Hammerhead Karoo 2 CLIMBER update

The Hammerhead Karoo 2 CLIMBER update is out. Do you like hills? Do you like knowing the profile of a hill while you’re tackling it? If so, Hammerhead has a feature for you. 

The Hammerhead Karoo 2 has grown quite a bit since its launch; it’s even grown a lot even since we reviewed the unit back in November. One of the things the company pledged was to release an update every two weeks. Sometimes the update brings fixed, and sometimes, it brings new features. 

A recent update brings an always-on (if you want it) CLIMBER feature, which allows a user to see the profile of a hill—any hill—while riding it. 

Previously available only during a route saved on your Karoo 2, CLIMBER can let the user know the length and pitch of a climb as long as the map for that region is saved on the device. 

Many riders have one big problem when climbing: they attack the hills, but fade before the climb is complete. This type of mid-climb fatigue typically comes when a rider doesn’t know how long or steep a hill will be 

I used CLIMBER on pre-uploaded routes, but I’m a wandering rider, heading to wherever the day takes us. I can start off doing a base miles ride and then decide I’d like to get some coffee and veer off my path to get it. CLIMBER is particularly useful for me since I often make up a route as I go. 

It’s also great on a few of our local brutish climbs, where we tend to get steep-but-short or steep-but-long climbs. You can stand and sprint on the short-but-steep rides, but most riders will burn out on the longer rides. A graphical display of the terrain ahead enables a rider to use data to pace themselves. 

Not every little hill is displayed, and it’s possible to dial in how sensitive you want the CLIMBER tool to be. By default, the hill has to be more than 400 meters long and a grade over 3% to trigger CLIMBER, but some shorter sprint-style hills activate it. 

CLIMBER worked for me before I even threw my leg over my bike to head out and test the feature. I live at the bottom of a very steep hill. It’s not long, but it does rise very suddenly. It’s the kind of hill where I hear the sounds of coasting hubs and whooshing tires all day on weekends but rarely see anyone headed up. Thanks to CLIMBER, I now know that it has a 191% peak grade, which explains why it sucks so much to climb it. 

CLIMBER also solves the annoyance of having a bike computer’s percent grade lag behind the climb. Since GPS computers calculate percent grade by measuring the amount of rise over distance, several seconds of data are needed to determine the grade. The result is that the bike computer typically displays the percent grade your climb just was. 

CLIMBER is another example of how Hammerhead designed the Karoo 2 with future proof updates in mind. While their bi-weekly bug and UI fixes are appreciated, it’s even nicer to get brand new tools from a device you already own. 

The Hammerhead firmware update is free and is delivered over the air. Owners of the Karoo 2 need only to power on the device on a known WiFi access point. 

For more on the Karoo 2, visit hammerhead.io 

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