A very beautiful idea excellently achieved: yes, I start with the conclusion, because I loved this helmet. The picture that launches the article in the homepage explains (almost) everything itself.
A helmet with front and rear lights and turn signals: it also has an option, currently in beta version, that using a motion sensor placed in the remote controlling the signals, warns the sudden slowdown and turns on all the rear lights, imitating the stop-light. It has an application, currently available only for Iphone, but they told me that by Christmas they should get one for Android, which allows to set the helmet via Bluetooth and provides some useful information such as the level of battery charge.
Well, I overturned the roles of good journalism, starting from the end, but trying this helmet amused me: you should see the faces of those who cross me or come by my side…
I catch up with some notes.
“Lumos” is a young company created by young people. Who had a vision and sought for financial support in the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. A path followed by many people, but not all of them arrive at the destination. These guys, yes, they made it, and since few weeks the final version of the helmet is on sale. I should say almost final because, precisely, the Android app is missing and the “stop” function is in beta version. In fact, as I am notoriously little accustomed to electronic gadgets, I was unable to get it started when I needed it, i.e. when I was shooting the video closing this article. In the meantime, you can appreciate this feature in the official video and, at the end of this article, a video shot by me “posing” the helmet whilst activating the feature moving the sensor by hand…
Other video you can find here.
Some remarks: this helmet is useful to be seen and is not useful to see. It is a fundamental distinction, otherwise any evaluation would be distorted. It is not a helmet to wear for a night descent in Mtb and it is unable to light alone a completely dark road. It is a helmet for urban use: and we all know that in the city, being well visible to other vehicles it is fundamental. Then an additional protection, something useful to add to the lights on the bike or, as in my case when I went out to shoot a video and I forgot them home, to use failing all else. With the certainty to be always visible even from a long distance and the plus signals, whose only limit is that motorists wonder what’s that: it is too futuristic for them…
Having clarified this, let’s know this nice helmet starting from the package
The helmet comes in a bright yellow box.
Already full of information outside, including the indication of the size and the type-approval. In this version for adults the size is one (it seems like they will also produce a model for children) and has a range between 54 + 62 in circumference. The model shown is “Kickstart”, a name chosen to celebrate the success of the funding. I don’t know if it’s a single initiative for the first models (I would like to remind you that this helmet just went into production and this test is a novelty in Italy) or if it will endure, however inside the box I found a coupon for the purchase of a second helmet, valid until December 2016.
A series of icons indicates the various features and functions.
After opening the packaging, here is the helmet, put on a sliding cardboard base
Helmet, instructions and a smaller box.
Turning upside down the helmet, we find inside a tissue case.
The supporting documentation is detailed, in English only.
The smaller box contains the charger, the commands and the clamping rubbers.
The satellite to be installed is fixed separately inside the box.
Both the helmet and the signals control work with internal rechargeable batteries. The charging cable is the same for both and uses the USB socket for power supply, and the attack is a proprietary type.
A removable lid protects the contacts. It also has two magnets on the sides that guarantee the seal. There is a direction to follow, but on the plug there is no graphic sign helping. However it’s easy to know it’s charging, as the power button glows red when it is charging and turns green when fully charged.
I asked why they preferred a mini-USB socket and they explained it could not ensure a proper impermeability (the helmet in fact is water-proof) and would have not been so effective.
Let’s continue with the equipment. The signals control has two big soft buttons and its base from which can be easily removed by simply turning it. As we do with many bike computers. Fore reference I give the measurements of the base: 5 x 3 cm.
At this command are added two others, connected by wire. They cannot be used alone because without and independent supply, so they must use the battery of the wireless command. Basically we must use as a base the one with the wires and connect the wireless command on it. From this little base come two small buttons that will be placed where it is most comfortable. The aim is to favor those who prefer, for example, to obtain two separate commands at the end of the handlebar, thus avoiding to leave the grip to operate the direction indicators.
The silicone bands equipment that ensure the whole is very effective.
In the large photographic roundup here below we can see the helmet from various angles. We therefore notice the large ventilation intakes, the rear Led protected by a transparent plastic shield that does not undermine the brightness, the front Led also protected, the removable padding, the practical wheel for adjusting the fit, the triangular ignition button on the rear and just below the charging socket. The latter, as said, equal to the one charging the signals control, so we can use the same charger. One wire may seem inconvenient, but the battery life is extensive and very different between helmet and control. For the helmet I test 3,5 light hours continuously operating and over seven hours intermittent light. The signals control was flashing for more than 15 hours: a magnitude if you think that it’s used only for few seconds every time. In the future however, it will be possible to buy a second charger and, I hope, a second base for the signals control or a second control, so we can leave it permanently if we have multiple bikes.
The available colors are three: besides white, we have an elegant mat black and a bright blue.
The internal batteries cannot be replaced, but the manufacturer guaranteed me a life cycle that goes beyond that of the helmet, which should be changed every five years. As for every helmet, it’s a normal rule of prudence.
