Cycling and music … a contentious issue for some, for others the two go hand in hand, almost to the point of one not (often) being done without the other.
For years I’ve enjoyed riding with music but always, and strictly always, with just a single bud in the left ear. Not every ride, not in a bunch, not in crazy city traffic – but wherever else, and where safety and commonsense allow, I simply love to ride with some favourite tunes (at a low to moderate volume) in my left ear.
The Music And The Mountain
Numerous songs hold special cycling memories for me, I won’t mention many of them (for fear of spontaneous hysterical laughter) but one is Dreams by Van Halen. By pure coincidence, it was this awe-inspiring anthemic tune that began to blast as I turned the second last bend when first riding Alpe d’Huez in France three years ago.
It gave me a huge kick, boosted my cadence, and made the moment all the more memorable. And every time that song has played ever since the fantastic memories and aching calves come rushing back.
But even with that single bud in the left ear I fully realise the potential risk of a reduced level of hearing while riding – it’s always a level of compromise. Which brings me to the Coros Frontier smart helmet.
With no end of new products and ideas in the cycling world, genuine innovation is the key attribute shared by the small percentage that immediately make the ‘wow’ category. I put the Coros Frontier in that group – and a fair few of my riding mates do as well.
More Than Music
The helmet includes a range of unique features, the most obvious being light-weight bone induction speakers fitted to either side of the chin strap. Receiving audio from a mobile phone via Bluetooth, high-quality sound is heard through the jaw and side of the head. This obviously leaves both ears completely open for surrounding sounds – traffic, cars back, people talking etc.
Skeptical? I was too upon first hearing (no pun) about the concept. But it proves to work well, very well. After the first couple of rides wearing a black & blue Coros Frontier I was hooked.
The ‘smart’ features of the Coros Frontier don’t stop at audio (music, podcasts or whatever else you choose to listen to). There’s also a built in microphone, neatly tucked in the top of the helmet away from any wind noise, that’s used for phone calls and the innovative Coros walkie talkie system.
A compact walkie talkie module allows two or more riders to communicate during the ride, with 16 channels available. The push-to-talk button is on a seperate module, a handlebar-mounted remote that controls volume and audio options.
Another unique feature is turn-by-turn navigation. This works via the Coros companion app – simply type where you’re going into your mobile phone, hit start, and you’ll be voice-guided to your destination via the bone induction speakers. This system works superbly – whether in your home town or exploring a new city, it really makes a difference.
Slight Extra Weight
At around 350grams in size medium, the helmet is slightly heavier than many on the market due to the speakers and small battery. After a 2-3hr charge I found to Bluetooth function to last upwards of 10 hours. Yes there’s a slight increase in weight when holding the helmet alongside another, but I didn’t find it at all noticeable while wearing the helmet or riding.
The Coros Smart Frontier helmets are available in a range of colours and retail for around $250. They look good, fit very comfortably, are safe, secure and meet stringent Australian Standards. In my opinion the Coros frontier is a fantastic innovation for cycling and highly recommended!
For further details on Coros visit www.iico.com.au.