“I hope she’s lit up like a Christmas tree!” someone once snapped, when I mentioned that my wife often cycles on the main road in the dark.
Bellicose tones aside, I do the Christmas tree look myself, when cycling after sunset. The Lumos helmet definitely delivers on that front. Not only does it sport white and red LEDs on the front and back, it also has LEDs lights that flash when you want to turn left or right. The lights are bright without being blinding; bright enough for other road users (and pedestrians, and cyclists) to notice, and bright enough to light up the bike shed when I get home. There are three main modes (solid, slow flash, fast flash), along with turn signals (flashing orange lights in the helmet itself) operated by a pair of wireless buttons strapped to the handlebars. The helmet beeps when it turns off or on, and when it’s indicating. I thought the beep was too loud until I needed to use it on a busy city road and couldn’t hear it at all.
The handy thing about the bar-mounted buttons is that you can swap from left to right blinking with one button press — handy if you are making several turns in succession! You also have the option of separating the left and right buttons by positioning them at the ends of your bars, using wired extensions to the main wireless unit. This option sounds good in principle, but you might find that the wires get in the way of other accessories mounted on your handlebars.
I’m told the helmet detects deceleration of the rider, making the rear (red) light shine brighter when braking — and have been told independently that this is quite noticeable.
I have tried other bright light gadgets on my bike, but the Lumos Helmet is the first such gadget that makes pedestrians stare. During city cycling I get a lot of pedestrians wandering into my path, so I was pleased to know I had their attention. Every other cyclist commuter I showed it to quite liked it, too. “Would you spend (low three-figure-sum) to buy it?” I asked. No one said outright No. However, it might make a nice present: “Well, maybe I wouldn’t buy it for me. But for my wife or son — definitely a good choice!”
Other aspects of the Lumos helmet:
- Quality of construction: solid, not a cheap feel in any way
- Look and style: like any other quality helmet, not cringeworthy
- Fit: excellent, easy to adjust, comfy. I wondered if it might be a touch warm on the hottest days, though.
- Weight: 440g – well above an ordinary helmet, and even noticeably more than a helmet with helmet lights attached (compared to a fellow commuter’s set up)
- Battery Life: seems to be excellent, lasting many hours between charges. However, it gives you no warning before the juice runs out; you need the Lumos smartphone app to be notified in advance.
- Recharging: easy to charge with USB leads
- Programming: easy to configure (eg, the audible beep pattern) with the Lumos smartphone app.
- Handlebar Controls: easily removable (for charging), so don’t leave them unattended!
About two months ago, a friend proudly showed me her newly purchased cycle helmet with built-in-lights (front + back). It was ok… Her new item was full-head free-style BMX shape, a bit spaceman like. I have to say the Lumos helmet is miles better. Not as heavy, has more visible lights, actual air vents, less naff looking, & a lot more functionality. The price isn’t modest, but for a quality and very useful item, I reckon a lot of people will find this helmet good value for money.
Any other possible negatives? After decades of sticking my arm out to indicate left or right, it’s a bit of a mindset change to put button pressing into my turning routine, too. I’m sure it’s a matter of just getting used to it. And the white light is not bright enough to light up a country lane on a dark night which might have been useful — but then again, it could blind drivers if it did do that. I am very nervous about dropping or bashing it, and it does NOT stay on the bike while I nip into the shops, either. I haven’t had a chance to test it in heavy rain, yet, although it handles some wet okay for sure.