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Hammerhead Announces Plans to Announce Karoo 2 Bike GPS

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It looks like at some point in the year 2020 we’ll have at least one more cycling GPS added to your table of options. This week Hammerhead, in conjunction with one of their lead investors, announced plans for their next model of the Karoo, dubbed the Karoo 2.

Following which they e-mailed their existing customers letting them know about the plans, as well as posted a brief tidbit on their social media stuffs.

The reason for this announcement of a future announcement was simple: They stopped making Karoo 1 units and were out of inventory. As such, people were starting to wonder if they’d gone out of business or something. In fact, quite the contrary – they’d recently brought on numerous investor groups and completed a new round of funding.

In total, the company says they’ve now got the following investors in place: Primary Venture Partners, Maveron, KB Partners, Courtside Ventures, R/GA Ventures, and Techstars. Beyond that, they also have a slate of angel investors including the founder of MapMyFitness – Robin Thurston, the founder of Zipp – Andy Ording, and Brad Feld of Foundry Group. And they noted they added Wade Davis, the CEO of Univision to be the Chairman of their Board of Directors.

Oh, wait, sorry, I missed one: Next Ventures. That’s Lance Armstrong’s group. All-in these groups have invested about $4.5M in the most recent investment round that they closed last week (or announced last week).

What’s in the Karoo 2?

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Above is the singular photo published by Hammerhead of the new unit, being held up in between someone’s hands. Unfortunately, we don’t have context for how big this person’s hands are. As we know from the last few years, the size of a person’s hands are apparently very important to understanding the product we get.

Still, by the looks of that, the Karoo 2 based on the above appears smaller than the original Karoo – which roughly represented a Wahoo ELEMNT that spent two weeks eating pizza and nachos (with all the cheese) in quarantine without a smart trainer. Svelte was not on the descriptor list of the Karoo 1.

Not convinced? I present you Exhibit A:

DSC_4279

[Left to right: Garmin Edge 830, Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM, Sigma ROX 12, Garmin Edge 1030, Hammerhead Karoo 1]

However, as taught in elementary school – beauty is on the inside. Or the beholder. Or, something like that. And when it came to the routing and navigational aspects of the Karoo 1, it blew away Garmin from a screen beauty and responsiveness standpoint. And still does. It’s just as responsive as any phone GPS you’ve ever used…largely because it is a phone GPS. It’s a custom-designed unit built atop Android, but still retains all the speed of and screen beauty of any decent Android phone.

But that doesn’t mean it was perfect, and in fact, it had one massive flaw: No beeper (meaning, it couldn’t make any noise).

For a bike GPS solely focused on navigation (at launch), lacking an attention-seeking way to tell the rider that it was time to turn was a huge issue. And a core reason why I couldn’t recommend it (and still would struggle to).

However, to their credit, they’ve spent the last few years launching feature after feature on it. Be it structured workouts, Varia radar support, or smart trainer support. They’ve revamped parts of the user interface and squashed bugs. Sure, for periods they spent more time squashing bugs than actively moving forward on new features – but I think they’re largely in the new-feature camp now.

Still, what do I think are the key things the Karoo 2 needs to have in order to make meaningful market share gains on Wahoo or Garmin? Roughly the following:

1) A beeper, obviously
2) It needs to be smaller/thinner, more-inline with something like a Sigma ROX 12 or Edge 1030
3) It needs a solid ‘hot damn!’ price point, likely $399
4) It needs at least 3-4 ‘nobody else has’ features
5) It needs to be able to communicate with your smartphone for notifications (and ideally tracking)

Anything else is gravy. If they can do those five things, they’ll make progress on Garmin. Key in that is the pricing. I’ve strongly felt Hammerhead went out too high with the Karoo initially, and it cost them longer-term success. Sure, the Edge 1030 is normally $599, though right now it’s $399 (and has been a while).

Other competitors in the full mapping navigation space are at $379 (Wahoo ROAM), $399 (Edge 830), and $299 (Edge 530). All of them are well regarded with major brands behind them. We saw Sigma come in (a company far larger than Hammerhead) and launch their ROX 12 in the US at $499. They pulled out less than a year later, despite having a product that was more feature-rich than the Karoo. Even if Hammerhead launched at $449, while nice sounding, won’t move the needle in the way $399 would.

Next, it needs to have unique features. Things that aren’t in other units. Merely adding rough equivalents of other companies’ features doesn’t tend to move users from one platform to another. Instead, you need to do something that makes people say “I want that feature, when can I switch?”

Without that carrot, you end up with just another product that might do OK, but not really make market gains.

Will Hammerhead do all those things? I’m not sure. I mean, I guess I probably know. After all, see that Hammerhead box over there near the printer?

