It’s a bit of a cliche but cycling is going through a bit of a golden age in Ireland right now. People are flooding to bikes to avoid public transport. It’s nothing but great news and I’ve been keeping my eye on some tech for cyclists. In the coming weeks, I’ll be checking out a few bits and pieces. To start, I’m after testing out the Livall BH51M Neo smart helmet.
What Is The Livall BH51M Neo?
First of all, I always think it’s a shame when cool gadgets have silly names. Thankfully, that’s one of the very few complaints I have about the Livall BH51M Neo. I met Livall for the first time at IFA in Berlin last year. I was impressed by the range they had on show. Livall is the, self-proclaimed, world’s first smart and safe cycling helmet brand. To be honest, back then I was more interested in their helmets for use with my electric scooter, but times have changed given the legal grey area around scooters remains.
Instead, I’m now jumped on my Dublin Bike and Bleeper Bikes to test out Livall’s latest bluetooth smart helmet. Here’s what I thought about it.
Livall BH51M Neo: Functionality
I’ve been sitting here for a few minutes trying to work out how best to discuss the features of this helmet. The problem is that nearly everything about the helmet comes down to functionality. The reason for that might be obvious. This helmet is the Batman utility belt of bike helmets.
Not Your Usual Safety Features
Bike helmets have some obvious safety features that you’d expect. Like, protecting your head if you fall. Pretty obvious. But the BH51M Neo packs some features you wouldn’t normally see on a helmet.
The stand out feature is the led lights that feature around the helmet. These lights are both controlled by a wireless remote and movement of the helmet. More on the remote control later, but the smart detection means when you brake your helmet knows you’re slowing and flashes red to warn those behind you. Also included are LED turn signals. With the press of a button, your helmet indicates your intention to turn up ahead. This is an amazing feature for electric scooter riders, just saying.
Finally, when it comes to unique safety features, they don’t get better than this. If you do have an accident and are alone, you’re helmet can fire an SOS alert to your emergency contacts. All of this can be set up in the Livall Ride smartphone app. Together, all of these features make this much more than a cycle helmet with lights. And now onto all the features that make the Livall helmet a market leader.
Built-in Bluetooth Speakers
There’s a point often debated when it comes to cycling safety. Should cyclists wear headphones when cycling? Personally, I don’t feel safe losing that sense. At the same time, it’s not illegal, so cyclists do get quite a bit of grief over it. I’ve seen motorists driving with headphones in and the truth is cars are designed to keep as much external sound as possible out. All of this is an argument for another day. This bicycle helmet has some tiny built-in speakers beside your ears.
I’ve tested these out in a range of scenarios. I’ve taken phone calls while cycling in the Phoenix Park, listened to music while cycling across the city and issued voice commands to my Google Assistant, all completely hands free. The highlight here for me was that all the while I did these things, I was fully aware of my surroundings while still enjoying some tunes or a chat with the mother. All of this is made possible by the helmets Bluetooth connectivity. You connect to your phone and can play music from apps like Spotify or chat with your Google Assistant.
Additional design attention was paid to the microphone too. Even cycling in somewhat windy conditions and I could be clearly heard on the other end of the line.
The Bluetooth Remote
I want to give the remote a specific shoutout because it’s a sign of the thoughtful design that Livall bring to their smart cycling helmets. The remote means you can safely control your helmet’s lights and also trigger your Google Assistant. You can even use a walkie-talkie style system to chat with other cyclists using the same technology. Most importantly, the remote fits securely onto your handlebar with a heavy-duty rubberband. Why is this good?
Bike sharing is really popular around Ireland. Many cyclists won’t necessarily even own a bike. The remote control being quickly removable and attachable means you can still get the most out of these smart bike helmets even while sharing. I’m big into thoughtful design and that’s a wonderful example.
That’s all the bells and whistles of a Bluetooth cycle helmet. All the bits and bobs than aren’t standard. But what about the basics? Well, I didn’t go over the handlebars to test how it handled. But the helmet is extremely comfortable. It doesn’t slide around on my head the same way my €20 skateboarder helmet does that I bought for using on my scooter. As a result, this helmet is safer. A helmet that slips back will not protect you and possibly do more harm.
One of the reasons the helmet fits so nicely is the adjustable fit system. Put the helmet on, fasten your chin strap and then you can twist the knob on the back to get a nice snug fit. It’s a bit of genius that.
There is one small failing. When it comes to charging your helmet it’s pretty straight forward. But the cable is a unique cable just for this helmet. That’s one thing that makes me uneasy. One cable pull and it’s broken. One charge in the office and your cable is missing for ages. Either of these things happens, and you need to hunt down a new cable or your helmet is just a helmet. All of those features are gone. If you’re careful, this problem will never be a problem, but it’s something to be aware of.
Livall BH51M Neo: The Verdict
I love this helmet. It’s not all the gadgets and winky bits that made me love it. It was actually how comfortable it was. But I’ll admit, the incredible range of features left me falling head over heels with the Livall BH51M Neo. Not literally thankfully. For many, at €189 it’s a very pricey helmet. For daily commuters looking for a safe way to listen to their morning radio show with some additional lighting, it’s money well spent.
Livall BH51M Neo: FAQs
No. This helmet is not certified for use on a motorbike. It’s suitable for cyclists and electric kick scooters, but remember they’re currently illegal.
The helmet, fully charged, will last up to 10 hours. Naturally, that will vary based on how much it’s used.