Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review [A Motorcycle HUD That Works]

Head-up displays (HUD) and smart motorcycle helmets have been in and out of the news for about ten years. Anecdotally, some have flopped, and, frankly, I have not been able to keep up with the promises of superior design and functionality that have been bandied around, nor have I even tried one. Vaporware is plentiful in this market niche. Given my cursory knowledge of HUDs from the past, my expectations were low—until I opened the Tilsberk Head-Up Display box and saw a refined product.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: For Motorcycle Helmets

Some of the earlier units were relatively gigantic with lame features. Many companies threw their hats in the ring, including Nuviz, BikeHUD, Skully, Livemap, Forecite, and even BMW in 2016. Some units are built into helmets, while others are added to one’s existing helmet. I’ve read about them all, and none of the offerings have attracted me, until now.

I avoid those built into a helmet, as I want a helmet from a major manufacturer whose sole focus is producing high-quality brain buckets. That leaves me with those products designed to attach to an existing helmet. This is my first experience with such a product and, spoiler alert, it is a good one.

The Tilsberk HUD has been manufactured by Digades GMBH in Germany since 2022. This company boasts over 30 years of electronics development and manufacturing of mainly high-quality B2B electronic system solutions. Digades’ wide range of technologies and manufacturing methods is likely why this product looks and operates at this unexpectedly high level.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: HUD

Sleek and modern-looking, the Tilsberk HUD weighs 1.5 ounces (43 grams). It is about 5.5 inches wide, 1.7 inches tall on the wide (eyepiece) end, and a half-inch tall on the other end. The Tilsberk HUD sports a crystal-clear 0.155-square-inch display on which all data is shown.

There are four mounting methods, covering a wide range of motorcycle helmets. Tilsberk’s excellent website listed my helmet of choice and informed me of the compatible mounting method. The kit includes what you need to make any of the four installations. I decided to attach the unit to my Scorpion Exo-ST1400 Carbon—a comfortable and favorite model that also has a Cardo Freecom 4X communicator installed.

I went with the D mounting option. This required me to affix the mounting plate to the space in front of my forehead and behind the drop-down sunshade incorporated into the ST1400. The mount glues onto and overlaps an area that is both flat plastic and mesh fabric.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: Installation Tips

I used the included Sugru moldable glue, which I had never heard of. It’s like hobby clay, and I rolled it into the required shapes and applied it. I donned the helmet and marked the center of my right eye on the space to which I would glue the mount to make sure I put the unit in exactly the right place so it would align with the center of my eye, not interfere with the sunshade, and clear the frame of my eyeglasses.

Although the mount has a center mark to line up with the center of the helmet, cautious me wanted to double-check. It turned out that my mark and that on the mount were in the same position. The process took about half an hour; if I did it again, it would probably only take five minutes.

The Sugru glue takes 12 to 24 hours to harden up and allows repositioning if you need to make an adjustment. I was happily surprised by the tenacious grip on both the smooth plastic and mesh fabric to which the mounting piece adhered to the helmet internals.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: HUD For Motorcycle Helmets

After a 24-hour wait, the glue was holding tight and solid. Once completed, the Tilsberk HUD attaches to the base magnetically. This allows me to remove it to charge through the USB-C connection with the included cable.

Tilsberk claims 12-hour battery life, though I never used it for that long—that’s a long day in the saddle. Claimed recharge time is four hours. Tilsberk does not recommend charging while using because the cable may cause the unit to fall off the magnetic base into your line of sight within the helmet. Additional mounting kits are available should you want to use this HUD on multiple helmets.

I wear progressive prescription glasses, so I was concerned that I would have difficulty reading the screen. Also, the display is for the right eye, and my left eye is my dominant eye. Well, I should not have wasted my time with worry.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: Eyeglass-compatible HUD

As soon as the screen lit up, it was absolutely clear and legible. There was nothing to focus or change—it simply worked. The default viewing position is with the screen angled at about 45 degrees rearward. I found that tiny changes in angle moved the image up and down; my initial thought that the image would be too high up and require me to look upward was utterly unfounded. The screen is bright and easy to read at a glance.

