Riding a bike without a helmet requires a balance between fun and danger. Thousand wants to change this balance by offering helmets with greater functionality.
The story behind Thousand’s helmets is actually more complicated than you would expect at first. We all have those friends who don’t wear helmets because they think they look silly. Gloria’s friend was one of those people.
After the loss of her friend in a cycling-related accident, Gloria decided that something needs to change. She collaborated with her friends and started Thousand Helmets – a company that makes helmets that you actually want to wear.
In 2015, Thousand was first funded through Kickstarter. They received $229,000, which was way beyond their modest $20,000 goal. It just goes to show that the inspiration from Jack Kerouac’s travels was liked by many!
Thousand’s ideology — minimalistic, functional style with important features should get more people to wear helmets.
I decided to test and review their products due to Thousand’s unique approach towards helmets. At the moment, there are two series that you can choose from.
Thousand Heritage Helmets
Thousand Heritage is the cheaper and more basic model that’s certified both for cycling and for skateboarding. These helmets are characterized by simple design, excellent ventilation, comfort-oriented features like the one-handed magnetic fastener, and 12 different colors.
Heritage helmets are excellent for riders who commute on bikes and want a helmet that’s packed with safety features that also looks good. You’ll easily recognize this helmet thanks to its vintage-inspired look with modern features and funky colors.
Thousand Chapter Helmets
Thousand Chapter is the newer, more expensive, and more advanced model. Among other improvements, Chapter helmets feature the MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) technology that protects your head from rotational impact.
These helmets also have improved design and ventilation and are suitable for night riding thanks to a built-in 50-lumen magnetic tail light that will make you more visible at all times. You can get the Thousand Chapter helmet in one of the three available colors.
Detailed Review of Thousand Helmets
When unpacked, the helmet by Thousand comes out of a solid fabric bag. You might want to keep and use the bag to transport your helmet as it is quite nice. I didn’t have this luxury with my Bell mountain bike helmet, and after 2 years of use, it is now pretty scratched from transport.
You also get additional padding which is slightly thicker than what comes in the helmet. You might want to use this if you feel the need for extra cushioning. The padding does not change the sizing much but it might be just enough to help you get the perfect fit.
You will also find the owner’s manual inside the box, which is intended for informational use.
There are currently 15 different designs available — 12 Heritage models and 3 Chapter models.
Thousand Helmets have a minimalistic design ideal for urban commuters who don’t want to wear a helmet that will make them look “dorky”.
I picked the Carbon black from the Heritage collection to match my State Bicycle Co, which is also matte black. The first thing you’ll notice is the detailed, yet minimalistic design. Mine has solid matte black color with a white stripe around the edge. The coating is rubberized and the overall look is decent.
All of the Thousand Heritage helmets have brown vegan leather straps. I checked the other models too and these straps look stylish on all of them. This somewhat hipster look goes well with all clothing styles. The only downside is that you might find it funny to wear these helmets when seriously riding road or mountain bikes, but that isn’t what these helmets are meant for anyway.
The inner layer is made of dark foam plastic that’s glued to the outer layer.
Thousand’s helmets have cooling channels on the top and back which is something that most similar “eggshell” helmets don’t have.
The Chapter model is pretty similar in design to the Heritage series. The overall shape of the helmet is the same, but the straps, vents, and the visors are different.
The Chapter has quite prominent vents that go along the helmet, nylon straps with magnetic buckles, and add-on visors in premium finishes that improve the design.
All in all, both look pretty good no matter your personal style.
Functionality & the Secret Poplock
The big idea behind this helmet is that if you’re not a helmet fan, you can wear a helmet discretely. Also, there’s a small hatch with magnets on the bottom rear right side of the helmet on both the Heritage and Chapter models.
Did you notice it?
Probably not because it looks like a Thousand logo (which it also is). It is attached with a rubber band and you can remove it so you can slide your bike lock through the helmet. The reason is simple, you can leave it securely attached to your bike so nobody can easily steal it.
Thousand claims that they will replace your helmet if it gets stolen. You don’t need to register for any program either. Although, you will have to send them a claim. Either way, I hope that your helmet doesn’t get stolen!
