A bicycle helmet for a stylish man?

Research shows that when it comes to riding bicycles, the following statements hold true for a large percentage of men:

  • Men like cycling, and mostly fast
  • Men don’t like to look silly
  • Falling off your bike when going fast can really harm you

Which sort of leads on to the fact that boys over the age of 8 tend not to wear helmets, even though they know it is a really stupid thing to do. And why don’t we do it? Because most cycle helmets are really dorky-looking things. I know for my own part that if I can tick off shoes, trousers, jacket all looking decent, the last thing I want to top off the outfit with is a hideously coloured and constructed plastic helmet.

However, what if there was an alternative that actually didn’t look bad?

I spent some time searching the web for variants that could be acceptable. Very many are of a type similar to this:

IMG_1636

I already have one like this. Or to be honest, exactly this one, and to illustrate the problem, this is a photo of me wearing it:

IMG_1644

This type of helmet works if you are wearing cycling or work-out clothes. And if it’s warm outside (we’ll revisit this point further on). There is a high probability that it will protect my head adequately should I fall off my bike, but there is also an overwhelming probability that it will still be at home when I set off for work in the morning wearing a tweed jacket. And a helmet still at home will have no effect if my head should happen to impact on the road, sadly.

I did come across the following helmets that might work though:

nutcase

Nutcase do a wide range of colours and graphic designs on the same basic helmet. A lot of them are truly awful, but some are quite decent looking. I’d tend to go for the less “amusing” designs and settle for something like the “British Green” as shown above. I think that will match up nicely with most outfits.

yakkay

Danish brand Yakkay are similar to Nutcase in that they have a basic helmet design that is reused. What makes them different though is that you can buy any number of different covers for your helmet, allowing you to have several different looking variants of protective headgear. The are designs that would suit me, like the herringbone cap as shown above. They even do one in denim, allowing you to truly be a denimhead. Can you imagine the sort of fades a helmet could evolve?

torch

The final contender is from Torch, and isn’t actually available just yet. I’ve included for two reasons: It looks like a nicely shaped helmet, and it also includes front and rear lights, adding extra utility value. Anyone that that has had their lights stolen from their bike will realise what a good idea it is to have lights built into the helmet. There is a slight Robocop vibe going on, but I think I’d happily wear it.

And to illustrate what the truly confident man could be wearing this season, this one is from Bobbin Bicycles:

newgoldhelmet

I think I’d be too worried about someone mistaking me for C3-PO to consider wearing this one. It will no doubt make you most memorable though!

So there are commercially available variants, as we can see. What if we could come up with something entirely different?

I have a second helmet, this one:

IMG_1638

This is in a style more common for skateboarders and snowboarders. I like this style very much more than the more usual style of cycle helmet (as shown above, with very frowny face) though.

It also has a huge advantage over the vented latticework type of helmet when cycling in cold weather: There is a lot less air being blown onto your skull. The temperature doesn’t need to go very far towards freezing point before the concentrated rush of cold air gives you a really nasty case of brain freeze every morning.

I have a couple of ideas for modifying this helmet to add a dash of style. I’ll get to them in the next post.

Do you have any ideas on the matter?

9 Responses to “A bicycle helmet for a stylish man?”

  1. WDG

    It´s quite a challenge to make a bike helmet look good. And I fear that those Yakkay-style ones just makes you look like you are wearing one ginormous hat or have a huge head…

    Reply
  2. Brian S

    Good post. I have two helmets very similar to yours but I tend to wear the skate boarder type most often. I have also worn my ski helmet biking when the temperature warrants it. I do like the look of the Torch model you link to; I will seriously consider it as a replacement for current, rather tattered, brain bucket.

    Have you seen the air-bag for your head: http://www.hovding.com/

    As a civil engineer you now have to do a post on safety helmet style. It took me a long time to find one that I found sartorially acceptable.

    Reply
    • Well Dressed Dad

      Air-bag for cyclists? Certainly a different idea, and one of the alternatives actually looks quite nice. Will have a closer look at this one.

      As luck would have it, I very rarely have to visit sites and wear safety helmets. If there was a helmet I detest more than the usual cycling helmets it must be the typical safety helmet!

      Reply
  3. John Puddy

    I’m a mountain biker and whilst I’ve crashed a number of times off road my two most serious accidents were on-road cycling to work. In both cases the accidents were as a result of wet road surfaces, passing vehicles and in one case an inconsiderate driver. In both cases my head hit the ground hard and I was thankful to be wearing a helmet, in the first accident the helmet cracked through and I was told by the hospital that if I’d not been wearing one I’ve have had a fractured skull! Despite looking a fool I therefore never cycle without a helmet!

    This said, some of the emerging ‘trail’ helmets such as the POC Trabec are starting to take style up a notch, however I much prefer the highly vented helmets otherwise I tend to overheat and thus end up sweating long after I’ve reached the end of the ride and taken the helmet off! Rather a fool in a helmet whilst on a bike than a sweating beetroot in the restaurant / bar afterward!

    Reply
    • Well Dressed Dad

      Excellent input, John, thanks for sharing your experiences. Maybe we need to be scared straight as well as coming up with options that make us look less foolish?

      Most of the year the head-venting is just too much here (plus I cycle in my regular clothes, so I’m not pushing hard as part of a workout), as once temps go below 10 C or so we are talking serious head-chill. Let alone -25 C when the sheer cold and wind-chill means we have a whole new dimension of cold to deal with.

      Reply
  4. The Silver Blade

    Good post. I too have been looking, unsuccessfully, for a stylish helmet. Most of the time I wear a skateboard style helmet like the one in the last photo. I say most of the time because in Dublin we have a bike sharing scheme (www.dublinbikes.ie) which I use for getting around town on but most of the time won’t have a helmet with me. So, I’ve also been looking for an easy to carry, pack or collapsible helmet. Again, I haven’t been successful yet but there are some interesting ideas out there such as this collapsible helmet form Carrera http://carreraworld.com/ie/editorials/foldable-helmet/
    Anyway, looking forward to seeing where you go with the modified helmet.

    Reply
    • Well Dressed Dad

      I can’t remember seeing a collapsible helmet since the old style of racing helmets, the ones that looked like half a dozen sausages arranged on your head (going by long-gone memories). It’s not hard to see how something collapsible would be the perfect companion for both collapsible bikes and bike-schemes. Lugging around a helmet on the off-chance you may want to cycle is at the very least half a back-pack full of space gone.

      The investigation is ongoing!

      Reply

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