And I significantly like that it pops up for an upcoming climb on any experience, not simply these the place I’m following an uploaded route.

Possibly the Garmin elves are beavering, and the Wahoo beavers are elving, to breed an analogous characteristic, however for now, and assuming Hammerhead continues to work on the gradient knowledge subject, CLIMBER is, for me, a very good motive for choosing the Karoo 2 over its rivals.

Seems to be, Measurement And All That Fandango

I used to be anticipating the Karoo 2 to be chunky, bordering on ugly. In actuality it’s neither.

While it’s hardly a small bike laptop and it doesn’t have any aero pretensions, it seems to be sufficiently good and fashionable within the out-front mount.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 size comparison

It’s a bit greater than my Edge 830, form of just like my Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM and a bit smaller than my Edge 1030 Plus. Not too massive; not too small. Just like the porridge.

The mount becoming on the again is Hammerhead’s personal design. You form of slide it on and it clicks into place. Slight twist and slide off to take away, or that’s the speculation. It feels very safe within the mount, VERY safe, however I battle a bit with getting it out [MONT ADOPTS BLANK LOOK].

Hammerhead Karoo 2 mount fitting

Really I battle with it rather a lot. It’s a ache.

I discover the Garmin system rather a lot simpler – I suppose 9 years of expertise does that to you – however I’ll stick with the Hammerhead one within the hope I get the grasp of it. The Karoo 2 comes with an adaptor if all of it will get an excessive amount of, or if in case you have a treasured household heirloom Garmin handlebar mount that you would be able to’t hand over.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 mount adaptor

However who cares about handlebar mounts? The Karoo 2 is a pleasant trying unit. It seems to be good and really a lot the half whence hooked up to my bike.

And! If you end up gazing on the Hammerhead for any time frame, it received’t be the case that attracts the attention. It will likely be the very stunning show.

So why don’t we speak about that…

Display screen

Hoo mamma.

The Karoo 2 comes with an excellent, vibrant matte show, which, based on the specs, is constituted of Gorilla Glass. I’d have guessed unicorn piss.

It’s vivid. It’s vibrant. It’s excessive definition. I likes it very a lot.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 booting up

Should you’ve learn my ELEMNT BOLT V1 versus V2 comparability put up, you’ll know I actually just like the display screen on the newer model of the BOLT.

I.M.H.O. the show on the Karoo 2 is even higher. It’s definitely much less reflective in vivid daylight than the Edge 830 and 1030 Plus and clearer to learn while using.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 and Edge 830 on handlebars

Listed here are a few of my amateurish pictures that most likely don’t do the Karoo justice.

The Karoo isn’t only a fairly face. It’s a sensitive face. Hmm…

I’d describe the touchscreen as satisfactory, which isn’t meant to be a euphemism for ‘dangerous’.

We’ve maybe been spoilt by extremely responsive good telephones and tablets with regards to finger on display screen motion.

The Karoo 2 touchscreen isn’t iPhone quick nevertheless it’s affordable for a motorcycle laptop that has to place up with common highway soakings. It’s definitely on a par with touchscreen Garmin Edges, from whence the competionary pressures come up.

Person Interface

Whether or not we’re speaking the touchscreen Edge 830 or the button-reliant Edge 530, nearly all of the features and settings on greater finish Garmins are managed and, er, set on the gadget itself. In consequence, the Garmin UI, no less than pre the brand new Edge 1040, makes copious use of menus and sub-menus.

Wahoo ELEMNTs don’t presently have touchscreens so that they depend on bodily buttons, primarily on the entrance, with a smartphone app doing plenty of the heavy lifting from a settings perspective. Other than core performance, the issues you are able to do straight on an ELEMNT gadget is pared again to make the person expertise clear and easy.

The Karoo 2 presents a blended path, each by way of the person interface – how options are organised and offered on the bike laptop – and the controls.

The Karoo 2 has each the touchscreen and 4 bodily buttons on the aspect of the gadget, with sure core features, reminiscent of scrolling by means of the experience knowledge screens, managed by both technique.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 side buttons

Hammerhead doesn’t mirror Garmin’s method of menu after menu. It’s way more like a smartphone interface, with intuitively designed display screen components and copious quantities of finger swiping. To my eyes, and stunted digits, it’s engaging and pleasing to make use of.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 user interface

Nor does it rely, massive Wahoo model, on an app as a result of, get this people, there isn’t an iPhone app (there’s a fundamental Android one however solely mirroring cellphone notifications).

