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Hands-on: Hammerhead’s new Karoo GPS Bike Computer

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It’s been a few years since startup Hammerhead announced their H1 navigational bike accessory.  It was sorta like a fish finder for navigation while on a bike. Rather than be a full bike computer head unit, it mostly offered you a light bar system telling you which way to turn on a route.

But that all changes as of today. The company has announced their entrance into the full-blown GPS bike computer market with the Hammerhead Karoo.  This new head unit will offer complete turn by turn mapping navigation, Strava integration, coaching, and dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart sensor compatibility.  All of which is based on Android with a 10hr battery life, 3G cellular connectivity, and is IP67 waterproof.

I got a chance to poke at the unit (sans-riding) while at Sea Otter two weeks ago – giving you a bit of a glimpse of an early beta unit.  The company has stressed to me though that a lot has shifted since I saw it just that short time ago.  Of course, that’s somewhat normal at this stage in the product development life cycle.

Video Overview:

If you’re looking for the quick and dirty overview of the Karoo, dive into my hands-on video below, which covers all the basics of using the system from setting up sensors to configuring data pages and routing.  Though, the video does lack a proper intro, as there was a disconnect between my brain and the recording button on my camera.  No worries, I promise you’ll still enjoy it!

With that, let’s dive into the tech details within the textual landscape of this post…YouTube be damned!

The Tech:

When you first pick up the Karoo (pronounced ka as in ‘Cut’ and then ‘roo’, like Kangaroo), it’ll sorta feel like a plump Edge 820.  Kinda in the ballpark of the Polar V650. Nothing wrong with that per se, as it’s still shorter than an Edge 1000 would be.  Its current weight is 168g, though that may decrease between now and production.  It’s sized at 98x72x28mm. As for the name? Karoo is named after the desert in South Africa where the founders grew up riding bikes.

On the bottom, they’ve gone with a quarter-turn mount that’s compatible with any Garmin Edge series mount out there.  That’s great news for consumers as it means you’ve got tons of 3rd party mount options, especially now that bikes have started to integrate that into handlebar setups.

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However, if you don’t have a quarter-turn mount already, then you’re in luck as they’re bundling it with a Barfly out-front mount – which is a nice little partnership.

The unit sports a Gorilla Glass cover glass, which they claim reduces glare.  And no doubt, it definitely did for me toying with it and its 3.5” 640x480px display.  On the left side, you’ve got two buttons for better glove-like control, followed by two on the right side as well. The micro-USB port sits on the bottom for charging.

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You’ll start off at the dashboard, which allows you to enter different functions – such as configuring sensors, navigating somewhere, or general riding.  Note that some of the Android button layouts appear within my photos (triangle/circle/square), since this development unit hasn’t had those hidden/disabled yet.

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As noted earlier, the unit is capable of pairing to both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart sensors (power, speed, cadence, shifting, muscle oxygen, trainer control, and heart rate).

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When it comes to setting up data pages, those can be done here as well.  You can slide through and pick most of the majors I’ve seen on other units, though I didn’t take a complete inventory of every data field since it’s still early beta.

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You can setup multiple bike/activity profiles (which in this case was utilized for multiple demo users), allowing you to save those data field configurations in the same way you would on a Garmin Edge device.

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Here’s how one of those more complex data pages I setup looks:

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Of course, the real meat of the Hammerhead solution is their navigation platform.  After all, it’s the basis behind the H1 device they’ve been selling to date.  The end-state goal here is like most other bike computers in that you can route wherever you’d like, be it from saved files (i.e. GPX/FIT) or platforms (Strava/MapMyRide/TrailForks)…but also just by tapping where you want to go on the screen.

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It’s amazingly easy (as seen in detail in my video above), and really just so much more efficient than manually trying to do it via long addresses on a Garmin Edge unit.  It’s basically just like you’d do on your smartphone within any number of maps apps.  You can pinch and zoom your way around the screen and then add a location to add to your route.  You can super-quickly create a looped route that might have taken forever on other platforms.

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The maps will be cached on the production unit, though for the development unit we had to rely on cellular connectivity.  But even in that case, it wasn’t too bad once we found signal.  Again the next version of beta units will have caching enabled.  The maps can also be downloaded using WiFi within the unit.

You’ll notice within that data is the elevation profile as well, which is automatically generated on the fly – pretty cool.  In the below case you’ll see the elevation profile for the two pins I dropped on the map (hence why address isn’t shown). That simple.

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You can save these routes or pull up existing ones pretty easily from the home screen.

I think the biggest takeaway I had from toying with the Karoo is just how darn quick and snappy everything is.  It all just feels instant, there’s virtually no lag (except when my fat fingers miss a button and I have to do it again).  Heck, it even feels faster than my iPhone 6.  Though, my iPhone 6 seems to be in need of being taken behind the shed and being put out of its misery.  But you get my point.

The company has a number of features planned for post-release, including areas such as structured workouts and a full ‘live’ coaching system to provide real-time feedback during a ride.  But we’ll need till ‘late 2017’ to see how those all shape up.

Here’s a quick gallery of three pages of tech specs I was provided (click to expand):

TechSpecs1 TechSpecs2 TechSpecs3

Oh – and one final tidbit for fun? They just acquired the Garmin Connect IQ App Dynamic Watch (aka dwMap) and brought on its founder – Marcus Needham to the team.  That’s a pretty massive win, especially days after it just won Garmin’s Connect IQ developer award for best wearable app.

Pricing & Availability:

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Next is the tricky part – at present the company hasn’t actually released pricing information yet.  Though they have decided on an August 2017 shipping timeframe.  Starting with evaluating that – I’d say that as of two weeks ago, I’d consider August optimistic.  Not unachievable though, given the company is already in the marketplace with bike tech products and understands the navigation side well.  So they’re essentially repackaging/leveraging their existing product for that piece.  My bet though is that we’ll see it ship closer to late September or so around Interbike.  Just my gut feeling looking at many products and where companies stand.

Then we’ve got pricing.  We don’t know where they are – but they’ll be battling what are basically two extremes.  On one hand you have something like the Wahoo ELEMNT (non-BOLT), which is an incredibly capable unit with mapping and such and many other features the Karoo won’t have.  That sits at $329  The ELEMNT lacks the pretty display, more detailed maps and full routing of the Karoo.  It also lacks the 3G cellular connectivity.  But it makes up for it in many other areas like better sensor support, integrated trainer control already, Strava Live Segments and numerous other smaller features that Wahoo has had to work through over a much longer timeframe.

At the other extreme you have something like the Edge 1000, which sits at $499.  It’d be easy to assume (as Acer did) that one’s product with a prettier display is worth that higher price, but one would be mistaken.  The simple reality is that the Edge 1000 can command the price it gets not so much because of the mapping, but because of all the other things it does.  It’s a beast in terms of functionality, even if most consumers never use all of it.  Everyone’s 1% setting never used is another person’s most important thing.

So my thinking is this would sell well in the same price range as the ELEMNT ($329…maybe $349 at most).  I feel we’re going to continue to see more and more competition in the bike computer market over the course of the year, and it’s going to be really important for new entrants to understand they have to undercut leaders on price where they lack features and brand reputation/history (like Wahoo themselves did with the BOLT at $249 – which has sold exceptionally well in the last two months since announcement…compared to the original ELEMNT, which had a tougher go at $329 in a larger size).

Still, as I always note – it’s great to have competition no matter the price.  It makes incumbents work harder, all of which benefits the consumer.  Plus, since we don’t know the price yet, we could find the Karoo being priced very competitively (i.e. $299 would be a solid blow to others).  We’ll just have to see.

In the meantime, you can hit up their e-mail list to get details and purchasing abilities once they’re ready to announce pricing and take orders.  All of which, of course, should be before August.

With that – thanks for reading!  I’m looking forward to getting hands-on another beta device down the road, in between now and release.  So stay tuned for that!

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727 Comments

  1. Mike Robinson

    If is definitely good to have more competition in this space.

    It will be interesting to see how the Karoo performs with battery life and screen legibility.

    It was screen legibility that swung me in favour of the Wahoo ELEMNT over Garmins as I found the high contrast Wahoo B&W screen simply more legible than a Garmin colour screen, particularly in bright sunlight.

    • Thomas

      Very fair point. I’m currently using a phone with OruxMaps. Living in Italy, screen brightness is potentially an issue, but the phone I’m using has an auto-adjust setting for screen brightness, and I’ve never had an issue reading the maps or most other data (I have difficulties with the elevation profile, because the color choice is not good). Reason being that the maps themselves (OpenAndroMaps) use a very legible color scheme – something I find Garmin units can improve on.

  2. Thomas

    Had a quick look at their website after reading your entry. Might be worth noting that you can get an experience of the product by playing around with their free Android/iPhone app.

    Very excited to see something like this appear. For me, the ability to make emergency phone calls (maybe even to use an inbuilt browser to quickly check out some route description) would turn it from great to amazing, because that would allow me to just leave the phone at home (in which case, I wouldn’t bother about the weight anymore).

    • Hey Thomas

      Yes, our app will give you a sense of our routing experience, we believe it to be pretty unique in a standalone unit.

      We have a browser in the Karoo, allowing you to do whatever you need to do online. We built Karoo to give the best standalone experience on the bike. We want you to be able to ignore your phone and ride!

      We are currently working with our testing team on making an emergency tracker / call function. We certainly can do this technically, we just want to make sure that it is solid before advertising it. We will announce a lot of exciting features in the months ahead.

    • Thomas

      Thanks. I tried to leave a comment also on your Facebook page, but somehow that one got lost. Browser is great, call function is great. The app looks beautiful, but while I like its visual appearance, that’s also one criticism I wanted to voice: Beautiful maps (most often achieved by using a rather monochromatic color scheme) are often not very useful for on-the-fly navigation, and I find that problematic also about your map. It’s visually stunning, but I find myself lost.

      I’d advise to have a look at the Elevate scheme of OpenAndroMaps (via OruxMaps or LocusMaps). That’s a wonderful map that out on the road still allows me to distinguish between roads of different traffic intensity, to identify small roads with asphalt surface, understand different types of gravel surface (important for MTB users: it is just a foot path or a gravel road?), and to avoid express ways (those are not permitted for cyclists, but they are not highways, and in your map appear as just a wide white road). OpenAndroMaps also has a different approach to plotting bike lanes, which I find more useful than most OpenStreetMap applications (including Strava’s map). I’d highly recommend to check them out (since they are very detailed while at the same time not feeling cluttered), and to consider a feature which allows users to apply a customized theme to the map data itself.

      What’s more, since we’re talking about desirable features: OruxMaps has recently introduced a feature which changes the color on the track based on the slope. Hence, on the map I immediately see how steep it is, and where the next peak of elevation is. Love it.

    • Hey Thomas – some great ideas here.
      We really appreciate the input!

      We have spent 3 years working on maps and nav and are going to put up some more detail here later today on what this will look like on Karoo.

    • Joe

      Hopefully does not suck as badly as your first product. That was a terrible waste of money. I’ll stick to Garmin.

    • Sam Hocking

      While excited to see at last an Android OS dedicated head unit, the fact it looks like after spending £300 for it, still have to carry another £300 Android OS device in my back pocket to make an emergency call or take a photograph of my trip seems a missed opportunity at launch perhaps? I’m sure such things are not as easy as it seems, but I’m struggling to see the point in this when my ANT+ waterproof Android Smarthone with a Quadlock mounting on my stem and running IpBike & Strava apps seems to offer everything Karoo does mostly for free. 10 hours GPS life would be nice, but 4-5 hours covers most rides I do and I can always carry a spare battery anyway to get 10 hours on my phone.

    • Torgil Svensson

      Hi Sam.

      You can get a nice desktop by downloading Ubuntu for instance, it’s all free software, but behind the scene there is an nearly endless distributed integration effort putting everything together for a seamless user experience.

      For bike computing, that’d be awesome if such a platform emerged but I fail to see that we are there with Android and open source apps yet. Ifor-g.p is a limited resource and doesn’t scale endlessly with new UIs and features. Strava and IpBike side by side and additional features in additional apps isn’t really integrated and a seamless user experience. Maybe the widget system with content providers and/or other APIs could do it, but we’re not there yet. While on a bike, you want to focus on biking and have a seamless user experience, not switching between apps to see and do what you really want to have on one screen.

      IpBike might be there for you, but Karoo/Hammerhead is much better positioned to give a more seamless user-experience and more features for more people in the future due to resources and integration efforts all the way from the HW, kernel, through all middle-layers and up to the UI.

      Open source efforts could of course go there too, all it takes is chip in lots of work hours. Android is really an awesome platform for this.

    • Colin

      Hi Hammerhead team. I really want to pre-order one of these, but I’m having trouble finding a bit of critical info. Does this device do its route calculation based on cloud computing? As in, does it need a SIM card and cell service to work? I do a lot of back-country mountain biking, and I wanted a device that would let me quickly find trails around me (and bail-out points if needed!), but the places I ride don’t tend to have cell service. If it doesn’t need these things to work, I’ll order the thing today!

    • JD

      Based on what I have read here and on the Hammerhead Karoo site, the device updates the global base map monthly by Wi-Fi (or cellular?) and caches local route data so no connection is required on your rides.
      If you do have a cellular signal then additional functions are enabled.

  3. Jim Flesch

    Any idea when the 1000 will be refreshed or replaced?

    • Fred

      It will be replaced!

    • Once said replacement is announced. 😉

      Likely on a Tuesday, but sometimes a Wednesday or Thursday. Never a Friday or Monday…unless it coincides with the start of a trade event. Always 7AM US EST, unless it’s timed to a industry presentation or event that opens in Europe or Asia.

    • Jeff Forrest

      I’m also very interested in a 1000 replacement.

      I wonder how much has changed in the 3 years since it was originally released, in terms of both hardware and software. Be cool to see a state of the nation post on how fitness technology has improved over the past few years. We tend to see when a new iPhone is released that the soc is twice as fast or whatever, but I’ve never seen that or any teardowns for fitness equipment. Be really cool to know what socs are being used in these devices. The review states this is really quick, and I know the edge 820 was called out as being glacially slow in some cases (route finding mostly). I’d love to know if it’s primarily code optimisation or the hardware that makes the most difference.

  4. Fred Quality Check

    I like the used Garmin mount indeed!

  5. Keith Wakeham

    Love if you could comment on the screen some more. As pointed out, it looks impressive compared to other colour screens.

    – Is it transflective or just very bright?
    – Is there any trickery on the images / video or is the screen this good?

    • Hey Keith,

      The screen is has a few technologies in it. It is a high resolution transflective screen that we sourced from Military products. We then put that under a matte Gorilla Glass, reducing glare and making it as responsive as your smartphone. It is very power efficient. It can be very bright, but also works well with backlight off.

      Our software is tuned to ignore sweat and water on the screen. We also have buttons on the unit to allow for easy operation in rough weather and conditions.

    • No trickery in my images (I simply adjust lighting in the photos to make all photos match white balance/etc…), and nothing at all adjusted in the video. Just right out of the camera.

  6. Rpjwhite

    Given the last hammerhead navigator I backed never showed up. I will see how his goes…

  7. usr

    I’m all for fully bikeable Android devices, but to everyone who makes them, please please please include a better power delivery story than just the customary microUSB port. I don’t care much wether the device claims 10 hours of runtime, 12 hours or even 24 hours, I want a fully weatherproof charging/external power supply story for when the internal battery isn’t enough, whenever that may be.

    The power source side is easily handled by a variety of existing offerings for MTB headlights and/or tinkering. I guess that a branded option could be a nice sideline revenue stream, even if it’s just adapter cables. The connector on the device is something that cannot be reasonably retrofitted, it has to be factory installed. Having the universal microUSB is good, but having both would be so much better.

    • Peter

      Can I +2 that? Not just a theoretical situation, just next weekend I’ll ride my first 600km brevet, I’ll take as much as 40 hours.

      And while we’re on USB ports: USB-C (on my phone) is so much nicer than micro-USB (on my Garmin)! Feels much sturdier and not having to rotate the plug twice (on average) before you get it to fit is just bliss.

    • This actually came up just yesterday in a different thread.

      Main reason companies are hesitant on USB-C right now is lack of proven waterproof USB-C ports (whereas micro/mini-USB has many mostly proven waterproof solutions). Sure we see USB-C on waterproof phones, but most phones aren’t exposed to watery conditions every day like sports devices. Also, most people quickly dry off phones, so corrosion isn’t an issue.

      All sports companies want to avoid what happened with Polar M400 and their USB port fiasco. Sometimes the safer route is the smarter one.

    • Mika Alen

      +100 The ability to charge in any weather by powerbank or hub dynamo etc is a dealbreaker for man long-distance rider. If not as standard issue maybe one model later. Garmin 810 is ok through not perfect, my Wahoo is not, than one is even difficult to set up at daytime.

  8. Looks like a great unit and a bit more competition for Garmin which is no bad thing.

    If they can implement remote control by making it compatible with Garmin’s wireless remote unit to change screens then I will certainly be buying one.

    • Hey Marc!

      We built Karoo to be a product that works with as many of your existing accessories as possible. This is one reason that we put in both Bluetooth and ANT+. We are investigating this specific integration!

    • Nik

      I second this. Recently started using the garmin remote for my 820 on the shifter and it makes a huge difference. I already pre-ordered the Karoo so would love to see this integration.

  9. LittleSaul

    Google Cache says:

    499 USD limited release price:

  10. Brian Harris

    Hmm… call me curious.

  11. Forrest

    Is that a GT Grade?

  12. Dr_LHA

    How well does that touch screen work in the rain?

    • Our Karoo software is built to try to ignore sweat and rain, while still sensing your finger touch.

      Touch screens do have limitations however. Hard rain, mud and wearing gloves all make the performance of a touchscreen less than we would like. This is why we built Karoo to work very well with only button input.

      You can do everything you need to do on Karoo using buttons – making Karoo a great experience in all environments.

  13. PPP

    Looking good
    and
    I’ll be Interested at least until I hear the real price.

  14. Dmitry

    android… cycle pc… good. place camera inside for interval photos or small videos

  15. Shaun

    Love seeing a product like this from fellow South Africans – despite it being 15 yrs since I was last there 🙂

  16. Peachy

    I’m delighted to see somebody has finally released an Android bike computer, it seemed inevitable.

    For me it’s only about battery life, this clearly isn’t going to do 24 hours, will it do the quoted 15.

    Why can’t they release a physically bigger device with monster battery life?

  17. JIm_H

    It seems like this is basically a small android smartphone, minus the phone bits (calling/texting). On one hand, I like the idea of the 3G connectivity. On the otherhand, I already have all of that stuff in my jersey pocket. The Karoo has the same downsides as my a phone. Touchscreens suck for day to day use on your bike. Sweaty, sometimes grimy, dirty or wet hands, gloves in cold weather, rain, etc… I’ve been down that road before. No thanks.

    Also, it looks pretty bulky. Presumably that is for a (heavy) battery to power that good looking screen. Personally, i would prefer to use a black and white screen display (better contrast and better visibility in all lighting conditions), and get batter battery life out of a smaller battery/form factor.

  18. Mike

    Hi,

    Interesting product and certainly one for the other brands to watch out for. Does this device feature TBT navigation which is of particular importance to me and also can it create routes on the fly- same was as the Garmin 1000 and Mio Cyclo can?

    Lastly, will it feature Strava live segments and FULL Strava support, by this I mean being recognized by them as a supported device and data from the device pushed to their servers and accurately uploaded?

  19. Arthur Jackson

    I am very interested in the Karoo. The routing software looks great but, one question; being Android-based, will it run Viewranger? I have a significant investment in UK and European maps from them and would like to have the option of continuing to use Viewranger, particularly for mountain biking in the UK. Currently I use an Edge 800 for road and Monterra for off-road. (The Monterra is a real beast).

  20. Wolf

    Why do they bother with 3G, when they could just connect to the internet through a phone. Using mobile hotspot or other methods

    • V

      Because why would you bother killing your phone’s battery?

    • Also, not all phone plans have hotspotting capabilities, and said capabilities often burns even more phone batteries.

      For example, my phone plan* doesn’t have the ability to have a hotspot, as ATT wised up years ago to what a bad deal that was for them.

      *My phone plan is basically the most awesome phone plan on earth, as I pay about $35/month for unlimited *international* data (+ unlimited US domestic data, for what little that means to me). But about 3-4 years ago ATT realized this and blocked the hotspotting capabilities. Sad panda, but still pretty solid. Of course, this plan is roughly a decade old and they long since stopped offering it.

    • Gian Camillo

      True, but apps like Garmin Connect do not use hotspotting.

    • Ray hit it on the head here with some of the issues that relying on phone connection presents.

      We also really want Karoo to be a great standalone device and to not require you to carry your phone to use it. We want to give you an escape from your phone when you want it.

  21. Lloyd Davies

    Any thoughts as to when there might be an Garmin Edge 1000 hardware upgrade?

  22. Michael Coyne

    Can it make phone calls or play audio/music via bluetooth, and would that make it illegal for USAT triathlons? I understand their rules about no phones/audio devices, but it makes me always torn between optimal race-legal devices and optimal regular-life/training devices.

    • giorgitd

      I’m interested in how they will enable the 3G connection. There was a Timex device with 3G that looked cool, but never made an impact. Lots of reasons for that, potentially, but how will I pay for *another* cell service? What happens when I roam / use it out of country? I *think* that these were big issues fr imex, but maybe less so now – many cellular resellers are not expensive and I can’t imagine that this device to use much data. Still, without a phone connection, it’s another monthly? service to pay for.

    • giorgitd

      *for Timex

    • Michael Coyne

      Most carriers these days (at least in the US) also offer pay-as-you-go data plan options. Obviously if you use data on it a lot they aren’t worth it, but it’s good for extra devices like these if you just want emergebcy internet/calling abilities.

      But yeah the more the line blurs between bike computer and smartphone, the more I wonder if/when race rules agencies will start making changes. Recreationally, tons of people already use their phones as bike computers and more and more use them instead every day. They aren’t always as good as a dedicated bike computer, but they’re closing that gap all the time and saving money by doubling your device isn’t just something a recreational user would want to do – these days to get a bike computer that’s as good as your smartphone is at it (depending on features you care about), you’d be a good chunk of the way to getting a power meter instead. That’s a big deal. And that’s only going to continue to be more the case with time I think. That or bike computers are going to become your second phone more and more (like what’s happening here). Either way I think there’s gonna have to be some rule changes in the next decade – for a lot of people it just doesn’t make sense to get a certain device that can do less JUST because it doing less makes it tri-legal.

      Maybe they could develop an app that locks certain features of your phone unless you unlock them and then doing so makes you automatically give up the race? Kinda like how the recent rule change allows you to bring your phone, but only for emergency calls and as soon as you make one you forfeit your race, or how you can swim with the safer swimmer emergency inflatable vest thing but if you inflate it you are effectively quitting the race.

      Actually that’s a great analogy because I’m sure people would say an app where you quit when you unlock it would be fraught with complaints about that happening accidentally, but then hey that emergency safety vest has had complaints and incidents where it inflated accidentally, but it still has a place in the race rules…

  23. Frank

    How many data fields can be displayed on the map / navigation screen? (Edge 1000 still just 2, even after about a million complaints….).

    • Hey Frank

      One of the reasons we went for a larger, high res screen is so that we can show you the data you need as well as having a great mapping experience. We could easily show more than 2 data fields with your map. We are testing different versions of the data field display right now. How many data fields do you think most people would need in addition to their map?

    • part_robot

      I’d like 4. 2 top. 2 bottom.

    • Thomas

      I’d like 8: Elapsed activity time, distance, average speed, current height, current heart rate, current power, current cadence, and clock time. There’s really no need to put a small limit. If I want to see less map, that should be fine, no? One way to handle this is to show fields only when the unit is recording, or to add an option to show/not-show the data fields upon touch.

    • Frank

      Let the user decide! Between 0 and 6 should be fine I guess. Few people are in need of street names, you it would be great if there’s an option turning that off to make some room.

    • Nik

      I’d definitely like at least 4. I ride a lot of new routes and would love to be able to stay on the navigation page rather than continually paging back and forth.

    • Brad

      I prefer the map page to be as fully a map as possible without distraction. At the times when I really need the map I don’t need to know how fast I’m going or any other details. I suppose 2 to 4 would be fine for people who want them ( flexibility and options are always great), but most importantly allow any (including ALL) to be turned off so the field disappears completely. For myself I want a full screen unencumbered map.

    • usr

      What I noticed last week while spending it riding the Route des Grandes Alpes with a group is that I really want different fields accompanying the map depending on uphill vs downhill: during a climb, when I need the map (rarely, but not every climb is a famous Col where it’s impossible to take a wrong turn), all I care for are watts and climb rate, to set a pace that allows the group to stay together. In the descent, speed is somewhat interesting for cornering, and if there is some POI or turn I must not miss I will know its absolute height from route planning and the current height field will be my most important indication of when to expect it.

      What I’m getting at: context-dependent fields. Not terribly important on an all-data page, but almost essential when compromising between map and data pixels.

      Context-depending fields should be quite easy to implement as CIQ fields on Garmin (probably the simplest use case for CIQ fields that is actually useful), it would be a shame if the Karoo I preordered would be a downgrade in this regard.

  24. For the cell conection, any chance you’ll have an app that could act as a proxy for your device? Thinking a cellconnection in the US is not cheap but this device being a bike computer could share a network connection from a cell phone. (thinking it can claim to not be a tablet and claim to be a dedicated bike computer so could work around the wording of the rules that limit that)

  25. thanks for great stufff!

  26. Igor Ramadas

    I really really hope these “newcomers” (Hammerhead, Acer Xplova, Lezyne etc…) serve as a wake up call to Garmin. I own an Edge 520 and had the 510 and 500 prior to that, and to be honest I can’t see much evolution from the 500 to the 520. Look how smartphones evolved. Get a mid range from 6 years ago and compare it to a 2017 mid range. It’s night and day. Same with smartwatches – 3 years ago they were miserable, today they are much better on every single aspect.

    The Wahoo Elemnt/Bolt seems so much better. Updates with real new features almost every month. Much better to configure / prepare them using an app. And their basemap is pretty usable – on the 520 it’s laughable and I don’t have the time to keep downloading / updating the basemaps before every long ride. Unfortunately Wahoo doesn’t have fitness trackers like the vivoactive or Vivosmart… yet! If they get one, I’ll be leaving the Garmin ecosystem in a flash!

