Hammerhead Karoo 2

Anyone else thinking about pre-ordering the new Karoo 2?

I’m currently using a garmin 530. I’m not really unhappy with my 530, but I’m just tired of what looks like an electronic device from the 1990’s. Garmin auto created routes are awful in my experiences.

The wahoo head units look like they’re even older, The screen quality looks like it is from the 1980’s?

I’ve been waiting for a nice, clean looking computer with an interface that looks like it’s post 2000’s. And this really seems to fit the bill.

Any pros or cons that you see?


I’m curious about what they are like too. It sounds like they are sold out of the first build/orders, so they must be popular. I am curious what sort of functionality is possible with a device that can have a SIM card and WiFi connection. Would potentially save taking a cellphone…?

In case you haven’t read DCR’s review yet.


it could be very interesting, but think not yet, but i will have an eye on it!

anyway, i created a Account, to look arround how their Dahsboard works, seems, they haven’t a Android App and things like TR Oudoor workouts aren’t supported yet.

The Hardware looks fine for me, more or less a Mobile Phone style with Qualcom processors!

Seems, there is no import function for old rides!

There are actually some reasoning to why they do look “old” and don’t have the screens of modern mobile phones.

  1. Battery life - faster processors, higher resolution screens requiring GPU power, etc. all impact battery a lot. Especially for a device where the screen is always on. A regular “phone screen” or the likes also needs backlight for things to actually be visible, huge drainer.

  2. Information - what do we use the bike computer for? Browsing the web or looking at cycling data? Hopefully the latter, therefore the use of crazy graphics isn’t needed. I do agree that it does look good with better graphics, but the second the sun is out and there is glare etc. I rather see the screen data than be lost with the fancy graphics.

  3. From a UX perspective, it makes total sense to go the route that Wahoo has. Usability where it counts, intuitive and built for context (ride bikes fast and be able to quickly see data)

A colleague of mine had the first Karoo, and sure, while it looked good off the bike. It felt like it was more of a gimmick than something I would like to use and fiddle with on the bike.

I really love Wahoo’s approach to this - use the bike computer for what its for, start, stop, pick a route, and view data. And then use the phone app for everything else, like setup, settings, creating custom pages, entering addresses for it to guide to etc.

I would just love a bike computer from Wahoo with a much larger screen too it more data, easier to read maps, a few more colors, and a SIM-card!


sure, larger display, but it depends on the pixel density and on this point, i think the Karoo 2 could be a winner, especially when you wear eyeglasses (far&near-sighted)

I have the original Karoo and am I am not a fan: It looks great but is pretty near useless as a workaday cycling computer. Nowhere near long enough battery life, the Nav was all kinds of glitchy, only recently got workouts and livetracking (primary reason I got it, the implementation of that is about as klutzy as you can envisage) Went to a 530 as soon as it came out as a result. Content with that choice. No desire to return to the Karoo fold. N = 1.

Pre-ordered, with delivery looking like early December.

Household has an Edge 820 and an Edge 530. The 820 is borderline unusable for things like navigation and routing, with it routinely taking 5-6 times longer to map a complicated Strava route and be ready for a ride, as compared to the 530.

I want a computer to navigate well and clearly. I want it to reliably track my efforts via various sensors, and I want it to have a solid screen. Additionally, being able to charge while recording is a must; I wouldn’t go on a 6+ hour ride without having a battery pack with me.

For that, the Karoo 2 seems to check all the boxes. We’ll see if one of us prefers the Karoo2 and the other prefers the Edge 530 and go that way, or both end up fighting over one of the computers. Should be fun :joy:

I was an early adopter of the original Karoo - but it never lived up to its promise and now is a $500 brick sitting in a drawer. Also, water gets trapped under the glass if it rains, I sweat, etc. Taught me a lesson to not be an early adopter of cycling computers. It demos well, but didn’t actually work well.

