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The EVO21 is Livall's latest 'smart helmet,' and while it has a few quirks, on the whole I quite like it. The lighting system is all a bit 'Tron Legacy' in a cool way, and things like contacting a friend or family member with its SOS alert are welcome additions. The fit is a little odd though, and it'd be nice to see what you are pressing on the remote in the dark.
Livall is no stranger to helmets that do more than save your bonce. Back in 2019, Ian reviewed the Bling BH60SE and reckoned that, while it was good at being a helmet, the rest – stuff like a Bluetooth speaker to take phone calls or listen to music, and a walkie-talkie system so you can speak to other Livall riders on group rides – were a bit gimmicky. All that also hammered your phone's battery level.
For the EVO21 it has simplified things somewhat, which is definitely for the best.
Does it work as a helmet? Well, yes and no. Helmet fit is a very personal thing due to varied head shapes, but to be fair I rarely have an issue. I haven't counted but I've probably reviewed and bought more helmets in my 12 years with road.cc than most people will wear in a lifetime, and while some have been more comfortable than others, there are few that just haven't fitted.
Unfortunately, the EVO21 is one of those.
It seems to have quite a rounded shape. If I got things snug front and rear it was gappy at the sides, which even with the strap tightened up nicely allowed it to rock a little from side to side. I still wore it on plenty of rides, and at times I didn't notice it, but when you do it can be a bit off-putting.
Adjustment for diameter is possible via a rear wheel on the cradle, and there is some up/down adjustment too – something the Bling BH60SE lacked. There are two sizes, large (58-62cm) and medium (54-58cm). As these things are so personal, try before you buy if you can.
If it fits you then you might be worried about the venting, or lack of it. I was, but it actually works way better than I expected considered how narrow the openings are. The channels inside funnel the air over your head effectively, though.
I rode at my normal road speeds through September and into October, and didn't find it overly warm, although that could change in the summer. If you are using it for urban riding, again you should be fine, while moving at least.
The EVO21 passes the EN 1078:2012+A1:2012 and CPSC 1203 testing standards, plus the overall quality is decent for a £100 helmet.
The outer shell is bonded tightly to the expanded polystyrene main body, and while it doesn't cover the underneath to protect it from accidental damage, there is no noticeable edge between the two.
The most noticeable difference over a standard helmet is the lighting. The rear lights cover 270°, and via the app (more about that in a bit) you can choose three different patterns. They're honestly quite eye-catching.
Legally you have to have a working front and rear light on your bike, so the helmet is a secondary light, but it works to create a high-up focal point in the dark, even when you're turning your head. They aren't bright enough to have much clout during daylight hours, though.
At the front is another light which either mirrors the strobing pattern of the rear or comes on as a headlight. I couldn't quite detect the pattern of when one switches to the other when riding, to be honest... not that it makes much difference, as it isn't bright enough to light your way even in the pitch black.
When the helmet detects a controlled deceleration, the rear lights turn solid as if they are a brake light.
By way of the included remote on your handlebar (fitted by swapping the rubber band to something that fits the 31.8mm diameter of most bars), you can also turn on the indicators. Press left or right and the red lights go out on the rear of the helmet and an indicator comes on.
The main problem with seatpost mounted indicators, or those found on the back of some helmets, is that they are so close together that from a distance it's difficult to tell which direction is flashing.
Livall has got around this by giving the indicator a chase pattern around the side of the helmet in the direction you're turning, the same as you see on some high-end cars and lorries.
I didn't use the function loads, though. It's pointless in daylight as no driver will be looking out for them, instead expecting a signal from the rider's arm. It's the same in an urban environment under streetlights, as still your hand signals will take precedence.
When I did find it helpful was on dark A-roads, especially if wearing a dark jacket or long sleeve jersey with no reflectives on the arm. Giving the indicator button a tap gave a much more noticeable intention, and should be attention-grabbing to following cars.
It's all a bit niche to be fair, but it is a step in the right direction if indicator lights are ever going to be a thing.
