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Lumos Ultra Smart Bike Helmet with Lights Overview
The Lumos Ultra smart bike helmet was the first venture for Lumos into a more streamlined “road” style helmet with front and rear integrated lights. You have one main white headlight and two red light strips on the rear that can work as turn signals or brake lights with additional accessories. The helmet works out of the box but can be further enhanced and turned into a “smart bike helmet” by connecting it to the Lumos app to fine-tune your lighting preferences, connect it with other Lumos devices like smart bike lights, other helmets, remotes, or your Apple Watch for turn signaling from hand motion.
Full disclaimer, Lumos has sent me various helmets over the last couple of years but I purchased two of these Lumos Ultra helmets on Kickstarter and would pay full price all over again for them.
Price: $90 – $150
Certifications: CPSC, EN1078 (standard helmet requirement for EU since 2012), ASTM F1447, NOT e-bike certified for Class 3 e-bikes
Lights: 30 Front White LEDs, 64 Rear Red LEDs that can become turn signals or brake lights with remote or phone app
Fit Options: Standard or MIPs
Battery: 4-10 hour run time with USB-C charging and 3-hour charging time
Connection: Bluetooth 4.0
Weight: 370g advertised, my setup in size MD with visor and Mips is 385g
Helmet Fitting and Ride Comfort
I’m personally running a size medium with the MIPS fit. I find the helmet a good weight for my type of riding which is primarily urban transportation, with some < 2-hour road rides. If I were doing longer rides, I would look at the Bontrager Circuit helmet that takes the Bontrager RT light, which is an insanely bright, long-lasting, daytime running light.
The helmet has a good amount of proper ventilation, much more than most bike helmets with integrated front and rear lighting. I have found that typically if the helmet has front and rear lighting then it is designed for city biking, and only find rear lights on more sport and road bike-focused helmets. My other goto helmet with front and rear lighting is the Nutcase Vio with Mips which has a pretty city bike look if you use the visor and is 427g vs the 385g of the Lumos Ultra with Mips and a visor.
The optional visor that velcros in is helpful and what I prefer to use since I wear glasses most days, but it does change the front fit some and I find there are some pressure points if I don’t do it all right. It doesn’t prevent me from using it BUT I do have red marks on my head when I take the helmet off. Another optional accessory is the bug net, which I haven’t tried.
I’ve been waiting to see if Lumos updates the fit of this helmet to have the new Lumos FlexiFit system that the Lumos Ultra Fly has which is much more comfortable AND fits my ponytail better.
Helmets are often classified as an oval fit or a round fit. I thought the fit was more of an oval sit but a reader commented on Threads that it didn’t fit her well because it has a more round style helmet fit. She also didn’t find the padding to be adequate. I didn’t experience this but this is why helmet fit is so personal, probably even more so than shoes (unless we are talking running shoes…), and why trying on with a good return policy is so important. It is also why I would like to try the non-MIPS version to see if the fit is different at all.
Integration with Lumos Firefly Smart Lights, Remote, Remote Lite, and Lumos App
Lumos has been expanding its smart lighting and helmets aggressively in 2023. The products mostly sync through what they call “LS3 Sync”. Your phone is the hub to make the initial connection for them all to sync, and to repair if they ever fall out of sync.
Some notes on remotes:
When using the Lumos Remote Lite that comes with the base helmet model, you have turn signals BUT this remote does not sync with the Firefly lights and does not have the built-in accelerometer for brake lights.
The fancy Remote is great, gives you automatic brake lights, and is easy to use but it requires charging and is very easy to steal 😞 It also has a proprietary charger that works with the Lumos Remote and several of their original helmets. I assume they went this route because the charging cable is magnetic which allows the device to be more water-resistant (which you would want a remote or helmet to be!) than having an open port that needs to be covered.
Both Remotes are a bit tricky to mount close to where I would want them for easy access on my right hand. It feels like they need to have better integration with your brake clamp or mount more like a bell to be rotated under your brake and grip for easy access without the rubber band attachment that can be removed and stolen so easily.
Using the Lumos App in ride mode you have access to the turn signals and in theory, automatic brake lights which I find works some of the time but is not as reliable as the fancy Remote above. The brake lights are super nice when riding in a group, but I’m not sure most motorists will know what they are looking at.
Apple Watch and Lumos Smart Helmet Integration
The recent update with the Apple Watch integration is pretty amazing and something I’ll be highlighting more. If you have the phone app and Apple watch app running, you can simply point your watch hand to signal your turn and it triggers your turn signal. Give it a shake and it turns off. It isn’t flawless but it works the majority of the time and one takes this really great helmet and puts it in a new class if you already use the Apple Watch.
It is REALLY cool if you have the Firefly lights synced too.
Video Review to Show Off the Features
Do You Really Need a “Smart Bike Helmet”?
No, but does anyone “need” most of the tech things I talk about? I do strongly believe we should be biking with lights at all times of the day and having lights built into your helmet is the highest point of your body and bike that will give you some added visibility.
The Lumos Ultra, especially on the discounts I’ve seen during the holidays, is by far my favorite general everyday helmet with built-in lights. Even without the smart features, it is a really nice helmet that doesn’t weigh a ton so I want to grab it for all types of riding. Well, I don’t use it mountain biking because I would never hear the end of it from riding buddies.
Comparing to Other Smart Bike Helmets
Lumos Ultra vs Ultra E-Bike Helmet
This is probably going to evolve into an article on its own. For now, here is my initial overview of the Lumos Ultra E-Bike helmet and a decision tree for you:
Do you plan on riding a class 3 e-bike that exceeds 20mph? You should probably look at helmets designed for those higher speed crashes and “NTA-8776” rating which the Lumos Ultra E-Bike helmet does have.
Do you want an eye shield? The Ultra E-Bike helmet is for you
Do you want a lighter or more ventilated helmet? The Ultra helmet is for you
Are you on a budget but want a safer helmet with lights? The Ultra standard fit is an amazing bike helmet with good front and rear lighting.
Lumos vs Unit 1
Another paragraph that could be an entire article but I think it is worth mentioning the main competitor that Lumos has which is Unit 1.
Until recently Unit 1 made only one helmet, the Faro. This competes somewhat with the Lumos Matrix. A skate-style-looking helmet with really nice lights, and smart helmet features like crash detection.
Unit 1 recently had a Kickstarter for a more urban-style helmet and smart bike lights, both using the name Aura. It hasn’t been delivered yet but they do look super nice and will fit a need for a “city” style smart bike helmet.
It will be interesting to see how these two competitors develop here in the US. Lumo’s North American distributor for bike shops seems to be shutting down, and I’m not sure if Unit 1 is readily available for bike shops to buy. Without being available in local bike shops they will be relying heavily on direct-to-consumer marketing, decent return rates for folks trying on helmets after ordering online, and handling all service and warranty themselves.
There are many things I would change if I were designing the Ultra, but thankfully I’m not a helmet designer and just a reviewer giving my thoughts from my keyboard!
What would I change? I wish there wasn’t any exposed foam, more reflectivity on all sides, a fidlock buckle, and a magnet eye shield that worked with the normal Ultra. All those things would add more cost, so I’m okay with where the helmet sits now. For me, the Lumos Ultra is the best smart bike helmet (if it fits you) with built-in lighting available right now. There are many new smart bike helmets shipping in 2024 so these results may change and I look forward to testing and reviewing them!