Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Andy01
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Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Andy01 » Sat Jun 17, 2023 11:49 am

Not really a review as there are plenty of those available online, but just some thoughts.

I bought mine a couple of weeks ago on their current sale for $415 (down from $639) which seemed like a great deal. I haven't made us of it but if I referred someone and they bought one, they get a HRM free as well (and I get $25), which is even better.

I was not sure if I would like it, but it should be a risk-free purchase because they offer a 45 day trial period with free return shipping if I don't like it.

It arrived on Friday 9th June and I charged it up and spent some time setting it up. The setup was pretty easy although a bit of checking on the Hammerhead website to find out some "how to's" because as is usual now they is no manual to speak of. They don't use an app - instead the unit connects directly to the internet via WiFi and everything is stored in the cloud.

My previous GPS was a Bryton 410 (been using it for 3 years, 2.3" monochrome screen and a smaller Bryton for 2 years before that), so the Karoo 2 is quite a significant change. A large 3.2" high definition (about 4 times the pixel count of similar sized Garmin or Bryton units) colour screen - I find it broadly similar in quality and responsiveness (and size) to my old iPhone 4s (which I dug out & fired up just for laughs). It is not as responsive as my current iPhone 14 Pro but that is no surprise, but it is a LOT better than most cheaper touchscreens. Even at 25% brightness it is PLENTY bright enough to read on a sunny Brisbane morning - I might try drop it down to 15% and try it out.

The number of screen layout options is vast - mixes of maps & data, maps only, data only (with a variety of data options from about 3 fields to I think 12 fields per page). I have tried the navigation on my regular route and it beeps and shows turn pop-ups as it should. It seems to be accurate to within a couple of metres.

I created a map of my regular route 3 ways - in the Hammerhead web-based dashboard, using RideWithGPS and by saving an actual ride as a route. All were easy and upload within a few seconds.

The Auto-Pause was initially taking too long to initiate (because it takes a few seconds for the speed to drop to zero), so I changed it to start the pause when speed dropped below 5km/h and it now works well. At the end of a ride, it pauses, I stop the ride, choose to save or delete it, and if saved a few seconds later it appears on my Hammerhead dashboard (uploads over the home WiFi).

Twice I have had it start and say "No cadence sensor found" but when I checked the sensor page, it found it and everything worked fine - still not sure what this is about ?

Battery life is probably the biggest criticism of the Karoo 2 online and that is something I am monitoring closely to see if it is going to be a deal breaker. I never do long rides but I also don't want to be charging every few days either. My Bryton 410 was giving me about 18 rides (about 45-50 minutes long each) on a charge.

I charged it after last Saturday's ride (my first ride with some mucking around) and have been on 6 rides in the last week. The rides were 45-50 minutes each and total about 280 minutes (4 hours 40 minutes). One of them was using full navigation, but it didn't actually seem to consume any more battery than just riding with a data screen. My main data screen has 11 fields plus ride time, actual time of day and battery percentage displayed at the top of the screen (so 13 ride parameters on one screen and all are easily readable). I also have phone notifications turned on. It drops by about 6-7% per ride and is currently sitting on 61% battery left after 6 rides.

So, assuming I only took it down to 10% of battery left, I should get about 11 hours of riding or about 14 of my rides which is certainly worse than my old Bryton 410, but probably not terrible considering it is a much larger and more detailed screen and the device has vastly more features. Perhaps, like many lithium battery powered devices, the battery life might improve slightly after a few cycles ? Once I have done a full cycle I might try reduce the screen brightness a bit more (to 15% maybe) to see how it performs - I did see reports online of people using 5% brightness with good visibility (but maybe not under Australian sun :D ).

On the whole, I am liking it so far though I am not using anywhere near the full feature set so far. It is certainly a big change to my old Bryton so a lot to get used to still, but nothing too quirky. The battery life could be better but it doesn't seem terrible so far.

