But some helmets can do more than “just” protect the head. They light up, flash, play music, are suitable for making phone calls and, in the event of strong vibrations, such as those that occur in an accident, send a message to a stored emergency contact.
The market for smart bicycle helmets is currently still manageable. Nevertheless, there are already some interesting models around today. We have selected the five most popular models for this comparison test and go into details on each one. If you are looking for a general guide to smart bicycle helmets, you should read through our guide: Smart bicycle helmets with Bluetooth, indicators, lights and music.
The Lumos Ultra is a very stylish helmet that stands out from the crowd thanks to its curved shape. In the color white it is glossy, in the color black it is matt. Its locking system is very variable and works well. The cushions can be removed.
The USB-C charging port sits behind a rubber cover underneath the large and easily accessible button for switching on and off on its rear side. We very much appreciate the fact that Lumos relies on the current standard and does not use any outdated or proprietary solutions.
The Lumos Ultra comes with a simple remote control for attachment to the handlebar. With it, the driver can make the helmet blink. A very practical function that also increases the safety of the driver. In the app, the user has a number of options for customizing the light. In addition to the option of making it flash in order to save the battery a little, the intensity can also be determined here. In the maximum setting, the LEDs built into the Lumos Ultra shine very brightly. We particularly like the large and bright front light. It does not in any way replace a front light on the bike (guide: bright bike lights for the dark season), but oncoming (car) riders will notice it immediately.
The Lumos Ultra has no built-in speakers or a microphone. Telephoning or listening to music is accordingly not possible with it.
The Sena R1 Evo is purely optically a classic bicycle helmet with a streamlined design. There is a removable sun protection on its front. We have the white version, but it is also available in black, both versions are matt.
Its locking system is easily adaptable, as the only one tested here, the driver can extend and retract the entire rear area in order to better adapt it to the individual head shape. The cushions can be removed for cleaning.
In the rear area there is a button for switching the rear light on and off, there is no light on the front or a turn signal. Directly below there is a micro USB port for charging the battery. This should provide a talk time of seven to ten hours and is full again after a charging time of two hours.
On the side of the Sena R1 Evo there are three easily accessible buttons with clear haptic feedback. These regulate, among other things, the volume, the mesh intercom and switch on the FM radio.
Pairing with the smartphone was not that easy, as it is nowhere noted that you have to hold down the middle head for a long time to enter pairing mode. Once paired, the helmet automatically connects to the smartphone after switching it off and on again.
Telephoning works well. The other person understands us a bit tinny, but the Sena R1 Evo reliably filters out wind noise. The built-in stereo speakers are sufficiently loud. However, they lack any bass approach. That hardly bothers when making a phone call, and podcasts can also be consumed easily. However, anyone who values high-quality music reproduction will be disappointed.
The buyer activates the mesh intercom by pressing the middle button. Owners of the Sena R1 Evo can talk about this directly, the manufacturer specifies the range as 900 meters, which thanks to the mesh system can be extended to a maximum of 3.6 kilometers for up to six users. However, we couldn’t try it out with just one helmet at hand.
The Lumos Street immediately attracts attention thanks to its extraordinary design. The design is closed, but it offers ventilation openings at the front, top and rear. The locking system is secure and the cushions can be removed. It offers braids the possibility of leading the hair out through an opening.
The front and rear LEDs are very bright, which ensures excellent visibility in traffic. In fact, they are so bright that pedestrians, for example, might feel dazzled. The buyer needs the supplied magnetic adapter for charging. That’s a shame, a standard connection such as USB-C would have made the Lumos Street even more flexible. The adapter not only charges the helmet, but also the remote control supplied. The driver can use the remote control to activate the helmet’s flashing function to indicate a turning maneuver. In addition, the helmet detects braking via motion sensors in the remote control and lets the rear LEDs light up red.
The buyer can set different light patterns via the app. The configuration options are surprisingly diverse here. If you are interested in the helmet, we recommend our detailed test report of the Lumos Street.
