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Hammerhead Karoo GPS Bike Computer Detailed & Demoed

Hammerhead Karoo GPS Bike Computer Detailed & Demoed


(whoosh) – This is the Hammerhead Karoo. If you’re after a bike computer
for navigation and routing, routing in you’re American, then this unit aims to be
the best tool for the job. There’s a lot of tech and hardware crammed into this Android-based computer though, meaning it has the
potential to offer far more than just navigation. In this video, we’re going
to take a detailed look at all the feature and
exactly the things it can do. Now, if you like our content, and would like to support the channel, then please click subscribe down below and also the bell icon so
that you get notifications. Right, let’s have a look. (energetic music) – Firstly, I’m going to show you the unit and focus mainly on the hardware. And, then I’m going to
talk about the software, so the mapping, the routing, and the real time data side of things. Now, out of the box, the
first thing that you notice is that massive screen. And, also the unit feels
pretty weighty and substantial in your hand, and that’s because it’s just so much tech crammed inside it. And, it also has a really
robust construction. So, inside here is a
titanium alloy skeleton to make it really strong, and
also a Gorilla Glass screen, which is either made by or from gorillas. (energetic music) I can’t remember, but either
way, it’s really tough stuff. While on the subject of the screen, this is no ordinary bike computer screen. The Karoo is more like a
smartphone in this regard. The screen is said to be
the highest definition and most responsive on the
market for bike computers. And, it’s 480 by 640 with 229 pixels per inch. The responsiveness is really impressive, and you can multitouch
and pinch zoom in or out on the maps and stuff. It’s like a smartphone screen. As well as the high resolution screen, there’s also anti-glare built in, a feature you will never
ever ever need in the UK. But, you will in other places. There’s also false touch
detection on the screen as well, which is designed to
help stop rain droplets from interfering with the touch screen, something that you will
definitely need in the UK. Although to be fair, it’s quite sunny. It’s weird, global warming. (energetic music) There’s also the option
to lock the touch screen by pressing these two buttons here, and the buttons on the side have some really ergonomic, cool features. So, the functions of
those buttons double up with the main functions of the screen, meaning you don’t have to use the screen if you don’t want to. This is useful if you’re,
say, wearing gloves, where a touch screen can
be a bit difficult to use. Also, the buttons are offset,
which is a clever idea because it means when you pinch the unit to press the buttons on one side, you don’t accidentally press the buttons on the other side as well. There’s wi-fi, ANT+, and
Bluetooth connectivity built in to the unit, and the claimed
battery life is 15 hours. But, there is a handily
placed USB port here that’s useful for charging it on the fly if you want to with an
external battery pack. Something that we
increasingly see people do when they’re bikepacking or
doing extreme endurance events. Something else that’s different from many other bike computers, and again perhaps more
similar to smartphones, is that the Karoo is built
on an Android platform. And, Hammerhead tells us that
there’s loads of hardware built into the device that
it’s yet to take advantage of. Meaning that what this unit
offers is likely to evolve over time in a way that we’ve never seen with a bike computer before. Now, an example of this is a SIM card slot built into the device down here. Now, you don’t need to use
a SIM card to make it work, and this feature can remain dormant. But, down the line Hammerhead reckons that it can add a whole host
of exciting functionality, such as live tracking
and things like that. And, also, the open source
nature of Android means that you can actually design
and build your own apps and put things on the device. Now, apparently some people
in the Hammerhead community have done just that. Right, let’s talk about
routing and navigation. The Karoo is aiming to vastly improve its navigation experience,
and there are a number of routing options. But, firstly, it’s important to point out that maps are included with the device. They’re not all stored
on the device though. They’re stored up in the cloud. I can’t actually see the cloud today. So, it’s a good job that I
downloaded the UK maps earlier, when I could see the cloud. You download the maps for the region that you’re going to be
riding in and delete them and reupload the as appropriate
whenever you need them. And, it’s a similar
system to what Wahoo does. It’s important to point out
because, some other brands they charge extra for the
maps on top of the price of the unit and this could
be quite significant. You can create routes on
the fly on the device, and you can actually edit the
routes on the device as well, so powerful is the processor
and the screen combined. So, if you want to go via a
particular waypoint or road, you can do. Now for example, I’m currently
in the middle of nowhere. And now if I put in home
and ask it to take me there, it calculates a route that’s
pretty sensible actually. That is the roads that I
would take having knowledge of the area myself, so yeah pretty cool. (energetic music) You can also put routes on the device using Hammerhead’s own dashboard. It’s really easy, right. So, you can just take a link
from your chosen mapping site, whether that’s Kamoot, Strava,
or Google Maps or others, and you copy and paste it into this bar. And, then it will appear on the device. So easy! There’s also the option to create routes within Hammerhead’s own dashboard, too. You just go into the route builder, and then you go create new
route, and away you go. I’ve just created one to Cheddar Gorge. Nice. Customizing your data screens can be done on the device, too. It’s really easy, and a
neat feature allows you to prioritize certain sensors over others. So, for example, if you had a speed sensor and you wanted to make sure
your speed reading was coming from the speed sensor and not from GPS which is less accurate, you can do. Or, for example, if you had
more than one power meter and you want to make sure that it was preferentially
reading one and not the other, again you can do. All of your settings and
customs screens and sensors and preferences, they’re
stored up in the cloud. Which means that if you
were to lose your unit, or if it were to get broken
or stolen or whatever then if you get a replacement unit, you can instantly put all of
your settings onto that unit. It also means if you were
to ever borrow a unit, you can put the settings
on there instantly as well. Or you could share a
unit with multiple people and you can all have your
own individual profiles. (energetic music) And when you’ve finished your
ride, when you go to upload it to your chosen third-party
site, whether that’s Strava, Kamoot, or whatever then
you actually get the option to name the ride and
set the privacy settings on the device before it
just automatically uploads. I like that, and it’s not a
feature that I’ve encountered on any other bike computer before. Nice. Now, I hope you’ve found
this video informative, and I hope you can see that it’s a really interesting device. And if you have them,
please give it a thumbs up, share it with your friends,
and let us know what you think about the Karoo in the
comments section down below.

