My Cycle To Work Scheme – Smith The Route Helmet

The chaps at Smith sent us pedal pushers over one of their ‘The Route’ helmets. When they did, they asked me which colour I would like, their charcoal black or bright orange. Using this for the commute I chose bright orange and I’m glad I did. I’m convinced the colour got me noticed on the road and stopped me from being hit by a car turning right and not looking. I’m not saying that is the reason you should buy this helmet, what I am saying is think what purpose you’re buying your helmet for. Be it weekend Road riding, track racing or on the commute, colour and type should always play a part.

“The Route helmet represents a movement within Smith to bring the award winning technologies found in our popular Overtake helmet to the everyday rider.” Said Graham Sours, Smith Helmet Category Manager. “We ride on the road and commute by bike and these new models exemplify all of us as cyclists in our own unique way”. So let’s see what Graham is talking about shall we?

  • Who are Smith?

In 1965, Dr. Bob Smith, orthodontist and original ski bum, developed the first sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam goggles so he could get a few more powder runs on days when everyone else had to go indoors. For over 50 years, SMITH has pioneered advanced products to fuel fun beyond walls, creating innovations that amplify awesome, and crafting gear where every detail makes a difference.

  • Comfort

This Smith helmet comes with MIPS technology, this is basically a plastic layer between your head and the inside of the helmet.

This layer helps to reduce the tension which the helmet can put on your head. When you tighten your helmet it’s not just the inner band on the helmet that tightens but the whole of this layer meaning the pressure is spread all around your head and not just at the band contact points.

All added up this makes the helmet extremely comfortable for a longer ride and you don’t have that classic head strap mark across your forehead when you take it off, that’s a plus!

The MIPS® lining also reduces rotational forces that the brain is exposed to during oblique impacts to the head.  When combined with MIPS®, the helmet liner is separated from the head by a low-friction slip plan that allows the head to slide during impact and may reduce instances of traumatic brain injuries.

  • Ventilation

There certainly are 18 large air vents on this helmet and the all important vents at the back to allow the air to flow over your head keeping it cool. It also includes anti-microbial X-Static performance liners with Reactive Cooling, ultra light single layer webbing, and a VaporFit™ adjustable system for increased comfort and it works!

I have to say, the times I wore this helmet I always felt nice and cool and arrived where I needed to be a little less red faced.

Another area where The Route scores well.

  • Would I buy one?

Yeah, I would. I think the design is good, it cools well and is very comfy to wear.

It’s much more of a commute helmet over one for a weekend road warrior, as it’s not as sleek for some. However it’s durability, comfort and the bright orange is great for the commuter in the hot summer months!

The Route is available in many colour choices, for £129.99 with MIPS technology and £109.99 without. My advice, spend the extra £20, it could save your life.

Well done Smith.

Links

You can view The Route helmet and find dealers here

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Tour de France – Team Sky’s and KASK

At this years Tour de France Team Sky have taken their head protection up a notch with the help of their Italian helmet supplier KASK. They will be using KASK’s new VALEGRO helmet which will be launching later in the year.

KASK_VELEGRO_ASSIEME BIANCOChris Froome and the boys will be looking to make it a third in a row and a very, very impressive fourth Tour de France victory for the Kenyan born Englishman. While doing so in the high mountain top finishes and on other key stages of the Tour, they will don KASK’s Valegro, which, like KASK’s other road helmets has been designed in combination with Team Sky. It brings cutting edge ventilation system, its super lightweight compact design, its superb fit and rider comfort.

With 36 air intakes, resulting in a head-to-pad contact area up to 70% less than some conventional helmet designs, VALEGRO’s temperature management performance is one of the best in the peloton – keeping Team Sky’s riders cool on the hottest of climbs and longest of stages on the Tour.

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KASK have taken what they have learnt from the development of their Infinity aero road helmet and the time-trial Bambino Pro, add to that the feedback from the Team Sky riders on their performance and how they behave – all of this has been applied to the development of the VALEGRO. The profile of the VALEGRO’s polycarbonate shell has been tested, re-tested and then refined by the KASK engineers in a wind tunnel to get the best possible cooling performance.

By having 36 air intakes, the eight of the helmet has also been dramatically reduced, down to a measly 180 grams, it’s not only the ventilation which has allowed this though, new advanced materials and a brand new moulding technology has enabled KASK to be able to produce this helmet. Weight being high on the list for top level athletes. They don’t want to be carrying a bag of sugar on their head up the alp climbs!

