I pre-ordered the Hammerhead Karoo 2 during the last quarter of 2020, fully aware of the fact that I might be getting a device that would still require significant levels of “continuous enhancement”. In other words, I bought into the promise of Hammerhead eventually delivering “the world’s finest cycling computer” through software updates.
I want to point out that in many ways, the Karoo 2 already is a good cycling computer. In some ways, however, it is not. Unlike others, I did not think about returning the device. But I am more than a bit surprised to notice an ever increasing number of glowing reviews that somehow fail to highlight its shortcomings. As I continue to use the Karoo 2, I will be updating this list of unresolved issues that in my view should urgently be receiving more attention. My other cycling computer is a Wahoo Elemnt Roam.
The Karoo 2 does not offer auto lap functionality. There is no way to set any reminders, either. Hammerhead merely say that they are “working on adding more towards the lap functionality“.
I am under no illusions that recharging the Karoo 2 will become an absolute necessity on long rides. However, charging the device while in its mount is not possible with the cable supplied. There just isn’t enough space between the bottom of the unit and most handlebars. I use the UGREEN Right Angle USB-C to -A Cable to connect the Karoo 2 to a Zendure SuperMini 5K when on the go. Conveniently, this also keeps the USB-C port covered at all times so that I don’t have to lose any of the rubber caps that came in the box…
When in Battery Save mode, the Karoo 2 is conserving energy by switching off the screen in between turn-by-turn instructions. It will announce the next navigational cue with an audio alert and, after a short intervall, switch the screen back on to show you the route ahead. Seems like a neat solution, until you realise that the intervall is too long by a fraction. You end up in a habit of trying to delay your reaction to those audio alerts for just long enough to avoid looking down onto a black screen. Not ideal while riding a bicycle.
When visiting dashboard.hammerhead.io, you are presented with a form to register a user account. It is only a small thing, but to authenticate you are required to navigate to yet another page and that is only getting more annoying with time.
Hammerhead, you got this backwards. If anyone splashed out 400 EUR on a new cycling computer, they will be motivated to look for any link in order to set up the account required for operation. Registered users shouldn’t have to jump through unecessary hoops just to get in. Nor should those unfortunate enough to receive a Live Tracking link…
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, the actual owners of the Karoo 2 won’t be sharing anything.
If you want to see how Live Tracking is done, get a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt.
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…