    Some weeks ago I had the opportunity to upgrade my Edge 520 to the 820 paying a 120 EUR premium, before going on a 1000km tour from Munich to Copenhagen. I decided to invest that money on a cheap Chinese rugged phone instead (AGM A2 Rio, cost me 99 EUR to be precise). Now it’s unbelievable that a cheap Android phone can plan routes, navigate, stream music via bluetooth, take pictures, make calls and reach the destination with around 30% battery left on the tank (avg. 8h per day). It did everything wonderfully, even under heavy rain (although of course I couldn’t interact with the screen while wet). It even supports ANT+!!! 99 EUR! The Edge 520 costs around 250 EUR. The 820 north of 350 EUR. If you don’t trust Chinese phones, a Samsung XCover 3 costs around 140 EUR and should work just as well.

    Garmin has lots of people locked to their ecosystem and they can basically charge a massive premium for that. I do hope people start realising there are other options out there so Garmin can step their game up.

    • Keith Wakeham

      A lot of the price difference has to do with distribution methods and expected mark ups along with development costs and custom parts (Screens. Transflective custom versus cheap Chinese TN trans missive). The net result is more powerful hardware at a lower price that’s missing just a handful of elements to make it a true cycle computer. Close, but so far as the market has spoken, not there. Closing in though.

    • Richard

      Are you sure the AGM A2 Rio has ANT+ ? Its not listed in the specs anywhere.

    • The key thing that many misunderstand when they try to make the phone to Garmin/Wahoo/whatever comparison is the lack of unified functions.

      Yes, you can find almost every feature from a Garmin device within some app in either the Android or iOS realms. But you can’t find it in a single app. So folks end up playing this game having trying to piece together everything, which ends up being a kludge.

      As Keith notes, the market has spoken (overwhelmingly), and people just want a single device that contains all that functionality.

    • Thomas

      Agreed on that, but if Hammerhead succeeds, they effectively demonstrate that in order to create this device, you can build a proprietary Garmin, but you can also develop a comprehensive app. By offering it on their device, they circumvent the problem of a very complex landscape of phone specifications in Android. For the general user, they could even think about offering a stripped-down version of the app for free to compete with existing solutions and get users attached to them and eventually to convert.

      Also, while I agree, there definitely is also a huge group of people who are already using their phones now. What Garmin/Wahoo erc. misunderstand is those also want a united solution, but where the union comprises the phone. That group, likely mostly recreational riders, might be a group that cares about many, but also does not care about many other Garmin features. Hence, you’ll obviously need to offer more than the essentials in order to make sure that enough people find their unique feature of interest. But you don’t need to copy everything to become a serious contender.

      How overwhelmingly the market has spoken, I’d want to object. The interest in this product suggests otherwise. You might know better about sales figures of Garmin units. We certainly don’t seem to see many people with phones on their bikes. But we do know that millions are using corresponding apps on their phone, while we also see that the majority of cyclists still uses very simple bike computers that you can buy for like 25 EUR. In that group, there might be lots of people who just want a simple computer, but there will also be a big number of people who would like to upgrade, just not to a closed environment like Garmin, and who have been waiting for someone to finally deliver a rugged phone with advanced essentials of a bike computer.

      What I’m getting at: People said the same about car navigation ten years ago. Customers will always prefer the more advanced features and the sophisticated benefits of a dedicated device. Nope. “They” didn’t. “Professional” drivers might have stayed, and navigation companies are still profitable and growing. But at the same time, a big part of the “recreational” market turned away. To conclude then, I don’t think the Hammerhead is an Edge killer, or that this signals the end of the dedicated cycling computer by any means. But Garmin ignored a big chunk of the market – and someone will take that, eventually, and it might well be Hammerhead.

      That said, we don’t know what the successor to the Edge 1000 that we are all expecting will look like. Maybe Garmin has its appropriate response already ready to launch. But somehow, I doubt.

    • The challenge exists for Hammerhead the same as it does for Garmin in your case though: How to make money if not selling a device.

      Simply put, there isn’t enough money for all but the smallest software development shops to sell a $5, $10, or even $30 phone app to cyclists as a replacement for a $250-$500 device. Take at apps that people use even less, such as Zwift or TrainerRoad. Those makes up a portion of ones riding time (indoors only), yet still command a price of around $120 or so a year.

      Finally, I think some folks may be misunderstanding what Hammerhead is doing here: They aren’t giving you an Android device that you can run anything on. They’re doing exactly what Polar did with the V650: They’re re-using the underlying Android stack with slightly more capable hardware and better mapping…however it’s otherwise locked down. But the differences here being that at the end of the day, the Karoo will have less features than the (largely disliked) V650.

      Which isn’t a slight on the Karoo, but I fear that folks will be disappointed if they think it’s a Garmin or Wahoo killer. Maybe it might be in 2018 or beyond, but it won’t be the case in 2017 looking at the feature specs and where they stand.

      Finally – what’s more interesting to me is the theory that a ‘less capable’ bike computer with a phone app tied to it may be the solution for many. I’d have agreed in theory…but unfortunately the market has also spoken there. Despite numerous attempts by many major companies in the segment – Cateye, Magellan, and even Wahoo – nobody really buys those products in any quantities that make it worthwhile to produce.

      Perhaps those companies haven’t figure it out quite yet, but, part of the challenge in any market is making a product people buy enough of to make a business sustainable. It’s unfortunately easy to develop niche products that you and I might love, but less so once at scale. :-/

    • Thomas

      You make some good points here. Notably, as I stated before, I agree that this is not about developing a Garmin/Wahoo killer.

      There’s one more thing I ignored in my own analysis: When praising existing independent apps like OruxMaps, IPBike, or Bike Computer, which are essentially one-man hobby projects that have been able to offer much of the same functionality I could get from a Garmin Edge (or take VeloHero, which is competing with Garmin Connect), we may not ignore that those apps have been developed slowly over time and in alignment with the feature evolution of the market. That’s an approach that new commercial projects cannot afford – they have to offer contemporary feature complexity from the beginning. And it’s obviously here where development becomes costly.

    • usr

      How can you say “the market has spoken” when end users have never had the chance to empty their wallet for a somewhat open device that checks all the minimum requirement boxes of a transflective screen, proper waterproofing and a garmin mount nub (or equivalent)? The market has never been asked.

      The Garmin Software package is only compelling because (until recently?) every other piece of hardware that did not fail at least one of those three undeniable minimum requirements came with software even worse.

    • That comment was in reference to the claim that users would choose to put phones on their handlebars over dedicated devices (Garmin/Wahoo/etc…).

      Asking about this device isn’t the question – but your comment does show my concern: There’s no plans at present to allow other Android apps to run on this device, so in that sense it’s no more open than Polar V650 (also Android based). Again – not a knock on it, just setting expectations.

    • usr

      Dealing with Google to get a niche market device with an unusual use case and exotic specs approved for the Google Mobile Services (Maps and Play store!) might be quite a challenge though. I’m not even sure if it would still be possible without SIM and twin cameras, given the changes in requirements Google has made over the years. So it’s not necessarily an indication of lock-in desires or not-invented-here syndrome if manufacturers don’t support third party apps as comfortably as regular phones do, the custom “skin” might be completely involuntary.

      But the willingness to put up with a dedicated handlebar device that feels crippled relative to the one in the jersey pocket is crumbling with yonder generations. Personally, I grew up alongside bike head units, with continuous, incremental upgrades from the mechanical odometer/speedometer I had as a child to the Edge 1000 I use today. At the time that I started using Strava and navigation on the smartphone I already had a massive electronic sensor suite on the bar (just lacking GSM and logging), so moving maps and GPS from the smartphone into the handlebar device (by purchasing a Garmin) felt like a definitive upgrade. But when I ride with the “millennial/digital native” generation, many just run Strava from the jersey, with no live display at all. Fancy carbon frames and premium brand clothing indicate that they are perfectly willing to spend, but not on a head unit that would feel like a downgrade. They can’t be interested in simpler speedometers as much as we were when the technology was new and did not compete with jersey pocket GPS, so by the time they dive deep enough into the hobby to spend more their mental baseline when evaluating an offering is not the simple coin cell unit on the handle bar that would be replaced with something more valuable but an expensive multimedia wonder in their pocket. Any less universal devices will be a tough sell. But a better, more bike friendly box to run their accustomed apps on, I think it would be their natural purchase progression.

    • Philip Robar

      >Yes, you can find almost every feature from a Garmin device within some app in
      > either the Android or iOS realms. But you can’t find it in a single app. So folks
      > end up playing this game having trying to piece together everything, which ends
      > up being a kludge.

      > Simply put, there isn’t enough money for all but the smallest software development
      > shops to sell a $5, $10, or even $30 phone app to cyclists as a replacement for a
      > $250-$500 device.

      Do you have any evidence to back this claim up with? I find it hard to believe that there isn’t a market for a reasonably priced app that does everything a dedicated device does, but on a smartphone. As others have pointed out fully featured smartphones are so inexpensive these days that they are effectively disposable and there are some pretty sophisticated freemium cycling apps out there already. Personally I like the multiple app approach since that means that I I get to choose what I think is the best solution to any given need that I have. With the app approach if I wreck my $30 to $100 smartphone I just buy another one and re-sync with Google. If If I trashed an expensive dedicated device (that I can’t afford in the first place) I’d have to think long and hard about replacing it.

    • My evidence is pretty simple: It’s been that way and it simply hasn’t caught on. I don’t see any tidal wave of people using smartphones on bike handlebars all that much. We do so folks using things like Strava in their back pocket to record rides (or similar apps), but that’s about it (again, in any large numbers that move the market).

      Smartphone prices haven’t really decreased as much as folks want to believe. There have long been super cheap smartphones out there. In fact, these super-cheap ones have actually had ANT+ on them more often than not.

    • Jeff Forrest

      Have to agree, smartphones may have largely replaced some dedicated devices (satnavs and point and shoot cameras) but they work really well without any major constraints in those areas, whereas they have constraints as an always on device mounted on a handlebar (as well as the lack of killer app there’s the battery life, over large physical size, mounting, waterproofing, screen working in the wet etc). An awful lot of people (including me) start using their phone as a GPS tracking device and soon find a dedicated device is much better. Cycling forums are full of people making the transition from phone to dedicated device. Can’t see that changing in the near future.

    • As the developer of IpBike there is no way I could consider giving up my day job at present.

      IpBike had a years full time development while I was between jobs. It was prompted by the Sony Xperia Active coming out with all the features of my home made bike computer in a phone that you could happily mount on the bars. There was no good software though so as I was between jobs I set to writing my own.

      I had to get back to a proper paying job though after the year and IpBike has since just been a part time effort. I add the features I want so it’s all about sensors like the wind speed stuff I added last year and next up the Garmin’s Radar and Lights. The UI is getting more and more dated but is still very functional for me. Modernising it is at least 3 months work full time so not an option while I have to work full time.

      Cash wise I get about 1/4 of what comes in for IpBike. Google have 30%, tax is 20% Open Cycling Map is now no longer free and is taking about half of what comes to me. The rest will not covering the ANT+ alliance membership fee which I have let laps. I may re-join for a year to get the Running Dynamics info though.

      Things may change going forward but the fact there is nothing equivalent to the xperia Active is not helping people go phone only. There are some rugged phones but none I know off with a pressure sensor and ANT at a sensible price like the Active. BTLE is still a mess under Android so ANT is essential from my point of view.

      The most likely way IpBike will get a proper update is if the company I work for disappears or is very successful and I can cash in my options.

    • Nick F

      I’d love confirmation on ant+ as well. I’ve used my current phone with an ant+ dongle to utilize Xert, but would most likely pick one of these up just to use in that capacity (and maybe as a bike computer depending on mount capability).

    • Igor Ramadas

      Yes, and I tested with my power meter and HR strap.

      Xcover 3 also has ANT+.

    • Tomasz B.

      Hi Igor,
      First of all – thanks for a great piece of software which IpBike is! 🙂

      I’ve been using it for about 3 years on my Xperia Active with 3D printed Garmin compatible mount attached. It fulfilled almost all my needs, except:
      – battery life (never achieved more than ~6h)
      – screen readability in strong light

      It’s just a few weeks ago when I finally replaced it with Wahoo Bolt. But I’d really like to stay with android phone+IpBike only option. I’m forced now to have 3 devices with me (work phone, private phone, cycle computer), that could be easily replaceable with one (dual sim, rugged, under 4-inch, ~2 days battery life, ANT+ enabled smartphone).
      Unfortunately and, for me – un-understandingly I wasn’t able to find such smartphone for over a year. I fully agree that lack of such devices on market is the biggest stopper for people choosing smartphone-only solutions. I can’t stop wondering why there is no manufacturer on market that offer it.

    • Torgil Svensson

      Apart from the HW issue, is it yet another year to get IpBike extensible with custom fields/layouts/overlays etc? That may be one way to bring IpBike new life (if done right).

      Hammerhead has the opportunity of OS level customization also since it’s not just an app, but it is yet to be seen how extensible it will be.

    • Care to elaborate what your looking for by ‘IpBike extensible with custom fields/layouts/overlays etc?’ email the support address with some details if you want. I thought I was rather flexible already. My current emphasis is new sensor support e.g. I just added in the Bike Radar more Light stuff to do and I want to get the new running dynamics stuff in there some time.

    • Torgil Svensson

      Nice ro see that there is avtive development which may reduce the need for such features. I was thinking a user could fire up the Android SDK and add a field, map overlay or custom controls.

      I’m curious because I’m also searching for a platform to mess around with here.

  27. chup

    1. Are Xert metrics / data fields available on this great thing.?
    2. Wet screen still work great?
    3. Alternative charging mechanism. Why don’t we make a Garmin mount with electric contacts. Think Fenix 3 and its charging cable. Then make a Garmin mount with integrated li-po battery for longer rides. No more cable on the move and no waterproof problem.

    • Hey Chup

      1. We are super interested in bringing training analysis like Xert to Karoo. We will have more information on what this will look like in the months ahead!

      2. Our Karoo software is built to try to ignore sweat and rain, while still sensing your finger touch.

      Touch screens do have limitations however. Hard rain, mud and wearing gloves all make the performance of a touchscreen less than we would like. This is why we built Karoo to work very well with only button input. You can do everything you need to do on Karoo using buttons – making Karoo a great experience in all environments.

      3. We believe in making Karoo operate with as much of your existing gear as possible. We wanted to stay with the Garmin mount for our first model for this reason. We would love to play our part in pushing the industry towards more consolidated power supply in the years ahead!

    • Tim Mifsud

      That is a brilliant idea! You should patent the idea of a Garmin style mount with built in battery that charges through contact tabs on the mount! Make it possible to be connected to a Dynamo hub and you would have a winner!

    • Karl Billeter

      Ha, Garmin must’ve read your post with their new power pack / Edge 1030 🙂

  28. Drew W

    Does the Hammerhead support collecting and/or displaying Di2 data coming from a D-Fly? I like having that data on my Edge 510 & it’s one of several things that would keep me in the Garmin family.

  29. Steven

    +900 on all the charging comments. Need a robust, good way for this to work in the Rain.

    Also will it work with the ANT+ Radar profile? That’s the thing tethering me to my love/hate with Garmin.

  30. xander

    Hi,

    I don’t own a smartphone and I’m not active on social media (such as starva), making a device like the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT pretty much useless to me (it requires a smartphone app to ‘initialise’ the thing).
    Is this also the same for the Karoo?

    And is it possible to deactivate the Strava segments on the Karoo?
    (I don’t mind having such extra functionalities on a device, as long as I can tell them to shut up when I don’t need them 🙂

  31. qqstars

    Seems like original Android with the internally defined application executed. So that should be some way to root the device then use the own application like Google Map, etc…

  32. Sir Roger

    The functionality looks very interesting but the body design ?? Well looks like Wahoo has some competition for the fugliest cycling computer..

  33. SurlyWill

    This was bound to happen on the head unit side … a phone does so much more and had far more tools for customization. It will need Strava Live to make it big time … of course Strava could simply customize their existing app for it.

    Here is what I would really like to see … more advanced recognition of segments based tracking direction rather than simply position.

  34. David

    This excites me. I have a Garmin 820 and find it so deficient for the financial outlay. The device is just too unresponsive and slow. Not to mention my first unit had to be replaced under warranty…..

  35. Larry

    This is the kind of device where being part of Google’s Project Fi would be nice. Just request an additional sim card and only pay for the data you use. No additional monthly cost for the device.

    Just curious about how often and for how many years this device will see security patches? No one wants to be part of a botnet running a DDoS attack against AWS from their cycling computer.

    Will the base eventually migrate to later AOSP releases (i.e. Android O will release around the same timeframe as your device, but Android 6 will then be 2 major versions in the rear view mirror).

    Will the battery be replaceable?

    I’m guessing since you’re building your own app store that the device probably doesn’t support Google Play Services.

  36. oTTo

    Where are the ads? I bet they will come later. 🙂 #android #joke
    Looks promising tho… Battery life especially.

  37. Thanks everyone for all your questions and comments! Our team is listening and will be revealing more via our mailing list in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, here are responses to some of your more frequent questions:

    NAVIGATION & EXPLORATION – Karoo not only does turn-by-turn navigation, it also allows you to build routes on-the-fly using the simple and intuitive pin-based system Ray demonstrated at around the 3:34 mark in his video. We’re already deploying this software with our H1 app and pre-production Karoo units, and are working on a substantial update as I write this. We’ve put a tremendous amount of effort into the base maps, route-building experience, syncing and sharing tools, and routing engine on Karoo. Thanks to our partnership with award-winning Dynamic.Watch, we’ll also be including web tools that allow users to build or capture routes on a variety of 3rd-party websites and have them automatically sync with their Karoo.

    STRAVA – While anyone can upload to Strava using their API, we have taken measures to ensure that Karoo data is optimally formatted (super-accurate location data is particularly helpful here), and that Karoo users can easily adjust privacy settings, add a title and description, and choose a ride-type before uploading. The Strava live-segments capability we built for Hammerhead One is being ported over and will unlock some features unique to Karoo. Our web-app can display your Strava activities and turn them and those of your friends into navigable routes that sync automatically with your Karoo. All of these feature can of course be turned off.

    UPDATES – We are pushing regular updates to Karoo’s apps and operating system that unlock new features and ensure the system is secure.

    3RD-PARTY APPS – We’ll be announcing support for 3rd-party apps that have been adapted to work with the Karoo platform. In the case of Viewranger, their maps are proprietary, in some cases based on non-free data (for example OS in the UK), and only run on their mobile app (not adapted for Karoo’s Android OS).

    CONNECTIVITY – Karoo is fully functional offline. It can also connect to the internet over WiFi or by tethering to Android and iOS phones. However, by inserting a SIM card to connect directly to the internet via cellular, riders can unlock unique real-time features during the ride without draining their phones.

    PRIVATE ANT – There is nothing technological that would prevent us from fully supporting Shimano Di2, Radar, or any other Private ANT device profile. We are open to working with any company that would like its products to be compatible with Karoo.

    POWER – Karoo’s micro-USB port is both fully corrosion-resistant and IP67 sealed to protect the internals. An external battery could be used to keep the battery topped off, but the connection would not be sealed. The internal battery is replaceable (we’ll ask that you send your unit in for servicing) and battery life in testing is meeting our expectations even before we fully optimize. We’re also working on settings that would allow riders to optimize for maximum battery life.

    • Thomas

      On power: The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (at least that one) offers a magnetic charging port on the side. I’m not a technical expert, but I imagine this not to cause a shortcut when happening in rain. Hence, wouldn’t that be an option?

    • Arthur Jackson

      Thanks for your replies, Randy.

      Regarding my earlier comment (#38) and your reply about 3rd-party apps, I would not buy the Karoo unless it could run ViewRanger. I will have to continue my search for a device to replace my Garmin Monterra, which runs Android natively. The Monterra satisfies all my needs except that it is so heavy and bulky, the key attributes being: Android OS, transflective display, battery life of at least 12 hours with the screen permanently enabled, weatherproof.

    • Torgil Svensson

      Thank you for the summary. Two additional questions and a feature-request.

      Which file-formats does Hammerhead use?
      – Open, able to hold custom measurements, Di2 events etc?

      Will you be able to extract the raw data files from Hammerhead out of the box?

      Is it possible for Hammerhead to record data even if stop is pressed and throw it away when space is needed?
      – This will be awesome for the times you otherwise lose sections and entire rides because of forgetting to press play after a stop.
      – On Garmin for instance it can be hard to see during a ride if it’s recording or not depending on which fields you have configured.

  38. Fanie Nel

    Hi,

    On pronunciation. Karoo – Kah – roo – huh in Afrikaans (the native language).

    Fanie Nel – Living close to the Karoo

  39. Pips

    I would be surprised if this came in under $1,000. This is far beyond anything anyone has on the market, and is more akin to a cell phone than a cycling computer. Sadly, it wont sell at that price point. If they were selling it for around $350, they would be losing money hand over fist.

    • Sir Roger

      Pips I think you have your calculations a bit off… It costs about $200 to manufacture even the most expensive Iphones.. thats with front and back cameras and lots of tricky metal engineering. This Hammerhead is still just a plastic box with a screen and a processor.. It’s the software that makes it interesting, and that is being engineered on an already established base.

      I would imagine this unit will be priced under 400..That way it would be a real contender.. I still think the box needs to be a bit sexier.. That square head unit is ugly.. Hey Ray any chance of a side by side pic with a couple of Garmins..

  40. milesthedog

    But can it store music and play streaming services?!

  41. part_robot

    You had me at “fully functional offline”. I got stuck in the middle of nowhere recently with no reception and had to create a cross country route to get back. Doing this with my Garmin 810 was rage-inducing and the Bolt neither supports that functionality nor do they have it on their roadmap when I spoke to them.

  42. Martin

    Are we getting to a point where these computers are little more than Android phones with Ant+, and without the phone radio? Do we really need the additional (expensive) device when all the software should theoretically run off a phone?

  43. Derek

    Looks like a viable alternative to Garmin. I am unfortunately hooked into the Garmin ecosystem with Edge 820, variant headlights, and radar. Any plans to be able to pair/sync these products with the Karoo? Secondly, wondering how much “data” this would eat up on cell phone plans. I have a 10GB plan in Canada, but how much would a coupe hour ride with GPS, navigation, maps, cellular triangulation and all the bells and whistles they have, eat up in data charges?

    Thanks

    • Sir Roger

      The amount of Data used by GPS devices,, ie phones navigating with GPS is negligible. The GPS uses none as it is a separate radio.. The triangulation uses none. The only data is map refreshes which is a tiny amount on any one ride unless you are covering superhuman distances.

  44. It occurred to me when I saw the elevation gain graph in the video: Are there any auto routing devices that can be configured to take elevation into account when routing? Like for instance when you want to avoid highways. To let you plan a route with minimal elevation (or indeed as much as possible). I just don’t think I have seen it anywere.

  45. Nick Cross

    When would you be announcing UK prices / availability?

    Will it be compatible with RideWithGPS?

  46. Adrian

    Can you comment of the data sources used for creating the maps? Will open streetmap data be used?

    Thanks, Adrian

  47. dan

    can this download android apps, such as xert, strava, training peaks, etc? any chance of 4g as opposed to 3g?

  48. ChrisK

    Just got a promo email from them earlier today with preorder price of $299 for the next 5 days. I’m in for one. I have an Edge 520 and thought this will be an interesting little experiment. I’ll be interested in seeing how/if they will implement working with a phone on BT if the 3G isn’t activated. (assuming you wouldn’t do a persistent hotspot.) Thinking of equivalent features of Livetrack/Beacon, auto upload of activity, txt alert, etc. I think my ATT plan has a $10/mo for non-phones so $120/year might be a little steep to enable some functionality. (If someone has a cheaper prepaid suggestion, that might be cool.) I’m assuming their referral program doesn’t pile on top of this week’s preorder thing but they send you a referral bonus email after you purchase.

    • Nick

      I have also seen the promotion email. However it appears they are intending to list it as standard price at $499 – directly competing with the Edge 1000 and not trying to undercut Garmin at all ; this seems a bit ambitious (like Acer did) and like DC Rainmaker indicated may make market penetration harder (especially for a relative newcomer).

    • JD

      The preorder delivery date just got moved to October.
      Too late for this season but looking forward to first production results and an updated review.

  49. Brendan Hills

    This is so exciting! I have wanted to throw my various Garmins into the sea since they are so unreliable and annoying. (the only exception is the super simple 200). I was just about to buy my own ruggedized android phone (Samsung XCover 3 is my current favourite: link to samsung.com) and just use the RideWithGPS app for navigation. This sounds even better.

  50. Alan

    Any idea if it will support the Garmin Varia Radar? It’s the one thing that has prevented me from moving to a wahoo unit (my 510 is dying).

    • Kevin Klasman

      Per Karoo today (2/20/18), Garmin Varia Radar uses a private protocol and thus cannot/will not be supported. This is a deal breaker for me, and I told them that. I guess I’m stuck with Garmin (my 1000 seems to be dying and don’t want to spring for a 1030).

    • It’s actually a public ANT+ profile. There’s no reason they can’t add it in. No different than bike power or heart rate sensors.

      Details: link to thisisant.com

    • Brad

      Kevin, what is the source of the information? You say per Karoo… email? From who?

      Varia support was one of the features that finally convinced me to buy in. So far I had been holding tight, but not having radar pretty much changes everything for me.

    • Brad

      In response to the question, today my buddy got an email from Hammerhead confirming that the Varia Radar protocol is indeed private and they cannot make use of it.

    • Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense for whomever to say it – since it’s definitely not private (I linked to the public profile above). Also, I chatted with them about it yesterday on a conference call. It’s on their radar, but it’s high priority right now (which I can’t really disagree with give the number of things they could focus resources on).

    • Brad

      Today was my turn to get the same email – which I’ve copied below. Since you have gotten a different answer Ray, apparently different people at Hammerhead are giving different answers. I truly hope your answer turns out to be correct.

      Sherkhan Pathan (Hammerhead)
      Feb 22, 09:21 EST
      Hi Brad,

      Thanks for your email. We are sorry for the delayed response.

      Unfortunately, the Varia radar systems work on a private protocol that is only available for Garmin devices to make use of.

      Hence, it’ not yet possible for Karoo (or any non-Garmin device) to pair with the Garmin Varia radar and show vehicles in proximity.

      Your order has been shipped from our end and we cannot cancel the order now. Please get in touch after receiving the order and we shall initiate the return process.

      Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Best Regards,
      Sherkhan
      Hammerhead

    • Yeah, I’m talking with the founders/CEO/lead software engineers.

