It’s been one year since COROS burst onto the scene with their COROS Linx Smart helmet. The main appeal of the helmet was that it had not only jawbone conduction speakers built into the straps (which don’t block outside noise), but it also had a wind-protected microphone. Oh, and it was Strava orange. Or Zwift orange. Or Dutch orange I suppose. Either way, orange.
Actually, it also came in black as well as white, but that’s boring.
In any event, they delivered their crowd-funded wares roughly on time, a rarity in the industry. They then did some confusing corporate re-org stuff with the company and started shipping out units again last spring. All’s well though, and now here they are with a secondary product – the COROS Omni. This new helmet retains all of the previous goodness of the existing helmet and adds lasers.
Actually, it doesn’t add lasers, but it adds lights. Which are almost as cool as lasers.
Minus the fact that it’s somehow not orange anymore.
Which, is a good time to move onto the next section.
The Tech Inside:
Now, as I was saying before I got distracted with flippin’ lasers, is that the new unit retains all of the previous audio focused goodness. So to briefly recap all of that, here’s the key baseline goodness from my last review of the Linx helmet (why yes, I’m glad you asked, check out that in-depth review):
– Jawbone conduction audio
– Bluetooth connectivity for music playback and phone calls
– Microphone built into upper front edge for phone calls
– Connectivity to smartphone app for configuration
– Had a remote control for volume and call control
– You could in theory do turn by turn navigation with it
– It had an app for tracking rides
– It was Strava/Zwift/Dutch orange
– One could actually upload to Strava from your helmet, sorta.
Anyway, that’s all the existing unit, what about the new one? Well, it’s added:
– Lights on the back of the helmet
– Crash detection algorithms in helmet (used to be just on app)
– Crash notification to emergency contacts
– It’s got a visor option for mountain biking
– They’ve redesigned the app
– It’s black, red, white, or blue
– It’s not Strava/Zwift/Dutch orange
So in a nutshell, the key takeaway here is that it’s got lights on the back of it. To dive straight into the tech, these LED lights have three settings: On, Off, or Auto. In the auto configuration, they illuminate based on how dark it is. If it’s not dark out, they’ll basically be off. If it’s dark out, then they’ll stay on.
This setting, along with other settings, are found in the redesigned app, after you pair the helmet via Bluetooth Smart. You’ll also pair the helmet via regular Bluetooth for audio playback.
The redesigned app feels like the company wants to become some sort of health and fitness hub with now more pronounced aspects like tracking calories and steps, which is honestly a horrible idea (versus just rides before). Hopefully they’ll re-focus on being a bike helmet company. Still, if you want to track your rides using their app you can with their app. It uses your phone’s GPS though, and then afterwards you can upload to Strava. I’m not sure clear on why you’d use this app versus Strava’s app, since Strava’s app has so much more functionality.
The one benefit however to their app though is the crash detection piece. If the helmet detects a g-force of 1G or more, it’ll trigger notifications to your predefined contacts via text messages. And within the app you can pair the remote to the helmet as well.
Of course, the main feature is still there – the Bluetooth connected audio components. This includes the jawbone conduction speakers, as well as the microphone. For those familiar with jawbone conduction, the main appeal is that if resting against your jawbone, it’ll deliver more clear sound that isn’t impacted by wind.
Meanwhile, the microphone sits just up under the front lip of the helmet, out of the wind:
Both of these use standard Bluetooth audio services, so they’ll work with any phone. Both of these features were in the previous COROS Linx helmet, and both worked pretty darn well. From a battery standpoint, the unit claims about 8 hours of battery life.
When it comes to weight, the new unit is actually lighter than the existing one. The Omni weighs 343g, versus the 411g for the Linx:
From a size standpoint though, while they look almost identical in width, the new one just looks wider to me. I think the flatter design makes it look like a squished turtle, versus the more aero look of the Linx (orange awesomeness one):
Still, different looks for different folks. Of course, the helmet is heavier than a non-smart helmet. Obviously you’ve got to account for the weight of the electronics/lights/batteries/etc… But it’s still pretty lightweight and I don’t really notice it. Let’s get into a test ride.
