The Lumos Smart Helmet previously cracked the issue of an illuminated and safe bike helmet. But in a commuter helmet, with safety as a driving factor, the lack of MIPS was a glaring omission. But not any more, let’s see what else has changed on the Lumos MIPS Helmet!
Lumos MIPS Helmet Review – The Best Commuter Helmet Available
There are many things which largely remain unchanged for years – take cars, for example, we’ve pretty much got the system down to a fine art. Then some bright spark says we can do better and put’s an electric engine in it.
Lumos Helmet did that when it first came out, re-imaging the bike helmet with the integration of bike lights, turn signals AND brake lights into one cohesive, stylish design package. Heck this helmet is so far beyond your standard helmet that the firmware has to be periodically updated as the company plays around with the accelerometer functionality
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 change the rate at which it flashes to highlight drivers to your change of speed, and if you are changing lanes.
The Lumos helmet goes one step further than merely having a light integrated into the helmet which can respond to your speed. The Lumos helmet, also helps you communicate with drivers and other road users through the inclusion turn signals in the structure of the helmet. These indicators can be controlled from the wireless handlebar buttons, or via an Apple Watch app – which we’ll dig into more later, suffice to say this is a helmet like no other!
The driving force behind the Lumos helmet is Eu-Wen Ding, the companies CEO who realised that more was needed to mitigate the vulnerability of cyclist in city areas.
“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
So the Lumos Helmet has upgraded to MIPS. You’ve seen a lot of the fanfare about it ay Eurobike 2017, but what is this yellow liner popping up all over the place?
MIPS stands for: Multiple Impact Protection System
MIPS is actually a technology licensed from Sweden – who as Volvo is keen to highlight, are one of the most safety technology progressive countries on the planet. MIPS is essentially a low friction liner within the helmet; you cant miss the bright yellow on the underside of the Lumos MIPS Helmet
The purpose of the liner is to allow the riders head to move withinthe helmet, in the event of a crash. What is the point about that? Well, it comes down to vectors. Vectors as in the direction of force, not Garmin Pedals!
Yes, I had to back to some of my A-level physics stuff for this. So here is an image from RopeBook.com which explains it quite well
What on EARTH does this have to do with a rider?
OK, you are bombing along. You get knocked off your bike by a car, coming out of a junction. You had a forward momentum, in the direction you were travelling, and now have a sideways momentum, with a vertical component as you are now headed towards the concrete. You are going to hit your hit, on the side you are falling. If we take the yellow dot on the above graphic as your head, we are talking about an angle somewhere between 140- 170 degrees. If you are a 100kg, rider, that means a huge force, up to 574kg is now going through your skull due to the change in direction. More than that, this force will be translated to the brain inside.
When your brain hits with that force, it too suddenly changes direction – think about moving a snow globe quickly – things are going to get messy. The fine spider’s web of neurones inside your head doesn’t like this, and they break. This is called a diffuse axonal injury.
In my opinion, excluding an injury that kills you outright, or is ultimately life ending, this is about the worst injury you can sustain. Full stop.
MIPS works by allowing the helmet to move when your head does strike the floor, changing that angle, as you can see in the below video from the MIPS site
By reducing the angle, the rotational acceleration, and the force through the brain is reduced. But does it matter?
MIPS has some pretty dense R&D papers on their site. I’m not an engineer, but from my interpretation, compared to a helmet that is clamped down on your head with no movement at all (not really likely) MIPS reduces the forces on your brain by 50%. If using a “normal” helmet, and we place Teflon inside to simulate movement inside the helmet (which will probably have less friction than you scalp would normally, so is a harder test for MIPS to compare against), MIPS by comparison still reduced the forces by around 12%.
To put that into straightforward impacts, that is a reduction from a potential 574kg impact down to a 505kg. That doesn’t sound like much until you realise that is nearly the body weight of many cyclists!
Should MIPS matter?