      Sounds like you’re talking with support. I’ll forward them a note of the disconnect.

  51. Niek Dijstelpower

    I am really interessed in this piece, i wanted to know if this device has a possibillity to have the “surprise me” functionality such as Mio 505 has. And how the warranty is provided when something would be needed for service , are there any selling points /servicepoint in the Netherlands ?

    • Nick Cross

      When I asked a similar question for the UK, they didn’t have any distributor *yet* (and definitely not for pre-orders) – for people in the UK this means we would be stung for VAT, customs import duty etc and would have to ship it back to the USA for warranty.

    • Tim

      Lack of UK support is holding me back – I asked them via Facebook of they could drop ship to Amazon UK but got no reply. There is an online import calculator to check duty, then plus vat, then plus revenue collection charges plus vat on those, which can be reasonable to outrageous, depending on who is delivering it. I made it about £300 plus revenue collection on the $299 offer, which is ok, but what if its doa? What a pain to ship it back and then get another and pay charges all over again. Nah.

    • Nick Cross

      @Tim ; interesting I didn’t know there is an online duty calculator – however it seems like its still ‘unknown’ to the exact price 🙁

      Plus for me, its early-adopter risk versus when all the kinks have been ironed out and it has been thoroughly reviewed by the likes of DCRainmaker.

  52. DafLJ

    That’s a useful point, thanks Nick.

    I was seriously considering grabbing one at the pre-order price – but additional charges to the UK are likely to come to another $70+, and the additional costs plus the thought of having to return it to the States for any potential warranty issues is likely to mean that I hold off for the time being.

  53. Brian

    Looks like they are taking pre-orders at $299 right now.

  54. Derek

    Ray,

    Thanks for the initial write-up. Just wondering what your thoughts are on getting into new devices/tech on the first version? Thinking about getting in on the pre-release price but concerned about early growing pains, and while Garmin still has many flaws in my view i’d like to see what’s next for them given new and exciting entrants into the space.

  55. Lee

    Is this compatible with Garmin Radar ?

    • Sir Roger

      Well on our NYC Rapha ride today one of the developers showed up at our coffee stop with an actual real in the flesh Hamerhead GPS. Yep it’s pretty large.. But I have to say the display brightness, sharpness and mapping is really amazing… I think if they could slim the size a bit and they would have a Garmin killer for sure. For a first Gen device this is beyond impressive. I can imagine down the road 2nd and 3rd Gen versions of this thing flying off the shelves.
      The reason for the big square I was told has to do with wanting to put a 3 inch virtual keyboard on the device for geo searching.. which I think is probably more than you need as the peck and pick version Garmin uses is not really that much slower. I stand by my first post that it’s a bit big and ugly but this team certainly listen and are looking at all comments. A more slim oblong version and I’m sold.. Kudos to the developers and good luck to them.

    • lee a dorney

      >Oblong ? so you want a Garmin 810, again ? seems good enough for me to the point of paying for it, one of the biggest problems is the size of the 8/10 – 520 dead funny ! what the hell can your see on that – the Hammerheads size is brilliant YOU CAN SEE IT ? the sooner i get mine which is pre-paid the better Garmin’s are just…

    • Sir Roger

      What a silly comment.. Equating the desire for the new device to be more oblong than square with a desire to go back to an 810 is nonsense. Perhaps when you have the huge thing in your hand you will understand what I am saying. It makes the Garmin 1000 look svelte, not to mention the weight.

    • lee a dorney

      Silly ?

      You talk American and can’t understand proper grammar, mate!

      Re-read

      Yank language originated from this land boy!

      God knows wtf you’re referring to…

      Either way it’s impressed me to prepay – when you do, then…

    • Sir Roger

      Wow, Seems to me for someone complaining about grammar your posts are a little jumbled.
      And really, “Boy”. Now you see what you have done there is put my mention of NYC in your little head, and in a vane attempt at an insult, come up with all sorts of chauvinistic ideas about Americans.

      Oh by the way I am English.

      Do with that what you will.

    • lee a dorney

      ‘Sir Rogerette’, forgive myself dearest excellency, yet please re-read read my initial statement and you’ll be forgiving yourself…

      Happy cycling, Sir ! ?

    • Sir Roger

      You are forgiven Mr Donkey

  56. Andy

    The so called 365+1 day free return is a marketing con. I’ve just checked and it only applies if returned unopened! So you have to decide if it’s any good without opening the box or no refund! What with this and the unknown handling charges, VAT and import duty to pay in not swayed despite it sounding an impressive bit of kit.

  57. Randall R. Jacobs | Hammerhead

    Hey Everyone –

    We continue to be impressed with the caliber of questions and comments here on DCR. Thank you! Field and lab testing of Hammerhead Karoo continues to go smoothly, and we’re looking forward to getting Ray a production unit to review as soon as they’re ready. In the meantime:

    – We have indeed been inviting Hammerhead community members (subscribers to our mailing list) to order Karoo at a limited pre-sale price before sales open to the general public. We’re way ahead of our sales goals (thank you DCR readers!), so be sure to get on the list at link to hammerhead.io.

    – We’ve posted an update on our blog that covers many of the questions and comments posted here. We also have additional updates and a deep-dive into Karoo’s development story coming soon, so be sure to check it out and follow us at link to blog.hammerhead.io.

    On behalf of the entire Hammerhead team, thank you for all your feedback. We’re listening, so please keep it coming.

    – Randall

    • M@rtin

      Great update, thanks! I see from the Bikeradar video that you appear to have gotten rid of the standard Android soft buttons that were present in Ray’s hand’s on (that appeared to get in the way of some screens!) – is this correct?

      Also, in the standard data pages, will it be possible to change the layout and/or the sizes of the individual fields? I started out with a Garmin Edge 800, which was a good size and had a better layout (IMHO) than the Edge 820, which I just got rid of. Now I’ve got the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, and really like the way the display zooms, making certain fields more prominent. This could be even better with a colour screen, having different colours for HR/Power/Speed levels.

    • Mike

      I would like to hear a bit more info in regard to the cellular functions. Is is possible to insert your own sim card such as Freedom pop or Keepgo. I use these in my cars GPS and Nav systems and avoid paying the car manufacture its crazy cellular cost for these functions. Also is your cellular world wide? If for example I travel to Eu, will it still work on their network? Roaming fee?

    • Thanks Martin! Much more to come, and we’d love it if you posted your questions and comments there as well. As for your current questions:

      – Ray’s video showed a prototype Android ROM. We’ve since pushed our fully-custom production ROM, which allows us more complete control over UI as you mention, but also over power management and much else. Going this route has required a tremendous amount of additional work, but a simple skin could not have achieved the interface, battery life, extensibility, and reliability we wanted for our users.

      – Re: Data fields, we’ll be pushing updates that go beyond what you’ve asked for here, including in-ride visualizations intended to increase the digestibility of one’s data relative to numbers alone. Be sure to follow our blog for the latest updates. link to blog.hammerhead.io

    • Hey Mike – Re: Cellular, Karoo has 3G, and you can insert your own SIM card into Karoo’s SIM slot. I personally have a T-Mobile DIGITS SIM that shares my primary phone’s number and plan and covers me around the world. We’ll provide more granular detail about cellular connectivity and options in a future blog post, so be sure to subscribe and comment at link to blog.hammerhead.io

    • Simon Rushton

      Hi,
      I really like the look of this gadget.

      I have two concerns :
      1) with such a nice screen and so much functionality, how is the battery life. I see stats from all the manufacturers, and they’re always, shall we say, optimistic. How long can you really go with the device with the screen on, navigating a route?
      2) I don’t see the point of the SIM card. Will the device work without this?

    • Marek

      link to strava.com

      Radall says a lot of juice left. I don’t see sensor though.
      Garmin Edge 1000 should last 15h according to spec. Real life with screen on and navigation, hr, speed and cadence is closer to 10h than 15h.
      Wonder how it will look with Karoo in real life.

    • Simon Rushton

      Yeah, the spec says 15 hours for the edge 1000. All the reviews I read say about 4.5 with navigation…

    • Any review that shows 4.5hrs with navigation shows someone doing it wrong. Really wrong. Likely they had full backlight brightness on while also having the routing page on constantly (as opposed to just for upcoming turns).

      As Marek noted – for most people it’s in the 10ish range, sometimes more. Backlight brightness is actually the biggest drive (along with whether or not your constantly on the map page).

    • Marek

      I have edge 1000 for 1.5 month, 1500km. 4.5h with navigation is low.
      I can say you can get about 10 hours, while navigating, screen 15 sec autobrightness, hr and speed cadence, paired with phone via bluetooth. I have checked it and I can tell that.

    • Simon Rushton

      Ok, thanks for the evidence. I’ve got to trust the DCR!

      It’s so hard to know what to believe sometimes when I read so many conflicting comments!

      The battery was the one thing stopping me going for the 1000, so I was thinking of the 820 instead. But then all the commentary about the poor screen, and bugginess, and smaller screen size…

    • Marek

      Ray when will you be able to review final realease of Hammerhead Karoo?

    • Not for a while likely. I don’t have a unit at this point, so typically it’d be once they get to final hardware and final software that I’d publish a review.

      Often times I’ll have final hardware with near-final software, so I can usually time things pretty close to when they start shipping after I validate nothing new has popped up in final software versions.

    • usr

      Feature suggesting for endurance: backlight boost for the map screen, to enable lower general settings without sacrificing map fidelity (so actually it would be lower backlight on non-map data screens, but boost sounds better).

      Experience on the edge shows that data screens are easily legible with less or no backlight at times when the map could already benefit a lot from burning some battery and I am sure that this will apply to any device that alternatively shows a map or big, friendly numbers on a transflective screen. Users coming from the edge are already well trained (painfully conditioned?) to minimize time on map when they need the best the battery can offer, so the contextual backlight optimization would not stay on paper.

  58. Marek

    @Simon Rushton,
    2. Of course it should work without it. It is an option you can use it or not.

    • Jeff

      @Simon Rushton @Marek
      2. – It also does WiFi, so if your phone (and carrier) support using your mobile as a HotSpot, that would also work for mapping purposes. OR you could cache the map before leaving home and not need any further connectivity. (at least based on what I’ve read on it so far for the production software…)

  59. Torkil Skille

    599$ seems to be the price, 499$ with the newsletter coupon code.
    Quite high…!

    • Marek

      Torkil Skille this is not true, subscribe to early offer list, then you will get a special pre-order code and you will be charged $299 at check-out.

  60. Stuart myatt

    Hi will there be a calibration feature for garmin vector 2?

    Also how about any future integration with varia vision and radar?

    Have ordered this morning looks great

  61. kilosub

    1. What about under the rain, will the touch screen work?
    2. Does the charging port cover? As seen in the video looks like it not covered or maybe its a prototype unit.

    • M@rtin

      1. Touchscreen seems fine in the rain –
      link to facebook.com

      2. Not sure if it’s covered but the unit is IP67 certified, so will be waterproof with or without a cover. Note that most waterproof smartphones don’t have port covers these days.

    • Mika Alen

      I would suggest a waterproof case including a cable (10-15cm) with a micro-usb cable (female) sticking out. It doesn’t need to be 100% just enough to keep rain out, a silicone tight case would do the trick.

    • kilosub

      I second Mika Alen opinion.

      That would be awesome if they can include this option as it will be great for rider who does long distances ride like Audax or similar

    • kilosub

      Thanks Martin on the link!

      I’m not sure the effect will be the same without the glove as I’ve tried using smartphones under light rain it doesn’t work at all.

      Hope the Hammerhead team could response.

    • lee a dorney

      Yes I’ve had similar…

    • lee a dorney

      Yes that’s what I’ve experienced…

  62. Mika Alen

    I also would like to have the possibility to not navigate when following a route. On my 810 I mostly just display a route on the map and try to stick to the colored line 🙂
    This feature is a huge battery saver on the 810 and you don’t have to listen to the beeps when riding 20m beside the road in a bike lane. Re-calculate route and stuff is also something I need so I hope that the Karoo has an option just to paste routes on the map and ride.

  63. Jacky Wong

    couldn’t proceed to buy it because the shipping address country list doesn’t contain my location. Anyone has the same issue?

  64. Brandon Bodin

    My girlfriend ordered us one of these and everyone I work with at the bike shop is really interested. I wonder what the projected ship date is now?

  65. Anonymous

    Technically, and perhaps pedantically, I think the Karoo is a semi-desert.

    South Africa’s only true desert is the Richtersveld, a sort of mini-extension of the Namib desert in a loop just south of the Orange River, which forms the border with Namibia. (The sandy outflow of the Orange River into the South Atlantic Ocean, combined with the northern direction of the cold Benguela current, is apparently what causes the transition to desert as you cross into Namibia, and explains why Namibia is home to the world’s tallest sand dunes.)

    But you might as well treat the Karoo as if it were a desert when planning any outiings 🙂

  66. Anonymous

    Will the Karoo be officially and easily rootable and reflashable, like Google Nexuses and Pixels?

    For example, If I wanted, could I install an app of my own devising that would let the device act *entirely* as a remote screen, fed with pixels over Wi-FI or Bluetooth from another mobile phone/laptop in my rucksack, or even from a remote website?

    Or if I wrote my own compass app that looked just the way I wanted, could I run that on its own, even though for most people that would seem a waste of a cool device?

    Or run an app that existed entirely to let me get last-minute messages from the Mrs from a server of my own when I am on the way home. e.g. “Get chip rolls from Ooskus.” (R37, Google it 🙂

    Could I flash my own build of AOSP over it, even if it meant losing out on support for some of the hardware?

    • lee a dorney

      What’s the use of that ? Defeating the idea of the project/product.

    • Anonymous

      Because why not? Adding your own stuff to a product hardly “defeats” it. It’s just nice to know that the device you are buying isn’t locked eternally to the original supplier, just in case you ever want to do something else with it, or in case the original supplier gets bought out and turns into the sort of company you don’t want to do business with any more. (Especially relelvant with online apps that keep track of your location, eh?)

      How many people are sitting with out-of-date, insecure iPhones because Apple doesn’t support them any more…yet Apple rather spitefully won’t let you re-use the device with alternative firmware?

    • I think there’s gotta be a balance. Allowing folks to do their own thing is good as long as it isn’t taking away resources from the company that could be used to better the product for the other 99.9% of people.

      Of course, with a 7-year old iPhone (which is what’s no longer supported this fall for new updates, the iPhone 4S on iOS11), you could certainly jailbreak that device easily. So that comparison falls apart there.

    • Jeff F

      fwiw the 5c is 32bit and therefore also going out of support with ios11, that was still on sale less than 2 years ago (discontinued sept 2015).

    • lee a dorney

      I’m sure Hammerhead Karoo will be a great product – well, better than a Garmin 810 that goes off when following a route…

    • Simon Rushton

      Not wanting to go off on a tangent but….
      I found my 810 would “reliably” turn off at the same location when navigating a route.

      I’ve since reformatted the SD card on which the map was saved, and it’s stopped happening.

      This implies that there was some file corruption on the SD card causing the problem.

    • lee a dorney

      I’ll try that ? thanx

    • Jeff F

      Storage corruption is very common with Garmin devices, possibly because they still use the FAT filesystem.

      I’ve had to reformat my 510 a few times. Just make sure to clear the “quick format” checkbox. Usually happens when the device has hung and you have to force a power off.

  67. Lars Alenius

    Keep up the good work!

  68. Henrik

    I read through all, honestly, and almost all my questions are answered. Personally, I just want to get rid of my phone in the jersey pockets, mainly for safety reasons. I do not want to have a big brick of glass with a tiny li-poly bomb underneath it near my back when I crash. I may seem to be a little paranoid but since burning phone batteries happen, I d prefer to leave it at home.

    BUT: I want to be able to call wifey if I stay with the mates for a few post-ride beers, erm, have a puncture and will be home late.

    Just one little thing: Add the possibility to attach a safety cord like the Garmin Edges have. The quad mount almost never fails, but I have seen it happen. I would prefer to have it hanging from the bars than having it run over by the guys on a group ride.

    Anyway, keep up the amazing work, work on battery life and charging on the go and you will have my money.

  69. allan

    Does anyone have any idea on an estimated release date? I preordered but it’s kind of strange that the company hasn’t said anything about ETA.

  70. Bart Teijsen

    You can now order the Karoo hammerhead. 299instead of 499…is it wise to do so? Shipping is early October

    • I haven’t touched one since this post over three months ago, so it’s honestly hard to say how progress has been made, or if things will slide further.

      Maybe I’ll see them at Eurobike in a few weeks, or perhaps at Interbike a month from now.

  71. Matthijs

    I just ordered the Karoo, it is a risk, but the pricetag was 299 dollar, a good deal I think. Too bad my country ads another 74 dollar taxes. But hey, I get great mapping. My current unit is a Garmin 705, I use this unit for almost 10 years now and it still works great, but I miss a good map. I have used several maps, but they often are clunky on the 705, showing big roads and small roads in the same way, and it is really slow. When on a trip, and the imported TCX or GPX is not what I expected, I want to try a different route. And finding a good route is almost impossible without a PC or smartphone with Google Maps.

    I looked as well at the Garmin 1000 but it is too expensive for what it is in my opinion. The 510 was not complet and the 520 looked really well. But I chose to go for the Karoo, when it’s not okay, it will be on Ebay, but I expect it to be good in the spring of 2018.

  72. Roland K

    I just received an insider-only pre-sale offer for the Karoo of $ 299. According to Hammerhead the official price will be $ 499. Unfortunately, after taxes etc for shipping to the Netherlands, the price is $ 374.-, which is a lot higher than expected. Official price (if come true) is definitely a no-go. Pre-sale offer is fine to me if I would not be charged for additional $ 75 for taxes etc. Time that Hammerhead considers to open a European office.

    • Simon Rushton

      Same thing made me think twice too

    • JD

      If Karoo really is a new class of GPS cycling computer as the specs indicate, Hammerhead should be able to charge a premium.price for it.
      If delivered as promised it looks like an Elemnt/820/1000 killer ($329-$499).

  73. Roland K

    Want to share my thoughts about ordering a Karoo right now. When you place an order right now, your account is charged immediately not just when shipping. Moreover, expected delivery is in November. If it would be Tesla, I would give it a try and place a pre-order right now, simply because I hope that they manage to place something in the market worth the money. But I don’t know anything about Hammerhead; my feeling is that it is a pretty small company with just a few co-workers and no record in GPS cycling computers. It would give me a better feeling if they would charge when shipping the Karoo. Therefore, I decided to wait until the product is officially on the market and some reliable reviews are available. It the price is competitive and affordable, I will buy one. If not, I go ahead with my current computer.

  74. Thomas W. Blair

    I am assuming that this Karoo is mac-compatible….

    is it????

    thanks for this great review- as usual!!

    • Jeff

      I’m not an authoritative source, but from the reviews and specs, It is a self contained full on mobile computer (geared for cycling). So no real worries about PC/Mac/Linux compat, since you don’t connect it to your PC.

  75. Jay

    Any news on the Shimano Di2 integration?

    As the new Ultegra (R8000) has now got the “hidden buttons/switches” that just Dura Ace previously had, it would make the support of Di2/D-Fly even more popular.

    Thanks,

    J.

  76. Markus

    Hi, the Karoo seems very interesting to me.

    I wonder, if something similar like Garmin cycling dynamics exists or is planned for the Karoo as well?

    Thanks

  77. Zach

    Will this device actually allow Play Store apps ?
    Mainly, would it be possible to run the MTBProject app / maps?
    This is the app that downloads a state worth of Mountain bike maps for off-line use.
    And (if) that were possible, would the bicycle ride recording app allow one to ‘switch’ over to another app like this to check locations / trails? Meaning it would run both apps simultaneously.
    That alone would convince me to sell my new Garmin, as it takes a lot of work to build my own custom map and transfer it to the device.

    • Arthur Jackson

      Zack, your question is similar to mine (#44), in which case you should refer to Hammerhead’s reply (#100). For mountainbiking in the UK there is, in my view, no real alternative to OS maps and it is such a shame that these will not be available on the Karoo.

  78. Gilbert

    When will we see a review of the production Karoo units?

    • I chatted with them on Thursday at the ANT+ Symposium, and got a great run-down of the tech and where it stands. At present it sounds like units will start hitting peoples hands later this month in a beta of sorts. So my guess is assuming that happens that I’d probably have a review out in early November.

      As I’ve said above, there are some areas where Karoo is incredibly strong in. Some of the routing aspects and the things they’re doing are truly ground-breaking and amazing. They showed off for example the ability to copy anyone’s Strava activity URL, and then instantly generate a route on their Hammerhead page for it, and then even further, to easily tweak any part of that route to suit you (not just end of it) – and then automatically push it to your unit. Every part of that run-on sentence is actually really tough to do today on any platform. So that’s super cool.

      On the flip-side, areas like structured workout support are more challenging. Same goes for trainer control (not till next year). Or Strava Live Segments.

      Still, all things I’ll cover in a review at that time.

    • chup

      Hi Ray, as it is based on Android could we assume that the map (OSM source?) could display double-byte charaters like Chinese? and could we install/side-load Chinese keyboard app just like other Android phone does?

      If not, could we design the route on smartphone (or sync from Strava, or GPX files, whatever…) and then send it to the Karoo? With that I don’t need to concern inputing address on the Karoo, just plan the route on phone and send!

    • Not sure the first one. I’d have to defer to Karoo on that.

      But yes, you can definitely design the route elsewhere and pull in any route via Strava, file types, and a bunch of other stuff – including a route planner online. It’s super slick.

      But to reiterate again as a related item, Karoo doesn’t plan on enabling the casual user to install 3rd party apps on the Hammerhead at this time (maybe down the road). Obviously though, since it’s Android, those with more time and skills can get around the blocks.

    • JD

      Here’s what I am hoping you can do with a Karoo assuming it can work this way . ;->
      1. Head out on a state to state month long vacation or spur of the moment weekend destination.
      2. Arrive at your destination or an unplanned stop along the way.
      3. Unload your road or mountain bike.
      4. Start Karoo and select option to list popular routes based on your location.
      Example, a list of rides by distance, avg/max slope, altitude/climbing distance, difficulty index, avg time to complete.
      5. Drill down to view details and map.
      6. Pick a route and go.
      If suggested rides are all long loops you can always elect out and back based on how much time you have. The main thing is unload your bike and just go. You don’t need to research anything ahead of time. Wherever you go, there you ride.

  79. Zach

    As there is no mentioned support to build & load “custom maps” (perhaps this will come in the future) –
    This lends the question:
    Can the Karoo load (MULTIPLE) GPX files and display them all at once? (hopefully with names).

    The goal here would be to load a complex mountain bike trail system. Not as a route that I would have to follow, but just for reference (as if it were part of the map).

    The other feature which I assume will not be there (at least not yet) would be contour lines for elevation change (or shaded relief).

  80. Larry Grossman

    Ray, Have you seen anything — your own experience or written by others — regarding the ability of the Hammerhead to integrate with Stages power meters? I have just returned a Garmin 820 because of this (sticking with my 510 was a better option that what Garmin suggested, which was to use their own power meters) and don’t want to go through all of this again.

    • Roland K

      What about delivery? Announced was October 2017. Anything new? Looking at their website and following their story line, I guess delivery is significantly delayed, but no explicit information found yet. Wonder if the ones who ordered early got information about the expected date of delivery. Anyway, happy that I did not order in August.

    • Martin

      Slightly delayed, and explained:

      link to blog.hammerhead.io

      Expected delivery is stated on the timeline page:
      link to hammerhead.io

      Having backed a number of Kickstarter projects, it is rare to get one that isn’t delayed. Considering Karoo was a pre-order, not Kickstarter, I think they have been very forthcoming in keeping us updated. Also their insights into the development have been very interesting to follow. I’m happy to wait a couple of months extra to ensure the final product is as good as it can be.

    • Andrea

      Hi,
      I preorder mine three weeks agoo
      , I’m curius to know when someone ask for a refund what append to the list.

    • lee a dorney

      I got a refund. That was it.

    • Roland K

      Interesting blok. Thanks anyway for the information.

  81. Peter

    Go for Karoo or stick with my Garmin Edge 820?
    Hi folks,
    I bought my Edge 820 early in the spring on a sale, shortly after I saw the Karoo, unit. I found it very interesting. I went ahead and preordered mine back in May. As you all know, the unit keeps getting delayed.
    As the initial WOW factor has faded because of the wait, I am strongly thinking of cancelling my order and just stick with my Edge 820, I find the the 820 to be an ok device, not more, I think the screen is a bit small, and importing and creating routes is not as good as I want it to be. I ride mostly MTB and navigate a new trail even when you have a segment of that trail on your device its quite tricky follow the navigation. Maybe I’m doing it wring, but it’s really hard to see where to turn and such.
    As I ride trails and sometimes alone I really depend on Strava Beacon feature (could use GArmins Tracker, but use Beacon) (edge is connected to my phone via BT).
    Anyone knows if Beacon will work connected to a phone? As there will be no app for the Karoo, I am not sure that strava Beacon will work.
    And no, I will not be using the option to put in a SIM card in the Karoo, as an Extra SIM cost to much in our country just to have it for cycling.
    I am thinking that for my useage the Karoo simply will only be a bike computer that doesn’t function the way I want to. I want to be able to have good maps for trail riding on it, and also the Beacon functionality is a deal breaker for me.
    Some advice thanks.

    • JD

      Between offline maps and ability to tether to your phone, a SIM card isn’t necessary.
      Go to their Facebook page and click on Videos to view the latest previews added this month including routing, offline maps, and web app sync (route planning).
      The Karoo platform should support any alert or location service, That’s not to say which one(s) may be supported in the initial release.
      I am hanging onto my preorder. The mapping functions alone look too good to pass up.

    • Peter

      I have been in touch with their support and asked them several questions. The Beacon for Sträva will not work they said, route planning with a phone will not work either, only on web app , not initially anyway.
      I have asked several questions from their support and many answers are. hm so to say negative, some features that initially where said to be functioning i have got answer that it will be available in the future.. and who knows how long that takes.

      They did not either gave me a solution to be able to live track from the platform without a sim card in the device.