100 comments on “Hammerhead Karoo GPS Bike Computer Detailed & Demoed

  1. strava vs garmin i am thinking to sell my garmin and use plenty my phone with strava.
    the funny way to use strava with segment and compete with others riders is great. also it is annoying to use garmin and want to change your route the bip of the garmin to get you back to good road is an headhake

  2. I just bought a Garmin 520 Plus for my first navigation bike computer and having charged it and played with it, I can honestly say that I paid about 4 times the real value of it… Wish I had seen this 4 weeks ago!!

  3. Since this is like a smartphone then what is wrong with just having a smartphone mounted to the bars for $60?
    Have an external battery for the longest of rides and you are all set. Am I missing something?

  4. This seems pretty outrageously priced when you compare to a Wahoo Elmnt which can be had for less while being bundled with 3 external sensors. Obviously the feature set is not the same but this thing is not far off from just being a smartphone.

  5. It looks like first bike GPS that makes sense, finally. I will wait for e-ink and bigger screen though. Oh, btw. you can write software for closed source platform, but of course open source one is a big plus.

  6. Had mine from the very first batch and it only got better with time and new releases. Would be doubtful about leaving home for a ride without it nowadays…

  7. It is hard to find information about using the Karoo for training. Does it have all of the fields we need like power, tss, if, np, power balance etc? Also does it allow us to record in 1 second intervals or better? How about training intervals?

  8. Not sure what all the beef is with Garmin. You don't buy a 5-series Garmin for its maps (some people are making the comparison in the comments) and I don't think you need a high resolution screen to see simple numbers. I don't see what this has that another head unit doesn't have? I'm all android and I'll stick to my Garmin. Just my opinion. Not beef. Nice to have another company in the market. More options push other companies to improve 👍

  9. Hey GCN Tech, I've got an audio tech question for you. Hope this applies. I'm a radio journalist and I'm doing a story on e-bikes in the U.S. I'm wondering what your mic set up is for your presenters and guests? I'd love to replicate the sound quality and not get all the wind noise when I'm riding around. Cheers! Mark from Ohio. (PS I've got a "Screw Riding Upgrades, Buy Upgrades" submission currently in build in my dingy basement workshop.)

  10. I've owned mine for a couple of years after my Garmin kept freezing and losing about a ride every couple of weeks (1 in 10 or so). So far I'm pretty happy with mine

    Good things:

    Very nice screen.
    Good battery life (had a 9 hour ride recently, 15% left) – this is after several updates to firmware
    Excellent road/trail data: mine includes very recent and unavailable-in-Garmin trails in my local MTB park. That was very superior to my previous computer.
    Very cold resistant – used it for 4 hour rides in below-freezing conditions.

    Bad things:

    Growing pains. Depending on the firmware update some things have gone wacky such as battery life (less than 4 hours at one point!). The current wackiness is that the interval segment on the unit does not match the recorded interval that's recorded on memory; seems offset by 10 seconds or so (I was doing 1 min efforts yesterday, the power in the intervals didn't match the Trainingpeak's report). Should be easily fixed but this didn't happen in previous updates.