MIPS adds to the price of the helmet, without a doubt. You need to license the liner and is expected to add about £30 to a Lumos helmet. Which is a big chunk of change. From what I have seen from MIPS regarding force reduction, and my own experience working with patients with a diffuse axonal injury is an OPTION you should always opt for. Let me put it another way until the technology is replaced with something better, EVERY future helmet I buy will have MIPS. Which was one reason I was so hard on the original Lumos Helmet; a helmet focused on commuter safety but without MIPS didn’t make sense.
So now we have the Lumos Mips Helmet, let’s see what has changed!
Lumos MIPS Helmet Review – Design
The Lumos makes a statement as soon as you get to the box. An eye-searing yellow –
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 for hander bars, rubber bands, to attach the switches – but note that Lumos have dropped the satellite shifters from the Kickstarter version
Looking around the unit, there is a light strip of ten bright white LEDs at the front of the helmet
This front strip also hides the front indicator strips
At the back, we have 16 red LEDs for the brake lights
There are also the 16 LEDs for the rear indicators on the sides, which are controlled by the remote, or Apple Watch app
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 its own battery to power the button lights, and communicate wirelessly
The remote grows in height slightly when it is attached to the bike mount via a locking system. The system is very reminiscent of a small Garmin lock. On the underside of the remote, you can see the charging contacts, to recharge the internal battery using the same cable as the Lumos MIPS cable
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 that 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.
On the charge cable, two larger metal discs are to be magnets, while the small copper dots are the actual charge contacts. One change which I have noticed from the first generation helmets is that the magnets on the actual Lumos MIPS helmets seem much stronger, and hold the cable against the charge plate more firmly
Focusing on the rare of the helmet, you can see that the rotary dial cover is now of an etched finish rather than smooth. This means that the plastic is less prone to scuff
Either side of the dial is two reflective strips, which are now slightly rounded on the edges, and give a more polished look. Functionally they are also important so that even if that battery does die, you are not completely black at the back. The inside of the unit there have actually been several changes, and I don’t just mean the screaming yellow MIPS liner
However, when you look closely you can see that the new padding, has a much smoother construction, will hopefully prove to be more robust
The velcro squares to which the old padding was applied, have now become larger ovals. I’ve actually found the velcro squares if the padding gets a little worn, can be a touch irritating hopefully these new pads will be better wearing. Similarly, the cell foam of the helmet is now visible under the MIPS liner, as previously the inside of the helmet appears to have been painted black
To go along with the new liner and pads, the straps have been replaced, now with a clasp, to make adjustments hold better
|Under the brim, if that is the right word, of the helmet, are three supplementary LEDs, these actually trigger with the turn signals to give you a small visual feedback, so you know the correct turn signal is triggered – although if I’m honest, I’ve found them a little too small to notice. The LED in the middle, is currently unassigned, but Lumos are working on features that may use this LED.
Finally, you can also see a crucial bit of the MIPS structure on the inside – the elastic bolts which connect to the liner and allow the helmet to move, minimising impact forces.
Lumos MIPS Helmet Review – Specification
On the outside, save for the inclusion of MIPS, things haven’t changed. However, a general reworking of the helmet regarding material has seen a considerable weight saving from 444g with the Kickstarter originals down to 396g for the Lumos MIPS Helmet
- 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: 380g (quoted)
- 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.
- Communications: BlueTooth
Lumos MIPS Helmet Review – Manual
You can find the Lumos MIPS manual here
Lumos MIPS Helmet Review – Using the Device
When you switch the Lumos helmet on, a single press to the power button on the rear of the helmet will switch the lights on. Subsequently, further presses will cycle through slow, and fast flashes, before returning to a solid light again
Once the app is downloaded, you need to pair the helmet which is a relatively swift procedure, before then pairing the remote
As with any smart device, once the system is paired and working, you need to check for firmware updates, which happens automatically on the first connection. Oh yes, we are now living in a world where HELMETS need firmware upgrades!
As Lumos have now wow that most prestigious of unwritten tech awards, in that you can now buy their helmet through the Apple Store, it’s no surprise that finds during your helmet setup that there is an Apple Watch app as well for Lumos
The Lumos apple watch app allows you to use the gesticulations of your fore limb to control the left and right indicator signals from the helmet. In the UK, we normally just stick out with ever arm corresponds with the turning we are taking. But as most people don’t have an Apple Watch on BOTH arms, Lumos uses a more international flavour for RIGHT turn, getting you to raise your arm up. Just to make sure the Lumos Helmet and app know exactly how you are waving your arms, you have to quickly teach the watch your positions, which only take a moment.
