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Specialized Centro LED helmet

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Old 05-25-16, 08:33 PM
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GravelMN
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Specialized Centro LED helmet

I'm considering the Specialized Centro LED for an all around helmet. It isn't really a road helmet nor a traditional MTB helmet but something in-between that Spec calls a "fitness" helmet. Like all Spec helmets, it's SNELL approved. As I ride a lot in the early AM and twilight, as well as gravel grinding and single track, I'm thinking about getting it in chartreuse.



Things I like are the extended occipital protection and the built in LED blinkie that doesn't project above the helmet shell, leaving a smooth rounded surface with nothing to hang up or dig in. The battery is replaceable with a standard coin cell and the entire light can be replaced if damaged or lost.

This wouldn't be the best looking helmet I ever owned, but what do you think about it as an all-round helmet? Any bad reports on it?
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Old 05-26-16, 12:29 AM
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The replaceable coin/button cell battery would be a deal breaker for me. Those aren't cost effective over the long haul. I'd prefer USB rechargeable via micro-USB cables. And I'd want the option of front-white and rear-red LEDs, not just rear.

The helmet itself looks similar to the Zefal mountain bike helmet that sells for $24. Add a couple of good USB rechargeable lights and the total price will be about the same. The Giro Hex is also similar but more expensive.

The Blackburn 2'Fer USB rechargeable is available singly for $25 or $45 for a pair. It's white or red, steady or flashing, small and very lightweight and bright for a to-be-seen light. Only complaint I have is it's necessary to detach from the helmet to recharge, but I use homebrewed Velcro straps to attach it to my helmet.

And rather than a 2'Fer for the front, I use a Vivo-Bike Illuminati on top for a front white light. It protrudes more but is also lightweight, brighter and more directional than the 2'Fer.

The 2'Fer and Illuminati both use standard micro-USB cables to recharge, not the older style Blackburn proprietary "magnetic" USB charger that was quirky.

The problems with those coin/button cell batteries...
  • They can't be bright and last long. If they're bright enough to be really useful, expect more battery changes.
  • The battery contacts are fragile and tend to break after repeated battery changes. This happened to my first two small red LEDs that used the common 2032 button cells.
  • The on/off/mode switches are almost as fragile as the battery contacts.


For several months I've been using a generic "frog" 2-LED light that takes two 2032 button cells. With regular use the batteries must be replaced every couple of months and are expensive. In some cases it's cheaper to buy a new identical light. And the flat spring battery terminal breaks easily from the thin circuit board, so they don't last long.

Recently I found similar frog LEDs that take LR1130 button cells. Each light costs only a buck apiece at Dollartree. The battery compartment and contacts look a bit stronger and may last longer. We'll see. But at this price I'm not worried. I carry a pair of white on the fork and red on the seat stays and give 'em away to other cyclists who don't have lights and want some to be seen.

If I preferred a replaceable/external rechargeable battery light to the USB rechargeables for longer life per charge, I'd probably get a Plant Bike rear red LED that uses a pair of AAA batteries.

Last edited by canklecat; 05-26-16 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 05-26-16, 02:08 AM
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I like it. The one thing it seems to be missing is MIPS.

Can you confirm what kind of battery it takes.

CR2032 button batteries are more or less compatible with LIR2032 rechargeable batteries. A bit of a pain to charge, but certainly possible to do.

I like my Bell Surge TF19X

It uses really tiny little button batteries, CR1616. I don't run them all the time, but they'll last for a while. And spare batteries are dirt cheap if one buys in bulk on the internet. One nice thing about the Bell is the right and left lights are independent. I usually only run one side at a time, so I have the other side ready to go.
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Old 05-26-16, 07:01 AM
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I commute and in the dark winter months that integrated light's limited battery capacity would be a problem for me. I clip a 180 degree blinkie to the back of my helmet, and a lower-power forward-facing 180 degree light to the top. They both use AAA batteries, three front, two rear. The Front light batteries last about 18 hours for me or about a month. The rear blinkie batteries last about 4 months for me in the winter.
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Old 05-26-16, 07:12 AM
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Coin battery lights often run for a long time. But they aren't as bright. Should be okay for a secondary tail light on a helmet. I used to run a blinky headlight that had two CR2032 coin batteries. It was reasonably bright.

It's way cheaper to get coin batteries on line. Get name brand ones packaged in a strip for around $1 each.