      Maps i read somewhere are not that good either, good if you are a road cyklist, but not if you ride trails, and thats the main thing i do. But on the other hand, the device design looks nice.
      the last thing i heard is that production will start soon.. they just received som parts last week and will be testing them before ramping up production… Will be lucky to have them before Xmas…

      As i already have a Edge 820, I’m beginning to wonder if I should hang on my preorder…. Feels like a regular kickstarter project. 🙂

    • Zach

      I hear that. I’ve asked through several of their facebook threads if they will ‘display’ multiple GPX files since it will not support custom maps. Or if there will be future plans to display a KMZ graphic file. Every time I ask other questions they are answered, but this questions has gone ignored…every time. I replied back and asked if I could get a yes / no answer and it’s still crickets so far. I’m going to place an order with Garmin, knowing of the bugs I’ll have to deal with. If I can’t get an answer on that, then I have to assume that it won’t really be good for mountain biking. I mean, if they’re supposedly shipping by the end of month (a few days?) – they should have at least sent an early release to DCR or someone to review… or posted a manual….or more in-depth videos.

  82. Jacky Wong

    I ordered at July but still haven’t received it. Did anyone receive the deliverable yet?

    • Peter

      I went ahead and canceled my order. Main reasons are that the initial wow factor faced after waiting over 6 months, last i heard is that the are about to start ramping production, this i end November.
      Other reasons are that i feel that the device is to big fo me although very nice screen. I think it looks to take to much space on my bike. I went ahead and keep my Edge 820, it is a rather good bike computer if using the features at hand. Maps seem better on that one. I also wanted to have something to use when i am running or doing other exercises. I bought a Feix 5x instead and will staying with garmin. Will be nice upgrade from my Suunto Ambit 3.

      After i posted hear i got more answers to features i asked about , and all was answered “will be available at a later time, not at release”.
      I have changed my mind about being in a Kickstarter like project and beta tester. (Fels more like a kickstarter than a regular company project

  83. JD

    Strava relies on Mapbox for OpenStreeMap and Karoo will be utilizing OpenStreetMap plus their own cycling overlays.
    Is there a chart somewhere that indicates which map resource/toolbox is used by whom?
    What do Garmin, Wahoo, Polar or most iOS or Android apps use? Google Maps?
    Is there a review that compares mapping resources along with their pros and cons?
    What’s best for street navigation versus trails?
    Is a basemap platform less important than custom overlays and support for public GPS traces like Strava segments?

    • usr

      Karoo is also also using mapbox. But mapbox can be many things, think of is as a company that helps other companies use OSM data and/or other sources. It’s like saying “utility X is using General Electric to build a new powerplant”, that tells you very little about what kind of powerplant it is. (E.g. mapbox offers both bitmap and vector formats).

      Generally speaking, smartphone apps are usually built on top of the platform map API(Google or Apple), unless specially made by a competing map publisher and/or specially made for offline use (many offline OSM apps are built on mapsforge.org in some way). Google maps is nowhere outside smartphones and browsers (and Android TVs, cars, watches etc I guess, but only on devices fully endorsed and utilized by Google as advertisement feeds).

      Garmin has their own map format, both commercial maps and OSM derivates exist in that format, OSM derivates are available both from Garmin (e.g. with the Edge 1000 and younger) and from theirs parties.

      Even more generally speaking: if the map does not cost extra and there are no advertisements on it, it is most likely based on OSM in some way.

  84. Marek

    Ray, Hammerhead has just started shipping Karoo. Do you plan a review of it soon?

    • From their update, it looks like they’re shipping from their manufacturer to their distribution facilities, so not quite yet to customers. Though certainly, any day now.

      Either way, once I have a unit, I’m excited to get started on a review. But at present, I don’t have.

    • usr

      @Marek : don’t get deceived by the highlighted “all orders until mid-September” in the timeline, that’s a projection three months into the future (I know I did, initially).

      I really hope that the misplaced highlight (highlighting the most speculative projection instead of the latest competed milestone, as one would naturally expect) was an honest mistake and not a calculated act of -ahem- positive thinking. They already have more than plenty of that slightly sleazy “kickstarter vibe”.

    • lee a dorney

      This is THE most awaited cycling product / review of the year !!!!

    • JD

      Based on updated timeline most preorders (pre-Sept) won’t be received until January/February.
      Perhaps DCR will receive a unit in December so a production model review can be posted sometime in January.

    • Stuart myatt

      Does anyone know how many have been pre-ordered?

      Must be thousands

  85. Zach

    Looking forward to seeing an in-depth review at some point. I have a feeling that like any new product there will be growing pains. It seems that most features people want will not be available upon release but there will be a lot of room to grow.
    That being said, I did not pre-order, but instead just ordered the Garmin Edge 1030, for one reason alone.
    The Karoo will not initially support custom maps or display multiple GPX files at once to show trail networks.
    This means that the trails MUST be in OSM for mountain biking. Or you could import a single trail GPX file (but not a complex series). On the bright side, Hammerhead did reply and say they will consider this on the roadmap.

    The Edge can do both.
    The Garmin may not have the most user-friendly interface, but my old Edge 1000 allowed me to enable relief shading based on the included DEM elevation map. Again, the Garmin UI sucks, and it too me literally TWO years to figure out that the relief shading actually does work.
    I could then import (free) topo maps from gpsfiledepot, disable street maps, and enable relief shading.
    -AND- Overlay a transparent custom map I created that holds a trace of every GPX file for the state that I downloaded from mtbproject.
    So in that regard, I think Garmin is still king for off-road. Again, the Karoo definitely has the ability to do this -if- the software matures and allows for it. But I have to see it working before I bite.

    Now, if you just want to ride from point A to point B, both Garmin and Karoo allow to do this manually on the device, but the Karoo looks way smoother and probably faster to do it.
    Neither currently support ‘on the fly’ manual re-routing or dropping pins half way mid-ride.
    Garmin – contains the whole country but the maps aren’t updated that often (if you do a lot of work you can import up to date OSMmaps)
    Hammerhead Karoo – you must download or stream the maps for where you want to ride, but it looks very easy to do and will be up to date (big plus).

    On a side note, the Hammerhead facebook page deleted a series of posts which called them out for providing inaccurate shipping details. I then asked why the thread was deleted, and my post was removed the next day.
    That rubbed me the wrong way.
    But – I think there is a lot of potential here and I can’t wait to see what is in store for next year.

    • Zach

      On a side note, one advantage of the Karoo is that the following would *probably* work.
      If your mountain bike trails aren’t there, I bet you could upload them to OpenStreeMaps yourself, and then update your Karoo. Perhaps DCR or someone might confirm how do-able this is once the device ships.

    • Paul S.

      I’ve done just that for a trail realignment done nearby a few years ago, but in this area at least the maps are curated. What I uploaded did not immediately show up on the OSM maps, and in the end, I believe they actually used someone elses track of the same trail to make the change. So you won’t necessarily get instant gratification that way. OSM maps do have all of the trails in my area, and they are updated pretty rapidly (in both cases unlike Garmin’s TOPO’s).

    • Neal

      I’ve been following the Karoo story for the last six months. I thought the combination of the large screen and the Android OS could work out well. I’ve been very pleased with the Garmin’s I have owned but I need a upgrade and the high cost of the new 1030 model was just too much for my budget and I also thought I would like to try something else. I pre- ordered the Karoo in August with the expectation that I would have it by the end of October. I’m now told that I may get it in April.
      I have concerns about the Hammerhead company. What has frustrated me is what others have said and that is the lack of communication from Hammerhead. Questions to support take over a week for a response and the answer is always vague. Kind of like how a politician answers a question. Hammerhead recommends posting questions on Facebook but very few are answered. If a question is posted about how a feature works on the Karoo then it is ignored. Posts that were asked about when the Karoo will be shipped were removed. Many answers are that feature will be available in the future.
      So, what will happen if I have the Karoo and I can’t get something to work correctly? If I have a ride coming up in a unfamiliar area and I can’t get the route downloaded, do I wait a week for a answer? There is no phone tech support and they told me there will be no manual. From what I have read, their H1 computer was poorly received due to the lack of support. Perhaps that is the reason I’ve never seen a H1 on the many rides I have been on with hundreds of other cyclists.
      The Karoo may turn out to be a great computer someday but I think that day is far away. I’m going to wait for the review here before deciding about canceling the Karoo order. It seems highly likely I will since I don’t like dealing with companies that lack integrity.

    • I so wanted this to be a good experience – but it’s looking less and less likely to be something that is going to live up to the pre-production hype. I’m trying to hesitate withdrawing my order – but I’m wondering if these guys will be able to process the refund once the eventual avalanche begins. Being self employed I like to support he little guy – but it’s looking more and more like i’d be better to spend my money on a new Garmin. If I broke as many promises in my business – i’d be out of business.

    • Simon Rushton

      What you on abou t? Their comms and sales have been excellent.
      They’re not going to answer technical questions before you even have the unit.I’m surprised you got as much a s you did while they’re busy bringing the unit to production.

      I’m following another startup whose communications have been about three times a year. I only wish theywere as open and helpful as Hammerhead

    • Neal

      Simon — The Karoo is not a kickstarter project which do not update information much. This is a pre-ordered device and the information flow has been terrible. You would think that since the product is supposedly being shipped, Hammerhead would be getting as much information out on the product as they possibly can. Something is really wrong here and I realized that almost immediately when I found that Hammerhead charged credit cards immediately when the order is placed and not when it is shipped. That is simply not done anymore and several credit card companies do not permit charging before shipping. The tech support issue is the main issue I have with Hammerhead. They told me that the Karoo does not need a manual because it is intuitive like the Iphone. How can they not realize that the Iphone has a manual on line. I realize that everyone wants another player in the bike computer game but we have to be realistic and realize that Hammerhead failed with their first product and this one is not looking too good right now.

    • Peter

      Neal,
      I think the same as you, IF you tanke a look at my comments further up, you’ll see that I had almost the same thinking as you. If this where a kickstarter project, i would not think that much over delays. But as i ordered this Karoo back in may, and delivery was supposed to happen in July at the latest, and the thing is still not in production, it is only sad.
      also many of the features i read about when i made my decision aren’t there. Every question i had was answered vaguely, like it will come in a future update. Well, the future updates, are can be anything from right away to several years.
      It’s sad that they also charged the credit card already back when the thing was ordered.
      No i changed my mind and canceled my order. I received a refund so I’m fine with that. I stick to my Garmin Edge 820, its a really good bike computer, i instead went on and got me a Fenix 5x watch. I have not regretted that decision.

      I’m not interested in being a beta tester and waiting months and months for the product. As mentioned earlier, its NOT a Kickstarter project, it was advertised as a finished product waiting for production.
      LAst I heard a couple of days ago is that some units have been manufactured, only some….
      hope those of you who ordered will get yours eventually and be happy with it, but technology is moving fast and when the thing is eventually shopped it’s maybe already outdated

  86. Simon Rushton

    If they promised delivery in July and still haven’t delivered, then I agree, that is poor.

    On the communication, I’ve received updates :
    06/12
    24/11
    9/11
    6/11
    31/10
    24/10
    12/10
    11/10
    05/10
    Etc…
    At each stage they have discussed prototypes, testing, security validation, initiation of mass production, and so on.
    It was always clear that their model was advance payment ; I imagine that makes it cheaper for us. A loan, or VC funding, would come with an overhead that is passed onto the consumer.

  87. Neal

    Simon. Glad you got updates but I did not receive even one. Reading the Facebook posts shows that others have not received any updates either.
    When I placed my order , it was not clear that my card would be charged. They have since clarified this. Since Hammerhead had 3 million dollars in startup funding, I don’t understand the need to charge the card before shipping. Once again, this is not a kickstarter Project.

    • Companies take credit card charges now, because the timeframes are far too long to place credit card auths on. Those disappear rapidly. Thus, when they went to actually charge you – especially for long-range projects, then they’d be unable to do so.

      Doesn’t matter if it’s Hammerhead or Amazon.

  88. Neal

    Charging a card before shipment is a violation of several credit card agreements. Visa is one of them. This is the first time in at least 15 years where I have had a card charged before shipment. I would have preferred a down payment of say $50. This way a company knows the buyer is serious about the purchase and can better plan production.

    • “Charging a card before shipment is a violation of several credit card agreements. Visa is one of them.”

      That’s simply not true, either by credit card agreements or law.

      FWIW, FTC regulations require a merchant to either ship with stated timeframes, or if not stated within 30 days.

      Law

    • Neal

      I’m certainly not a credit card expert but I got my information from the FTC website which says ” Many credit card issuers have policies against sellers charging a credit card account before shipment.” Visa states, “”a merchant is not permitted to bill ahead of time” except in case of a deposit or down payment that the customer agrees to.” I know that maybe 15 years ago Visa definitely stated that the card could not be charged before shipment. I suppose things are different now and this is not enforced in any way.

      Concerning the 30 day shipping, the merchant is required to notify the buyer of the delay and offer the option of canceling. The only correspondence that I have ever received, other than when I asked a question of their tech support, was when I placed the order and a order number was sent to me. I never was notified of the numerous shipping delays and found out about them by going to Facebook.

      It seems to me that in this situation, the Karoo is actually a kickstarter project and buying into it was called a pre order so that the buyer would not consider it a risky investment.

      As you can easily tell from the tone of my comments that when buying a product, especially a high tech product, I believe the product is only as good as the company that sells it. If the communication has been poor before the product has been shipped, what will it be after the product has been delivered? I really like the concept of the Karoo and it’s potential but so far, the company has not impressed me.

    • Simon Rushton

      What about buying concert or theatre tickets that come only a week before the event?
      Or gifts for which you arrange delivery at the time of the recipients birthday…

    • Neal

      Simon
      I understand what you are saying but I don’t think this situation is the same. When you purchase tickets it is with the understanding they will be delivered shortly before the event and they are delivered. When I ordered the Karoo I was told a approximated delivery date. That date was missed and Hammerhead issued another shipping date. This went on for several more times.As it is now, what I expected in August of this year I will probably not get until April of next year.
      I don’t want to drag this thing out anymore and what I have to do is simply wait for the review here to decide what I need to do. Ray’s reviews are always excellent and he explains all the pros and cons in great detail.

    • JD

      Same here. Waiting for the review of the production model before deciding what to do.
      At this point I wish Karoo HAD been a Kickstarter project. Then we’d know how many units got pre-ordered and updates would have been posted there.
      I received many of the notices Simon Rushton mentioned. Any missing were found on their blog or website which I check irregularly or on Facebook which I usually avoid.
      I understood my pre-order back in June would be charged immediately plus DCR pointed out in this review the estimated delivery was likely wishful thinking.
      The way I interpret the timeline as currently posted is most pre-orders won’t be delivered until February. If it ends up being April that will definitely tick me off. ;->

  89. lee dorney

    I think i ordered back in July – refunded, which was in my own currency. Just too long a wait. Seems a hell of a project, tho negatively could be seen as a con due to the wait. To throw 300£ their way over this period of time is highly questionable!

    I can only wonder how many have pre-ordered at that £300 price-point… and aren’t happy ?!?

    • Nick

      Another problem is they are asking people to stump up the money now and there have been no reviews (e.g. by DC Rainmaker), no real-life tests, etc so its a complete punt as to how it would work.

      Now I’ve seen they are saying they will close the ‘special offer’ £300 discount very soon but _BEFORE_ anyone has got the devices and any reviews have been done. I would have been tempted but not before I’ve seen some reviews of it….

    • Hi Nick-

      Shortly before your e-mail this morning I shot them a note on when a review unit might float my way. I just heard back on that. At present, it’s sounding like after all units are shipped to earlier paying customers (I did order one recently though, so that puts me further down the list).

      Ultimately, I can’t really fault them for wanting to get it into paying customers first. Of course, it’s also likely a notable unspoken reason they’re doing that is to ensure they’ve got more time to fix bugs.

  90. Neal

    JD
    Interesting that you also received updates. From what I read on Facebook comments, I thought everyone was being kept in the dark. Perhaps my email address was somehow deleted from Hammerheads email list.
    It also could be that I did simply did not notice the statement about the credit card being immediately charged. I still don’t think it was the right thing for them to do since they have three million in start up cash.
    I went back and re-read the Hammerhead shipping notice. Looking at the photo I’m wondering if that box of perhaps 18 units is the entire first production run. Seems like even a small production run would be far more than one box and they would want to show a stack of boxes. I guess since they stated they would definitely start to ship in November, one box meets that goal. Where are the reviews of the first delivery owners? Yes, I think it’s going to be a long long time before I see my Karoo.

  91. Simon Rushton

    Just received a teaser email giving videos of how the device is used:

    link to mailchi.mp

    • Neal

      Simon

      I think these videos have all been released and nothing new is shown. I’d like them to show how the navigation works while actually following a route. It’s my understanding that the Karoo does not have a pop up map showing the details of a turn shortly before the turn. This was a feature all the way back to the Garmin Edge 705 so I wonder why Hammerhead decided against it. I think the Karoo will beep to let you know a turn is coming up but I have found that I can’t hear the beeps on the Garmin.

    • Nick

      I think the lack of demos on how navigation works is really disappointing. If it doesn’t show the map and give sufficient details of the turn then you might as well just use a Garmin/Wahoo or your phone – and frankly RideWithGPS with my phone (which is waterproof and has managed a 8 hour ride with a battery pack boost charge at lunch) works well – so it would have to work _better_ than that.

    • usr

      Communication about navigation features has indeed been rather weak, and lack of auto-switch to map on navigation alert would really be a terrible disappointment. A simple audio/text alert might be fine on the famously regular Manhattan grid or for not missing the next Col on the route des grandes alpes, but a map view is essential in more complicated environments like old European towns where a simple “turn right” can easily match half a dozen different roads within the next few seconds at typical roadbike speeds.

      But at least that sometimes vague communication is not necessarily the result of evading an unpleasant truth: e.g. the popular question for offline on-device routing had on multiple occasions been “answered” with the unsatisfying combination of on-device route building (which could still be cloud based) and offline route following (which should not even be worth mentioning), but now the support FAQ (under “apps”) is committing to offline, on-device route building in a way that could not be more clear. Before that, the consistent vagueness of the answers (so consistent that it seemed not vague at all, clearly they had to be hiding something?) almost got me to the point of canceling.

    • Nick

      @usr / @neal – where did you read / find out that the Karoo doesn’t navigate with a pop-up map when approaching a turn? I wonder how it notifies you and how it handles it if you miss the turn?

      Ironically, having experimented with both Garmin (which beeped) and RideWithGPS on my phone, its RideWithGPS that gave the best information 😉

      It would be great if there was a manual to download in advance!

    • Neal

      I read it on Facebook. One of the rare times that Hammerhead actually answered a question about how the Karoo functions. It said that if on a data screen,it will beep to let you know of a upcoming turn. It was not clear what the Karoo will do if on the map screen but I don’t stay on the map screen of my Garmin much so I really need that turn popup. Perhaps a search would locate the post. I don’t know much about Facebook so I can’t help with that. Hopefully they will continue to update their FAQ’s and we can get some answers.
      This lack of information from Hammerhead makes me think that the device is named wrong. Perhaps naming it the Stealth would have been better.

    • Nick

      @Neal : thanks! Personally, I would like to be on the data screen and then auto-switch to map screen for the turn.

      I’ve just asked – no manual available yet, no idea of when reviewers might get items and no videos showing navigation are currently available 🙁

    • Neal

      I forgot to mention. I did ask Hammerhead tech support about a manual and was told the Karoo is so user friendly that a manual is not needed and would not be provided. Their first product the H1 did not have a manual. They said it would be easy to use like a Iphone but apparently they don’t know about the Iphones user manual on the Apple site.

    • Zach

      I wish there was more info available. I agree, the videos are very limited and don’t really show us much of anything. Seriously it looks like a couple hours of actual work went into making them, for a product that has been in planning for so long. I have a feeling that by the time there is enough info readily available to convince me to pre-order, the sale price will likely be gone. If so, all the more reason to stick with my Edge.
      I’ve actually sweat on my Edge 1030 and it remained useable.
      I posted on their ‘water drop test’ video and asked them if they tested this with salt water (think sweat).
      Their response was that the Karoo is made to withstand salt water with its water proofing something or other (nothing to do with the touch screen)….I was really wanting to know how it affects the touch screen. Maybe it does very well. But a plain water test doesn’t tell us much.
      I’m still watching the progress as I’ve been interested in the Karoo for some time. But after a while I got tired of waiting on a user demonstration and went for the 1030.
      $300 seems like a great price and I’m still keeping it in mind if they seriously consider adding custom map functionality. But I need to see way more than what they have posted today.

    • Jeff

      Plain/fresh water isn’t very conductive to start with. (I do an R/C hobby where the DC powered electronics get soaked a bit, and they generally still function just fine in freshwater) So without some sort of saline solution to simulate sweat, that water on screen test isn’t completely legit. It is interesting as a data point, but not a proper test.

  92. JD

    Someone in South Florida posted on Facebook yesterday “Unpacked my new Hammerhead Karoo!!! Loving it!”
    But that is the gist of their “review”.
    Posted in another thread is mention that Hammerhead intends to fulfill preorders to customers before they will send out any review units. Perhaps that makes sense customer service-wise but I’d rather see a review now, not later. Should my preorder arrive anytime soon I’m willing to send the unopened box to DCR if that is what it takes. At this point I don’t need a mapping unit until Spring.

    • Neal

      JD
      I have to wonder why no review units have been sent out. The question of how many units where produced on the first production run has been asked several times with no answer. I don’t think Ray will get a test unit until next Spring and your willingness to send yours is admirable. I would do the same but I doubt I will get mine until late Spring. One thing to keep in mind is that Hammerhead has changed their return policy. Now the unit can be returned up until 45 days. So, if it is a dud, that gives us plenty of time to check it out and return it if it does not suit our needs. I have never seen a product roll out such as this. I’m glad other companies understand how getting a product reviewed quickly can be very beneficial to sales.
      I’ve decided that If I don’t receive the Karoo by the end of February, I’m going to buy a Garmin 1030.

    • JD

      I agree with the February deadline and 1030 option.
      Garmin’s latest has really raised the bar and appears to include all the features I was looking for. The Karoo will need to outperform it in some fashion especially if regular price will be $499.
      Here’s someone else that just got one: link to johnsedlak.com

    • Simon Rushton

      Yeah, looks good. Alas all the people I know with one say it’s really buggy and unreliable.

      Not as bad as the 820 mind, which many have returned!

    • Hi JD & Neal-

      Just in case ya missed my comment slightly above in the comments on review units, it’s here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      While this would be fairly unusual (actually, I’ve never seen any other company do so in this space in 10 years here), that’s within their right. Actually, I do remember one other doing so – LIMITS power meters. No worries though. If someone wants to send me a boxed or unboxed unit to test out for a bit till mine arrives, I’d happily cover shipping both ways. Contact form at the top, or any comment here I can reply directly/privately to as well.

      Have a good weekend!

    • JD

      I trust Hammerhead won’t follow LIMITS path. ;->
      As far as delays go I am waiting on travel related item from an Indiegogo project paid in January 2015. Delivery estimate is now Q1 2018. Main reason for the delay? Problems with a Chinese component supplier and quality control. In the meantime the item has been ripped off by two Chinese factories listing similar products on Amazon and eBay.
      That is always the danger with the crowd sourced products. When you promote your project online there are factories in China trolling Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc. to see if they can replicate your idea before you can bring it to market. The result is cheap junk that dilutes the market especially when they create an identical looking product based on details posted online to keep your backers in the loop.
      Karoo is too much of a niche product for that and a lot more complicated.
      Let’s hope their diligence and focus on quality and innovative features pans out. Otherwise the 1030 beckons.

    • Neal

      I’m sorry but I don’t follow you on this. The Karoo is not a kickstarter project and Hammerhead secured three million in financing for the project. Since this was a pre-order, I can’t understand your reference to kickstarter project but perhaps I’m not understanding your comment correctly.

    • Andrea

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I think they ask to the folk to not write any kind of review till they end to ship the first Bach.

    • Si

      Why would they do that?

    • Andrea

      For the same reason they didn’t ship a karoo to DC, it’s strange do you?
      I think they don’t want to fall apart while they are starting, but instead they want more time to refine the software.
      I hope you understand what I mean, sorry for my poor English.

    • Si

      I see your point, avoiding bad reviews. Doesn’t stop Garmin with their poor quality firmware mind!

      I was thinking that they’d want reviews out there to generate excitement.

    • Neal

      No doubt that Garmin has had firmware issues but I can tell you from years of experience with Garmin products that many of the problems users experience are their lack of knowledge on how the device works. I’m the guy in our cycling group that Garmin users come to when they can’t work something on their Garmins. Many times I ask if they reviewed the manual and the response is no.
      Remember that the Karoo does not and will not have a manual and will not have any phone support. Hammerhead’s first product the H1 also did not have a manual or support. It also had firmware issues for over a year. How many H1’s have you seen? I’ve never seen one but I’m still hopeful that I will find one soon in a McDonald’s kids meal.
      I’m sure we all wish that the Karoo succeeds because competition only improves the products available to cyclists. However, we are dealing with a strange company here.

    • Neal

      Andrea,
      I would think that requesting a review not be written would be a strange request. Anyway, the first batch has been shipped. I hope they up the production of the second batch to maybe the astronomical number of 36.

    • Si

      I work in a large IT company. I also understand how stuff works. I’ve submitted bug reports to Garmin too many times.

      My 810 crashes mid ride, loses data. I’ve lost too many rides due to poor quality software.

      The 820 is so buggy friends have got rid of theirs. They are also in IT, one a senior architect. He knows his stuff.

      Garmin’s QA is clearly lacking, their testing blatantly not full coverage.

    • A couple of late-night bullet points for thought…

      – One of the coolest parts of running this site is all the community feedback that I receive. People post not just how the product works for them, but also their thoughts on upcoming products and devices.
      – With millions of visitors a month, I more or less reach the vast majority of people researching a device like this, even if only briefly in passing for a single visit to the site while doing research
      – And to be more precise, I’ve reach a large number of buyers for this device specifically. Perhaps they even initially heard about it here.
      – But reach interestingly goes both ways. Most of the time, I publish content, and y’all read it.
      – Sometimes though, people send me in content from various sources. Most of the time, I don’t publish rumors or similar (usually because I’m under NDA’s). I get such tidbits from employees, beta testers, etc…
      – In general, I totally get that hardware is really hard. Especially for a startup, but even equally for a company like Garmin or Apple. Like it or not, there is a double-standard for who not just the community, but also reviewers evaluate products.
      – Still, I’d rather a company be upfront and honest about where they stand with backers.

