Finally a cycle helmet for the stylish man, or woman!

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Many a moon has waxed and waned since I last touched upon the topic of bicycle helmets. This is not to imply that my quest for a helmet that didn’t make me look like a, well, helmet, ever stopped. Ever vigilant could be my superhero name, always with an eye open for the new and different, or old and different, perhaps just different, but a good different. If that makes any sort of sense. I’m rambling like the doddery old soak on the Fast Show now, so let’s swerve back into the actual topic: a cycle helmet for a stylish man. And the name du jour is Dashel.

Just to briefly recap, my original quest was to find a cycle helmet that was unlike the typical helmets in use, and in a good way. Style, if you like. The typical helmet is utterly utilitarian, focusing on light weight, airflow and cheapness. I can appreciate the light weight, I’m not feeling the need to wear a steel army helmet. Airflow is appreciated on a warm summer day, with the flow tickling the follicles and providing a welcome scalp massage. On colder days though it’s a downright hazard, freezing the outer layers of skull. And then there is the cheap. If you’re reading this, you’re not the kind of person that puts cheap on top of the list. Not because you’re a bad person, but because you appreciate that something good has a cost, and something good is better than something rubbish.

Brian Lane from popular tv-series "New Tricks" became the poster boy of ugly cycle helmets.

Brian Lane from popular tv-series “New Tricks” became the poster boy of ugly cycle helmets.

When I put together the guide last time though, there was one helmet that stood straps and lid above the rest, the Dashel. Only, as it turned out it wasn’t exactly available at that time. And since then I’ve followed progress quite closely and with great interest. Producing something like this in the UK today is not as easy as you might think. Even though a helmet is basically the shock absorbent lining, an outer lid to protect and the straps necessary to fasten it to your noggin, finding the right parts, the skills to make the parts and reliable people who stick to an agreement proved difficult.

For the past few months though I have been enjoying my Dashel helmet hough, and it’s been worth the wait. Or weight, I could say, as the hand-laid carbon fire and foam weighs in at a very unnoticeable 350 grammes. Hand laid carbon shell? Yes, each helmet has the carbon fibre laid by hand and built up, in the same way the expensive carbon fibre bits for an Aston Martin are. This combined with the utterly sleek and polished exterior indicates very clearly the quality of the work involved. And while the outside is smooth, the inside shows the typical bare carbon fibre.

The lining is another story, as it has to both be comfortable and durable, withstand sweat and hair care products, yet able to dampen the shock of hitting a hard object. While the helmets are supplied in three sizes, there is also fine-tuning of the size through pads of various thickness attached by Velcro. I have the largest helmet (to fit 59-61cm circumference) and removed front and rear pads and Velcro, but kept the side ones. Obviously my head is more oval than round, but a good fit was achieved.

Continuing the theme of doing things in the best possible way, while the strap is the typical configuration, the clasp itself is magnetic instead of the typical cheap plastic variant. This means it’s easier to operate with gloves on and should last almost forever. Seemingly a small and unimportant point, but given hos this helmet should last a long time, every aspect needs to be thoughtfully designed.

There are air vents, though a more sober 5 circular holes of about a half inch diameter, not the air sluicing ducts you usually find. And a small leather strap at the rear, for carrying purposes. When cold it’s handy to wear a very thin wool layer on the inside of the helmet. I found a merione wool beanie fit to purpose at Iffley Road, makers of fine running gear.

I may caption this photo "The joy of not feeling like a dork when wearing a cycle helmet". Must remember to edit before publishing!

I may caption this photo “The joy of not feeling like a dork when wearing a cycle helmet”. Must remember to edit before publishing!

In summary, a great looking and very functional helmet. It’s not cheap, and while in a collision one approved helmet may protect your head as well as another, it should last a very long time and polish up well when required. I’m very much enjoying not having the massive flow of cold air chilling my skull, and it’s a quite novel experience to be wearing a helmet I actually feel is stylish.

If there is a downside, it may be that this helmet is just too nice. While I’ll quite happily leave my “Brian” looped through the lock of my bike while I roam the city, I just know that if I do the same with the Dashel it will not be waiting for me upon my return. So it needs to come with me, either in my backpack or a carrier bag. Could this be solved? Perhaps if a bike lock could pass through the actual helmet, and not only the strap? Suggestions on a postcard please.

  • Available from Dashel now
  • Price 170 pounds
  • Made in England
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2 Comments

  • jc 24/01/2018 at 14:00

    may be stylish, but does not integrated MIPS technology

    Reply
    • Catherine 26/01/2018 at 17:44

      Hi JC, as Dashel is an urban helmet we designed a smooth rounded shape so that it would slide in a fall. Rotational injuries can be more common with an extruded shape, which MIPS is brilliant for. Although MIPS states on their website that cycle helmets are tested just with flat impacts, for the EN1078 tests that Dashel undertook in the UK our helmet was crash tested with angled impacts on all sides at all temperatures and passed well. However, we do not use the standard EPS foam for our liner.

      Reply

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