A short time in the past we caught up with the founders of the Australian bike helmet producer, Forcite. In our unique interview, we mentioned the event of their enterprise, their sensible helmet expertise, and the processes concerned in creating such a singular product. Forcite just lately launched the newest iteration of their sensible bike helmet, the MK1S, and I managed to get my arms on one to provide it a take a look at run.
Because the launch of the Forcite MK1S, it’s been receiving quite a lot of constructive suggestions from the primary spherical of consumers of their neighborhood discussion board. Forcite has additionally simply been awarded ‘Greatest in school’ on the 2022 Australian Good Design Awards for product design within the Automotive and Transport sector. So, as you possibly can think about, my expectations for this helmet have been excessive.
Forcite MK1S Specs and pricing
The MK1S encompasses a T400 carbon fiber composite outer shell. T400 carbon fibre was designed particularly for aerospace purposes so together with being light-weight it’s extremely sturdy. Contained in the helmet is an EPS foam liner much like these you’ll discover in most helmets. In whole the shell, liners, and built-in expertise equate to round 1500g (massive measurement) which positions it between the likes of Shoei’s RF-1400 and the tremendous mild AGV K6. Not dangerous for a helmet that packs a lot tech into its design.
Good expertise is what makes the MK1S actually particular. Built-in into the helmet is a 1080p 30-60fps HD digital camera, a 40mm Harman Kardon speaker system, a chargeable battery that provides 3-4 hours of steady use whereas recording video (7+ utilizing the app or listening to music), twin omnidirectional microphones and Forcite’s distinctive peripheral LED alert show system. That’s quite a lot of further gear to suit right into a helmet however someway Forcite has managed to do it seamlessly. So seamlessly the truth is that the presence of all this gadgetry is just about undetectable to the wearer when it’s not energetic.
Different options of the Forcite MK1S sensible helmet (sure there’s extra!) embody an built-in tinted UV-blocking solar visor, 8 air flow ports, interchangeable visors with pin lock functionality, the selection of both normal or premium padding (further $79 AUD) and a two-piece detachable chin wind curtain.
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The Forcite MK1S is on the market in both a matte or gloss clearcoat end. This exposes the carbon fibre weave beneath permitting you to scrutinise the standard of its manufacturing. Judging by the weave on my take a look at helmet Forcite’s QC management is top-notch. There have been no noticeable defects within the gloss clearcoat or something that may detract from its premium end.
The MK1S is available in sizes starting from XS to XL and is designed to greatest go well with an intermediate oval head form. Pricing for the Forcite MK1S begins at $1,200 AUD. Forcite presents add-ons on the level of buy resembling reminiscence playing cards and totally different visors. These will, after all, bump the value up a bit, however Forcite has saved the price of these things low and aggressive so it is smart to seize them abruptly.
Forcite MK1S what’s within the field and setup
The MK1S is available in all-black packaging with silver foil branding which makes an awesome first impression. Contained in the field, you’ll discover a shelf containing all of the included equipment and the helmet stashed safely beneath. The equipment you’ll discover embody a helmet bag, an working information, Bluetooth controller and mounting bracket, a upkeep software, a Forcite certificates of authenticity with the manufacturing variety of your helmet, and a USBC charger for the helmet and the distant.
As with all rechargeable system, earlier than you utilize the helmet and distant they should be plugged in and absolutely charged. As soon as it’s achieved you possibly can mount the Forcite distant to your handlebars utilizing the provided bracket. The bracket matches onto 7/eighth and 1-inch bars utilizing the provided rubber mounting rings and the controller is connected utilizing a screw-on fastener.
The distant fastener is the draw back to this setup as a result of it must be achieved behind the unit which might be fiddly, particularly if the area in your handlebars is restricted otherwise you’re sporting gloves. A clip much like a few of the smartphone bike mounts we’ve featured up to now can be far more handy, however that is actually no deal breaker.
To function the MK1S helmet you will have to obtain the Forcite app (IOS or Android). As soon as put in there’s a setup course of that the app walks you thru. This course of includes registering your helmet and controller in order that they’ll auto-connect after they’re switched on.
A easy press of the ability button on the within of the chin bar turns the helmet on. A inexperienced LED lights as much as point out the helmet is energetic and also you’ll hear a brief beep by way of the built-in audio system. One necessary factor to recollect is that to be able to use all of the helmet’s features you will have the app working in your telephone. With out it, there are some things that will not perform as anticipated resembling answering telephone calls. It’s because the app works as a communication bridge between the helmet and the handlebar distant.
