Generally speaking, the world of bicycle helmets is a world of ugly. If you looked to your typical bike shop, you’d think that the only option is that ubiquitous racer/alien-brain design, forcing bicyclists to just accept that this is as good as it gets with helmets.

There are a couple of other bike helmet brands that make reasonably attractive alternatives, but they can’t seem to resist playing the “we’re the fun company with kooky designs and a nutty logo” card, which leaves me searching high and low for the grownups table. I certainly appreciate a dose of whimsy, but since we’re all adults here, let’s maybe embrace and demand some elegance and sophistication.

Enter Hedon. Founded by designers in the U.K. named Lindsay and Reginald, Hedon seeks to merge the old and new, with a philosophy that merges form and function to create an effortless style. Their bicycle helmets seem to do just that, bringing a refreshing dose of grown-up sophistication to the party.

With an elegant, handsome and simple retro design, their Cortex Collection protects the head with a focus on the prefrontal cortex, which is where our “pleasure center” is located. The helmets are built with a carbon fiber shell, Hed Armor lining with 360º padding and ventilation, washable anti-bacterial cushion padding, brass gunmetal plated hardware and leather trim and strap holder. They come in a great-looking range of colors, with either a matte finish or gloss. Really handsome.

The price is £199 (about $263 U.S.), which seems like a lot. But consider this: like a good pair of shoes or your bicycle, this is an investment in something that should last a lifetime, not some frivolous, disposable impulse purchase that’s easily tossed in the trash because it was so cheap. Combining carefully considered craftsmanship and a design that blows all other bicycle helmets I’ve ever seen out of the water, Hedon asks for a fair number. It’s either nearly £200 on a helmet, or potentially your life… Speaking of bicycle accidents, found yourself to be the victim of a bicycle crash recently and wanting to make a claim? Take a look at some of the facts before you go ahead and start the process.

I’m on record as being a bicyclist who does not wear a helmet for many reasons. (Read about them here.) But if helmets became required by law in my place of residence, one of my preferred options would be to abandon the unfortunate bicycle helmet world altogether and go equestrian with one of those classic horseback riding helmets. Or I’d pull the trigger on one of these beauties from Hedon. They make me want to wear one even though I don’t have to. The real challenge, though, would be deciding which one of those fantastic colors. (I’m thinking black gloss.)


  1. Real Men wear bike helmets – and the best are crash tested to minimize/ mitigate any cranial damage in a fall or accident. Yes, they are at times inconvenient and “avant garde” – but it beats spending the rest of your life as a vegetable due to cracking your skull on the pavement (hint – pavement usually wins) and suffering permanent mental disability. The designs also improve air flow for cooler heads while riding at speed, unlike the examples you show.

    • George

      Yep. Got it. Thanks. Not into racing, speeding, daredeviling, or any model of “extreme” cycling that requires special clothes or equipment. Think Copenhagen or Amsterdam, where they don’t rage-ride like they just huffed a six-pack of Red Bull.

  2. Gregory Moore

    i’m a fellow Manhattanite who, despite some perilous crashes, still doesn’t “do” the helmet regularly. As mentioned at the end of your piece, the classic equestrian helmet has served me well when biking to “dressy” affairs. Yeah, there are a few sniggers here and there, but they are the same general idea as the biking helmet..and they sure look nicer, I think (mine is sort of an aubergine mohair model). Put it on, square your shoulders and just DARE anyone to make a disparaging comment! They look especially nice when a fellow is all “tweeded out”! I say “Do it!” (if you have to!).

  3. Barry Rahmy

    George, typical plastic and foam bike helmets need to be replaced every two years or so because age and environmental factors degrade their structural integrity. Are these different? While there are certainly helmets that cost as much or more than Hedons (see POC MIPS model), I’d hate to be tossing one of these out after a couple of seasons.

  4. If MHL ever comes to your area, just leave. The streets get more dangerous as everyone climbs into their cars, and the victim blaming goes up a couple of notches, not to mention the hysteria as everyone thinks you’ll die the second you climb on a bicycle. The few left on bikes are certainly not in suits or dresses, but hi-viz vests, as we hoist the white-flag up and surrender to motordom. It’s worrying to see this ‘advocacy’ taking off in the US, because it’s a downward spiral. Strongest correlation with bicycle safety is simply the number of people riding. Even without the law, admonishing people for not wearing safety gear is an understated deterrent. People know the difference between mountain bike and riding to the shops.