I want to promote the use of folding bikes as a means of transportation here in the Philippines. This blog is meant to share my experiences as a folding bike user. I chose a Brompton for its classic style and compact fold, but other brands like Dahon, Strida, Bike Friday, Flamingo and Peerless produce good foldies as well.
Bern Unlimited has one of the coolest collection of bike helmets styled for everyday use. I fell in love with the Brentwood the first time I laid eyes on it in a bike magazine.
It has seamless ZipMold liquid foam technology that is supposed to provide a high strength-to-weight ration, whatever that means (I found out it means that the styrofoam shell is thinner than the usual helmet, making it lighter and smaller on the head).
Also, according to the makers, its Sink Fit helmet design offers a low-profile fit. This means the helmet sinks to your head, rather than just sit on top of it. Hence, the cool look.
But basically, I like it because it doesn't look like you're going to join the Tour de France or go trailriding in La Mesa Eco-Park.
I've been looking for this helmet everywhere! Most bike shops here in Manila only carry traditional bike helmets made by Trek, Rudy Project, Giro, Specialized, Spyder and Lazer, which all look too racy for me. Some stores in Cartimar do carry non-traditional helmets like SixSixOne and Fox, but they look too skateboardy for me.
I was already set to order one in the US when PMTB founder Arnel Andal informed me that he saw Bern helmets in Bike Town Cyclery along Pasong Tamo in Makati. So I went there the other day, lo and behold, Arnel was right! BTC had Bern helmets on display!
I was in bike helmet heaven!
I grabbed each Bern one by one and fitted it on my head. I wanted a white helmet to pair with my white Brompton, but they didn't have one in my size. ARG! (most were in Medium)
In fact, they only had one helmet in my size (XL). Luckily, it was a Brentwood! BUT, it was black. So, napaisip talaga ako. Do I buy a black Brentwood now or do I wait and order for a white one, which would probably take at least one month?
I read somewhere in the internet that Bern helmets are hard to come by even in the US. Either they have your color, but not the size, or vice-versa. So, I decided to get the one that was available. It retails for P 2,800.00 here in Manila. I paid in cash, so I got a discount (minus P200.00). Not bad considering the helmet sells at $60-$70 (P 3,000.00) over at Altrec and REI.
The Brentwood looks cool with the snap-on visor/lid. I really liked that about it. It can be detached and replaced with an earmuff for use during the winter (but who needs that in 90 degree Manila, right?).
The helmet fit snug over my head. I feel it might be too snug. But it's already an XL! So either I have a big head or Bern got its helmet-sizing wrong. Anyhow, this can be corrected by detaching the visor/lid. Then the helmet becomes roomier. But then again, you lose the coolness factor.
Over-all, I'm still happy with my purchase. The Bern Brentwood is a cool urban replacement for my banana-style/spaceship-on-top-of-my-head Spyder bike helmet. Here is a comparison of the two helmets:
Now you tell me. Which helmet looks better on a collared shirt? The Bern Brentwood, hands down.