Next up, there's the EVO21's ability to message a pre-saved contact if it recognises a crash. This obviously relies on it being connected to your phone via the app, and while I never actually crashed while wearing it, simulating crashes in the garden did create a decent amount of success.
These systems are never foolproof anyway. My Garmin watch has texted the missus after I hit a pothole and stopped to check for damage, while my Garmin 530 contacted her when I hit a rough bit of trail on a gravel ride.
The Livall app allows you to record rides using your phone's GPS, and adds various things like a feed for uploading photos from your ride, along with a comment. It's a bit Instagram, really.
The app can also control the settings of the flash patterns, and whether you only want the lights to come on in the dark or all the time. Once I connected the helmet and completed the setup, I never really touched it again.
The light is charged at the rear via a magnetic USB cable. It works well, charging relatively quickly, and gives around 10 hours of battery life. It's not like your standard USB though, so if you're commuting you might need to carry it with you for top ups.
Waterproofing is rated at IPX5, which means the helmet can resist a sustained, low-pressure water jet. The charging port is at the rear, facing down and tucked behind a rubber cover, and I never had any issues with the EVO21 in the rain.
Judging value is a bit tricky, as there aren't a whole lot of helmets with this kind of tech out there. Coros does offer the SafeSound Road Helmet for £104.99, which is just a fiver more than the Livall. It comes with the SOS function and is a similar weight as the EVO21.
It also has a speaker system on the straps (Dave wasn't that impressed with it), but the rear light doesn't offer anywhere near as much illumination.
If I was spending my own money, would I buy the EVO21? No, probably not. I don't really think I'm its target market. I'm a fast-riding roadie (yep, still telling myself that) and after years of riding and commuting I'm not bothered by traffic, controlling much of it by road positioning rather than relying on signals as such.
In fact, I'm not really sure who it is aimed at. It's quite pricey for a commuter light across town, but kind of heavy and clunky for road use. Still, I do believe it is one of the better solutions I've seen to illumination, and the indicators work quite well. If the idea interests you, and the rounded shape fits, then go for it.
Overall, it's a good helmet. It's well made and not overly expensive, especially when you look at some aero helmets without any of the associated tech.
Niche, but the lighting sytem is clever and it works well as helmet – as long as it fits you
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Livall EVO21 helmet
Size tested: 58cm-62cm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Livall says, "LIVALL EVO21 IS A ROAD BIKE HELMET INSPIRED BY TIME TRIAL AERO HELMETS THAT OPTIMIZE AIR RESISTANCE AND REDUCE PERSPIRATION THROUGH A SYSTEM OF INNER CHANNELS.
"It has a powerful front light, placed at the angle that faces the road while the cyclist is in sprinting position. The rear lights indicate direction and brakes. In the event of an accident, the SOS system, via the user's smartphone, calls emergency services, providing the cyclist's geolocation as well as flashing the helmet lights. Thanks to the LIVALL app the user can connect to a class-leading community of interconnected cyclists."
It performs well as a standard helmet with decent venting and adjustment, plus it passes the relevant testing standards. The tech is a bonus and on the whole it works without being too gimmicky.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
270 degree rear lighting
Various flashing modes
Indicators front and rear
Brake light function
Colours: Black, White, Mint, Purple
It's about 50g heavier than a non-smart helmet of the same price.
Would have scored higher if it suited my head shape.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a helmet it performs well, providing it fits your skull shape. The airflow is better than I expected.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lighting and indicators are quite cool.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It didn't fit my head shape.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There aren't a huge amount of helmets like this in the marketplace, but it is priced similarly to the Coros mentioned in the review.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, on the whole
Would you consider buying the product? No, because it doesn't fit my head shape
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your overall score
I debated over whether this should be 3 stars or 3.5 – the lower score being because it didn't really fit my head shape. If it does fit you there is a lot to like here though, as it is a good helmet with tech that's not overly gimmicky. That's why I have given it the benefit of the doubt, and gone for the higher score.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!