Another concern was that my eyeglass frame is quite close to the HUD screen. I was precise during installation to ensure it was positioned far enough back to clear the drop-down sunshade, yet far enough forward to clear my frames. As with other complicated installs for various devices, I read the manual three times, watched the excellent videos on Tilsberk’s website, drank a cup of coffee, and did it right the first time. It really does disappear in the space above one’s eyebrows and the lower edge on the front of the helmet, behind the faceshield.

You must install the Tilsberk HUD app on your smartphone (iOS or Android), and the magic happens through this app. I paired the Bluetooth on my iPhone to the HUD, and then paired the HUD to the app. This took all of five minutes. My phone was already paired to the existing Cardo Freecom 4X.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: App map

Right out of the gate, I could easily search for nearby businesses and locations. Next, I updated the firmware, which took another five minutes while my phone was connected to WiFi at home. Then, I downloaded the California map (733 MB) so I could use mapping when cell service was spotty or unavailable. I was in business.

The HUD mapping feature allows me to import GPX files created for custom routes. When accessing the GPX import feature, I found existing GPX files I had made for other applications, and they imported flawlessly.

Maps of all states, as well as worldwide, are available. The app also offers four customizable views—City, Explorer, Minimalist, and Navigator—within the eyepiece. Each view presents different information on the display and can be configured separately and turned on or off. Configurable items include compass, speed, speed limit, low battery (HUD and smartphone), time, caller ID, Bluetooth status, distance to destination, navigation arrows, and lane information. Screenshots of these items are in the gallery.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: App screenshot

The HUD can show all these items, and I can set a speed warning to alert me if I am going a self-selected amount over the limit. I can choose from a long list of languages and voices, and adjust brightness or leave the setting on automatic. All told, operation of the Tilsberk Head-Up Display is a breeze and completely intuitive.

I retain access to all of the functionality on my Cardo unit—radio, music library, phone, and intercom while the HUD directions and other audio outputs stop the music while giving directions and are clear in my speakers. My iPhone shows two Bluetooth connections simultaneously.

Now that everything is set up, let’s take a ride.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: Directions

I press the power switch on the Tilsberk HUD to give it a few seconds to connect to the app through my smartphone. Because I wear glasses, I don my helmet and glasses first, and only then do I place the HUD into the magnetic mount within the helmet.

Finally, I adjust the eyepiece to the precise angle to allow viewing. One or two degrees of angle change can make a big difference. If it’s off too much, the image will be too high, low, or cut off at the top or bottom. It’s easy to figure out, though. When adjusting, only touch the edge of the clear plastic eyepiece.

During handling of the unit, I carefully avoid touching the eyepiece. Despite that, smudges happen. When they do, I gently polish the eyepiece with a few strokes of a microfiber or lens-cleaning cloth.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: German technology

I can plainly see the content in bright fluo yellow and adjust the brightness, choose between night or day modes, or leave it on automatic. The display does show nicely on sunny days. However, at certain angles, it is a bit harder to read. Lowering the internal sunshade fixes the problem, and the display pops beautifully. My early concerns about whether my prescription glasses would inhibit the view immediately vanished as the focus is perfect.

Note that the photos of the Tilsberk Head-Up Display in action from the rider’s perspective are provided by the manufacturer. We don’t have the camera technology to properly photograph that view. However, it does represent what you will see in use.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review: HUD GPS

I do not know the provenance of the mapping portion of the Tilsberk app, but it does a good job. I searched for a local moto hangout, which was quickly found. Once selected, I pressed the green Go button and slid the phone into my pocket. Turn-by-turn directions began to appear in the eyepiece. If I had a handlebar mount on the test bike, I could have followed the map onscreen. How the information is displayed on the HUD depends upon which of the four different customizable views is selected. The operation was flawless and fun, but don’t get distracted.

The Tilsberk Head-Up Display is a well-conceived, finely built, and highly functional piece of kit. The integration of features, software, and hardware is worthy of what can and should be done with electronic devices in the year 2023. It is small, powerful, easy to install, and easy to use. An affordable ($479 MSRP), full-featured, and reliable motorcycle helmet HUD is finally here for riders who want state-of-the-art now.

Tilsberk Head-Up Display Review Photo Gallery