Wallet, keys, phone, headphones, helmet, water – the age old checklist for leaving the house on your bike, but this bluetooth helmet is streamlining matters.
The ‘Coros LINX Smart Cycling Helmet’ contains wireless, bone conduction technology that could completely change the way you ride.
Whether it’s the commute to work, a leisurely scenic ride, or an intense route to improve your fitness, this helmet boasts an array of features which most riders should find useful.
So what is it that is meant to make this helmet so darn useful…
Bone conduction audio, bluetooth, built in microphone, ride data, emergency alerts, voice navigation, and a ten-hour battery life. It all sounds impressive, but in reality what does it all mean?
Let’s focus on the most obvious element and the USP of this helmet – bone conduction.
Bone conduction audio is an emerging technology that will allow wearers of the Coros LINX Smart helmet to listen to music and take phone calls while not entirely shutting out the world around them.
In theory this should make your rides far safer. There are no headphone wires dangling, or ear buds dropping out of your ear mid-journey.
In Coros own words:
Bone Conduction bypasses the eardrums and leaves ears open. Sound waves are converted into vibrations delivered through your upper cheekbones.
The Cochlea receives the vibrations, bypassing the ear canal and ear drum.
For cyclists this is super important because that means you can hear audio AND hear your surroundings as you ride, such as cars and other potentially dangerous obstacles.
So in less scientific terms, you can make calls and listen to music without plugging your ear, potentially hindering your awareness of hazards developing around you.
So for safety that’s a big tick, at least in theory…
Does it work in reality?
It all sounds good on paper, but UNILAD put the Smart LINX Helmet to the test to see if the ambitious concept does indeed deliver.
Russell – Three Mile Commute To Work
Here’s what Russell made of the helmet:
I had to move my phone from my jean pocket to my backpack to avoid interference in the bluetooth. The interference seems to be much worse on busy city streets.
It’s very well balanced volume-wise though. The journey never felt dangerous because I could always hear traffic over my music.
I tried listening to podcasts but the traffic made it impossible to follow narrative. Again this probably made it a bit safer.
I also noticed I cycle a lot faster when I have good music playing and the ride is a lot more enjoyable.
Scott – Six Mile Commute To Work
Scott was similarly impressed with the bone conduction audio, however he did have some concerns after testing on his ride to and from work.
The helmet is great for getting directions or receiving phone calls, it’s easy to pair and works well.
Music sounds okay on the ride but I found myself adjusting a lot to try and get a wider frequency range.
Also having a lithium battery inside something designed to withstand the impact of a collision is a concern.
If you have seen a lithium battery that is damaged on impact you may understand, although it has to be noted the LINX Smart Helmet has been approved by safety regulators in Australia, Europe, and the Consumer Protection Safety Commission in the U.S.
From my own commute, which is approximately six miles to the office and then back again, I agree with the previous two testimonies.
There are some minor issues with interference from time to time, so you are best to experiment with where you carry your phone or music device. If you are riding close to another smart helmet user you may also find you inadvertently connect to their device.
Likewise for the bone conduction to work properly you need to adjust the helmet straps to provide a proper fit, but this shouldn’t be considered an inconvenience. Given the helmet is for protecting the rider from harm in event of a collision I’d question why anyone would put it on without having fitted it correctly.
Once the fit is set and you have your device located ideally you are well on your way to an enjoyable ride – well, if you overlook the Manchester weather.
The new Coros LINX Smart Helmets integrate and turn your phone into a helmet. Checknout our Kickstarter Aug 10th! #cycling #bikestp #cyclingpics #kickstarter #cyclinglife #cyclists #coroscycling #cyclingphotos #bikelife #bikeride #weekend #motivational #fitness #smile #safe #technology #gear #cyclingphotos #smartphone #kickstarter
Value For Money
At $199.99 in the states and £179.99 in the UK the smart helmet certainly isn’t a cheap option – add to that the products lifespan of two to three years, although all helmets should be replaced in this timeframe or following impact to ensure their integrity.
Say you get a full three years out of the helmet, you are averaging near enough £60 a year for a helmet that lets you make calls with a wind resistant microphone for quality, listen to music wirelessly, navigate without needing to stare at a screen, it’s not a terrible price to pay.
Assembling independent technologies to perform all of the above would cost you more and you’d still be recommended to buy a new helmet every three years.
On the whole the concept is brilliant, and as technology does it should only get better with further development.