Category: Safety Equipment

We received a pair of the Pryme V2 Lite Helmets to review for BikeCommuters.com Here’s a little description about them:

The all new Pryme-8 V2 Lite Helmet weighs a mere 300 grams!

How did they do that?!By using In-Mold technology, Pryme was able to cut their helmet weight in HALF – yet still maintained its CPSC tested strength.

The look of the new V2 Lite is further enhanced by the unique transparent colors that are derived using the in-mold process.

msrp: $59.99

I was excited to try out the new Pryme V2 Lite helmets because I’m actually a big fan of “skater style” helmets. One of my biggest complaints with the brands that I do own is that they are pretty chunky. Even with the straps cinched down comfortably, the helmet can and will shift on my head. I’ve used brands such as Bell, 661, T.H.E and Free Agent.

The first and immediate difference I found with the Pryme V2 Lite was its weight. 300 grams is nothing compared to the weight of the competing helmets that I’ve mentioned. It’s so light that while I was riding with it, I almost forgot that it was on my head!
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The inner pads fit just fine. I actually prefer the Pryme (pads) over the pads you’d get with other brands because they are thin yet comfy and you don’t have that wet mess touching your head while you’re riding. What I noticed with these pads is that they actually dry pretty quick. Plus, you can easily hand wash them in the sink and voila, fresh helmet! With some skater helmet brands, the pads are way too thick and act much like a kitchen sponge, which is gross because when you’re sweating, bacteria will get trapped in there and start to smell after a while.
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Have you noticed the bright colors that they sent me? Pinkish-Purpley (but they call it trans-purple) and Red! Wow! Not only does it speak visibility, but it looks good. The plastic shell they used is very similar to what you’d see in standard road/mountain biking helmets. It’s thin enough where it doesn’t weigh anything, yet its tough enough that if you were to drop it or drag it on the ground that the shell wouldn’t disintegrate.
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My biggest grip with this style helmet would be its breathability. Pryme addresses this issue with 13 large vents. Most brands only offer 12. So am I saying that the extra vent makes a difference? Possibly — because I wasn’t all drippy with a sweaty head during the testing period. Then again, I’m sure the cooler weather had something to do with it. However, the large vents do work because I can feel the air passing through them as I rode.
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What kind of person should be wearing this helmet? That all comes down to personal preference, but if you’re a bike commuter, mountain biker or even a BMX rider, this is a great helmet! The biggest selling point for Pryme is that it barely weighs anything, only 300 grams. What I think is that the color options Pryme offers make it even more appealing to both men and women as well as children.
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I simply love it and my since the wife said I can’t wear the pinkish-purpley helmet anymore, my daughter loves hers too!
Pryme
By the way, they even offer a reflective version.

Our review disclaimer.

(STAFF WRITER’S NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, this post was delayed…A WHILE)

I arrived home from work the other day to find a small brown box addressed to ‘lil ol’ me!

Oh! What could it ever be!?!?

Planet Bike

Mark from Planet Bike sent out a new product to try out that will be released this  Spring!

<INSERT DRUM ROLL HERE>
Introducing the NEW 2011 SuperFlash TURBO!

Planet Bike Super Flash Turbo

Here is an into from the ‘wordsmiths’ at Planet Bike:

In 2006, our introduction of the Superflash tail light ushered in a new era of innovation in bicycle lighting.  Building on our tradition, we are now proud to introduce the evolution of bicycle safety: the Superflash Turbo.  We paired our time-tested design with a powerful 1 watt LED, then added the new attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern. It’ll give you peace of mind riding day or night.

Superflash Turbo tail light (#3070)

  • 1 Watt Power LED plus 2 red LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile
  • New attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern
  • Soft-touch power switch accesses flashing or steady mode for up to 100 hours of run time on two AA batteries
  • Ultra compact vertical design is weatherproof, lightweight and durable
  • Includes bike mounts and clip mount for multiple mounting options

MSRP     $34.99

In my initial inspection of the light I couldn’t find any major differences. The Turbo is the exact size of the tried and true original Super Flash. The housing is identical, with the exception of the red “TURBO” printed on the clear face and the big RED Super Flash lense

Since I had just ridden home from work, my first chance to test this light out would be on my next trip to and from work.

