Hammerhead Sends Out 7-Year ‘Old Karoo’ instead of ‘New Karoo’

In one of those moments that one can only laugh at, Hammerhead has seemingly accidentally shipped out units of the 7-year old original Karoo, to some eager buyers of the just announced ‘new Karoo’. Admittedly, someone at Hammerhead is probably not laughing as much as the rest of us right now, but I promise eventually they will. Probably. Hopefully. Historically SRAM has always had a sense of humor.

That’s because the backstory on this is downright hilarious. As regular readers know, SRAM/Hammerhead decided on naming the latest edition of the Karoo cycling GPS, simply “the new Karoo”, rather than the “Karoo 3” (which it actually is). There were concerns about the abbreviation, K3, being tied to people who wear white sheets and cones on their heads. The existing Karoo 2 is known as the K2, and the original Karoo is simply known as the K1. The Karoo 1 was released in 2017, the Karoo 2 in late 2020, and now the Karoo 3 in 2024.

The orders in question were all fulfilled directly by Hammerhead rather than through retailers. Of course, at a high level, one can quite easily see how this could happen to warehouse employees. They were undoubtedly given a manifest that merely said “Karoo” on it, and said employee looked at that list, decided it wasn’t the ‘Karoo 2’, and picked a box that just said ‘Karoo’ on it. First, for reference, here’s the Karoo 1 box:

And then, here’s the Karoo 2 and Karoo 3 boxes.

While it might seem odd to ship out old Karoo’s, there were probably some warranty related stuff sitting around somehow. Most companies have old parts on hand, occasionally for fulfilling support requests. Those shipments are usually handled just like new orders (from a warehouse/packing standpoint).

In this case, all of the reported new-but-old Karoo orders were coming from their distribution warehouse in the Netherlands, and thus far to buyers in the UK. Starting with the packing slip included inside the box, you can see it says just “Karoo”. The number after it doesn’t match the SRAM SKU numbers I have, so I’m not sure exactly what that number is yet. Either way, it just says ‘Karoo’.

(Thanks to Trebor and Laith, who sent these in!)

Fast forward a few days and a FedEx delivery, and here’s what people have received:

Good ol’ fashioned Karoo 1.0. And in fact, the customs slip on the outside of the box actually does list the contents correctly as “Karoo 1.0”:

Here’s the outside/side of the box, with the “Karoo-1.1”:

Which is what makes this interesting. most companies also have very automated scanner systems for fulfilling orders. This generally makes it near impossible for these sorts of accidents to happen. A warehouse employee will have a pick-list from the computer, and then scan barcodes of products off a shelf. If they scan the wrong one, it’ll give a unique rejection beep/etc. Usually a pick list can’t be marked complete till all (correct) items are scanned. Thus errors these days are exceptionally rare. Further, similar parts are often put in totally different pick bins/shelves, to avoid this.

Of course, there are plenty of technical ways these could have been accidentally loaded into the system incorrectly, and thus in the pick pile.

Still, I imagine there’s some poor guy in a Dutch warehouse this morning that’s likely very matter-of-factly telling his boss: “Look, the order says “Karoo”, and I picked the box that says “Karoo”, if they wanted it to be a different “Karoo”, they should have called it that”. Yup, I agree buddy, I agree.

Both customers that sent me images initially got back some confusion from Hammerhead Support, followed by Hammerhead offering to send return labels to pick up the 1.0 units, with the Karoo 3 units being sent once Hammerhead got back the Karoo 1 units. One customer pushed back on this, and was able to get the new Karoo 3 units shipped out immediately, rather than waiting for the ‘old Karoo’ to be returned first. One customer was a previous Karoo 2 owner, and the other is converting from a Wahoo BOLT V2.

I reached out to SRAM/Hammerhead last night about this, and they seemed a bit blindsided by it. Nonetheless, after probably immediately taking a few strong drinks, they’re digging into what happened, and I’ll update this post accordingly once they figure it out and report back.

Update: SRAM has come back with some digging, here’s what they had to say:

“This was the result of a small system error that pushed the wrong item to the cue. It was caught immediately and addressed, however, two orders slipped by. The team has confirmed that only these two orders were affected globally.
Our team has connected with the two riders whose orders were affected, and new Karoo units are already on the way to them. To make amends for any inconvenience caused to these riders, we will be issuing a partial refund of 50% of the purchase price.”

Both users have since confirmed to me that Hammerhead has reached out and has issued the refund. The only minor wrinkle in this update though, is that about the same time they sent me this update, another UK-based user posted photos of his Karoo 3 order (seen in the comments below) – which instead arrived as only a Hammerhead heart rate strap. I’ve volleyed that back to Hammerhead, and await a pulse on the situation.

Now, if you want a blast from the past, you can read my original Karoo 1 review, to see just how far the company has come in those 7 years. It’s incredibly impressive to see the level of innovation that’s happened in that timeframe, especially between the Karoo 2 and Karoo 3, even if the ‘new Karoo’ lacks the ‘proper’ numeral at the end.

Otherwise, in the meantime, good luck to those and others trying to get Back to the Future.