WTAF. Who designs a motorcycle laptop with out an app?

Hammerhead Karoo 2 no app

However maintain on, younger grasshopper, let’s actualise collectively and obtain readability.

The Android, i.e. smartphone software program, primarily based UI is the app, and the Karoo 2 is the smartphone. You may even put a SIM card in it.

[Brrssssskkkk! Mind blown…]

Anyway, I very just like the Karoo’s person interface.

For the headline options, like CLIMBER and the mixing with Strava Dwell Segments, the screens are daubed with eye-slapping splashes of color. To this pre-school artwork critic, they give the impression of being the enterprise.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 navigation

The screens are intuitively laid out. The place wanted, Hammerhead provides refined textual content descriptions to clarify what an choice or a display screen is there for.

When you’ve acquired the grasp of them, altering the settings on a experience profile, reminiscent of including a knowledge web page or discipline, is simple.

You may tweak, ideally not twerk, to your hearts content material.

Maps and Navigation

Navigation is one other Karoo 2 power, definitely for road-verts like me.

Maps are vibrant with loads of element, however not too busy that they turn out to be tough to observe. There’s a great deal of area on the gadget, 32 Gigacrackers, during which to obtain maps for once you’re off the grid.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 map screen

Taking part in round with the map while on a experience, zooming out and in, squiggling round, is responsive with little noticeable lag. For alternative, the icon that unlocks the view, permitting you to scroll round, is barely simpler to hit on Garmin, primarily as a result of it makes use of an unsightly nice hand icon. The Karoo’s extra refined lock icon can require a couple of fats finger thrusts earlier than the ferret is fettled.

Getting routes onto the Karoo 2 is a chunk of picnic. You may create them on the gadget or through the Hammerhead web site. With a linked Strava account, any routes you create and favorite will routinely seem on the Karoo 2. For RideWithGPS, once more after linking accounts, you simply copy the route URL into this field and it magically seems each in your Dashboard and on the Karoo.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 dashboard

You may even copy in random Google Maps routes and it nonetheless works! It’s not clear why this operate fills my loins with such heat.

A Fast Phrase On Bluetooth and 4G

Bear with me. That is the lacking characteristic I discussed up prime.

The Karoo 2 makes use of Bluetooth to speak with Bluetooth sensors secreted about your bike and your particular person. It additionally makes use of it to flash up texts, emails and new TikTok dance notifications on the Karoo display screen.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 phone notifications

What the Karoo doesn’t do, so far as I can inform, is use Bluetooth to sync along with your cellphone. Once you end a experience, it received’t ship the file to your iphone, and thence on into the ether. Or Strava.

Within the different path, your cellphone isn’t sending route recordsdata to the Karoo 2.

It is because, and younger man we’ve talked about this, your Karoo 2 is your cellphone.

To do mentioned syncing, really to your Hammerhead account, which accommodates all of your experience and route knowledge, the Karoo 2 wants to connect with the knowledge freeway matrix internet through wifi or utilizing the SIM card that you simply’ve inserted into its rear passage.

Should you’re utilizing a SIM, you may as well allow stay monitoring natively on the Karoo 2, quite than relying in your cellphone and its battery. I can’t say much more as a result of … I’ve not tried it. Soz. LOL. That mentioned, I don’t use these options on my Wahoos and Garmins, so do I actually care?

Hammerhead Karoo 2 live tracking

Should you’re going sans SIM, you may all the time join the Karoo to your cellphone’s wifi hotspot for on-the-move route transfers and uploads. Or simply wait till you get again to a wifi-enabled base.

There will be the odd use case the place the Karoo struggles with one thing a competitor can do. In Wahoo world, when you’re out of cell protection, you should utilize your cellphone to ship an current path to your ELEMNT. However these really feel few and much between.

So I’m nice with the Hammerhead method. Your kilometerage could in fact range.

Battery life

If a tool can go a couple of rides between prices, with ‘a couple of’ being very loosely outlined, then it’s ok for me. I battle to search out the subject of battery life fascinating. Then I get grief, albeit from a subset of voltage ticklers, for not partaking with the topic.

