In this LIVALL Helmet Review we will take a close look at the BH60SE smarthelmet model for 2018.
“It’s a helmet Jim,”
“But not as we know it.”.
It seems that the trends today are that everything needs to be SMART. I have SMART gears on my bikes (Shimano Di2) and some of you may have had ‘smart’ reactolite sunglasses even as far back as the 1970s where the lens darkness varied by the amount of sunlight.
So why not a SMART helmet?
LIVALL’s previous product was the BH51M which won the ‘Product of the Year’ in the Urban category at ISPO Munich 2018 and they also produce children’s cycling helmets.
Newer moves in cycling helmet smartness give us helmets that can: incorporate lights; take over the speaker/headphone functions of your smartphone; enable helmet-to-helmet communications; provide navigational instructions; incident detection; and provide remote control. And of course if you’ve taken over the audio playback/mic from your smartphone then you can listen to music and take calls which is what most of us will end up doing with it.
Futures for LIVALL Helmets
I guess the futures of smart helmets for the masses could include elements of auto-fitting, mini airbags for impacts; the integration of cellular connectivity; heads-up rear view or simply cameras; and radar-controlled proximity lights. But let’s come back from the future and focus on a product that you can, if you want to, buy now.
LIVALL Helmet Review – First Impression
- Aesthetically pleasing – I would actually wear it
- Looks well constructed and well ventilated.
- The smart features are subtly integrated into the design and do not make the helmet stand out in any unusual way
Simply put: It’s a normal-looking helmet filled with smartness.
LIVALL Helmet Review – Target Markets
- Commuters who want to chat on the phone to the office whilst going to/from work
- Commuters concerned about personal safety and wanting to provide more apparent signals to drivers whilst keeping their hands on the handlebars
- Sunday group riders who want to chat with the walkie-talkie functions
- The trail rider who wants to listen to music
- The forgetful cyclist who doesn’t want to carry a rear light
- The concerned parent who wants to know if there teenager has crashed
- The navigator
I think most of us would fit into at least one of those categories. OK I’m never going to use one on race day but I really don’t like carrying extra lights with me.
LIVALL Helmet Review – BH60SE Smart Helmet
Unboxing & Contents
In addition to a seemingly normal helmet you also get a controller with rubber spacers for different circumference handlebars.
The controller has a coin cell battery (provided) and the helmet is charged via a micro USB cable (provided).
There is also the obligatory, free iOS and Android app.
Aesthetics and Design
It’s a helmet. Need I say more?
My head is on the large size (obviously) and is long. The LIVALL helmet is sold as a ‘one size fits all’. Clearly that can’t be true but even my big head fits in and I have problems getting a comfortable fit with most large helmets.
Plucking a number out of the air, I would say this would fit 98% of adult head sizes. If you’ve had helmet sizing problems before then you know you might have them again. If you’ve never had problems this LIVALL helmet should be good.
The Controls & Functions
LIVALL Helmet Review – Pairing
Audio Playback & Voice Quality
The lights are on all the time and are visible in the daylight in which I tested (Feb) and clear at night.
Pressing the direction button on the controller initiates a one-sided indication on the helmet. Just like your car’s indicators.
SOS – Incident Detection
SOS FUNCTIONALITY – NOT TESTED
The incident detection functionality seems to be triggered by some sort of impact so I didn’t test this specific functionality. repeatedly banging the helmet on the ground would make it unusable….
The app allows emergency 3rd party contact details to be entered and for that 3rd party to be contacted in the event of an incident.
The SMS to the 3rd party includes your location and will be stopped from being sent if there is then riding movement or if, within 90 seconds, you fail to stop the app sending the call.
GROUP FUNCTIONALITY – NOT TESTED
LIVALL Riding – App Functionality
- In-ride screen – showing either data or a map
- Post- ride summaries & history
There are various other bits of information presented such as the status of your connected sensors and the quality of the GPS signal. There is even an indication of the ‘cyclability’ of the road today with LIVALL’s ‘cycling index’, which presumably mostly takes into account the weather.
LIVALL Helmet Review – Good Usage Points
- GLOVES: I used some fairly big/thick Sealskinz gloves. The controls have a slight ridge on them and were easily felt through the glove material. The central button is sufficiently large to enable operation whilst wearing gloves. The forward-pointing camera’ button and rear pointing ‘intercom’ buttons don’t work quite so well but they are fine.
- Whenever a button is pressed the central red button illuminates to confirm your button press.
- At about 290g it’s light enough
- The screen can be locked from the app.
LIVALL Helmet Review – Niggles
- It is not obvious which way to put the controller onto the handlebars. Indeed I did it the wrong way at first (see photo above!!). The potential danger of this is that the indicator would show you moving in precisely the opposite direction to your intended direction of travel. The more prudent amongst you will test that you have done this right before setting off.
- The central answer button also doubles-up as a call termination button. On a few occasions I inadvertently pressed it twice when answering.
- Although the central red button illuminates to indicate a key press, the button itself is often covered by your hand.
- The app gives you points to help motivate you to achieve more. Whilst broadly ‘fine’ I don’t like how it contrives to give you points just for logging in to the app. Hey! We know app makers want us to engage…give us a real reason.
- The blinking indicator light is the lower strip on LED lights ie 3 LED lights per side. This could probably be more prominent when indicating but on the other hand other road users will probably not be looking at your helmet for a signal.
- The manufacturer could consider a front light-facing light as well – both for safety and night vision
- The helmet shape is very good overall. The only mildly negative aspect of the design is that from a front view the sides could perhaps taper inwards more than they do. Minor point.
LIVALL Helmet Review – Resources
LIVALL Helmet Review – Summary
Price, Availability and Discounts
This is sponsored content and the helmet is available to buy in the UK through Halfords
Currently only the 2017 models have different LEDs and don’t look as nice as the 2018 model, in my opinion.