(P.S. – For lack of anywhere else to stick it, the helmet is certified within the US, Europe, Australia, and N.Z.)
I’ve been using the helmet on various rides since October, both as a regular helmet (without connectivity) as well as in a connected sense. In both aspects, it’s worked great. I’ve technically had two helmets, a pre-production and the final production model. The only difference being that on the pre-prod unit one of the speaker pods was broken, but on the production unit that was resolved. Both units connected to and played back music just fine.
Speaking of which, from a music quality standpoint (as in, how well you can hear it), it’s pretty good. But it’ll depend on the fit. If the pods float too far away from your face you’ll lose audio volume (it won’t sound as loud). Ideally, they’re snug against your jawbone, thus allowing the bone conduction magic to do its work.
You can adjust the fit a bit to find the right spot, so you’ll want to do that. Oddly though, the helmet doesn’t seem to come with any little strap mini rubber band holder thingy. So the extra length of strap floats about some. Though you can easily DIY a solution here for a few pennies probably (small kids hair elastics).
From a quality standpoint, I had no issues with the audio quality. The playback of music was good and loud enough, and more importantly, it doesn’t overtake the sound around me. You can watch my video from last year on how that all works below. Exact same technology, just in a different helmet body:
Like before, the remote control is used for increasing/decreasing the volume, as well as accepting or hanging up a call. Though oddly the remote didn’t come with the required CR2032 coin cell battery. No biggie, I have a few hundred of them.
On the lighting side, it’s literally fire and forget. You turn it on, and it just does its lighting thing behind you (facing backwards) – there are no front facing lights. You can’t control directions as if it were a turn signal, and honestly, I don’t think cars would get that anyway.
One slightly missed opportunity here is adding in automated ANT+ Lighting Profile connectivity. With more and more companies starting to adopt that (Cycliq, Bontrager, See.Sense, and of course Garmin), it would have sorta been the most brilliant thing to just have the lights connected to the bike computer and turn on automatically (without you having to press the button on the back). Perhaps their chipset allows for them to enable ANT+, I’m not sure.
Either way, functionally speaking, everything works good for me at this point with the rides I’ve done.
Of course, not everyone needs or wants a smart helmet. If you don’t care about music or safety lights, then there’s little reason to get this helmet. The crash detection feature is potentially useful to some, though there are also free apps that do that anyway (and you have to use your phone regardless for the crash detection feature to work).
Over the last year I’ve used the COROS Linx helmet (which I bought with my own money), and liked it quite a bit. I don’t often use the music, ironically enough, but when I do, it’s nice to have (I’ve primarily used it on long slow climbs in the mountains). I’ve long adjusted to the slight increase in weight, so much so that it’s not even a consideration for me.
As for Omni though, personally I’m not a fan of the appearance on my head. I just happen to like the slightly more aero look of the Linx instead (and the color orange). Of course, it’s not really designed as a 100% road helmet given the visor option, but rather meant to be more multipurpose. Thus, to each their own.
Still, from a tech standpoint, it’s cool. The pricing on Indiegogo is $99 right now, versus the $199 retail. The company is basically just using the crowd-funded platform for marketing, since the helmets are already manufactured and in process of being shipped across the oceans (basically just like they did last time). So your risk here is pretty low. On the flip side, if you want a helmet immediately sans-lights the existing Linx has been on sale recently, and it sounds like it’s set to go back on sale for $119 shortly. So there’s an instant gratification element there, plus, it’s orange.
With that – thanks for reading!
Surprised these aren’t available in a bright “safety” yellow…
No, they were focused on on traffic-cone orange in the previous edition.
Just making this comment because the “Submit Now!” button for submitting this comment is a really nice color. Such a nice color that I couldn’t help wanting to click on it. What color exactly would you call it, Ray?
That’d color be called awesome.
Post not showing on main page 😉
How’s the outgoing audio quality?