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Yes, that’s a Karoo 1 box. But it had a Karoo 2 in it. Like Lance’s box it’s still just the old packaging at this point. Instead, a Karoo 2 functional prototype is sitting on my desk in that pile somewhere. And yes, that’s what my desk actually looks like when it’s not a DCR Open House. It’s packed with all sorts of devices, light bulbs to re-order, contactless payment readers, and leftover coffee cups. Who has a clean desk?

Going forward:

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So what happens to existing Karoo units? And when will the Karoo 2 be announced?

Hammerhead says the existing Karoo users will continue to get updates, including something in the coming weeks. I asked whether there were any hardware limits to the existing Karoo 1 units that would limit the ability for them to maintain feature parity (akin to what Wahoo does) going forward. They said “No”. So that’s potentially good news. Obviously if the Karoo 2 ends up having a beeper they can’t magically make the Karoo 1 start beeping sans-hardware. But everything else sounds like it could come to the Karoo 1 as long as the hardware supports the feature. Or at least, that’s the way I read that. Hopefully that ends up being the case.

Which then gets to the most pressing issue of the day: When will Hammerhead both announce the specs of the Karoo 2 and the unit itself?

Well, that’s a bit muddy. In the company’s most recent social media post they note that they will “be sharing more information about the Karoo 2 over the coming weeks”. Whether that’s a steady drip-drip of information designed to enhance their campaign, or the full announcement, I’m not sure. They also noted that the Karoo 2 will “be landing on your handlebars in 2020”, which probably is a better indicator of timelines.

Historically speaking when a company (any company, from Apple to Garmin to Google) uses the year identifier instead of a more specific timeframe, then they plan to launch that product for availability later in the year. Maybe that won’t be the case here. We’ll see.

With that, stay tuned for more down the road.

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111 Comments

  1. Allan Wingenbach

    I love that there is a forerunner 305 on your desk.

    • Tj

      Would love to see a review of a Polar s625x and the Forerunner 305 in this Blog. Would love to see that happen!

    • Michel

      I still have a 305, which does the job for what I use it for, which is merely keeping track of my rides and giving me basic info like speed, cadence and HR.

      Have you experienced the unit just stopping in the middle of a ride? I think it’s the case slightly separating and disconnecting the battery. Put an elastic on it to finish the season last fall and seemed to do the trick, but I’m looking for a more permanent fix (you need to remove said elastics to recharge the unit, which is annoying).

      Any ideas?
      I’m looking at the Edge 530, but at $420CAD plus tax I find the modern units just too expensive for what they are…

    • Stephen de Souza

      If you just want basic info, and don’t need proper navigation (though it will follow a track), why not try the Edge 25.

    • JimC

      Or an Edge 130, they’re about the same price. I love mine 🙂

    • I was thinking the same, wondering if an updated version of Polar V650 is on its way. Ray, any news on this you possibly could share? Or are the rumours true that Polar is exiting the market of bike computers for good?

  2. Kevin

    When can we expect a review of your first findings?!

  3. AW

    Good to see that they sent you a unit earlier in the game than last time.

    Do you expect there current schedule for release to be affected by COVID-19?

    • AW

      Sorry, that was supposed to be “their current schedule”, not “there current schedule”.

    • All companies have been impacted in some way here, it’s just a question of whether users realize it. In some cases companies have pushed announcements back because they didn’t technically have pieces in place/ready. In other cases companies have pushed announcements back because it didn’t feel right to announce outdoor products when people were mostly told to stay indoors.

      I don’t expect Hammerhead’s release schedule to be impacted any further than previously planned.

  4. Anirudh

    Will the Karoo fit on a Garmin mount or a Wahoo mount?

  5. If COVID-19 wouldn’t have prevented to cross the Belgian-Dutch border, I would plan on cycling a bit near Zuid-Amsterdam. Maybe I might have caught a glimpse of a Karoo 2 loaner on your handlebars. 😁

  6. Fabio

    As a consumer, I got frustrated about the lack of worldwide delivery. As I live in Japan, I´m out of luck!
    So maybe, that will change too…(probably not)

  7. Robin White

    Given I never got my original Hammerhead which I back 5 years ago I still am shocked these guys survived this long.
    Hopefully they can dleiver under the current circumstances.

    • Justin

      That’s weird. I assume you tried to work with them on that.

      Not only did J get my original unit, but promptly got two replacement units when there were problems (neither problem ultimately turned out to be the Karoo…but Hammerhead was fabulous in supporting me anyway)

  8. The Real Bob

    Not sure I agree with point 2 above. I am not sure about the cycling communities obsession with a smaller device. I remember when people freaked about the size of edge 1030, I welcomed the larger size.

    I think when it comes to size it just needs to be “smart sized”. If its bigger for a reason then its ok. Better battery life, bigger screen, etc. And I would say that the thickness is more of a problem then the surface area. I think having a device as galaxy s9 would be too big, but a little bigger than my 1030 would be fine.

