The storied British cycling brand Brooks is best known for its premium leather bicycle saddles with their iconic metal rivets. One of the most desirable accessories for bike enthusiasts, Brooks saddles have cushioned the perineums of commuters, messengers, racers, and cycle-tourists since the 1880s.
The company is moving a ways up the body with its newest product release, a new line of bike helmets. They’re not leather (which isn’t great for skull protection!) but they do maintain that Brooks charm by way of a metal rivet plunked into the side of the shell. There are two models, a traditional-looking, well-vented design called the Harrier, and a more stylish design with one big front vent called the Island. Both are your standard polycarbonate, and both use a rotary-style tensioning dial in the back to get a snug fit.
Info on the new helmets can be found on a website called Triboom. Brooks has set up an account on the community site, and the helmets are initially being sold there. The company is inviting 300 of its customers to buy pre-production versions of its crash hats, test them on the road, and offer feedback. In exchange for their efforts, the early birds get a sharp-looking, limited edition helmet—matte black with a copper rivet and stamped with unique number. There are separate versions of each helmet for European and North American safety standards—CE and CPSC, respectively. So if you’re buying one, get the one made for your region. The prototypes will ship during the holidays. The regular versions, in colors like red, black, white, blue (but without that copper rivet) will ship in early 2017. The sleek Island is currently $140, and the more traditional Harrier is $180.
The company previously dipped into the brain-bucket biz a couple of years ago with its Carrera line of collapsable helmets. (The Carrera compresses from temple to temple, unlike the top-to-bottom folding design we’ve seen from companies like Closca.) But these new designs are more straightforward and, to most eyes at least, more beautiful.