A normal bike helmet? Not in this day and age.
Cyclists should gear up for improved rides with smart helmets. From those with lights built in, to those with heart-rate monitoring capabilities and everything in between. Unlike other wearable fitness gadgets, smart helmets set themselves apart with their ability to work in rain or shine, cold or hot weather and always remaining comfortable.
Essential reading: Best GPS devices and tracking wearables for cycling
With their ability to automatically send out messages in case of emergency, these helmets are also proving that wearable technology is a new reality in safety.
Read on for a few of our favorites. While compiling this list, we’ve examined functions and features carefully and thoroughly. We try to test every device personally, but where not possible we took user reviews into consideration and dismissed devices with bad customer reviews and low ratings. This left us with the following selection.
The LifeBEAM Smart Helmet does a lot of things. It monitors heart rate, counts your calories, gives you an analysis of your performance and protects your head if you fall. Initially developed to monitor the vital signs of pilots and astronauts, the smart helmet was only recently made available to the rest of us as a wearable fitness device.
The technology inside the helmet reads pulse signals directly from your forehead as you ride. Two light beams are transmitted to the skin and the reflection is measured in an electro-optical cell. A 3D accelerometer measures changes in direction and velocity. Algorithms then remove the ‘motion-generated noise’, and process all of the data in real time.
Riders who use heart rate and are in the market for a new helmet should definitely give this one a close look. Rather bizarrely, the company also sells a smart hat and even a smart visor! They feature all the sensors of the helmet and are designed for active sports.
Lival has a range of smart bike helmets.
Livall Bling BH60SE is the top of its range. This smart helmet features built-in windbreak mic, 3-axis G-sensor, bluetooth speaker and LEDs on the top and back of the helmet.
Think stereo bluetooth speakers and a windproof mic for handsfree phone calls. This means you can enjoy your ride without worrying people may not be able to reach you. Furthermore, text messages sent through the accompanying smartphone app will automatically be converted into voice messages. When in a group, the walkie-talkie function cyclists to communicate with each other.
There are safety features as well. Once the G-sensor senses an unusual gravity acceleration, an SOS alert will be sent to a chosen contact or the emergency services. And lets not forget the lights for safety and visibility, including 6 LED rear lights for safety and visibility, 8 that serve as direction indicators.
If you are an avid mountain biker, the company has recently come out with the its next generation MT1 smart helmet. It comes equipped with an array of smart accessories to make your mountain biking adventures smarter and safer.
This smart helmet allows you to play music, record video, and connect to your smartphone all in one unique device.
The Airwheel C5 has a built-in high definition camera and a 150° wide angle lens capable of capturing 2K resolution video and photos. You operate the camera by pressing the buttons on the side of the helmet. The 2000mAh battery can record for up to three hours and there’s 128GB of on-board storage. Another great feature is the built in WiFi module which enables you to connect to networks in order to transmit your latest image or video footage.
There is also Bluetooth functionality so you can stay safe while listening to your favourite tunes and answering calls on the go. The microphone has windbreak and de-noiser filters to guarantee clear calling during your ride.
A crowdfunded project, this is an intelligent bike helmet that allows you to communicate your intentions to those around you without even thinking about it.
The sensors read your movement when you indicate which way you are turning with hand signals, and activates your turning lights. The lights are located on both the front and back of the helmet, ensuring that you are visible to others. Brake lights turn on automatically when you reduce speed.
The helmet also tells you if a car is approaching your blindspots. The front and back cameras scan the environment. This info is interpreted communicated to you, using the visor interface. A non-disruptive light under the visor blinks in your peripheral vision as cars are approaching from behind.
Unfortunately delivery to backers has been postponed considerably from the original schedule. The company is now looking at an end-2017 date.
This helmet is designed to serve the demand of cyclists who prioritise safety.
LINX uses bone conduction technology which turns audio into vibration that goes straight to your inner ear from the tabs of your helmet strap. This lets riders safely listen to music, receive calls and communicate with other cyclists and road users. With ears completely open to ambient sounds while riding, you’ll be able to maintain situational awareness.
LINX comes with a handlebar mounted smart remote so that riders can keep their eyes on the road while controlling their media and calls. An accompanying iOS and Android smartphone app is available for ride tracking.
The helmet also includes an emergency alert system and a G-sensor. When the Coros helmet experiences an impact, it will send an alert to your emergency contact.
Lumos is a smart bicycle helmet that goes out of its way to make sure you’re seen when cycling. It integrates lights, hard brake, turn signals, and helmet into a single cohesive whole. With 10 white lights in the front, 38 red in the rear, and 11 orange on each side, they’ll see you coming no matter where they are.
The included handlebar remote takes the uncertainty out of turning at night. Just push the button before you turn, and everyone will know where you’re going. The remote also has a built-in sensor that can tell when you’re slowing down (still in beta stage), and then activate all 38 solid LEDs in back to warn anyone behind you.
The helmet battery lasts about six hours in flashing mode and three in solid mode. Charging via the included magnetic charging cable takes just two hours.
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