    Its kind of like your smart phone. When they went to bigger smart phones it wasn’t a problem if it was thin enough. Why, because as long as you could pocket the phone its ok. And when it comes to pocketing a phone, thickness matters more than surface area. This is what I mean by smart sizing the device.

  9. Sascha Nafz

    Well THE feature Karoo is lacking actually is not some fancy support like radar support but as it is a routing device it lacks maps with contour lines!!!

    Without its pointless our in the wild whenerv you need to reroute or route during the ride or want to explore and decide.

    Th eothe rone is limiting paths that are considered for routing – often I end up in a literally vertical uphill with stairs that I should ride up and then other trails that have been established trails for decades they are not “routable” or if then in the wrong direction (unless you use one of the motorise electric “bikes”) as explained above.

  10. Eli

    Here’s to hoping they allow third party apps like connect IQ. Or at least get a Xert app for workouts and have Xert datafields. Or partner with Xert so they could have power data analysis on the level Stages does power on their head units

  11. Eric

    As an early adopter for v1 I’ll wait. After waiting months for delivery then all the bugs it’s not worth my time to pay 400 to be a product tester. I was in the ATG and wanted to love the product. The 2 times I really needed the device to work CIRREM and Mid South it failed to deliver both occasions. I ended up with my 1030 on the bars to finish. Would have been nice to get the v1 stable and with at least half of the promised features. Like the App Store and not having to be an Android programmer to to it on your own with no support from Hammerhead. Picture 30 miles in at Mid South. On the plus side they replaced it under warranty.

    • Chris

      No support? I pre ordered a year in advance and got one of the first units in Feb when it launched. Have to say it was very buggy and actually my first unit had a faulty screen. Hammerhead support though was second to none. They looked at every file issue i had an explored problems that helped them debug. As an early adopter you have to accept that there will be issues but then i got a substantial discount on rrp which countered this

  12. S Patterson

    “Above is the singular photo published by Hammerhead of the new unit, being held up in between someone’s hands. Unfortunately, we don’t have context for how big this person’s hands are. As we know from the last few years, the size of a person’s hands are apparently very important to understanding the product we get.”

    This is fantastic. makes the whole post worth reading.

  13. Chup

    Still possible to side load the excellent Xert Mobile app?

  14. Robert

    Strava live segments … thats key key … on the old and new one … get it done hammerhead!

    • Justin

      This is entirely dependent on them being able to come up with the random, I mean fee, that Strava demands to allow them to use Strava Live.

      I still hate Strava for this. They demand the user AND the manufacturer pay a fee in order to get the feature. I want a discount on Summit since I use a Karoo and Strava won’t give it to me.

      link to mobile.twitter.com

    • ANW

      This was just added.

  15. Caspar

    I went in early before launch and I received a device with a ton of bugs. It only got really useful somewhat later. I updated the device just before an epic ride in India and got the “consume battery in no time error”. I also had a restart issue when it was cold.

    Hammerhead replaced the unit. They fixed the battery bug. Added a ton of features (with more to come)

    I’m a happy customer and I accept the hiccups and beta testing issues.

    I will never go back to Garmin which repeatedly obsoletes perfectly good devices by not providing updates. Only fitting they bought Tacx (don’t get me started on my rant about their software).

    I’m buying the next device because I like the platform and I want to see them continue to provide updates.
    My only wish is a better battery life or some clever charging while riding (=move the charge port).

  16. Stephen de Souza

    I bought the original Karoo on pre-order because I got really frustrated with my Garmin Edge 810. It arrived 6 months late. I thought it was really good feature wise, and had a lovely screen but was frustratingly buggy. I eventually bought an 830 because I got so sick of the Karoo, i.e. I skipped a generation of Garmin products. I then realised that the Karoo (which kind of got better over time, but very slowly) was better than my old Garmin but Garmin had moved on massively in the meantime. One of the most frustrating things was the number of times I was advised by Hammerhead support to do a factory reset and then have to repair to the sensors on all 3 of my bikes, re-customise screens for commuting, training and long rides. I think the final straw was the battery running out after about 7 hours on a longish ride. My old 810 would last 12+ hours when the battery was new and even after years probably does better than that. I switch on the Karoo to do the latest firmware updates and my kids sometimes use it but I cannot see any reason for using it, certainly not buying a new one. The 830 is not perfect but its so much better. I am amazed that Hammerhead have secured more funding.
    I think to stand any chance the Karoo 2 will need to have several unique features and be cheaper than Garmin , Wahoo etc..

    • Stephen de Souza

      I forgot to mention the 830 battery life which is just awesome. When new I reckoned the 810 would do 1% battery per mile (i.e. it was good for a 100 mile ride, in fact I think I did about 210km once). The 830 will probably do 100 miles with about 30%. And the pain of downloading maps to the Karoo and navigating in the early days was beyond belief.

