Shimano has received widespread criticism for its decision to force cycling computer brand Hammerhead to remove Di2 functionality from its Karoo cycling computers. The power struggle between Shimano and SRAM furthers the decline of open standards within sports tech, and it looks like this will simply have a negative impact on the consumer.
Thursday 2nd June is going to be a bad day for Hammerhead Karoo users that also use a Shimano Di2 groupset. Shimano has requested that Hammerhead removes all connectivity for its electronic gear systems, meaning that Hammerhead users will no longer be able to see information such as battery status and gear indicators. Nor will they be able to change their computer screen via the Di2 hood buttons.
This removal of Di2 functionality might seem like a small feature to lose, and it certainly won’t affect every owner of a Karoo or Karoo 2 head unit, but it will leave many frustrated with Shimano as the move could be construed as a way of reducing competition from what is a SRAM-owned brand.
The announcement has not gone down well on social media, with many voicing their displeasure at Shimano's decision.
As a Hammerhead Karoo 2 user and also a Di2 user, I would like to say #shimano you suck thanks for ruining it for millions of shimano user. #sram #hammerhead #karro2 is time for you guy to run a trade in program to get rid of this #shimanodi2 scrap. #srametap
— Cycling Conquistador (@Rubirosa_Fx) May 26, 2022
@ShimanoROAD all you are doing is driving your customers away. Reverse this stupid hammerhead decision. I'll never buy shimano again.
— Kevin Klein (@kevindkleined) May 26, 2022
Shimano not wanting to play nice with the Hammerhead/SRAM, go figure... pic.twitter.com/TBx3oUu1In
— Neil Beltchenko 🚲 (@Neil_Beltchenko) May 26, 2022
In a statement, Hammerhead said: “Here at Hammerhead, we are committed to constantly improving in ways that benefit riders. With each update and integration, we chart an intentional path of continuous improvement.
"Unfortunately, we don't always have the ability to supply every product integration we want for our riders. At the request of Shimano, effective with next Thursday’s software update on June 2nd, riders who utilized Di2 integration will lose access to a small subset of features. The update will remove on-screen battery status and shifter mode data, front and rear derailleur indications, and Karoo screen control via the Di2 hood buttons from Shimano Di2 drivetrains.”
With the above statement, Hammerhead confirms that Shimano has requested this and it doesn’t take long to realise that the move follows closely on the heels of Hammerhead being brought under the SRAM umbrella.
The statement continues: “Important note: all other Karoo 2 functionality will continue to work for Shimano riders, it is this small subset of Di2 features that Shimano has withdrawn permissions for until we are able to forge a new agreement.
"We remain hopeful in pursuit of a new path to provide more software features to Shimano riders in the years ahead.”
With the final line, it seems that there is plenty of willing from Hammerhead’s side to work to find a solution that will benefit Di2 users. But whether there is also willing from Shimano’s end is yet to be seen, and it appears the ball is firmly in its court...