Surprisingly good. I tested it with The Girl yesterday via phone call, and while she said it wasn’t quite as good as native call connectivity, it was quite functional. I did a similar test in the video up above.
No MIPS yet?
It’s arguable whether MIPS is benneficial at all (see link to helmets.org for reference). So I wouldn’t be too concerned that this helmet comes without it.
Thank you for pointing that out. MIPS has been marketing adopted, not safety.
I’m living proof that MIPS works. I have a friend who also experienced the benefits of MIPS. I know the pros/cons, but if it works in vivo with me and another that’s enough. Will never ride without a MIPS- equipped helmet again. Really surprised and disappointed the OMNI is without one. Deal breaker.
It’s impossible for you to know the counter-factual. I have been saved by non-MIPS helmets. Does that disprove their relative effectiveness?
Every helmet is designed to “save” you from catastrophic injury. Non-MIPS lids are not designed to save you from a concussion. If you think they are, and don’t want to spend just a bit more for a MIPS helmet which will work, have at it. Is there another point that I’m missing?
I’m curious about waterproofing and washing… can the helmet go into the shower with me for periodic de-salination?
It’s waterproofed for rain and such, but not for total underwater immersion. I’ve gone through some astounding rainstorms with my Linx variant without any issues.
No embedded HR? That would be more cool.
No. Though, one company did previously: link to dcrainmaker.com
But will they finally make it in a size Small? That’s the main reason I didn’t get the last version.
I’d buy one, but I have the same problem as last time. They don’t do a 64/65/XL size. They will eventually get caught up to the fact that us bigheads need crash helmets too, just like the motorcycle helmet suppliers.
Maybe in the next version they’ll make them available.
Impulse bought the original on Cyber Monday due to your high praise of it. It’s a bit chilly in New England so I haven’t worn it yet. Is the new one worth returning the old on Amazon and picking up the new one on Indiegogo?
Seems to me the pros are: LED lights, lighter (no pun intended), and the cons are: not orange, squished turtle.
Am I missing anything?
I think you’ve summarized it up. Really just comes down to a personal preferences decision at that point to be honest.
Anyone making helmets with a built in camera to work the same as a FLY6?
Yup, a company called Sena: link to sena.com
This was more what I had in mind although it’s above my price range.
link to cyclevision.com.au
Did you mean 10G force for the crash detection? 1G is normal gravity so would probably be a bit too sensitive, if the helmet were dropped for instance it would go off before hitting the ground!
Thanks for pointing out it has AU certification just assumed it wouldn’t and it’s illegal to ride without a certified helmet here
Could the speakers be linked to a GPS’ bike route apps, for turn-by-turn audio alerts?
Yup, it’ll just act as a regular BT speaker, so the same as if you paired it to your car for example.
I’d love to see the looks I’d get if I wore this as a hands free device while driving down the road in my truck.
I suggest a new product category for “smart helmets”: Coros, Lumos, Livall.
I’ve been looking for a helmet with audio (music/calls) and lights, but I still haven’t found a definitive choice.
I used your review of the first generation and got it. Just want to note that podcasts don’t sound as loud as music and so if you want to listen to podcasts on those long rides, I wouldn’t recommend this or the previous version. I’ve found bone conduction doesn’t work easily as the pods are hard to keep in place, for me.
Yup, I’d agree there. Nothing much has changed and voice related stuff (no vocals) is tougher to hear in general while moving.
Thanks Gordon and Ray. I listen to podcasts and not music on rides/commutes. If that does sound good then no reason to get this. Too bad. With all the gear to charge, bring, set up, etc. would be nice to have those built into the helmet.
I listen to podcasts also and had the same volume problem. Solved it by downloading Overcast for listening to podcasts – it has a setting that boosts volume output.
I wonder if there is any ‘smart hemlet’ that can connect to a garmin/wahoo computer for routes (or parse over a .gpx route from their app) and can show to the left/right lights before a turn or a roundabout for the cars or a group ride behind you.