  17. Mark B

    I’ve had a Karoo for a. Fair while as I was a kickstarter backer. I love it – yes it had bugs initially but that’s par for the course with crowd funding. You are placing a bet on a new thing and that’s part of the magic. We were all betting on a promise of a better gadget. And for me it’s way better than Garmin or the Mio I had. Screen is amazing and that was a huge seller. I WANT big clear data and maps. Middle ages eyes or boom going to fast to more than glance bro, the big clear display is a winner. Battery is good and the routing too. I race crits from time to time and have had the karoo mounted for time and power etc and I cannot believe that it’s extra size/weight are any special issue. Just have a wee before the race!

    I like hammerheads updates and interaction which I think is hard to match (though props for Favero who wrote me personal firmware for a BePro pedal when it wouldn’t talk to a Mio computer. Though the pedal broke soon after…)

    The big one everyone says is beeping and I get that but don’t give too much of a poosie about it. If you are all that bothered a Bluetooth earpiece should sort the issue.

    I think 2 could be a good step forward if it beeps (if that’s a thing for you) though I must confess my biggest happiness here is the intimation that my K1 will be upgradable to a similar software spec…. Possibly!!

    • Innersense

      Pairing with wireless blutooth earphones sounds actually like a great idea! Thumbs up!

    • Justin

      Yeah I turned OFF beeps back when I had my Garmin and before I got my Karoo. Now I have my Karoo and I wouldn’t make it beep even if I could.

      Bring on the 2 (just please make the beeps optional)

  18. EV

    One of the original selling points was the on board cell chip. Ended up being mostly useless because they didn’t do much with it, and who really wants yet another cell phone bill. That and the constant bugs, lack of beeper, and endless delays in basic features convinced me to sell mine and cut my losses. Couldn’t be happier with my Roam, and can’t see a need for anything bigger, but am slightly curious if the new unit will still have standalone cell capability. Better to just link to a phone, but still curious since it was the one unique thing about the Karoo. Glad they are downsizing at least. Old Karoo was embarrassing on the handle bars. Looks like a small TV.

  19. John J. De Tuerk, Jr.

    I don’t think a speaker is necessary in a GPS since bluetooth headphones can carry that load. I use an AfterShokx Titanium bone conducting headset with my Karoo and it works fine for audio alerts from my Varia radar unit and for turn by turn instructions on a planned route.

    • Most people, including myself, won’t wear audio headphones while riding. While I understand the bone conduction bit – for the most part it just ends up being one more thing to charge.

    • John J. De Tuerk, Jr.

      Most folks also don’t wash their hands after taking a pee. I only use the head set for audio alerts, not music. I can still hear all the background noise that is part of a ride. I charge a GPS, front and rear camera, front and rear blinkey, Radar unit and radar display, phone, and my helmet before riding, one more item isn’t much of an additional chore. My motto in riding is “Make It Home Alive”. All that crap I carry on a ride is to help me fulfill that motto.

    • Leon

      I was going to reply but the screen wouldn’t work properly because it was wet ……..

    • guillaume S.

      Enabling bluetooth impairs battery life, whereas I can’t imagine a small beeper having any significant load on autonomy.

    • DAVID BUNDAS

      I pair my Karoo with a handlebar-mounted Olafus BT speaker and it works great. I wish the lady’s voice was a little younger sounding, though!

    • Eli

      I have yet to find a good Bluetooth speaker that will last though a long ride, is comfortable (aftershocks isn’t with my cycling sunglasses and helmet on, great off the bike), doesn’t take up too much room on the bike

    • John J. De Tuerk, Jr.

      I wear prescription glasses and a helmet and don’t have any problem with the AfterShokz Titanium headset.

    • Mattv

      Can’t believe Ray wrote that.. I didn’t think there was a cycling gadget category he didn’t love 😉
      I’m still waiting for a dura-ace Dyno-hub…..

    • Seth S.

      +1 Ray

      Way back in Hammerhead’s Stone Age I recall it rationalized the absence of a beeper as a “safety measure. We don’t want users to be distracted.” Requiring a headset to get sound, running the risk of greater distraction, makes its argument absurd and an unfortunate, unintended (?) consequence.

      I’ll wager that a speaker was the first component it considered in v2.

    • Seth S.

      Mr. De Tuerk, pray tell, how do you know you hear all the background noise that is part of a ride whilst wearing a headset?

    • John J. De Tuerk, Jr.

      The AfterShock headset doesn’t cover the ear canal (or the ear) but transmits sound through the bone (skull) in front of and slightly below the ear.

  20. Peter Huys

    Hi Ray,

    A nice article on the news that a Karoo2 is coming up.
    Yet some remarks you make on the size of the current Karoo1.
    Yes it’s thick, heavy but when you have it installed on your bike but does that really matter?
    That extra 50 gram will not make a different when you go for a ride.
    The thing which make is a difference is the fact that the NAV is tops, the screen is amazing and yet some features are today stlil not present but pure as a bikecomputer it beats the garmin in usage.