I think that for $400, it is a very well speced bike computer with undoubtedly the best screen in the business. It undercuts the similar Garmin 1030/1040 and Bryton s800 large touchscreen units by a significant margin. I wouldn't have paid $640 for it though.

am50em
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby am50em » Sat Jun 17, 2023 12:28 pm

I had the Karoo 1 and the screen was superb. It took a while to get the features sorted out on v1 but eventually a great unit. Problem is battery dies after a few years and cannot be replaced. Same with Karoo 2, so I went with Edge 830. Screen nowhere near as good but I Iike the Firstbeat fitness metrics which aren't available on the Karoo. Recently replaced my Fenix5 fitness watch with Epix gen 2. Now the fitness metrics merge seamlessly. The Epix is Fenix with touch screen which is clear and bright. Hoping the Edge 850 when it comes out has a similar AMOLED screen. The Epix gen 2 on special now as they just brought out the Pro version.

Andy01
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Andy01 » Sun Jun 18, 2023 12:42 pm

Thanks. I actually thought that most/all bike GPS computers had non-user-replaceable batteries, but I have only used Bryton & Hammerhead myself, so perhaps this was an incorrect assumption ?

am50em
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby am50em » Sun Jun 18, 2023 2:58 pm

You can buy batteries online for Garmin and install them yourself. It has been a sore point for many that you cannot buy batteries for Karoo.

Andy01
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Andy01 » Sun Jun 18, 2023 6:27 pm

How long / how many charge cycles did the K1 battery take to become unusable ?

Technically a rule of thumb for most lithium batteries has been around 500 charge cycles, but many get a lot more than that as evidenced by lots of mobile phones that are typically charged daily, and 500 days is less than 1.4 years. My iPhone X was showing signs of diminished battery life after 3 years, which is around 1,000 charge cycles.

Assuming I was charging fortnightly (26 times per year), then 500 cycles would be plenty (almost 20 years), but if the K1 batteries were getting to an unusably short battery life much quicker than that, it could be an issue.

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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby am50em » Sun Jun 18, 2023 6:42 pm

I was in Facebook group and it appeared very variable. I think mine lasted about 4 years then it started to switch off mid-ride randomly and battery would only run for 5 hours. Yet my much older Garmin 800 still works well. Battery life has dropped but still usable length. I really liked the Karoo but not being able to replace battery in otherwise perfectly good hardware was something I did not want to support especially given the price.

Andy01
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Andy01 » Mon Jun 19, 2023 10:37 am

Thanks for the response.

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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Andy01 » Thu May 16, 2024 9:57 am

I got an email this morning saying that the new Karoo has been launched. Not called Karoo 3, but rather just Karoo - apparently they didn't want "K3" to be associated with "KKK" - according to DC Rainmaker.

It looks quite similar to K2 with a number of tweaks, including better battery life and a companion phone app. It has the same stunning screen resolution (more than double anything else in the market I believe) and better brightness.

When I clicked on the link in the email it showed the new one at $470 (on sale from $639 - probably their usual "summer" / EOFYS sale), and a quick Google found the K2 at CCache for $319 (it said in stock).

I have been using mine (Karoo 2) almost daily since June'23 and it has been great. I run 25% screen brightness, which is good enough for Brisbane sunny morning rides (might need more brightness for a bright sunny midday ride ?), and typically get between 11 and 12 hours (15x short 45 minute rides so a lot of start-ups, which use more battery, and 1-2 software updates which come around every 2-3 weeks) - I would guess that I would probably get a bit longer if I was doing fewer longer rides. The screen clarity is great. I have only used the navigation a couple of times and it was flawless.

I can still recommend the Karoo 2, and I think that for $319 it offers great value with it's 3.2 hi-res screen (at 480x800=384,000 pixels it has almost 3x the pixels of a Garmin 1040 at 282x470=132,540 pixels). Great screen for anyone with "aging eyes" who wants to see lots of ride parameters on one screen. Not certain but I would imagine that Hammerhead still offers the 30 day money back option for anyone who wants to try one out (obviously worth checking).

