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Would you wear this invisible bike helmet?

Alia Parker's picture
The Hovding helmet

Sick of helmet hair? Is that clunky piece of plastic on your head cramping your style? Well bicycle fashionistas, two Swedish designers have just come to your rescue with the launch of their new "invisible helmet" – the Hövding.

The Hövding is for the seriously cool, as the videos of catwalk models parading the helmet demonstrates on the product's website. The good news is this helmet for those who don't want to wear helmets actually works. Put simply, the Hövding is a secret airbag for your head.

"The helium gas protects like a thick air mattress around the head, so the blow is very soft and mild. It feels incredibly good that this has now been confirmed by a major insurance company,’ says Anna Haupt, one of the founders of the Hövding company.

The kool kats out there can wear the Hövding around their neck, just like a chunky scarf. Then, if disaster strikes and they are thrown from their bike, sensors within the 'collar' activate the airbag, causing it to inflate around the skull within a split second. Not bad. You can watch videos of crash test dummies activating their Hövdings here.

So how much will it set you back to have hair full of body and bounce all day long? A sweet US$597.

I must admit, I love the idea of this helmet and seeing it made my day. But that still doesn't mean I would wear it ... well, perhaps in winter if it was really, really cold. But in a warm climate, I could only imagine it to feel quite suffocating. 

It also has a fairly restricted use, that is, it will only protect you while out casually cycling about the city. The product's website states that it isn't suited to off-road cycling or stunts. It also advises against using it on tandem bikes or unicycles. Furthermore, it's not suited to cycle touring because it's battery operated (although, if you're happy to charge it every two days, then you'll be all set to look vogue on the road). The battery last about 18 hours and has a 36 hour standby before requiring a recharge. I for one am notoriously bad a remembering to recharge battery powered objects (just ask anyone trying to call my mobile!), so this is a negative for me.

Lastly, the invisible helmet only works once, but I suppose that's once enough if it saves your scalp.

My verdict

Get over your helmet hair and wear a daggy old plastic helmet. No one else will notice, they're too busy worrying about their own good looks. But, if you do have a spare US$597 in discretionary cash laying about and decide to get one, sashay past my place because I'd still love to play with it.

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