Review: Hammerhead KarooBy Scott Mares | Published Sep 13, 2019
It’s always nice to hear the background story on how a company came to be. Hammerhead was made by cyclists for cyclists. Basically they wanted something that did not exist and no one would make, so they went and did it themselves. Based out of NYC and Boston the company is eseally a software company. So what is a Karoo? I had no idea what one was or any idea what a karoo was suppose to be. With a quick search you will find out that its a where/region/location and not really a what or a who. The Karoo is a semi desert natural region of South Africa with a varying types of terrain. The founders of the company were very impressed with this region and its terrain that they named this device after the rugged cycle friendly area. Have you noticed that I say area? Well, because the Karoo in south afterica is loosely defined. So we have had some time with the Karoo and we have put together a list of what we liked about it.
- Big display screen, Love this thing. So easy to read when your riding and dong intervals.
- Super easy set up
- Super easy device pairing
- Touch screen. Just swipe no miss button pressing during a ride.
- Color screen
- Easy to use.
- Platform is stable and reliable. No crashes, no bugs
- Works as it should
- Designed for maps and navigation vs a bike computer that has maps added on.
- Maps are free! These are maps of the world.
- Rerouting. If you miss your turn it will reroute you.
- Based on Valhala, invented by a cyclist for cyclist.
- Just tap the destination and it will pull the route.
- Pairs with all the cool other things
- The company Produces new software every 2 weeks
- Just secured 4.2 million in funding. So these guys are not going anywhere.
We Didn't Like
Coming in at a portly 192g the Karoo is a lot heavier compared to our Garmin 820 at 63g. Bottom line the Karoo is 30g shy of 1/2lb, and you can feel it when you pick it up.
This next one is has some give and take. The Maps are so big/detailed that you can only download 1 state in the US. Hopefully they will expand memory to handle more. I don’t really see this as a problem for most. However If you were doing RAAM (Race Across AMerica) or some other multi day, multi state race it could come in handy to have the entire route.
Lastly its not at its true potential yet.
The Final Say
So what do we think of the karoo? Its pretty cool and after spending just a little time with it I can see the Huge potential that it has for a wide range of cyclist and uses. Being somewhat of a weight weenie I dont think its for every kind of racing. At least not for cyclocross, its a little heavy at 192g and Im not looking at my computer while Im racing. The only time I do look its only to see how much time is left in the race. However, I can say that is has a great application for training, road racing, gran fondo, gravel grinding, adventure racing and Touring. The GPS on this thing is sick especially when you zoom in and you can see the individual building with the name on it that you are riding by. Want to see if there is a cafe near by zoom in and they show up. The display is pretty awesome and after you use it for a while you will want this big display when you go out. It Super easy to read and takes less concentration/energy to read it. I have had it for a few weeks and I still don’t know all of what it can do. I also wanted to note that the company was really open to dialogue on how they can make the Karoo better. What features I would like to see on it and what other applications it can have. I spent 2 hrs on a conference call with Hammerhead on these topics and I can say that the future looks pretty cool in what this thing will be able to do.