There are a lot of new helmet technologies planned for release in 2017. This year, helmet companies are showing their responses to the safety crisis of the ballooning cycling community. Many helmets will now be available with lights, but companies like Coros are addressing other factors of safety. The Coros LINX System consists of a Bluetooth helmet, handlebar controller, and phone app.
Load up the Coros app on your phone and the helmet easily connects via Bluetooth. You can then play music, get turn-by-turn directions, or receive phone calls through the helmet speakers, which sit just in front of your ears. The speakers use bone conduction audio that converts sound waves into vibrations bypassing the ear canal and eardrum. This leads to a very decent sound quality while still hearing the world around you, such as cars and other potentially dangerous obstacles. I have tried a number of music-listening techniques, and I’d say this is right behind earbuds in terms of quality. The speakers feel a little bulky at first, but you get used to the feeling of the vibration against your bones – It’s kind of like having your own theme music.
The app, along with the helmet speakers, makes the Coros LINX a stand-out. You can record your route as you ride, search for local routes, and create your own to share using a really intuitive mapping function. The app has an emergency system that, when paired with the LINX helmet, can detect when you’ve fallen down and will notify your emergency contact. The helmet will also give you feedback as you ride.
At around 400 grams, the helmet weighs about double that of road helmets in its price range, and the ventilation seems more for aerodynamics than cooling. Watch out for climbing in the heat if you are the hot-headed type. It is good enough on the performance end for longer rides, but for timed events, you may want something sportier. The helmet does have a tough time connecting to the phone in some instances and seems to need a solid line-of-sight – the phone would not connect from my chest pocket, and my backpack side pocket had a tough time as well. That said, the features of this helmet make it great for everyday performance and convenience. One thing is for sure, we will be seeing more innovation like this from Coros and helmet makers in general. (Coros.com, $200)