The $1,500 Helmet

March 2, 2015

All Posts, News

Technology enthusiasts have been drooling over a motorcycle helmet called the AR-1 for more than a year. It is not for people who like to feel the wind in their hair.

You can’t own one yet. They aren’t in stores. You can buy one on the internet but don’t expect it to show up at your door anytime soon. It may eventually be actually manufactured by a start up, San Francisco company called Skully Systems. The AR stands for “augmented reality” and it sounds like a most excellent helmet to wear while bar hopping on one of Keanu Reaves’, $78,000, Arch KRGT-1s.

The Skully helmet does not actually exist as a product yet although there have been numerous references to prototypes . The Wall Street Journal and Forbes have given the helmet ink. In one of its four articles about the helmet, Popular Mechanics called it, “The beginning of a motorcycle tech revolution.” Popular Science thinks it is “THE helmet for the digital age.” Road & Track calls the AR-1 “The most anticipated motorcycle helmet ever produced.” CNN lauds its “potential…to save lives, to make out daily existences a little bit easier.”

Tyler Florence, a television chef who likes motorcycles insists, “The future of motorcycle helmets has arrived, a must.”

Heads Up Display

The most notable features of the full face helmet are a 180-degree, rear facing television camera and an itty-bitty screen at the bottom right of your field of view. The helmet connects to your smart phone by Bluetooth and the only limits to what may be displayed on the tiny head up display are in your imagination. The helmet also has a face shield that darkens or lightens at the touch of a button

Potentially you can get voice and map, turn by turn directions to the destination of your choice. Skully says it is working on a new voice recognition feature that will allow you to tell the helmet what you want it to display. And, again potentially, motorcycle racers can see their speed, revolutions, air pressure and the amount of gas in their tanks and an indication of how long it will last without taking their eyes off the road. The batteries that power the display last about nine hours


Skully won’t say how much the helmet weighs which may bother some riders because the weight of a helmet and how that weight is distributedare key factors in neck and spinal injuries that result from motorcycle crashes. The camera, batteries and computer are all contained in a spoiler on the back of the helmet and the spoiler is designed to break off if you crash.

The Skully AR-1 costs $1,299 if you preorder one today. Skully says they will retail for $1,499 starting May 15. If that seems a little steep you can buy a box of “Skully Nation Gear” including a hat, shirt and decals for only $49 that the company will ship to you right away.


37 Responses to “The $1,500 Helmet”

  1. Phuquehed Says:

    Yeah, I’d read about this a while ago. Just another fucking abortion somehow finding its way out of the garbage can and into the lives of morons with more money than sense.

  2. swampy Says:

    “…the only limits to what may be displayed on the tiny head(s) up display are in your imagination.”

    So, can you order up Netflix movies and does it make popcorn?

  3. popeye Says:

    I predict a lot of sport bike power rangers will be buying this. No helmet laws where i live. It would be a crime to cover up my rugged good looks

  4. panamaa Says:

    Man, you would look really cool on a Harley with one of those fuckers on, right???

  5. Shovelhead Says:

    No helmet law where I live either. Even if there was, I wouldn’t wear that thing if it was given to me.
    I tried on a full face helmet once for cold weather riding. Went for a ride, yes it kept my face from freezing but Fuck…It felt like someone put my head and face in a vise.
    I couldn’t hear very good, smell or feel anything. Might as well just stay home and watch people on TV ride!
    I may no longer have any hair to blow in the wind, but I still want to feel the bugs smashing against my skull. Keeps me awake!

  6. The Kraut Says:

    Smart Helmet? Does it get the porn channels?

    Will it let ya know theres a badge waiting up the road?

    Fuck $1300 for a skid lid, I’ll use my trusty M-40 German WW2 steel helmet if I wanna feel ‘protected’

    Helmets only provide for the chance enough will be left of ones carcass to allow an open casket.

    Respect to those who warrant respect


  7. Paladin Says:

    Because I live in Socal, a helmet is required. Due to the wearing of contact lenses, a full face helmet is pretty much required for me. I ride wearing a Vemar racing helmet. Because its made from carbon fiber, it’s extremely light weight. I also like the fact that full face helmets have the added advantage of negating (who was that masked man?) facial recognition.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  8. Ride On Says:

    Wonderful, now along with cagers texting, watching their TV’s and GPS navigation computer dashboard screens, we get to worry about distracted riders as well. I also see more sportbike riders wearing these and have to question the wisdom of making media available to be watched by riders while moving from their bluetooth devices. I’ve got 42 years of riding under my belt and have never found a need for a rear view camera either. That’s what mirrors are for and have done the job just fine for my many miles of riding.