      With that bulletized background said…things I’ve been informed of in the last 24-48 hours:

      – At present, Hammerhead has actually not shipped any devices beyond their beta group
      – They’ve asked that beta group to publish unboxing type things to social media/etc.
      – They’ve asked anything be passed by them first for approval
      – They’ve provided detailed Q&A style answers to testers on how to respond to various questions online (essentially don’t), including how much they supposedly paid for the device, exactly when they supposedly pre-ordered it, and so forth.

      Bulletized section complete.

      First note: I’m still really excited about what Hammerhead is doing technically on their product. As I stated in my ANT+ Symposium Keynote back in October, they are doing some incredibly innovative things in terms of mapping. They should be rewarded for that..once they start shipping to consumers.

      Second Note: I’m not in said beta group, which is perfectly fine. However, as any reader knows, there’s no thing that irks me more than companies that deceive consumers. You can have all the bugs in the world, and all the broke-ass hardware and I’m a reasonable human being – critical and methodical in my feedback, but not a rabid squirrel. But deception to people who supported a project is a whole different animal. One only need to look at my past posts to see that.

    • lee a dorney

      Good heads-up ?

    • Redflint

      Hi Ray,

      Thanks for posting this information. This saddens me to hear, as the news Hammerhead is disseminating makes it sound like they’re shipping to everyone who ordered a while ago. This appears to not be the case. And I hate being lied to. I think I’m going to cancel my pre-order anyway, because I had initially bought this for a trip, but it did not arrive in time, and now the trip has passed (my phone served just fine for directions). It’s sad to see a promising product let down by a stupid mistake someone internally made (this mistake being not being honest with their backers), but perhaps this can be a lesson to them that the people interested in their product and who laid down hard-earned money for it should be treated with more respect. I was fine with the delays, when I felt like they were being honest, but to be lied to really boils my blood.

    • JD

      Ah hah! Thanks for confirming what I suspected.
      Beta testers are the recipients of the first production run, not any preorder backers. No doubt they are working nights on bug fixes and feature changes based on initial feedback. The first shipment was likely a few dozen units. That was actually a smart move but with an obvious downside for those of us waiting. Hopefully the hardware passes all tests and they are only left with software updates.
      The web based dashboard isn’t officially online yet either; perhaps by end of this month.
      I never assumed the Karoo was anywhere near production ready when I placed my preorder. My guess is they are 8-10 months behind their original schedule and they have been updating a moving target. If February comes and goes without most preorders delivered and some official reviews online then they’ve got big problems.

    • Si

      Sad to hear. Appreciate you posting this.

    • Eugene C

      Wow. This is amazingly bad. Glad I cancelled a few days ago. Safe to say I’ll never be buying anything from Hammerhead.

  93. Roland K

    I have some doubts about the droplet test, too. Rain droplets have a certain impulse when they hit the screen. In their experiment, the impulse was almost zero. I could imagine that this can make a big difference. Anyway, we will (hopefully) ever see the Karoo in practice. If it is convincing there is enough of time to buy one. If not, no problem. There are plenty of alternatives. In the meanwhile I will go ahead with my Garmin 800.

  94. Tim

    I’ve cancelled my order and asked for a refund – given that units are allegedly shipping, there have been no online reviews, save for the two brief ones mentioned above, and the web based mapping is still not available – why, if units are shipping? No manual, no online guide, no mapping, almost no user comment – I’m sure they’ll get there eventually, but I just don’t like the sleight of hand all the time. My Bolt will do just fine for now.

    • lee a dorney

      I can see why. I cancelled too. If i’d’ve waited, it would’ve been 6months, which after shelling 300 quid is quite a non-deal..

  95. Jay

    I ordered mine back in May, so potentially it should (might?) ship anytime now, but I’m thinking of cancelling too.

    My Garmin 1000 works fine now (at the moment), so I’m trying to decide if I need a new gps unit.

    Also, I don’t like the idea of the customer having to pay the postage fees to return the unit under warranty, especially when it appears you have to return it to the US (I’m UK based), will I also be taxed for the import of the replacement?

    J.

  96. Andrea

    Hi,
    I would like to know if there is any safety lanyard
    Because I didn’t see any hole to attach.
    I mean if for any reason it come out from bracket I have to prey?

  97. Andrea

    Answer from Karoo:
    Hello Andrea, yes a lanyard slot is on Karoo, and is included with a unit.
    Great info!!!

  98. Neal

    What amazes me is the comments of some Karoo pre-order folks, especially on Facebook, that indicate that they think the Karoo will perform perfectly right out of the box and take over the cycling computer market. Perhaps these posters have had Garmins and have not had a good experience with them. It does take a certain level of patience to understand the world of Garmin. Any new device has issues that no amount of beta testing can bring out and the Karoo is no exception. I’ve been working with computers and other high tech stuff since 1980 and I can’t remember a time where a product was introduced and all of its features worked perfectly. Usually it takes a year or two and then the next model comes out and works much better. With the lack of tech support and no manual, I’m afraid many Karoo buyers are in for a surprise but with Hammerhead not sending out review units they may be able to fix a bug or two.
    The Karoo has supposedly been shipping for almost three weeks and no reviews yet. Looks more and more like that single case of Karoos shown on their website was the total amount produced.

    • Si

      Agreed.
      Complaints about a lack of instruction manual, or online in-depth answers to technical questions are odd at best. I don’t know many companies that would provide such a thing. Garmin? Smartphone companies? Dell for laptops?

      Just silly.

      I have the feeling people are mostly annoyed at not getting their gadget when they thought they would, and finding other things to complain about.

  99. Jacky Wong

    I cancelled my order and hope the refund will be arrived before Christmas.

    • Tim

      My cancellation was refunded yesterday within 3 days of requesting, and that was over a weekend, so fair play to them, at least they were honest about that part of it.

  100. Marek

    Ray Karoos are being shipped. When can we count on your review?

    • They aren’t being shipped yet to customers. See this comment up slightly above: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Neal

      Ray, I just read on Facebook a comment from someone asking Hammerhead about what you posted about the Karoo’s only being shipped to beta testers. Hammerhead says you got it wrong but does not go on to explain in any detail.
      It has gotten to the point that I don’t trust much of anything Hammerhead says anymore.

    • Yeah, they’re lying. I’ve got copies of the e-mails sent out to testers. Q&A answers like:

      ////START SNIPPET////

      Q: When did you place your order?
      A: March ‘17

      Q: What was your order number?
      A: [no response/ignore]

      Q: Did you get a shipping email?
      A: Yes – about two weeks before the unit arrived.

      (Most extreme case:)
      Q: Take a screenshot of your purchase receipt and/or confirmation and/or shipping email to prove it!
      A: Uh, no thanks, that’s none of your business.

      /////END////

      I also found it funny that as of last night before my comment, my post was ‘pinned’ (from May) on their Facebook page. As of now, it’s gone. Shrug.

      The thing they don’t seem to get is they’re digging themselves an unnecessary hole. Had they simply said “Hey, we’re shipping out the first batch to beta testers, it has some issues like no ANT+ connectivity and such, and then we’ll ship out everyone else in January”, then honestly, none of us would have cared much (annoyed perhaps, but shruggable).

      “It’s not the act that kills you. It’s the cover-up; it’s the lie.”

    • Peter

      Been following these comments even after I decided to cancel my order. Instead I use my Garmin Edge 820, that works anf is not buggy as others suggested. I find that it is true that. Many faults of the Edge has been amended and some are also lack of understanding from the user how the gadget suppose to work. I had mine for a year now.
      I want ahead and got a Fenix 5x sapphire during Black Friday.to have as a main tracker anf the refund from the Karoo was a good down payment on that. ?

      Doesn’t surprise ? me at all the latest happenings. I think it is stupid from Hammerhead that they are lying about what they ship to whom.
      And I still don’t get peoples comments and saying that they are Backers. This is NOT a Kickstarter project.
      Pre-orders started before I ordered in April with a promise to get a unit in the summer. And after that only delays and stuff. It’s quite clear that they did not have the knowledge or finished product to be able to manufacture and ship at that date.
      They are still developing the unit. And the software. Come on….
      Glad I got out. Emails from. Them. Leary stated that these first batches where for customers. And not Bet testing. That alone and the lies show that they had no intention of having a product on the market in September.
      Many of tech features I asked them about, basic stuff would not be implement in the beginning…..

    • Zach

      They must be deleting the comments again (they have removed mine in a past thread when they said they were shipping after telling someone else they hadn’t shipped yet). I don’t see any comments there since last night. The closest I see is them replying to someone in a thread saying they ‘assure’ them that ANT+ does work. However that person’s comment isn’t even there…seems to have been removed?

    • Neal

      Remove comments! They not only remove comments. After I posted several comments that questioned what they were saying about the October missed shipping date, they removed me. They won’t let me post on their Facebook page and even threatened to cancel my pre order.

    • JD

      I am not surprised Hammerhead unpinned your post from Facebook since this is now the only open discussion site for Karoo.
      Initially I’m sure the post helped boost pre-orders. It’s now 9 months later and they are in damage control mode due to product not being delivered as promised (wishful thinking).

    • Here is a link to someone in the wild who has received a unit:
      link to johnsedlak.com

    • Neal

      Michael
      That “review” has been out since Dec. 15. Note that he simply got the Karoo and then stated that he would provide more info after his ride. Well, that was five days ago. He must be on a really long ride. I think Hammerhead told him to back off since as Ray said they don’t want Beta members to post any kind of a review.

    • JD

      That link was posted on Hammerhead’s Facebook page back on Dec 15th.
      It was nice to see the comparison shots but the blogger may be limited as to what else he can say about it.
      Some have noted the exposed micro USB port. I don’t think it will be an issue for anyone other than hardcore mudders. The port itself is waterproof (like most smartphones) so you could just rinse off any dirt before inserting the charge cable. A plug would work but I can’t see adding something you can easily lose.

    • Michael Salinger

      There are replies. He replied to my question. Click on the link for comments.

    • Zach

      Interesting in the comments he someone asked if it does not work with ANT+ yet and he replied:
      “Correct – I have placed a request into support and they have stated it is coming imminently via an update.”

      However back to the Hammerhead facebook page they were asked this same question and said this is untrue and that ANT+ does work.

    • Redflint

      Hi All. I Asked Hammerhead about this, basically asked point blank if they are lying. Here’s what I got in response:

      “to be clear, you certainly haven’t been lied to. DCR’s comments are possibly alluding to small focus group of early customers that we’re running – that he somehow got wind of – but he seems to have deduced lots of things about this program (and, somehow, about Hammerhead and Karoo?) which are wildly inaccurate. We’ll publicly address them in due time if enough people are upset about them, but meanwhile, if you’d like a refund, that’s fine. Please just provide us your order number.”

      I think we should put communal pressure on them to address this publicly. I don’t like feeling lied to.

    • usr

      A social media playbook for “pilot users” (trying to use a neutral term here) is bad, getting caught doing so even worse.

      On the other hand, there is certainly a bit of a fuzzy line here as shipping in the same order as orders came in naturally puts people very close to the company at the start of the queue and it seems not that far fetched to ask close friends or however we want to call them to keep negativity on private channels.

      Hammerhead seem to feel too cool for formal NDAs and they desperately want those first recipients to be considered “real customers” (and they might just be that, even if the payment probably wasn’t the same as later, more formal preorders). Yet they seem to want it both ways, “private test group” and “officially shipping” at the same time. Naive as best.

      Totally unrelated, still having trouble with ANT+ after having preproduction hardware up and running for almost a year is just terrifying. You either nail that stuff early on or it will be an eternal headache.

    • Zach

      I saw a couple hours ago someone posted on the Hammerhead FB feed a link to Ray’s live feed recording where some of these details came up at minute 27. Someone else asked if they could address it. Within a couple hours, what do you know, it’s removed.
      I was seriously thinking about putting in a pre-order this week, as they mentioned the sale price might end soon. but now there is now way in H. E. double hockey sticks. Between that and them denying and removing a comment about ANT+ issues while someone had already claimed that they raised a ticket about it… I’m just done. If units had shipped to normal customers already, i’d expect to see real footage. Not just unboxing pictures shared on their FB page. If the device matures nicely a year from now, then I’ll bite. Until then, my Garmin 1030 seems to have the kinks worked out.

    • Eli

      Did any of you pay attention to the original hammerhead unit? history repeats

    • JD

      The original DCR link is back at top of their FB page along an apology to all.

    • usr

      Waiting how it all turns out certainly won’t be a loss if the preorder rebate is as exaggerated as the rest of their communication. (otoh that would mean that the Karoo would absolutely wipe the floor with the edge in terms of navigation per buck, if it does not completely fail along the way)

    • Neal

      usr,
      It seems that the navigation functions are the only thing being addressed by Hammerhead. Very little is known how it handles the rest of the data functions. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones and I have had very few problems with navigation on the Garmins so, I want to know more about the Karoo than how it follows routes.
      Simply amazing the they don’t have the ANT+ and Bluetooth working yet. I have doubts that the Karoo will ever sell for the $499 price.

    • Minor tidbit: BLE sensors work today, but ANT+ sensors don’t.

    • Neal

      I was just checking the Hammerhead Facebook page and even after this PR disaster, there are many posts rapidly disappearing that are in anyway negative. Hammerhead CEO needs to disable the delete key of whoever he has monitoring the page to divert another PR disaster.

    • PavementEater

      I’ve had a few FaceBook comments and questions be deleted from their FB streams.A couple of my post were just questions on device hardware functions asking for a clear answer on how something would function or how it will work .
      Today I posted a comment / reply to a FB user’s comment and HammerHead deleted the reply a couple minutes after the post was made.
      If they are not careful they could wind up with a nice little class action lawsuit over their sleight of hand and half-truths in regards to getting their device to paying customers… it could be even worse if the Karoo doesn’t even come close to their hype.

    • Eli

      Its an android based device so the heavy lifting of Ant+ is done by the services produced by the ant+ group:
      link to play.google.com
      which hasn’t changed since 2015 so seems like Ant+ wouldn’t be so hard

    • Kevin Lynn

      I called them out on Reddit not long ago for their being less than truthful.

      It’s actually kind of amusing that I’m not in their Caracal program because I literally get paid professionally to hack mobile and embedded devices. I’d have done the work for free until they started being less than truthful and didn’t get it to me in time for Christmas.

    • Antonio

      @PavementEater: That sounds familiar to me. None of my posts in FB have been deleted but they just don’t answer to uncomfortable questions, instead they prefer to elude them and test me like I am a troll. Sad.

  101. User anonymous

    Below are emails from Hammerhead to their testers.
    Shoes that they have been lying all along.
    No way they had a product for production to be delivered last summer although they write that.
    Emails show also that they’ve lied to all of us about their shipping time line.
    Would stay away from companies like this. Even if their product somehow will be great.

    See below. If the emails are against This websites policy I apologize and feel free to edit it.
    1st Email

    Dear Caracal Program Member,

    First and foremost, we want to offer our gratitude to you for signing up for our Caracal Program. As you know, we hand-selected this group from our “inner circle” of contacts (among many hundreds who asked). You were chosen because we like you, we trust you, we know you ride, and we know you’ll provide us the honest, diligent product feedback we need to ensure that Karoo is the best it can be. We are a company of less than 30 people right now, taking on multi-billion-dollar giants in our market; you going the extra mile for us means a lot – both to us, and to future Karoo users – so thank you!

    So, you’re probably wondering, what does “caracal” mean? A caracal is a predatory cat found in the Karoo region southern Africa – much larger than a house cat but not quite as large as a cheetah – known to be incredibly powerful, intelligent, and elusive. We found it a perfect mascot for our most elite group of testers. Here’s a pic:

    What is your role in the Caracal Program? You have two: providing a lot of feedback, and providing a little bit of content. The former is the more important one, so let’s discuss that one first.

    You’ll be receiving your Karoo unit in only a few days. These will be some of the first Karoos available in the world – in fact, you’ll be getting yours allocated before 99% of inventory gets distributed. Once you receive yours, over the next four weeks, we want you to really grill Karoo. Hard. Find the cracks, the creaks, the bugs, the flaws, the potential problem areas and things that just plain annoy you. We ask that you primarily focus on Karoo’s software, of course, but if you find problems with its hardware, please bring those to our attention, too.

    Use the portal at this link for providing feedback during the program. With the first form at that link you can provide general, rolling feedback whenever you like. The second form will have a curated questionnaire for you that we will be updating on a weekly basis. We will be sending email notifications reminding everyone to submit their weekly questionnaires prior to rotation. We recommend you bookmark the Caracal Feedback Portal on your desktop or mobile device’s web browser, so you can instantaneously access it, and upload any images you may wish to include with any of your feedback events – even when you’re out on a ride!
    Four weeks is quite a while, although maybe not long enough to wring out every aspect of Karoo on your own schedule, which is why we are providing a structured timeline for giving feedback, to help you cover everything:

    ● Week 1
    ● Unpacking and Installation
    ● How’s the presentation? And how easy is it to get going?
    ● Onboarding
    ● Setting up the Karoo for you. Does it flow well and make sense?
    ● Sensor Setup
    ● Is pairing Karoo with your power meter, heart rate monitor, or anything else as easy as you think it should be?
    ● First Impressions
    ● Overall, how do you feel about this first set of experiences with Karoo?
    ● Week 2
    ● In-Ride Performance
    ● Once on a ride, how does everything work? Is Karoo easy to read, use, and understand? Are there issues that need to be addressed?
    ● Map/Routing Feedback
    ● Trying building a new route (or ten). Is it easy to do so? Is it easy enough to modify, as well?
    ● Week 3
    ● Profiles, setup, and modification
    ● Have you tried creating different riding profiles? If so, is it easy enough to do so, and to switch between them? Is it easy enough to modify existing ones?
    ● Web app features
    ● Does the Karoo itself interact seamlessly with our web app?
    ● Week 4
    ● Update process
    ● When updating Karoo’s software, how did it go? Was it smooth and straightforward? Did it take a reasonable amount of time?
    ● Button performance
    ● How have Karoo’s buttons held up?
    ● Screen and structure
    ● How have Karoo’s screen and body shell held up?
    ● Weatherproofing
    ● Any issues at all riding in wet, muddy, snowy, or otherwise unpleasant conditions?

    Moving on to the second part: content, and more specifically, “organic” content.

    “Content,” in this context, is material like pictures, tweets, blog posts, articles, etc. about Karoo. “Organic” content refers to materials like this that are generated naturally by enthusiastic customers, the press/media, and other channels – in other words, essentially any materials that are not from the company itself.

    To be clear, we don’t expect you to become a full-time marketing team for us. You are certainly welcomed to write blog posts, etc., but really, we’d simply love a Facebook and/or Instagram post or two. Why? Following the product delivery delay in getting Karoo out to our customers around the world, there was some negative sentiment and skepticism within our community. Our hope is that you’ll help us get the message out there, that Karoo is here, it’s real, and it was worth the wait (if you think so*).

    (* – your posts don’t have to be wildly enthusiastic raves, either. For the sake of authenticity, we embrace your neutral or even negative sentiment, as well, within reason.)

    When/if people ask you, what is your relationship to Hammerhead? None. To the outside, you are simply one of Karoo’s early adopters, who’s been waiting for their unit for months. It’s finally here, and you’re excited. Simple as that.

    On that note, we ask one more responsibility of you as a member of the Caracal program: confidentiality. Please do not share with anyone – especially not publicly – that you are part of this elite group. We will not ask you to sign any special non-disclosure agreements or legal paperwork or anything like that. We will simply hope that your relationship with Hammerhead, and that your support of our young, small company, will be enough to honor this request. It would help enormously.

    Of course, at any time, if you have any questions, concerns, musings, conflicts, poems, paintings, or any other feedback that Karoo has inspired of you – for better or worse – please get in touch with us at any time:

    Karoo has been two exhaustive years in the making. Your help to us, in this final phase of its journey to the market, means the world to our team.
    Once again, from all of us: thank you.

    Cheers,
    The Hammerhead Team

    ———-

    2nd Email

    Dear Caracal Program Member,

    Happy December! It’s been a few weeks since we reached out, and so we wanted to touch base and let you know where things stand with the program.

    First, we just want to apologize for the confusion around shipping timelines of your Karoos. Our previous “Welcome!” letter stated you’ll be receiving your unit in only “a few days.” We unfortunately jumped the gun a bit on that – your units are in fact in transit to our NYC offices and will be re-packaged and sent to you with tracking info around this time next week. Some customs issues held things up (brand new product, mysterious phone-like interface – apparently it raised some questions we thought we’d already answered).

    Second, as you may have noticed in a recent announcement we made via social media and our blog, assembly and shipping of Karoo has been initiated (which of course includes the units heading your way). The community has naturally responded with many questions, and by far the most common is “when will I get mine?”

    Essentially everyone reading these words will get theirs before anyone else. Like us, however, once you post some social media content about your Karoo to help us get the message out there (which, again, we ask that you run by us first), you also will receive lots of questions: When did you order? What was your order number? Etc. etc…

    In general, we invite you to simply ignore these questions, but if you feel compelled to respond, we’ve put together some template responses you can use to navigate them:

    Q: When did you place your order? A: March ‘17

    Q: What was your order number?
    A: [no response/ignore]

    Q: Did you get a shipping email?
    A: Yes – about two weeks before the unit arrived.

    (Most extreme case:)
    Q: Take a screenshot of your purchase receipt and/or confirmation and/or shipping email to prove it!
    A: Uh, no thanks, that’s none of your business.

    Of course, the actual prose you use is up to you. Again, we endorse the strategy of simply ignoring most questions related to this topic, but if you’d like to respond, these are some prefered guidelines.

    We also want to clarify that, since all preliminary demo/beta/prototype testing was completed several months ago, it will seem strange that your unit’s box will read “Demo Unit – Not For Resale.” Rest assured, you are receiving a full-spec production unit – same as any other Karoo customer – only for legal reasons, the units we set aside for this program had to be categorized as “demos” since we are not charging you for them.

    Any other questions so far? Please let us know. Again, we’re both thrilled and humbled that you’re a part of this with us. We can’t wait for your feedback when your units arrive. More to come soon!

    Cheers,

    The Hammerhead Team

    ————-

    3rd Email
    Hey Caracals!

    As of earlier this week, the last of your units has finally been mailed, and some have already been received. We’re pumped, and hope you are, too! If you didn’t receive any tracking information from us, however, please let us know.

    Just to touch base on a few things:

    Our online community is ravenous for confirmation that we have, indeed, begun shipping. Our hope is that you’ll help us get the word out! Simple posts on Facebook or Instagram that indicate you’ve received your unit, and/or, installed it, and/or, even tried it out so far, would be much appreciated! If you’d like help with any of it, as well, please let us know – and also, please make sure to tag us in those posts, otherwise we can’t see or share them!

    If you are asked what you paid for your Karoo, obviously do not mention Caracal. The pre-order price you “paid” for Karoo was $299, same as any other pre-order customer (regular price will be $499 after pre-ordering ends).

    As far as the device itself:

    Make sure the first thing you do when you get your Karoo and set it up is go to Settings, then About, then do a System Update. We’ve already iterated new software since your units were sent, so we want to make sure you’re using the latest version (1.0.35.3).

    Do NOT, however, do a “Factory Data Reset” without first updating the software. We’ve had an issue or two with this creating “update loops” that get tricky to break. Seems we’ve sorted this out already, but just to be safe, don’t FDR your unit with the native software version.

    Of those who’ve received their Karoo, or will soon, we’d love to know what you think! As a reminder, please use the feedback portal to share your thoughts with us internally.

    Also, some things you may notice that you don’t need to report on:

    – Lack of ANT+ connectivity (coming in an imminent software update, but not finalized yet)
    – Offline Mapping area download having some issues (we’re working on it)
    – WiFi network incorrect password uncorrectable (working on this, too, but for now, you’ll just have to “forget” the network and re-connect to it – just make sure to type your password correctly!)

    Anything else? We’re all ears!

    We are incredibly excited to know your impressions of the device. Please feel free to be in touch at any time with any questions, comments, or concerns – and don’t forget to use that feedback portal for Karoo-related stuff.

    Thanks much!

    – The Hammerhead Crew

  102. Roland K

    Pfffff. Unbelievable. Software problems. Hmm, it is known that it is all about software. The hardware for such a simple bike computer is peanuts. What did they do in the last two years??? I remember an earlier post, where someone claimed that the best software engineers are working on the Karoo. I am happy that I hesitated to order a Karoo in September. Already at that time, I found the PR of Hammerhead suspicious. I would not be surprised if Hammerhead goes under and the Karoo project dies a silent death. It is also not a surprise to see how easy one can mobilise clients by promising to improve upon competitors like Garmin, Wahoo etc. Too many people are unsatisfied with what is available on the market and wish to receive a real value for their money. It was easy for Hammerhead to misuse the situation, but now they must come clean and seem to fail.

  103. Bulldog

    3 Emails from the company to their tester.
    It’s obvious they never intended to ship last summer nor now to customers. Shows their lies. Glad I jumped off the boat a while ago

    link to drive.google.com

  104. Jeremy

    I find the instructions that Hammerhead includes in their emails to “ignore” questions about shipping and other features to be disgusting. In their words, they “endorse simply ignoring these type of questions.” This has seem to be their PR strategy all along. People paid them $299 for a product, and they simply choose to ignore or feed those who paid $299 lies. It’s disgusting they camouflaged their beta team as those who placed the first ordes. The fact is this product IS still in beta, yet they decided to take $299 from hundreds of people knowing they could not deliver when they told us they would. And then when people ask about why the delay, they either get defensive, lie, or just ignore their customers. They need to hire a new PR person and their CEO needs to take a business ethics class (or 10). Heck, I’m not even CEO of my own house and I know enough to know what they did was just wrong.

    • usr

      Apparently they are already on “business ethics 2.0”, wherein a startup has to pull off all the meanest stunts they can barely get away with or else it is not worthy of their investors’ money.

      There is a whole belief system handed down from one generation of startups to the next built around tenets like “move fast and break things”, “don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness” and “fake it till you make it”. It all boils down to the idea that if you don’t cheat you are not trying hard enough and if you are not trying hard enough you are not working hard enough and if you are not working hard enough you don’t deserve success. Once people are infected with this mindset it becomes very hard for them to see wrongness in anything they do.

    • Surly Will

      It sounds like they’ve been overly optimistic avouy their delivery targets. They should have been able to work almost all the software kinks out it emulators. They will need to verify a lot of hardware level functionality.

      I’m starting to become distressed … I’m thinking of cancelling my order and getting a Garmin 1030.

    • GP

      Good call. My 1030 is a superb piece of kit. Highly recommended. And whats more, its from a reputable company who would simply not get away with the tricks HH have been pulling.

