Price: $119.99 MSRP (MIPS model); $99.99 MSRP (non-MIPS)
Features: Certified: CPSC, EN10787; MIPS, BOA retention sytem, well-vented, light weight
Colors: 4: Satin Dark Silver; Gloss Highbeam Yellow; Matte Black (tested); Gloss White
SMALL – 52-55.5 cm; 20.5 – 21.85 inches
Bern Rolls Out Inexpensive Yet Top-Featured Road Helmet
Bern is known for their skating, snow sports, water sports and array of non-road cycling helmets (MTB, BMX and urban). Now the company has jumped into the road market, too, with what can only be described as a surprisingly high quality, reasonably low-cost helmet – including a MIPS version (tested) that provides modern tech safety and won’t break the bank.
Called the FL-1 Pavé MIPS, this very comfortable and well-designed MIPS helmet retails for less than $120, about the same price as many other makers’ down-line models. Let’s go through the details of this new lid:
This helmet features a design reminiscent of the POC Octal helmet, one of the very first to feature MIPS. It has that slight “hockey helmet” look to it, with very solid-looking front that wraps around the forehead. This lid features in-mold construction, meaning the helmet shell is fused seamlessly with the interior EPS foam for a clean finish and high strength-to-weight ratio.
A LARGE FL-1 Pavé MIPS weighed in at only 10.5 oz. (298gm), which is lighter than several other comparable helmets. A light helmet helps reduce neck fatigue, especially on longer rides such as half-centuries, metric centuries, full centuries, Gran Fondos and long charity rides.
The FL-1 fit perfectly right out of the box. But, if you need to adjust the fit, the process is the same as with other high quality helmets: adjust the buckles, then adjust the rear BOA closure dial. That’s right, the same well-known BOA closure technology that’s now ubiquitous in most higher end road shoes is migrating to helmets (and even seat bags: keep an eye open for an upcoming RBR review of one soon).
You can see the BOA dial at the bottom of the helmet, left.
The FL-1 has 5 pieces of internal foam padding. One for the front, one for each side, a single large pad for the entire rear and one in the top. The foam is thin, ensuring a comfortable fit.
Lightweight (1mm thick) nylon webbing main straps with a standard snap fastener buckle makes up the main retention system. The side straps are easily adjusted by sliding a plastic ‘Y’ connector up or down. On the rear is a micro-adjustable BOA tensioner to dial in that perfect fit.
How Did it Feel on the Road?
Comfortable! As soon as I put it on, it fit like a glove and felt great. No pressure points. Even the straps were perfectly set for my head, and, as you can see from the pictures, there is more than enough ventilation.
While Bern is not a maker than tries to wow you with the sheer number of vents in its helmets, they do offer 18 strategically placed, large and functional vents. You won’t get hot wearing this helmet.
The matte-black test helmet felt cool even on our now mid-70°F SoCal April rides.
Bern has been making helmets for other sports, and for other cycling disciplines (MTB, BMX and urban) for years. As a first effort in the road market, the FL-1 is a surprisingly high quality, affordable helmet available in both non-MIPS and MIPS versions.
As for this helmet’s form, fit and function, it merits a 4.5-star rating. All-in-all, I’m very impressed, especially with a sub-$120 price tag for a full-featured MIPS helmet.
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he’s a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He’s the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick’s full bio.