So I did a science. A steaming nice maths science in your YouTube doormat.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 battery life 3

What I Did

In my two take a look at intervals, each beginning with a completely charged battery, I used the Karoo 2 for rides of various lengths and recorded the battery stage over time. Or quite the Karoo did, in every FIT file, and I downloaded and anal-ysed them.

I didn’t do something particular to both expend or eke out battery life. I simply used the Karoo with out pondering. My commonplace protocol for all times.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 battery life 1

What I Discovered Out

Lengthy story brief, in take a look at interval one, over 5 hours of using, battery stage decreased from 98% to 37%, a drop of 61 share factors. Scaling that up implies {that a} absolutely charged Karoo 2 ought to give simply over 8 hours of using. Check 2 was related, giving an implied 8.5 hours of actual world battery life.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 battery life 2

Right here endeth my doctoral thesis.

Eight hours is greater than sufficient for my day-to-day velo, with the occasional experience on the weekend. However my bum would start to squeak, excessive pitched and siren-like, if I used to be taking a look at a tricky 100-miler or a giant day within the mountains. There’s not a lot margin for error.

There’s a battery saving mode, which I assume will get you nearer to the higher finish of the 7 – 14 hour battery life vary that Hammerhead states for the Karoo 2, however remember that in regular mode, it’ll require extra frequent prices than competing Garmin and Wahoo bike computer systems.


While we’re speaking milliamp hours, my specialist topic, a very temporary phrase on charging.

The Karoo 2 has a USB-C charging port, which seems to be the minimal requirement lately. Even Garmin is beginning to do away with the old style, sluggish to cost micro-USB energy sphincter. In order that’s all good.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 charging port

Much less good is that this removable charging port cowl. And I imply absolutely removable.

With out the standard rubber banjo string keep-attached thingummy, absolutely this may get misplaced sooner or later.

But it surely hasn’t gone but. So possibly Hammerhead know one thing about banjo strings.

Hammerhead says the port is waterproof so, as soon as once more, I’m most likely wittering on about inconsequentialities.

Is The Hammerhead Karoo 2 A Good Bike Pc

You’ve most likely guessed the reply. Sure.

I’ve very a lot loved utilizing the Karoo 2. I’m barely confused why it took me so lengthy to get it out of the field.

Having learn earlier evaluations, I used to be anticipating points with stability, options randomly not working, sensors dropping out. I’ve had none of this. Efficiency is as constant as my Swiss clockwork bowels.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 end view

I did someway, through a mix of persistent random button presses, i.e. my very own fault, trigger it to manufacturing facility reset, however pleasingly, all the pieces rebooted and resynced to my account with out shedding the customized screens I’d arrange and historic experience knowledge.

The Karoo 2 has all the pieces I want from a motorcycle laptop, with a improbable display screen and a really usable software program interface. As I believe I’ve gushed sufficient, I really like the automated CLIMBER characteristic.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 turn directions

A observe of warning. Should you’re a posho with excessive finish Shimano digital gear wizardry, you need to be conscious that the Karoo 2 doesn’t have the standard Di2 integrations you see on excessive finish Edges and Wahoos. It used to, however then SRAM purchased Hammerhead, smokey selections have been made in knee jerk rooms, and now it doesn’t.

So solely purchase the Karoo 2 when you can stay with not seeing what gear you’re in always.

However with that disclaimer disclaimed, if:

  • you’re available in the market for a premium bike laptop with a show to tickle your eye buds;
  • you’re not in a monogamous relationship with both Garmin or Wahoo; and
  • you don’t need one other bloody app in your smartphone (harrrumph!)

Then the Karoo 2 could be the handlebar dangler for you.

En garde!

PS. If you wish to see how the Karoo 2 stacks up towards its rivals, you may prefer to learn my put up evaluating one of the best worth touchscreen bike computer systems out there proper now.

Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic highway bicycle owner with solely average expertise. He began Sportive Bike owner in 2013 to document the journey to his first 100 mile experience, the RideLondon 100. Over time the weblog has expanded to incorporate coaching recommendation, gear evaluations and highway biking tales, all from the attitude of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Because you’re right here, Monty would additionally such as you to take a look at his YouTube channel. Additionally, Monty actually must cease referring to himself within the third particular person.