I would guess that the improvements on the new Karoo would make it a better option all round but for an extra $150 (almost 50% dearer) - thought still probably a decent price compared to other similar spec units.

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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby CmdrBiggles » Thu May 16, 2024 11:31 am

CCACHE discounts don't last long, and they'll cheerfully undercut competitors vying for your gold-embossed credit card!
Get in quick while you see it. I shop at CCACHE a lot for the stuff that is not going to be found in your average High Street cyclery.
Very bespoke, very fancy, for proper bikers! :mrgreen: Fancied something yesterday called a SILCA Ti bidon cage, in noice bourbon colour: $128.99 each (!) :shock: :shock: Alas, lawn mower must be fixed first...

$639!!! for a Hammerhead!? :shock: :roll: At least it's a tad cheaper than a Garmin 1040...
As I prepared to part with money for the bike first, I spent some time on a cursory inspection of bike computers (and prices varied hugely). Ahh, what a nice little till-ringer those electronic trinkets are: no bike is complete without one.

I passed up the uber-expensive big-brand devices (Garmin, Wahoo, Hammerhead et al) in preference for a feature-laden,"not big nor huge nor heavy" iGSPORT IGS630S, with pretty much the same depth and breadth of works a Garmin, Wahoo or Hammerhead has (in my case I wanted full SRAM integration: SRAM Red/Force battery reporting, graphic gearing display, auto ANT+/BT sensors integration, light(s) control, climbing/descending (myriad displays), 5 GPS receivers and Apple/Samsung app (IGSPORT Ride), not to mention 45 hours of juice, all for $400. Updates are around once every 3 weeks to a month. One of the roadie companions in Bright/NE Victoria has the Karoo 2, and I agree the resolution, colour and the novel touch screen are standouts, but it would seem his computer is very under-utilised feature wise (cable geared, no HRM or cadence and a notable disdain for things that report elevation/altitude! :lol: ).

The display visibility of any computer will vary greatly among people in all conditions. I wear reading glasses too, certainly not while cycling, and have no trouble looking at the screen which adjusts for light intensity and day/night, even with photochromic sunnies. It is difficult to assess how well bike computers will be visible in-shop; a considerate sales person might allow you to turn it on and take it outside (won't happen with a boxed Garmin!), much as you would do when fitting out sunnies.

A roadie on a recent ride had a Wahoo with an unusual crescent/half moon front LED integral to the mount (not bolted on as an addition). I thought this might have been a Knog, but no such thing.
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Andy01
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Andy01 » Thu May 16, 2024 6:49 pm

I think I would rather save $100 and pay $319 for a 3.2" Karoo 2 than $420 for a more basic and smaller 2.8" screened iGSPORT IGS630S (based on iGPSport Australia's price) - which was the only Australian shop that popped up with a 30 second Google. In fact, I would probably rather pay the $50 extra at $470 for the new Karoo (3) than $420 for the iGSPORT IGS630S. But to each their own :D

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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby CmdrBiggles » Sat May 18, 2024 3:06 pm

A iGS800 is on the way to me for an on-road evaluation.

I have not committed to purchase it yet, but it cites a 3.5" touch-screen and surprisingly even longer battery life.
Like other computers though, it is nudging close to $600 after the introductory pricing. For many cyclists, pricing is a major factor now, since all of the functions and data metrics of an expensive computer are now also commonly found on competing models at cheaper prices. One day in the future we'll see computers upwards of $1,400+; how, where and what with, who knows, but nothing remains the same in technology.
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby warthog1 » Sat May 18, 2024 6:08 pm

I managed to score a factory refurbished Garmin 1030+ a while back for ~600. Don't know how often they do it, maybe it was after the 1040 came out. Anyway worth keeping your eyes out. 10 fields displayed on my home screen and it uses just under 3% battery an hour with power pedals and radar connected. The screen size and battery life is a big plus for me. The display is not as sharp as the hammerhead karoo though. They have a great screen.
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Retrobyte
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Retrobyte » Sun May 19, 2024 11:22 am

