Review: Bern FL-1 helmet

Bern FL1 helmet-1

Tester: Eric McKeegan
Price: $100 ($120 with MIPS)

Bern helmets are common in urban environments, ski slopes, skate parks and dirt jumps. While Bern’s skate-style helmets are stylish and functional, the FL-1 is the company’s first product for bike riders with a sporty mindset.

The FL-1 retains some of Bern’s signature look while dropping weight and adding ventilation. I got my hands on an early sample, and it is quickly becoming a go-to helmet for me. The BOA fit system is effective and comfortable, and the 18 vents and internal channels provided plenty of airflow.

I wore this helmet on tons of rides, including a 70 mile dirt road race, an afternoon in the desert outside Las Vegas, and dozens of shorter commutes and mountain bike rides, and it never felt out of place.

Visually it might not work so well with a full Lycra kit, but maybe that’s just me. I dig the style of this helmet, an interesting blend of urban sophistication and roadie performance, although I’m not a huge fan of the gloss white colorway. If white doesn’t trip your trigger either, you can pick from matte black, dark silver, or neon yellow.

A version with a visor is coming as well for the more dirt oriented among us. Good looks, good price, MIPS options and plenty of ventilation, this is a great choice for a rider looking for roadie performance without the in-the-peloton looks.

More info: Bern FL-1



Review: Bell Hub helmet

Bell Hub Helmet-1

Tester: Jon Pratt
Price: $75

The Hub helmet from Bell is designed with the urban cyclist in mind. Featuring a whopping 15 large vents, this is one breezy helmet. Great for those long, warm commutes, but not so great for those chilly ones unless you wear some additional headgear.

There’s an integrated blinky clip on the back of the helmet and a good bit of protection for the back of your noggin. The rear retention dial is very glove friendly and can easily be operated with your thumb and index finger. The top of the dial housing even has an indentation that cradles your index finger for better grip. Nice. The ratcheting chin strap is very glove friendly as well. The button to lock and unlock the system is large and easy to locate but recessed enough as not to allow unintended unlocking.

The overall helmet is very comfortable, partly due to the large, soft mesh pad that runs along the centerline of the helmet from the crown of your head to the front visor hole. There is another soft mesh pad that runs along the front of the helmet, stretching from temple to temple. In conjunction with the internal retention system, these pads make for a secure fit. There is also a short brim integrated into the front pad. The brim has reflective piping along the edge and can be flipped up for an uninterrupted view of the road in front of you.

For urban environments I like the very visible black/neon option, but if it’s too much Captain Safety for you, Bell offers other color choices: matte black, matte gunmetal, matte platinum and white. The Hub runs true to size and comes in small, medium and large; weighing a reasonable 365 grams.

The only thing I see missing is a MIPS option. Yes, MIPS adds to cost, but I don’t like putting a price tag on my health. Bell’s MIPS-infused Annex helmet, which is similar to the Hub, retails for $125. The more expensive Annex also features vents that can be closed for cold weather use.

More info: Bell Hub


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