First Impression: Brooks Carrera Travel Helmet

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You may have seen or heard this helmet described as “folding”. To be clear, this helmet doesn’t fold: it collapses about 20 percent narrower than a standard helmet; that’s why I’ve re-categorized it as a travel helmet (‘collapsing helmet’ doesn’t invoke much confidence!). The fit and finish is top-notch, something we’ve come to expect from Brooks England, who’ve partnered with Italian helmet maker Carrera to give us this 330 gram, $200 helmet.

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Carrera has been producing a similar helmet for a few years, so Brooks came alongside the Italian firm (which is easy to do when your parent company is Selle Royal, based in Italy) to hone an existing model. Five foam sections are held together by integrated straps that pierce each section in seven points on the helmet, front to back. Voila! The Brooks J.B. Special Carrera helmet was born.

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Naturally, as you can see in the photos, this helmet provides ample ventilation. The straps are easily adjustable, and I found the fit of the Large to be nearly perfect, even with my rather large head. A few folks commented on how small it made my mellon look! No undue pressure points or slow creeping while riding either, bonuses each. The J.B. stands for John Boultbee, who founded Brooks in 1866 by the way.

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Want to pack it in your backpack or messenger bag? Use the 26-inch long Brooks embossed leather strap to compress it; when riding, the strap doubles as a pant leg protector.

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The matte finish has held up well, and the suede liner strips show no visible sign of wear. This helmet has partnered well with my Brompton exploits; look for a for review of this and that in Issue #33, available February 17.

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The Brooks Carrera helmet is available in two sizes: Medium (55-58cm) and Large (58-61cm), and three colors: Grey/Prince of Wales, Green/Red Tartan (tested), and Black/Grey Herringbone. Available where all Brooks products are sold.

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