Now I am not shy in saying I am a firm believer in wearing a helmet whilst cycling. I am aware it is not a legal requirement, however, having had 3 separate instances where my helmet has saved my head I personally choose not to ride without a helmet. I do have a blog with more on this that you can read here.
When the guys from Headkayse got in touch about reviewing their helmet I will admit I had not heard of them before and having a look into them a little more I found their mission statement as follows:
‘We believe that our heads are worth protecting and have made it our mission to provide the safest head protection possible for cyclists. We want to be the drivers of head protection innovation and believe that by introducing our Enkayse™ liner material we have changed the face of cycle helmet technology forever.’
You may or may not agree but I felt the above was a bold statement and so of course I was intrigued!
The main features are as follows:
- multi impact – can retain the integrity upon impact (to a certain degree of course mentioning small bumps and knocks)
- multi fit (all helmets are one size)
- fully customisable
Lets dig into the areas above in a little more detail:
- multi impact – I don’t plan on crashing in epic style to find out if this works but knowing first hand the damage that can be done from coming off your bike I am not sure how comfortable or confident I would feel to continue using a helmet if I know it has suffered a knock? The helmet actually arrived in a material bag that was inside a brown envelope and no box – given how parcels and post get knocked around in transit this was not lost on me and I assume is to show how confident they are in their product that a box is unnecessary? This claim comes from their inner material called Enkayse. This lining they claim to be over 150 times safer than traditional helmets. To quote the company:
‘Unlike EPS Enkayse is designed to manage the energy of impacts whilst retaining its integrity. Enkayse dissipates energy rather than deforming on impact, it also cushions small bumps. Protection from small knock and bumps may also have long-term benefits as researchers believe the cumulative effect of small knocks contributes to brain disease over time. Enkayse shrugs off the bumps, knocks and everyday abuse, so you can be sure that Hedkayse | ONE will provide continuous protection.’
‘Hedkayse | ONE is not a fragile one-hit wonder, our unique Enkayse liner enables the helmet to pass EN1078 safety tests after multiple impacts and provide unrivalled protection time and time again.’
- multi fit – one size fits all, which again I was a little unsure of as all helmets I have come across come in different sizes and wearing the correct size helmet, in the right position and fitted securely is key to its effectiveness. The helmet has a rear fastening strap, which will fit a size range of 49cm to 58.5cm. A check I complete to know if my helmet is secure is to adjust the fastenings and without having to do the strap up under the chin you should be able to lean forward and the helmet not fall off your head as per British Cycling – this does not work with the Hedkayse helmet and fell straight off when tested.
- foldable – the helmet can fold down to 50% of its original size although I couldn’t get it to fold down to that. I would imagine for some commuters this may be a bonus as I know I try and carry as little as possible with me. I am lucky to have a secure bike lock space at my work office and locker so I can put my kit in there easily but maybe if I were commuting out and about the ability to fold this to put in a bag could be good – many people work on the go especially in cities and move from location to location. However, I must admit if I have been out and about with my helmet I will clip it on to my bag and it is no issue.
- fully customisable – the team were super responsive and once they had my logo and checked what colour I would like they came back with designs ensuring they were totally happy with the finished product.
Lets dig a little deeper here and I will start with the weight as this was the first thing I noticed when I unpacked the helmet. It is heavy! Not like a bowling ball heavy obviously but compared to four helmets I have really very heavy and on wearing you can really notice this. I did a little comparison with some of my helmets as follows:
- the Hedkayse helmet weighs 1.2lbs
- my Kask Protone helmet with the classic polystyrene casing weighs 0.5lbs
- my Endura Pro SL helmet with the Koroyd core casing weighs 0.5lbs
Now for comfort – there are 3 foam pads inside the helmet on the inner lining material, however, these are not that secure and on the second use had already come unstuck. The lining of the helmet (the special Enkayse material) is bulky and honestly not comfortable when on your head. I have been out before on my bike and touched my head to check if my helmet is on (sounds silly especially as I am such a pro helmet cyclist but it can happen) and I wouldn’t need to do that with this helmet as I would be aware at all times I was wearing it and that is not a positive. It also feels like the front is too far away from my head – I could easily fit a couple of fingers between the helmet and my forehead, which is not a confidence builder.
Lets talk sweat because the Enkayse lining does not feel breathable at all. We have had warm weather but this was noticeably moist when I took it off – I definitely would not want to take it off and put it back on again at a cake stop mid ride.
Instructions – there is a tag on the helmet although I also referred to the website where there is a video also on how to fit your helmet, which starts from its folded position. It just seemed to me over complicated for no reason. When you get a helmet even though you will only need to refer to it once do you really want to have to log online for further instructions?
Looks – I am firmly safety first but I will admit the shape is odd looking and does appear to sit on the head when you look at it. I would liken the shape to a helmet for another sport and not cycling, maybe horse riding or climbing although I cannot quite put my finger on it. It feels like it sits on top of your head, I noticed immediately it seems to sit away from my forehead and as I mentioned earlier I can easily fit a few fingers in between the front of the helmet and my head, which I don’t believe to be right and it felt not as protective as a normal cycling helmet feels. Whilst I get that appearance is not the top priority here it is a valid point and adjustments are needed when using a cycling cap under the helmet which I always do.
I also noticed on the website that the Hedkayse helmet has passed safety EN1078 safety certification, which passes for the UK and Europe but they are still waiting to achieve this for other countries/continents and as I often travel with my bike and not always in Europe this would be another blocker for me using this helmet.
Long and short is that this is not the helmet for me unfortunately. Helmets are personal preference and being in a cycling club I know first hand when you find the helmet you like you tend to stick to the same brand, especially if you have had a knock and needed it replaced as you know it has withstood the job it is intended for. So just because it is not for me does not mean it might not be for you, I am just not sure if this product is answering a question that is just not being asked in the market currently.
The helmets retail at £150 and if yo are interested you can use the code YK193LJ7 for a 10% discount. I was gifted the helmet, but all opinions are my own.