  9. Rashomon Says:

    Many years ago when I used to race, the Bell slogan at the time was “if you have a $10 head, wear a $10 helmet” so we’d pony up $40 to buy something decent that the marshals wouldn’t bitch about. In later years, I might have spent $400 or so tops ’cause you knew you were going arse over tit down the track a few times a year at least – $1500 to have electronics driven into your skull when things go south is just plain nuts IMO.

    As an aside, there is a lot of stuff floating around the interweb about the IO getting into it in Mississippi this weekend with a few people shot. Not sure what the whole story is but I’m sure we’ll hear more.

  10. CN Says:

    Right. Before I committ cultural suicide I’d like those of you who’ve shared these comments with me a good & long life, good health, freedom and above all happiness regardless of what you will no doubt be thinking and probably writing about this comment and me for writing it.

    My primary motorcycle is (be seated),…..a 2014 Harley Davidson Night Rod Special (VRSCDX). Worse yet, in a State where it’s perfectly legal not to wear a brain bucket, I do. I ride without a windshield, (they make one but it defeats the whole idea of the model), so I wear a HLMT-MOD, STOCK II, MATTE BLK, 98201-12VM/042L (no I didn’t install the i-Pod), (yet). I’ve had the good fortune of riding various American made as well as imported models over the years and each had it’s pros and cons. Likewise, I’ve worn various helmets from the peanut shells with fake DOT decals to what I enjoy wearing now. The first time I “went over the high side”, the first thing to hit the deck was my jaw and had I not been wearing a full face no doubt you’d not have to be reading this and for all the times I wore the peanut shell or none at all the Gods kept me in the upright position. I spent a few summers drag racing on a quarter mile track where I was reasonably successful and extremely lucky where you had to have a full face helmet or you didn’t race. So, while I’m completely Libertarian about the right to Choice where helmets are concerned, I choose to wear one. One that is really well built (HJC) and reasonably priced ($195.00).

    We had a break in the weather today here, sunny & 70F. I was out on I-95 amazed at how high the tach goes before it red lines and how incredibly fast the porche/harley collaboration made this bike fly and given that the gas tank was placed below the seat, the center of gravity makes this thing corner like a cheetah. I don’t have to lean into the faux tank like a crotch rocket but at high speeds I do and the helmet makes all that a lot better. It’s unlikely I’d ever pay $1500.00 for a helmet but then I’d be unable to pay the retail on a new Corvette however, if given the chance I’d like to try either or both. Never say never.

    Lastly, my 64 year old Brother died of cancer last Thursday. He joined the Air Force in 1968 and did 20 years then worked at a Base PX for another 20 or so. He had retired to Tuscon, AZ and was enjoying a well deserved retirement when cancer hit him suddenly and completely. Today at a rate of speed I’d never want to see my kids try I finally forgot for a few hours how devistating losing a Brother is. I share that with you because in an odd sort of way you are people who I enjoy and respect even though I’ve met only a few of you. We who ride are fortunate we do, it’s a rare pleasure in a world devoid of rare pleasures these days.


  11. Paladin Says:


    My condolences to you and your family on your loss. In this day and age, 64 doesn’t really seem that old. May your brother rest in peace.

    Long May You Ride,


  12. BMW Says:

    @CN:Sorry to hear of the loss of your Brother! It is a familiar story, my Dad died of cancer a few months before he was to retire. He had planned for years to travel the country when he retired, but it never came to pass.

    @Paladin: I also use a helmet, although not required by law in my state. I promised I would, since my wife sometimes works on the transplant team. I keep my word.

    I have five or six helmets, some from the late sixties when we did have a helmet law. I like a half helmet, but I also use a 3/4 with a face shield when it rains. Between the shield and goggles, it keeps out most of the water. Besides, it gets darned cold when the sun goes down eight months of the year.