  105. KS

    Gosh..this development is worrying. I am wondering whether to cancel my order and go with a 1030 (incedentally flaws in my 520 were what motivated me to move away from Garmin in the first place). I have lost all trust in the Karoo and their staff.

    They should never have lied, and the ant+ thing is worrying..such a fundamental feature still not working?

    • GH

      Totally agree with KS. This is concerning. How can they get this far without the ANT+ radio working? Feels incredibly wobbly right now. Seems like anyone with an order outstanding should be prepared to lose their $300 (as some are) or to receive a compromised product.

      People who have confidence in a working product generally don’t need to lie because they know that there is good news coming once they navigate a few challenges.

      People who lack confidence in their product lie for a few reasons, possibly because there is no way out, perhaps because it is the only way to navigate the large gap between aspirations and reality. In this case, I worry that the product has fundamental issues that are not being discussed which will compromise utility. Whether it’s the ANT+ radio or the software or ongoing production problems, this is far less solid than it should be.

      If I think past the immediate correspondence, I get the sense that this project is falling apart, and that the lies indicate a more fundamental sense of desperation. It would be great to see these guys succeed, but I am pretty sure that I just talked myself into getting my money back while I still can.

    • Dirk

      Is it an option to ask HH what their timeline is for solving the Ant+ problem.?
      I suggest HH in a personal e-mail to give the Karoo community weekly an honest and weekly update.
      I hope they will do that. Crossed fingers.

    • PavementEater

      I jumped on the HH Karoo train and did my pre-order in early June after reading about the device here knowing full well HH wouldn’t meet their initial roll out of their Karoo device. I am all for supporting the small Buiz and startups who really want to make something good and are making something great for their respective community.
      I have patiently been rolling with HH’s ups and downs but now I am pretty much done with them… I feel just like you do
      These last two months and after the last few days I am about to jump off their Karoo train before everything derails and I lose out.
      I’m going to give them a week or two and if things don’t start to change then I’m going to request a refund and invest into the XOSS SPRINT link to indiegogo.com or
      ELEMNT BOLT.

    • Neal

      I checked Facebook today and read some of Hammerheads responses. I don’t feel they are willing to tell the whole truth yet. Still that sense of vagueness and avoidance in answering questions.
      After I put my order in for a Karoo in August, I starting asking questions and expressed my doubts about some of the things they were saying concerning shipping dates. Well, they answered by not letting me post on their Facebook page. I still can’t post there.
      So, I think what is needed here is a more direct approach. I suggest that all of you email the CEO of Hammerhead and express your concerns and demand answers. That may get his attention or he may shut down his email. I don’t know if I should post his email address here but it is easy found on the Hammerhead website.

    • JD

      I expect the Facebook page to be an edited promotional site — just like other company’s FB pages. FB isn’t an open forum by default. Never has been. Luckily we can post here.
      Hammerhead would have been wiser to have downplayed FB during pre-production, especially during a pre-launch for a focus group. That only made things worse.
      Social tedium can suck. Facebook is a double-edged sword. Some posts are obviously going to turn into a slugfest that will be edited or blocked.. On the other hand they should stop thanking EVERY SINGLE PERSON who posts touchy-feely hopeful affirmations. That only irks the naysayers and those of us on the fence. Just let some sleeping posts lie (pun intended).
      Karoo’s mistakes could be used as an example of how not to launch a new product. Obviously trying to control the narrative during a pre-launch was a BIG MISTAKE, especially when posts implied final production units were reaching customers.
      Business 101 — Under promise then over deliver, NOT THE OPPOSITE!
      Unfortunately Hammerhead has promised the Moon but is likely to deliver the ISS. Hopefully it won’t end up like Skylab. ;->

    • JD

      XOSS SPRINT looks like they are trying to offer the most functions at the lowest price versus the top end market with superior navigation that Karoo aspires to.
      You can’t really compare the two devices. The screen differences alone are a huge stumbling block. However, the 37 hour runtime sure sounds impressive. 🙂
      The timeline on the XOSS Indiegogo page indicates backers should receive their SPRINT units in January. If that is true it would be wise to wait for a DCR review and see if it really does measure up to the 520 or Elemnt at half the price.

    • Neal

      JD

      The problem is that Hammerhead states that they have two forms of support. Facebook and email their tech support. They encourage users to post issues on Facebook but then delete the posts. Emailing their tech support means a long wait period before you will get a response. Several of my questions took about one week.

      What is humorous to me is that if you search YouTube, you will find a video by the Hammerhead CEO explaining how to start a company.

    • JD

      Neal

      Using Facebook for support? Ugh, that’s a seriously bad idea.
      Their Zendesk site appears to be functioning: https://support.hammerhead.io
      That should do everything we want from FAQs to how-to articles with videos, etc..
      Perhaps the help desk isn’t up to speed yet either. Does it really take a week for a reply when you submit a request there? Next day response better be the norm by the time “real” preorder customers receive their units.

    • JD

      I assume Hammerhead must be using something like this to develop the Karoo software: link to developer.android.com
      That allows you to develop and test most functions using an emulator then push each new build to a hardware device for further testing. While final testing can only be performed on actual production units surely they must have had prototypes in hand to test ANT+ long ago. Unless there is some difference between the prototypes and production units, it makes little sense ANT+ isn’t working already.
      Someone else posted something about certification. What type of certification does a device like this require? Could that be a factor?

    • XOSS? Might turn out to be good but still an unknown product now. Plus fitting all maps in 512 MB seems a stretch

    • Business people tend to always lie/exaggerate so not sure that the way they acted says much about the product itself or just who the people doing PR are. Not saying I have confidence in this product (There is a reason I went for the Edge 1030 instead) but I feel like this is a sit back and wait time.

      Investing in any tech before it comes out is a gamble and should only be done if you really want to invest in them and show support (so losing money doesn’t matter much) or because you’re willing to risk losing money because the deal of getting in early makes it worth it. Its always a risk. If you don’t want a risk buy products already out there. None of these devices are limited in their production quality so can always wait and get later.

    • Paul S.

      The map pictures at the XOSS link are off-putting. Looks like “useless maps without street names or POI” like Wahoo.

    • Si

      This XOSS also had misleading advertising.
      It says as well as GPS and Glonass, that it uses Galileo and Beidou.
      I know too well that those two are not actually operational so it can’t be using them.

    • Chipsets that support those techs are out, just no signals to actually receive. Though in some ways the more important aspect is the accuracy doesn’t increase that much from using all 4 so isn’t a major differentiator anyway.

    • Roland K

      That is not completely correct. Currently, there are 18 Galileo satellites in orbit and all can be used. There are still 6 satellites to be launched, but this has nothing to do with the usage of the system, only the coverage is not optimal. Beidou has been declared operational already in 2013 based on a reduced satellite constellation. This limits the use of the system to the Asia-Pacific region. It is expected that the system becomes worldwide available in 2020. What is more important is that the SPRINT has the chips to track the 4 systems, and that seems to be the case.

  106. PavementEater

    I’ve been watching the Xoss for several months , a friend of mine told me about the device back in July but HH had more of my attention and I had already dropped $$ on the Karoo so the Sprint was going to be my back up plan. haha.
    Xoss could now be a cheap bridge for me until something good comes out… with the asking price for pre order $169 being so cheap compared to anything out there it seems easier to swallow if it doesn’t function as well as they stated 😛 .
    The size of the on board storage doesn’t seem to be much of an issue for me but i can see it being one for someone cycling cross country. Not sure yet if the 512 being a down side if you’re just sticking to one state or two.
    I due agree the mapping can be a low point on the Xoss Sprint due to the maps being as basic as having an old GPS unit running just street layouts, no street names sucks , but if done correctly it should serve most riders needs for the price.
    This evening I sent a messages to their support team asking if there will be any street names on the maps with the new production units or if alternate maps can be uploaded by the device owner.
    The Devs / creators of Xoss have a phone app that was released in China for cycling that became really popular there … due to that popularity the and limitation of a cycling app the next step for them was to try and make a cycling computer
    Forbes did a write up on the main Dev earlier this year. link to forbes.com
    I’m just hoping HH some how

    • The bridge to adapt a device/app from China to western markets is really tough. 95% of companies underestimate it. DJI is an example one that really struggled for a number of years with getting there, and really only hit their stride in the last 2-3 years. They now have 6,000 employees.

      It’s tough because western consumers generally speaking won’t put up with poorly translated software from companies, but especially Asian companies (fair or not, that’s the reality). Even DJI still occasionally suffers from this, but their products are otherwise so good, they can surpass it.

      I think Xoss has a really long road ahead, likely longer than Hammerhead.

    • PavementEater

      I’m hoping that Xoss isn’t under estimating what they are offering but I am going to take your advice and run with it 🙂 . I’ll just see how the devices works once they release it , I have a friend who did the Kickstarter.

      I’ll just limp along and stick with my old GlobalStat GB-580P and Cyclo 505. kakakaka

  107. Michael Salinger

    Well – I went ahead and pulled the trigger and cancelled my order. I’m thinking if the product does ever get its act together it would be worth paying full price for in the future. Right now the Elemnt Bolt does everything I’d need and is already less expensive. My main reason for wanting to retire my 810 was to get messaging and the Bolt does this.

    • Neal

      This Hammerhead story just keeps getting better. After posting a rather optimistic delivery and shipping update on Dec. 14th., Hammerhead support now says that the Karoos are currently being produced but due to last minute bureaucratic hold ups with regulatory certification, the shipping won’t begin until the end of January. I’ll bet that January turns into February or March.

    • Andrea

      But…really???is that true? It unbelievable!!!

    • Neal

      Andrea
      Yes, it’s true. Look on the Hammerhead Facebook page and search for a post by Tristan Quinn. You will see a copy of the question he asked Hammerhead support and their response. I’m surprised that Hammerhead has not removed it.

    • Michael Heyman

      Andrea,
      I received the same reply. It claims a “hold-up with a regulatory certification process.” I ascribe no bad motive to Hammerhead, just an ignorance of how to get a product to market properly. The refund was provided swiftly.

    • I do believe they are telling the truth on that bit. Why they didn’t say that in their other e-mails initially, I don’t know.

      It’s actually no unheard of to occur, in fact, Wahoo got snagged by such a thing a while back, as have other companies in the field. Of course, it’s usually the result of:

      A) Delayed package submission on the part of the company (running behind)
      B) Some sort of technical error by their certification partner company (rare)

  108. Anonymous Karoo Owner

    Weighing in with my two cents…

    1) I am one of the owners of the 100 Hammerhead Karoos that have been shipped.
    2) It sucked what they asked me to do with regards lying, but in a perverse way, I can understand why the wanted to appease their critics.
    3) The delay is definitely due to regulation hold ups (I know what regulatory hold up, but will not disclose, that’s up to Hammerhead to do).
    4) The device works fine for me. I’ve used it for routing, which works great on the device (both on and off road). Plotting routes through their web app is on a par with using Strava’s own route planner.
    5) There have been two software updates so far, which shows to me the Hammerhead team are working hard to address issues now, before the units get out to the rest of the pre-order customers. I hadn’t noticed any issues personally.
    6) I understand the backlash. I get it. I’ve been an early adopter on other kickstarter type devices. It’s the nature of the beast that there will be delays, software glitches, hardware issues during production. Hammerhead are a young company, learning as they go. If any naysayer can say hand on heart they haven’t fucked up at some point in the past, and learnt from a mistake, then step forward so I can shake your hand. It’s human nature.
    7) Releasing the Caracal emails, in my opinion, was a bit of a dick move, but again, I can understand why that person felt the need to share.
    8) I don’t use ant+ devices at present, so can’t comment on that besides I know it is purely a software issue at present.

    • DB

      I hope they can keep their promise for once about the end of january shipping. Missing that deadline might shake off the last pre-order backers. I still hope the device makes it to the public, the endless lies made people a bit more sceptical however, so my feedback to the post above:

      4) That’s possible, we’ve only seen some short promo videos, not any in depth video, and none of them showing any turn by turn navigation. Strange for one of the core functions of the device.
      7) A lot of people think it’s a brave move, a necessary wake up call
      8) Like many cyclists, I own only ant+ sensors, it’s one of the very basic functionalities of a cycling gps. You can’t even call it beta testing as long as ant+ is broken. How could you be sure it’s software? 8 months after DC rainmaker has been reviewing the prototype one might think there’s something more serious going on.

    • Paul S.

      That’s the thing that surprises me as a disinterested observer. From what I understand there are lots of Android phones that support ANT+, and it seems to me that this support must be in the OS itself, so you’d basically get it for free. All you have to do is use the appropriate chip. So what’s going on, did they use a chip for which there’s no current driver in Android, or which doesn’t work under the conditions they’re trying to operate under?

      I thought initially that they’re using Android was a stroke of genius, for just this reason. Lots of things they just don’t have to worry about. They’re probably mildly more interested in power management than the typical phone manufacturer (but unlike a phone manufacturer, they can’t turn the screen off), but otherwise they can concentrate on the navigation part, which they already know is possible to do under Android, and for which code might already be available.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      I know from using Android phone that I had to download an Ant+ app from the Play Store to enable the chip in my phone to work with Zwift on the one time I did own an ant+ sensor. So from that, I think it’s fair to assume that no, ant+ functionality is not written in to android software automatically, you need a program/app to run that to ensure it’s compatibility with various sensors. That’s purely my assumption, based on my own personal experience with ant+.

    • Frank

      So put your money where your mouth is and show us a video of the navigating, plotting of routes and routing with data fields 🙂

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      I would love to Frank, but didn’t put any money anywhere, and don’t have the physical capability of filming and riding at the same time. I really look forward to seeing your video though once you have your Karoo.

    • Frank

      You will not be seeing my video any time soon.. Given the extreme amount of bullshit they have been vending and their Stalin like media control, I concluded that they are an unreliable bunch that do not deserve my support and ask a result I canceled my order, that might change if for once something credible would come from hammerhead/ beta testers. You are not helping here…

    • Neal

      If you can’t take a video, how about some photos of the Karoo’s screen. Hammerhead has been very reluctant to release information on what is on the screen during navigation when a turn is approaching. Certainly a few photos would not be too much trouble especially since you got the Karoo free.

    • chup

      Photos or it didn’t happen.

      Yeah show us the screens of route planning would be easy, right? Take a video of the unit turned on in navigation mode when you are out at cafe stop ok? at least let us know how the navigation react when there’s no GPS signal… easy to do…

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Chup, you post an instructional video on how to do that please. As previously mentioned, it would require me having to take my hands off the handle bars and take a photo whilst moving. I’ll be honest, I’m not risking my neck on the currently icy roads of Northern Europe just to pander to the whims of untrusting, and given the current climate rightly so, Karoo backers. I have a family to provide for. IAs for how it reacts when no GPS signal, has happened yet. I’d happily post photos in the warmth of my house, but then there is no way of anonymising my address, and there is no way I’m sharing my address with hundreds of strangers, something I’m sure you can appreciate. Take a look at a YouTube, there is another Karoo owner out there who has posted a couple of videos I believe.

    • Chup

      forget it man, if you really wanna let us see you can just post photos when u have no skills to post video.

      Show us the photos navigation interface, menus, web interface, etc… oh well… forget it as well you will ask how to share links to your photos here… not gonna post an instruction lol

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Yeah, I kinda guessed that would be your answer. Whatever I post, it won’t look any different to what Hammerhead themselves have already posted, and naysayers will still continue to naysay. I’ve no doubt others who are far better skilled with a camera will post stuff up in the near future. As I mentioned to Neal, another Karoo owner has already posted two videos on Youtube. Hopefully those will satisfy your appetite.

    • Neal

      Anonymous Karoo Owner

      I found two videos of the Karoo on Youtube. Those two videos are simply awful. They don’t show the screen of the Karoo. Just his gloved hand swiping the screen. Perhaps you are referring to another set of videos?
      Now that we are learning what the Karoo does not have such as no speaker and a limited number of data fields, perhaps the cost of $299 is too high. How will Hammerhead ever sell it for $499?

    • GP

      @Frank @Neal @Chup

      I’m with you guys on this one… I’m calling BS here!

      As mentioned loads, if it genuinely was as good as @Anonymous Karoo Owner makes out, surely some great, positive, genuine, believable and verifiable evidence would be EXACTLY what HH needs to get them out of their self-dug crater (it’s gone way beyond a hole)!

      The lack of willingness to post any kind of video whatsoever just cements my (and probably a few others) thoughts that there are big problems with the unit, and again, HH and the Beta team are trying to hide these from the general public.

      Ant+ DOES NOT require any additional software to work on Android Phones (Not on the Samsung ones anway -mine connected to TrainerRoad straight away, no hassle at all), and here is a photo of part of a route on a Garmin Edge 1030, again really easy to do. Just use your mobile phone camera, then upload it on here.

      What this ‘Anonymous Karoo User’ has said here is BS. Simple.

    • A couple of tiny tidbits:

      A) Looking at the internet logs, I’m pretty sure Anon Karoo is where he says he is. I’m not generally going to get into accusing readers of being companies and what-not, unless I really think they are. In this case, I don’t.

      B) ANT+ on Android: Very true, there’s virtually nothing to do to make it work. But that’s not what Karoo said is the issue. They noted the issue is dropouts being why they are holding it up, which is hardware focused. Remember, even Garmin can screw this up (ANT+ hardware dropouts) as seen on the Fenix 5/5S. Hopefully though, it won’t be like Garmin and require new hardware (Hammerhead would be a better position to know if it’s a software issue causing a crash, or a hardware accessibility issue).

      C) Releasing e-mails: Remember, Hammerhead themselves actually released them, not people here. The folks here simply copied and pasted what Hammerhead published on their own site.

      That’s all!

    • Frank

      Hi Ray, thanks for clearing that up a bit, just for my understanding, I was under the impression that someone disclosed the content of the emails to you, you made this public during your live event. And as a result hammerhead came with their confession…

      “forgive me father for i have sinned (…)”
      “How long has it been since your last (…)?”
      “This is my first but i’m afraid it wont be my last.. ”

      BTW your site makes it surpassingly easy to upload picture 😉

    • JD

      What other brand besides Samsung include ANT+ on their smartphones?

    • Kevin Lynn

      Sony and Samsung are the top two that I think of offhand. Personally, I’ve run ANT+ on several other devices using a host usb cable and an ant+ dongle. In my experience, that usually seems to work better because the dongle has less on/around it to interfere.

  109. Roland K

    Sounds like an original e-mail by Hammerhead.

    • JD

      Since the Caracal cat is out of the bag we may see some anonymous posts here. However, those cats are sure to be taunted so why bother? 😉
      If I got one free I wouldn’t feel obligated to post anything pro or con, especially it the unit isn’t ready for prime time.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if some freebies are sitting in their box or “unboxing” was as far as things got.
      Those most unhappy with delivery delays, the Caracal debacle, and lack of early reviews can always ask for a refund.
      I’m content to ride out the storm until warmer weather returns in March.
      If my preorder hasn’t showed up by March I’ll request a refund and consider a Garmin 1030 although user reviews for that unit haven’t been particularly stellar.
      If Karoo arrives with numerous “planned for future” issues I’ll be back complaining. ;->
      Perhaps we’ll see a DCR review by April.

    • Neal

      I’m in exactly the same situation. I can wait until Spring since I have a perfect functioning Garmin but it’s getting on in years. The Karoo is appealing to me with the Android OS and large screen. And of course the low price.
      I’ve been following the Garmin forums concerning the 1030. Seems like the main issue is Bluetooth and Iphones. Also, the remote does not work reliably. What surprises me is that Garmin employees are responding on the forum. That was a rare occurrence even six months ago. Several firmware updates have come out already so the Garmin team seems to have woken up.

      I have a strong feeling that I will end up with the 1030 but I’m willing to wait a few more months too.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Neal, that would require me having to take my hands off the handle bars and take a photo whilst moving. I’ll be honest, I’m not risking my neck on the currently icy roads of Northern Europe just to pander to the whims of untrusting, and given the current climate rightly so, Karoo backers. I have a family to provide for. I’d happily post photos in the warmth of my house, but then there is no way of anonymising my address, and there is no way I’m sharing my address with hundreds of strangers, something I’m sure you can appreciate. Take a look at a YouTube, there is another Karoo owner out there who has posted a couple of videos I believe.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Neal, I can tell you a red border pops up at the bottom of th3 screen, around 1k from a turn, and stays there counting down the distance to said turn. I’ve used it, it works fine for me. Something worth pointing out though is there NO audible prompt noise from the Karoo like a Garmin or Wahoo would give. I did query this and was told that as the Karoo had Bluetooth, an audible prompt for Bluetooth headphones would be built in to a future software update. Not a deal breaker for me, but could be for others.

    • Nick

      @Anonymous Karoo Owner Thanks for that information. I was really looking for something to replace my Xperia phone with RideWithGPS; that software notifies me audibly and shares the map screen with data. As I now understand its possible to overlay _some_ data on the map although it won’t autoswitch ; I think its a major failing ( in my _personal_ opinion) not to have a speaker to audibly ‘beep’ when approaching turns 🙁

    • JD

      That’s sounds workable for navigation. It’s unlikely you wouldn’t glance down during the 1 km warning especially since the Karoo is mounted forward. The red screen bar may use less juice than an audible alert. However please don’t tell me the device is missing beep functions entirely. Surely audible alerts must sound for things like GPS signal lost, text message received, low power warning, ride resumed, etc. Who the heck would want to wear bluetooth ear buds for that?
      Ideally there would be a setting such as Audible alerts Y/N. If there is no audible for any functions whatsoever that was a strange design decision.

    • Another Anonymous Karoo User

      I did not hear the Karoo unit I had beep, nor did I see a setting for it. Also, I did not see a setting for altitude or temperature. Maybe it hadn’t been added to the software yet, but those seem to be basic functions missing. Then again, maybe it was in another section of the software that I missed. Definitely no beeping that I heard, though.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      My understanding is there is no audio speaker in the device. I’ve yet to hear it beep for anything. I never wear headphones, and hate the clarion call of the auto pausing Garmins on club rides, so it’s not a problem to me, though likely a deal breaker for others. As for text etc alerts, no option for that yet. Again, it’ll hopefully be in a future update…

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      I asked Hammerhead about temperature. There is the ability to read temperature, just not the option yet to display it.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      One positive is the gps signal is FAR quicker to lock on and WAY more accurate than my Garmin 520, even when in forests and city centres.

    • Frank

      How I would love to see thaton video, perhaps sitting on a park bench with your helmet and full downhill gear on, away from your home, as a family man i understand the risks involved.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Haha, now there is an image Frank! Dressed like the Stig from Top Gear? 😉

      Seriously though, the heat I’m getting for this is not worth my energy. I’ll sign off from posting replies.

      If I hear of any further developments I’ll keep you posted, if I notice any other issues with the Karoo, I’ll keep you posted. But photos and videos, please stop asking, it ain’t going to happen.

    • Nick

      I have just heard from Hammerhead support. I quote

      “Not yet. The first-gen Karoo does not have the appropriate hardware (a speaker) to do this, but it does have Bluetooth capability that could technically enable two-way audio transmission (allowing you to give Karoo voice commands, or hear directions or music, for example).”

      i.e. the Karoo has no audio capability to notify you upon approaching a turn and it relies on you constantly looking down at the screen.

      Unfortunately that is a deal breaker for me ; too many small roads in the UK and I don’t wish to be looking constantly at the screen ( I feel that is dangerous ). I wish them luck and hopefully the second generation will have a speaker.

    • Another Anonymous Karoo User

      The unit doesn’t even have a speaker, yet they are teasing two-way communications and voice commands.

    • JD

      Bummer about no beeps. Are there any other mid to high range GPS devices that don’t make sounds when you push certain buttons or alert you of events?
      Beeps, trills, warbling or whatever sounds good to me, along with the option to disable audible alerts.
      Hammerhead’s point about bluetooth capabilities does makes good sense though. You don’t want a speaker/mic on the device for that. The proper way to provide voice command control is via BT earbud with mic. The same applies to music. Plus that means natural language alerts are possible.
      There shouldn’t be a speaker on the Karoo. A beeper yes. Speaker no. Enhanced audio functions should be via bluetooth. They may be onto something significant with that. Just like your vehicle GPS talks to you — “Right turn in 100 meters”. Or how about a workout coach? That’s a paradigm shift for a cycling computer.
      Perhaps Karoo 2 gets a beeper assuming Karoo 1 makes a big enough splash and I don’t mean in the loo. 😉

    • Nick

      @JD Technically a beeper == speaker. What sound is generated is down to the CPU and the programming. So to miss out that functionality is surprising and disappointing. I would not want to have a BT headset (with limited battery life) in when cycling.

    • JD

      Technically yes, but a beeper is a tiny spec on the circuit board which doesn’t have to produce anything other than a modulated beep. It’s hidden inside the case.
      A speaker/mic is a lot more tech that involves a range of sound output/input and different case design.
      Bluetooth is the way to go voice control, voice navigation, music, etc.
      I’d prefer both — a beeper for basic alerts including navigation plus the option for enhanced audio features possible with BT.
      At this point an earbud/mic is standard gear in the peloton. There is at least one helmet manufacturer with built in BT. There are plenty of BT headsets that last 6-8 hours in talk mode. Listen only earbuds last twice that.
      I don’t particularly want an accessory either and I’d only want it in one ear, but it’s an interesting paradigm shift if they can pull it off. A talking cycling GPS would place Karoo in a class of its own. .

    • Henrik

      I do not second that. The main reason to have a SIM on board is to be able to leave the phone at home. How do you make an emergency phone call without speaker(s) and mic? The main potential of this product is its standalone capability of being an all-in-one solution for the average cyclist. Please Hammerhead, dont f*** this up !

    • JD

      The main reason for a SIM onboard is to gain access to the 3G network, not add another phone line to your cellular service.
      Ideally a SIM card will allow the device to share text and data on your cellular account for messaging and Internet access. That is going to depend on the carrier and where you are in the world.
      I doubt most users will leave their cell phone at home, but you could leave it in your pocket turned off.
      The SIM card option might be a huge benefit for some users. Others, not so much. Some, not at all.
      Speaking of “certification delay” what about IMIE/MEID certification for cellular carriers?
      Doesn’t the Karoo device need to be approved by a carrier in order to insert a SIM card?
      At the moment I imagine cellular features are the least of their worries. 😉

    • JD

      Regarding temperature —
      I read somewhere (in a DCR review?) that temperature is required for barometric calibration when recording altitude changes. So when you are climbing or descending changes in temperature need to be factored into the equation.
      I don’t think GPS data alone can accurately determine altitude.
      Is that the main reason there is a temperature sensor onboard?

