We are getting closer to shipping final production versions of the Lumos Helmet so this will be the last in our series of beta tester stories featuring the old beta helmet from January.
Following up on our profile of triathlete Julien, we would like you to meet Mark, who was the first of the beta testers to be mentioned on Facebook for wearing a Lumos Helmet out on the streets just a few days after he got the beta helmet!
Photo Credit: Maxine Bowen, @maxine_bowen
LH: Hey Mark, so great that you had the chance to speak with us. We are really looking forward to hearing your thoughts about the helmet since you are not only commuting by bike but riding a bit more actively too for training. Could you introduce yourself to our followers?
Mark: Yes, hi! My name is Mark and I grew up in Mobile, Alabama. Right now I am a University student in Orlando, Florida. I started cycling around 2 years ago more actively since I found it to be the most suitable exercise for me to balance the pretty intense schedules we have at University. I like the flexibility it gives me to go riding when ever most suitable for me. I come from a family of cyclists and I got my current bike from my brother. I've also joined a few charity bike races for the fun of it.
LH: How did you get involved as a beta tester and how has the journey been so far?
Mark: I have really enjoyed the project so far and the communication has been great. I was actually out of town when the helmet was going to be shipped to me and I was a bit worried that It would get lost, so I arranged for a friend of mine to be there to receive it. Actually it was my friend who originally showed me the Kickstarter project and when the Facebook competition came along I decided to join the beta test too. It has been a really fun experience.
The first thing I had to do when getting my hands on the helmet was to figure out the mounting of the remote on the handle bars since I also had other accessories attached to them. I had to play around a bit but found a good way to mount the Left/Right buttons so that they were easy to operate. I understand that it was just a simple functional beta version and not the final design which looks to be very good. Overall, I have enjoyed being involved closely to the project.
LH: The remote design has been significantly updated thanks to useful feedback from our beta testers. What about the helmet itself?
Mark: I have really like the helmet overall. I have preferred to use the helmet lights in strobe or flashing mode so that they sort of break the pattern and catch people’s attention better. I feel that that mode gives me the best visibility. I really like that there is an audio indicator or beeper that tells you the turn signals are flashing and also the remote shows a light when the turn signal is on. Another thing you get with the helmet lights is a 360 degrees view range for the lights. I often make eye contact with motorists and you can better get their attention with the lights flashing. I feel that I have been noticed better and get a bit more room on the road.
I would still keep lights on the bike as I wouldn’t use the helmet lights for seeing in the dark. They are great for visibility but not necessarily to light the way ahead of you.
LH: Yes we definitely recommend keeping lights on your bike on top of having your Lumos Helmet lights! Has wearing this helmet affected your ride in any other way?
Mark: I feel safer and more visible for sure. At first I was a bit concerned about the fit as the beta helmet was still a development version and not perfected, but just by having the lights and the blinker I already felt safer. This is especially important when turning around corners and wanting to keep an alert position with your hands on the handlebars. Keeping your hand out through a turn is always a bit unstable and unsafe if something surprising happens. Cars also might be passing you as you ride through the turn and having your hands where they should be makes you feel more at ease.
LH: Agreed! What about negatives? Any comments on how the beta helmet could be improved?
Mark: I think there was a lot of good things but some crucial changes and adjustments need to be made which I think you guys have mentioned that you are addressing for the final helmet. Mainly the straps and fit were the issues for me. I feel that the straps weren’t the easiest to adjust and also the retention system inside the helmet was a bit wobbly. In some situations a visor could be useful for some users, but I don’t use one so wasn’t the biggest concern for me.I really like the more sporty and sleek look of the updated helmet though!
[Update note from Lumos: The retention system and headform have both been completely overhauled as a result of feedback from this beta test. The new retention system includes a full 360 wrap around headband and easily adjustable straps that create a snug and comfortable fit.]
LH: Thanks for the honest comments and for contributing feedback throughout the beta test! Those were exactly the type of things we wanted to smooth out before moving forward with producing the helmet in large numbers. Have people on the street reacted to the helmet when you ride?
Mark: Actually people do look and pay attention to the helmet. Interestingly as you mentioned to start with, I was identified as a Lumos user on the third time I was riding with the helmet and someone posted about it on Facebook. That was pretty cool and unusual in my opinion. Also around a month ago or so a car driver opened their window to ask what the helmet was and where to get one. I just told him it is the Lumos and continued riding. Maybe he got one, I don’t know!
The Facebook post that Mark is referring to. Pretty awesome! We were pretty stoked when we saw this!
LH: That Facebook comment was awesome. Hopefully it shows just how visible and distinctive the lights make you! We really appreciate you comments and feedback as well as sharing your experiences so far. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Mark: Well overall I think the Lumos Helmet is a very interesting and exciting product. The whole project has been executed very well from the first product video all the way so far to production. I am sure the last steps will go smoothly too. Hopefully the whole helmet industry will catch on to this later so that the idea can benefit every rider. I have really enjoyed the way you guys work with your customers and users online and the social approach you have. I would recommend the helmet for those who are training or commuting by bike.
LH: Mark, thank you so much for the kind words and for taking the time to help us out! We look forward to delivering the final version of the helmet to you in the coming months. Thanks again!
Eu-wen, Jeff, and the Lumos Helmet team
The Lumos Helmet beta test ran in January this year with about 60 people primarily in the United States, but we also had beta testers in the UK, Germany, Austria, Finland, and Singapore. The beta testing period officially ended at the end of January, but many beta testers have continued using their beta units on their commute since then.