It is worthwhile noting that you should really do this calibration with your bike, as the watch needs to know your normal riding position before starting
As the final part of your setup, you can connect your helmet to Strava and the Apple Health kit, to ensure the maximum amount of data is being recorded from each ride
On the slightly more mundane side of things 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
as we are talking about a smart device, that does mean smart notification, so you also can a nice heads up with regard to battery life when you switch the helmet off on any compatible watch you might have, not just the Apple Watch
The Lumos also has a built-in speaker, to add auditory tones when you are signalling, which I find quite useful to confirm that things are actually working, as mentioned before, I personally can’t see the brim LED very well if at all in daylight
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.
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. Personally, I find that I actually prefer using the buttons to the Apple Watch, as frankly it can be a touch unreliable. I have had issues where the Apple Watch would trigger a turn signal for no reason, or be slow in responding, hence I’ll just use the remote.
Not using the Apple Watch function also means I’m happy just to jump on the bike, switch on the helmet, hit start on the cycling head unit, and just mash a thumb on the handlebar buttons when I come to a junction. One thing to note, I say jump on the bike first, as the button on the back of the Lumos MIPS helmet is VERY easy to access riding along, so I’ve no issue, powering up the helmet as I roll onto the bike lane by my house
Perhaps on of the more important aspects for the use of the Lumos MIPS helmet is that I have found the addition of a MIPS liner has made the Lumos helmet more comfortable. Now that isn’t to say that the original Lumos helmet was UNcomfortable, but certainly, there were many other helmets which I found sat better on my noggin. Thankfully I’m not trading a comfy lid for a safe one now!
When it comes to using the Lumos MIPS helmet, I’d say the lights are to be bright enough for an effective commute in dusk light, but are a little dim in full summer sunlight -the fact that they sit high on your head does mitigate this to some degree meaning you stand out more to drivers on the road – again, certainly amplified in the evening . As for style, I actually had a few call out to me that the helmet looks cool, and several patients ask about it when on home visits on the bike !
I’ve also found another benefit of the Lumos lights, I’d not really grasped, it is an excellent way of lighting your way to the door at night when you’ve secured the bike in the garage!
Lumos MIPS Helmet Review – Conclusion
I personally dislike posts and reviews which read like adverts or tell you what to buy. It was part of the philosophy that I adopted when I began doing reviews on TitaniumGeek. My comments and opinions will be mine and only mine. If your product is rubbish, I’m actually happy to say that. Yes maybe a company won’t send me their next product, but more often I’m able to provide a constructive dialogue with the company to improve things subsequently.
I think that is a very important caveat, as there are lots of sites on the interwebs which will proclaim “This is the best watch/smartphone/bike” and then two weeks later will give a similar comment on a different product. Making the reader slightly doubt outlets overall value when it comes to a strongly advocated conclusion.
My views and opinions are exactly that. My personal feelings from interacting with a product.
With that, I have no hesitation in stating that now that Lumos has integrated MIPS into their helmet, the Lumos MIPS Helmet is the best commuter helmet you can buy on the market currently. This has come about due to the number of small changes required to integrate MIPS have to lead to an overall improvement greater than the sum of its parts:
- MIPS Liner simply making the helmet safer – no brainer
- New padding design – more comfort & durability
- New velcro to hold padding in – more durability
- Stronger charging magnet
- new Apple Watch app
Just these few changes have really made the Lumos Helmet a much nicer day to day unit, and with the added protection makes me much happier that I’m not sacrificing safety for the other smarts which made the original Lumos helmet a hit.
So there we have it, a 5* win. Yes the Lumos MIPS helmet might not be the lightest helmet about, but then again, we are talking about a city commuter helmet, rather than a road race helmet, so I still feel the five* is valid.
What are your thoughts? Are you a fan of MIPS? Would you have wanted any other changes? Shout out in the comments below