Dux Helm, the world’s first bike helmet with a retractable lens
27th November 2012
By Paul Hopkins
Vancouver based Dux Helm look to end those “shall I wear shades or shan’t I” days…
Here’s an interesting idea from Dux Helm, who are based in Vancouver: put a retractable visor onto a helmet. Now I’m a glasses all the time kind of guy; contact lenses make it pretty much compulsory, unless you enjoy peeling dry lenses off your eyeballs, and I also remember reading the famous cycling coach, Eddie Borysewicz’s book, in which, among many other tips, he told readers to always wear glasses, as he never did as a rider and suffered as a result in later life. However, there are times when you need to remove your glasses and jamming in the rear jersey pocket can be an issue, especially if your pockets are already full. Having said that, most riders just ram them into the vents of their helmets so is glasses storage whilst riding enough of an issue to require a solution.
So what about the actual helmet bit of the Dux Helm? It’s a well made helmet, using all the latest helmet technologies such as in-mould polycarbonate construction which keeps things light and strong. Fit is adjustable using a dial at the back and the helmet includes an anti-bug mesh at the front. Removable Coolmax pads and 24 large vents, particularly at the back, help channel air flow and keep your head cool. A large reflective sticker at the back should also help you be seen at night. The Dux Helm also comes in ten different colours, including plain white, black and silver. Weight is claimed to be 285g. So as a helmet is bang on the money.
But ‘just another helmet’ ignores the USP for the Dux Helm. The clever guys at Dux Helm hit on the idea of including a retractable visor in their helmet, which they’ve called the 3R System for retractable, removable and replaceable.
Now visors on helmets are something we are all used to seeing on the track and in time trials, but its still unusual on a ‘normal’ helmet. Giro have actually included a removable, magnetic one on their new Giro Air Attack but again storage of it requires use of the jersey pockets. The Dux Helm gets around this by permanently attaching a retractable visor to the helmet. A centrally placed sliding button lowers and raises the lens, which comes in smoke, amber, clear and reflective blue or purple. The Dux Helm and visor is therefore unique but is there a market for it?
We know some of you are emotionally attached to your branded sunglasses, but for some of us they are disposable item; well they certainly are for me. I drop or lose them with frightening regularity. I’ve lost count of the times I have thrown muddy glasses at helpers in a cyclo-cross race and never found them again. Then there’s all the scratching, dropping and stepping on them… so as you may have rightly assumed, I never buy expensive glasses.
The benefits when glasses can steam up or you just become too hot, are clear; a quick flip and the visor is up and you can see again. The Dux Helm would also be useful when you’re in a road race bunch during heavy rain. All that road spray means your glasses are generally rendered useless, so flip the visor out of the way, until you attack for that glorious lone breakaway. At which time the sun will, of course, be out and you can lower the visor. Time for the victory salute? Then raise the visor so that all your adoring fans can see your eyes, just like in the old days – those photographers who bemoan the use of sunglasses will love it!
Also on some rides where you are constantly moving from bright sun to shade, where sunglasses prove too dark and constantly taking them on and off is unsafe, the Dux Helm could be the option.
However, one major issue is that with the visor raised you will be blocking the front vents; until we can get our hands on a sample to test, we can’t say how much of a problem this will be. Given that Dux are bringing out a winter liner, it may be that there is plenty of airflow through the helmet already. Whilst on the subject, the standard liner is removable, a major plus for me, as it allows the liner to be cleaned regularly. Dux Helm claim that the visor works well even if you are wearing prescription glasses and that misting is not a problem.
OK, so a lot of people will never give up their expensive ‘sunnys’, the pose factor is just too high and admittedly the Dux Helm will leave you squinting in the sun at the cafe stop, but on reflection we think it is a good idea that will have its fans. Its just how many fans, we are not sure…
As a final plus point and, maybe this can only be appreciated by riders of a certain vintage, the Dux Helm allows you to pretend to be a fighter pilot. We challenge you not to think ‘Top Gun’ and go “vmmmmm” as you lower the visor, at least once.