There are many different ways to enjoy cycling, and while I’m as keen to get out into the hills for a few hours of ‘fun’ with my lycra and carbon, my average week sees me spend more time tackling the city traffic as I ride from the outskirts to the centre of Bristol and back each day to sit at this desk.
Time has taught me that the ideal bike for this journey is my Brompton folder (it fits in the car boot for the bit of the commute I have to drive, and slips between stationary traffic like an eel through, well, anything really). But the thing about urban cycling, be it to work, the shops or the pub, is that if you’re going to wear a helmet on the way, you’re going to have do something with that helmet when you get there.
We’ve seen a few models of folding helmets down the years, the idea being that once you hop off the bike you can slip them into your bag and no one is any the wiser. The problem has always been that, like some of the Brompton’s rivals, they don’t really fold into the neat package they purport to. And that’s where the Morpher truly delivers. When they say it folds flat, they mean it.
Don’t get us wrong, it more than does the job as a helmet in its own right: it looks great in an urban environment, fits well with its range of sizing, dual-ratchet system and SNAP magnetic buckle, and of course conforms to CE EN1078 EU safety standards. It’s also ventilated well enough to avoid overheating at the sort of pace one sensibly rides at in traffic.
But take it off, and the Morpher is no longer just AN Other helmet. Press down the thumb catches on each side of the helmet to release the catches and you can push the helmet sides together until the internal magnets clamp it closed in a genuinely flat fashion. The helmet really does slip into my bag, or a desk drawer.
At £109.99 it isn’t the cheapest helmet on the market, but it’s a long way from being the most expensive, and if you ride to places where a helmet is a hindrance, or regularly catch a train with your folder and wish you could get your helmet out of the way as easily as your bike, then that functionality is worth paying for. A helmet that not only claims to fit in your shoulder bag or briefcase, but actually does.