The first thing you notice – right away – is the beautiful, clean aesthetic of Thousand’s product design. It’s casual, it’s minimalist, it’s sharp looking.
I’m on Thousand’s site and about to see what these lids are all about when I’m distracted by their De Franc gloves. Damn, these look nice. The helmets are equally stunning. Obviously, not intended for the hardcore road racer or mountain shredder lifestyle, but rather…everyone else. Yet, while seemingly understated, these lids have some hidden gems that make Thousand stand out from the rest of the pack. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
The Real Deal
Before we move on to the details of their helmets, let me just say that having the chance to meet and talk with some of the folks over at Thousand, I can tell you right now that they’re the real deal. Born from humble beginnings, the company is doing its part to be as responsible as it can be. From their Carbon Offset Program, to reducing their packaging, using environmentally-friendly alternatives whenever possible, and tracking the origin of their materials, Thousand isn’t taking any short cuts. And as partners of 1% For The Planet, when you purchase a Thousand product, you help support environmental restoration and educational projects. Just a little food for thought as you ponder if Thousand is right for you.
And now, on to the nitty gritty.
First, there’s the secret poplock feature. A genius little design that allows you to run your cable through the helmet and secure the lid to your bike when locking up. The helmets have a built-in, low-profile visor for a streamlined look and a one-handed magnetic fastener for easy attachment. The vegan leather straps included on the Epoch are a nice touch and seem to round out the whole vintage aesthetic. On the surface, the helmet looks dope – and that’s all fine and good – but how does it ride?
The first test was a leisure ride around the neighborhood on a quiet Saturday morning. For July, it wasn’t too hot and there was considerable cloud cover to keep me cool. I’m riding an upright steel framed bike and taking things easy. I breeze by the dog park, along some bike trails, and briefly hit some downtown side streets before I start heading back home. My mug is in fine shape and I haven’t really noticed any issues with the helmet.
For an urban helmet, this lid is surprisingly light. The padding provides plenty of comfort and the straps keep the helmet on nice and snug, with no chafing. All in all, a good first test – if you want to call it that.
Although Saturday satisfied my initial curiosity about the wearability of the Epoch, I wanted to see what the helmet was like under more…unconventional circumstances. So, the following Monday, I decided to take the Epoch on a mountain bike ride. By the time I hit the trail, it was in the high 90s and I was already sweating. I went for an hour ride, covered a variety of terrain, and made sure the ride was as bumpy as possible.
First, the Epoch stayed put the entire time. And, unlike other helmets I’ve tried, I can safely say the padding not only kept my head comfortable but kept the sweat out of my eyes as well. The built-in visor did a fine job shielding my eyes from the sun and the helmet was also surprisingly cool, considering there are only 7 vents. Maybe not as cool as a dedicated mountain bike helmet, but the ventilation seemed plenty adequate, even in the woods, where cool drafts can be a rarity.
While not recommended for hardcore mountain bikers or spandex wearing road racers, the Epoch is a comfortable helmet that sticks to your dome, looks awesome, and does a great job at keeping your noggin safe.
The Epoch is currently available at Performance in three color ways, Speedway Creme, Willowbrook Mint & Stay Gold.
Also be sure to check out Thousand’s Heritage Line, available in carbon or navy blue. Many of the same great features as the Epoch, but at a slightly lower price point.
There are those who, say, spend their lives training in the Alps for a little taste of the glory, and then there’s the rest of us. We don’t need all that fancy, expensive gear just to shave off a little weight in order to gain a watt. We just want to get to the pub in time for trivia. That’s where Thousand comes in. If you ride a bike, you really should wear a helmet. And if you haven’t been paying attention to this year’s Tour de France, then Thousand is probably just the brand you’re looking for.