Hey there fellow cycling enthusiast! Have you considered upgrading your trusty old helmet to a new high-tech smart helmet? These innovative devices take bike safety to the next level. I‘ve done some deep research into smart helmet technology, and let me tell you – their cutting-edge features are game-changing!
In this article, I‘ll provide a comprehensive overview of smart bike helmets and outline the top 10 reasons you should get one. You‘ll learn how they work, their unique benefits, and which options best suit your needs. Let‘s dive in!
A Quick Intro to Smart Helmets
First, what exactly are smart helmets? They are the latest evolution in cycling headgear, integrating advanced tech features into traditional helmets. Some key capabilities include:
- Integrated LED lights, turn signals and brake lights for enhanced visibility
- Built-in microphones and speakers for hands-free calling/communication
- Sensors that track stats like speed, distance, heart rate, and calories burned
- Accelerometers and gyroscopes that detect crashes and trigger alerts
- Connectivity via Bluetooth and WiFi to sync data with smartphones and apps
Major players in the emerging smart helmet space include Lumos, Livall, Coros, Sena and more. The first consumer models hit the market around 2016, and the technology keeps rapidly improving each year.
The global smart helmet market is projected to grow from $384 million in 2019 to over $760 million by 2027 according to Emergen Research. This shows rising adoption as cyclists embrace the safety and convenience these helmets provide.
Now let‘s get into the top reasons I found to go smart with your next helmet purchase!
1. Prevent Accidents with Integrated Safety Features
Safety is the #1 priority for any cyclist, and it‘s the primary advantage of smart helmets. In 2018 alone there were over 850 fatal cycling accidents in the United States according to NHTSA data. Many of these could have been prevented with enhanced visibility.
Smart helmets have brightly lit LED panels in the front and back that act as constant safety beacons. This highly increases your visibility to drivers and pedestrians day or night.
You can also use hand signals to activate flashing turn signals integrated into the helmet. This alerts everyone around you when you‘re making turns or lane changes.
And the LED light panel will automatically start flashing when you brake to warn those behind you. This all adds crucial reaction time to prevent collisions.
|Helmet Safety Feature||How It Helps Prevent Accidents|
|Bright LED lights||Increased visibility to drivers & pedestrians|
|Turn signals||Alert others when changing lanes or turning|
|Brake light signals||Warns traffic when slowing or stopping|
According to a 2019 study by Virginia Tech, helmets with lights reduced driver passing distances by 15% at night compared to regular helmets. That extra space could prevent a fatal side-swipe.
2. Ride With Total Situational Awareness
Here‘s an eye-opening stat for you: over 25% of cyclist deaths occur due to inadequate visibility and failure of motorists to detect the cyclist. Smart helmets combat this with their integrated lighting systems that make you impossible to miss.
Another key factor in accidents is distractions – when cyclists take their eyes off the road to check phones or navigation devices. Smart helmets eliminate distractions with hands-free calling and audio navigation prompts.
You can seamlessly access these features just by tapping buttons on the helmet or handlebars. This allows you to maintain complete situational awareness at all times while riding.
Safety experts also recommend using a rear-view mirror or rear-facing camera when cycling to monitor traffic. Some smart helmets like the Livall EVO21 have a built-in rear-facing camera for this purpose. It gives you a live video feed of traffic behind you for total 360 visibility.
3. Track Performance Stats in Real-Time
Beyond just safety, smart helmets add a whole new level of utility and fun to your rides by tracking useful performance metrics.
Integrated sensors in the helmets monitor parameters like speed, distance traveled, elapsed time, heart rate, and even calories burned. A paired smartphone app compiles this data into detailed stats on your ride.
For example, the Lumos Ultra helmet displays your real-time speed right on the LED panel. It‘s motivating to see your speed increase as you pedal harder uphill!
You can also set exercise goals around heart rate zones, distance targets or calories burned. The helmet gives you audio updates on reaching your goals throughout the ride. How cool is that?
Analyzing these performance stats after your rides helps you track progress over time. You can adjust your training as needed to keep improving. It‘s a handy tool for athletes training for cycling races or triathlons.
4. Get Help Faster With Crash Detection Alerts
We all hope to never actually need our helmets in a crash. But accidents happen sometimes, and smart helmets can potentially save lives when they do.
Integrated accelerometer and gyroscope sensors detect sudden impacts like those occurring during a collision. This triggers the helmet to immediately send out emergency notifications by text or phone call so you can get medical assistance quickly.
Smart helmets connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone app that allows you to pre-program up to 3 emergency contacts who will be alerted. The alert provides your location and details on the incident timing/severity derived from sensor data.
Some helmets like the Lumos Ultra also have an SOS button you can manually trigger if injured but able to call for help yourself.
Quick emergency response can prove crucial for recovery in serious crashes. This can literally be lifesaving technology.
5. Never Get Lost With Integrated GPS
Finding yourself lost in an unfamiliar area is another common cycling scenario that smart helmets can prevent. Their integrated GPS navigation keeps you confidently on the best route at all times.
Through the paired smartphone app, you can pre-program any route – either custom or suggested bike-friendly routes – directly into your helmet. As you ride, the helmet provides turn-by-turn voice prompts guiding you.
For example, you‘ll hear "Turn left in 300 feet" or "Exit right in 100 feet". Some helmets like the Coros Omni use bone conduction audio so you can still hear ambient sounds around you clearly.
The helmet also shows upcoming turn arrows right on the LED panel. So combined with the audio prompts, it‘s simple to stay perfectly on route without constantly having to stop and check your phone.
GPS comes in handy when visiting unfamiliar areas or trail systems. You can explore new ground fearlessly knowing your helmet has you covered navigation-wise!
6. Configure Your Smart Helmet From Your Phone
A major perk of smart helmets is that you can configure and control many features right from a linked smartphone app – no need to mess with small buttons on the helmet.
For example, you can turn integrated lights on/off, adjust their brightness or flash pattern, activate turn signals, and more.
The Coros app even allows you to create "light profiles" with different preset light modes for day vs night riding or different weather conditions. Then easily switch between these profiles as needed with one tap.
You can also use the app to enable/disable various activity tracking sensors, customize data displays, set fitness goals, and analyze your performance stats.
And settings like emergency contacts, GPS routes, and bone conduction audio levels can be conveniently configured through the app too.
This allows you to optimize your smart helmet quickly without taking it off or even while riding. Super handy!
7. Listen to Music and Take Calls on the Go
Listening to music or podcasts makes any activity more enjoyable, and riding is no exception. But wearing headphones blocked under your helmet isn‘t very comfortable or practical.
Smart helmets offer a better solution – just pair your smartphone via Bluetooth and you can take calls and access your audio apps directly through the helmet.
Built-in microphones and speakers (usually removable for easy cleaning) provide clear sound even at high speeds. Voice commands let you activate music hands-free.
You can also safely take or make phone calls on the go just by tapping a button on the helmet. The microphone filters out wind noise so your voice transmits clearly.
It‘s a pleasure being able to access your whole smartphone audio library for entertainment without wires getting in the way. Just be sure to keep volume moderate so you remain aware of ambient sound.
8. Fits Comfortably Under Any Helmet
You‘re probably wondering – will one of these high-tech smart helmets even fit comfortably underneath my regular cycling helmet?
Great question! The best smart helmets are designed to integrate seamlessly with your existing headgear.
For example, the Coros Omni was created specifically for use under other helmets. At only 2.5oz and 0.4in thick, you‘ll barely notice it‘s there.
Look for smart helmets with short profiles that sit close to the head like the Livall EVO21. This allows room for a ventilated helmet on top for airflow.
Many also have thin flexible antennas that tuck behind the ears. This keeps any protrusions from obstructing the fit of your primary helmet.
I suggest trying some different helmet/smart helmet combinations to find the ideal balance of comfort and functionality for your needs.
9. Safer Group Rides with Connected Communication
Exploring new cycling routes with a group is an exciting way to spice up your usual routine. Smart helmets make group rides safer and more coordinated.
Select models like the Sena Momentum have built-in FM radio antennas that allow communication between multiple nearby helmets.
You can be in constant contact with all riders on open-channel intercom. The Sena has a 1.2 mile range so your whole group can stay linked up.
Voice prompts notify when riders join or leave the channel. You can call out hazards, announce stops, and ensure everyone stays together and on-route.
For large charity rides, race organizers could even provide linked smart helmets to all participants. Then make important real-time announcements like weather warnings or course changes.
The group communication abilities transform rides into more interactive, coordinated social activities while preventing anyone from getting left behind.
10. Battery Life That Goes the Distance
What good would all these cool smart features be if your helmet‘s battery dies halfway through a long ride? Fortunately, battery life is not an issue with quality helmets.
The latest smart helmets use extremely power-efficient LEDs, Bluetooth modules, and sensors. Combined with intelligent power management, they deliver impressively long run times.
For example, the Lumos Ultra provides a whopping 15 hours of operation per charge with max brightness. Most riders recharge just once a week with average daily usage.
The Livall EVO21 touts 7 hours in high power mode and can stretch up to 15 hours if using more limited features.
For most cyclists, one or two charges per week is sufficient for daily commuting plus weekend fun rides while keeping batteries topped up.
Some final perks are fast charging via USB-C and battery level indicators. Just be sure to fully charge your helmet before any long day trips!
Key Factors To Consider When Buying a Smart Helmet:
- Safety certifications – Ensure it meets standards like CPSC, CE, etc. MIPS adds protection.
- Intended use – Urban or rural riding? Group rides or solo? Match features accordingly.
- Comfort and fit – Try on with your regular helmet. Seek lightweight, ventilated designs.
- Connectivity – Needs reliable Bluetooth and WiFi sync with smartphone, apps, and other helmets.
- Display visibility – Bright LEDs visible from all angles, with smart modes and settings.
- Ease of control – Can features be activated easily mid-ride? Vocal commands and phone apps ideal.
- Battery life – 8 hours minimum for flexibility on long days. Quick charging a plus.
- Price – Compare value across safety, features, quality. Costs range from $100 to $400.
My Top 3 Smart Helmet Picks for Any Rider:
|Lumos Ultra||√ MIPS technology for protection
√ 15 hour battery life
√ Crash detection alert system
|Coros Omni||√ Bone conduction audio navigation
√ Sleek, lightweight profile
√ Easy control from smartphone app
|Livall EVO21||√ Rear-facing camera for situational awareness
√ 7 hour battery
√ Stylish design
Prices: $ = under $150, $$ = $150-$300
As you can see, smart helmets take cycling safety, performance, and enjoyment to the next level with their integrated state-of-the-art features. I hope this guide gave you a comprehensive look at the immense value they add for all riders.
The rapid improvements in smart helmet technology make now an exciting time to upgrade your headgear. Trust me, once you try one you‘ll never go back to a "dumb" helmet again!
With a smart helmet by your side, you can tackle any ride with confidence and connectivity. Pedal on, my friend! Ride safe out there.