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Verdict: 
Helmet that packs in the technology, but could do with increased volume and decreased weight
Weight: 
400g
Coros Linx Smart Helmet
6 10

The Coros Linx Smart Helmet is a decent, well designed helmet with some really nice features and technology included. However, the bone conducting headphones could do with being a little louder and it is heavy for a road helmet.

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - bone conduction headphone.jpg

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - bone conduction headphone.jpg

As with seemingly every new bike technology, the Coros Linx Smart Helmet started off on Kickstarter, smashing through its $50,000 target and finishing on $319,765. The premise of the helmet is that it's Bluetooth connected, with bone conducting headphones built into the straps. Having ridden with a regular helmet and separate bluetooth headphones for a long time, I wanted to see how an all-in-one version stands.

Buy Coros LINX Bluetooth Enabled Smart Bike Helmet
 

Naturally the first place to start is the connected elements of the helmet. The helmet connects to your smartphone through Bluetooth and acts in roughly the same way as connecting it to a car stereo system. It means that you can play music through the bone conducting headphones, hear directions from your phone, take phonecalls (there is a microphone above the forehead, which keeps it out of the wind), and even has crash detection which sends a message to a designated number if it thinks you've fallen.

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - front.jpg

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - front.jpg

Key to all of this is the bone conducting headphones, which sit on the straps above the strap dividers. Compared to regular bone conducting headphones, it means that they sit slightly further towards the front of your head. On quiet country lanes these work really well for taking calls, listening to music or podcasts, or hearing navigation prompts.

However, when external noise gets up a bit, like when commuting through London, music is still okay, but it becomes difficult to hear calls or spoken word. This is a little frustrating as the prompts from the helmet, when turned on/off are considerably louder; it would be good to have the option of pushing the volume to this level for regular listening. Using it to take calls works well and I didn't have any issue when talking to somebody when on a ride in the country, although the volume made it difficult in louder areas.

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - power.jpg

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - power.jpg

Turning it on or off is done through a button at the rear of the helmet which is simple to use even when the helmet is on your head. Under this button is a dust cover which houses the micro USB charging socket. Battery life on the helmet is around 10 hours, which throughout the week meant I was charging once or twice. The technology on the helmet can be controlled through either the easy-to-use companion app or a smart remote which can be used to make calls, turn the volume up/down or skip tracks. It sits nicely on the bars and connects easily, although the battery it was supplied with was dead when I received it and needed replacing before it worked.

Aside from essentially being KITT from Knight Rider that sits on your head, it is also Consumer Product Safety Commission certified. I didn't test it in a crash, but it seems well made and likely to provide a decent amount of protection. Coros don't provide much information on the actual protection technology it provides either.

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - inside.jpg

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - inside.jpg

Fit on the helmet is adjusted by a dial at the back of the harness which works fairly well, although it would be nice to have smaller increments between each click and it could perhaps be a little easier to turn. However, it still provides a decent fit and with the height adjustable harness, it has a wide variety of possible positions.

Inside it has fairly thick pads all over, even with one sitting across the harness, which isn't too common. It makes it a comfortable helmet to wear, but it can get a little hot. Ventilation helps this to some extent, but it is designed as more of an aero helmet, with an elongated design, similar in many ways to the Specialized S-Works Evade. It has 16 vents, but if you're after maximum breeze through your hair, you should perhaps look elsewhere.

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - bone conduction headphone 2.jpg

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - bone conduction headphone 2.jpg

One of the knock-on effects of having a helmet packed full of technology is that it is heavy, at 400g. When you consider that the S-Works Evade (which is a very similar size and design) is 278g, you can see that there is a fair amount of additional weight.

RRP on the helmet is £179.99, which is relatively expensive given its weight, but when you have a first-of-its-kind product like this, it is very difficult to say whether this is a good price. You can certainly get a lighter helmet plus a set of bone conducting headphones for less, but the integration is what makes this helmet unique.

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - tension system.jpg

Coros Linx Smart Helmet - tension system.jpg

Overall I liked the Coros Linx Smart Helmet, but it does have some elements that I would like to see modified in the next edition. First is the ability to push the volume higher to allow for better clarity in louder environments. Second is the weight, as it would be good to shave a few grams off to make it more competitive with other helmets in this price range. However, it is still an impressive piece of technology and if you're using it on quiet roads and don't mind the extra weight, it is worth a look.

Verdict

Helmet that packs in the technology, but could do with increased volume and decreased weight

road.cc test report

Make and model: Coros Linx Smart Helmet

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

A smart helmet that allows you to listen to a digital input without needing separate headphones.

