Coros’s original Linx helmet combined an aero shape with clever bone-conduction speakers built into the helmet straps. I liked the concept and liked the helmet. But being a pretty closed-in design and pretty bulky, it wasn’t a helmet for everyday use — certainly not when the temperature rose.
The new Omni is Coros's second model, and the angular sculpted shape with plenty of large vents certainly looks a lot sharper than the Linx, as does the finishing with smart graphics and a blend of matt toned reds makes it look every inch the premium product.
At 364g the Omni isn’t the lightest around, but when you consider it contains a 700mAh battery that's given me 7.5 hours run time between charges (and that’s running the speakers constantly plus the rear-mounted bank of LEDs) it's not too shabby.
The helmet also comes with a bar-mounted remote; from this you can control the audio (pause, play, fast-forward, rewind and volume control) and a button for answering calls, as the Omni contains a wind-shielded microphone mounted in the brow.
The beauty of bone-conduction speakers is that you can hear what’s going on around you (traffic) while still hearing whatever you’ve chosen to entertain you. The sound quality is decent, though if you prefer to listen to spoken-word podcasts rather than music both wind and traffic noise can overwhelm it.
Some of that is seemingly down to the helmet's design, as the more aero (and larger) Linx doesn’t suffer in quite the same way.
Taking a call while riding works well enough, though again the volume can get a little overwhelmed by ambient noise, so I found it best to roll to a stop.
Coros also provides a free app with the Omni, which records your rides in much the same way as Strava or Garmin Connect, taking in plenty of metrics. You can use this to log rides, record rides and even set up voice alerts on distance, routing, and speed.
You can also set up the Omni to send out alerts to your preferred number in the event of a crash. Through the app you can also control the rear light banks, setting them on or off, or to auto so they turn on if the ambient light drops.
Coros Omni hybrid smart cycling helmet availability and pricing
The Omni launched this month on crowdfunding site Indiegogo and is estimated to be ready for shipping in February 2018.
When the helmet retails it will cost $199.99, but Indiegogo backers will benefit from a range of discounts on the RRP: the super early bird price of $99 (200 available), early bird at $129 (500 available) and then $149 unlimited quantities.
The Omni will be available in four colours: matt black, matt red/black, matt white and matt blue/white.
Coros Omni hybrid smart cycling helmet overall impression
As a helmet the Omni is well shaped, and has bags of adjustment. You need to take your time to get the strap positioning right so as to get the most out of the bone-conduction speakers.
When riding hard and getting a sweat on, I did find the pads got overwhelmed more quickly than the best quality helmets I’ve tried; they just don’t seem to wick as well as the best from the likes of Lazer, Bell, Giro, or Kask.
Fundamentally though the Coros is a damn good helmet — I’d like the speakers to be beefed up a little volume-wise for listening to podcasts, but for music however it works impeccably.
At the early bird pricing it’s a four-star product, but at the full retail price it loses half a star because of that slight lack of speaker punch.