    I have in my possession a Garmin Edge 1000 and when I compare both devices to size & screen quality the Karoo wins the game. The display is sharp, very clear to see and the touchscreen is so much better then that Edge 1000 device. Routing on the Karoo is just top and every couple of weeks the device gets updates.

    When you look at the screensize you’ll see that the Karoo is more doing to a square design while the Garmin is rectangle. But if you then look at the really used space for the screen the surface area is almost equal for both devices bit with other proportions.

    So yes it’s a heavy, thick maybe even a obese but does that really matter when you had it installed on your bike? I don’t think so. And yes it has no beeper, that’s bad but otherwise I prefer my Karoo over that Garmin Edge 1000.

  21. Gennaro

    I like that they “announce plans to announce”. Possibly in the early stages of their third release (if they get there) they will announce plans to announce a proper announcement 🙂

  22. ReHMn

    The one and only place for hamburgers are in my stomach…

  23. Nathan Budd

    It surprised me that Karoo didn’t release some kind of add on akin to the Garmin Charge battery pack. It could have charged the device and included a little Bluetooth speaker to retrofit the Karoo 1.

    I’d be interested to know what features don’t exist on headunits atm that you’d like to see implemented?

    • Nathan Budd

      I personally would love to see wireless charging. Get home and put it on a pad, then grab it as you leave the house. No messing with wires.

    • usr

      The “Absolute Cycling One“ project is going for wireless charging exclusively, but I think that it is a terribly bad idea because it completely ruins the device for any form of travel use that doesn’t include a suitcase shuttle. Is bad enough already that I need to carry different kinds of USB cables. When I need navigation features it’s usually far away from home. Wireless in addition to wired might be fun though, perhaps cleverly aligned into to quarter turn do that you twist it into the charger (which could then be wall-mounted, who has flat surfaces to spare?) and long distance runtime could be solved with a mount connected to a power source (external battery or hub generator, I wonder how big the transmission losses would be)

    • Eli

      Wireless is less efficient at charging. Would rather have it charge faster

  24. Krazyfrenchkanuck

    I don’t know if it’s the fact that I am getting old or that I’m not into consumerism but …
    An article about an announcement of plans to announce something sounds a lot like announcing vaporware.
    I’m more into: meh, let’s wait and see !

  25. Chris

    Hi Ray, when you say the unit should be smaller, I think for the adventure , gravel market i would now like a bigger screen.. strange i know, but mapping and nav on the move on gravel needs a bigger screen, plus the fact that a lot of us masters can’t see jack now.. even with stick on dive lenses in your oakleys.. i love how reliable my wahoo is, but for mapping i end up looking at my phone.. so what does that say.. but off in the wild.. it would be good to have that bigger, brighter screen.

  26. Bob

    I am glad they announced plans to announce this new head unit 🙂

    At this point, I am so locked into the Garmin/Wahoo universe that my chances of buying another brand is essentially zero.

  27. Wendell Reemnet

    Another minor for the Karoo is the fact that they will not be competitive with the other brands regarding the price.
    The Karoo is only available through there own distribution in the US while the competition can be bought all over the world!
    When ordered outside US there will be a significant addition on import tax making the Karoo very expensive!
    Would be interesting to have dealers outside US to make the price real competitive!

  28. Justin

    I’m sure the goal, particularly with investors on board, is to be carried by 3rd parties. But you need market penetration to get retailers to buy the product and put it on shelves. Bit of a Catch 22 that is hard when you’ve got a big competitor like Garmin in the space.

  29. Zach

    I Hammerhead is reading this, PLEASE do what nobody else has done, and make a device useful for mountain bikers. (Edge 830 sucks trying to read trails on that screen).
    If it would be possible to run the device while placing the android MTBProject or Trailforks native apps up in front, I’d be sold, period. And so would a ton of mountain bikers. Garmin’s Trailforks implimentation is just not good. If I add a trail to their database, I’ll be lucky if it gets updated to the device within a year. Manually fishing out GPX files and creating your own trail networks is just not ideal and nobody wants to waste time doing it. There is a real opportunity here. If both those apps could run on the device, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. (And for those who say to just use your phone – no, I don’t want to pull out my phone every 5 minutes while sweating profusely on an unfamiliar singletrack trail, nor do I want to mount a phone to my bars before crashing).

  30. Björn

    I don’t know if the original Karoo already has this feature, but multiple user profiles would be nice.
    Aka, if my wife takes the unit out for a ride she syncs with her own strava account. And when I ride, vice versa.