The next day, I suited up and clipped the Super Flash Turbo onto my bike. It was a bit overcast, so ambient light was at minimal levels. I felt as if I was being followed by a group of glow-stick swinging club kids! The TURBO light pattern is definitely more eye catching…

(side by side comparison of the Turbo & Standard Super Flash light pattern)

I am excited to say I was one of the most visible people out on the wet streets of Portlandia!

Many more miles of commuting ahead of me… I’ll give you an update at a later date…gotta ride!


Over the past several years, a number of bicycle helmet manufacturers have added more urban-friendly lids to their lineups…in colors ranging from understated to 100% funky. Urban cyclists were growing tired of wearing racing- or racing-inspired helmets and wanted something with a more polished look…or they wanted something that really expressed their individualities with bright colors and patterns.

The kind folks at Giro Helmets contacted us a few weeks ago and offered to send us their take on the urban helmet — the new “Surface” model — to check out.

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As you can see, it’s rather “skateboard lid” in styling, with a gently rounded shape and a short brim. Volume-wise, it’s fairly massive; about 1/3 larger overall than a similarly-sized Nutcase helmet in my collection. The Surface helmet comes in a variety of colors from mild to wild…Giro didn’t offer me a color choice, but the matte titanium-finished sample they sent me was just the color I would have chosen — understated and rather classy. And, on first glance, the helmet vaguely reminded me of the helmets worn by Imperial Scout Troopers in Return of the Jedi. As a lifelong Star Wars nerd, I can live with that!

On the outside, the helmet is simple: the aforementioned short brim, four vents up top and two in back. Inside, the padding and suspension system is very much like their racing helmets…sweat-wicking pads and the excellent In-Form System that consists of the suspension and a rotating dial that allows up to 6cm of adjustability. This helmet is easily adjustable…from fitting to my freshly-shaven head to the fleece helmet liner I wear on cool days and all the way up to the helmet liner/wool balaclava combination I wear on truly frigid workdays. A quick spin of the ratcheting dial adjusts the helmet so that it fits snugly without tipping or rocking. Thumbs up!

Here’s a look at the back of the helmet and dial:

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Ventilation is adequate — although I haven’t tested the Surface on a truly warm Florida day, which to me is the real make-or-break test for a helmet. If I had to guess, I’d say that the Surface is probably a lot like other skate-styled helmets on the market…a bit stifling on a hot day. There’s room up front for a couple of discreet vents, and that’s something I’d like to see. Coupled with the internal channeling and the existing vents, a couple more small ones would definitely help. Not all is lost, though: I DID notice that the brim helps bring some breeze into the front of the helmet. We’ll see how this helmet does as Florida’s springtime temperatures ramp up.

Interior channeling and pads:
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The straps are made of a soft nylon.. no bells or whistles here, just a simple quick-release buckle and sliding strap adjusters like on most other helmets. The straps feel nice against my skin, at least.

Has anyone ever complimented you on your helmet? Yeah, me neither…but a few friends and riding partners have made fun of my patriotic-themed Nutcase. Well, that all changed when I started wearing the Surface to work. I’ve had three coworkers compliment me out of the blue on my helmet…and they even appeared serious about it! Will this helmet make you look dashing and debonair? Perhaps not, but at least it doesn’t scream SPORTING EQUIPMENT the way a racing helmet might. And, by carefully choosing the color, this Surface could pass for “office casual”; it doesn’t clash with my work wardrobe, in any case.

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Because of its overall size, the Surface is rather heavy. That can be a drawback for some. I can be sensitive to heavier helmets but the Surface hasn’t bothered me too much because it fits so securely.

So, the helmet isn’t perfect — I have concerns about warm-weather ventilation and the overall size and weight might not appeal to everyone. Otherwise, though, the Giro Surface is a nice helmet…the adjustability alone tips things over to the positive side… and is worth considering if you’re in the market for an urban bike helmet. Check out Giro’s many other offerings by visiting their website.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy for me. Lots of really early-morning commutes, some late days at the office.

Combined with the shorter days, I’ve had some of the best testing conditions imaginable for a helmet-mounted lighting system that was purpose-built for bike commuters!

