The Lumos Ultra Bike Helmet: Safety More People Can Afford

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When I reviewed Lumos’ last helmet (The Matrix), I was very impressed with the looks, the feel, and the safety features. The thing that was too impressive was its price (now well over $200). The Matrix looks great, seems very durable, and has very neat lighting options to make sure you have not only good lighting, but visibility. A driver would have a very tough time trying to convince anybody that they didn’t see you. For most people, the price is just too high.

Full disclosure: like the Matrix, Lumos provided CleanTechnica with a sample helmet to review, and we got to keep it.

Lumos heard us, and made something a little more down to earth, without sacrificing the essential safety features that set them apart from the rest of the helmet world. Like the Matrix, the Lumos Ultra has a bright headlamp, lights in the back, and USB charging. It can be controlled from a smartphone via bluetooth, or you can activate the turn signal feature from a handlebar-mounted set of buttons. That’s basically 90% of why someone would want the more expensive helmet, but at around 1/3 the price.

To save on the cost, they didn’t cut any safety corners. It isn’t clad in plastic all over, but it’s a solid-looking styrofoam helmet like you’d want to buy for basic safety. That’s not to say it’s ugly, though. They did add several plastic panels (available in a variety of colors) to give it a more premium look than what you’d find for cheap at a big box store.

Another way they saved cost without killing features was by skipping the magnetic USB charging for both the helmet and turn signal module. The Ultra’s helmet has a simple Micro USB port under a cover in the back, and the turn signal module is powered by a CR2032 button cell like you’d find in most cars’ keyless entry fobs. It’s not as elegant to do things this way, but for me and most users, it does the job just as well. If anything, using a standard charger makes it easier to plug it in after a ride by sharing plugs with other devices.

Comfort-wise, the helmet performs great. It has good padding, plenty of adjustability for big and small heads, and a decent strap system.

Like the more expensive Matrix, the app gives a good number of customization options. I set the headlamp for solid-on in the front and set the taillights to follow a “heartbeat” pattern in the back. The app leaves a lot up to you, so you can decide what you think looks best and/or what you think gets drivers’ attention the best. It’s all left up to the user.

If you’re a helmet connoisseur and don’t mind spending big bucks on the best helmets, by all means, buy the Matrix or Street. They’re solid helmets and are premium in every way. If you’re like most people and just want to maximize your safety but can’t spend the big bucks, then the Ultra was made for you.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1955 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba