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review

Bern Hudson helmet

7
£109.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Super-safe, well specced and well-made urban cycling helmet – a good choice if you like the looks
Super safe
Comfortable
Integrated rear light
Well made
Fairly expensive
Its looks won't appeal to all
Weight: 
401g

The Bern Hudson is an interesting urban cycling helmet that comes fully loaded with Mips brain-protecting technology, is certified up to NTA8776 standards meaning it’s particularly safe for e-bikes, and even comes with a removable and rechargeable integrated rear light. When it comes to its looks, though, it's likely to divide opinion.

We might as well cut straight to the chase: the Bern Hudson is a strange looking helmet. It's just so big and bright and, in this case, 'hyper green' that you end up looking like the road safety person from MarioWorld. I don't think you'd have to be an unrepentant style snob to be put off by the styling – although in other colours it might at least be a little less striking.

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That's all something of a shame because in terms of performance and safety features, this is about as safe a helmet as you're going to find. Quite aside from the substantial hardshell construction, it also comes with an internal Mips cradle. In the event of an accident, this is designed to insulate your head from the kind of twisting forces that neurologists now believe are some of the major contributing factors in concussions. (Read our 'All you need to know about Mips' feature, here.)

2021 Bern Hudson helmet - inside.jpg

Perhaps even more important is the fact it is certified up to NTA8776 standards. Unlike the vast majority of bike helmets, which only achieve EN 1078 or BS EN 1078 standards and are designed to withstand the sort of impact that a rider is likely to suffer if they fall from their cycle from a stationary position (about 12 mph), NTA8776 is a Dutch Technical Agreement specifically designed to protect e-bike riders travelling up to 45kph (28mph). So it is super safe, even if UK-sourced e-bikes are limited to 15.5mph.

The Hudson also comes with a detachable light that is housed in a perfectly form-fitting cutout at the back of the helmet. Although it only emits 6.6 lumens, this is a decent bit of kit that offers three different light settings, has a maximum run-time of 10 hours, and can be removed easily and recharged via USB.

2021 Bern Hudson helmet - light insert.jpg

That's not where the extra features end. For example, there are two reinforced U-lock vents, perfect for the urban rider, just behind the ear cutouts. If you're happy to leave your helmet locked up with your bike, Bern has made it easier for you.

2021 Bern Hudson helmet - back.jpg

And there's also a fake cotton cycling cap peak at the front. I'm quite keen on wearing old-school cycling caps under my helmets but I'm not sure about a fake peak stuck on at the front. It is Velcro-removable, though.

2021 Bern Hudson helmet - peak.jpg

The pointlessness of this feature is highlighted by the fact that, for all its fulsome coverage, the Bern isn't actually a very warm lid to wear. In winter, the 13 apparently diminutive air vents are effective enough to leave you with a cold head, which means you could do with a proper cotton cap underneath. This is great news for all-year and particularly summer riding, though.

2021 Bern Hudson helmet - side.jpg

So in many ways this is a very good helmet. It's comfy to wear, the rear wheel tightening system is simple, and the side straps are easy to get fitting just right.

2021 Bern Hudson helmet - tension system.jpg

Performance-wise, my biggest gripe is probably its sheer bulk. Although it's not super heavy, at 409g, you're unlikely to forget it's on your head. It's also so big that I found I knocked it far more than other helmets against doors and walls when leaning down.

Value and conclusion

We tested the Dashel Urban Cycle Helmet recently, which is aimed at a similar market and costs £79. That doesn't have as impressive a spec as the Bern, although its love-it/hate-it styling is arguably more attractive.

For less outlandish tastes, I tested the Endura Hummvee Helmet last year. That also comes without Mips, but it is perfectly light, comfortable, stylish enough for urban riders and costs only £42.99.

> Buyer’s Guide: 8 of the best cheap cycling helmets

In terms of that superior safety performance, though, the Bern is probably better judged against the Giro Camden, the Abus Pedelec range or the Bontrager Charge WaveCel commuter helmet, which Stu tested back in 2019 and which suffers from many of the same complaints as the Bern, albeit at a pricier £129.99.   

Indeed, when you look at the spec and the full list of features – and perhaps even more when you feel the quality of its construction – the Bern seems worth its £109.99 asking price. It's a very well made helmet – if you can get your head past the aesthetics.

Verdict

Super-safe, well specced and well-made urban cycling helmet – a good choice if you like the looks

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Bern Hudson helmet

Size tested: Large 59-61.5 CM

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?

This is a cycling helmet aimed at the urban and commuting market. Bern says: "2021 Innovation Award Winner from Outdoor Retailer. Whether speeding through your commute, or enjoying a breezy weekend, the Hudson is certified to keep you safe. Designed with the urban commuter in mind, the Hudson comes with an integrated LED light and reinforced u-lock vents. The Hudson is meticulously designed to keep you comfortable with 13 strategically place vents for optimal airflow."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Bern lists:

Mips safety system 

Certified to NTA8776 standards

In-mold construction

Compass fit system

13 airflow vents

Reinforced U-lock vents

6.6-lumen rechargeable light with three modes (steady, flash, and pulse) and 10-hour runtime

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

There are no complaints with the build – this is a really well-made product.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

It was surprisingly airy and well vented. I was actually expecting it to be a little warmer in winter.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Has stood up well to use so far.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
4/10

At 400g it's not light, and I'd say it looks and feels bulkier still.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

Very comfortable with effective padding and wheel-tightening fit mechanism.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

We tested the Dashel Urban Cycle Helmet recently, which is aimed at a similar market and costs £79, though it doesn't have as impressive a spec as the Bern. For less outlandish tastes, I tested the Endura Hummvee Helmet last year. That also comes without Mips, but it is perfectly light, comfortable, stylish enough for urban riders and costs only £42.99.

In terms of that superior safety performance, though, the Bern is probably better judged against the Giro Camden, the Abus Pedelec range or the Bontrager Charge WaveCel commuter helmet, which Stu tested back in 2019 and which suffers from many of the same complaints as the Bern, albeit at a pricier £129.99. 

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

In action, on the bike, the Bern Hudson is not bad at all. You're aware you've got quite a bulky helmet on, but in terms of comfort and ventilation, it's good.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The integrated rear light is a fun and useful extra safety feature that I'm sure will develop even further in time.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It just looks so bulky.

Did you enjoy using the product? Not really.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if I was planning to ride an e-bike at speed.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly

Use this box to explain your overall score

The problem I've faced with the Bern Hudson is essentially the battle between its apparent excellence on the safety spec sheet and even its effectiveness in use, versus the reality of its appearance. It's a great product in terms of safety, but I'm not sure how many cyclists would be happy to wear it.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'0  Weight: 16 stone

I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29  My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Leisure

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