Review – Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS Cycling Computer

Hammerhead Karoo 2
For over five years I have been using a Wahoo ELEMNT for daily rides, trans-continental bike tours, and everything in between; it has done the job admirably, but it hasn't been perfect.

Earlier this year, I was introduced to the Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS Cycling Computer. I was intrigued. This American brand has produced a cycling computer with the power and screen quality of a modern mobile phone, and with some very neat features.

After a few months of testing, this is my review…


The Hardware

Before diving into the functionality of the Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS, it is worth considering the unit itself and the hardware that it is composed of. The Karoo 2 uses a 3.2" HD colour screen, with 292 PPI; that is significantly more definition than any other cycling computer I have used to date.

The unit is housed in a lightweight polycarbonate shell, with the option to customise the colour with add-on kits—as I have done with the funky orange colourway!

Inside, there are high-performance antennas, a quad-core Qualcomm Processor, and connectivity through Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, 4G, and GPS. Add in the measurement devices, including a high-accuracy thermometer, magnetometer (compass), 3-axis accelerometer, and gyroscope; and you have everything covered in terms of metrics and sensor/mobile connection capabilities.

Finally, the high-capacity battery and battery saver mode will mean the unit easily does 12 hours of ride time on one charge.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 Review



Connectivity

The Karoo 2 connects to Wi-Fi with ease, and allows the unit to auto-update and auto-upload ride data. Once you are set up with a Hammerhead dashboard account (free) then you can connect Strava, Komoot, and other training programmes to sync your rides and routes directly from the device. You can also use the Hammerhead dashboard itself to create and modify routes. 

Hammerhead Karoo 2


Ride Screens

You can set up and customise ride profiles straight on the device, with the use of the touchscreen display. You can add up to 10 data fields to display on a single page, and have the option to see data and maps or data and graphs all on one page.

Further customisation of the ride data includes the ability to set training zones for power and heart rate, as well as selecting functions like auto-pause and measurement units directly on the device. 

Hammerhead Karoo 2



Routes and Mapping

The routing and mapping functionality is where the Karoo 2 GPS really excels, in my opinion. From the Hammerhead dashboard you can import routes from Strava, Komoot, Google Maps, Bike Map, RideGPS, and more. Once imported you can add new waypoints on top of existing routes to optimise your track.

Once you are riding, the mapping on the device continues to excel. The unit offers turn by turn instructions with audible bleeps to indicate upcoming junctions. Mid-ride you can route to a Point of Interest, route to Home (if pre-defined), and route to Start—all directly on the device.

The other winning feature is the auto-rerouting that the device offers. If you head off track the Karoo 2 will instantly kick in to find the shortest route to get you back on track. I must admit that sometimes this re-routing has taken me on questionable roads, but generally if you are in a good road network it works perfectly if you don't stray too far off the pre-defined track.

Hammerhead Karoo 2


Display

The Karoo 2's display screen is another absolute winner. The definition and colour is second to none, and the detail on the mapping screen is faultless; with cafes, bike paths, and scenic roads even highlighted. You can also choose whether to have a light or dark background on the display depending on the time of day and ambient light level.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 Review


Strava Live Segments and 3rd Party Workouts

Once synced with your Strava account, the Karoo 2 will give you heads-up tracking of your progress against the KOM and your own PR on Strava Live Segments—a great feature if you are looking to unleash your competitive spirit.

Karoo 2 also supports structured workouts from Training Peaks and pairs to indoor smart trainers.


Climber

Saving my favourite feature to last, 'Climber'. Karoo 2 can detect climbs along your route and gives you climb-specific information for each one; including gradient, distance to go, height to go, and VAM. Climber can detect climbs on regular Routes, routes to POIs, and reroutes; with climbs detected based on a combination of distance and grade.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 Review



Summary

The Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS Cycle Computer has taken the lead. The design, functionality, and quality of this unit is second to none; it has taken over as my GPS unit of choice.

Whether you are a cycle tourist, hardened racer, casual commuter, or all the above; the Karoo 2 offers easy to use, easy to connect, easy to read, and ever-evolving performance, guidance, and measurement.





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