  31. Davide Giusti

    I’ve had the Karoo for about 5 months now and I bought it at a discounted price (249€) and really it’s unbeatable for that price. I honestly hope that Hammerhead presents some kind of offer to the people that bought the V.1 to upgrade to the Karoo 2.
    And yes it’s probably heavier than you’d like but I really don’t mind it when I look down at it or I swipe from one screen to another.

    p.s. I received my first Karoo with a burned pixel. Hammerhead has a super good customer service platform (zendesk) and shipped me another Karoo asap, I personally value that as well when I’m buying a product.

    • Chris

      I had exactly the same issue with the burnt pixel. They sent a new one immediately. Great customer service and part of the reason ill stick with them and buy the second one

  32. Mic C.

    Do you know if the Karoo provides information about W’bal ?
    Or if any other bike computer have it ?

    It is quite old science, I found about it by analyzing my rides with GoldenCheetah.
    Having a CP / W’bal visualisation on the bike while riding would be great.
    link to markliversedge.blogspot.com

  33. As an early adopter of the Karoo 1 I can say the device has just gotten better with time as they add new features and fix bugs. Unfortunately each new release seems to cause something else that used to work to quit, such as the latest release which has Strava Live Segments, but now the Lap Average Speed field is blank. SIlly stuff that should be unrelated. Hopefully they get improve their coding QA.

    I’ve used the Karoo 1 for road, gravel and mtb riding. Anything from half hour rides to 600k brevets and I can not say enough good things about the bright, sharp, responsive screen. Most recently I used it to navigate from Montana to Mexico along the continental divide, then on to Death Valley. With OSMAnd+ sideloaded I was able to do route planning or check distance and elevation profiles for an upcoming section completely offline (something the native mapping app does not do, unfortunately).

    I agree with your assessment of what should be added to the Karoo 2 to improve on the Karoo 1. I would add an SD slot to that list as the onboard memory is insufficient for storing maps for longer trips.

  34. Steve

    The total screen size on my karoo is about 70mm X 110mm or thereabouts for a surface area of approx 7700 sq mm. The black bezel takes up 10 mm (even a little more on the top and bottom) around all 4 sides leaving the active screen of 53X72 for an area of about 3816 sq mm. A little arithmetic says that just about 1/2 of the total screen area is black bezel. Hammerhead wants to brag about screen, eliminate all that wasted bezel like the cell phone manufacturers have done.

  35. Virgus Revorg

    Summer is coming, need a bike computer, need to know when this unit is coming out, if its late summer will need to buy a garmin 830 !

  36. Chris

    The Hammerhead Karoo is by far the best computer for navigating. Its screen is superb, clear and large. It’s battery is good for 12 plus hours and probably a lot more. The interface works great and its nice that they push updates all the time to the device. I nearly always lift it when exploring roads over my Garmin 830

    The biggest issue the unit has though is its mount. The design of a non-bonded plastic mount that is held in by a central screw was always going to be a problem on uneven road surfaces that cause vibrations along the plastic mount. I’ve lost two units this way as the fatigue caused the plastic to crack and break around the screw. The screw stayed locked in place. They shipped two replacement units to me and two new strong mount brackets but to make it work i had to use double sided 3M sticky thick tape inside the mount. This helped a lot. The other big issue with the mount is that the safety lanyard that holds the unit in case of a mount break was oddly located under the mount and around the screw holding the mount in. I used a strong tape to tape the lanyard to the back of the unit in case it breaks again and maybe it’ll not hit the ground.

    So… when the mount failed the safety lanyard popped off too and the Karoo bounced down the road.

    Amazingly in one of these mount failures the unit broke off and hit my front wheel (i was travelling 45-50kmh) bounced down the road. The car behind me drove over it and kicked it up into an oncoming car which also drove over it alongside a 3rd car. The unit was destroyed but when i picked it up the broken screen and parts it was still recording and even saved the ride… Hammerhead replaced the unit for free

    • R Rr

      The cover can also come off with a mount failure, so attaching the lanyard there is a nogo.
      Perhaps gluing the lanyard loop to the body of the device under the mount or case?
      or a loop under the mount to attach it to?
      The thing needs a case with better protection
      Thanks

  37. JD

    Doesn’t look like v2 will be out anytime soon: link to hammerhead.io
    I think they are cocooning. 🙂

    • I’m not sure I read their announcement the same way. The last paragraph doesn’t seem to imply they’re putting development on hold:

      “With no impact on our customer experience or productivity, we have decided to remain remote until the end of the year to ensure the health and wellbeing of our world-class team. Because we felt the effects of the disease in its early stages as it threatened to impact our Karoo 2 production plans in China, we were compelled to treat the situation as seriously as possible, as quickly as we could. Having now brought a few sophisticated hardware products to market, we have learned to plan for uncertainty, build in redundant systems and contingencies, and move nimbly in a crisis. Such planning has served us well. Our 2020 launch of the revolutionary Karoo 2 is shaping up to be an extraordinary moment in the history of our company.”

    • Correct, agree with Justin.