Thousand Helmets’ strap system looked too minimalistic but held up nicely during tests.
The strapping system is basically a well-designed and thought-out magnetic buckle on both Thousand models. You can attach and detach it easily, but it still does what it should do in critical situations. I was skeptical at first and thought there might be some safety issues.
However, when doing my helmet-on-head tests, the buckle didn’t open. My tests included pulling from different angles and creating forces by trying to mimic a crash. Even though the buckle worked, just for peace of mind, the magnet should be a little bit stronger.
All Thousand Models
- The Heritage Collection comes in twelve unique designs – the price is $89.
- The Chapter Collection comes in three unique designs – the price is $135.
I did several tests with the Thousand bike helmets to get a full understanding of these aspects:
- Comfort & Fit – Mine was a little bit larger than I expected. Also, the fit of the Heritage model is slightly different compared to traditional helmets where you can make adjustments by turning the knob behind the head. I made the fit better by adjusting the straps on the helmet.
On the other hand, the Chapter model has an integrated Dial Fit System for precise adjustments that you can make with one hand.
RESULT – YES you can get the right fit on the Heritage, but it’s still different compared to traditional helmets. The Chapter is much better in this regard.
- Magnetic lock – I was suspicious at first but then tested it out. I got the right fit and then shook, pushed, and pulled the helmet and straps to see what would happen. It held well against different forces and angles. Don’t take this too seriously though because it was a “home-made“ test, and in real-life situations, everything can go differently.
RESULT – Magnetic lock held up nicely and gave me peace of mind. Still, I would like it more if the magnets were stronger.
- PopLock & using different locks – Thousand states that they tested the helmets with different U-locks and cable locks. We tried the same at a local bike shop with the locks we found. The results were excellent.
RESULT – It fit every lock we tested!
Note: Always use strong locks! Cheap thin cable locks take around 5 seconds to cut through. For example, ideally, you want to use a sturdy chain lock.
There are three different sizes of Thousand’s helmets – Small, Medium, and Large. If you’re between two sizes, pick the smaller size.
On the Heritage model, you can get the perfect fit by replacing the padding with included thicker padding. Small weights 410 grams, Medium 450 grams, and Large 490 grams.
On the Chapter model, you can get the perfect fit more easily by adjusting the straps and turning the knob of the Dial Fit system located on the back of the helmet.
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All Thousand helmets meet the CPSC and EN 1078 standards. The first one is the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Since the production is done in China, they need permission from the CPSC that confirms their helmets meet all of the safety requirements.
The EN 1078 standard verifies that these helmets can be used for pedal cyclists and for users of skateboards and skates. To get this standard, a helmet needs to pass several tests: field of vision, shock absorption, retention system properties, and fastening devices.
Keep In Mind
Helmets have only one purpose – to help prevent injuries. If you have a crash and hit your helmet, always replace it. Even when the helmet looks fine, the overall structure might not be. It’s the foam plastic structure that you cannot see that takes the majority of the impact.
Thousand definitely has their own niche and they handle it nicely. There’s a strong story behind it, which is also what makes it work.
Would I wear the Heritage and Chapter helmets daily? Nope, because they don’t meet the requirements I have on my mountain or road bike rides. Would I wear them for commuting around the town? Probably yes.
The components are decent and Thousand helmets look nice from every angle which is a very important factor when choosing a helmet that you’ll be wearing every day around the city.
When buying these helmets, keep in mind that they are slightly smaller than they seem, so when in-between sizes, pick the smaller one.
Related: Nutcase helmets
Keep in mind that the Chapter models have a Dial Fit System which makes adjusting the helmet easier and simpler.
One thing they should improve is the sizing so children can wear these helmets too – I think that all kids should wear helmets! Please Thousand, do it!
I hope that more and more people start wearing helmets in the future, and Thousand is helping to achieve this goal. Thousand’s helmets look nice thanks to the minimalistic design. It’s something that can help you develop a liking to helmets and start wearing them more. So, start exploring with Thousand.