Hammerhead Karoo 2 has landed

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 significant levels of “continuous enhancements”. 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 right away that in many ways, the Karoo 2 already is a very good bike computer. In other ways, however, the Karoo 2 is lagging behind its competition. Unlike early adopters elsewhere, I never considered returning the device. Instead, I am looking forward to see the improvements that Hammerhead hopefully will be introducing over time. As I continue to use the Karoo 2, I will be updating this list of unresolved issues that in my view should get fixed as soon as possible. My other cycling computer is a Wahoo Elemnt Roam.

Limited battery capacity and USB-C cable

I find that battery capacity of my Karoo 2 is down to about 50% after 3 hours of riding. It seems reasonable to expect, therefore, that charging the Karoo 2 will become an absolute necessity on longer rides. However, charging the device while in its mount is not possible with the supplied cable. There just isn’t enough space between the base of the unit and the handlebar. I use a UGREEN Right Angle USB-C to -A Cable to 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.

Komoot limited to 50 planned tours

The 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 phone.

With Komoot, there is an added limitation allowing you to only “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. This is one major flaw that would have prevented me from buying the Karoo 2 in the first place. Unfortunatly, this wasn’t advertised at the time. Komoot users with more than 50 available routes to choose from are effectively required to create new routes from old existing ones just to be able to use them with their Karoo 2. Eventually, a game begins of endless jockeying around with routes on Komoot just to get them to show up on the Karoo 2…

Sometimes changes made to an existing route on Komoot will show up on the Dashboard, but then fail to propagate to the Karoo 2 itself.

Currently, the Dashboard itself only offers the tools for rudimentary route planning and live tracking of your rides. In principle, I think that Hammerhead are taking the right approach with this. By the same token, however, it also means that integration with 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 now has reportedly spent more than a year in the “development pipeline”, yet Hammerhead are not committing to a “dedicated timeline for its implementation“.

Accessing the dashboard

It is only a small thing, but when navigating to dashboard.hammerhead.io, visitors are presented with a form to set up a new user account. Each and every time. Registered users are required to change to yet another page to authenticate. This is only getting more annoying with time.
Hammerhead, you’ve got this backwards. If anyone splashed out 400 EUR on your new cycling computer, they will be motivated to look for the link to set up the required user account. Registered users shouldn’t have to jump through unecessary hoops after that.

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.
hammerhead.io