I pre-ordered the Hammerhead Karoo 2 during the last quarter of 2020, fully aware that I might be getting a device that would still require a significant amount of “continuous enhancements”. In other words, I bought into the promise of Hammerhead delivering “the world’s finest cycling computer” through software updates. Eventually.
In many ways, the Karoo 2 already is a good bike computer. In other ways, however, the Karoo 2 is far behind its competition and most definitely a work in progress. I never considered returning the device. Instead, I am looking forward to see the improvements that Hammerhead will be introducing over time. My other cycling computer is a Wahoo Elemnt Roam.
Limited battery capacity and USB-C cable
After about 3 hours of riding, I would expect the battery of my Karoo 2 to be half-empty. On at least two occasions, however, the Karoo 2 died on me with an empty battery after just over 4 hours of use. Unless you turn off the very features which, in all likelihood, made you buy the device in the first place, charging becomes an absolute necessity on longer rides. This is easier said than done, because charging the Karoo 2 while in its mount is impossible with the cable supplied in the box. There just isn’t enough space between the base of the unit and the handlebar for a conventional USB-C plug to fit into. I use a UGREEN Right Angle USB-C to -A Cable and connect the Karoo 2 to a Zendure SuperMini 5K power bank during rides.
Despite its IP67 rating, charging the Karoo 2 in wet conditions may yet damage your device.
Since the release of the Karoo 2, a number of reviews similar to this one have been published on the Internet:
“Usually on rides I’ve found it lasts around 10–11 hours with all my power meter and heart rate sensors connected up, a route loaded, and flicking between screens. Riding without a route loaded (but still with sensors) massively increases the life per charge, to around 13 hours.”
Anna Marie Hughes
After about 6 months of using the Karoo 2, the only conclusion that I can draw from this is that something must be off with either my Karoo 2 or the reported running times…
Komoot limited to 50 planned tours, use Ride with GPS
The Hammerhead Dashboard is supposed to facilitate the integration of the Karoo 2 with services such as Strava, Ride with GPS, Komoot and others. Unfortunately, synchronisation of available routes with any of these services does not take place automatically and requires the use of either a computer or a smart phone.
With Komoot, there is an added limitation in that it is only possible to “sync your 50 most recent planned tours”. Having used other bike computers in the past, I am stunned that this should even be an issue. Komoot users with more than 50 routes to choose from have no choice, effectively, but to start jockeying around with routes just to get them to show up on the Karoo 2…
The solution to the problem is to ditch Komoot and use Ride with GPS.
The Dashboard itself is of limited functionality. Route planning is rudimentary at best and there are next to no tools for post-ride analysis of your data. While not necessarily a disadvantage, this needs to be spelled out clearly. It also means that integration with any third party services needs to to be flawless. Hammerhead’s focus, meanwhile, appears to lie elsewhere.
Missing auto lap functionality
The Karoo 2 does not offer auto lap functionality. Currently, there is no way to set reminders of any kind. Hammerhead merely say that they are “working on adding more towards the lap functionality“. This appears to be a long-standing issue with users of the Karoo 1 as well. The auto lap feature has reportedly spent more than a year in the “development pipeline”, yet Hammerhead are not committing to a “dedicated timeline for its implementation“.
Useless live tracking links
With Software Build Version 1.187.987, Hammerhead appear to be pleased that they “fixed an issue that prevented users from viewing a Live Tracking link if they weren’t logged in ahead of clicking the link.” They are missing the point. What is preventing users from viewing any link is having to register and then authenticate every time they want to access the link. Until such time that Hammerhead get rid of these short-sighted requirements, actual owners of the Karoo 2 won’t be sharing anything.
In the meantime, getting a SIM and data plan for your Karoo 2 does not appear to make a lot of sense. Unless, that is, you’re planning on inflicting Live Tracking links on friends and family…
Hammerhead no longer require registration to view Live Tracking links. This is a welcome improvement and, in conjunction with a dedicated SIM, appears to be working well at this point.