Each new day brings about a new technological innovation, and bike helmets have not been left alone. Paired with sophisticated features, like mobile apps, communication channels, LEDs, and even speakers, the smart bike helmet looks to give your cycling experience a modern twist. The Bluetooth wireless technology helps bring most of these features together.
But this piece of technology is still considered a premium and comes with a price tag to match.
So, are Bluetooth bike helmets worth it?
Yes. For a devout cyclist or even better, a cycling commuter, the features that are offered by having Bluetooth in your helmet only look to enhance your riding experience. For a newcomer, it might seem a bit too refined and pricey. But know that the features offered are fairly basic and are definitely worth the investment in the long run.
It is good to know that these helmets do come with different types and designs suited to your riding style, whether it be commuting, road biking, or mountain biking. Moreover, if you happen to be into BMX, then, we suggest you have a look at how you should choose your BMX helmet
But do keep an eye out for certain factors before getting one such helmet for yourself:
- Safety and Protection: Make sure the helmet is CPSC certified and if possible come with safety technology, like MIPS or SPIN.
- Longevity: Look for warranties of around 3 years without an event of a crash.
- Budget: An important factor for any buyer. Look for a helmet that provides features that you require that directly corresponds to your budget.
That said, let’s get started by first understanding some terms connected to this new line of bike helmets.
What is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard that allows you to connect two or more devices wirelessly or without the use of a cable. It has a typical connection range of fewer than 10 meters, so it is good for connecting to devices that you usually have within arm’s reach.
What are smart bike helmets?
Smart bike helmets are a new breed of bicycle helmets that seek to do more than just protect your noggin. Besides the usual safety measures, these helmets also feature mobile application connectivity, built-in speakers and microphones, and even LED turn signals.
Different types of smart bike helmets:
- Smart bike helmets with lights: LED lights on the back and/or front helps to make you more visible on the road. This is especially useful if you are biking in the dark.
- Smart bike helmets with indicators: Flashing LED indicators to allow you to signal passers-by, usually turned on with remote control. Saving you the option of throwing out your arms every time you want to make a turn, which can be dangerous in the middle of a busy road.
- Smart bike helmets with Bluetooth: This allows you to connect to your mobile device wirelessly and make use of some of its functions, like music, calls, navigation, etc.
- Smart bike helmets with Speakers: Built-in speakers will allow you to listen to music, take calls and navigation prompts without blocking ambient noise.
A typical smart bike helmet can be either of these four or a combination of them. It is usually up to the buyer to get a helmet with features that they require. In this article, we will be looking at the Bluetooth variety of the smart bike helmet.
Bluetooth Features in a Smart Helmet
Connect to your phone. The primary purpose of Bluetooth is to allow you to wirelessly connect to your device. In this case, connect your phone to the helmet. This allows you to access a multitude of features that you would otherwise require a wired connection, or even a separate device, to utilize without having to bring out your phone from your pocket or bag.
Buttons are usually embedded on the lower-front or the side of the helmet to help you access these features. Some brands, like Livall, also include a remote control in the package that you can attach to your bike’s handlebar. Or you could get the remote control separately.
Some common features that can be found in a Bluetooth helmet are:
- Listen to music: Listening to music is perhaps the most common feature that the Bluetooth has. The helmet will use Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to your phone’s music app and access its functionalities. With a touch of a button, you can easily Play/Pause your music. Raise or lower the volume. Even playback or skip forward to your favorite track. But music is not the limit. Using Bluetooth, you can listen to any soundtrack-like podcasts or radio
- Calls: Phone calls can be very distracting, especially during a heavy commute. You may have to park your bike just to receive a call. With Bluetooth technology on your helmet, you can do all of this with just a press of a button.
- Voice navigation: With a Bluetooth connection you can access your GPS app to help your navigation through the city. Voice navigation is a much-needed feature of any smart bike helmet, and being able to connect to your favorite navigation app wirelessly doesn’t hurt.
- Remote Control: Some smart helmets come with remote control for even better access to the helmet’s functionalities, like the indicator lights, voice control, music playback, and calls. These remote controls use Bluetooth communication to get their work done.
- Analytics: Many smart helmets come with their own app for saving your biking analytics. Whether it be proprietary or third-party apps, the data that is transferred to the application from the helmet is usually done via Bluetooth.
Other Features To Look Out For
Bluetooth is not a standalone feature. It needs to be accompanied by other peripherals or features of your mobile device and helmet to function as intended, if not better.
Speakers: Good speakers are a must when it comes to smart helmets. Speakers with noise cancellation without completely blocking off surrounding sounds are common to see in a smart helmet. Furthermore, some premium units also include bone-induction speakers.
Mic: The mic is usually built in the smart helmet, it is the quality that you have to look out for. A good mic will optimize communication and voice capture, which is very handy if you are surrounded by a lot of sources of noise, like heavy traffic.
Audio Feedback: Another highly underrated feature of the smart bike helmet is the voice prompt or audio feedback. Turning on the directional indicator, incoming calls, alerts from your fitness app, should all be accompanied by a clear voice prompt
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Are Bluetooth helmets safe?
Ans.: Yes. The Bluetooth technology is just a feature of the helmet and only comes after all the safety tests of the helmet have been passed. Most smart bike helmets are CPSC and CE approved.
➥ To know more, have a look at the safety standards for bike helmets.
Q2. What is the best Bluetooth helmet?
Ans.: We have tested and rounded up a few Bluetooth helmets that we believe are the best in the market today.
Q3. Why are Bluetooth helmets so expensive?
Ans.: Bluetooth is a technology that is available in most smart bike helmets. These helmets offer a plethora of sophisticated features other than just connectivity. These features crank up the price of the helmet itself.
Even though it has been a few years since its inception, Bluetooth bicycle helmets are still a fairly rare sight on the road. But it is gradually gaining popularity and with good reason.
Most of the features that a Bluetooth brings to the table are quality of life improvements. And these improvements are fairly noticeable and much needed for certain cyclists. One of these is that it frees up your ears from extra peripherals, like an earphone. Or that you can interact with your phone calls and music without even having to bring it out of your pocket or bag.
The only downside it brings is the price tag that is attached to these helmets. Smart helmets can be fairly expensive and can cost anything above $100 with some only providing the protection of helmets at a lower price point. So if you are tech-savvy and are looking to make the most out of the features of your mobile devices, then a Bluetooth helmet might just be worth investing into.