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Cycling Cycling Computers and GPS Units Gear Reviews

Hammerhead releases Garmin Radar Support Update for Karoo

Recently Hammerhead has pushed out a firmware update to enable support for ANT+ radar units on the Hammerhead Karoo. I consider the Garmin Radar one of my post important safety items for cycling, so how has Hammerheads integration gone?

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Hammerhead releases Garmin Radar Support Update for Karoo

TLDR: The Hammerhead Karoo continues evolve. The ANT+ Radar now easily means Hammerhead is one of the best cycling GPS units on the market

I’ve said it before with the first version, and I’ll say it again. After my helmet, I consider my Garmin Radar device the most important bit of safety kit I have on my bike. It means that I can keep a safe line on the country road from a road surface perspective, and then when I get a bleep saying that car is coming, I can move it.

Perhaps more important, if there’s more than one car following me, also get that information, and visual feedback, so don’t move out again thinking the road is clear when it isn’t.

Even when out on the group ride, the Garmin Radar will give an audible beep, helping other riders to know, that there is also a car coming

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It has truly amazed me, how long it has taken for other companies to come on board, and support the radar functionality on their cycling head units. THE main reason I have continued to use Garmin Edge units as my primary cycling computer for the last few years, is directly as a result of their radar units. I genuinely love the Wahoo Elemnt supplementary LEDs, and the HammerHead ease of navigation, but without the ANT+ Radar compatibility, neither have been able to push to become my main cycling unit

But the dam has broken, and Wahoo in August of this year supported the ANT+ Radar protocol. HammerHead has followed suit, which will be looking at at the moment. Stages, and Polar, are still out in the wilderness, with a coming soon (maybe) sticker over their units,

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The thing is, radar is not Garmin specific, or proprietary. ANT+ contains a Radar Sensor protocol, it just happens that Garmin was the first to release the hardware. I do not understand why Garmin is the only manufacturer to produce the hardware. If we look at other items niche items within the ANT+ protocol, such as ANT+ smart lights, there is a raft of competing lights on the market, from SeeSense, to Bontrager, and back to Garmin. I do wonder, whether or not the radar devices have been considered to niche, or have to greater cost entry?

But now all the manufacturers, are finally supporting the protocol, and that means the existing Garman radar units, both original, and the current Garmin Radar RLT 150, Will work with different manufacturers head units, hopefully, we will see further hardware coming out from these companies

But today, let’s look at the Hammerhead Karoo Radar integration:

HammerHead Karoo Garmin Radar Setup

The first step is to update the HammerHead Karoo to the latest firmware, which needs to be done on WiFi as there is no separate HammerHead app. You have to remember that the Karoo here is basically a phone on your handlebars, there is even a sim card slot if you want to ride without your normal phone!

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With the update in place, hop into the sensor pairing menu by swiping across the home screens

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From the sensor menu, hit the add button, making sure that you are looking for ANT+ sensors

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The radar unit pops up right away, but as well is just showing up as a device, the hammerhead also identifies the centre correctly as a radar, there’s a nice little icon beside it. I think this is a nice touch so that you’re not just dealing with a series of ANT+ device numbers being identified by the unit, which sometimes can be difficult to determine, if you are running more than a couple of sensors, or repairing during a club ride

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Seriously, you hit add, but then you were given a small warning, from the Hammerhead GPS, very similar to that which you see on cars reminding you, essentially to be careful, and not overly rely on the radar

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After you wave past the safety warnings, you get the opportunity to rename the sensor. I think this is a worthwhile thing to do, particularly going back to the whole club runs, so that you know what you’re using and what is connected, and that we are not just looking at numbers

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With that, you are done and ready to ride. You know that the Hammerhead has connected to the Radar unit, as you see a little icon appearing on the top left, along with a sliver of white down the screen, to represent the 300m behind you

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You can simply tap the bar to make it disappear until there is an alert

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There are however no other at the settings the Hammerhead with regard to the Radar device. There are, no speakers on the head carriage, as a result, you’re only going to get a visual alert, there will be no beeps from the device. However, you can use a Bluetooth headset, but nothing directly from the unit

Riding with the HammerHead Karoo Garmin Radar

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So all set and ready to go. The radar connects in just the same way as your heart rate or your speed sensor. If you have turned the radar on, it will auto-connect the Hammerhead, and immediately display on the screen. Simples

When the unit detects a car coming up behind, the previously white bar, turns yellow and the car icon appears.

The icon has got both the direction of travel, and also will move forward as the car gets closer to you, and will trigger at a max of around 300m back giving you clear notice. The one thing lacking is the audible chirp you get from the Garmin or Wahoo units

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The Karoo will highlight a low Radar battery with a message near the top of the screen whilst you can dismiss it, it will be periodically be reshown to make sure you don’t forget to recharge… and that’s pretty much it. The Hammerhead works well, we know that the Garmin Varia works well in most situations. Wa – hold on! What?

Yes the Garmin Varia is not perfect, it a THOROUGH pain when riding in town, the beeping is constant, so perhaps Hammerhead has the right approach here? I must confess, I’m not entirely sure, as the audio alert on the Garmin and Wahoo units has the benefit of being heard by other riders in the group. Or me, if I’m watching the scenery going by.

You can get the situation where one car is masking the radar ping of another car. This is the main reason for Hammerhead putting their “it’s your responsibility” alert on the screen when you first install the Radar.

So there you go. Nice and simple. The Hammerhead Karoo gains more functionality – seriously check out the changelogs on this thing, the company are really adding functionality e.g. Di2 button compatibility at an astounding rate. I’m really thinking I need to go back and re-review the HammerHead Karoo as it is pretty much had a complete overhaul since my first review

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If you are looking towards Christmas and have the pockets, if you are buying for a cyclist, I really strongly suggest a Garmin Radar unit. I’ve never found a product that I love as unreservedly and every cyclist I know thinks it’s a great idea. Here is the review for the current Garmin Radar RLT510,

If you are in the market for a radar unit don’t forget TitaniumGeek has teamed up with Run and Ride for a 10% reader discount with the code: TIGEEK

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James Gill

Author of TitaniumGeek, which started after smashing off my RIGHT elbow. <br /> <br /> After learning a lot about olecranon fractures, I was introduced to the world Zwift, and slowly transitioned into writing about sports gadgets and the like<br /> <br /> Trying to keep up cycling, swimming and running whilst being a busy General Practice Doctor