Game Changing Helmet

Every now and again we get an email from our editor saying, “I’ve got this great product I want you to test, you’re going to love it! It does this and that, here is the link.” We generally roll our eyes and think to ourselves, “What was she thinking?” When it came to the Coros Frontier helmet, this was pretty much our first thought: “It lets you listen to music? Great! Just what we need, more unaware riders on the road.” We clicked on the link and saw what the helmet looked like. Straight up it looked a little clunky, but it can sometimes be hard to tell from the first glance. So we said, “Grab us a size medium, and we will give it a go.”

A little bit of investigation showed us that this product was featured on Kickstarter and had received quite a lot of support. Our interest increased. We read about the features. Bone conducting audio to listen to your music and take phone calls. Wind resistant microphone so you can talk on the go. Emergency SMS alerts in the case of an accident and an optional walkie-talkie setting for talking to other Coros helmet users. Our interest increased further.

COROS-Frontier---Black-Blue

The COROS Frontier Helmet

Fast forward two days, and we were presented with a box featuring a black and blue Coros helmet. To our surprise, when taking the helmet out of its box, it looked quite smart. Not at all big and bulky but streamlined and very aero looking. It has a narrow profile that doesn’t make you feel like you are wearing a mushroom and the black, with blue centre, the colour is slick. From there the first thing you notice that sets this helmet apart from all other helmets are the discs located on both the left and right strap, around the jaw line. Being black on the outside they don’t stand out too much, but it’s the red disc on the inside where the magic happens. This is the bone-conducting audio disc, and it sits lightly against the top of your jaw, beside your ear.

Now being blokes we, of course, immediately removed the helmet from the box and put the instructions to one side. It’s time to play so who needs them, right? Well, unlike an Ikea cube, you can actually set the Coros helmet up without the instructions. It’s that easy. All you need is the helmet, your phone and the smart remote ( found under the helmet in the box ). Switch on your Bluetooth and locate the button at the back of the helmet, hold it in for three seconds and wait for it to say ‘Pairing’. Then in your phone’s Bluetooth settings choose ‘Coros Helmets’ and you are connected. All that is left is to attach the smart remote to your handlebars or stem and away you go.

 

             The ability to listen to music and field calls while still being able to hear traffic and other commuters around you would be invaluable.              — The Test Lab

 

So, what is it like out on the road? Well, it really is very good, surprisingly good. When listening to music the quality is great, it lacks a little base, but these aren’t ear buds after all, especially when you consider the fact that you can hear all the traffic and other riders around you. In fact, you can hold a normal conversation and still hear the music easily. If you want to pause a song or skip a track you just hit the pause or skip button on the smart remote. If a call comes through, answering is as simple as hitting the answer button on the smart remote, which is the same as the pause button for the music. Much like the music, phone calls are clear and easy to hear even while riding on a windy day. What is even more impressive is the wind resistant speaker. It is located in the front of the helmet on your forehead. The location protects it from the wind and rushing air and does a ripping job. The only potential problem we could see was damage from sweat on long hot rides. Although not having the helmet for a long time we can only assume that this has been taken into consideration and dealt with in the design process.

The Smart Remote

The Smart Remote

The next design feature of the Coros Frontier helmet is the Emergency Alert System. To be honest, we didn’t test this because, well, we didn’t feel like crashing. But if it works as well as the other features then we are sure there would be no problem with it sending an emergency message to your selected contact with your GPS location. Simple and effective and great for peace of mind when you are out on a long solo ride.

The last two features of this helmet are the Coros App and the
Walkie-Talkie. Now as we didn’t have a second helmet or the optional walkie-talkie unit, we can’t really comment on the effectiveness of this feature but can see some useful applications, which we will mention later.

The Coros App allows you to record rides, much like Strava and Garmin Connect amongst others, and also set up routes. Through the Bone conducting discs the app can notify you of your speed, distance travelled, ride time, as well as notifying you of emails and texts amongst other things. You can also receive directions for routes you have set up should you not already know the way.

A very convenient addition for when you are in unfamiliar locations.

Who is this helmet for? Well, pretty much everyone but we can see straight away that it will appeal to commuters on a day-to-day basis. The ability to listen to music and field calls while still being able to hear traffic and other commuters around you would be invaluable.

 

           The walkie talkie feature allows coaches in a big group, or separate groups on the same course, to communicate while still riding.             — The Test Lab

 

The same can be said for those solo training rides when you need to get that long ride done, and you are on your own. The ability to take calls would also be great for those of us who are often on call, in their day job and need to be able to answer important calls. Doctors and other emergency responders spring to mind. And then there is the walkie-talkie feature. As we mentioned earlier, we can see some useful applications for this. While being able to chat with your mates, in the pack, and organise a surprise attack on that one mate who always jumps early might be fun! It is the benefit it offers coaches that is of interest to us.

IMG_0292

TUCKED AWAY: The mic is positioned inside the front of the helmet.

The walkie-talkie feature allows coaches in a big group, or separate groups on the same course, to communicate while still riding. Should a group be split or someone run into trouble coaches can speak with each other and ensure everyone is safe and looked after.

A fantastic feature when duty of care is taken into consideration.

Lastly, on a ride with one of our mates, who happens to be a quadriplegic and rides a recumbent bike, we lent the Coros Frontier helmet to him. It was a game changer and allowed him complete freedom to answer calls and listen to music while feeling safe and secure with his surroundings. The only thing that would have made it better for him would be voice activation but that is really a small thing.

At $249 the Coros Frontier is a good looking, very affordable helmet with a tonne of features that make it a great day-in-day-out training and recreational helmet which is compliant with Australian and New Zealand standards. We would happily recommend to anyone. To find out more or to purchase your own head to www.iico.com.au .

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

TheTestLab

Craig McKenzie and Patrick Legge are The Test Lab. Two guys with an obsession for trialling all things related to swimming, riding and running and telling anyone who will listen what they think. Having 20 years each in the sport, they’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly, but always loved the innovation triathlon brings to the world stage. Craig raced as a professional triathlete, winning 4 National Duathlon titles, and has worked as an exercise physiologist, osteopath and coach, while Pat has built a career running a personal training, massage and coaching business, working with State, Australian and World Champions, including Australian Olympic and Commonwealth squads whilst competing himself.

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