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Cycling Gear Reviews

Lumos Smart Helmet Review – Brakes, Indicators and Lights!

The Lumos Smart Helmet has cracked the issue of easily putting safety lights on your bike, while keeping them in direct line of sight for drivers – build them directly into the fabric of the helmet. But then the company has decided to up the ante by adding in smart brake lights and indicators too!

Lumos Smart Helmet Review – Brakes, Indicators and Lights! – What more could a commuter want?

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I have come to accept that my pedals have batteries, that I need to keep my gears charged, and that my GPS seems to consume as juice as my phone is not a great surprise. I THOUGHT I had stopped being surprised by #FirstWorldProblems. However, I genuinely hadn’t considered that one day I might be expected to need to update the firmware ON A BIKE HELMET!

Ladies and Gents, I give you another entry to the universe of “smart” things, the Lumos Smart Bike Helmet.

So what is it about the Lumos which makes it smart? Plenty of bike lights can be affixed to helmets, and some commuter lights, such as See.Sense ICON already features the functionality to highlight drivers to your change of speed.

The Lumos helmet goes one step further. More than merely having a light integrated into the helmet, Lumos, also helps you communicate with drivers and other road users through the inclusion turn signals in the structure of the helmet, controlled from the wireless handlebar buttons.

Nicely integrated safety lights, at head height and directly in a drivers line of sight, with additional signalling features all hopefully combining to reduce the chance of you becoming another road traffic statistic – which is the underlying drive for the team behind the original Lumos Kickstarter campaign.

“Lumos is about cycling safety. We want to build the products that make cyclists feel safer and more confident on the road.” Eu-wen Ding

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Lumos Smart Helmet Device Design

The Lumos makes a statement as soon as you get to the box. An eye-searing yellow.

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So what is in the brightly coloured box? Quite a lot saying that we are talking about a helmet. We have the helmet itself. A magnetic USB charge cable, wireless indicator switches, satellite indicator switches, rubber bands, and finally a Lumos rucksack cover

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Looking around the unit, there is a light strip of ten bright white LEDs at the front

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At the back, we have 16 red LEDS for the brake lights

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There are also 16 LEDs for the indicators on the sides, which are controlled by the remote

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I think the inclusion of front indicators as well, makes the Lumos relatively unique regarding helmets

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The remote is a relatively small bit of kit on its own, both LEFT and RIGHT rubberised buttons containing LED’s to confirm that your presses have been registered. The remote also contains it’s own battery to power the button lights, and communicate wirelessly

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The remote grows in height slightly when it is attached to the bike mount via a locking system. A system very reminiscent of a small Garmin lock. On the underside of the remote, you can see the charging contacts, to power the internal battery

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The charge contacts are the same as those on the back of the helmet.

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I’m well known for not liking proprietary chargers, but currently, Lumos uses the same charger for all the charging requirements. I hope this continues with any other products they launch. I do quite like the little caps which come on the cables to protect the charge plates. There is a small fin on the charger head, to direct you how to attach the cable. The two larger metal discs appear to be magnets, while the small copper dots are the actual charge contacts.

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As previously mentioned, the remote comes with two satellite indicator switches, to allow you position at the ends of the handle bars, or near your drops

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Lumos uses the same contact plates, again to make the connection between the battery-powered remote and the satellite switches. Meaning you have to be conscious of the way that you connect the pieces together or the juice won’t flow

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It’s a minor shame that when the svelte remote is attached to its mount, and then to the satellite switches, as the combination moves from svelte, to tower like. But I’m sure this is something which will improve with further iterations

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Focusing a little more to the helmet, we have a rotary dial, as is pretty standard on helmets now. The dial is of a good size and is easy enough to use gloved or otherwise. Either side of the dial are two reflective strips, so even if that battery dies, you are not completely black at the back

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The inside of the unit is again pretty standard, but I’ll be honest, for a product which proclaims the want to make cyclists safer, I was disappointed not to see the MIPS system added in. I would certainly have paid extra for a MIPS version

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In a small nod to the Lumos Kickstarter origins, “First Editions” can be identified by a moulding variation on the straps of the helmet. Not a major feature but still a nice point for those who bought early on via the Kickstarter

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On the underside of the helmet, at the front is another row of what appear to be LEDs, but don’t seem to have a function at the moment. They are not mentioned in the app, and I cannot trigger them currently. I have reached out to Lumos, and will update things when I hear back.

Update:

Regarding the three brim LEDs, these actually trigger with the turn signals to give you a small visual feedback so you know the correct turn signal is triggered. The LED in the middle, is currently unassigned, but we are working on features that will use this LED. We will be updating both the helmet firmware and app with new features during 2017.

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Certainly on the Kickstarter edition, are a few marks on the plastic which do look at little… first generation, but otherwise, the fit and finish are excellent.