The smart bike helmet Livall BH51M Neo is similar to a BMX helmet, so it has a more rounded, closed shape. On its front there is a wide ventilation slot above the fixed sun protection made of synthetic leather. It comes in white and black. Its locking system is simple but functional. The cushions can be removed.
The only button on the Livall BH51M Neo that has a somewhat unclean pressure point is in the rear area. The charging port, for which you need the supplied USB adapter, is hidden behind a flap. In our eyes it is completely incomprehensible that Livall has no built-in USB-C or at least a micro-USB port. On the one hand, you always have to have the right adapter with you when traveling and, on the other hand, you look stupid out of your laundry if you lose the adapter. According to the manufacturer, the battery should last for up to five hours of talk time.
After pairing it with the smartphone, the Livall BH51M Neo can be used for making calls, for example. In the test, however, the other person understood us very poorly. When there is wind noise, the driver has to shout so that something gets through to the other person. The speakers, on the other hand, are not bad. Although they are a little quieter than those of the Sena R1 Evo, they transmit a somewhat more voluminous sound overall. Language is very understandable and one or the other song is also fun. But don’t expect too much. For example, the Bose Frames Tempo (test report) sunglasses are miles better. With the stereo speakers, however, it is noticeable that one is significantly quieter than the other. There may be a bug in our model.
We give the manufacturer the opportunity to send us another copy. We will insert an update at this point, whether the speakers are then the same and possibly also the microphone is better.
The Livall BH51M Neo comes with a high-quality remote control for the handlebar. It immediately couples to the helmet without any problems and then flashes it at the push of a button. Not only does it look very chic, it is also legal and security-related. After all, the driver can keep both hands on the handlebars when turning. This is even more important with an e-scooter than with a bicycle.
The Livall BH51M Neo offers light both in the back and in the front. However, the light settings in the app do not allow it to be switched on permanently, the user can only choose between different flashing variants. If desired, the helmet uses the built-in motion sensors to light up when braking. These sensors also detect violent vibrations, such as those that occur in an accident, and notify a stored emergency contact. If friends are also out and about with a Livall BH51M Neo, a walkie-talkie function can be started via the remote control.
In addition to a pleasing design in black or white, the Xiaomi Smart4U SH50 offers above all a good rear lighting system; it has no LEDs at the front. Sensors recognize the ambient brightness and switch the light on or off accordingly. In addition, the light intensity adapts automatically. Motion sensors register when the driver brakes and light up a brake light. This works reliably in most cases.
The helmet is charged via a magnetic adapter and unfortunately not directly via USB. Interestingly, it is the same charging adapter that is used on the Livall BH51M Neo. However, you shouldn’t need to do this too often. After all, the manufacturer promises a battery life of 36 hours after a charge of two hours. If the Xiaomi Smart4U SH50 does not detect any movement for 20 minutes, it switches itself off. The helmet from the Xiaomi brand Smart4U can be used at Banggood (purchase link) with the discount code BG610813 just under 64 euros can be bought. Shipping is from China.
Smart functions are increasingly finding their way into bicycle helmets and thus offer real added value. In addition to a clearly visible light, we consider a turn signal function with remote control on the handlebar, such as that offered by the Lumos Ultra, Lumos Street and Livall BH51M Neo, to be particularly practical. It clearly shows a turning process, while the driver can keep both hands on the handlebars. This is a safety-relevant function not only on the bike, but also on the e-scooter.
The possibility of making phone calls with a smart helmet or exchanging information with other drivers via an intercom is also really good. This works very well with the Sena R1 Evo, less so with the Livall BH51M Neo. The Livall BH51 Neo is the only smart helmet in our comparison that offers both audio connectivity and a blinker.
In terms of safety, all the helmets shown here meet the standards, if you believe the imprint, including the Chinese Xiaomi Smart4U SH50. For those who are only concerned with protecting the head, we recommend our purchase advice: Find the right bicycle helmet with your head.