    No sound – doesn't beep or give any signal to notify you. Not an issue for me, but a lot of people like the beeping for navigation
    Size – if big heavy computers bother you stay clear. This is hard to mount neatly on the aerobars of my TT bike.

    No trainer control / training software integration: my Wahoo computer can control a smart trainer and can download a training session from Trainingpeaks stating duration of intervals, intensity in W, etc. The Hammerhead unit doesn't.

  11. I love my Karoo. Bought during preproduction because planned obsolescence isn't built into the computer. Haven't looked anywhere else for a computer and don't plan to. Simply the best on the market and will be for a long time coming.
    They have just added an additional backshell that is awesome. Keep it going Hammerhead!

  12. I am looking to buy my first cycle computer and I am at a loss of which way to go. I don’t want to spend a fortune so was looking at the edge 520 plus or the wahoo bolt if any one has any advice. This looks interesting as mapping and navigation is the big thing for me as I am hopeless without it.
    I have used Garmin motorcycle sat navs and can’t fault them, so I am leaning towards Garmin over Wahoo at the min.

  13. GCN in pretty much every video: this is lighter, so therefore it's better.
    GCN in a paid ad: the unit feels pretty weighty and substantial in your hand, and that's because there's just so much tech crammed inside it, and it also has a really robust construction.

    According to Karoo's website, its 168 g, $400, and uses Android 6. It lacks modern features such as Bluetooth 5, USB-C, Galileo, Dual frequency GNSS, 5 GHz WiFi, Android 10. It's unclear if the screen is on all the time, or if you need to wake in, neither this demo nor their website mentions it. Is it readable in sunlight? 8.5 GB usable storage can get tight if you install other map apps.

    Overall it looks like an interesting device that I would consider if I was buying a bike computer now, but there's room for improvements if they release a newer version.

  14. have been getting ads on FB for this….I have a garmin 520 at the moment, but have been considering upgrading to something with better routing. It is rather large though

  15. Oh this thing is out? I heard the initial kickstarter process took FOREVER to get the deliveries out… Ended up with a wahoo instead since the company was more established.

  16. Ok so it's Android based but I'll take future proof updates with a pinch of salt, it's more likely the manufacturer will push a revised product over supporting it.

  17. Decent take, but a bit too much of an ad to be called a review. I checked the DC Rainmaker review immediately after and was put off right away.

  18. Children, the “UK” used to be a coagulation of countries, kinda like an abusive relationship, on the isles in the North Sea. It became the post-apocalyptic open-sky amusement park that it is starting with the end of the reign of Boris I. You're welcome.

  19. I still have an edge 520 and will use it till it breaks. It only has “bread crumb” navigation, not true navigation. Other than that, I’ve had minimal issues with it. GPS is great, but we should try not to become over reliant on it when out on a ride. I like getting use to street signs.

  20. I've had mine for over a year now and LOVE it! You didn't really show the data screens in the video, but the display is much bigger than competitive devices and has high DPI as well. It's bright, displays all the metrics I need (even upcoming elevation) and the routing is just AMAZING. I've never used maps and routing as much as I have this past year and the Karoo has been flawless. They're constantly releasing upgrades and it's improving all the time. One thing…the battery life is around 10-11 hours, not the stated 15…I don't think anyone in the community has ever realized 15 hours of battery life under normal use.

  21. The size of the bezels on this and other bike computers are HUGE! These companies need to take a cue from every smartphone company and modernize to edge-to-edge displays.

  22. Never ever need in the UK……LMAO – Sweet
    I have been an State side American for 61 years born and raised and I have never said Raout…its always been route or routing…but hey my heritage is 4th generation Welsh. It must be genetically encoded. LOL

  23. Great device! I've owned one since June 2109 and especially enjoy the reroute feature when you get off route, maybe because of an unexpected road closure. The Karoo will get you back on route much like car navigation. The color display is easy to read as well.

  24. @GCNTech – You did a segment once on whether we need cycling computers at all. But what about doing a segment on whether we need cycling computers if we can just put up a smartphone on our handlebars?

  25. I love using my Hammerhead. One thing missed in the review, however, is the installation and use of the tether. This is a huge thing NOT to miss. Ask me why 😉 My riding buddies always smart off asking if I'm watching the game on the big screen — but funny how they always want to look at maps on my device.

  26. I bought one one 3 weeks ago, customer support is second to none and the user interface is high quality and intuitive. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a better alternative than the mainstream devices out there.