The Forcite smartphone app and distant
Whenever you launch the Forcite app it defaults to a map display. From there you possibly can enter your vacation spot, soar in your bike, and the helmet’s sensible options will information your approach. The Forcite app permits you to simply add waypoints to your journey, in case there’s a specific approach you wish to go, and you’ll share the route with different riders. The wonderful thing about this navigation system is that it’ll additionally notify you of doubtless harmful hazards in addition to the usual directional directions. The app collects information about particles on the highway, roadworks, velocity digital camera areas, and many others, and can notify you utilizing totally different audio and visible alerts contained in the helmet.
On the backside of the app are 2 icons representing your helmet and the distant. These have inexperienced rings round them when the whole lot is related and double as battery life indicators. Between these 2 icons, you’ll discover a document button so you can begin the helmet’s digital camera recording together with your telephone if you need.
To enter the choices/setting display you faucet an icon that includes 3 horizontal traces beside the map search bar. When that’s clicked you possibly can alter the audio and visible alerts coming by way of the helmet. On this menu, you too can edit your profile, use the media cable to entry video content material out of your helmet and alter different issues such because the show, navigation settings, the helmet and controller settings, and entry the assistance menu.
The Forcite MK1S distant is designed to let you management the helmet with out having to the touch your telephone. It mounts on to the handlebars so you possibly can place it near your left hand for fast button presses. The controller is triangular and has a button in every nook and the centre. These are used to carry out primary features regarding navigation, telephone calls, digital camera recording, and controlling your music. There are a number of instructions you’ll have to keep in mind that contain both fast presses or holding the buttons. It would take you some time to familiarise your self with their location and the totally different push mixtures, however it’s all fairly simple. On the facet of the controller, you’ll additionally discover easy-to-access quantity buttons.
Driving in and working the Forcite MK1S
Whenever you pull the Forcite in your head the whole lot feels fairly acquainted. It matches cosy and the liner is delicate towards the pores and skin. As you’d count on it’s a fairly tight match at first as a result of the liners are designed to loosen up over time to type an ideal match. All of the vents are opened utilizing slide switches and the interior tinted visor is operated by way of a sliding swap on the left of the helmet behind the primary visor hinge. The D-ring strap fastener is similar as any you’ve used earlier than and the visor opens utilizing a thumb tab.
The match: The MK1S is a cushty helmet. My take a look at helmet has the optionally available premium padding improve (+$79AUD) which options contour-forming foam, a snug-fitting neck roll to assist forestall wind noise and ingress, a big chin curtain, and plush supplies. I’ve observed a little bit of stress on my brow within the MK1S. It hasn’t left me with any awkward dents on my head and I’m anticipating it to reduce over time because the padding breaks in. The big chin curtain and neck roll are a welcome addition, notably on cooler days and nights.
Wind noise and turbulence: This helmet is on no account the quietest I’ve examined; particularly when speeds exceed 80km/h. The noise might be on par with my previous Bell Star Carbon, however nowhere close to as quiet as my AGV K6. Ear plugs are after all advisable, however there’s another excuse for that I’ll cowl beneath.
Air flow: The air flow offered by the 8 vents within the MK1S is superb. The breeze coming by way of the chin ports was notably noticeable. The one detrimental in regards to the air flow system is how the ports within the chin bar perform. Somewhat than exterior switches like the opposite vents, they’re operated utilizing sliders contained in the chin bar. Which means in the event you overlook to shut them earlier than you set off you’ll have to tug over to do it. First-world drawback.
Visor and aerodynamics: The sphere of view out of the MK1S visor isn’t the widest in the marketplace however it’s not limiting. The mechanism that operates the visor feels a bit clunky however it performs because it ought to. The visor has a number of open positions so you possibly can experience with it partially open if desired.
The inner visor is nice in the event you don’t like using 24/7 with a tinted visor. It operates simply utilizing an exterior slider and I’d describe it as a darkish tint with a slight yellow tinge. If you happen to’re using into direct daylight it’s a godsend. The one problem I’ve with the interior visor is that it hits the top of my nostril when it drops down. That is in all probability solely a difficulty for individuals like me with massive pointy noses.
As for aerodynamics, most of my using takes place on high-speed roads and I haven’t observed any ungainly wind buffeting or turbulence so far.