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Regarding keeping the ride visible, I thought the inclusion of rucksack cover was also a neat touch with the helmets,

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Lumos Smart Helmet Specification

  • Battery life:  Lasts approximately 6 hours on flashing mode and 3 hours on solid mode.
  • Charging: 2 hours (so assuming you have the cable, certainly going to be ok for the commute!)
  • Lights: 10 White forwards LEDS, 16 red and 16 orange on rear
  • Weight: 440g
  • Certifications:
    • CPSC in the United States (CPSC 16 CFR Part 1203)
    • EN1078 in Europe Lumos also meets all other requisite standards required of consumer electronic devices set by the FCC and CE.
  • Wireless communications for indicator communications
  • MIPS: No (This is a real shame, as I’ve previously said I wouldn’t buy another helmet without MIPS, – see my review here for why)
  • The automatic warning light is currently in beta – as the feature affects battery life it is currently turned off by default – but can be activated by the user from the app

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Using the Lumos Smart Helmet

When you switch the Lumos helmet on. You need to give a single light press to the back power button, such that it beeps once, and the green light under the button flashes

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I was initially having trouble where I would switch the helmet on, with a long press until it beeped and the lights all would come on. However, I wasn’t able to then control the helmet indicators with the remote. It turns out, that by long pressing the button, I was putting the helmet into pairing mode! DOH! Anyway problem solved!

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Speaking of pairing mode. The Lumos is a smart helmet as the name would suggest, so that means before you really get any benefit out of it, you need to download the app – iOS Lumos App, Android Lumos App

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Once the app is downloaded, you need to pair the helmet which is relatively swift procedure, before then pairing the remote

TitaniumGeek IMG_2571 Lumos Smart Helmet Review - Brakes, Indicators and Lights! Smart lights See.Sense safety Lumos lights kickstarter helmet cycling bike helmet app   As with any smart device, once the system is paired and working, you need to check for firmware updates

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The app allows you to check the battery of your helmet and remotes – It will also allow you to choose when you are notified about the battery level, which  I quite like

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The Lumos also has a built-in speaker, to add auditory tones when you are signalling

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Attaching the Lumos Smart Helmet Remotes to Your Bike

Once the helmet has been setup, and you have charged everything up, it is time to attach things to your bike. The remotes are attached with simple rubber bands, and so should be able to attach to any pair of handlebars without issue.

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The remote units do sit a little proud, but you have to remember the remotes, and the concept of the Lumos helmet, is really for commuting bikes, rather than an aero package for racing.

In reality, the team have managed to create a very good, and easily installed system, which frankly has no rivals  – This is particularly the case when you think about the satellite shifters

TitaniumGeek IMG_0110-1024x768 Lumos Smart Helmet Review - Brakes, Indicators and Lights! Smart lights See.Sense safety Lumos lights kickstarter helmet cycling bike helmet app   I have personally found that the satellite remotes fit nicely beside my shifters, for access with my thumbs when riding

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Now let’s be honest; the cables are an issue. When you install the satellites, they look a little like you have just wrapped cables around your handlebars. BUT if you wanted to go to the extra effort of re-taping the bars on your commuter bike, I think you’d have a tremendously slick package – it is certainly on my to-do list!

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Frankly, the helmet fits nicely, if not quite as comfortable as some other helmets like the Giro Synthe. But we are talking about VERY different beasts there and for a commuter helmet, with the lights and functionality that the Lumos helmet offers, I’m happy to make that small concession

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Lumos Smart Helmet Awards

Lumos has quite rightly begun to set up a trophy cabinet, having started to win awards for their helmet design

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Lumos Smart Helmet Conclusion

Currently, the Lumos is my main commuting helmet, and I cant see me swapping to anything else in the mean time – until they bring out a MIPS version – TAKE MY MONEY!!!

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The team behind Lumos, have some very clear, but lofty goals. They genuinely believe that they may be able to have a significant impact on cycling safety for all cyclists. There are a lot of products on the market which state the same goals. However, by creating a safety device, which both protects you in a crash and also hopes to reduce the likelihood of a collision in the first place Lumos might actually achieve their aim. Again the stylish packaging, and the use of a product that ALL cyclists should be using when on the bike outside – a helmet – means this goal is for once, not just hyperbole.

Again the stylish packaging, and the use of a product that ALL cyclists should be using when on the bike outside – a helmet – means this goal is for once, not just hyperbole.

If you are looking to purchase a commuter helmet at the moment, or even some new bike lights, assuming you are happy with the fit, I HIGHLY recommend looking at Lumos helmet!

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At this stage, it is worth while also pointing out that Lumos has a referral program. The TitaniumGeek referral link is here – everyone has a referral link who buys a Lumos, and this system can help them earn credits for further helmets. As I already have my own helmet, any proceeds from using the TitaniumGeek link will be donated, in the form of helmets, to charities in Warwickshire who will know people to whom they will help and protect the most

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James Gill

Author of TitaniumGeek, which started after smashing off my RIGHT elbow. Feel free to drop me a line about sports tech, medicine, or frankly anything that you want to chat about!!