  27. Your video solde me and I impulse bought one. Now that it's in the mail I'm having second thoughts . Looks like Karoo does not support things like "smart lights" and there is STILL no Di2 (or eTap) compatibility. They at least purport to have a very generous return policy (45 days no questions asked and free return shipping) so I guess give it a whirl and see

  28. I, too, own a Karoo. I had read a bunch of negative reviews that were from the first year it was out and had some growing pains. So, hearing you could try it for 45 days, and having just had a mediocre experience with the Garmin Edge 530, I thought it couldn't hurt to give it a whirl. After a week of riding with it, I knew I would not be returning it. The size was strange at first, but I soon forgot about it and just enjoy the incredible performance, screen clarity and simplicity. Can't imagine going back to a low resolution screen like a Garmin or Wahoo.

  29. When will a GPS compete with the old school Garmin Etrex 20x? tons of bike packers still rocking them, some covertly while sponsored by Wahoo. I just need something dependable like the Etrex that can also upload routes from Komoot like new Garmin's. But I don't need all the dribble in new Garmin units.

  30. Finally a game changer… Android, responsive touch screen, high def, gorilla glass etc like a smartphone. Now the big players have to up their game (Garmin). Thanks Hammerhead Karoo.

  31. Another happy Karoo owner here! I travel around the world with work and my bike often comes with me. Free world wide maps and exceptional navigation and map detail has been a huge bonus for me! So far I have used mine in China, USA, UK and the Bahamas. No problems at all! Excellent data screens with great visual colour shifts for Power and Heart Rate. I would like to see Di2 integration and light networks in future updates but those are the only things I miss from my edge 1000.

  32. Bought mine today (my MIO 605HC died on Saturday in an altercation with an automobilist; not a big loose, it was a really bad GPS). I hope Hammerhead Karoo is the GPS of my dreams !

  33. I think this is too much, just put your phone on a phone holder and use it
    And android by the time can evolute it can just start bugging and blocking 😂
    Garmin is one and only choice 😋

  34. I have owned a Karoo for around 18 months and used it consistently since, in planning and plotting routes across the U.K. & Europe. The dashboard is super easy to use and draw up routes and the screen is fantastic especially in areas where you are unfamiliar. It often includes water points, toilets and cafes for those all important emergencies. The software is upgraded most months and it’s usability has improved markedly from 18 months ago. The screen size and quality make it the option to use for long routes and touring. I have not regretted the purchase and recommend it over other more popular makes for the mapping and screen.

  35. The Karoo is a science project and marketing hype. Experience is hit or miss and there is no consistency to the quality of the devices being delivered to those who purchase. I've owned it for over a year and it hasn't worked reliably in that entire time. Many times software updates have caused deeper ongoing problems than the ones they have fixed. Many people experience Issues with the mount breaking because it is not robust enough to support the weight of the unit..in some cases a total loss of their device if the safety tether wasn't in place. Many times at around 30-40% power the unit has turned off in the middle of the ride without the ability to reconnect to that ride. Battery life isn't anywhere near 15 hours…more like 8 and lucky to get 10. The route import feature works really well, true, but the TBT sucks and is not reliable. Software fail! There is NO SOUND/beeping so no upcoming turn indicator or off course indicator unless you are looking at the screen. This can be dangerous when riding in an area with a lot of traffic or people and where turns are more frequent because you are looking at the screen trying to navigate so you don't miss a turn. All the things described in this promo video work some of the time but my personal experience is that none of them have worked all of the time. They have closed the user group on facebook to the general public because there are so many ongoing issues being discussed. It has potential but unless you are a techie and want to be part of a long-term beta test stick with Garmin or Wahoo for now. Seriously, it's not worth it until they get the software under control and reduce the weight. In other words, if you care about recording your data (accurately) and riding your bike rather than fixing your head unit – stick with a proven entity. If Hammerhead gave me the option to return my unit for a full refund today they wouldn't have to ask me twice.

  36. Is there a function or an app on this device, that shows you live, based on the power reading and the FTP value, your current W', which is in short your anaerobe capacity? I would appreciate it a lot.

  37. Just ordered before i saw this, glad review and comments good – looking forward to actually being able to see the route unlike my old Garmin

  38. Another happy Karoo customer – I was one of the original early adopters and now part of ATG. Sure like any new device it has had some teething problems, but I love it and after awhile running my Garmin in parallel (just to be safe) I ditched the Garmin long time ago. You will not be sorry and I for one can't wait for new features to be announced – like verbal navigation.

  39. Just finished French subtitles for this video :-). The Karoo is great, but still need improvements (create workout linked with training zone. And the possibility to create a route without internet connection)

  40. Sounds interesting! I'm very happy with Wahoo for what I do right now, but if I'll ever go on a cycling trip I'll probably check this one out.

  41. I'm cycling from the north of France to the north of Spain. I was wondering would it pick cycle paths for me or less busy roads like say Google maps would having chosen bicycle as the means of transport.

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