If you are a motorcycle enthusiast, you are probably familiar with the Skully brand of helmets. Launched in 2013, it went on to gain popularity thanks to crowd funding efforts, then unfortunately crashed in 2016 due to a series of scandals from the company. However, things have changed since then; and the Skully Fenix AR helmet is among the products that represent that change.
After the brothers Rafael and Ivan Contreras took over the company, they promised to turn its fortunes around and deliver the original promises. The Fenix AR helmet is among the most anticipated – all for good reason, as its features are quite the upgrade from what you would expect in a motorcycle helmet.
It is the first helmet that comes with a 180-degree camera to cater for any blind spots, making it among the safest options to wear, and takes safety for motorcyclists to the next level. It comes with a host of advanced features as well, which include heads up display (HUD), internal speakers, a rear view camera, and Bluetooth. In fact, it is possible to use it with the GPS feature on your phone as well. Rest assured that the helmet adheres to safety standards too, since it is bears the stamp of approval from ECE/DOT.
What can you expect from the Skully Fenix AR helmet?
With its base in San Francisco, the Skully team developed the AR helmet back in 2012. It has all the features we noticed in the original version, such as the inclusion of the HUD display (under the section of the right eye), the 180-degree camera, and other conveniences like navigation, phone ops, music playback, and so on.
The only difference that distinguishes the Skully Fenix AR helmet from other helmet brands is that it works very closely with your smartphone, in order to achieve some of its computing power. It does this through a dedicated smartphone app. As for other features like the HUD and rear camera, these can still operate great by themselves if you do not want to carry your smartphone around. Once fully charged, the helmet’s system can run for up to 4 hours, and you can recharge the helmet using its micro-USB – which makes it a worthwhile option if you want to go for a longer ride.
Even though the HUD projection system in the helmet seems promising, we do not like its size, which seems impossibly small and could cause some issues in people that might struggle with vision issues. This is particularly considering the projector screen size of other HUD helmets in the market – but we will give this one a pass because of its positioning that is closer to the eye.
Its positioning allows that it does not need to occupy a very large space or be of a semi-transparent design. It will remain slightly below your sightline the whole time, and you can easily adjust it if you want to get a better view.
Note that the company recommends that you familiarize yourself with the HUD mechanism before you begin using it, and learn to adjust it as necessary. You can adjust a variety of HUD aspects, such as its height, the viewing angle (by tilting it backward or forward slightly), as well as radial changes from side to side. These should help you see the whole display with minimal obstruction from your field of view.
The other distinguishing factor of the AR helmet is its in-built camera, which works closely with your smartphone’s GPS navigation system as you ride your bike. In fact, your hands will not need to let go of the throttle, because all the commands are voice-activated.
Slightly below your right eye, the HUD projector is clear and easy to see from your line of vision, which means you do not need to take your eyes off the road at any time – while you still get the benefit of 180 degree display. Even though you can connect your phone through Bluetooth to the system, you will not need to rely closely on Siri to help you at all times.
The final design is well-adjusted and fits on a variety of head sizes and shapes, as the helmet is closely based on the Shoei RF-1200. It also boasts a rear spoiler and lower chin bar, in addition to a strap buckle that is a quick-release type, in order to aid in easy and very fast removal.
The lining of the helmet is referred to as Outlast, and it has a history of use in the toughest situations. In fact, NASA used it in their space experiments to release, store, or absorb heat, depending on the differences between the external and internal temperatures. The only point of note here is that Outlast does not absorb sweat, but instead tries to make the conditions surrounding your head to prevent too much sweating anyway. This is an interesting choice in its design overall, but it should work well, especially when comparing it to other helmets you will find in the market.
You can control the Fenix AR thorough using the Skully app, which is available for both iOS and Android, and it pairs the best with Bluetooth 4.0. Its voice commands will allow you to play your favorite music, answer your phone calls, control the navigation, and check the battery life.
- Durable build, and good design
- Easy to adjust
- Includes a HUD in the line of vision for greater clarity
- Built-in camera to increase your line of sight
- Easy to pair with your smartphone
- The HUD spacing is small
If you have been scarred by the past of Skully Technologies, it is understandable that you are hesitant to try out the Skully Fenix AR helmet. You might even be held back from purchasing it because of the high price tag. However, the helmet itself does not have much of an issue, and you will enjoy it if you are looking for improvements in helmet safety features, as well as the chance to access modern dashboard technology, which you mostly find in cars today.