CmdrBiggles wrote:
Thu May 16, 2024 11:31 am
A roadie on a recent ride had a Wahoo with an unusual crescent/half moon front LED integral to the mount (not bolted on as an addition). I thought this might have been a Knog, but no such thing.
It might have been a Raveman FR160 light .... it has a mount on top

Image

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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby CmdrBiggles » Sun May 19, 2024 12:14 pm

Retrobyte wrote:
Sun May 19, 2024 11:22 am
CmdrBiggles wrote:
Thu May 16, 2024 11:31 am
A roadie on a recent ride had a Wahoo with an unusual crescent/half moon front LED integral to the mount (not bolted on as an addition). I thought this might have been a Knog, but no such thing.
It might have been a Raveman FR160 light .... it has a mount on top

Image


Yes! That's it. Wahoo on top, light below. Like the bike, it was pretty dirty too! :lol:

The fellow on whose bike I noticed this set-up is a regular on the Saturday morning trad Geelong to Torquay route (via Horseshoeb Bend Road — 34km to 46km+ return) but was MIA yesterday. The usual mixed bag of flash bikes (eye candy: a Pinarello DOGMA in lush orange and black!), Garmins, Wahoos, Hammerheads, unknowns and phones (or two!) stuck on 'bars!
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby CmdrBiggles » Sun May 19, 2024 12:37 pm

warthog1 wrote:
Sat May 18, 2024 6:08 pm
I managed to score a factory refurbished Garmin 1030+ a while back for ~600. Don't know how often they do it, maybe it was after the 1040 came out. Anyway worth keeping your eyes out. 10 fields displayed on my home screen and it uses just under 3% battery an hour with power pedals and radar connected. The screen size and battery life is a big plus for me. The display is not as sharp as the hammerhead karoo though. They have a great screen.

I have never seen the 1030. Only ever seen the shiny (and very big and heavy) 1040, in its solar guise.
Yes, Garmin refurbishes devices. My GPSMap 64s is a refurbished release (2016). The devicewent to Garmin for repairs (said to have tumbled off the edge of a boat being unloaded at Tooradin in 2017). I bought it in Mornington ($250) at a tackle shop I was browsing, Spring of 2017, $250. Garmin continues to update this device! Maps are from OSM though (free), not Garmin ($$$$$). :lol:
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby warthog1 » Sun May 19, 2024 4:01 pm

CmdrBiggles wrote:
Sun May 19, 2024 12:37 pm

I have never seen the 1030. Only ever seen the shiny (and very big and heavy) 1040, in its solar guise.
Yes, Garmin refurbishes devices. My GPSMap 64s is a refurbished release (2016). The devicewent to Garmin for repairs (said to have tumbled off the edge of a boat being unloaded at Tooradin in 2017). I bought it in Mornington ($250) at a tackle shop I was browsing, Spring of 2017, $250. Garmin continues to update this device! Maps are from OSM though (free), not Garmin ($$$$$). :lol:
It is a very similar size to the 1040. I appreciate the screen size as my eyes (and legs) aren't what they were and it allows more for more data fields. Plus I can see the map better when using it.


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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby CmdrBiggles » Sun May 19, 2024 5:29 pm

^^^
From my time in Campbells Creek, the Castlemaine to Harcourt Road looked a bit like that on long solo rides (true too, the road from Guildford to Daylesford). I wouldn't 'be game to ride to Bendigo from Harcourt on what is now I think a freeway.