    • PavementEater

      The more I read about what the state of Karoo is in the more I’m losing hope that it will even come out anytime soon. It sounds more like the Cat group is an Alpha test group and not a beta test group. So many missing features that were said to be part of the actual shipped devices.
      It bothers me the Karoo has no system sound. Just a simple sound for safety sake a system chirp or beep when there are turns when navigating or major changes in system fields or when you are on your ride and your heart rate spikes a chirp warning seems like a basic requirement.
      A system beep, it’s a basic hardware setup for any hardware be it on SOC and or SBC.
      I could be wrong on this because It’s been a awhile since I had to deal with hardware SOC or SBC configurations, but the small chip and circuit setup is on the main board / motherboard and it’s controlled by the BIOs separate from the OS and cpu / core processer instruction set. Which is why your device can beep and chirp even when the OS is toast and most of the equipment has failed…The power drain for this is miniscule. So, to leave out this seem more like a screw up / misstep / mistake on HammerHeads part on the hardware level.
      Having your user rely on add on 3rd party speakers and sound is adding more distractions to the cyclist and one more item to carry. Top it off for each extra wireless device you add to your unit the more drain is gonna happen to the battery along with more tasks for the OS and hardware to deal with which over time of your trip the device will heat up and heat kill the battery too… Power meter, cadence, speed, hart rate monitor , speaker or head set. Karoo is an android device so more add-ons you give it the more power and batter is consumed.

    • Gregg Pedder

      The Garmin Edge 1030 is excellent. From what I’ve read, there is NO WAY I would swap my 1030 for one of these pieces of junk, even if it meant a £300 saving!!

      Yes, there are things on the 1030 I would change or do differently, but these are not show stoppers by any means, mostly VERY minor things such as changing the data fields in the workout screen, more graphical displays etc.

      On the whole though it is a brilliant bit of kit.

    • Kevin Lynn

      It should be noted that an android device setup like the Karoo is going to be running in COSU mode and probably in “Lock task” mode instead of “App Pinning” mode. As such, it’s unlikely you’re able to get more use out of it than the single purpose it was designed for unless you have someone modify the binary to enable switching out of the application.

      It remains to be seen just how much work has been done to harden the Karoo against a physical attack but just being in COSU mode makes it much more difficult for the average user to do more than use the application it was designed for.

      This is similar to the way that medical devices that run the Android OS are setup.

      If they did things right they’ll be using EMM (enterprise mobility management) with a specific DPC (device policy controller). This *could* allow them to have an ecosystem of third party apps/plugins that are known to work with the Karoo and which have been okayed by them in advance along with an app store for installation and purchase of those apps.

      If I was Hammerhead, that’s where I’d go with it. It’d allow significantly greater monetization and possibly even subscription based services so people are only paying for what they actually want.

    • Yeah, Hammerhead has been reasonably clear that they plan to have things fairly well locked down and don’t plan to allow 3rd party apps to run on the device unless there’s serious integration work with them.

      Obviously, the most geeky of folks can get around anything, but it’s set to be pretty locked up.

  110. FK

    Anonymous Karoo owner,

    Thanks for your updates. They are helpful to me and I am happy with the intel you can provide us.

    Clearly there are still a few software issues. Another example is the missing of the workouts app. This should be the sixth app you see at the home screen, but there are only five. I saw this on a picture of an other Caracal member.

    Its a pity that there are no beep warnings. I remember a Hammerhead response saying there will be a beep when the map is not displayed.

    I worry a bit about Hammerheads ability to jump the crossbar they have set for themselves. With their first product, the Hammerhead One, they said in their promotion that there will be a light on the product for when its dark, but in the end product it was not there. I saw someone complaining about this after purchase.

    Another thing I know is that the gps does not work well around high buildings. I have seen a ride where the cyclist goes 80 km an hour through buildings. Another ride this person starts from the water. His response was that Garmin also has trouble with high buildings.

  111. Hi All-

    For those looking for specific pics/videos, I do have a unit now. A reader so kindly reached out a couple weeks ago and got one sent over (they were on the beta program). I’ve done a few rides on it (one indoor, one or two outdoors), along with some other tidbits. Both using BLE sensors as opposed to ANT+ sensors.

    I’ll summarize my thoughts at some point (been slammed with other life things these past few weeks), but, if there’s specific video walk-through, I’m happy to put some together.

    Cheers.

    • Frank

      HI Ray, nice to read. It seams as though some of the beta testers are revolting against their master. First the email leak, and now the unit.. Makes me wonder what the motives are, disappointment, pride in a good product, not liking the cloak and dagger routine of hammerhead? Anyway, it doesn’t really matter..

      I’d still love to see on film what the anonymous karoo user above posted:

      “I’ve used it for routing, which works great on the device (both on and off road). Plotting routes through their web app is on a par with using Strava’s own route planner.”

      And some actual navigation with data fields, snap shots would be fine, but video is for obvious reasons better.

      As far as you can tell, are there things missing – beside the obvious – ANT+?

    • Another Anonymous Karoo User

      I’d be curious to hear what the two updates since the “final units shipped to early customers” did. Were there patch notes? Did you notice any features added or polished?

  112. Olapowder

    Hi all, I paid my Karoo i beginning of July supposed to arrive September then fall then late November then January latest February but now I got the message marsh/April
    To me it seems that they don’t know what they are talking about so now I’m out.
    Canceled my order and going for a Garmin (better a Garmin in my hand then 10 Karoo in the forest)
    I really liked the idea about this Karoo but to me it seems just like an idea……

    • Neal

      Olapowder

      Curious as to when you got the March/April delivery date notification.
      I just checked Facebook and there is nothing there about a further delay.

      Lots of folks upset about the lack of a audio cue when approaching a turn.

    • Olapowder

      Neal

      I had having a conversation with their support for the last 6 month and the answer to my question just before Christmas , was “March/April “

    • usr

      If you are really interested in the Karoo you might want to wait out a while: the queue ahead of you might thin out significantly once the “no audio” news has filtered through to everybody (unless “March/April” is due to another certification holdup, then even being first in line wont help). An audio buzzer seems to have been something almost everybody outside Hammerhead simply took for granted.

    • To be fair, Chinese New Year delays (which are very real), wouldn’t actually impact Karoo assuming they have units stateside per their statements sitting waiting for certification clearance.

  113. Frank

    Don’t forget Chinese New Years, that’ll throw ‘m off another month or two…

  114. JD

    If their ONLY goal was to provide a superior navigation experience for every cyclist the exclusion of a beeper was a step backward. Add in all the other reasons to sound an audible alert and you have an obvious design flaw. As a result there’s LOTS of people blowing their horn on the FB page. “Hey Hammerhead! Where’s the beep?”

    The ONLY way they can partially compensate for this oversight is to flash warning messages; some of which should require a screen tap to acknowledge when read. If the transreflective display is as bright and visible as claimed it should be hard to miss a flashing warning. Perhaps bright yellow or red depending on type of message (system message vs route warning). Flashing would indicate you must tap the display to clear the message. Route warnings could clear automatically once you’ve made the correct turn.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      As previously stated, a large red border at the bottom of the screen pops up showing your next turn about a km before the turn, whether you are in map or data screen regardless. It is clearly visible in the quite frankly awful YouTube video that another Karoo owner posted up last month.

    • JD

      I would hope it is more elaborate than the red bar with a distance countdown. It should start flashing at some point or include an animated directional chevron <<>> as you reach the turn. You shouldn’t have to read it necessarily. It should be obvious like the H1 supposedly worked. 😉

      On system alerts you should have to tap the display to acknowledge you’ve read the message.

    • Kevin Lynn

      I’m trying to decide right now if the lack of any audible is a deal breaker for me.

      On a device meant to provide navigation to vulnerable road users if you’re going to have them watching the device instead of getting audio prompts, that’s going to get people killed. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if NHTSA forced them to recall all Karoos until they had a speaker with some type of audible prompt.

    • Nick

      For me at least (in the UK), with lots of small roads and a multitude of junctions I do not want to be looking constantly at the screen (far too dangerous) and without a notification I’ll just miss the junction all the time. Although it would give the course rerouting a good test 😉
      Unfortunately its probably a deal-breaker for me which is a shame as I had high hopes for it and was really tempted to buy. Maybe in the next version they’ll put it in …..

    • Nik

      It was a deal breaker for me. I ride a lot of new routes and rarely know where i’m going. Audio queues are a must have for me. I cancelled my order.

  115. Niko

    Hi DCR, Nice tot read you have a Karoo in tour hands. I understand you will wait until costumer shippings before releasing a full review. I hope you can answer my question though.
    Since the turn-by-turn navigation is one of the most important features on a cycling comp like this one, I would really like tot know if it is usable at this time. A screenshot would alsof be very welcome.

  116. Asger Wille

    Hi Ray,

    I would really love some video or photos that could give a sense of whether this is a dud or not. I’ve been supporting them since June and never thought of canceling but the missing speaker/beeps makes me wonder if something’s wrong. It seems an incredible mistake. I really want the Karoo to be as good as I’ve hoped for, but I won’t be fooled. I’ve been thinking of getting a Wahoo Elemnt instead.

  117. Kevin Lynn

    I just requested a refund from support if they cannot give me a firm ship date or if that date is not in January.

    I suggest others do the same.

  118. Jaques

    Please show me on the Garmin Edge units or Wahoo units where there is a speaker. Unless I’m missing something… there isn’t one. The beep can be heard through the case. A chip/diode/electronic part on the printed circuit board can make the beep. I’m not understanding how this was not included.

    • Kevin Lynn

      RIght. Generally there’s at least a piezo SMT part on the board. We’re not talking something big. It’s literally usually between 9mm and 16mm and the cost of the part in quantity 2000 is about $0.96/each. Literally less than a dollar difference. Heck, they don’t even require driving circuits normally.

    • Neal

      The Garmin and Wahoo do not have a speaker but do have hardware to produce a beep sound. I think everyone is baffled how the Karoo does not have this hardware. Perhaps the person most baffled is the CEO of Hammerhead.

    • Jimmy

      The peizo speaker is usually inside the quarter-turn mount on the bottom.

      510: link to i.ytimg.com
      800: link to d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net
      1000: link to i.ytimg.com

    • Anonymous

      I feel bad for those people that might get delayed even more (this might affect me also); however, after learning about the lack of any/all audio ability I felt the responsible thing to do is file a complaint with the NHTSA. The lack of any speaker/transducer is going to get someone killed.

      I thought a lot and knowing that the likelihood exists that the device will increase the distraction of the person using it and lead to bodily injury, it seemed like the right and responsible thing to do.

      I have no idea if the complaint will be taken seriously but at least I did my part to ensure people’s safety where companies would instead decide to make a few extra grand.

    • Tom

      What are you talking about? I never ride with audio notifications. Never felt unsafe because I had to glance at my gps to see where I need to go.

    • MT09

      When I’m navigating I hardly ever look at my Garmin unless it beeps. Then a very quick glance down to see what I need to do next, job done.

      I ride looking at the road. Not my Garmin.

      If I had to ride with my attention focused on this Karoo in order to not miss a junction, I feel I may miss something more serious, like a car or a pedestrian.

      as Anonymous pointed out, its simply dangerous, Nuff said.

      The lack of piezo buzzer/beeper may even be what prevents the device getting certification, I don’t know.

      In any case, on their FB page someone asked today if they have started production and they confirmed they had AND are ramping it up….Another lie perhaps, I don’t know?

    • Neal

      Saw a post on Facebook where someone suggested that if Hammerhead produced a bluetooth remote for the Karoo then a beeper could be installed in the remote. I think that is a clever solution to one of the Karoo’s problems and would not be too difficult to accomplish.

  119. JD

    Everyone wants navigation nailed down since that’s the main reason to go Karoo to begin with.
    Video proof of turn-by-turn navigation remains oddly in limbo and is a sore point of contention. Compounding that now is lack of a beeper. See the New Year’s post on their FB page. Lot’s of fireworks there. 🙂

    Chapter 3 of the Karoo development series on their blog describes how thoroughly they dissected comparable products. I trust they had three goals in mind. First goal would be to MATCH existing features. Second would be to IMPROVE upon those functions. Third would be to EXPAND the product category and offer new features.
    Matching meant including a beeper. An improvement could have been to allow users to select which events sound an alert and even select alert type (trill, warble, single beep, double beep, etc.). Any improvement would have been a welcome difference. Instead their solution was to nix audio alerts entirely based on feedback from “lots of cyclists”(?) plus the added complexity of a beeper(?). Their rationale is a superior screen should suffice. Really?
    It’s baffling who they surveyed regarding this function. Certainly not pre-order customers and apparently not Caracal testers either. “The majority of cyclists don’t want sound” sounds improbable unless they asked a select group of riders the wrong question. If you surveyed a broad spectrum of cyclists the MAJORITY would agree a beep is REQUIRED for at least ONE alert or another. Audio cues are certainly helpful for navigation. For example, a double beep to warn of a turn ahead; time to glance at the screen. Or two beeps for right turn ahead, 3 beeps for left. If mapping is as accurate as they claim audible cues would even work on a gnarly off-road descent without ever glancing at your screen. Now we’ll never know.
    “Space, size, weight, cost considerations” makes no sense either. During their research phase they would have discovered an expensive beeper on all competing products. No waterproof case/speaker/microphone/development tech required.

    No ANT+ (yet), Strike 1. No audio cues, Strike 2. No , Strike 3.
    I trust they’ll hit a home run with at least one feature that sets them apart. However, the parity issues may drag them down. They’ll need to do a stellar job with visual alerts to compensate for the missing beeper. While most riders are accustomed to glancing at their GPS frequently, audio cues would have sealed the deal.
    Anything is possible but the hopes of many are fading.

    • Neal

      JD
      I feel another strike is that the Karoo will not direct to a POI unless a Sim card is installed. This is not a feature I use frequently but I have used it on week long tours when in the last miles I need to be guided to a motel. Helps when trying to find a restaurant close by too. yes, I could get the Iphone out but the Karoo should do this without having to purchase a Sim card and paying a additional fee to use it.

    • Jeff

      Argh, I’m forced to throw in the towel as well. This big of issues this late in the game is too much. To still not have FCC (or equivalent for locale) certification also is a red flag for another round of design changes possibly being needed last second. Ant+ not working almost can’t be a software bug (since support for Ant+ while not baked in, has been in use on Android for quite some time), and surely their SW devs are decent for integration of that. That leaves it being a HW integration bug, which is far harder to fix.

      Karoo held out a lot of promise, but as a SW dev who used to be in the embedded space – v1 feels pretty well doomed at this point. Maybe v1.1 or 2.0 of the hardware? Realistically, the concept is good, and not having to build the whole OS and basic hardware support from scratch *should* work with faster time to market, better product and better focus on features… That’s why I signed on early. BUT apparent lack of review and testing at critical steps EARLY on, and marketing being overly optimistic on ship dates is just too much.

    • usr

      My guess is that the “lots of cyclists” were mostly drawn from the tiny subset who did not shrug off the original “Hammerhead One” as a totally ridiculous concept. Hammerhead’s insistence that an automatic map popup during turn notification isn’t necessary is another cue that their perception is tarnished from spending too much time telling themselves that the H1 could be an adequate navigation device. Garmin’s weak (but still much better than absent!) implementation of that feature was my main reason to ever consider using a device more chunky than the Edge 1000.

      More generally speaking, I suspect that their mental image of the “World’s Best Cycling Computer” is completely constructed from improving on the baseline of the H1. This is a massive disconnect from everybody who “just” wants a “better Garmin”, where the software team does not waste their time reinventing fundamentals and chasing the occasional stray pointer.

      I still wish them luck, but to succeed they will need more than that, namely the humility to accept that most of the competition’s features are there for a reason.

    • usr

      Neal: for the occasional POI navigation I guess I would be fine with putting my phone in hotspot mode. It’s just continuous connectivity like real time tracking where the drawbacks of a wifi tether would be overwhelming. But yeah, the SIM slot is another area where Hammerhead seem to be a little bit too much in love with their own ideas. Setting up an http proxy on the device that tunnels to a companion app over bluetooth would not be *that* hard if you control the OS, it just would not be very reliable (in all likelyhood, since no company in their field has ever succeeded in creating a reliable continuous BT uplink). If they had that, the SIM slot would be a pure improvement over the state of the art (when people complain about flaky BT they could say “see, that’s why we also have the SIM slot”), but without it’s a clear “i’d rather prefer the other option” for a large part of the market.

    • Neal

      The problem is that since Hammerhead has been so secretive of how the features on the Karoo work, we just don’t know if there is a way to get a motel or restaurant location into the Karoo to navigate to or is it sim card or nothing. Using the phone as a hotspot is a possibility but why when the Garmins don’t have a problem with POI’s.
      This is the most frustrating thing to buy that I have ever encountered. A new product coming to market and a company that refuses to show how its feature work.

    • Jeff

      @usr – You got it. All I wanted a better Garmin with a GSM/LTE radio built in and a focus on hardware and application aimed at cycling (with the OS being COTS to help achieve that).

      I’ve got an 810, and was going to upgrade over a year ago, but Garmin irritated me with a downgraded 820 that was a smaller 5×0 sized unit with worse Ant+ performance, which then lured me to the 1000 – but it was behind the dev cycle of the 820, so I was waiting on a corresponding 1020 to come out and it wasn’t happening… The Karoo looked awesome initially, and got me excited enough to pre-order, and then their troubles kept ON going, and going and going. Meanwhile the much delayed (in my viewpoint) 1030 finally released. At least Garmin didn’t do pre-orders on it. 🙂

    • JD

      My post should have ended with “inexpensive” beeper and “fill-in the blank”, Strike 3, but I can see everyone got that. 😉

      I forgot about the POI issue. 🙁
      I don’t see how they can provide that effectively without a SIM card if they don’t have access to the same rich POI data that Garmin does.
      Do open source mapping resources provide local POI data that could be downloaded before a ride?

    • Openstreet Maps do indeed provide POI data.

    • Neal

      I thought OSM maps have POI’s. Why would the Karoo need the Sim card?
      Each day gets more exciting finding out what the Karoo does not do.

  120. Kevin Lynn

    After telling them to either provide a firm ship date in January or refund me they pointed me to the page in which they talked about their deceiptful behavior.

    I reiterated that I wanted a firm ship date in January or a refund.

    Hammerhead just sent the refund.

    I’m going to go buy a Garmin 1030.

    Maybe I’ll eventually get a Karoo when they’re shipping but there’s no way in hell I’m going to get near this product now until they’re actively shipping and have no backorder. Also, not until it has an onboard transducer / speaker.

  121. Kevin Lynn

    Odd question I’m sure but here goes… 🙂

    Are there any Java developers out there that would be interested in collaborating on an open-source cycling OS that could be dropped onto a number of older handsets?

    The technology that Hammerhead is using is sound if not the method by which they’re developing their product and stringing people along.

    • Jeff

      Not odd Kevin – Actually this is the route Hammerhead should have gone. Open source the software bits, and charge the same amount for the hardware. That way you get at least some external help to make the product better. This secretive nonsense is killing them. There are a lot of SW Dev’s, QA engineers, and such that ride bikes and would contribute if given a chance. I know I would since this is in an area I’m passionate about. Mass production of hardware is the tricky part. But provide a DECENT open platform and they will come.

    • JD

      Some may claim riding with no hands is dangerous but I’ve never had a problem.
      How else are you supposed to light a cigarette or text your girlfriend?

  122. Jay

    Hi there,

    Apologises if this has been clarified already, Hammerhead have stated there is no speaker (ive seen their blog where they stated that), but has it been confirmed there is no buzzer/sounder? (Obviously the two are different and would serve different purposes).

    Also, if relations to returns (and warranty), ive read that the customer would be responsible for the postage/courier costs (back to the USA). Is this true?

    What about import taxes/costs when they send the replacement unit back to the customer?

    • Neal

      Hammerhead has confirmed that there is no hardware to make any kind of beep or buzz or anything on the Karoo and have stated that their surveys indicated that it was not necessary.

    • JD

      Yes, but luckily they include a powerful magnetometer that works in conjunction with sunlight to track direction. That is a function of the transflective display. As you approach a turn on a prescribed route just take your hands off the handlebars and Karoo steers for you. No hands or buzzer is required. If you prefer a buzz the first accessory offered will be a bluetooth vibrator you clip to your seat. Hammerhead will be only manufacturer using ACT (Ass Conduction Technology).

    • Neal

      Thanks. I got a laugh out of your post. this topic is long overdue for some humor. You might want to send your suggestion on to the Hammerhead CEO.

    • Jeff

      JD winz the interwebz today. ACT now to claim your reward!

  123. FK

    Anonymous Karoo user,

    Any news on the karoo?
    Could you share 3 things you really like and 3 things you really dislike with us?
    Could you also explain why every caracal member has been silent for weeks now?
    Is the Karoo worth 300 dollar in your opinion?
    And 500 dollar?

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Not used my Karoo for a week. I can confirm though the Karoo GPS works fine all the time for me, and I am not using a SIM. It is more accurate in my experience than a Garmin 520 I also use.

      I’ve seen other Caracal users get abuse through here, YouTube, a Twitter and Facebook. That sucks. They were given the option of a free device to trial. They were released from any obligation to share that. To be abused for that is unfair in my opinion.

      I love the large screen. I love the turn by turn navigation, even though there is no beep. I want the ability to get texts to my device, yet to see that. I want temperature displayed, yet to see that. Elevation data, yet to see that.

      This are things I am sure Hammerhead will update to the device.

    • Asger

      I’m really happy to read your comments on here. I agree, that abuse of the caracals is unfair. People are desperate, and that’s bad.
      Would you consider making a video of the device where you activate a route and it gives turn-by-turn? Maybe as a passenger in a car? I know it’s a lot to ask. I’m only thinking 30 secs recorded on your phone…

    • I agree, I don’t want to see abuse of Caracal folks here, it’s not fair (and I know I was a bit late/delayed to the game last week when some of that may be occurring). In general, they didn’t ask to be put in the awkward position they were put in.

      As far as TBT goes, I did actually attempt to put together an entire video today on that, spent about 3 hours end to end attempting to do so…but alas, my unit is currently failing to download maps. It gets 94-96% of the way through, but then crashes the map download (you wouldn’t know unless you were watching it), and reports success. But in reality, the map file is corrupted, so it therefor causes TBT to fail to start. 🙁 Hammerhead is looking into it…

    • FK

      Perhaps not my call to answer, but I believe I am correct if I say this person won’t post a video, because of safety and privacy reasons. He made this very clear in this thread. I hope HH will come up with a video tomorrow or saturday.

    • Asger

      FK, thanks, I had missed that. That’s totally fair.
      Ray, oh how annoying to spend so much time on that with no result. I’m looking forward to it, then!

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Did the last update not address that? I’ve found the preloaded maps to be more than accurate so far for what I have used it for, though I have uploaded preconstructed gpx files off Strava and Komoot.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Correct. The YouTube videos another Caracal user had uploaded have disappeared too I believe.

    • As of current, it hasn’t fixed it for me. I can download maps to 94-96%, then it crashes. If you open up a route with said map using the preview function, it looks perfect, I can zoom all the way down to any street level I want. No issues.

      But then when I go to start a ride, the map is just blank. I can see the ‘route’ and my ‘track’, but nothing other than a grey background. The route is done using their site for route creation.

    • Kevin Lynn

      I’m definitely NOT for abusing Caracal users except where they are being dishonest. For example, if someone asks them when they put in their order and they say March ’17 and they didn’t actually give HH any money in March ’17, then perhaps they’d deserve to be called out for lying.

      Giving them a bad time just because you’re not part of the special club, that’s not cool.

      I do think that HH really screwed the pooch with regards to the Caracal program but for me it’s really not about the Caracal program. I have a low tolerance for dishonesty from companies and I feel that HH knew or should have known the stuff they were saying was full of crap from the beginning. So many of their issues were predictable and point to a lack of planning. For example, the plastics issue… if you’re needing a specific plastic then you are normally given a specific lead time needed in order to obtain and use that plastic. Lead times matter and it seems like maybe they ignored it.

      There’s all kinds of functionality that they’re supposed to have and don’t right now. Sure, they might add it but will they add it in your hardware revision or will it be in a different hardware revision?

      That remains to be seen and I’m really not hopeful for anyone.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Strange. I deleted all maps I downloaded, as I had the same issue of it sticking whilst downloading a few weeks ago. I relied on the pre-installed map today to take a ride from home to a friends work place. I used the Karoo route builder, rather than the website or a third party website, to create a route for me. I deliberately took a couple of wrong turns to see if it would reroute, and it did (something HH have admitted shouldn’t work at present). I may just be really lucky with the unit I have! Have you tried installing a sim? I cannot seem to get the slot to open….

    • I haven’t tried installing a SIM yet.

      Hammerhead is looking into my issue, and I’m meeting with them next week at CES as well.

    • Frank

      I am not sure what you mean with “abuse”, but that you get some pressure and maybe heat as you mentioned earlier because people are asking for vids and pics is IMHO normal. And you should accept that. You may not have chosen to be in the beta test program, you chose to accept it and become part of the deceit .. If you can’t stand that you should never have have become a beta tester

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      I never accepted being part of a deceit, that was not part of the agreement when I was originally asked to get involved. It’s that kind of narrow mindedness that makes people not want to share Frank, because there are far more important things in life than the triviality of a bike computer, but some people cannot help getting angry behind their keyboards. Grow up, take a reality check, and move on. Ride your bike, I always find it helps me clear my mind.

    • Anon is correct. From those I heard from, they had simply said sure to being part of a beta program many many many months prior (with no conditions at the time), and the one day randomly a package was on the way with email details to follow.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Correct. Nearly two years ago I was approached my HH to help. They asked me to sign a NDA for the design stages only. I was asked to complete some questionairres online about the shape and features of the Karoo. At no stage was I asked to lie. I cannot recall at anytime during that stage any questions with regards audible features by the way. At the time, we were promised a free Karoo for helping out. We were under no obligation besides keeping quiet about the design during the initial design consultation.
      As I said, that was two years ago. Autumn last year we started getting emails stating the Karoo was coming. About a week before they were shipped was when the ‘Karoogate’ email was received.
      I NEVER signed up to lie or coerce people through social media. Anything I share here is my honest experience with the Karoo.

    • usr

      Just out of curiosity, for historical context: was the initial contact with HH based on the H1 or was it through some unrelated personal or professional acquaintance network?