    My attitude towards helmets is “Why give the cage driving idiots a free shot while they are texting and driving! ” As I get older, I take longer to heal… LOL…


  13. Chris Says:

    @CN – condolences to you and your family on the loss of your brother.

  14. stroker Says:

    @CN: Condolences to you and your family. I understand the cleansing effect of a 100+ mph blast.

  15. wg Says:

    lol, the headline says everything i need to know. i paid $1500 for my bike.

  16. Rusty Says:

    Respects to you CN.

  17. John Deaux Says:

    My condolences to you and your family on your loss.
    Much Respect.

  18. sherides Says:

    Condolences to you and your loved ones on the loss of your brother.

    Fuck Cancer!!


  19. Anonymous Says:

    @ The Kraut

    If you have the bike to match this helmet, it doesn’t matter where the badges are, they are not going to catch you.

    I would not be able to take that WW2 helmet passed 150mph without eye protection.

  20. Duck Says:

    CN- You have my sincere condolences as well.

    As to this helmet, I’m sure their hearts are in the right place, And I’ll give them some credit for designing that break-away section, But still I’m not feeling it. I dig my 3/4 and my Vemar (Likely the same one Paladin mentioned, Actually), And they suit me just fine- Especially for lack of weight and general simplicity. I imagine all that extra stuff on my head (and right in my face) turning an otherwise great ride into a tiring one.

  21. VikingTrotter Says:

    I tried out the REEVU helmet. An English full face with a built in rearview mirror. It’s sold in the States now. They even have a flip up version. I have to say while trying it out in traffic and intersections. It was great. I was really impressed with it.

  22. Drifter Says:

    @CN; Thoughts are with You and Your Family…

    Godspeed to Your Brother…

  23. Bone Head Says:

    CN I’m sorry for your loss.

    As far as a helmet, it’s up to the individual. It is after all a personal choice for most of us…as it should be.

    But $1500 for a helmet? I do know that when it’s my time, I’m gone no matter what. No thanks.

    Respects to those that breathe the wind.

  24. Ronbo Says:

    CN, to you and your family, much respect.


  25. The Kraut Says:

    CN; Respects…keep it in the wind

    @Anonymous; my bikes an ’07 Ural GearUp…pretty much passes for a WW2 German sidecar rig, so yeah, the stahlhelm works for it.

    Waiting for the right Shovel…preferably an FXWG ’80-’83

    Respect to those who warrant respect


  26. bcnasty Says:

    my sincere condolences on the passing of your brother. May the good times you shared live on in your heart.

  27. wretched man Says:

    My thoughts and prayers for you and yours at this difficult time.

    Ride safe

  28. CN Says:

    Y’all are the best. L&R Always, -CN

  29. panamaa Says:


    Condolences to you and yours on the loss of your brother.


  30. Outsider Says:

    Maybe it should be combined with the Iron Man Military suit:

  31. P-body Says:


    Deepest condolences, cancer is a cold-blooded killer, indifferent to it’s wake. I lost my brother suddenly when he was 34, hard to stomach that pain. You are in my prayers and I’m grateful to your brother for his service.


  32. Base Says:


    For your brother,

    those that go before us hold our place at the table within the great hall, there we will all dine together.

    Until then.


  33. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    Dear CN:

    I am so sorry for your loss. FUCK CANCER.

  34. Sandmann Says:


    My deepest condolences to you and your family. I lost my younger brother when he just turned 18. This year will see the 10th anniversary of his sudden departure. I don’t know whether it is of any help – but I can relate to and understand what you must be going through!

    Respect to those who deserve it,

  35. PJ Says:

    Condolences to you, CN.

  36. WheresMyBoots Says:

    @CN: Deepest condolences to you and your family. Be well, and Ride Free.
    Much Respect,

  37. COS_Flyer Says:

    Ya know what? I’m going to break from the crowd and say that I see how this thing would be useful.

    The catch is that it doesn’t have any real use for recreational riders. Most of us know the areas we live in so we don’t need GPS, not to mention that a full face helmet feels uncomfortable as fuck…with that pricetag being the final nail in the coffin.

    Different story for people like racers, cross country BMX types, etc. They actually need information like seeing the tire pressure in real time, % fuel left, etc.

    For me drop it to $100 and add the ability to display some information I actually need to see ad then I’ll talk.

Leave a Reply