I just set it up with the Garmin 1030 – get voice prompt turn by turn with this over the blue tooth into the speakers, worked great
Out of curiosity, can you use the remote to control the music on your phone when paired with a different bluetooth headset?
Sorry Ray, but I can’t take your opinion on this. Last time The Girl weighed in on the looks of the Linx. Did she share any thoughts?
No worries, I’m not great with style decisions myself. But The Girl is sure to call out something that is dorky.
She still hates the look of the Linx. She was displeased I wore it in a recent magazine photo shoot. 🙂
I’ll ask her to respond here on style related aspects…currently she’s picking out an approved outfit for me to wear for Christmas photos tomorrow.
If you want “little strap mini rubber band holder thingy”, I reckon that cutting an old inner-tube would be an even cheaper & green alternative to a kiddies hair band.
So I’m curious Ray, how do you feel about the lack of an Orange option, you’ve given no clear indication of that? 🙂
I prefer the older one, from a size point, but I guess is not available for sale.
Also: What Bluetooth Standard do they use? (I use an “older” phone as media player with just 3.0, no, not BLE).
@Alberto: I have two “on stock” in case you’re interested. One has been used by me once and the other is unused. Large version is black and medium version is white.
I suggest a new product category on smart helmets. I’ve been looking for one with audio (calls&music) and lights (safety) but I haven’t found a final decisión (Coros, Lumos, Livall, Sena).
It would be great to have a comparation between some of them.
Hi Ray, great review.
I have the Lynx. Overall it’s a fine helmet, my only gripe is that you can’t use the yellow button to activate Siri/Google Assistant to make a voice call. Super annoying when you have multiple layers and a phone in a Ziploc.
Have they fixed this on the Omni?
Robbie McEwen wearing a Coros helmet! link to youtube.com Around 2:04 mins in… Though the straps are pretty loose 🙂
I like the idea of a helmet with lights… I just don’t trust myself with the functionality to listen to music or take phone calls. I know I’ll get distracted one day and slam into a turning vehicle or something. So, I did some looking around and found the Lumos helmet. I just ordered one and can give my two cents once I receive it. Ray… perhaps you would like to give it a proper review? It’s got a remote, turn signals, and an accelerometer that turns on brake lights when it senses you are stopping. Could be pretty handy. Plus it has lights in the front and back and looks a bit brighter than the Coros. Honestly, I have no affiliation with the company. I’m just an Ironman age grouper that spends way too much time alone on the bike. Link: https://www.lumoshelmet.co Cheers!
I can’t believe there’s not even the option to use the lights as turn indicators. Seems such an obvious use. They sure as heck LOOK like them.
I think part of the challenge is that most drivers honestly wouldn’t think/know to look there.
To me, the Coros Linx version doesn’t have many holes for airflow and feels too warm in the summer. Isn’t the new Omni version also solving that issue, at least partly?
My tip for improving the sound is to wear the sunglasses on top of the helmet straps. That way, the speakers stays tight against the jawbone.
Thanks for all your fantastic reviews and letting me discover the Coros products.
Very cool tech. I truly like the concept. That being said, just nothing I feel I would need right now. I have bike lights, I like my helmet, and I have bluetooth headphones which work well enough for music or podcasts. Good review and really cool concept, though!
If I listen to anything when I ride, it’s normally some sort of podcast or audiobook. Any indication about how this helmet/”headphones” do with that type of media?
Sorry; I was so tired the other night that I forgot I’d already commented. I’m an idiot
Do you feel like the lights are bright enough to be used on its own for safety at night? Or do you think you’d still need a normal bike light on the back as well? How does the overall brightness compare to say the Cycliq for instance?
I would go with a secondary light on the bike itself.
They aren’t bad, but personally I’d have secondary lights. I’ve gotta go out and take some night photos this weekend for it.
Bit disappointed they spent the effort adding lights which most cyclists interested in a smart helmet already have as a necessity, rather than a heart rate sensor.
Also prefer the Lynx/Frontier aero shape more than the mushroom head here. Guess I’ll grab the old one when it eventually goes on sale.
