It’s not often that we write reviews of a bike helmet on CleanTechnica. For most people, and for most helmets, there’s nothing special. You find one that fits on your head and that meets the applicable safety standards, adjust it to fit, and go. Lumos decided to go above and beyond the normal with its new Matrix helmet. Not only does it protect your head, but it has features that can help prevent an accident from happening in the first place.
Disclosure: Lumos sent me one of its new Matrix helmets for this review. Once I was done testing it, my partner decided to test it, and refused to give it back. Now I need to buy a second one. It’s that cool.
What Makes the Lumos Matrix Helmet Special?
There are two main things that make the Matrix helmet downright amazing.
First, it has a headlamp that looks like something out of science fiction. It’s a smooth LED light that curves up at the ends. Aside from the cool looks, it puts out a lot of light that not only gets attention from drivers, other cyclists, and pedestrians, but also lights up the area immediately in front of you. It’s also bright enough that retroreflective surfaces like you often find on street signs are lit up for almost a block. Did I mention that it looks like a spelunking robot from the future?
The other thing that does more is the rear display. It’s not a retina display by any means, with just a few dozen LED lights in a grid. What it does do is allow a variety of useful information to be displayed. While you’re riding along in the bike lane, it can display moving images, like a spinning hazard triangle, fireworks, and sweeping lines in multiple colors.
Between the brightness, the color, and the movement, you’re guaranteed to be seen, and without looking like a total dork. In testing, I even had the owner of a 4×4 pickup truck with multi-colored undercarriage lights flash rainbow colors back at me.
On top of that, the rear display is capable of displaying turn signals. The way this works is with a small rechargeable handheld or handlebar-mounted pair of buttons. It communicates wirelessly with the helmet, and then displays the correct turn signal.
At first, I was afraid that the helmet would be blinding for friends and family when riding in groups, but that turned out to be an unfounded fear. Yes, the helmet will blind you a bit when you turn it on in the house and are holding it, but after 3–4 feet, it’s not blinding at all. Even when riding directly behind my partner while she was wearing it, the attention-getting helmet did not cause me any discomfort.
All of these functions are controllable through the Lumos app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
All of this runs on a small battery pack, built into the helmet. To recharge the helmet, you use the included USB adapter that magnetically connects to the helmet. The turn signal buttons also have a dedicated spot to magnetically connect to the helmet and charge at the same time. During charging, the helmet displays the current percentage on the rear display.
Despite all of these features, the helmet doesn’t seem much heavier than any other helmet I’ve ever worn. It has caused neither me nor my partner any added stress or neck pain of any kind.
A bike helmet can’t be fragile, so I decided to also test it using my children. I let them do whatever they wanted with it for the better part of a couple of weekend days. They wore it in the yard playing, got it wet, dropped it repeatedly, and did plenty of other things that most of us wouldn’t do with a relatively expensive helmet. The result? It’s no worse for the wear. I can’t even see any scratches on the surface, which surprised me.
The Lumos Matrix helmet is actually worth the money, which is a hard feat to accomplish at over $175. It’s comfortable, durable, looks cool, and actually increases your safety while riding.
I’d recommend it for anybody commuting or otherwise regularly riding in urban or suburban settings. Whether you ride a bike, scooter, or other form of micromobility, it’s a good option.