Hey everyone, hope all is well!
As you may remember from our last update, we shipped out Lumos Helmet beta units to beta testers in time for Christmas. That means we’ve had over 60 beta testers wearing, riding, and testing our helmets for over a month now across 20 states within the US, and also in the UK, Germany, Austria, Finland, and France!
Perhaps one of our favorite moments from the beta test was when a member of the public took the time to post this on our Facebook page:
We take this to mean that the helmet is doing its job! Its bright, visible, and makes you stand out on the road!
I’m sure you’re eager for more details, so we thought that it might be best to let our beta testers tell it to you directly themselves! We asked them “If you met one of our Kickstarter backers and he/she asked you how the beta units were. What would you say?” Here are some of their responses:
- Dear backers! We all did a very good investment. It's an innovative product. It makes your ride safer. I'm sure it will be a success after improvements will be realised. The beta test is organised very well. the guys kept all meetings and promises. I'm proud to be a part of this development. - Andre Klagenfurt, Beta Tester, Austria
- Beta was a good experience confirming that the product will work. It does need adjustments to improve fit and how the signals relate to brake light. All in all I look forward to the updated model and will continue to use the Beta model on the streets as it does have real value - safety. - Deon Fair, Beta Tester, Texas
- The Lumos beta test was well-run, engaging and fun. As a tester I am sure that my opinions were heard and understood and I can see our feedback informing the design changes to Lumos. The product itself is already a smart, functional design and the Mk.II is set to be even more effective, safe and fun. - Richard Shearwood, Beta Tester, United Kingdom
- Overall, I am very happy with this helmet. I ride my bike home after work in Los Angeles. It is dark ~5 months of the year when I am riding home, and visibility is very important for me to make it home safely. I feel this bike helmet is vital for me to make it home safely. I look forward to these being developed for children. - Linnaea Scott, Beta Tester, California
So all in all, not perfect, but pretty good!
The goal of the beta test was to have regular people use real units out in the real world, see what happens, and see what “bugs” they find that need to be fixed. Better to test early with a small but decently sized group than to skip the step and only find the problems after shipping out thousands of units.
By that measure the beta test has gone very well. The units were not perfect and we could not expect them to be, but thanks to hours and hours of extensive testing by our beta testers, we now have a ton of information and actionable insight to fix the deficiencies, and improve the final product.
So what did we learn?
There were many things. For example, lots of people reported that their straps were too short. A small but really important issue that was overlooked but caught thanks to this test. There were other small things too like a little unnecessary green light on the helmet that was causing distraction and confusion. These small things are relatively easy to fix.
However we also uncovered some fairly big things we were not expecting that require fixing.
The biggest issue we discovered was regarding fit. For quite a number of our beta testers unfortunately the fit was not very good. For some people it did not feel very comfortable, and for other people it did not feel very secure. Different people have different sized heads and it’s impossible for any one design to fit everyone’s head perfectly. That being said, as you can imagine, it is really important that the Lumos Helmet fit most people well. Changing and improving the fit though, is a fairly major change that requires an unplanned and unscheduled re-tooling. This unfortunately, means a painful but necessary delay.
It’s not a decision we took lightly, but after some discussion it was clear to us that it really is not a viable option to ship helmets that don’t fit very well. We’re still working out the details, but to give you an idea, here is a roughly updated timeline for you as an estimate.
We discussed these changes with our beta testers and asked them to weigh in on the delay and share their thoughts with you guys:
- As with any new untested invention there will be shortcomings which may delay the finished product. The recommendation myself and others have suggested will require additional time and I would like to ask all my fellow cyclist to please be patient while they “tweak” the helmet. It is important that when the final production is rolled out that it will not only do everything that you expect but that it will also provide as much protection to the rider as possible. The final helmet will be something that we all can be proud of. - Richard Orgill, Beta Tester, Oklahoma
- The improvements to fit are worth the delay and the enhancements to brake indicator and turn signals will all be worth the work. The Beta proved these things will work they just needed real world feedback. - Deon Fair, Beta Tester, Texas
- It's sometimes better to take the time we need to improve the best way to build and use the product. No matter the delay, the product has to be the best as possible before to be sold. - Julien Brossier, Beta Tester, France
- I'm really glad to be part of the Beta Test Group. I am very glad you are working hard on this product. You will be saving LIVES. This is good work you are doing, keep it up! And get kids helmets next! :-) - Linnaea Scott, Beta Tester, California
We are in the midst of incorporating a whole series of changes and improvements to the design as a result of feedback and observations made through this beta test. We will be finalizing these changes very soon, and we look forward to keep updating you on our progress! In our next update in early March we should be able to show you guys some cool images from the CAD of the final design, so do keep a look out for that!
Thank you all so much for your support thus far, and also for your patience. As with any project, Kickstarter or not, there are unforeseen challenges that require us to adapt. We hope you are enjoying following along in our journey and that you understand why these changes are necessary. Our experience from this beta test has strongly reinforced our optimism that Lumos can improve your ride, and ultimately we do believe that this will culminate in an awesome final product that you’re going to really love. Thank you for playing a big role in making it possible!
Eu-wen and Jeff