Bern helmets have become very popular for riders looking for protection without the racy look of the average bike helmet. So it comes as a surprise that the Allston is its first bike-specific helmet; the other models are all multi-sport helmets that are just as often found at the ski slopes as on city streets.
The Allston makes ventilation a priority, boasting at least 50 percent more airflow than the multi-sport models. Bern uses a liquid foam injection process, Zipmold, which allows for a lower profile helmet with no loss in protection. It sits snugly on the head with substantial side and rear coverage. A flip-up visor is handy for rain and sun, although I found it cut off my vision when in an aggressive riding position.
While there is a sizing adjustment on the back of the helmet, it does little to change the feel. This isn’t a big deal, as there are six sizes, from small to XXX-large, to fit almost anyone. Beware, though: the Alston seems to run small, as many normally medium heads around here felt a little cramped in a size large. The padding does break in a bit, so what might start out feeling a smidge too snug will probably end up comfortably secure.
Bern has you covered for colors, with black, grey or neon green in a matte finish, or a satin finish white with contrasting red visor. Snap-in cold-weather liners (with ear coverage) are available, which is good, since the snug fit doesn’t leave room for a hat. At $90, this ain’t cheap, but neither is your skull. And as the sticker says, “you’d be hotter in a helmet”—safety is sexy.