New GPS unit 2022 - Karoo H2 Vs Garmin 830/1030+

Hello! I’m shopping for a new head unit. Currently working between a Garmin 830, 1030 plus and a Karoo Hammerhead 2. I’m currently using a Garmin edge 520 and have been happy with it(for the most part) for 6 or so years. For me Garmin just works, but the Hammerhead 2 unit is the new sauce and for bikepacking navigation it seems to be tip top. Battery may be worse on the H2 which could pose a issue, but tit for tat… anyone have some user experience with either?? I’m not interested to do the side loading apps on the Karoo which seems to be the only way to do the TR outdoor workouts (which is how I use TR). I would likely add workouts to training peaks and push to the unit until it’s all worked out to work between TR and Karoo. Cost is a consideration, but as mentioned, at 2 in the morning during a bikepacking race/ultra I won’t be so concerned that I saved $100 while I’m lost as f**k. :slight_smile:

Random thoughts/dump:

Are you a data geek? As in wanting to record your Di2/eTap gearing info, tyre pressures, body temp, count cars passing and their speeds with a Varia Radar? Want to link it to almost every service there is like Garmin Connect, Strava, SRAM AXS Web, etc? Then Garmin. (the 1030 Plus battery is pretty impressive… but you do pay a premium for that unit).

Do you want a simple setup/paring/etc experience with all the core features (GPS/standard sensors/navigation) nailed? Wahoo Roam or BOLT2. Wahoo do a pretty good job of data recording and third party service integration.

Do you hate the two above options enough to get a Karoo? Then Karoo! (Kidding… Though it does have the best ‘Climber / ClimbPro’ feature and the screen is pretty nice).

All three options do the core features well and are stable enough to recommend. It’s the extras where some shine more than others and decisions need to be made.

Another 2c - If I was bike packing/ultra’ing then an ideal setup would be an Edge 1030 Plus with the additional battery pack (Garmin Charge) and an inReach Mini. That’d give you a big screen, global mapping, shiteton of battery life, and connectivity everywhere.


I have no experience with the Hammerhead but have used both a Garmin Edge 830 and Garmin eTrex for bikepacking.

If you are running a Dynamo and can recharge a battery pack on the go (or are just doing S24Os/48s and taking a battery pack) then you don’t need to consider something like an eTrex, which runs on AAs.

I have been using the 830 for a while now and it has been flawless. Battery life with full navigation/ClimbPro has been around the 18hr mark, which is as long a day in the saddle as you’ll get bikepacking.

Garmin released a significant update around the middle of last year which greatly improved navigation on the go - think more Wahoo arrow directions on the map showing which direction you need to head in etc…

As you’re an existing Garmin 520 user, you’re going to be familiar with all the menus, customisation of screens etc… and it will be a natural upgrade.

The 1030 is really just a larger version of the 830. Do you need the slightly larger screen and ~24h battery life? If so go for the 1030. For me the 830 hits the sweet spot in terms of price/functionality/size as a great all round device.

Interested to hear what others who have used the new Karoo think of it in comparison to the Garmin range.


Several months ago, I went through the same decision. I called and talked with Karoo sales. I must say that they were extremely helpful and low pressure sales. The bottom line between the two according to the salesman was the ecosystem. How tied are you to Garmin’s ecosystem (including GPLama’s perspective). I decided that connectivity and the ecosystem was worth something to me and purchased the 1030+. Never looked back. In my experience, the 1030+ has been flawless. I like the bigger screen (aged eyes) and the touch system works. For core data, either will work. I don’t know if Karoo still has the 60/30? day return policy but if you are curious – try that.


no outside workouts on the hammerhead is a non starter for me. I have a 530. I’ve recorded a 32 hour file on a single charge with about 25% battery remaining IIRC. I would expect similar from the 830 and 1030 but I can’t go back to a touch screen computer after the dumpster fire that was the 820 I used to have.


with Garmin already having this, i wonder how long until they update this feature to close the gap entirely.

You can build a workout on Training Peaks and import to Karoo2, even with a free TP account. Not ideal, but works for me on simpler endurance type workouts. I’m not sold on Karoo2 battery life - still in return window, so jury is out on that.

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Yup, I could do that but it’s more work than I’m willing to go through, Much prefer to just click ‘Outside’ on my calendar and it automatically sends it to my 530. What can I say, I’m lazy :rofl:


Do you do TR Outside WO’s @Johnno ? I’m not sure if the Hammerhead is compatible with them.

All my tr workouts are outside. That’s a biggie for me. I want to like the Karoo but as a post I saw said, every review talks about ‘potential’ and ‘future updates’, but I’d really like it to work now and that’s what Garmin and Wahoo have.

I’m leaning into the 1030 Plus / 830. Great battery life, full Trailforks maps.


It’s very important to buy what you use.
All in this category of devices offer pie in the sky, and will frustrate somewhere
with functions that are a PITA.
Karoo has great customer service and solid core functions, great screen.
Garmin has feature creep. Gets them first, but not smoothly or fast due to their legacy Os,
and their customer service is ,um, weak.
It is really mostly personal choice, in the end.

Have you tried building a workout in TrainingPeaks lately? Seems to be behind a pay wall now. It has worked fine for me for over a year till tonight while trying to create tomorrow’s workout.

I don’t think I saw it mentioned here, but I have heard that the 840 may be coming out this Spring, March - May. It’d be worth looking into or waiting for a bit if you’re interested. Either you could get a discount on an 830, or just go for a new generation.

I just got an 830 in the sales (bundled with a Varia). Its still a long way ahead of Hammerhead in terms of what it can do (although there are some things that the K2 can do better than the equivalent 830 feature), presume 840 will keep the gap as the rate of development of the Hammerhead s/w seems to have tailed off rather rapidly since the SRAM takeover.

Yeah, hadn’t been there in a while but that seems to be the case. As soon as you click on calendar is asks you to sub. So it goes.

Seems to work for me. They’ve always had the restriction that you can only create a workout for today so if you try to make for tomorrow it’ll ask for a subscription

Interesting. As recent as February 5th, I had been able to schedule and create a workout via TrainingPeaks for the day of or the next day. Last evening I created a workout for the day of and then drag n drop it to the next day (today). I guess it’s no big deal, just slightly more inconvenient to drag n drop than to schedule a day ahead. But the unanticipated change in the process had me sweating like a 90min vo2 workout trying to find another work around for the lack of Hammerhead/TrainerRoad integration.