Friday, April 04, 2014

Spyder Helium Helmet Review

Spyder Philippine has teamed up with 2ndSkin and has provided me and my teammate their newest helmet for our 2014 racing season.  This coincide nicely as I've meant to replace my helmet this year after the last two coming into their 3rd year of service. It is a good practice (and expensive one) to replace helmet. However, for safety reason, it makes all sense. Bearing in mind, my wife's head was saved when she was knocked down by a motorbike because she was wearing a helmet.
Impact so strong the side harness imprinted on the helmet shell
My advice to everyone cycling or doing sports that moves fast or on wheels to invest in a helmet and save your head. It may save your life!
Unboxing of Spyder Helium
Mabuhay!
Team Spyder (brand) originated from Philippine. They are a locally breed brand much like 2ndSkin, Kraftfit and GetActive. The batch of helmets and sunglasses (more of this later) came direct from them and is not currently available for sales in Malaysia. I received my Spyder Helium road biking helmet - though the packaging was less than perfect due to freight handling, the helmet itself was not compromised.
L-size. Yes, I have large head.
The color I went with was the White-Red version, which should suit most of my tritop and bicycle. :) Part of the whole package of racing is to look good doing it. I must say with this super lightweight helmet, I've added in about 10points to the look department.
Big holes =  more air = cooler ride
 Here are more photos of the helmet from all angle possible.
Side View. Noticed the curved upward rear?
I would say the finishing of the helmet is good. I've seen worse finishing on more expensive helmet and the Helium is a notch better still.  My only complain is the part where there seems to be a "break" from one section to the other.
Notice the "break"
Closer scrutiny and check revealed that it is common for the other helmets the team gotten. It just could be a design thing or a way to stick the upper portion EVA to the Shell, and the sudden, sharp corner would be best done this way(?). Turns out this could be due to the ProRace InMold Technology. The Shell and the impact absorbing material is molded as one instead of the traditional method where it is glued. Maybe one day they will find a better way to "InMold" the two pieces to minimise the void in some sections.
sexy upward curves
One thing that impressed me about the helmet is how light it was. In my excitement, I did not weight it thinking the product specification may have the number. After one usage with sweat and such, it will not be that accurate to weight it. Living up to it's name, the helmet is half as light as my lightest helmet. I reckon it is less than 200grams and there are 25 air vents making this helmet super airy.
Front view with mesh over the first three holes
The design is compact and suits the roadbiking activities. The helmet is build for speed and comfort.
Rear view. 
With world championship stripes
The liner is comfy and sufficient. However, as the whole package was meant to be lightweight, and me being bald, the liner were left to soak up the sweat and got sweat-logged fast. Those with hair may be spared of this as the hair will soak up some sweat. The customised fit is delivered through a simple ratchet system activated by a wheel. Easy to use and has levels of adjustment to suit your head circumference. Of course you will need to ensure you get the correct helmet sizing first. For the record, I asked for a L sized (my head is 52cm circumference as a guidance) and it fitted well.
Liner from front angle
Liner from back angle. Notice the simple yet effective ratchet system
The liner was sufficient to allow a comfy wear. The strap lightweight and nicely thought off with a buckle that were designed with weight reduction in mind. I find adjusting the helmet easy with the straps assignment easily understood. Those of you trying to adjust the helmet to sit nicely AFTER buckling on will know what I meant.
The buckle, got to give it to them for coming up with a lightweight one too
At the side adjustment, it is a snap-on type of adjuster instead of friction buckle. You simple un-snap the adjuster, pull the corresponding strap and snap back on to secure.
The micro-adjustment on the straps for better fit
And it looked nice too, not just a friction buckle
The helmet come with very basic marketing writeup except for this tag that talks about the helmet manufacturing technology (Pro-race mould technology), the lightweightness of the helmet, the "Megaflo" air circulation (oh yea!), the liner that works to soak up your sweat and the super easy to use retention system known as "Quickfit".
Features...too small to read?
Some features not available in Helium such as Carbon Fiber insert and detachable visor
The helmet has what is marketed by Spyder as the most advanced helmet technology where the concept is similar to highway crash barrier ad the construction is of two different material providing more impact absoprtion in case of accident.
Nothing to do with the shape of my head, by the way.
Crash barrier
Touch wood that this would not be "activated"
Usage and Feedback
I used the helmet during the longer Putrajaya-Lukut ride about 3 weeks ago. The longer ride allow me to feel how the helmet would feel like and if it will start to weigh me down as the ride progresses. As you get more tired, you will feel every single weight you carry to be a burden, and the helmet being on the head, supported only by the neck, will certainly feels it. Add that with aero-position and the head having to tilt back, it become essential the gear need to suit the purpose.
Spyder Helium teaming up with Spyder Agent sunnies
Misaligned helmet at the start of the ride due to wrong buckle position
The helmet was light and I hardly felt it there from the start of the ride until the end. The only thing that reminded me that it was there was when I tried to wipe my sweat away from my just shaven head, I felt the helmet. The sweatstop liner wasn't enough to soak up the excessive sweating.
Visible hot (the weather I meant)
Verdict
- Light
- Airy
- great fit
- on the fly adjustment. No need to remove helmet. Less time fiddling, more time cycling.

What could be better
- finishing on some section. As it's manufacturing process to mold the hard shell to the EPS liner, perhaps in future it will be seamless.
- Spare liners would be great. One of my biggest issue is liners of the helmet wearing our due to use and I can't find a replacement.
- intergrated reflective strips! Visibility = safety!

Note : This Spyder Helium helmet and accompanying Spydr Agent sunglasses (review later) is courtesy of Spyder Philippines under the collaboration of Team 2ndSkin Athlete program. No indication of availbility or pricing reference due to lack of distributor in Malaysia. Team is working with Spyder for potential of extending these gears availbility to fellow Malaysians in near future. Review is not influenced by Spyder or 2ndSkin and all view belongs to the writer.

1 comment:

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