Review: Forcite MK1S Smart Helmet
The quest for a “smart” motorcycle helmet has been going on for years, with varying degrees of … mostly failure. The smart helmet mania really started with the Skully helmet saga, which fleeced thousands of riders by promising a high-tech hat featuring comms, GPS and a rear-view camera piped to a heads-up display (HUD). The project imploded with very few produced helmets and messy legal proceedings.
Most riders now use add-on Bluetooth comms systems from Cardo, Sena and others. But one company pushing the tech envelope is Australia-based Forcite with its MK1S smart helmet.
The EU/ECE-certified Forcite MK1S has been available in Australia and Europe for a while and seen some success. Now, the helmet is making the cross-Atlantic trip and launching in North America.
The Forcite MK1S features a lightweight carbon-fiber shell, a dark drop-down sunshade, a pin-lock visor, and full comms with Harman Kardon speakers. The standout features are an integrated front-mounted HD video camera and an innovative LED array that provides turn-by-turn GPS assistance, road hazard alerts, and more.
The LEDs are arranged in a strip under the rider’s nose, which makes them visible without being directly in the line of sight, like a typical HUD is. Paired via Bluetooth to the free Forcite app—which includes GPS and a wide range of setup options—the LEDs prompt riders ahead of turns, but also warn of speed and red light cameras, police activity, traffic delays, and more. The LED signals are backed up by an optional audio prompt, and the warnings come courtesy of dynamic databases (like Waze) the app accesses.
The bar-mounted rechargeable remote controller is glove-friendly and allows camera and phone operation, volume adjustment, activating the GPS, and so forth. The helmet charges via USB-C and will run for five to eight hours, depending on how it’s used (the camera uses a fair bit of juice). As a bit of a blunder, the system does not shut off automatically at a ride’s end, which can leave the battery unexpectedly dead.
I used the MK1S for riding in Oregon and while in India on the Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 press trip. The system worked well in both countries, including GPS operations. The helmet was also very comfortable and the remote is simple to use.
Video feed from the 1080P HD camera is very clear. The camera lens is cleanly integrated into the chin section of the helmet and has a clear cover to protect it from inevitable bug impacts. The video is not stabilized, but your head does a pretty good job of keeping it steady.
I found the Forcite MK1S LED system highly effective and it mostly kept me from glancing at my phone or GPS device. The comm system’s sound quality was also good.
Overall, the MK1S works very well and is a useful, stylish, and comfortable “smart helmet.” Recommended.
The Forcite MK1S helmet retails in the U.S. for $1,099.