Any number of outdoor activities can result in a head injury. A quality helmet can lessen the danger.
by Leon Pantenburg
Thousand Helmets supplied the product for this review. I was not paid to write this, nor did Thousand Helmet have any input in the contents. At the time of publication, there was no promotional relationship between Thousand Helmet and Survivalcommonsense.com.
Head injuries can ruin your life. Worst case scenario: Hit your head while biking, skating, skiing, snowboarding or some other outdoor activity, suffer a brain or spinal cord injury, and you must get used to a new normal. A comfortable helmet that looks good might make a real difference.
I was a bicycle commuter for about two years when I lived in Arlington, VA and worked at Fort McNair in downtown Washington D.C. It was eight miles from my home to the office on a really good bike path. I could make the one way in about 30 minutes, depending on the traffic lights. Bicycling was the fastest way to get to work, and the exercise advantage was that I got in a 16-mile ride in every day.
Generally, the commute was enjoyable. But one morning a downpour caught me. I was riding the usual route, and hit a slippery gutter grate I didn’t see in the driving rain. The front wheel went down so fast I didn’t even get my feet out of the stirrups.
I didn’t hit my head. But if I had, my helmet would hopefully have protected me.
There were many other bike commuters on the path, professionally dressed for work, who didn’t wear helmets.
After seeing these other bikers on a daily basis, I came up with this theory: An effective commuter helmet must be good-looking, first and foremost, and easily locked up with your bike.
So I was interested in the Thousand Epoch Helmet®. According to the company website, this is what makes them different:
- Secret Poplock System: Lets you safely leave your helmet secured to the bike.
- New minimalistic designs are a stylish and fresh alternative to traditional bulky, headgear.
- Bike helmet theft guarantee: If your helmet gets stolen while securely locked to your bike, Thousand will replace it.
- 7 air vents and 3 cooling channels provide optimum airflow.
- Vegan leather straps: Eco-friendly craftsmanship
The good stuff:
I had a couple of biking experts look at this helmet. Mike Schindler, co-owner of Sunnyside Sports in Bend, Oregon told me about helmets and fitting them. John Nerness, an old friend from Los Gatos, California, retired as an aircraft design engineer 10 years ago and rides his bike seriously. He’s completed RAGBRAI twice, rode the slickrock in Moab, Utah, and is out on his mountain bike about five times a week.
Good looks: Nobody is going to wear a helmet that makes them look like a nerd. The helmet I checked out has the Nordic Wood finish, which looks like wood grain. This is apparently a popular look right now – this helmet closely matched a set of fenders I saw on a commuter bike in a rack. As helmets go, this one is good-looking.
Quality: I don’t intend to wear this helmet in an actual crash test, and don’t need to. The Epoch meets CPSC and EN1078 standards.
Sizing: The helmet comes with adjustable multi-sport potential. According to Schindler, people have oblong or round heads. Fitting any helmet to the individual will require some tinkering.
I had no trouble fitting the Epoch can be easily fitted for my round head shape using the adjustable pads that come with it.
Helmet height is also important. Schindler said a properly-fitted helmet, when snugged down, should have one or two finger widths over your eyebrows. A helmet should be worn level for maximum protection.
The helmet I checked out appeared to run big, so as always, the best idea is to actually try one on.
Vegan leather: Vegan leather is made of pvc, pleather, or any of the multitude of petroleum products. It is avoids using real leather, but IMO the oil products in it off set any animal products savings.
The harness is comfortable, attractive and easy to fasten. The magnetic clasp works well and secures the helmet.
Venting: The helmet has small vents and cooling channels, and Nerness’ first impression was that the helmet would be hot to wear. That has proven to be the case when the temperatures are above 70 or so degrees. This can be good or bad, depending on riding conditions. This Epoch wouldn’t be my first choice for a hot weather helmet, but it might work just right for cooler weather. You would really appreciate the Epoch’s venting if you got caught in the rain.
Locking: The PopLock security feature is nice. It allows the rider to lock the helmet with the bike, which is a major consideration for commuters. The theft guarantee is an attractive amenity.
The Epoch retails for just under $100, depending on where you buy it.
Do you need an Epoch?
Well, if you ride a bike or participate in sports where a head injury is possible, you need a helmet.
And if appearances keep you from wearing a helmet, then you need to get whatever quality helmet looks good. So, if the Epoch looks attractive, subsequently leading to you wearing this helmet, then that’s a good thing.
And in that case, an Epoch might be the best safety investment you can make.
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