Are motorcycle riders ready to join fighter pilots with a Head Up Display (HUD) in the sightlines
of their helmets? Or is it too much distraction while riding? We set out to find some answers in our
review of the Nuviz, a stick-on HUD that attaches to any full-face helmet.
Some backstory: In 2014, a startup named Skully got motorcyclists’ mouths watering with a concept
video demonstrating a super-connected helmet. It included an integrated HUD system that displayed
GPS maps, navigation prompts, phone controls, music tracks, and even a live feed from a rear-facing
Riders poured $1,500 apiece into Skully’s record-setting before the whole
project dramatically imploded into bankruptcy amid wide-ranging allegations of corporate malfeasance.
But Skully’s high-flying ideas lived on in other ventures, and now Nuviz, another startup, has managed
to do what Skully could not. It delivers nearly every option the Skully helmet offered – except for the
rearward view – for just $700, not $1,500. That includes scrolling GPS maps and navigation, phone and
music controls, a 1080P front-facing video camera for recording your rides, 8-megapixel still photos, and
the ability to map your route as you ride.
Installing the Nuviz: patience and proper setup is key
Unlike the Skully helmet, the 8.5-ounce Nuviz device rides on the outside of a full-face helmet, clicked on
to a quick-release mount that sticks to the helmet with some (very) strong adhesive tape. That plate also
wires into included low-profile in-helmet speakers and microphone. A round controller mounts on your
left handlebar pod.
ocating the mounting plate properly takes some forethought, but a clever hinge design on the HUD
allows you to make minute adjustments after attachment, so you have some leeway. We adjusted the
device a little bit pretty much every time we used it, so the ease of use here is much appreciated.
At 5 inches long, the Nuviz does seem a bit bulky when you attach it to your lid, but once installed, the
HUD screen is the only visible element to the rider for the most part. Our initial worries that airflow at
high speeds would “unbalance” the helmet in some way never materialized.
The quick-release mount makes it easy to remove — perhaps a bit too easy. While the device never
came loose while riding (no matter the speed), it still came loose a bit too easily post-ride, making
us wish for a more robust clasp. A small cover to protect the mount on the helmet while the Nuviz
is removed is included in the kit.
The small puck-like Nuviz controller came with several mounting solutions, but the simplest one
slipped between the grip and turn signal module on our test bike, a Honda Blackbird. It was the
easiest to use and has proven to be both stable and unobtrusive, while allowing us to work the
device and bike controls all with our thumb. If you own multiple bikes, Nuviz will soon have
various mounting bits for sale separately, and the control puck features a quick-release base
for instant removal, re-installation and theft avoidance. Smart.
Once everything is powered up, the Nuviz pairs with your smartphone and the controller via
Bluetooth. The well-rounded Nuviz app powers much of the device, although there is a huge
amount of tech actually in the unit itself.