Hammerhead has announced it has added ANT+ LEV e-bike functionality to its Karoo 2 GPS computer. Features like battery life and range remaining versus route distance remaining can now be displayed alongside your normal ride stats.
Let’s break this down. What is ANT+ LEV? ANT stands for “Advanced and Adaptive Network Technology”, and is a low-energy way of getting sensors to transfer data. It’s like Bluetooth, but better. LEV stands for Light Electric Vehicle, aka, your e-bike.
Do all e-bikes come equipped with this capability? No. In fact, currently there are only a few big brand bikes that do: Giant, Specialized, and some Yamaha powered Haibike bikes. It’s all to do with the motor, and whether or not it uses ANT+. That being said, it is worth checking the motor rather than the brand though, as e-bikes using the TQ-HPR50, FSA E-System Hub Motor, and some MAHLE Smartbike System motors also have ANT+ connectivity.
Garmin and Wahoo have already implemented similar updates, although the list of features from Hammerhead is a little bit longer. It includes:
- Battery Life
- Range Remaining vs Route Distance Remaining
- Battery Burn Rate
- Estimated Range Remaining
- Assist Mode/Level
- Bike Motor Power & Combined Power
Interestingly, if you think about the bikes that do have this technology, they’re already likely to come with a screen. Many Specialized Turbo bikes come with some sort of head unit that can already tell you how much battery you’ve got left, and all that other fun e-bike stuff that can either make or break your range anxiety.
So how does it compare to other popular cycling computers? If you want to use a Garmin Edge, you’ll need to download a separate app from the Garmin Connect IQ Store, and functionality looks more limited to battery level and assist mode level. Wahoo goes a little bit more in depth and can display distance travelled, remaining battery life and range, current speed, current assist mode, charge cycle count and more.
But do you need a separate head unit to display all of this data? If your e-bike comes with a display, it’ll usually cover speed, battery level and assist level as standard. Higher end models may even show more in depth data like projected range without the need for a separate head unit.
So is the inclusion of ANT+ LEV connectivity something that’s going to entice e-bike riders to go out and buy a specific head unit? Unlikely. Instead, it’s more likely that if you already have a Karoo 2, (or Garmin Edge or Wahoo etc) you can now use it more integrally with your e-bike (if it’s compatible) if your current display doesn’t provide all the functionality you want.