I replaced it with a Wahoo ELMNT Roam and it works flawlessly. I’d wait for the first wave of consumer feedback to hit after about +/- 6 months of the pre-order consumers using it, and if this device lives up to its hype, you’ll know by then.

My 2c. Good luck.


Just out of curiosity, which of these did you feel the 530 wasn’t able to do? As far as I know it is able to do all of those. Though the charging one requires Garmin’s own battery pack.

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If you haven’t looked at Wahoo I would take a serious look at their offering :slight_smile: especially since you do all the annoying stuff on your phone with their app, and their computer pretty much does the stuff that is related to riding.

The ROAM is fantastic for navigation, been on 5-6 hour long rides, all with active navigation on, and coming home with more than 50% battery, and that’s after almost one year of usage.


The 530 is great. As a replacement to the 820, the three computers I had been considering were a second 530, the Wahoo Elemnt Roam, and now this.

A buddy has a Roam and I really like it. I have the 530 and I really like it. And I like that Hammerhead is bringing another viable option into the market with some features I like (heck, being able to sideload Android apps is pretty cool, and I get data SIMs for free with my mobile account), so I’m going to try it out.

And by the way, @mwglow15, the 530 doesn’t /need/ the Garmin Charge pack to charge while traveling. I plug it into a normal USB charger all the time. :slightly_smiling_face:


Ahh okay! Thanks for the clarification. I don’t ever really do a ride that would require me to charge while I’m riding so I guess I just assumed that the garmins couldn’t record and charge when using the USB.

I guess the deciding factor for me would be, can I upload workouts from the trainerroad app and complete my workouts accordingly?

I have an original Karoo and my experience has been excellent.

I bought mine “new” 2nd hand from an early adopter and have had it now for almost 2 full seasons of riding. The experience over this past year has been better than my experience in year one. This is because Hammerhead has slowly and steadily improved the software, improving stability and then adding features. The Karoo of 2020 is far and away a more reliable, stable, feature-rich device than the Karoo of 2018/19. Where I used to have frequent sensor drop-outs and mystery freezes, I haven’t had any squirrelly behavior this entire year. It’s been rock solid reliable.

I haven’t plucked down a deposit yet for a K2, not because I don’t covet one, but in rare gesture of fiscal restraint I’m holding off until spring 2021 to make the spend. But, I do plan to get one, primarily because it addresses a few shortcomings of the K1 — it’s lighter, has a beeper, and has a more secure mount. (Mount failures in the K1 were such a problem that Hammerhead offered a free replacement made with stronger materials. I upgraded my mount with a 3D printed synthetic mount and it’s going strong 18 months later.)

I don’t miss the beeper in the K1, but folks with Varia radars or Strava segment junkies really, really, really want one. The beeper in the K2 is a popular move for sure.

Trainer Road outside workouts are not currently supported, but screenshots of TR workouts were part of the original Karoo 2 tease, so presumably, they are on their way. DC Rainmaker seems to think so too.

Battery life has been an issue for some, but not for me. I estimate I could get about 8 hours based on how it’s performed when I’ve gone 5-6 hours and had 40% or so left. When I’m planning more than a six hour ride, I use a USB backup battery the size of a pack of lifesavers that fits perfectly taped to the underside of my stem.

I’ve used Bluetooth and Ant+ sensors with it no problem. Currently, I use the built-in GPS for navigation/tracking, a Bluetooth Suunto Smart HR sensor, and Ant+ SRM power/cadence. All work like a charm.

The screen is brilliant and I love the space and flexibility of field layouts. I have 4 pages setup that I scroll between as I like (a data page, a map/data page, an upcoming-elevation-graph/data page, and a summary data page where I can have things such as TSS, avg & max HR, avg. & max power, temperature, etc…

I don’t have Varia radar, but those who do say the Karoo’s implementation is the best, even better than Garmin’s.

Strava segment implementation is pretty slick too.

And I’ve been very pleased with its navigation and maps. I build routes in RidewithGPS and more recently with Strava after their routes upgrade. Both sync with my Hammerhead account, which in turn syncs with the Karoo. No files to export/import.

