I hate helmets, I hate hats, and I hate haircuts. However, you need a helmet for protection, a hat for sun protection, and a haircut to protect from people thinking you are a dope-smoking high school dropout. If I didnt enjoy biking as much as I do, a helmet would be reason enough to prevent me from even going. That was the case with my last helmet, which made me feel like an overgrown mushroom with a perspiration problem. However, now I can go out in public in my Bell Influx bike helmet, looking more like a stylish overgrown mushroom, sans sweat.
Recommend this product?
I Brain My Broke.
Lots of people still dont wear helmets, to spite constant advice and in some places laws that tell you to wear helmets. With the way helmets used to be, its hard to blame them, but helmets have changed. Now, they allow lots of air in and out, look pretty good, and most importantly, they still provide optimal protection. During my childhood, my brother had a habit of cracking his head open, and let me tell you, even moving slowly on a bike can result in a concussion and stitches. Ive always worn a helmet, and not once have I had a head injury. Ive scraped half of the skin off of my limbs, but the most important (well, maybe not most) part of my body has never been harmed.
A helmet is a helmet. They all meet the same safety requirements (CSPC), so the price really has nothing to do with the safety. The price is all about the style and airflow, so its good to know your needs before you even go out to buy a helmet. All that matters is that you have a helmet when you go for a bike ride, regardless of the type of biking you do. Also, realize that just because you have a helmet, it doesnt mean you can immediately tackle harder trails and faster speeds. Just dont be an idiot, wear a helmet and know your limitations.
Style & Airflow
The Influx is one of the nicer looking helmets out there, but there are nicer ones and its also a matter of personal preference. My top choice for style went to the more expensive Giro Animas. However, the Influx is also very nice looking, coming in red/white, yellow/black, blue, or silver/titanium like mine. Without the clip-in black visor, the helmet isnt nearly as nice looking as it is too rounded on the front.
Closely linked to the style is the number of holes in it, of which there are 17. If you pick up a helmet and look through it at eye level, the more you can see through it the more air you will get flowing through. Of the helmets I looked at, the Influx was one of the easiest to see through, without being ridiculously expensive. I still get a little sweaty on an occasion, but in general, I love the extra air.
The Influx comes in three sizes (medium is the typical size to get), all of which can be attuned to a variety of head sizes. Most of the helmets out there have the ability to make adjustments so that it has a snug fit, but the Geared Positioning System on the Influx was my favourite type. On the rear of the helmet is a small little gear that makes it easy to tighten/loosen up the fit while moving, while the other helmets required two hands and always slipped. Having it fit snugly makes it much nicer on bumpy surfaces and it turns with your head better, making it a really nice thing to have. Most importantly though, is that a helmet has to have a snug fit to actually provide safety.
The helmet is quite comfortable, even though it only has three pads. It also comes with two replacement pads. Velcro attaches the pads to the helmet, so changing them is very easy. The helmet is also lightweight at just over 315 grams, making it nice for when I do bike & hike combinations. The only problem I have is that the chinstraps have a plastic part on them that is somewhat annoying, but with a few adjustments its not too bad.
Price & Replacements
I bought mine for $129 CAN, and made the mistake of not shopping around for better prices. A quick search on the internet afterwards was showing that the MSRP was around $75 CAN, so Im not too happy about that. The helmet I wanted the most (Giro Animas) was $150 CAN, but I also discovered that its MSRP is $120. The best deals appear to be on the internet, but you should find the helmet you want in a store, and then buy it over the internet.
The warranty is one of those typical warranties that basically says that if something happens to the helmet from just touching it, the warranty is not valid. Bell also has a replacement helmet policy, that says if your helmet is ever broken, you can send it in, along with some money ($35 in the US) and a letter describing your crash, and get a replacement helmet. They say that any time your helmet is involved in an accident, you should have it replaced even if there is no visible damage. In my personal opinion, if you just take a minor tumble, your helmet is probably fine.
Also, if you think helmets are too expensive, compare it to the possibility of medical bills. Youve got nothing to lose.
Helmets are always improving, eliminating any reasons for not wearing them. The Bell Influx is one of the best helmets out there, and its one of the cheaper ones. If you go biking once a year on paved trails, dont buy the Influx, as you just wont get your money out of it. If you regularly go biking and often work up a sweat, the Influx is a wonderful choice. If you do lots of serious biking, Id say spend a little more and get something with even more ventilation like the Giro Animas. The Influx has been a perfect choice for me, as it has made biking much more enjoyable.
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