From navigation tools to voice-activated interactivity and full smartphone integration, we’ve all grown accustomed over the last decade or so to having various smart technologies built into our cars. So much so that using the handy little add-ons has become just a natural part of the driving experience. It’s peculiar then, that motorcycle manufacturers and bike equipment brands have been hesitant when it comes to developing equivalent technologies for riders.
Seemingly standing alone before this wide-open goal of unexplored technology is the Aussie firm Forcite, and with the release of the two-years-in-development MK1S smart helmet, the team has its boots laced tight and the ball at its feet. Building on the foundation of the award-winning MK1 helmet, released in January 2021, the MK1S has been designed to further integrate smart technology into the riding experience, with the ultimate goal being to help riders stay safe.
The helmet features an inventive road alert ecosystem that sees riders receive alerts for navigation, speed traps, mobile cameras, live traffic conditions and more via Forcite’s smartphone app. These are communicated via animations that flash across an in-helmet peripheral LED display. Designed to be non-distracting, the system enables riders to enhance their ride with smart technology while keeping their eyes focused on the road ahead.
The MK1S also features high-end in-helmet sound courtesy of Harman Kardon. The premium audio brand provides the helmet’s 40mm speakers, which are paired with omni-directional dual microphones that Forcite claims are tuned for vocal clarity and wind reduction, enabling riders to take calls and record voice-over while shooting video.
This video comes courtesy of a camera built into the helmet’s chin guard, with upgrades over the MK1 including improved colour balance and low-light recording, intended to give riders better footage during night-time riding. The camera also features a wider angle lens and 1080P resolution with a 30-60 FPS frame rate. Riders can share footage of their escapades via the Forcite app, which features in-app editing, enabling footage to be cut and shared straight to social media.
“Where others use clumsy clip-ons to shoehorn tech into their helmets, we’ve honed every part of the Forcite MK1S to create the next generation of smart helmet,” said Forcite’s CEO and co-founder Alfred Boyadgis, who was inspired to start the company after injuring himself in a motorcycle accident. “We captured thousands of points of on-road feedback sent in by Forcite MK1 riders. Our design engineers used this info to craft more luxurious padding, high-end audio and to improve camera quality in the Forcite MK1S. Our rider alert system and peripheral LED display is even more dialled into real-time road conditions, helping riders keep themselves safe.”
Despite all this patented technology, Forcite’s hand-laid carbon fibre shell means each helmet weighs in at just 1.5kg, which the brand claims makes the MK1S the lightest smart helmet on the market. The helmets also come with a Bluetooth-enabled touch controller that attaches to your bike’s handlebars. This can be used to repeat alerts and answer phone calls, as well as to start and stop video recording.
With pricing at AUD$1,299, every MK1S is built in Sydney to the customer’s specific size, finish and customisations. Whether you are into the high-tech accessory market or your tastes are a little more on the vintage side, Forcite makes a compelling argument for smart helmets being the future of safe riding.