Meanwhile...
I amused myself for an hour or so this afternoon waypointing then uploading to the existing iGS630 computer the 1985 Bendigo Double Century, with a much-revised route beyond Moonee Ponds Junction for the myriad new roads and suburbs beyond that have "tarred and feathered over" the old 'trad' route. We are planning on running the 160x160 in October (4th-5th?), staying at the Bendigo Family Hotel in Charing Cross (or Bendigo Hospital, for those of us geriatrics who throw a coronary on arrival in Auld Bendigo Town! :lol: ); at one time we stayed overnight at a convent — somewhere — but, oh dear, none of us, on account of the very long 40 year gap, cannot remember what or where it was? St Mary's?? I do have a photo here somewhere of the group of 16 scruffy-looking riders tucking into a simple brekky prepared by the Sisters of Good Habits (for want of a proper name...). Whatever those girls sprinkled on our wheetbix that early morn', we were up and saddled, rocketing down the McIvor Highway all the way to Lancefield! :lol: :lol:

But, oh, I digress...
Big data fields are, I think essential for pretty much all of us. Garmin and the iGSnnn 'puters have this field, and it is a strong selling point. Youngsters may angle for the smallest fields they can, but once you're over 60 (and over the hill), everything small must be made big again (I wear glasses to read the speedo and navigator on the car). Occasionally I rearrange, add or delete fields on the iGS630 I have. It is set to dark mode for day riding, and light mode for night (which isn't by sensible choice, very often). I think the iGS800 has 10 to 12 fields, again, customisable (as numeric, graph or dial fields), along with drivetrain integration and new, for that device, scalable fields. There does not appear to be anything else new on this undeniably pricey update, other than 50 hours of battery life (that's a full weekend without a charge), a metalised Garmin-style mount and the touch-screen. The rep in Perth will contact me tomorrow. The iGS800 computer is not yet available on the wider LBS market.
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby warthog1 » Sun May 19, 2024 5:49 pm

CmdrBiggles wrote:
Sun May 19, 2024 5:29 pm
^^^
From my time in Campbells Creek, the Castlemaine to Harcourt Road looked a bit like that on long solo rides (true too, the road from Guildford to Daylesford). I wouldn't 'be game to ride to Bendigo from Harcourt on what is now I think a freeway.

Harcourt is not on the Calder freeway. It bypasses it now. I ride through it several times most weeks via Sedgewick to Sutton Grange rd and North Harcourt rd.
That photo is out past KR Castlemaine small goods factory on Muckleford- Castlemaine road. Nice and quiet and the drivers are generally considerate.
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Andy01
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Andy01 » Mon May 20, 2024 8:53 am

Data field setup on the Karoo 2 is something where the choices are almost endless. There is anything from (I think from memory) 12 data fields (plus the ride time, actual time & battery % along the top), down to about 4 large fields, or a variety of combinations between data & maps, or data and graphs (like hill climber etc).

I have kept it fairly simple with my "main" page being 9 data fields (plus the permanent 3 along the top) which puts speed in larger numbers, and 8 smaller (but still very readable) fields below it. All are quite readable to me - the only one a sometimes struggle a bit with is the battery when it hits the 20% "alarm" level - because it turns red, which isn't as clear as black, but that isn't an issue. To me, the extremely high resolution of the screen seems to make everything a bit crisper and clearer to read, even the small numbers. Then there are options to display a variety of different options as subsequent fields which can be scrolled to.

I had a smaller and more basic Bryton 410 before, and the Karoo 2 is a vast improvement - as to be expected. I really bought it more for the screen display (including size) than the impressive list of features - most of which I don't use.

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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby warthog1 » Mon May 20, 2024 9:08 am

It is a juggling act. The impressive display is a strong feature, however I believe it is also largely reponsible for the poor battery life. That is what counted it out for me. My garmin 1000 still works fine but adding radar, power and mapping cut the battery duration down to 8-10 hours. I rarely ride for that long but it does happen occasionally. Just cbfed at the time charging the thing every ride and having it run low if I forget.
I could probably cope now as it has longer battery life than the varia radar I use. I do charge that quite often as I wont ride without it. It is that good for my type of riding.
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby CmdrBiggles » Mon May 20, 2024 9:39 am

The relevance/priority of battery life is a bit of a moot point.
It depends a great deal on what the rider is doing with power-intensive modes. Many riders don't bother with customising anything on their computers!

