07 Mar Gear Review: NOW Urbi – Best Bike Touring Helmet?
Late 2016, I went to the People For Bikes’ Draft MeetUp in Los Angeles. This event allowed folks who are working on various projects around bicycles and bicycling to come together, network and talk about their initiatives.
Amongst the crowd of familiar LA bike advocates and personalities, I was approached by a gentleman who told me he was a representative for NOW Helmet, a new helmet company who had recently launched their helmets at Interbike that same year.
Who is NOW?
NOW, which stands for Nonstop On Wheels, had been in business for 5 years at the time and was working on creating these ultra-light helmets for road, racing, urban and now mountain bike riding. Even though they make helmets targeted to those who bike, they are reaching out to other markets, like Segways or electric assisted people movers.
Their approach to making their helmets is similar to how they do it for motorcycle helmets. They accomplish this through a mold construction using high-end poly carbon and EPS styrofoam. This enables the reduction of significant weight, and yet provides the same amount of safety required to obtain US CPSC and CE-EN 1078 certifications.
Anyway, I was offered an opportunity to review their Urban helmet, the Urbi, and I jumped on the opportunity since I had just finished reviewing the Lumos Helmet.
The initial impression I got was the appearance of the helmet – specifically, not looking like any other helmets are out there on the market. It’s a full coverage helmet with a 2-toned color scheme. The top and back of your head is completely protected.
What stood out to me the most was the helmet’s weight. It was super light upon holding it, probably the lightest urban helmet out there at the moment.
I had to delay this review because I went on my Tour de Forty from March until June. I decided against bringing the Urbi as I wanted to err on the side of caution and not introduce new things into the tour that may cause long term discomfort or frustration. This is a good general rule for folks out there who thinks that the latest and greatest is always the best. I’m more about tried and true.
When I came back in June, I immediately swapped my helmet out and started to use the Urbi exclusively. The Bern Allston Helmet, was showing its age and needed to be retired after years of usage.
I brought the Urbi along when I rode around the Colorado Hill Country for Adventure Cycling Association. It was with me when I rode to see the eclipse from Denver, Colorado to Rapid City, South Dakota. It was with me as I worked on the Black Hills tour in South Dakota. It went with me while I traversed Vermont and New Hampshire in the Fall. I’ve been using the Urbi while riding around town.
I feel that I gave it enough time to test it out thoroughly on all types of real-world scenarios before I shot this product review.
The Urbi was one of the lightest helmet I’ve ever worn. The only thing that is equivalent in weight was my more expensive and now stolen Giro road helmet (I forgot the name). The Urbi came in at 10.9 ounces. Very impressive since my Bern Allston weighed over 1lb!
Not only that, this is probably the most comfortable helmet I’ve ever worn. The removable and washable padding is thin, but yet provides a good buffer from harder parts of the shell. The straps and dials were easy to adjust to help cinch in the fit. You can adjust both chin straps and ear straps rather easily.
Not A Fan
This leads me to some of the improvements I think would help. The straps are too easy to adjust. I usually hang my helmet by the straps when I’m not riding and would walk my bike around that way. And by the time I need to put the helmet back on, I had to adjust the straps all over again. I suppose that’s a good habit to get into, but it can be annoying if you just want to hop on and go.
The vents are insufficient to cool our heads. There are slits all over the helmet but they are so narrow that you really can’t get good airflow as you ride. Luckily I don’t sweat as much and so this isn’t a big issue.
Even though the helmet may not look like anything out there, it doesn’t mean it looks good. I honestly don’t like how it looks – a bit plain compared to their other offerings in the Zappi and Furi road and racing helmet. I’d love to get my hands on one of those as they look really good!
My Final Verdict
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- Execution 4 / 5 – For a first generation offering, they did a great job in producing something so unique in style and yet so light and comfortable.
- Innovation 5 / 5 – Very forward thinking helmet that looks different and is super comfortable. Whatever they’re doing to make it light, they’re doing it right.
- Ergonomics 4 / 5 – How does this fit in the bike touring lifestyle? I think for me, it works really well as the weight and comfort are what I’m looking for in a helmet. Others who are sensitive to ventilation issues, may not like this helmet as much.
NOW Helmet has done a great job in making a helmet for the Urban traveler. Protection is uncompromised and comfort is unparalleled to anything that’s out there for a very reasonable price of $89 at NowHelmet.com.
As a reader/viewer of Milestone Rides, you get to save 25% and get free shipping on ALL helmet orders. Use the code milestone25 at checkout to receive the discount!
Full disclosure, I get a small kick back with every purchase as well.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about the helmet, write a comment below or contact me through the Contact page.
Thanks for reading and watching. I would love to hear back from you when you pick up a NOW helmet for yourself!