New Karoo 2 update enables Climber overlay to work without a pre-loaded route

No other head unit we’re aware of has this functionality

Image shows Hammerhead Karoo 2 Climber feature
(Image credit: Hammerhead)

Hammerhead, the tech startup can count Chris Froome amongst its investors, has just rolled out a new “Predictive Path Technology” to its Karoo 2 bike computers. 

This enables the brand’s Climber feature to function even without a pre-planned route loaded onto the device.

Although other head unit manufacturers, such as Garmin and Bryton, do have their own climber features – with overlays displaying the gradient, elevation and distance information of significant climbs – the Karoo 2 is the only head unit we know of that currently offers these features without requiring a pre-loaded route.

“Our research indicates that 78% of Hammerhead riders don’t use pre-loaded routes for their local rides,” said Jess Braun, Head of Product at Hammerhead. “But they still want the motivation, upcoming elevation, and data-tracking capabilities that the Climber feature offers.”

Images shows Hammerhead Karoo 2 with full overlay and with half overlay

Left: Full Climber overlay. Right: Climber overlay in combination with maps

(Image credit: Hammerhead)

When using the Predictive Path Technology, the Karoo 2 will still show: a colour-coded view of the elevation profile, broken into 100 metre segments; the distance and elevation remaining to the top of the climb; and an easily accessible list of the climbs you’ve completed so far in your ride.

For more information on the Karoo 2's capabilities with the Predictive Path Technology, you can head over to Hammerhead’s website (opens in new tab), over here.

First ride: Hammerhead Karoo 2 Predictive Path Technology

From the off, I do really like the Karoo 2’s climber feature. The overlay is super clear, telling you the information you want to see, whilst also not overloading you with data. It’s also really easy to swipe the overlay away to check in with any of your other data screens – and then pull back again, to get the rest of the information for the rest of the climb. 

For the most part, using the Predictive Path Technology works excellently, anticipating the upcoming climbs and flashing up the overlay as it does when a route is already programmed in. There are a few limitations, but short of being able to see into the future or read your mind, these are going to be the same for any predictive system.

The first case I came across was when riding up a short ramp, before a brief plateau and a left-hand turn continuing up the climb. When a route is loaded onto the device, the Karoo 2 views this as one continuous climb.

Without a route, that short initial ramp isn’t enough to trigger the overlay and, not knowing which way I’ll turn at the junction, it wasn’t until I actually made the left turn that the Climber overlay appeared on the device. 

Almost the direct opposite, I also had times when I would be riding uphill along a fairly main road with the Climber overlay running, then subsequently taking a turn onto a small side road and continuing climbing but up a different hill.

With a route loaded onto the device, the Karoo 2 does recognise this as one continuous climb. Without a route, once you get partway through the one climb and take the turn, the Climber then starts afresh from the beginning of the new road, essentially splitting it up into two separate parts.

In all, the Predictive Path Technology worked excellently, though, and it is a feature unique to the Karoo 2. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for the other head unit brands to come up with a similar offering.

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