Making good use of the phone of a friend of mine, I took some pictures of the Lumos App and its functions.
And now it’s the time to look at it on.
The front Led are very bright and the shape is nicely smiling at you.
The rear light is an imperious triangle. I don’t know if is intentional or casual or simple design, according to which the chosen form is the one of the universal danger signal. However it is well visible from afar and the protective cover does not alter the excellent brightness.
The visibility is good even for those coming sideways.
Excellent when you activate the stop feature.
The rear direction indicators are two signals, needless to say. They light up with a warm orange, and the related button flashes also to warn us the indicator is on. On the front, below, we have a further strip of Led; as you can see in the video at the end of this article, when the signal is working, a single led illuminates on the right or the left, as a further warning we have the indicators working.
Signals work in the front also.
In this case too we have a good lateral visibility.
The pictures alone cannot show the real working or help to understand if this helmet is really useful to be clearly visible in the urban traffic. So I decided to involve a friend of mine, we installed a little cam on one of my bikes and I compelled him to follow me in the chaotic traffic of a hot Sunday night.
The street lights disturb the actioncam sensor, the traffic bothers me, but I can assure you that what you see is pretty quiet. Usually it’s worse…
Now the outcome, and I start from the only weak point: the weight. About 450 grams are enough for a bike helmet, but we must consider the built-in battery. But it’s a weight that quickly disappears as soon a s you wear the helmet, as it’s comfortable and well balanced.
It is not a sport helmet, so it’s okay.
I missed a front air intake, which is why for years I’m always using the same helmet model, which precisely has one. But here we have the leds, so it’s normal there is no one.
Besides this, only praises. A simple idea, a perfect manufacture, a precise and easy functioning, apart the stop function which will require a further adjustement from the manufacturers.
The visibility, according to those who followed me during the shooting, is excellent even from a long distance, as well as the signals’ brightness. Really useful for me.
Their activation is very simple, and having both the flashing button and the front Led helps you not to forget they’re working. I would have liked that the control was a little smaller, but this – maybe – would be detrimental to the usability, maybe when you wear winter gloves. Very useful the little cable buttons which avoid removing your hands from the handlebars, but if they were self-powered, without using the cables, it would have been perfect.
Perhaps the only real limitation of this helmet is its novelty. A signal is intuitive and perhaps those who are driving behind us or meet us at a crossroads will understand it. But the stop-light? How many car drivers would understand that we are slowing down? Of course, we cannot blame the helmet: on the opposite, it is very useful and it will be pre-eminently my urban helmet. And even in some training running out, when it’s possible that I happen to return at dusk or when I know I will meet some tunnels.
To who I recommend this helmet? To any cyclist riding after dark, to any cyclist who uses his bike to go to work early in the morning, when the gray dawn keeps us company, and comes back home at night; to any cyclist who cares about his safety and knows that being visible it’s more important than means, cadences and watts; any cyclist who lives on the pedals, like we do.
Interview with Hannu Stewart, Lumos team.
How did the idea of lumos helmet?
The Idea for Lumos originated with our CEO and co-founder Eu-Wen Ding who was riding and commuting by bike in Boston, USA. He often had the inconvenience of remembering (or forgetting) to bring bike lights and sometimes having them stolen from his bike. Further, he often felt the insecurity of riding your bike among traffic and cars not seeing him well. The original prototype (helmet with LED lights on front and back) was built over a weekend for personal use, however cyclist started immediately noticing the helmet and asking where they could get one with lights too. After a large number of cyclists had asked for it, the decision was made to actually build the helmet for real.
What cyclists you address?
We mainly focus on city cyclists and commuters, who often ride in traffic and during morning and evening when there is not much light on the streets. We do also have many customers who are using the helmet for sports cycling and road cycling as a training helmet, which they wear during early morning and late evening training rides.
How long did the trial?
We ran a beta test/ trial starting in January and officially lasting for approximately one month. This feedback was then put back into product development before final production was started in the summer of 2016. In addition to the official beta test period, most of our testers used the helmet for the entire spring of 2016 and kept reporting back to us until this day.
How many cyclists have involved in testing?
In addition to our internal testing, we have had approximately 70-75 beta testers all around the world in different climates and conditions.
Right now many of you are working in the company and your average age?
The company has approximately 10 employees and the average age is around 30 years.
You already have in mind future developments or other products?
We are continuously looking to add new products and make furthter developments to existing products. Right now we cannot specify details of these, but our focus is to build products that make city and commuter cycling safer and more convenient, so that we can encourage more and more people to cycle every day.
You shall offer for sale also accessories, for example, just a charger or other?
Yes, additional chargers, remotes, mounts and other accessories will be added to our website shortly so that people can get replacements or additional accessories.
That approval got your helmet?
The helmet has EU (CE EN1078) and US (CPSC) certification for cycling helmets.
Do you have a distributor in Europe?
Currently we only provide our helmet through our online store.