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The front of the new VALEGRO looks aggressive and the ventilation is clear to see.

VALEGRO’s new breathable and quickdry padding, including a 5mm layer of fast-wicking material that takes moisture away from the rider’s head and moves it to the helmet’s outer shell, contribute to a helmet that’s comfortable to wear, all day, and especially on those long, tough, hot climbs through the Alps and Pyrenees. Along with unique features such as new frontand rear sunglasses garages, VALEGRO takes rider comfort to another level, leaving little distractions from the race itself. Like all KASK helmets, the VALEGRO is designed, manufactured and tested to the highest safety criteria, so top level racers can concentrate in the job in hand – hopefully winning Chris Froome another Tour de France title.

The KASK – Team Sky partnership is one which has been going since 2010, an amazing achievement from a company which has only been going it’s self from 2004. LEt’s not forget that Team Sky have won four out of the last five Tour de France titles. Meaning this helmet has come through a thorough bred of victory and race expertise.

The VALEGRO will be available to buy from December 2017, nice and cooling for your winter riding…

KASK_VELEGRO_RETRO_NERO

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My Cycle To Work Scheme – safety first. 

When you cycle in to the office, if you’re a gentleman who is proud of the hair on top of his head, the choice of helmet can be tough. Not only does wearing a helmet squash your tidy hair do, it also traps in the heat, making your head sweaty, further endangering what you’ve just spent a good half hour preening.

For a lady who has longer hair, the challenge can be doubled, more hair equals more heat. That’s a mathematical equation which will have you scratching your follicles over which helmet to buy and why.

The answer, of course, isn’t not to wear one, if you’re on a bike you need a helmet. The answer is getting the right one. It needs to look good, be light weight, breathable and if possible be able to enhance your hair do – side note, no helmet will enhance your hair style.

I’ve been very lucky, because the chaps at Bern sent me over their best-selling commuter helmet,the Bern Watts. So over the next few paragraphs I’m going to proceed to tell you about it.

  • I’ve heard (or not heard) of Bern, why are they so popular?

It’s easy to see why so many people like the Bern helmet, its got simple style, it’s very functional and it doesn’t empty your bank balance or compromise on function over form.

They appear to be the commuters helmet of choice and over the next few paragraphs in going to try to explain if that is the case…

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  • What’s so good about this helmet then?

Well, kind of, everything, really…

What’s more, it’s lightweight because it’s a thinSHELL, meaning protection is not compromised as weight it dropped. 460 grams this helmet weights, just a shade over a pound in weight, or a bag of sugar.

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There’s that thinSHELL label and the dial at the back helps you adjust the size.
It also means that the helmet is no bigger than it needs to be, so you don’t look like you have a huge eight ball on top of your head as you cycle down the street.

But weight is not all, the helmet is also well ventilated, reducing heat under your lid, reducing sweating and hopefully meaning you haven’t wasted that half an hour in front of the mirror this morning.

The ventilation on this helmet makes it the perfect summer commuter helmet.

 

The peak at the front of the helmet is not only stylish but helps keep the sun out your eyes and also the rain if the weather were to change.

  • So it’s good for the summer, what about the winter?

Well, funny you should ask that question, it’s almost as if I teed it up in the closing sentence of my previous paragraph.

The good thing about the Bern helmet is that you can add a winter lining. No need to wear a wooly hat under your helmet as you can fix one securely in place on this helmet.

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You can see where the lining can be replaced by the ‘popper’ style buttons on the summer lining
So not only do you get a helmet for all four seasons but you can just pop the lining in and out when you feel it’s too cold on your top two inches.

  • How much does it cost and is it worth it?

Whether or not you’re willing to part with the cash depends on how much you value your life, or hair do.

The Bern Watts costs £54.99 and for a helmet which you can wear for four seasons, that’s a right steal!

Personally, I think it’s a right good price. I’d much rather spend the money on this than wear a £20 Bell helmet from five years ago.

  • Why should I choose this one over the rest?

As if I haven’t gushed over this helmet enough, jeeze.

In short, the colour combinations are great, it’s functional, lightweight, not overly pricey and it suits the commuting style.

The ventilation is enough to keep you cool but not too much that if it were to rain you’d need an umbrella, not that they’re much use when you’re cycling anyway.

I really do think it’s the perfect commuter helmet, from the moment you put it on, it just feels right.

  • The links

You can buy a this Bern Watts helmet here

Follow my Cycle to Work blog theme by looking at my review of the G-Tech e-Bike here

You can read my other blog posts here

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