As an occasional cycle commuter, I’ve always wanted to spice up my ride with some music, but have never gone down the dangerous path of putting in headphones while riding. The Livall BH51M with integrated speakers seemed to offer the perfect solution.
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First, I downloaded the Livall app on to my iPhone, so it could connect to the helmet via Bluetooth. This process was very easy. Once connected, I could play music through streaming apps and the helmet automatically connected to my phone whenever I switched it on. A feature of the app is it can send a polite message to a nominated person should the helmet detect you’ve taken a tumble. Fortunately, I didn’t crash, so whether the app sends a message remains to be seen.
Its tiny speakers won’t win any awards for sound quality but were more than adequate. The best part was that I still had a good awareness of my surroundings since there was nothing plugged into my ears. Riding to work listening to music was a real treat and made my commute much more enjoyable.
The helmet has indicator lights that scroll across the back of your helmet in the fashion of an expensive European car. They’re operated from the handlebar remote control. They aren’t very bright for day use, but there’s certainly merit to using them at night. The handlebar-mounted remote also lets you answer calls, change songs and adjust volume. The call quality was just fine and I could be heard clearly at the other end, although I did have to speak loudly while riding.
The remote also has a walkie-talkie and a camera button. The camera button activates your phone camera and lets you take photos. However, this only works if your phone’s mounted on the handlebars. I had no way of testing the walkie-talkie function as I only had the one helmet, but I could see it being handy if you’re a fan of riding in groups.
Though all the extra tech adds weight, it’s not excessive. The helmet weighs about 350g, which is about 100g heavier than a similarly styled “dumb” helmet. It costs $250, but listening to tunes and answering calls on the fly really make it worthwhile, especially if you’re a regular commuter. The biggest drawback is that the instructions say not to use it in the rain. That’s fine if you’re strictly a dry-weather cyclist, but anyone can be caught out by changeable weather. We’ll be putting the Livall through its paces through all weather in the coming months to see if it can go the distance.
By James le Page
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