If you are a regular cyclist, especially commuter, you will be all too aware of the dangers of cycling in traffic. During dark mornings or evenings bike mounted lights help a lot, but Livall hopes to improve your safety even further.
The Livall range of bike helmets are possibly the first smart helmets on the market and incorporate a variety of features to improve both your safety and ride. These include lights on the rear of the helmet as well as indicators which are synced up to a Bluetooth remote on your handlebars, this then allows you to indicate safely while moving through traffic.
The helmets also include speakers and a microphone allowing you to listen to music or take calls. It is also possible to use the speaker and mic as a walkie-talkie between other riders wearing the same helmets.
Design & Features
The model I was sent to review is the Livall BH60SE which is a road bike style helmet and currently costs about £99. Considering all the smart features bundled with this helmet, I think this is quite reasonable; a decent road bike helmet typically costs about £50 without these features.
The BH51M model won the ISPO Product of the Year award in the Urban category at ISPO Munich 2018, and this helmet has all the same features, but with improved lighting and a different style. This award is to highlight the best sports product of the year, so the Livall series of helmets has some good accreditations.
The basic design is very similar to any other road helmet you wear; it uses a polycarbonate shell over compressed polystyrene with soft gel pads for comfort. The helmet design is a mesh style pattern offering 24 vents for airflow. You can get the helmet to fit with the adjustable buckle at the back and the combination of that and the gel padding made the fit very comfortable during my rides.
Setup & Performance
The initial set up is just the same as any other Bluetooth speaker; you just make sure the helmet is charged, power it up and pair. Once paired the helmet acts just like a pair of earphones would via Bluetooth. You can then control the music via the handlebar remote, using the up and down keys allows you to skip tracks whereas the left and right keys use the lights indicator.
Long rides can be boring by yourself without music, and earphones can potentially be dangerous, so it was great to be able to use the speaker function out on a day’s ride. The sound quality is a long way off what you get in a decent pair of earphones, but it is more than adequate to keep you entertained on your ride. It is also handy for using Google navigation, as I have a tendency to get lost, I generally rely on this for my rides out. Most importantly it allows you to hear the traffic around you, so you significantly reduce the danger you put yourself in versus riding with earphones.
For the sake of testing, I used the “helmetphone” function a couple of times, and it works OK for a quick call. Riding into the wind I would struggle to make out what people were saying, but it was fine for me to answer and tell them I’ll phone back in a bit.
I used the helmet a few times on my ride to the gym in the morning and was able to try out the indicators. With them being on the back of my head I can’t vouch for how effective they were, but I never got into any accidents or got beeped at by angry drivers. Using the remote fob you can perform turns without moving your hand off the handlebar to signal, this helps improve your stability and in turn, reduces risks while making manoeuvres. I did find that I still used hand signals a lot, just out of habit. During daytime use, I would recommend sticking to hand signals, as the LEDs in the helmet are not super bright during daytime use as you can see in my short video.
You can increase the functionality of the helmet further by using the Livall app from this you can set up a group of other users that wear the same helmets. Unfortunately, as I do not know anyone with one of these helmets, I couldn’t test it properly. In the event of a crash, the app can also send a text to your emergency contact. This is an excellent feature for solo riders such as myself, I normally just carry around emergency contact details on me and hope for the best. You can also use the app to track your rides similar to things like Strava or Endomodo. I use a dedicated Garmin GPS bike computer, but it is a neat feature if you don’t have one of these.
This is a fantastic helmet; it is not vastly more expensive than a traditional helmet with no smart features. Any additional lighting a cyclist can provide to warn drivers is always a good idea, and while these lights are no very bright, they will no doubt help improve your visibility to drivers.
The speakers are perfect for long solo rides or the daily commute, audio quality is decent enough, and it is an ideal complement to Google Maps.
Serious competitive road cyclists may prefer something else, but I think nearly every other cyclist would appreciate the features this helmet brings to the market.
You can find out more information about the Livall BH60 Smart Helmet here
Please note that I was sponsored to do this post, but all my opinions are my own.
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Product Name: Livall BH60SE
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