THOUSAND EPOCH HELMET
Large 59-62cm 503g Nordic Wood (as tested) $115 (c.£85)
The Thousand Epoch cycle helmet is aimed at style conscious commuters, especially those who prefer to ride in street clothes. There’s scope for skating and skateboarding too. Given this design brief, it does the job pretty well but the price tag might be a little too fashionable for some.
The Thousand Helmet arrives in a smart box which also contains pads, a cleaning cloth and a full set of instructions. While the shell has a very distinctive, retro feel and a mere seven vents, it complies with CPSC and EN1078 standards. “In mould” construction (Where shell and EPS lining are fused together simultaneously) is standard practice these days and makes for a lighter, better finished lid.
That said; even by the skater genre, 503g is hardly feathery but then, it’s not intended for Audax or 20 mile TTs. “Willowbrook mint” or “Speedway crème are the alternatives, if “Nordic Wood” isn’t your bag, as part of the Epoch collection. The vegan “leather” strap and brassy buckle continue the retro theme, although the magnetic closure, designed for effortless, one-handed operation is a definite plus.
Look around the ABS constructed shell and you’ll notice a circular press-fit panel. This is so you can lock it to your bike when parking up. It’s certainly convenient but obviously, make sure you’ve secured your bike to something solid, using an appropriate lock, or they’ll be bagging a helmet too. Credit where its due, I’m yet to find a U, or cable lock that will not fit but it might be worth checking yours will beforehand.
Now, those seven vents. Three are located on top and two sets at the back. There are a further three, internal channels half that of your typical commuter/touring model but theoretically prevent boiled brains.
Precise fit is essential for any helmet but the Thousand’s simple buckle strap and assorted pads are more prescriptive. That said; I’m generally a large in helmets and it was the right choice here. Perhaps it was the shape, or just unfamiliarity but it felt slightly looser than racier models in my collection. By the same token, there hasn’t been any creep, or slop when tackling poorly surfaced roads, or towpath at a more enthused pace.
Riding at speeds of up to 12 mph there’s been no hint of boiled brains, or matted thatch and on cooler days, faster paced commutes haven’t seen me looking red faced, suggesting ventilation is much better than numbers and location would imply. Between 12 and 15mph, I was very aware of the subtle, cooling airflow. Those additional grams become very apparent on longer rides, regardless of pace but this wasn’t unexpected. Mind you, some acquaintances wear one for touring.
Sometimes wind roar can be very intrusive, impeding conversation, or general awareness. This hasn’t been a problem but I was amused by the ability to induce a melodic, low whistling sound when tilting my head in blustery conditions. Despite some initial skepticism, I quickly came to appreciate the locking function, when stopping off at the café’ or generally mooching about.
Although, it’s true to say that thinner/extendable cable lock can be slid through the vents of a typical, standard helmet. The inevitable, everyday carelessness, not to mention canal/towpath short cuts have made little impression on the outer shell, though don’t push your luck to major scrapes on low bridges or overhanging branches. So far, a quick damp cloth once-over is all ours has needed to restore its glossy, although I may resort to a helmet specific polish as the miles and grotty weather set in.
The Thousand has divided opinion and it wouldn’t be our sole-one-does-all. There are much lighter and airier models commanding less than half the ticket price. If shorter bike commutes and utility runs at moderate paces, wearing street clothes is your staple riding diet, then the thousand is worth a closer look.