‘We are shipping product and it is real’: Forcite smart helmet boss explains how their high-tech helmet will succeed where others failed
Smart motorcycle helmets are nothing new. Companies have been promising internal cameras, head-up displays and more for years, but very few have made it to market and fewer still have made any impact.
As you might expect, this has led to some scepticism about products of this kind, but now an Australian firm called Forcite are looking to change that – releasing their latest MK1S lid to the UK market in September.
An ECE 22.05 design, it features a 60FPS HD front camera, carbon fibre composite shell, and an LED strip beneath the nose piece for alerts including indicators, speed cameras, traffic warnings, and police. Expected to cost between £900-£1000, around 300-500 helmets will be available this year for the UK and Italy – using selected stores to showcase the product before it’s delivered direct.
However, making a helmet and selling a helmet are two different things and Forcite CEO Alfred Boyadgis is well aware of the challenges ahead.
“There’s a really bad reputation about smart helmets in the industry, because you have companies getting together and creating prototype products that aren’t fully fleshed out with certification or manufacturing being set-up and then using the money from their early customers to create their manufacturing line,” the Sydney engineer told MCN.
“There are companies out there that haven’t delivered any product yet,” he continued. “We’re venture capital funded to the tune of $AUS 14 million across the lifespan of the company and with that we’ve built full manufacturing lines, we’ve shipped 2000 units to customers in Australia – which is a huge deal – and this is the third iteration of the smart helmet to our customer base.”
Founded in 2013, Forcite released their Mk1 helmet to the Aussie market in 2019. The latest design features 40mm Harman Kardon speakers and a three-button control unit to sit on your handlebars.
“You’re always going to have your purists. Even myself, I have an AGV Pista helmet that does nothing, and I wear it to enjoy the ride,” Boyadgis continued.
“This is a helmet for customers who really appreciate a product that’s been homologated, lightweight, and all integrated.”
For those able to wait a little longer, an ECE 22.06 version could be with us by December at the earliest – sacrificing a drop-down sun visor to meet the more stringent regulations.
May the Forcite be with you: Meet the latest smart helmet, on its way to the UK from Down Under
First published on 29 July 2022 by Phil West
Smart motorcycle helmets are not a new phenomenon. In the past five years alone, we’ve seen countless concepts and designs boasting head-up displays (HUD), built-in cameras, audio systems and more – all to keep you safer on two wheels.
Even big names like Shoei are getting involved – revealing their ‘Opticson’ concept at this year’s Osaka and Tokyo shows. But not all ideas have made it to market and most riders still currently favour traditional designs.
One name that is proving to be successful though is Australian start-up firm Forcite, which revealed its Mk1 lid in 2019, claimed to be the pinnacle of smart helmets thanks to its combination of Bluetooth-based built-in comms, integrated camera, LED visor warning display and handlebar-mounted multifunction controller.
The first batch of 1000 ‘Founders Editions’ were sold, featuring a carbon-fibre shell, internal sun visor, and ECE 22.05 compliance – leading to claims of it being the first ECE-certified smart helmet.
Although priced at a hefty $1599AUD and only available in Australia, they were gone almost immediately, before the second batch of 300 was offered in Feb 2021 at a slightly reduced price.
Those who missed out on that first run will be pleased to know there’s a new, uprated version called the MK1S on the way and, for the first time, it will be available in the UK.
Although the key ingredients are unchanged – including the carbon-fibre shell, mic and speakers, HD chinbar-mounted camera, chinbar-mounted LED lightbar warning indicator and remote controller – the spec of most elements is said to have been improved, while the price has actually come down. Forcite say the refinements are the result of feedback from existing owners.
Premium 40mm Harman Kardon speaker drivers are now housed in a new ‘comfort fit’ cavity and include spacers for personal customisation. The standard liner now features a sweat-absorbent sports fabric and can also be upgraded to a new premium liner option, if you want.
An F1-inspired LED warning display remains and comprises a range of subtle, colour-coded, customisable indicators at the edge of the rider’s field of vision.
What’s more, the audio system is also enhanced while the remote controller remains, allowing the use of your phone, navigation, music, camera, and more – all without taking your hands off the bars.
The integral Sony HD camera benefits from a new lens. As before this stores to an integrated SD card, while battery life is up to seven hours and recharged via a built-in USB-C plug.
The MK1S is also undergoing more stringent ECE-22.06 approval tests and orders are being taken now (each helmet is custom made) with prices starting at $1299AUD (around £740).
For more info head to the Forcite web page.