I got the Sena X1 for intercom function. Didnt see any mention of that with the Coros, so is the Sena X1 still the only one with intercom functionality?
The instructions say to download an app from the Play Store called “Coros Omni”.
In fact Google play store doesn’t contain an app of this name. Nice start.
link to play.google.com
“The COROS app is intended for using with the COROS M1 smart watch and COROS OMNI helmet.”
Thanks. I worked that out anyway. In fact the whole thing works perfectly well without the app.
However, it’s a bit disconcerting to find first of all that the instructions are poor and then secondly what they say in the booklet doesn’t match up to what is actually available on the Internet.
The helmets aren’t bad at all but the poor attention to this kind of detail was common with the previous version of the helmet and clearly nobody has bothered to think about changing their ways.
As far as this helmet goes, unlike Ray, I prefer the shape but the straps are very much more flimsy and also there is the same problem of adjusting the earbones and they are set to low down as a default.
I haven’t tried the thing out yet but I expect that the quality generally to be no worse – but no better than the previous model. I like the lights.
Somebody in this thread said that they were sorry that the lights can be controlled as a kind of indicator – but frankly I think this would be dangerous to rely on them. The left and right are so close together “naturally” that I don’t think you would really catch the attention of drivers and a cyclist might easily become overconfident and rely on the lights on their own.
I don’t think that there is anything much better than the hand signal and if you want indicator lights, then there are two three companies which manufacture gloves with lights in the back of the hand and these are great because they give a really clear and unambiguous signal as to which direction the cyclist is going – although they aren’t automatic and you generally speaking have to hold your thumb and forefinger together to make the contact. No big deal.
Just got my Omni from UPS an hour ago. It’s already charged, paired and working. Quick observations:
(1) They did include a CR2032 battery. There was the obligatory plastic protector that you had to remove by unscrewing the battery compartment door a quarter turn.
(2) They do have a strap-wrap to keep things tidy. It’s actually a nice one.
(3) It’s much louder (welcome change) compared to my Lynx.
(4) The Large helmet is larger; it actually fits me perfectly, and I even can crank it down a click. The Lynx was a bit tight, even all the way open. This only matters to my fellow “big head, small brain” riders.
(5) It’s red. Yup. Not orange.
(6) The lighter weight is noticeable. It also has more ventilation. I wear a beanie anyway to avoid sunburn (proceeding faceline you know), so not a biggie.
(7) The flashing red light is nice. It’ll go with the ones near my hub, the radar under my seat, and the other light on my backpack. I like to be seen!
(8) Yeah, their directions had two booboos… (a) the wrong name of the app, and (b) the “quick start” guide attached to the helmet wasn’t a quick start guide.
All in all, a great upgrade. Happy camper…
Congrats on the new tech and thanks for the update! I’m wondering, does it have walkie talkie functionality like the Sena X1 helmet?
And a question: there are a pair of identical attach points on the helmet, towards the rear on both the L and R side. See pic; point of interest is in lower-left corner. What can attach to these? Seems like it’d be a great place to attach a mount for a top-of-head camera, or???
Answering my own question: it’s for the visor. Pity, as I’d much rather mount something else…
How are the lights in daytime? Looks like they missed the boat on this one. Some other helmets like Lumos and Livall mount the LEDs inside lenses for better daytime visibility.
Now, if Coros could add the feature so that users of the helmets could talk to each other without a smartphone (bluetooth to bluetooth), like an intercom, that would really be cool. This would replace our Terrano-X bicycle intercom system my wife and I use when we ride together.
This is exactly why I went with the Sena X1 which has a built-in and seamless intercom system.
Hello I am wondering where I can buy the helmet will be traveling to Europe Amsterdam and I’m looking for a new helmet
Hello. An you control the helmet as well with the Garmin F5x or do you nee to use the remote control,
Would be great to do all from one place .. and less stuff on the bike ?
No integration between Fenix 5 and Coros unfortunately.