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  1. ArT

    I looked at Kroo 1, the data fields are nicer than the current one. Karoo 3 there is too much clutter.

  2. Simon

    Hilarious! 😂

  3. wow.
    I always thought that not distinguishing between the models was confusing. But confusing for customers or Google SEO rather than the company.

    I think this episode proves the point to Wahoo and HH that their next-released models need to be labelled as different in some clear way.

    • Indeed

      It’s interesting, Wahoo has shifted entirely over the last year to clearly labeling their units on their own marketing-focused sites as well. It now says ROAM V2 and BOLT V2 across all their pages and marketing bits. If I were Hammerhead, I’d move like Wahoo, to adopt the Karoo 3 naming quickly as well. Helps to solidify that longer term.

      Like you said, having confusing (old) names simply hurts them from a SEO standpoint. One only need to type “hammerhead Karoo review” into Google right now to see that 9 out of 10 of the top reviews are for older editions.

    • tfk, the5krunner

      indeed so.
      I might have done that once or twice ;-)

    • youpmelone

      Karoo 5 Pro Max

    • dan

      You said next release model and hammerhead in the same sentence. That is the best joke I’ve heard in the last 3 years. 🤣

    • Tom

      They could have used the abbreviation KV3 officially to avoid the perceived problem. Or just changed the name. “Karoo” is kind of silly anyway.

  4. Of course some of us still have the original Hammerhead navigation device…

  5. Brendan

    HTS = Harmonised Tax Schedule, it’s to determine customs duties to be paid on imports.

  6. Anon

    Why didn’t they just skip a number version and name it the Karoo 4? Buildings (and elevators) do it all the time 😁

  7. Cory

    If you associate “Karoo 3” or “K3” with negative connotations I feel like you are just looking for something to be offended by. Just call it the Karoo 3!

  8. Richard Perriss

    In an even weirder twist I received my package from Hammerhead today. Instead of the Karoo 3 I ordered I received… a heart rate strap.
    I am also a UK customer, shipped from the Netherlands. Customs label also correct.

    • Laith Bilbeisi

      I think someone in Ewarehousing in Holland might have had too many magic cookies. Or too much liquid lunch

  9. Darrell

    Well, at least these folks that got the old Karoo can run KI2. The new ones can’t do that. LOL

  10. Steven

    Well, this problem is likely predicted by all the operations, and tactical (On-premise, promotions, etc.) marketing folks. Bet they are having a bit of a laugh now. All the branding people I met tend to be more avant garde in their approach, and their careers depend more on awards and mentions in publications.

    They could have just pulled a Garmin, and skipped 3 and 4, and went straight to Karoo 5, or just called it Karoo Chronos or something.

  11. MikeF

    This is interesting as I was not going to upgrade to the K3 yet as it’s not enough of an upgrade itself, however on a big Swiss web-shop it is being offered at an incredibly low price (CHF 369).
    I ordered it, but I did wonder if it was a mistake. It is slated to only arrive in mid-July and the shop states it comes from the manufacturer. The web-shop photo is definitely the K3 as a checked and rechecked.
    So I will be interesting to what arrives.

  12. Daniel

    A lot of warehouses don’t scan the actual product, they scan a barcode label attached to the location in which the carton is held. It’s very possible that in a Dutch warehouse there is some old product that has inadvertently been put into the wrong location. Could have been returns or similar that have been put back wrong.

  13. RustedRoot

    Wait a minute, they had new K1s in stock, or were they refurbs? Supposedly sold out of K2s DCR said

  14. Andrej Z

    Hmmm, could this be perhaps the result of new “woke” thinking on part of Hammerhead “heads”? Of course, if I even understand this new “woke” BS correctly, as I’m just an European and no longer understand most of the things happening lately in the US of “America Great”. I do wonder though if many cyclists, seeing the new Karoo labled K3, would think “oh, wonderful, finally the long overdue ku-klux-klan version of a bike computer”, and promptly dich their Wahoos and Garmins in favour of K3. But I guess it IS possible that Hammerhead lost some potential sales in Alabama, Georgia or Mississipi by their strange naming games. So, I also suppose we’ll probably never see their K4 (or K-Four), as that could seriously screw up their China sales.

  15. Michal

    I loved the original; sideloading apps, YT, google maps – and with BT paired airpods and sim card – a fully functional smartphone!

  16. Xander V

    “… K3, being tied to people who wear white sheets and cones on their heads.”


    Then the hole BeNeLux has a serious problem: link to en.wikipedia.org

  17. Brett

    Sometimes companies need to take a short-term PR hit to set a clear vision for their product in the future. Unfortunately Hammerhead achieved the first part but failed the second part miserably. What are they going to call the 2026 model? Surely not the K2. Too late for the K4. So whatever they are going to call the 2026 model should have been the name for this current model. My suggestion Broad Peak. I recently lost my K2. The hypersensitive touchscreen, even to a drop of sweat, meant using screen lock but it lacked a full suite of buttons meaning some functions were lacking. For eg how to record lap after stopped but not ended session?

  18. Your site’s auto-ads made an already humorous article about 1000x better. Makes it look like the ad service is taking a crack at how big head units are these days.