Review: Carrera Unisex Foldable Helmet

Let me start out this post with an “I’m Switzerland in the helmet wars” disclaimer. Though I wore a helmet daily for the first year or two after I started cycling, over time, on my most familiar routes, I more or less abandoned it. Why? For many of the reasons Dave mentions in this post as well as the fact that in summer, in Tennessee, heatstroke is a much greater threat than head injury.

Carrerahelmetfront

front of the helmet

That said, there are times when I do want to wear a helmet, or am required to wear one—and I’m always looking for one that is cool, comfortable and relatively attractive. So when I saw the Carrera Foldable Helmet online, I had high hopes that it was the helmet holy grail.

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First things first: the “foldable” aspect of this helmet is pretty minimal. Common sense suggests that folding a helmet is not a logical expectation…and that common sense would be right. There’s really only a couple of inches difference between the helmet’s folded and expanded size—the figure they use is 20% smaller and that seems accurate to me.

Carrera helmet: folded

folded helmet

carrerahelmetexp

When folded, you can secure the helmet with a provided strap, which has a carabiner attached so that you can clip it to your bag or purse or the frame of your bike when not in use.

Carrerahelmet

Carrera helmet folded, with carabiner and strap for attachment to a bag, lock or purse

The strap has a reflective tag and can do double-duty by holding your pants leg away from your chain if you’re into that sort of thing.

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I got this helmet in glossy white, to match Le Peug, but they’re available in lots of pretty colors. The size small/medium fit my puny head perfectly straight out of the box, but there’s an elastic at the back that can tweak the fit as well.

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The interior has removable, washable pads that are very comfortable. I hardly knew I was wearing it during my metric century.

 

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Best of all, the multiple air vents totally deliver—this is definitely the coolest, lightest helmet I’ve ever worn. (My other is a Bern Berkeley and I have spent a lot of time wearing Dottie’s Nutcases when in Chicago. I had a cheap-o Bell helmet from Target when I first started riding.)
cornfields

On the shallow side, I also really, really love the sleek fit and look of this helmet. Someone told me it looked like a hat—while I think that’s a little bit of a stretch, it’s definitely the most hat-like helmet I’ve ever worn. I didn’t have that mushroom head feeling at all while wearing it.

To get a little more serious, the helmet complies with EU safety standards (Carrera is an Italian company best known for sunglasses) so the actual protection factor is up to snuff.

meandandynatchez

The only real drawback to this helmet is the price: I paid $80 on eBay, which is $20 more than the Nutcase (it’s the same as the MSRP for my Bern, but you can almost always find a Bern sale somewhere). There’s also a “premium” version, which includes a light and a “multiuse scarf” and retails at about $130—if you can find it anywhere online.

Despite the somewhat high price, if you wear a helmet frequently and care about 1.) looks and 2.) lack of head sweat, the Carrera Foldable Helmet is definitely worth your consideration. It was definitely the Helmet Holy Grail for me.

Do you love your helmet? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Review: Carrera Unisex Foldable Helmet

  1. john h says:

    Reminds me of a flight deck crewman’s helmet only stylish. =)

  2. Rebecca B says:

    I have a Yakkay Smart One that I purchased through Amazon (used), and while I’m tempted to get a Smart Two (which has a different fit mechanism for the back of the head and meets US standards versus only EU ones), I find this to be a pretty good option. It is sleek, you can buy covers, and the ventilation is surprisingly good. I don’t think my head sweats much more than it would otherwise. I also have a traditional Giro I bought a few years ago, and which is ventilated, but it’s hotter than the Yakkay. I’m intrigued by the Carrera and so glad you’ve tried and reviewed it, Trisha! I’m in St. Louis, and while this was an unusually mild summer, I feel you on the summer heat and humidity, girl.

    • Trisha says:

      I’m really surprised to hear that the Yakkay is well-ventilated! It always looked so bulky to me that I didn’t think that could be possible. Especially when you put those covers on. Have you reviewed it somewhere? Would love to know more.

      • Rebecca B says:

        Hi Trisha! It’s actually held up off your head a bit by the round pads they provide, and since they aren’t continuous, the air circulates. THAT SAID, increasingly, I find the helmet slides back on my head when I ride; I just bought a Nutcase, and though I’m sure it will be much, much hotter, I’m hoping that (at least in the cooler weather we’re anticipating in St. Louis as fall figures itself out) it will be more secure. I have photos and have mentioned it a little on my own blog (fietsofstyle.blogspot.com) but I’m still figuring out how I feel about my helmets, so I’ve not been terribly specific.

        • Trisha says:

          Thanks! I’ll check it out. Yeah, it definitely takes some time to figure out how you feel about a helmet. I wouldn’t have reviewed this one after just a few weeks had I not worn it for almost six straight hours. :)

  3. steve_a_dfw says:

    I went to the site and they did not indicate it qualified to the CPSC standard. While CPSC is no better than the equivalent European standard, it is what would be used in the remote likelihood of legal liability action.

  4. ridonrides says:

    looks very tron-like. the only helmet i find stylish is anything by bern. problem is the lack of vents makes your head super sweaty and they are expensive too. so even though i would love a winter one, i use the a cheaper zipmold helmet by giro.

    • Trisha says:

      Yeah, “stylish” is still something of a stretch but then I’ve yet to see a helmet where that wasn’t the case. I’ve decided the best I can get is “minimalist.”

  5. Thanks for sharing because nice looking helmets are so rare.

  6. NZ says:

    Would someone bald on top like me get a stripey sunburn ?

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