Hedon Heroine Racer
By Ross Sharp - 14 Nov 16
We've waited a bloody long time for Hedon to release a full face helmet. For the last few years there's been a gaping niche awaiting anyone who'd be able to successfully combine a simple retro style with functionality. There have of course been a few brands early to the party who did a great stylistic job at the entry-level end of the market but it was Ruby and their Castel that monopolised the purses of those looking for a premium product. The Ruby looks fantastic and the feel of soft nappa leather against one's cheeks takes some beating but there are two considerable drawbacks. If you're a tall, well built Frenchman then the Castel looks wicked, pretty much no matter which colour or design is chosen. But stick one on a small or skinny person and they'll look like they're about to pilot an Apollo rocket, not a café racer. The other boeuf is with the visor. It looks damn cool but rain, fog and British Summers can lead to much angriness.
Lindsay Chong & Reginald Flint founded Hedon back in 2011 and have since perfected their blend of modern materials with classic style, working from a meagre facility in west London. Their open face Hedonist has not only been a roaring sales success but also the first product that warranted our collaboration, arrogant as that may sound. See the Gear Guide here. The new Heroine is available as a visored Racer and goggle-ready Classic, both offering a really neat, low profile shell and opulent finishing.
The Heroine features the same carbon fibre and fibreglass composite shell construction and Merlin antibacterial suede-esque lining, as with the rest of the models from Hedon. It's fully ECE and DOT approved and is super light, the smaller shell (small and medium sizes) weighs just 1080 grams. The shells themselves are made in a hi-tech facility in China, in the epicentre of the worlds carbon fibre production region. Some flinch at this fact but I know I'd rather have my swede encased in carbon made by the best in the business, besides, without this element the finished product would cost the same as a new Herald 125. Final trimming and installation of the liner, rivets and hardware is taken care of here in the UK.
I was lucky enough to try a pre-production Heroine Classic last year during the Triumph Bobber launch in Madrid, ahead of us stocking the full range in our Shoreditch shop. My noggin is an Arai medium and the Hedon version of this size is snug, bordering tight so best to try a couple with a view to sizing up. I always have problems with the top of my forehead, primarily because hair follicles refuse to congregate there, and most helmets need some bedding-in time. The Hedon is relatively short front-to-back, similar to the fitting of a Shark.
The padding though feels premium and luxurious, especially if you're used to synthetic fabrics used in traditional lids. The strap, strap padding and matt anodised double d-ring are also top quality and thought-out (not always the case with high-end lids). In fact pretty much everything Hedon do is well considered, from the product videos and marketing material to the boxes and packaging. Dare I say unboxing a Heroine isn't too dissimilar to a purchase from the Apple Store. The different colour options are teamed with calf leather trim - check link below for more.
The Racer version of the Heroine has a proper visor, made from thick polycarbonate and available in a range of tints. Clear is the stock option and I've tried the Coffee Haze and Deep Smoke, both reduce glare in direct sun yet remaining useable in low light. The Deep Smoke is a touch dark for night riding outside the city limits. The adhesive edged and therefore replaceable anti-fog layer proved invaluable during an incredibly moist Ducati Monster 797 launch on the normally sunny Côte d'Azur.
The photoshoot took place the day before test day, which featured biblical rain. With wet pants, a soaked phone and boots full to the ankles the Heroine's visor proved impossible to steam-up. And I tried my best, huffing and puffing in vain. Three small rivet-like vents at the front channel air along groves in the foam safety structure, exhausting at the base of the rear of the helmet. There aren't any external vents at the rear, one of the factors with helps this shell and visor combo remain quiet at speed. The aperture is wide and makes for great visibility although the curved edges slightly distort the extremities of one's view which can take a couple of rides to get used to.
Beautifully machined stainless steel screws secure the visor negating the need for tools, simply spin them off and swap to a different tint. Once you have the knack a visor change is possible at the same speed as you'll see at the IOM TT. A detent for propping the visor open an inch or so would be a nice addition, perhaps a personal thing but I like to ride at slow speed with a bit of wind in my eyes.
As well as manufacturing an achingly gorgeous helmet Hedon have employed a marketing strategy of collaborating with other brands within the scene. For the last two Distinguished Gents Rides Hedon have supplied beautifully finished designs while French purveyors of two-wheeled chic 4H10 have their own colour-way and this year's chosen few at Dirtquake raced in a special design. So it seemed fitting that we had a Bike Shed Heroine Racer.
The Club Racer (pictured) debuted at our Bike Shed London 2017 show in Tobacco Dock and has been a runaway sales hit. For a start most of us in the office have one. Rather than emblazoning our logo across the back we opted for a classy, monotone colour-scheme with subtle branding on the interior. Dutch & Shopkeep (Gareth) have the retro Amber (yellow) visor and I have the slightly more browny Coffee Haze which we think looks great against the metallic grey, gloss black and white stripes. Will there be another collab in the future? Who knows, Dutch and Shopkeep can't stay away from the crayons for more than 5 minutes.
So, if you have been holding out for a premium, handmade full face helmet that doesn't look like something from NASA's launch pad, step this way.
Order online here
Try one for size at Bike Shed Shoreditch EC1V 9LT - click here for opening times and directions