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Hammerhead Karoo GPS review

The Hammerhead Karoo GPS is a cycle computer designed to be a proper navigation device like no other out there right now

Hammerhead Karoo GPS
(Image: © Hammerhead)

Our Verdict

The Hammerhead Karoo GPS is all about that large touchscreen which offers smart mapping and navigation with deep level controls that let you edit routes on the fly, without the need for an app. A revolutionary device but it lacks some higher end metrics serious riders may miss.

For

  • Huge high-res color touchscreen
  • Superb navigation
  • Great design
  • SIM connectivity

Against

  • Weight and size
  • Deeper metrics missing

The Hammerhead Karoo GPS is a completely newly designed bike computer that leverages the latest touchscreen technology and design methods to create the ultimate navigation device for your bike. In this way it's pretty unique but it's not without its shortcomings – so is this a Garmin and Wahoo beater?

Hammerhead Karoo GPS: What you need to know

The Hammerhead Karoo GPS was designed with navigation in mind, putting the turn by turn display details at the centre of the experience. But you still get smart sensor connectivity and plenty of data readouts too.

This is definitely aimed at the touring rider, the less serious cyclist who doesn't worry about weight and anyone who loves a gadget that works without glitches or where restarts are required. 

Route creation is a dream and unlike the competition can be done on the device with touchscreen adaptations made to perfect it. This is thanks the fact there is no app with this device, as it doesn't need one – everything you do on your phone can be done right onto the device. 

But is this good enough for everyone and is it right for you?

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Hammerhead Karoo GPS

(Image credit: Hammerhead)
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Hammerhead Karoo GPS

(Image credit: Hammerhead)
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Hammerhead Karoo GPS

(Image credit: Hammerhead)
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Hammerhead Karoo GPS

(Image credit: Hammerhead)

Hammerhead Karoo GPS: Design and build

  • 3.5-inch 229ppi touchscreen display
  • 6.5oz heavy
  • Gorilla Glass screen cover
  • Tactile buttons and tough build

The Hammerhead Karoo GPS is the best looking bike computer out there. We said it. Yup, it's been said that if Apple did Bike computers this is what they'd look like and that's a fair point – this looks great. From the minimal edging and clean finish to the bumped tactile buttons and that stunning screen, it all screams perfection. Of course the downside is weight, at 6.5oz. But that's also the upside. 

The 3.5-inch display is the biggest you can get on a cycle computer and it's also the highest resolution at 640x480 for 229ppi. That is covered with Gorilla Glass for toughness plus an oleophobic layer to keep water off the screen naturally. This is also anti-glare for clear readouts on daylight rides. Touch controls are quickly picked up and natural for pinch to zoom and tap to waypoint mark.

The mount included is a little bulky but this works on the same system as Garmin so is compatible with lots of mounting options including the out-front style. This should be able to help it cut through the air thanks to its airfoil inspired design. The water-resistant sealing keeps everything safe no matter the weather and you don't need a case for this at all.

Hammerhead Karoo GPS: Features and connectivity

  • Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi and SIM
  • 12 data fields per page
  • Strava routes editing on device

The Hammerhead Karoo GPS is very well connected with support for ANT+ devices as well as Bluetooth. The inclusion of Wi-Fi makes for quick uploading of ride data but also rapid downloading of routes created on the website software. The option to include a SIM is nice if you want to stay always connected without the need to carry your phone. 

That screen isn't just for mapping, of course, it's great for data too with up to 12 fields that can be display on one screen. You can edit this easily within the device with the intuitive controls you'd expect from a software platform built on Android. 

You can use Strava routes that you've created to pull them in for rides but, crucially, you can also edit them on the device. Since the maps are offline you can head out and be re-routed even without a data connection. Training  also works with the Karoo allowing you to integrate it with your current way of riding.

Routes can also be added from files including GPX, FIT, TCX, KML, or KMZ. Since you have 16GB of memory, 8.5GB of which is spare for you, there won't be a worry of it filling up anytime soon.

Hammerhead Karoo GPS: Performance

  • Good offline navigation
  • Superb rerouting
  • Needs audio option

Navigation is simply the best feature here. Maps are clear and color coding is great with red as your route, grey as where you've been and blue if you're being rerouted. This works really well, getting you back onto the route without taking you back where you came from, as some competing brands do. The anti-glare and anti-water display really work well too for clear readouts whatever the lighting.

At the time of writing there are no audio alerts for turns which is a bit of a let down. However, with several updates rolled out each month it's only a matter of time before this is worked out.

Despite the size and weight of this unit, it's not noticeable compared to any others yet the extra display size and ease of controls really are stand-out features. It's well worth adding a few ounces to get that easy readout that makes a ride far more relaxed and enjoyable – unless you're out to punish yourself of course where seeing data through sweaty bleary eyes also works well.

Battery life tops out at 15 hours which isn't bad and is comparable to a lot of the competition. There is also a battery saving mode which allows you to turn the screen off and continue your ride while still recording your efforts until you get home.

Should I buy the Hammerhead Karoo GPS?

If you want a superb display with great routing and navigation that adapts to your ride, this is the best bike computer out there for the job. It also looks great and is super responsive in terms of touch controls. You don't need to worry about a phone thanks to that SIM option but with offline maps even that isn't really needed. ANT+ and Bluetooth mean you can use this with lots of sensors too.

The weight may be an issue for some and lots of the more serious rider features are missing like no Strava Live Segments, no structured workouts, no live tracking and no Di2 and eTAP support.

Hammerhead Karoo GPS: Verdict

The Hammerhead Karoo GPS is the best looking and best display toting bike computer you can buy. It undercuts the top-end competition in price and is smart and connective enough for tour riders. For more serious race cyclists it may lack the training support they want.

With regular updates and a focus on offering riders what they want this is always getting better making it a great investment for the future. The 45-day money-back guarantee is a nice bonus that makes giving this a try well worth it.

As well as bike computer reviews, we also look at whether you need a dedicated bike computer, while we also review and rate the best bike trainers