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First Look: Coros LINX Helmet

A “smart helmet” loaded with high-tech features for the connected cyclist.

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A “smart helmet” loaded with high-tech features for the connected cyclist

The original Iron Man, Tony Stark, didn’t ride a bike. But if he did, he probably would have worn the Coros LINX helmet.

The LINX is the world’s first cycling helmet with integrated open-ear bone conduction audio, eliminating earbuds that block the sounds of traffic or other hazards. A wind-resistant microphone will let you take a mid-ride call that the other person can actually hear.

Designed by a team of cyclists, adventure racers, and endurance enthusiasts, the new helmet is the first release of Seattle-based startup Coros.

The bone conduction pads on the helmet’s chin strap convert sound waves to vibrations, bypassing the eardrum and sending auditory information straight to the inner ear. During test rides, it was easy to maintain awareness of cars and other riders while still hearing music and audio navigation clearly.

The bone conduction technology is a cool trick, but it doesn’t mean much if you have to fumble with your phone to accept a call or scroll through a playlist. So the Coros team added a simple Bluetooth-enabled “smart remote” that mounts on your handlebars and lets you adjust audio and take/make calls.

Embedded within the shell of the helmet is a sensor that detects high-impact crashes, triggering an emergency alert with GPS location to a designated contact.

Though loaded with technology, the helmet itself is fairly lightweight and vented well during our 90-degree test rides. It’s also water resistant, so a ride in the rain—or a sweaty head—won’t ruin the tech. And it’s Consumer Product Safety Commission-certified.

Despite securing stable funding from investors to guarantee the production of the helmet, Coros has chosen Kickstarter (“for the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Frizelle) to launch the LINX helmet. Beginning today, the LINX helmet is available to preorder for $100, a 50 percent savings from the future retail price of $199.99. The helmet will be shipped in late October to Kickstarter backers.

Beginning November 2016, the helmet will be available in traditional retail outlets for $199.99. Learn more at Coros.com.