The more GPS modes that are enabled, the more power that is drained (I have 5 [all] GPS modes enabled, meaning power is around 28 hours non-stop, down from the stated 35 hours, but still heaps plenty for me). ANT+, BT, Garmin HRM, sRAM power sensors and sRAM front/rear derailleur axis and battery status notifies are all certified low-drain connections. Front and rear radar (new on the iGS800) will impart a power premium, but it will still be over 40 hours! Real world conditions could well meet stated battery times by manufacturers. 50 hours stated for the iGS800 is extraordinary, but...is it a major selling point? My answer: no. The touch screen, larger screen and data fields bear considerable weight in decision making over battery life; battery life maybe a bigger thing to consider if you're on a 1,000km AUDAX AUSTRALIA ride, but otherwise.... All things else considered, "mine is bigger than yours!" always starts a good conversation over coffee and salted caramel blocks!! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby warthog1 » Mon May 20, 2024 11:51 am

It is a moot point for some. Agreed.
https://www.reddit.com/r/Karoo/comments ... ride_last/
https://www.reddit.com/r/bikepacking/co ... d_karoo_2/
For others less so.

I run HR, power, radar and mapping on occasion. 8-10hrs battery life is why I upgraded from the garmin 1000.
Most of the time it is fine but sometimes no. The varia radar does not go that long though.
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby CmdrBiggles » Mon May 20, 2024 1:06 pm

Hammerhead's Karoo 3 is out (c. $750), to apparently mixed views and reviews. The size is noticeable.
I think bike computers are getting too big now. :?

Noteworthy that SRAM (owner of Hammerhead) has integrated their drivetrain metrics and connectivity so neatly.
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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Andy01 » Mon May 20, 2024 6:09 pm

warthog1 wrote:
Mon May 20, 2024 11:51 am
It is a moot point for some. Agreed.
https://www.reddit.com/r/Karoo/comments ... ride_last/
https://www.reddit.com/r/bikepacking/co ... d_karoo_2/
For others less so.

I run HR, power, radar and mapping on occasion. 8-10hrs battery life is why I upgraded from the garmin 1000.
Most of the time it is fine but sometimes no. The varia radar does not go that long though.
I typically use around 7% per hour (HRM sensor & cadence, brightness at 25%), so close to 14 hours if I ran my Karoo 2 to 0%, but as mentioned above my daily rides are around 45 minutes, so I usually get 15 rides (usually 2½ weeks) by the time the warning comes on at 20%, so that is 15 GPS start-ups which use a bit more juice than normal.

The other thing I noticed is that if I just leave the K2 to shut itself down, it often dropped 1-2% "overnight" between rides (this added up to 18% of "lost" battery while NOT riding over 2½ weeks, which is significant) - I started pressing the button to turn it off manually after riding and this went away.

I would guess that if you were riding in full midday sun with brightness cranked to 100% and a few extra sensors, the battery wouldn't last as long. An adapter like this;

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/37470174824 ... 3710228060 - would allow a powerbank to be used for very long rides or bikepacking.

The battery certainly isn't one of it's strengths, but for my use it isn't an issue.
Last edited by Andy01 on Tue May 21, 2024 9:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS

Postby Andy01 » Mon May 20, 2024 6:14 pm

CmdrBiggles wrote:
Mon May 20, 2024 1:06 pm
Hammerhead's Karoo 3 is out (c. $750), to apparently mixed views and reviews. The size is noticeable.
I think bike computers are getting too big now. :?

Noteworthy that SRAM (owner of Hammerhead) has integrated their drivetrain metrics and connectivity so neatly.
See my post above on 16th May announcing the launch - it isn't officially called Karoo 3 because of the potential connection with KKK. It is called Karoo.

It is also currently on sale (as mentioned above) for $470 (down from $639).

The unit size and screen size is essentially identical to the Karoo 2 (from memory), as is screen resolution. I might guess that it is the same screen with the ability to go brighter.

The battery life is said to be better than K2, but still not at Garmin 1040 levels.

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