      If they made decisions based on questionnaires sent to H1 buyers that would explain a lot about the Karoo. Not the delays and resulting communication issues (I actually don’t mind those that much, it’s natural for people who start companies to be “recklessly optimistic”, or else they would not be trying), but the apparent disconnect with all the folks in the “a better Garmin” camp.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      It wasn’t based on H1. I did express an interest in that historically, but didn’t purchase one.

    • Michael G Salinger

      Oh come on AKU, a lot of your comments have been coy at best. Nobody twisted your arm to join this thread.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Sorry, I don’t understand how that statement is pertinent or relevant to the conversation. Please explain.

    • Michael G Salinger

      Oh, “your please don’t pick on me I’m just an innocent bystander”when folks ask legit, answerable questions and requests for videos that anybody could provide if they wanted. Fact is, nobody forced you to contribute to this thread, and the “abuse” you bemoan is trivial by intertubes standards. “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Oooooh, I get it now. Thank you for sharing your personal perspective on it. I take on board your comments. Though I still won’t be posting any photos or videos. I’ll leave that to the professionals like Ray.

      Trust is a two way street, and yep, HH did a huge steaming shit in that street. But remember, it was HH. Not I or the other caracal testers. I owe no one anything, but thought sharing my experience would help. Evidently it’s pissing more people off than helping.

      As I’ve stated before, in the grand scheme of things, this is trivial.

      I wish you all the very best. Peace.

    • Frank

      @ako

      With all do respect, I am trying to explain how a mechanism works. I am not angry, mad or any of those. Why should I be, I chose to back a company, and decided they are no longer worth my support and i got my money back. Every penny. Why should I be angry?

      You assume that a lot of information that is trivial and available to you is also available to me (or other people(?)). That is not the case. You only just now made available how you enrolled and participated in the program.

      Before those posts I only knew that HH developed a beta program. That they started this when they were saying they were shipping to consumers. And that they tried to influence the testers in how they made information publicly available. Also testers that did make information available did this in line with the instructions from HH. “When did you order your Karoo?” ” Earlier this year”, yeah no shit.. Also answers from you have been coy as someone mentioned here.. Appearing to be in line with with HH instructions..

      What i tried to do was explain that under those circumstances it is to be expected that you will get (maybe difficult/pressured) questions. If you call that abuse, i think it is you who should do the reality check and ride your a bike a bit more, for it is to be expected if you as a caracal program member are going to take part in a public debate. No one is calling you names or giving you any other SH)(*&)(* Maybe i shouldn’t have used the word deceit, maybe i am striking closer to home than you are willing to admit.. Whatever it is.. dude relax.

      BTW I am sure this conversation would have been different irl instead of a keyboard..

    • Another Anonymous Karoo User

      That stumped me, as well. The “slot” seemed to be a regular SIM slot with a “pusher” to discharge the holder. However, it’s actually a recess to use a tool to pop the whole back of the tool off.

      Here’s the instructions from Hammerhead:
      1. Flip the unit face down and rest it on the palm of your hand or on a flat non abrasive surface.
      2. Rotate it so the USB port is facing away from you.
      3. You will see that the same side that has the USB port also has a small notch on the far left corner right on the separation of the backplate and the main body.
      4. Place your thumb on the bracket foot of the unit and with your index finger carefully pry off the backplate of the unit from that small notch. It should pop off with relative ease.
      5. You should now have the backing exposed. The antennas should be visible as well as the SIM slot on the bottom right.
      6. Using your finger you will be able to pry off the seal exposing the SIM slot.
      7. If you have a micro SIM you can simply insert it in the orientation shown on the device. You will find that the SIM card will need to be pushed all the way in where an audible click will let you know that it is now securely in place.
      8. Reattach the SIM slot seal securely and pop the backplate back on.
      9. You may need to reboot the unit to enable cell data usage.
      10. You should be good to go. If you have a nano sim you will need to place it in the adapter provided with the unit and then proceed with inserting into the SIM slot.
      11. To remove the SIM from the slot you will first have to push the SIM card in, you’ll hear a click, leading to the spring loaded mechanism ejecting it.

      I did not follow this procedure, so info is used at your own risk.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Ah, thanks! Tried it. Quite easy. The sim slot is behind a rubber seal on the side. Now to find a decent UK data supplier… oops. Did Injust say UK? ?

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Just for you Frank ?

    • Frank

      Nice pics! Thanks AKO, same to you 😉

      Interesting to see how one should acces the sim card. Would never have imagined it like this..

      Out of curiosity, did you get a manual? Or can it be dowloaded through the web app or something?

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      No manual yet. Just what the other anonymous user posted above. It seems you have to contact HH for any info. Not the best, but having said that I don’t recall my Garmin having a manual either.

    • Frank

      Garmin allows you to download a manual. Something else, looking at the casing, I am curious to know how one should attach the provided lanyard. I cannot spot a hole/ space for it..

    • ne

      Frank
      Hammerhead tech support told me that there would not be a manual since the device is so intuitive. They used the Iphone as a example of a intuitive device. I guess they never noticed the manual for the Iphone on Apples website or the many other sources for Iphone information.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      The 3/4 turn plate screws on (notice the allen bolt for it in the photo). There is a hole underneath there which I assume is for the lanyard, once you pop the back cover on, though how this will engage when you use the 3/4 mount is beyond me, I haven’t tried it yet. To be fair, I probably will never try as I’ve never bothered using one on my Garmins or Brytons in the past, but if curiosity gets the better of me, I’ll try (no promises…) and pop a photo up.

  124. FK

    People are asking questions about the value of the Sim card.

    I throught it might be helpful to share Hammerhead’s answer I got from their support team:
    _______________________________
    Without a SimCard, the Karoo is a GPS device. With a SimCard, the Karoo becomes an A-GPS device. GPS stands for Global Positioning System and A-GPS stands for Assisted Global Positioning System.

    As GPS devices are communicating with satellites, it can get information only under clear sky conditions and when a satellite is reachable without any interference. Due to this, it is slower in responding the requested service. While A-GPS devices are communicating with network stations, it gets information even in a cloudy atmosphere and worst network conditions. A-GPS devices are faster as it need not have to go to satellite for information.

    Also, you do not have to pre-download maps when you have a 3G Sim.

    • JD

      I believe 911 calls on a cellular phone use aGPS for triangulation, but access is limited by the device.
      I am not sure if a carrier would support aGPS access for any device with a SIM. It may be another certification issue.
      I believe accuracy with aGPS can vary from 5-30m versus 1m with direct satellite GPS. So faster in this case isn’t better in terms of accurate positioning.
      Perhaps they intend aGPS to take over automatically if GPS signal is lost. How often can you lose GPS signal in a high-rise inner city environment? I have no experience riding in a city, but have lost signal under bridges and in bad weather before.
      If you are in The Outback with no cellular coverage aGPS would be useless, but you wouldn’t need it unless a dust storm blocks GPS signals. In that case you shouldn’t be riding anyway. 😉
      As Hammerhead mentioned the other benefit of a SIM card would be access to data (maps) without connecting to your phone as a hotspot. Perhaps they plan other functions for SIM such as live tracking and accident notification, all without linking to your phone. Other GPS devices need to be tethered to your phone to do that.
      A big problem with a SIM card will be cost to connect it. Some carriers may allow you to add the device to your current plan (shared data). That would be best case scenario. Others are going to treat is as another line charge and no one is going to want a monthly charge just for their Karoo. Perhaps you can purchase short term SIM plans only when aGPS would be of benefit such as a month long tour.
      And finally — just because HH added a SIM card slot to a Karoo doesn’t mean they have actually written any code to use it yet. 😀

  125. Frank

    This begs the question how accurate the gps will be without using a-gps. The comment from the anonymous Karoo user here above regarding the speed of the fix may also have to do with a SIM card .. anyway, I have been surprised at how quiet it has been on hammerhead front, well not at the front but from the side of hammerhead..

    • n

      I realize that some GPS units have difficulty attaining a strong signal in certain parts of the world but, I have never had a problem acquiring a signal in the many areas of the U.S. that I have traveled. Is a weak signal a problem for many others?

      What I’m wondering about is what the cost will be for a Sim card. I know the cards can be purchased cheaply but how much data will the Karoo require? The data plans start getting costly as the the gigabytes go up.

    • Nick

      I’ve not seen issues obtaining a GPS lock ; the A-GPS can make it quicker to obtain. And it also depends upon the device – some seem to better than others. Conversely there are plenty of UK locations where the mobile signal is limited to none so the SIM wouldn’t help.

    • Neal

      You brought up a good point when in areas with poor cell coverage the A-GPS is of no benefit. I have been on rides in Utah where members of the group with ATT could not get a signal. Also, happened on the Blue Ridge Pkwy.

      Would the Karoo have a setting to disable the Sim card or is it always active if it is installed? Why doesn’t Hammerhead provide information like this?

  126. Henrik

    After all the fuss of the last weeks I pulled the trigger myself today and cancelled my order, too. To my surprise their guy Sherkan answered immediately and I already have the refund on my paypal account. Kudos for that. I wrote him an email regarding my thoughts tonight because they stated “If you are unable to purchase it at this time, we totally understand…” It was not about being unable…

    My thoughts:

    “Dear Sherkhan,

    thank you for your prompt response.

    To be honest, this is the first response from Hammerhead I got without several reminders.

    As I understand the expression “If you are unable to purchase this time, …” is a standard sentence, you might deserve a little more background information around my decision.

    I was pretty excited with the whole concept of the Karoo. Heck, it was exactly like the idea I had about two years ago when I tried to rewrite an old Motorola Defy + ROM to make it usable as a bike computer. I hated Garmin’s screen resolution and their approach regarding customer support, so taking things into my own hands seemed to be the logical way. I stopped the project because of hardware issues, mainly no ANT+ support and the screen’s lacking usability in bright sunlight.

    I got myself a Garmin Edge 1000 and got used to working around it’s issues.

    When I discovered DCRainmaker’ s hands-on, Karoo seemed to be the perfect answer, I was pretty excited, as mentioned, and so were my club mates.

    First bummer: No emergency call function. Not even possible without a mic and speaker. Really ?! Why implement a SIM card on a cycling computer, advertise it by stating “no phone required!” and implement no basic emergency call function ?! If I do have to take the phone along the Karoo will be just another cycling computer, not “the best in the world” you advertised.

    Second bummer: No notification beeper… Guys, Garmins’ beepers are annoying on a group ride, agreed. But NO cycling navigation device will be able to work conveniently when navigating alone without a beeper. I had around 20 cyclists for a post-ride beer yesterday evening in a club meeting and asked them about the beeper. NONE, I repeat, N O O N E wanted to give up on the beeper. Considering the honesty in your communication of the last months, your “surveys” around this issue might in reality just be a single CEO’s wrong decision.

    Third bummer: No ANT+ support. This is the easiest part, even my three year old Sony Xperia Z2 supports it. Hardware issues ? Why even release the device to an alpha/beta testers group when the single most basic thing almost every other cycling computer does is ANT+ sensors ?

    Fourth bummer: Where is the hole for the lanyard ? I have two confirmations on that, one via email, the other one on the DCRainmaker’s hands-on, but where is it actually ? Did not see one in the photos

    Fifth and biggest bummer: I completely lost trust in you and your ability to run a company. It is not just the way you tried to state Ray got the whole thing wrong, it is not just the way you lied or ordered your beta testers to lie. I believe your CEOs spent more time on finding a mascot for the beta group than caring for and humbly listening to your supporters and early orderers.
    As being a sales engineer myself the first thing I learnt is to never ever under no circumstances promise goals you cannot achieve by 110%. Always exceed the customers’ expectations. You did the complete opposite. You advertised your Karoo to be no less the Swiss Army Knife in cycling computers, heck, I was wondering if that thing was even able to make in-ride espressos. Reality proved your communication wrong. A forced apology and business as usual do not do anything good.

    I really wanted this to succeed, I really wanted you to succeed, but now I honestly think your CEOs got their heads in the clouds away from reality. I do not trust anybody with such business ethics to run a company. Even if you manage to roll out Karroo maybe in spring, will the company be alive to support the unit and the platform ,say, the next five years ? I doubt it.

    Am I unable to purchase this time ? No, I am not. Am I unwilling to support Hammerhead at this time ? Yes, I am.

    I will be happy to buy a Karoo 2.0 with an included mic and speaker, with 24 hours of run time, all necessary and unnecessary functions my Edge 1000 has from an official German retail partner for the full price. I will not buy it if I still have the slightest doubt about Hammerhead’s business ethics.

    Until that, I will happily take the 299$ plus shipping and taxes and have a nice night out with my wife.

    Just one last thing to think about: Garmin again. They massively improved their customer service ability. Last month I ran into two of their local sales representatives at the Specialized Concept Store in Hamburg City, Germany, and we were almost immediately in a conversation about the pros and cons of the new Edge 1030. I am not convinced about the device, I do not see why I should upgrade from an Edge 1000. They listened, wrote down a few things and right in the middle of the conversation one of them offered me his personal device for a few weeks of testing. I brought it back last week and we talked for about 90 minutes about my thoughts of the device. I was pretty clear I would not buy an Edge 1030 but they heard and respected my opinion anyway. At no point of the conversation they boasted about the product or the company. At no point they were trying to convince me or were they trying to sell anything. They just listened respectfully.

    If you want to sell a better Garmin, please try to copy that first.

    With best regards

    Henrik”

    • GP

      Henrik

      Absolutely spot on.

      I upgraded to the Garmin 1030 from the 810, and for me it was a huge step up. I briefly considered a Karoo, but in principle will not, unless absolutely necessary, deal with a company that lies to and intentionally deceives customers.

      The Caracas emails were not a mistake at all. They were a well thought out, and pre-planned attempt to try and convince a lot of unhappy people it was worth waiting that little bit longer for a device which isn’t even ready for production yet! Think of it as first degree murder as opposed to manslaughter.

      I’ll stick with the Garmin. I must have been one of the lucky ones, as their customer support has always been excellent whenever I’ve had a problem.

    • Tim

      Yes, agreed, spot on. It will be interesting to see if they respond. Having just watched DCR’s unboxing, I am very, very underwhelmed and very glad to have cancelled my order a couple of days before the Caracal saga kicked off – I’d already got the feeling it wasn’t actually ‘shipping’ as HH claimed. No sound is a deal breaker alone for me, but this initial run through of the software shows just how basic it is and how much is either missing or not working. There doesn’t seem to be any innovation or new ideas there, the interface seems no better than a 5 year old Garmin. In any event, my trust in this business has gone.

    • Asger

      Well, in all fairness the UI has changes dramatically since DCR’s hands-on.

    • Asger

      Oh, sorry, you mean the new post with photos?

    • Tim

      I mean the unboxing of the current unit, sent to him by a beta tester, posted on YouTube today.

    • JD

      What is the #1 reason you can’t commit to a 1030? Price or a problematic function?
      Or have you posted those comments under the 1030 review page?
      Thanks.

    • Kevin Lynn

      Price is a huge part of it for me. I’ve had some bad experiences with Garmin products over the years.

      I decided to go with a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt for now.

    • Henrik

      Basically it’s two things: The hardware buttons are a pest when you are using a third party mount like K-Edge or Rotor, especially if you are wearing long fingered gloves and second, for me there is no real extra value above the Edge 1000 worth 600 Euros if you already have a 1000. Yes, the screen is better, the Powerbank is quite smart, but that is, IMHO, not worth the money for an upgrade from a 1000. I ride with a 1000 in a K-Edge twin-mount and an old GoPro underneath that is bolted to a Brunton All-Day backpack. I can charge the Garmin with it, so no extra power needed. I do not care for the 1000 ‘s bad resolution as I take my phone out of my pocket to find a POI when needed. So, my advice : Get a 1000 as price will drop soon.

    • Antonio

      I totally agree with you Henrik. No need to add a single word.

  127. Frank

    I agree here with Tim, but a final review with have to show what it can or cannot do… The unit btw has imho been used by the previous caracal tester. The startup screen was not such that it displayed the glorious picture you see for instance on the site of John Sedlak and also the cached routes in Amsterdam.. how many caracal testers in Holland?

    • The startup screen isn’t there, but everything else is identical.

      The video I just posted showed the current state of firmware as of yesterday afternoon (I re-did the entire UI section of the video yesterday cause I didn’t like the lighting on the first video). The firmware was up to date as of 24 hours ago, and it hasn’t changed since.

      As for the routes in Amsterdam, they aren’t cached. I literally created those yesterday because I’m in Amsterdam at the moment. Perhaps John is also in Amsterdam and thus why his routes are there, but those specific names are routes I created on the Hammerhead site and had intended to ride until I ran into the bug/crashing issue on downloading offline maps.

      Obviously, once they start shipping to everyone else, that’s the line in the sand for a review to be written. But realistically, what you see there in that video is everything in the unit, save for turn by turn navigation because it’s not working for me yet.

    • Peter

      Pfftttt I’ve ordered a Karoo in May because I wanted something else for my Garmin 1000.

      For me the bigger screen, bigger resolution, better battery, better screen all appealed to me with the thoughts of a good navigation.

      When I ordered my device in May things like live-tracking wasn’t possible yet but would be made available with firmware upgrades.

      In may delivery was sheduled for august.
      August became september,
      september became october, …

      Today january 2018 no one received his Karoo.

      Today the device isn’t even capable of connecting to a basic ANT sensor because apparently they have problems with signal losses. WTF

      In May live-track was something that would be made available with firmare updates.
      Today & months later it is still not available.

      Also when I compared the youtube video of DC Rainmaker from May to what he posted this week I don’t see anything which tells me this device is gonna be a good replacement for my Garmin 1000.

      I’m dissapointed, even angry because Hammerhead just seems to fail.

      They dissapointed me but also a lot of other people.

      They also lied, lied multiple times and even treat people because they posted to negative things.

      I’ve paid 299 dollars for the device and another 75 dollars for the tax import stuff.
      I’ll ask a refund for both. My trust is lost, my believe is gone.

      If Hammerhead today can’t seem to connect to ANT devices (speed, cadence, power, heartreate) well the device is just useless. Those are basic things for a bicyle computer which they can’t deliver today.

      Sorry to sound bitter but I think my cancellation is on the way Hammerhead.

    • Kevin Lynn

      Just thinking here… I wonder if their choice of plastic, internal frame, and screen is attenuating the 2.4Ghz signal causing the ANT+ to lose connectivity.

      If someone sends me one and doesn’t mind me taking it completely apart I may be able to figure out what the problem is and/or see if the signal can be enhanced. It’d probably never be the same for you but at least we’d have some idea of why ANT+ is hard for them.

  128. Frank

    In that case.. seems like HH is a long way from home…

  129. Neal

    I asked Hammerhead tech support when my Karoo would be shipped. The response back stated that the certification issue has been resolved and I should get the Karoo before the end of this month.

    It took tech support five days to respond to my question. If when I do get the Karoo and I have a question about its operation, waiting five days for a response is unacceptable. The wait time could be much longer as more Karoos are shipped.

    I’ll most likely send it back since it lacks many features that assumed would be on it. The 45 day return window is a feature that I like.

    • DB

      Unless you live outside the US and need to pay 70$ return costs and possibly have additional import fees to pay.

      It’s both hilarious and tragic at the same time they keep on using their buzz words imminent / any time / very soon / coming days after their promise of honesty. The ANT+ functionality, one of the very essentials of a cycling GPS was going to be rolled out imminently weeks ago. English is not my mother language, so it could be my mistake, but imminent in my eyes means days not weeks. I would assume they got smarter and has some lessons learned about underpromise / overdeliver but probably that was a very naïve assumption.

    • Kevin

      After reading this thread and watching the unboxing video, I decided to get a refund. My initial emails for the refund went unanswered but a PayPal dispute quickly resolved the matter.

      It’s a shame that after all this time the software doesn’t seem to live up to the promise of the home page link to hammerhead.io

      One thing that impressed me was the graphical layout of the power, cadence, hr zones etc which shows bar charts, sliders, line graphs etc. DC rainmakers video shows basic numbers which any cheap cycle computer can do and when ANT+ is not even working it a worrying sign.

      As a software developer myself, it seems the home page is clearly a design mockup rather than the actual unit and given the numerous delays on the hardware production surely the software should match the home page by this time.

      I really hope to be proven wrong and karoo is an amazing product but it seems the writing is on the wall at this point.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      I cannot help but agree with you Kevin. The current software is underwhelming compared to what was promised.

      .

    • Neal

      Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Can you confirm whether or not the graphs shown on the Karro website are available? I’m referring to the heart rate, cadence, etc.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      I’m not using any sensors at present with it so I couldn’t comment (when i do, I will), but it certainly doesn’t give the elevation graph shown when plotting a route on the device that was shown in DC Rainmakers video from 2017 (not the recent unboxing video!).

      Honestly, I’d be surprised if it did. If you look at the recent HH video where Laurence is on the rollers showing how to pair bluetooth speed and cadence sensor, there were no graphs, just numbers showing his speed and cadence. Another one for a “future software update” perhaps?

    • FK

      That is really wrong that they ignore the refund. I requested the refund saturday and will report on the duration of the refund here. My order number is 106054.

    • Frank

      Well it appears as though they are trying things with ant+ check link to strava.com a run around the block apparently with ant+ so its not yet lost. Lets hope they get it done!

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      They’ve just released an update for ant+

    • Another Anonymous Karoo User

      Let’s see how it actually pairs to ANT+ sensors now!

    • JD

      Click thru on that Strava link, drill down on the map, and you will notice something very alarming about route accuracy. What happened?

    • JD

      Check the picture on FB displaying ANT+ enabled. “No paired sensors found.”
      How could they have any ANT+ devices to test with and show as paired?
      The writing is on the wall. Their FB wall that is. 🙂

    • Paul S.

      Turn on satellite view, and you’ll see at least one possible reason. He’s running (lower speeds, GPS error affects the track more compared to cycling where you cover a greater distance between GPS points) in a city. And probably not with the screen roughly parallel to the ground like it would be in normal cycling use. It’s hard to tell from an overhead view, the buildings don’t seem to be gigantic, but it looks like they’re a few stories at least. And the roads are fully leafed tree lined to boot. I wouldn’t think that a running watch or any other GPS would do any better under those conditions.

    • Another Anonymous Karoo User

      Except that HH said the reason for their delay in September was to create best-in-the-world accuracy…

    • Paul S.

      Yes, but it’s not magic. When you can’t “see” the satellites and/or there’s lots of multipath inevitably accuracy goes down. Same with any other GPS. I wouldn’t necessarily call that track a problem.

    • I think folks are overthinking this.

      It’s obvious it’s a run test with the only purpose being to test ANT+ connectivity. I do the same all the time. In fact, just yesterday I carried 5 watches with me, three of which weren’t being worn. The purpose of those 3? Purely to capture sensor data. That’s it.

      I didn’t care if the accuracy of the GPS was wonky or bad, it wasn’t the point of the test.

      If you think about running with a bike GPS, it’s highly likely a hand was placed over/around it in a non-natural cycling way. Heck, it may have been in a backpack or a fanny pack, or who knows what.

      As Paul said, looking at the terrain, I’m not certain any other GPS unit would have done much different to be honest, no matter how well it was hand-held.

    • JD

      I know that it was a running route but compare the erratic lines to this blog post:
      link to blog.hammerhead.io
      Is it an example of what happens in a busy city centre dodging pedestrians with a GPS swinging in your hand?
      Would cycling the same route have produced dramatically different tracks?

    • Kevin Lynn

      My experience is their support is much faster on Facebook Messenger.

    • Peter

      Hi,

      I see that this update is about 680 MB big which is huge.
      Those aren’t maps I hope 😉

      What does this upgrade contain except for ANT?
      Could you inform with Hammerhead since you are a beta-tester and let us know what the update contains.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      Every update I have done so far (this is the third) is roughly the same size. They do mention on the website that they plan to update the base map every month. I’ll drop them a message and see what they say…

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      You’re going to have to take my word for it, but in my experience, compared to a Garmin 520, I found the GPS (and I’m not using a sim card in my Karoo) to be more accurate on my commute route. My commute starts in a dense city environment and goes through tree lined cycle ways to the suburb I live in. My Garmin 520 usually takes a kilometre or two before it connects to GPS, the Karoo connects as soon as I leave the building I work in. Interestingly, the Karoo doesn’t have a GPS signal strength indicator like the Garmin has.

    • Paul S.

      JD, a blog post from the manufacturer? Cherry picking. My 1000 has never shown a track that bad (not that I look especially closely, but something like what they show would catch my attention), and I ride in the mountains of central Pennsylvania, often in a big state forest. I’m sure there are many tracks from a Karoo that look that bad, they just don’t show them. We’ll see what Ray finds side by side if Hammerhead survives long enough for it to be worthwhile for him to do an in depth review.

      It’s not magic. They have the same problems as any other GPS, and if they’re using Mediatek, the exact same problems as Garmin. If there using some other GPS chip manufacturer (like the SIRF in my old Garmin 60CSx), then there might be some actual reason for a claim of better accuracy, but in the end, they’re going to be about as accurate as anyone else, subject to weather conditions, terrain, overhead leaf cover, etc., etc.

    • Neal

      I left a comment on Strava for Laurence Wattrus concerning the strange GPS tracking. His response is as follows:

      “We are testing different filtering on the location data to deal with outlier gps points. There are a lot of trees and narrow alleys here so its a good place to test low signal gps scenarios.”

      Sounds plausible but I don’t know much about GPS tracking issues. I’ve never had a problem with GPS tracking on Garmins.

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      I have. As previously mentioned, my ride starts in a city centre, between a 8 storey office block, a bridge and a castle. Garmin never picks up until I’m a km down the road on the riverside. I’ve been out on rides with friends whose Garmin 1000 have lost GPS in deep wooded areas. It happens sometimes in some places.

    • Paul S.

      How often do you connect your 520 to a computer running Garmin Express or to your phone using Connect? I ask because there’s an satellite ephemeris file on the newer Garmin devices that gets updated every time you do one or the other (although my impression is that the phone route is a little flakier). It makes satellite acquisition much faster (on the order of 10 seconds), where if the ephemeris isn’t up to date it can take minutes.

    • Kevin Lynn

      Anyone have a copy of this firmware or a link to download it?

    • Anonymous Karoo Owner

      I updated my 520 yesterday Paul using OTA via Garmin Connect. Used it today, same issue as any other night, wouldn’t connect until I was riverside.

      Kevin, the Karoo update is OTA via the Karoo only I believe.