Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.
Let’s throw it back to the days when helmets were the bane of your young existence. Mom forbade you from blading, biking, even scootering, without the ugly plastic semi-orb jammed onto your little head. My god did you look uncool in it. Maybe you wore it with the straps unbuckled in a fit of prideful mini-rebellion, rendering it mostly useless and even more dumb looking. Maybe you bought a skater helmet, even though you weren’t a skater, because that had some social clout. Maybe you quit wheels altogether and discovered the joys of walking. Then you got over that nonsense with age.
Like wearing seat belts and buying protective phone cases, helmets are cool now. And not just cool because not getting concussed is cool, but cool in terms of tech. That’s right: high-tech helmets, of which Lumos’s Matrix helmet for city riding is a prime example.
The safety tech is all-encompassing.
Of Lumos’s range of smart helmets, the Matrix is the most tricked-out, the most expensive, and the flashiest. As in, the flashiest. The entire back of the helmet is a panel of lights that react to your directions while you scoot, bike, or board—flashing warning lights to signal that you’re slowing down, pulsing lights to make you generally visible as you ride, illuminating bright arrows pointing to the right or left to signal turning. You can control those turn signals via a remote strapped to your handlebar or tucked into your pocket, or if you’re wearing an Apple Watch, through simply your gestures. The idea behind Lumos’s tech is to proactively prevent collision by transforming your head into a beacon of light that yells, “Do not come near me with your giant metal machine!” but should collision happen, the helmet itself is certified to do what a helmet should: protect that noggin.
You can make it your own style.
That light show on the back of your head? Lumos’s customization options allow you to program the 7×11 dot matrix (hence the name Matrix). For those keeping score at home, that’s 77 RGB lights with which to project designs in different colors, all with the goal of making you easily seen in traffic, come pouring rain or bright sunshine. Congrats, you’re a lighting engineer now. As for fit, the Matrix comes with two sets of helmet padding, and if white doesn’t suit your sense of on-the-street style, you can get the shell in black. Will people mistake you for Daft Punk on Wheels? Perhaps. All said, there are worse comparisons to draw.
Now is the time to invest in a better helmet.
That’s not to say there’s a bad time to invest in a better helmet. Not at all—safety first, kiddos. But you know as well as I that city streets are getting more and more clogged with ride share cars, bike share bikes, teens on scooters, adults on scooters, and startup bros riding whatever you call those handle-less motors on two wheels. Hoverboards? Are hoverboards still a thing? Anyway. Not everyone shares the streets like they should, and so warding off the worst outcome—a crash—with a helmet that alerts other commuters on wheels to your presence is a fundamental safety measure. Even more-so for winter bikers—looking at you, Minneapolis.
And, in this season of giving, it’s also a great gift to give to someone to tell them you value their brain, quite literally. Just like Mom did when you were young.