Battery life: Based mostly on Forcite’s numbers you may get some actually good use out of a single MK1S cost. Charging the helmet is finished rapidly by way of a USB-C submit beneath the chin bar. With the digital camera on they estimate 2-3 hours of operation which is greater than sufficient to seize the very best components of a day’s experience.
One factor to notice is that because of the helmet’s standby perform the battery will drain. It’ll take a few weeks or so, however it’s one thing value remembering so that you don’t get caught out with a flat battery simply as you’re about to set off.
Recording video: You will have 3 methods of recording video with the MK1S helmet. You can begin recording both utilizing the app, the distant in your handlebars or you possibly can set it as much as begin recording as quickly because the helmet is turned on. The latter is a superb possibility for individuals who just like the peace of thoughts a dashcam supplies.
The lens of the digital camera is situated within the middle of the chin bar. It’s positioned in order that in a typical using place it captures a great view of what’s straight forward in addition to the highest of your handlebars. As for high quality, it competes properly with different equally spec’d cameras and does a fairly first rate job coping with low mild situations. One factor it may gain advantage from is improved picture stabilisation, however the bumps it captures might be smoothed out with first rate modifying software program. As for the sound recording, the two inner mics captured what I used to be saying good and clear and there was sufficient engine noise within the background to let you already know I used to be on a bike.
Audio and visible expertise: The sound that the helmet delivers to you thru the Harman Kardon speaker system is nice, however earplugs are important. It’s because the treble appears to be turned up excessive. I’d assume that is deliberate that can assist you hear what’s being performed over the wind noise. Audiophiles won’t like what this does to Phil Collins’ ‘Within the Air Tonight’, however let’s face it, you’re by no means going to get probably the most out of your music when it’s coming by way of audio system stashed inside a bike helmet.
Telephone calls additionally work properly whilst you’re on the transfer. At suburban speeds, it’s unlikely anybody will even know you’re using a bike. I known as my spouse after I was doing 110km/h on the freeway and she or he was very stunned by the readability saying it merely gave the impression of I used to be on a hands-free name.
Due to the standard audio system, navigation instructions are additionally very simple to listen to. You possibly can select between 3 totally different voices for the prompts and so they ship directions clearly and concisely. The perfect a part of the navigation system nonetheless is the distinctive peripheral lighting bar.
Sitting on the prime fringe of the chin bar beneath the breath guard is a white strip that’s about 5 mm thick and 15cm lengthy. Inside it’s an LED mild array that shows navigation alerts utilizing totally different lighting patterns and colors (The video beneath exhibits how this appears in motion). I’ve ridden within the helmet in full daylight and at night time and the lights are very simple to see. At night time they’re after all far more intrusive however by no means a lot that they’re overly distracting. It’s a fantastically easy mechanism and the considering behind it’s nothing in need of genius.
Remaining ideas on the Forcite MK1S helmet
When contemplating a helmet buy a price ticket of $1299 AUD might be onerous to swallow. But it surely’s necessary to think about precisely what you’re getting with the Forcite MK1S.
The MK1S helmet itself isn’t fairly as much as par with the likes of a equally priced Shoei. I believe it’s fairly related in high quality and luxury although to the Bell Star DLX MIPS I just lately examined which retails for $890 AUD. To see the true worth right here you’ve bought to think about all that tech. Sena’s newest 50C Harman Kardon, 1080p digital camera geared up intercom system retails for $899 AUD. Slap that on the Bell Star and also you’ve spent near $1800. Then there’s the truth that the Sena is a bolt-on resolution versus the seamlessly built-in tech of the MK1S. Personally, a $500 saving and one thing I don’t need to spend an hour putting in is much more interesting to me.
The Forcite MK1S is a big soar ahead in helmet expertise. I’d regard it as vital because the introduction of parking sensors to automobiles. There will probably be loads of riders who don’t need the distractions this expertise introduces to their experience, however there are numerous others who’re positive to profit from it. Seamlessly integrating all this performance right into a helmet that’s light-weight and each ECE and DOT licensed is spectacular to say the least. I had excessive hopes for this helmet and Forcite delivered. I sincerely hope we’ll be seeing extra improvements from this sensible Australian helmet producer sooner or later.
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- Seamless inbuilt expertise
- Peripheral LED alerts are ingenious
- Good worth for cash contemplating all of the tech
- Nice buyer assist and rider neighborhood
- Excellent all-in-one vlogging helmet
- Battery drain can catch you out
- Wind noise excessive for the value level
- Visor mechanism feels a bit clunky
- Preliminary setup might be fiddly