Let’s take a look at the gear. The rear part houses the battery, two amber side-facing LEDs, three bright red rear LEDs with a combined output that matches some of the most popular rear blinkies on the market, and a generous-sized swath of engineering-grade prismatic reflective material, all inside a water-resistant case. A rubber flap covers the Micro-USB charging port.
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There’s also a small window on the under-side of the unit that displays a multi-color LED which functions as a battery gauge and charging indicator. I was able to fully charge the Vis 360º in about 5 hours, meaning that a full recharge at home or in the office is easily achievable.

The rear part of the Vis 360º snaps onto a plastic base that attaches to the helmet with velcro. I found that getting this part mounted securely was somewhat difficult on all of my helmets. This was the most frustrating part of getting the Vis 360º installed. I eventually found a position that worked well enough with a little bit of tinkering. The headlight snaps into a plastic base that attaches to the helmet with a notched rubber strap. This part was easy to mount on several different helmets. The ability to remove the lighting hardware from the helmet while leaving the mounting hardware attached is a nice touch.

The headlight itself features one bright white LED and two amber pieces to scatter light to the side with a rubber-covered power button on the top, all packed into a small, light and attractive metal shell. The light has three modes: Full power, half power and flashing. The front LED flashes quite rapidly. The rear LEDs always flash twice per second (250ms on, 250ms off) regardless which mode the front light is in. You must hold the power switch for two seconds to shut the unit off.
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The whole package looks a bit bulky on the helmet, but it’s surprisingly light at 130 grams. I notice the extra weight on my helmet, but it’s not unwieldy or uncomfortable.
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The proving grounds:
A very dark section of walking trail around the community pond where I live. All photos were taken using the exact same exposure settings on my digital camera.
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The competition:
Bell Orion. This 3 LED helmet-mounted lamp is powered by two CR2032 batteries. It’s on par with any cheap department store bicycle headlight I’ve ever seen. When blinking, it might draw some attention to you, but it won’t help you see much on a dark road even at a very low speed. What this light (seriously) lacks in output, it gains in run-time. It will go dozens of hours on a pair of CR2032 batteries. Good thing, too, because CR2032s aren’t rechargeable, and they’re not usually cost-effective to replace. MSRP: About $15
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Blackburn Flea. This rechargeable light is a decent headlight to use if you want to be seen on a budget. If you keep it slow, the high output setting (used in this photo) is bright enough to alert you to potholes or obvious road hazards in a pinch and run for about 3 hours. Really, though, they’re best suited for riders who ride near dusk or dawn, or spend time riding under streetlights. MSRP: About $25
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NiteRider Evolution Halogen (Upgraded to 15W). This was my first serious commuting light, and it features a bulky NiMH battery pack that can be strapped to the bike’s frame. The OEM bulb was 10 Watts, and when it burned out, my LBS only had the 5W and 15W bulbs in stock. With the 15W bulb shown here, this system runs for about an hour. As you can see, it provides a very high intensity spot without much side visibility. This model isn’t made anymore, but you can expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a quality halogen system.
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Vis 360º lights up the path more evenly and plenty bright. I have to admit, when I saw 115 lumens listed for the specification, I was concerned that this might not light the way far ahead enough for some of the faster sections of my commute. I usually average about 15 MPH, and never had any problems seeing the road surface far enough ahead for my own comfort. On the high setting, I was getting a little more than 2 hours of total use before the low battery indicator kicked in, but it was still on regulated battery power, with no obvious fade in brightness. Advertised run time on high is 2:30. MSRP: $169
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On normal mornings when I leave as the sun is peeking over the horizon, I used the Vis 360º in flashing mode. A whole week of commuting (about 6 hours on the road) without a recharge didn’t even put a dent in the battery with flashing mode. It still registered as “fully charged” this evening when I got home.

Is this unit worth the price? I’d say it is. The system is competently designed and can fulfill all the basic lighting needs of a bicycle commuter with the additional bonus that you don’t need to leave any hardware on your bike while it sits vulnerable and unattended throughout the work day. It has ample run-time for even the most die-hard long-distance commuters and shines far enough ahead that most average cyclists shouldn’t need to seek supplemental light.

I’m giving this one two thumbs up.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.