Oh, and their support team is awesome. Super responsive and helpful.

Anyway, I could go on.

Consider me a fan of the Hammerhead Karoo.


I had the k2 on my radar, but according to “influencers” (=paid promoters) the battery life has increased from the k1 to… about 10 h. That’s a no for me. I don’t do many 8h+ rides, but when I do, i don’t want to worry about my head unit dying on me.

Hi @Pasque - I’m not sure what you use now for long rides, but I’ve had great success with a mini charger made by Ravpower that weighs in at 2.6 oz. I’m sure there are others out there like it too. I use a voile strap or electrical tape to attach the mini-charger to the underside of my stem and then connect it via a 90-degree usb cable off the back of the Karoo. I can go for 6+ hours and still be at 100% on the head-unit. That works great for one-offs, regardless of head-unit, but I can see that might not be ideal for touring or ultra-endurance rides.

I have a Wahoo Elemnt and I can imagine that a color screen with great graphics would look nice… but with the easy to read interface of the Elemnt, an awesome smartphone app, TR outside workout support, and 14-15hr battery life (while using navigation the entire time) I can’t fathom anything being better for me than that.


Wahoo Elemnt user here, too. I can basically echo what @bluescatjm said: easy to read, outside workouts and syncing with TR is great, and battery life is good, too. Sometimes wish the map was nicer, navigation is fine though. I still put in my pre-order at the end of August for the Karoo 2. It’s a bit like having an old, well-maintained bike that works just fine, but you get that new bike itch…

Not the OP and not wanting to hijack the thread with more 530 stuff but in fairness to the Karoo I should point out a few issues I have with the 530. I have only recently started to use the Nav feature on the 530 to break some new routes. I have been surprised at how flawed it is given we are talking about Garmin here. The first issue I had was it spending 8 minutes calculating the route! It does this regularly now. I am going to put a ticket in on that. The second is the off route management is pretty dumb. For example one route had me riding a cycle path on the opposite side of the road to the more natural route and it couldn’t figure that out and kept trying to get me to U-turn. Which segues nicely into the major gripe I have with it. The return to route algorithm really is abysmal. It prioritizes a return to the original point on the route or as close as it can get. So for example on my first Nav a bridge was closed on the route and I had to ride along the river to the next one. The route ran alongside the river on the other side. So when I finally crossed, it kept trying to return me to the original bridge. At first I was a bit disorientated and followed the instructions as it was an unfamiliar area. As soon as I saw the original bridge in the distance I copped the issue. Once bitten. So not a fan of that. My early experiences with the Karoo nav were even worse and the original map was barely legible. The route planning was unintelligent and once tried to send me down a 20% screed slope on a road bike. As there are no sound alerts on the original Karoo it is probable that you will miss the turn by turn alert. When I ran it originally on a tour I got 10 km into my first ride and the TbT alert was missed and the return to route calc just sat there and churned away for minutes on end and I had to restart. That was the end of TbT for me for that tour. A factory reset was required to clear that issue but I couldn’t afford to risk it bricking until after the tour. The Nav was still present on the map. So I was head down for the rest of the tour with the thing.

There are some glitches in the Openstreetmap software underlying it. On a route I usually use (but a Strava route version given to me by a friend) it hasn’t got the main bridge through a major town as present. So the routing software tries to send you to the next bridge along 5 kms away. Not a Karoo issue but Karoo will be fielding the complaints for things like that. The new map is visually better at least but I haven’t used the Nav in anger this year after the bridge issue last year. That was the last straw for me and I bought the 530.

I am sure that Hammerhead have cleared up many of these issues but the real point is that this organization overpromised (My primary reason for buying it was the on-board sim and the promise of phone independent livetracking… which duly arrived; 2 years after promised and too late for me) and off loaded it’s quality assurance function to it’s customers. Not a happy set of circumstances. Caveat Emptor on the K2.