  38. Peter Page

    I want a cycling GPS that only provides navigation. I want separate instruments to provide separate types of information. I am not interested in products that have a zillion apps that are not user friendly. I hope Hammerhead creates a cycling GPS that is only for navigation. Like the GPS in my car.

    • Justin

      You’re unlikely to get this. The market right now doesn’t want a bunch of separate things cluttering up handlebars.

      Why do you want to buy several different things instead of just one? You could get yourself a cheap Garmin and just leave it on the GPS screen…no one will force you to use the other functions.

  39. Ted

    We still have Hammerhead Karoos for sale at Naples Cyclery.

  40. Haby Ramirez

    Following, interested about release date.

  41. Jeff

    Love your reviews.

  42. Pawel J. Pankiewicz

    I would like to see on Karoo (I guess, them being on Android has some advantages), partnering with Komoot to run customised app that aside of navigation allows you to quickly report issues on the route (something like Google maps does).

    That’s my main issue riding with Bolt using Komoot on longer routes. There are cases where road is completely closed due to some constructions (and I don’t mean few days like but like revamping an entire road / bridge etc, that lasts months) and you need to detour but you have no time picking up your phone and checking the Komoot. Last week, I did 260km bike-packing and found 3 cases of such thing (each detour took few KMs+ )

    We need more actively and frequently updated biking maps.
    This way would make (in the long run) Komoot much more robust and perhaps would also force other companies eventually to integrate more with 3rd parties (same, I guess could go for Strava mapping though I have not used it much)

  43. jshuler

    I have had constant, recurring, and unresolvable problems with the Karoo battery management, despite many updates and interactions with their tech support. I got a very early unit — Nov 2018 — and it has been a problem from the beginning. The unit shuts off after < 1 hour. I wake it up and it says 1% battery (after 1 hour or sometimes less!). It works for a bit longer, then shuts down. I wake it up again… again, still 1% battery. Totally unacceptable. Perhaps a bad unit, but they would never refund or replace it for me… kept telling me to recalibrate the battery monitor, which worked for one ride. On my last ride, I took off with 84% battery, and within 20 minutes it had shut down. I restarted it and it said 79% battery… so why did it shut down! And yes, I had started the ride… it was reading HR and speed and distance. So I now have a very heavy, useless piece of e-waste.

    Finally, they volunteered to swap it for a new Karoo 2 when it comes out… in 3-5 months! So either I get a new Garmin or I ride with my Apple Watch and Strava app and keep my fingers crossed.

  44. Powder skier

    Don’t waste your money on a Karoo. I loved mine until the last update. Now its crap. Spend more time with support then ride time. It wont load to starva, randomly quits, won’t save. I have lost at least 5 rides.
    Support it good but the thing doesnt work. I’m asking for a refund.

    • Chris

      It does work. Mine is flawless. You’ve been unlucky

    • R Rr

      There has been abroad spectrum of luck. I prefer to avoid relying on luck. Frankly I think the whole category is immature as a product, with reliable stuff still months to years away.
      You may be lucky enough to be in the stable part of the curve, Chris. Mine is 80% great, 20% trouble. That may be fine for some folks.

  45. Tom S.

    Available now for Pre-order. $99 deposit. Shipping late October. link to hammerhead.io

    • storm

      So… The K2 is avaiable to pre-order. Does this mean that Hammerhead will let you release/post your review, DCR?

    • TomS

      I second that comment!

      FYI… Karoo 1 owners can get $120 back if they send their “in working condition” Karoo 1 back to Hammerhead within 14 days of receiving their Karoo 2. See following for details. link to support.hammerhead.io

    • R Rr

      “working condition” has been a goal for many folks.
      But really, the cost of the K2 will be $400 minus $120, plus the Original $250 to $400 for the traded K1? $280+$240to400= 520 to $680 ?
      That passes through Edge 1030 territory so expectations will be high.
      Their late 8/25 email said December shipping

    • Justin

      That’s like saying the cost of the Edge 1030 is equal to the cost of an Edge 1000 minus the resale of the 1000 plus the new 1030…or something. The cost of the K2 is $399. If you had and used a K1, like I have since launch, you can save $120 AND you had a cycling computer for the last couple years. Adding the original cost to the K2 is magic math.

      It’s unfortunate that some folks seem to have had problems getting function from their K1 but honestly it seems the exception rather than the rule. Mine has been FABULOUS and infinitely better than my old crummy Garmin Edge.

    • Yeah, I think the trade-in folks makes sense for people that essentially don’t have friends as a buyer for it. I mean, you might have friends, but not a friend that wants to buy it.

      My guess would be that the 2nd hand market for a Karoo 1 would be around $200 (after the K2 dust settles). So most people would be better off selling it, especially since Hammerhead is still going to keep releasing updates for it (and has been clear about that).

      Still, I can also see how $120 is an easy-button.

