As we gear up and prepare to take Lumos to production, we want to begin shifting the conversation and start talking LESS about ourselves, and MORE about our users: You guys!
We have really enjoyed giving you an inside look into our work and the process making Lumos a reality (and hope you’ve enjoyed following along as well!). But now that we’ve had people using Lumos Helmets (albeit beta units) for a while now, we are really eager to also start sharing their stories as to how they have been using Lumos out in the real world.
As you know, we ran a beta test with about 60 people earlier in January. Beta testers were primarily in the United States, but we also had beta testers in the UK, Germany, Austria, Finland, and Singapore. The beta testing period officially ended at the end of January, but many beta testers have continued using their beta units on their commute.
We interviewed a number of them to chat about their experience with their Lumos beta unit. What follows is a condensed version from an interview we had with Victor, one of our beta testers from Munich, Germany!
LH: Hey Victor, thanks so much for taking the time to share with us and our backers your experience with the Lumos beta helmet. To start off, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Victor: Sure, currently I live in Germany, in Munich. I work here and I am very interested in all kinds of technical things and startups. I have been riding my bike a lot since childhood and I tend to think about safety. I used to feel that drivers didn’t see me on the roads, especially in the evening and in poor weather. I also drive, so I have been able to see both sides of the issue of being visible in traffic.
LH: What was it like being part of the Lumos beta testing program?
Victor: I found the Lumos project on Kickstarter and thought “Wow, it’s a great idea” and just decided right away that I will try it. Now I am really happy that I joined. I have continued to use the helmet daily also after the beta testing period. For me being part of a Kickstarter project is not only to pay for a product, but to contribute and be part of the journey and it is in my own interest to contribute to make the product better. I think that Lumos was very interested in my ideas and valued my help. I have backed several projects on Kickstarter and not all of them are involving users this well and with this high quality.
LH: What does your usual bike ride look like?
Victor: I live in Munich, which is a very good city for cycling. There are a lot of bike lanes here and many people bike. I ride to work everyday in all kinds of weather. Also in winter since we only have a little snow and quite mild temperatures. My ride to work is around 15 minutes and in the morning it is light and in the afternoon it is already getting dark. Sometimes during the weekends I ride around the city and parks. Actually, when I need to go anywhere in the city, I usually go by bike. In the city center I ride among the cars on the road but otherwise there are bike lanes.
LH: Has the Lumos Helmet been useful for your bike rides?
Victor: Yes. I really feel safer. The bike lanes are often hidden behind parked cars, so at night when riding with only front and rear lights on my bike, cars can’t always see me from behind the cars, especially when they are turning. But with the helmet, the cars see me because my head is above the top of the cars. I really feel safer because of that. I can also see traffic signs and other cyclists’ and pedestrians’ reflectors easier because the helmet light makes them reflect slightly. Lastly, when approaching traffic lights I’m using the turn signal and and briefly showing a hand signal too to inform drivers of my intentions, but during the turn itself I can keep both hands on the handlebar which is also safer.
LH: That’s awesome! Do you have a favorite feature?
Victor: The best thing is that I feel safer and more visible. I really feel that everyone can see me and also it is a unique product. Even during daylight people see me better. The level of the lights is very good, because it is not too bright so it doesn’t blind you or other riders. There is no glare from the lights and I think this is great. Also the lights are visible from all directions.
The battery life of the helmet is also good. For casual use, the helmet has lasted around a week with the lights on continuous mode, but it of course depends on the weather. When it is colder the battery drains a little faster, but even below freezing, the battery life is good. On the negative side, the brake light is quite sensitive and sometimes it lights up when I ride over bumps or move my head. So that still needs improvement.
LH: What do people say when they see you wearing the helmet?
Victor: Several times people ask me where they can get the helmet and they think it is great for the city. Many people think the product looks very cool and bright. I have a colleague who also bikes a lot but hates wearing a helmet. I showed her the Lumos Helmet and let her try it, now she says that it’s the helmet she would actually wear when she bikes. She felt safer and more visible.
LH: Final question: Would you recommend Lumos to a friend?
Victor: Yes. I think it is better to have something like this when riding a bike especially if you are riding in the city and in traffic. Really it is not only the safety, but it also makes riding cooler and easier. If you ride a lot off road and in the mountain, I think this helmet is not the right one for those purposes, but for everyday use, I would recommend Lumos for sure.
LH: Victor, it’s been awesome chatting with you! Anything else that you’d like to share with your fellow backers?
Victor: To all the Kickstarter and pre-order backers out there, from my experience Lumos is one of the best projects I have been involved in. It is moving along well, the people are very responsible and available all the time and all the changes that have been made along the way have really been made because of real user feedback from beta testers. I feel that Lumos has listened to us and the product really fits the needs of everyday bikers. If you want to feel safer and be more visible and get a unique product that is early on the market, you should be part of this.
LH: Victor, thank you so much for sharing and for being part of the beta tester group. We really appreciate the help all of you have provided in this journey. We couldn’t have done this without help from all of you!
We will be posting more stories and interviews with our beta testers soon, so keep a look out for that! We will also continue to provide monthly updates on the product and our progress all the way through final delivery. In the meantime, ride safe!
Eu-wen, Jeff, and the Lumos Helmet team