“ Brand: Oxford / Type: MTB Helmet „
I don't ride a bike without wearing a helmet, just as I don't drive a car without wearing my seatbelt. I didn't put as much thought into buying a helmet as perhaps I should have done, but instead went with the one recommended by my local friendly bike shop when I was buying my bike and all my accessories. While the choice they had wasn't vast, I was buying through the Cycle to Work scheme so anything I bought then and there could be included in my voucher in a way things bought separately from other sources couldn't be. Hence for once in my life I researched neither the brand nor the price online before buying.
The Oxford F15 Hurricane comes in two sizes, S/M (54-58cm) and L/XL (58-62cm). Contrary to what some may think, I do not have a big head, so I got the smaller size. This model comes in a range of two-tone colours: red/silver, blue/silver, purple/silver, pink/silver and so on. I got the pink one, which is a bubblegum colour, but the pink makes up less than half the helmet so it's not too overpowering, and is balanced out by the silver and by the black accents. The bright colours mean it's highly visible which is important for road cycling most of the year, though of course is no substitute for fluorescent clothing. This is a unisex helmet - mine may be a pink one, but the other more manly colours are identical designs - and so it's useful and somewhat necessary for them to have different sizes available.
I wanted a helmet that would fit me well and be snug but not too tight. I've had trouble with helmets for wakeboarding because both the Boy's, and the ones they have in stock to hire at the wake park are all a bit big, and can slip around on my head, not coming fully off but also not offering too much protection by the end. So, I was wary about buying a cycling helmet knowing tarmac hurts more when you hit it than water does. I needn't have worried. This design has a dial-a-size fitting system which you can use to tighten or loosen the fit at the twist of a dial. It is really quick and easy to do yourself without removing it from your head, and it works both ways so if you over tighten you can release it one notch without it reverting to the loosest setting and you having to start again.
I also wanted a comfy helmet. I remember having one as a child and sticking all the optional pads on the inside to make it softer. The result was, my head was nowhere near the shell of the helmet itself and while it was comfy to wear, it probably wasn't fitting that well. I don't know whether I have a better shaped head now as an adult, or where I've just manned up, but this Oxford Hurricane didn't need any additional padding. It comes with two long, thin strips of padding running from the crown towards the temples, and this was more than enough. I am not aware of the helmet when I am wearing it, which I take to be a good thing. It's actually a really comfy helmet, noticeably so compared to the ones I've had with rental bikes in South America, but I can't really put my finger on what makes it so comfy apart from the absence of any uncomfiness. So not that helpful there!
The marketing for this product also talks of an "Anti-pinch chin strap/clip" and I can confirm that this is my experience of the strap. It is soft but secure under my chin and I like the way it's cut around the ears so I can take my sunglasses on and off without them getting caught on the straps. The straps are easy to loosen and tighten, but they also tend to stay in place while you ride, so I've not had to readjust them much since the initial fitting.
This helmet had a small visor at the front which shields your eyes a little, though I find that on sunny mornings I still need my sunglasses. Apparently helmets with visors are favoured by mountain bikers but less popular with road bikers. But if you are one of those and knew that, you probably know more about helmets than I do, so don't need my advice.
Weighing in at 265g, this is a very lightweight helmet which again adds to the feeling you're not wearing anything. It has 7 air vents which help keep your head cool while cycling which is especially welcome in the current weather. Like any helmet this one does your hair few favours, but at least the ventilation helps keep you cool so you end up with a matted mop, but not a sweaty one
Like most bicycle helmets, this one is made with crushable expanded polystyrene (EPS) covered in a thin plastic shell. This means that although it protects well on impact, it doesn't recover, so if you have a crash you need to get a new helmet at that point. Helmets use EPS so that on impact it's this that get crushed, and not your head. I have to say I don't much care for crushed heads, so this is a good thing in my mind, and in the event of an accident I'm sure I would be thankful I'd had a helmet on, rather than begrudge having to buy a new one.
There are a number of helmets made by Oxford, and this is a low to mid range one. Features that higher end ones boast include insect-resistant mesh which sounds swish, but is not something I've noticed lacking in mine. That may be because the insects instead prefer to fly straight for my eyes, cheeks or mouth, avoiding the helmet altogether.
The helmet is light, and barely noticeable when wearing once you are used to it. I have yet to experience (and hope to never) experience how this helmet fairs in a collision, but I trust that it would protect my head well. This helmet complies with European Standard EN 1078 which reassures me that I didn't need to buy a more expensive one (I paid £15.99 for mine - it's between £10 and £15 online). Overall I am very happy with the look, feel and value for money of this product, and if you are researching yours prior to buying (as I should have done!) I hope you take this as a recommendation that it's a good choice.