    • Brandon B

      Completely agree with this.
      I’d don’t understand this expectation to get a high trade-in. Does any other bike GPS company offer such a thing? Perhaps they do and I’m just unaware. I was rather shocked (and impressed) they’d be offering something like this being such a relatively new company.

      Either way, pre-orders sold out, so i’m sure for those that aren’t happy with the value, there seems to be many lined up to take their place.

    • Chris

      The trade in offer is pointless. How many other bike computers do you buy whilst in development phase? These are R&D support payments to get a final product ready. They are riskier than buying a garmin or wahoo directly. In order to garner our support they need to make it attractive. The first karoo did this by giving us a special price reduction. I bought one over 12 months before it was fully developed and ready. The second Karoo offer is offensive to me – a discount based on trading in your old unit for less than it’s market value (as can be easily determined on eBay). The 1st gen early supporters who helped get the company off the ground were promised they would get a special deal. Transpires that anyone who has bought a Karoo 1 irrespective if pre or post development phase get this offensive offer. Very poor. I’ll keep my Karoo 1 and my Garmin 830 and I’ll pass thanks

    • So, if you’re keeping your K1, you’re seemingly acknowledging it’s a functional product. Even if I grant that we were “beta testers”, which I wouldn’t necessarily agree with since my K1 was an original unit and has been functional and effective from the very beginning, you have had a computer which serves a purpose and remains useful. Being able to turn that around and get a credit towards a new unit which uses the SAME functional software but with upgraded hardware is generous in my opinion. If you don’t want the upgraded hardware but want to keep the software package, you will continue to have the K1 and enjoy the functionality that you already have.

      Frankly you still couldn’t pay me to go back to my Garmin Edge. In fact, I’m willing to pay full price for my K2 & sell my K1 to a friend for the same cost as trade-in just so that a fellow cyclist doesn’t have to suffer a Garmin.

    • Agree. If you don’t want to deal with eBay fees, PayPal fees, listing times, mailing, tracking, worrying about your buyer backing out or trying to scam you…and let’s not even get started on selling on Craigslist…just take the Hammerhead trade in option. “Easy Mode” sale.

      If you’re willing to do the extra work, you’ll probably make extra bucks as you note on top of, as I noted, having a functional cycling computer for whatever period of time you had it.

    • Chris

      I’m happy enough with the K1. If you got the 1st release you will know for over a year following its release there were many issues. Software and hardware. The latter was particularly flawed with the design of the mount – I’ve had two replacement units due to failed mounts both pre and post the new designed mount. The company were very good with their support. But we were effectively beta testers / R&D funders. I’ve managed to use flexible adhesive under the mount which has stabilised this issue.

      Now we see the K2. This time I’ll wait and see what happens with it and what issues there are as in reality it’s not reallly any better other than size than the K1. They’re running the same software. K1 screen is pretty great so I’ll see how it pans out.

      If the company had offered a similar early supporter offer I would’ve bought it and used it alongside my Garmin 830 (note this is usually better for any non navigating cycling) abs kept the K1. Their decision to do it via an undervalued upgrade program is ludicrous.

    • Justin

      I’ve been using my Karoo since April 2018. While I acknowledge that some folks had issues, I never had any with my hardware or with the mount. I did replace the mount when one was available, but not because mine failed, I just accepted that the new version was better and swapped them out.

      TBT was rough for quite a few months when it came out, that’s for sure, and I had some issues with the device hanging when saving rides for maybe my first 3-4 rides, but that got fixed and never recurred. I think the longest standing bug that annoyed me was that elevation calibration has not been reliable and so I’ve had to manually correct starting elevation intermittently.

  46. Hey folks! Just in case you haven’t seen it, my hands-on Karoo 2 post is now live over here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    Also includes a video with ride footage and more.

  47. Todd`

    I have a V1 that I got on Black Friday last year. The unit has been ok. On a scale of 1 – 10 i would give it a 5.

    I think of Hammerhead more as a marketing company now that I have dealt with the Karoo for a year, than a serious Cycling computer company. All the reviews that I read before I purchased I think were

    In the market for a computer for a friend and steering them towards Wahoo. My friend has one, it is rock solid, and includes features we used that the Karoo does not. FYI I have only used the map on the Karoo once so its not a big factor for me.

    Good
    Good screen
    frequent updates
    Good accessory support

    Bad
    It has bombed on several rides, GPS stops and starts recording location. Sensors stop working.
    Speed and Cadence are inconsistent, numbers bounce around.
    No Calories – unless you spend more $ and buy a power meter.
    Frequent updates – they keep moving and changing things. Things that were good to begin with and did not need changing. Having to find things that you knew where they were before.

    The calories is a big for me. Every computer owned in the past 10 yrs, mostly Polar, gave Cals. I use it to measure effort on rides. There is a long thread and users have asked for this but Hammerhead continues to ignore their customers on this one.

    Over all for the price I think there are better more reliable units.