How do think this helmet compares to the Sena X1?
Well. I am disappointed. I got my Omni and it paired to regular bluetooth just fine but It will NOT pair bluetooth smart. I hear the music and its fine but it wont do anything in the app so the smart stuff is no good. I sent a message to them but have not heard anything. The helmet itself is nice but without the bluetooth smart stuff it is just headphones which is not why I bought it. I care about the lights and controlling with app. Very disappointing.
Sorry. My bad. I was using their “other “ app. The doc is confusing and the QuickStart guide goes from step 2 to step 4 so maybe it was supposedly there. I don’t know.
I got I connected with the other coros app
Are you by any chance running Android 7?
See my response above. Sorry about the hassle
Frankly, I will like to see more lights – like the lumos – and integration with the ant + light protocol . I
Re: incident detection system, is it the same system in the Linx and Omni? Trying to decide between the two and this is an important point for me!
So it looks like it is not $99, but $219.00
That was the pricing a year ago on Indiegogo, which is always lower than retail.
I thought I read you post, “The pricing on Indiegogo is $99 right now, versus the $199 retail” and the link takes one to the listing for the Omni. So the Omni was $99 a year ago but now $219.
Gotchya. Not sure why their own site has it at $219, since retail on other sites is $199: link to amzn.to
Perhaps they never got around to updating the pricing or something on the Indiegogo site.
Just got the Omni. The printed and online manuals both tell how to activate the walkie talkie function. NOT!
There is no walkie.
Emailed Coros (very quick reply):
“Unfortunately OMNI doesn’t support walkie talkie feature. The reason for the icon on the button is because we tried to make it work. However, the communication quality is unacceptable and we decided to give up on this feature. The only model that supports our walkie talkie accessory is LINX. If you would like to have two way communication with your partners on OMNI, you can initiate a phone call before the ride. Hope this helps and we are sorry for the inconvenience and confusion.
For the LINX, you have to purchase the add on accessory for each helmet to enable the walkie talkie feature. ”
FYI the walkie add-on is $25+ per helmet.
link to ify.coros.com
I’m good with using cell. If you wanted the walkie function, factor the cost with the Linx. Also read the Sensa had a very good walkie built-in.
Thanks for the update! I was debating which helmet to get and now am so glad I went with the Sena X1. Its walkie function has made cycling SO MUCH MORE FUN and it works beautifully. I got a Sena R1 (the new sportier model) for my spouse and she has been wanting to cycle all the time now…we can bike and chat even from across busy intersections.
How does is survive in a downpour? Ie. Are the electrics, including the bar control unit waterproof?
I’ll post here
Merge or move post if needed
Any update or info in the new ultra lumos helmet?
It finally is available in size XL too 🙂
Currently Kickstarter project
They lowered the initial pricing as well
Ray, my Coros Omni helmet is coming up on it’s 3rd birthday, therefore, I’m starting to think about replacing it.
I’ve gotten the impression that Coros, is not as interested in helmets as watches.
Any ideas what replacement to get?
Coros still has the SafeSound Helmet, there is Livall BH60SE Helmet and the Sena X1.
Having lights on the helmet is not a concern. I like the speakers as it allows me to hear GPS navigation from RWGPS, or music/podcast, etc without having to have one ear blocked with an earbud.
I’m not a fan of using AirPods as I ride, they fall out of my ears. The Powerbeats Pro would be perfect, but then I have issues with sun glass arms/temples.
Eek, that’s a tough one – I haven’t tried the Livall, and it’s been a year or so since I’ve used the COROS helmet (I’ve moved onto a Specialized one with crash detection). Albeit, like the COROS – I end up rarely using the features built inside it. 🙁
Sorry, wish I had some better advice!
I’m starting to lean towards just getting one helmet without speakers or lights. I will either adjust to wearing one powerbeats or find a small bluetooth speaker that I can clip on to my kit.
I would highly recommend the Sena R1, its really an amazing helmet. Several of my friends have picked one up and none of us can go back to a regular ol’ helmet.