Anyone hanging around on street corners in almost any city of a decent size will surely have notice the popularity of urban-styled helmets, and with its solid, reassuring, shape the Bern Watts helmet is seemingly leading the charge in urban headwear.
High tempo performance is clearly not on the design agenda at Bern HQ, but what is evident from even a cursory glance is the effort that has gone into designing a comfortable and practical helmet.
From a commuting point of view the Bern Watts is a really sensible helmet, with protection from the sun in the form of a visor, and a level of neck/rear of skull protection with the extended rear. It just feels 'safer' than a standard road helmet, and while that may or may not actually be the case, in my instance it helped to appease Mrs Cox, and quite frankly that's got to be a good thing.
In use, the Watts is comfortable on the head, sitting snugly, with a relatively lo-tech strap system, that works perfectly well. Its lack of vents wasn't really an issue as my commuting is generally done at a slower pace so the heat build-up is significantly less, having said that the rudimentary venting at the top performs an adequate role, reducing the likelihood of arriving at work looking like a hot mess.
The reduction in open spaces on the head also means that in foul weather the Bern Watts helmet is far better at keeping your head warm and dry, with far less chance for the elements to gain access to the head.
If the styling of a race-bred helmet isn't too your liking then the Bern Watts helmet may be just what you need, and due to the lack of racing features in the design the price tumbles a great deal from a top-end vented helmet, coming in at a penny under the £50 mark is a very respectable accomplishment, leading to, I suspect, many a roadie making the switch for their commute.
Sensible priced, practical and comfortable urban helmet for the head-conscious commuter
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bern Watts helmet
Size tested: L-XL
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"The Watts is a bike helmet inspired by skate style. Developed in 2007, the Watts is the successor of Bern's signature model the Baker You asked for the Baker with vents and you got it. Today the Watts is one of Bern's most valued all-around lids."
From a skate-style background, the Bern Watts is aimed at the urban cyclist who doesn't necessarily want to go down the pro-peloton route, instead opting for a little more protection at the cost of the venting of a race helmet.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Watts is a helmet with an ABS shell and a bonded layer of EPS hard foam. The EPS hard foam meets ASTM F 2040 and EN 1077B standards for snow and ski, CPSC and EN 1078 standards for bike and skate.
It's a solid, confidence-inspiring, unit for sure.
It does get warm, but it's not designed for rapid riding and the dispersion of the associated heat. For lower exertion riding it's a very good choice.
It doesn't look or feel like it will give up any time soon, in the event of an incident and proper head impact you are of course advised to dispose of the helmet.
It's a solid, sturdy unit.
Low intensity riding is great, pick up speed and it will overheat. The design of the helmet helps to form a barrier slowing down the ingress of rain and wind.
At £49.99 it seems very good value for money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well I didn't bang my head into the pavement to test this out, but in general use it was comfy and practical.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The solid nature of the design and construction.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, for commuting.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they are not planning on racing.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If you are not concerned with racing or excessive ventilation then this could indeed be all the helmet you need.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 176cm Weight:
I usually ride: Rapide RC4, Raleigh SP Race, Hoffman BMX My best bike is: Rapide RC4
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, Adventure-packing, crossing-countries