The Overade Plixi Folding Helmet is a well-designed, practical option, useful for short rides or city bikes, but because of its primary function it lacks some features you may expect on a 'normal' helmet.
The Plixi was originally unveiled in 2010. The idea of the helmet is simple: Overade wanted to create a truly foldable helmet, for use on shorter commutes and when hiring city bikes, and which could be placed in a bag without taking up too much space.
So the folding aspect is naturally the best place to start, and I have to say it is impressive. It is all held stiff through one clip that sits above the crown of your head, which sits on a sliding section, and this clips to the rear plate. From here the sides are each hinged and push inwards, bringing the back with them, then the top of the helmet folds downwards to create a compact package.
It sounds more complicated than it is. It's actually very simple and takes only a couple of seconds to go from full head protection to storable. Folded, the helmet is 21 x 11 x 16cm, so just a little larger than a typical lunchbox and unlikely to take up too much space in most bags. The hinges used are robust, made from metal, and seem hardwearing.
Fit on the helmet is done exclusively through the pads; the Plixi comes with three different thicknesses to fit a wide variety of head sizes. The strap is also adjustable to help keep everything in place. Most of us who are used to riding with regular helmets will probably find this system a little unsettling, because there is considerably less grip around the head than a traditional harness system, so it takes some getting used to. There is also more movement than most other helmets: regardless of which pads I was using, it would sometimes slip back or forwards. The 'Fit' version of the helmet, now available, may well sort out some of these issues.
The Plixi isn't a helmet designed for climbing mountains or long weekend rides, so ventilation isn't a key issue, but despite that it is actually fairly good. The 14 vents aren't exactly channelled, and it certainly doesn't offer the same level as a fully vented road helmet, but compared with some other 'urban' lids I've tried, it's fairly good.
As far as safety is concerned, it complies with European Safety Standards, so despite the folding nature it's been rated as providing adequate protection in a crash. The quality also seems good, with an ABS shell and polystyrene underneath to stop the worst from happening. I didn't come off while wearing the helmet so I didn't test it for this...
As this isn't designed to be a lightweight performance helmet, weight isn't too much of a consideration. It comes in at 443g on the road.cc Scales of Truth, but that's acceptable, and I'm not going to mark it down for that.
At a penny under 60 quid, it strikes me as okay value for the innovative design, and it really does fold down well. We tested the Carrera Foldable helmet a few years ago, which is currently another £5 at RRP and doesn't fold down as small (though the ventilation is probably superior).
All in, the Plixi does what it's designed to pretty well. It folds down small enough to easily fit in a bag, provides a certified level of protection and has decent ventilation. However, because it lacks the adjustability in fit you get with traditional harness helmets, it can move around a little and takes some getting used to. The Fit version could be the one to go for if this concerns you, but it doesn't seem to be readily available in the UK.
An innovative and well-designed helmet that folds down well for short/urban rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Overade Plixi Folding Helmet
Size tested: Small/Medium, 54-58
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?
A folding helmet that can be packed away once it's no longer needed; of use to urban commuter.
Plixi distributor Upgrade says: "The main reason why urban cyclists take the risk of not wearing a helmet is the inconvenience of carrying it when not on the bike.
"Overade's patented and very innovative folding helmet permits it to store very easily but without forgetting comfort and security.
"Smart and easy to use, the Plixi helmet folds and unfolds in seconds. A great innovation that will make it appealing for all urban cyclists."
This seems about accurate.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Well Ventilated: 14 vents
* Common Sizing: S/M (54-58cm) - L/XL (59-62cm); adjustable straps
* Materials: Outer ABS Hardshell | Internal Shell: EPS with comfort foam padding
* Uses: All types of cycling, Skateboarding, Roller Skating and Kick Scooters
Seems very well made, strong hinges, and decent material used throughout.
Folds up well, stays on the head, although could do with being a little more secure.
All good so far, and all moving parts appear strong.
Comfortable enough, although without a harness to keep everything in place it moves around a bit.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well. Decent enough for rides around the city on a rental bike and packs down small to fit in my bag.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The folding mechanisms in it are really impressive; a very innovative design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Adjustability to sit on your head could be better, but there is a 'Fit' version that may solve this issue.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if I used rental bikes more often.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's an innovative design that mostly works well, and genuinely folds down to a manageable size.
About the tester
I usually ride: Mercian King of Mercia or Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.