Every bike helmet on the market protects your noggin in the event of a crash or collision, but how many can actually prevent collisions?
Bollé’s The One Premium ($169 SRP; generally less on Amazon) takes a step in that direction by incorporating a blinking red LED in the back of the helmet. For me, that is reason alone to wear it.
In this era of distracted driving, car-bike incidents are unsurprisingly becoming more common. This Bicycling magazine story reports that the number of cyclist deaths rose by 12.2 percent in 2015 over 2014, the most recent years for which data is available. And hear this, fellow masters athletes: The average age of those killed while bicycling was 45. That’s a big change from the past, when most cyclists killed while riding were younger than 20.
This more mature (and also unlucky) demographic suggests that a lot of those deaths happened to riders who were abiding by the rules of the road, riding where they should have been safe. But times have changed. Anything I can do to signal my presence to drivers, inattentive or otherwise, is worth doing. Yes, plenty of available blinking taillights can be jury-rigged to your helmet, but the built-in feature of Bollé’s The One Premium is simple and elegant. By the way, the flasher, powered by a tiny, nonrechargeable watch-style battery, adds only 14 grams—a half-ounce—to the helmet’s 270 grams (351.5 grams with aero shells in place).
Now to some of the helmet’s other cool features.
In terms of adjustability (click-to-fit dial in the rear) and ventilation (31 airy openings), it’s on a par with any top-notch helmet. But The One Premium adds some modular features that make it singular. The lid comes with two snap-on components (Bollé calls them aero shells) that seal off all but two of those vents. For some time-trial zealots/aero nerds, the appeal is reduced wind resistance. But for me, the shells are all about reducing the wind-chill factor on brisk mornings. I can take two seconds to pop those vent covers in and buy myself an extra degree (or 20) of comfort.
If it’s even colder—say, down in the 30s—I can replace the standard lining with The One’s fleece lining and ride right through winter. Velcro keeps the lining in place, and I found the setup to work far better than warmth via those wiggly aftermarket beanies.
For that cool “interview time after the stage is over” look, The One has a “sunglasses garage”—that is, two of the vents securely grasp the temples of your Bollé shades (or any other brand, of course) should you need to park them.
Finally, The One comes with a click-in visor. Presto: instant mountain bike helmet.
In other words, according to Bollé, this is The One helmet you need.
My only quibble with The One Premium: activating the LED. It requires a delicate touch rather than a positive click. When I’m on a carless bike path or ATB trail, I like to reach back and switch off the light. But with the Bollé, I have to remove the helmet to know whether or not the LED is on.
Certainly not a deal-breaker—for me, anyway. There’s room for improvement, but for great versatility and the desirable notion of staying alive, The One Premium delivers.