I’m usually the first to admit that looking good is as essential to going faster as having good legs… you gotta look like a champ to be one. So it’s comforting to know that helmet and eyewear designs have come a long way since I started paying attention back in the early 80’s. Case in point – Briko’s Spark Helmet and Endure glasses.
Briko is an Italian company, so we expect nothing less than definitively “Euro” styling – which doesn’t always translate to North American conservatism, but in this case they’ve hit the helmet on the head, and right between the eyes.
I’ve been testing the Briko Spark helmet and Endure glasses for about 4 weeks and it’s at the point where I never leave home without them – for a ride at least.
The Spark is targeted as a cross-over helmet for both road and mtb riding, and comes with a detachable visor. Since so many of us enjoy both types of riding, it’s a smart move on Briko’s part to bill the helmet as dual purpose. But more than that, before I buy any ‘lid-protector – I know I want 3 things: it’s gotta protect my assets, it needs to fit the ol’ noggin, and I gotta look cool.
I don’t know how they do it … extensive wind-tunnel testing, or maybe just strapping in a couple of hot-headed Italians and instigating a debate over whether grappa should be kept in the liquour cabinet or medicine box – but somehow they designed the air channelling for maximum cooling. More than any other helmet I’ve tested, the Spark blasted streams of cool air across my nut. I could feel it. Not like a slurpee-induced brain freeze, but definitely in that general direction.
The helmet really does make you feel protected. And it comes in lots of cool colors like anthracite, silver with red, blue or yellow, and even a Bianchi Celeste motif. MSRP is $129.00, placing it high in the value dept.
If you’re like me you, the older you get the more you have to live for, so personal protection seems more important each day. I really liked the construction here – which looks like there are two separate shells joined together. The helmet appears bigger than some others, but it’s because there’s just so much protection built into it. Briko says the design allows the helmet to act like an airbag for your head – sounds good to me.
The “Microblock retention system” works like it should – adjusting at both the rear and sides to snug the helmet in place on any shaped head.
Long time makers of very cool glasses, Briko offers a huge line of sports eyewear, only one part of which is their cycling line. It’s all high-end gear, but my favorite feature is the Briko lenses. The glasses come in a big variety of colors and with a whole slew of lens options – it’s obvious these guys are as serious about vision as they are about style!
ROSE COLORED GLASSES
The lenses snap into the frames in a … snap. So carrying an extra with you on a ride is no problem, since they already weigh nothing anyway. My test pair came with the famed “Thrama” series lenses, which included a clear, dark, and amber-colored lens. I’m living in the rain-belt of the Pacific Northwest, where cloudy days are often the norm. The amber-colored Thrama Active Plus lens is a stand-out – it actually makes my vision appear sharper – the world really does look better through these babies!
The frames are super light and very flexible, so breakage is unlikely. They’ve also got the grippy rubber nose-piece and ear-pieces to keep ’em stuck to your face. I basically forgot I was wearing them while riding… MSRP $119.00
Get more info on Briko cycling gear at their website: www.briko.com.
Photography courtesy of Fotografica Studios These guys are good!