Don't use the helmet tail light as your only light. It's confusing to drivers when it's up that high and they can't see the rest of you & your bike. (And it's not pointing directly down the road.)

~~~~~~~~
My first reaction to the helmet photo was: Very small vents. But if there are connecting channels on the inside, the air flow might be good enough.

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Old 05-26-16, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
The replaceable coin/button cell battery would be a deal breaker for me. Those aren't cost effective over the long haul.
Not too tough to work around that:

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...y5lkvy9k_e_p10
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Old 05-26-16, 04:34 PM
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Not too tough to work around that:

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...y5lkvy9k_e_p10
Ahh, clever. Didn't know there were rechargeable 2032 cells. Still, for the price of rechargeable button cells and a charger, I think I'd rather have an integrated unit like the Blackburn 2'Fer. It's a very good design for a to-be-seen light.

Don't use the helmet tail light as your only light. It's confusing to drivers when it's up that high and they can't see the rest of you & your bike. (And it's not pointing directly down the road.)
I wondered about that but didn't have any problems or complaints while I used only the Blackburn 2'Fer on the back of my helmet. If anything, the higher position made it more visible in traffic. In nighttime group rides around downtown I noticed most of my fellow cyclists' bike-mounted taillights were blocked by other bodies, cars, etc. The few of us using helmet mounted red lights were more visible in traffic.

But for the past month I've added a decent Planet Bike 5-LED light on the rear rack, usually on steady, along with the helmet mounted 2'Fer on flash. The combination of high/low lights, front and rear, should help drivers quickly guesstimate my distance and speed. In some nighttime videos I did -- and watching videos taken by other cyclists in recent group rides -- the two lights, high and low, create converging points that help judge whether a bike at night is approaching or receding, and at what speed. And because I tend to look around a lot to be sure drivers see me, the helmet mounted lights clearly appear to move. They're an attention getter without being blindingly bright.
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Old 05-27-16, 09:46 AM
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Well, I bought one. It's actually a pretty nice helmet for the price.

It actually weighs in a couple grams lighter than my Specialized Echelon while providing a bit of additional coverage to the occiput. The light is only fairly bright, but I always run bright lights on my bike at night anyway, so a helmet light is just a bit of added insurance. I have attached lights to my helmet but I'm not fond of the practice for the same reason I don't like helmets with large, supposedly aerodynamic, protrusions. In an accident, often the impact to your head is rolling and you don't want anything that would catch or drag, increasing the torsion (the exact thing that MIPS is attempting to mitigate). The smooth profile of the helmet, including the light, is one of the features that attracted me.

The vents are fewer but larger with good size air channels inside. If it wasn't for the loss of one rear vent to accommodate the light, I would think the overall venting would be equal to or possibly greater than the Echalon and most other mid-price range helmets I have owned. Here in MN I ride in temps of 50-85F far more often than 90F+ so that isn't a significant issue.

I looked at some MIPs helmets and am intrigued by the concept. It appears to work in the lab, it will be interesting to see if injuries are actually reduced and to what extent in the real world.

In the past, all my helmets were white, gray/silver, or black but I've reached the point where visibility is more important to me than fashion and I've seen enough helmets in use under various conditions to become a believer that, while there is no one perfect color under every condition, bright fluorescent colors are more visible under a wider variety of conditions.
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Old 05-27-16, 10:37 AM
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My helmet is just a cheapie Schwinn helmet, was only one of two which actually fit me at the local Walmart. It's got a red LED light on the back strap tightener, blinking or on solid. I only turn it on at night, blinking on my helmet with a solid-on red light on the back of my bike.

The other day I bought a couple of those LED flashlights which clip onto a ball cap visor. One clips on nicely to my helmet visor. I plan to use it as a secondary headlight, mainly more for visibility than for light. But as cheap as they are, they're very bright.
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Old 05-27-16, 01:16 PM
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I like my Torch T1 for urban use when cooling is 't a big deal:

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Old 05-29-16, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by GravelMN View Post
I'm considering the Specialized Centro LED for an all around helmet. It isn't really a road helmet nor a traditional MTB helmet but something in-between that Spec calls a "fitness" helmet. Like all Spec helmets, it's SNELL approved. As I ride a lot in the early AM and twilight, as well as gravel grinding and single track, I'm thinking about getting it in chartreuse.



Things I like are the extended occipital protection and the built in LED blinkie that doesn't project above the helmet shell, leaving a smooth rounded surface with nothing to hang up or dig in. The battery is replaceable with a standard coin cell and the entire light can be replaced if damaged or lost.

This wouldn't be the best looking helmet I ever owned, but what do you think about it as an all-round helmet? Any bad reports on it?

Meh... I've had mine for about a year now and the light is acting up. Specialized shows a replacement, but there are none available. It's comfortable and well designed but the visor is a bit fragile as it simply presses on and the light is pretty cheaply made. If I can get my hands on a replacement light (or two) I'll keep it, but if not it's on to the next.


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Old 05-30-16, 06:33 PM
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GravelMN
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Yeah, I took the visor off before I ever used it. Other than that I really like the helmet. I haven't used the light yet but I may take your advice and have my LBS order me a replacement for when it eventually gives out. I see they make a version without the LED so that is another option as the LED was a secondary consideration but a nice feature.
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Old 05-30-16, 10:56 PM
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Wish I had seen this a few days ago, I would have thrown out a recommendation for Bolle's The One. I'm nothing but happy with mine. What other helmet is both aero and not aero, has a visor and doesn't, has a taillight or not, and is both a summer and a winter helmet?

I'm super jazzed to discover the existence of rechargeable 2032s, though. That just blows my mind. No more buying bulk packs of Maxells for me.
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