Coros say 'The Coros LINX Smart Cycling Helmet enables riders to wirelessly connect their helmet to their smartphone. With Coros LINX, you can listen to your own music, take phone calls, talk to fellow riders, and hear navigation and ride data through our open-ear Bone Conduction Technology and a precision wind-resistant microphone'

This is broadly accurate, calls are easy to receive, connecting to the helmet is a simple process and you can listen to a variety of inputs from your phone.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Material: Polycarbonate shell with EPS impact foam

Ventilation: Aerodynamic optimized, 15 vents

Speaker type: bone conduction transducers

Speaker sensitivity: 100 � 3dB

Frequency response: 100Hz''20KHz

Microphone: Wind resistant, top mounted

Battery: Rechargeable Lithium; 10+ hrs play/talk time

Indicator: LED for operation, charge, low battery

Compatibility: Bluetooth 4.0; iOS, Android devices*

Helmet weight: Approx. 400 grams

Consumer Product Safety Commission certified

One year warranty; Impact exchange program

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Seems well made, it at least conforms to UK safety standards.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Performed fairly well throughout with the connection working fine, although volume did become an issue in louder environments

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Seems like it would last a while, although with electronic components it is always difficult to say.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
5/10

Really heavy for a helmet that costs £180

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Decent pads and fit, but could do with smaller iterations between clicks to help with micro adjustment.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Difficult to give a score on this given the unique nature of the product.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It performed fairly well with it doing the things it needed to, but it did suffer a bit from a lack of volume in louder environments, which was a little frustrating given the prompts it uses are at a volume that would be more suitable.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Ease of use was great, took me maybe 20 seconds to set up and go.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Low volume was an issue when riding in louder environments.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe if they can increase the volume

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes - if they rode exclusively on quiet country roads

Use this box to explain your score

It is a really strong idea that Coros have nearly got right, most of it works perfectly but they need to bring down the weight and bring up the volume to bring it more in line with what you could get for the money with a regular helmet and bone conductor headphones.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 29  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.  

12 comments

Avatar
LastBoyScout [200 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

No, no and no.

I still cannot understand why people insist on integrating electronics into helmets.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [706 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

If I wanted bluetooth connectivity, I'd rather have a separate system that could be inserted into the helmet of my choice rather than an integrated one.

Avatar
flathunt [243 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

No lasers?

 

pfft

Avatar
MandaiMetric [125 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
LastBoyScout wrote:

No, no and no.

I still cannot understand why people insist on integrating electronics into helmets.

I don't tend to listen to music while riding, but I'm curious, what's your objection?

I saw someone wearing a helmet with integrated LEDs at the weekend. Definitely not going to win any style awards, but I would say they seemed to stand out more than lights attached to the seat post or handlebars.

Avatar
50kcommute [70 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Bring it on.... I wouldn't buy it, but this kind of tech has got to start somewhere and evolve ...good on the people pushing the boundaries!

Avatar
TypeVertigo [348 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

I could see the bone-conducting headphone tech being useful as some sort of radio for competitive road racing and team communication. At least these guys seem to have it decently implemented as a first crack at the concept.

Would like to see what improvements they can do for generation two. It could be lighter, cheaper, and the bone-conduction headphones could be louder, but not too bad for a first effort methinks. It's not for me, but I can see the appeal.

Avatar
handlebarcam [979 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

They've let the standards of grooming go for Death Star control room technicians.

Avatar
Freddy56 [255 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

innovation...keep it flowing

Avatar
LastBoyScout [200 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
MandaiMetric wrote:
LastBoyScout wrote:

No, no and no.

I still cannot understand why people insist on integrating electronics into helmets.

I don't tend to listen to music while riding, but I'm curious, what's your objection?

I saw someone wearing a helmet with integrated LEDs at the weekend. Definitely not going to win any style awards, but I would say they seemed to stand out more than lights attached to the seat post or handlebars.

Because, essentially, I want my helmet to do one job and do it well - which is protect my head.

Any optional extras like this I'd want to be an add-on so that I can port them between helmets, replace/upgrade individual components, etc.

I will concede on some red LED lights.

Avatar
MandaiMetric [125 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
LastBoyScout wrote:

Because, essentially, I want my helmet to do one job and do it well - which is protect my head.

Any optional extras like this I'd want to be an add-on so that I can port them between helmets, replace/upgrade individual components, etc.

I will concede on some red LED lights.

It's an understandle point of view. I would say adding lights is a no brainer for a helmet. Also for commuters or tourers, adding earphones (and a microphone) to a helmet might not be such a terrible idea.

How did you feel when someone added a touch screen and camera to a mobile telephone?  1

Avatar
CyclingLegend [4 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I bought one of these helmets from kickstarter.  I thought it would be a good alternative to Bluez 2 conductiuon headphones for music and for directions from OSMand+.

I tried the helmet once and have never used it again.  You simply cannot hear anything from the headphones at all, even in the countryside with no noise from traffic whatsoever they are simply not loud enough to hear the directions with the phone audio set to full volume.

Avatar
earth [349 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

they should have just have sold the bone conducting headphones seperately with an attachment to fix them to a helmet strap.  Either make them a blutooth headset with a battery in or a wired set.  then you could fit them to any helmet you liked rather than reducing the market by trying to flog a helmet that customers may not want.