Detachable ‘aero shells’ and a thermal liner make this helmet adaptable to varying temperatures and terrain. We took it on bike trips around the world for a review.
Helmets have become the new focus for techy advances in the bike kit. Carbon, cameras, lights, and fancy chinstraps now push the envelope on this foam fortress. With it, price tags have swelled to $200 and higher.
Last year, Bollé, a brand known for sunglasses and goggles, made a splash in the space with a sub-$200, configurable helmet it hoped would be the only one you’ll ever need.
We took the appropriately-named The One on lengthy spins this summer. We put it to work on road, dirt, and everything in between.
Review: Bollé ‘The One’ Road Helmet
Bollé The One Road Premium
- Weight: 280 g / 9.8 oz
- Panels: 31
- Removable “aero shells”
- Sunglasses garage
- Dial strap adjuster
- Safety QR code
- Rear LED
- Removable visor
- Summer and winter liners
- Carbon-fiber shell
- $170 ($130 without panels)
- Made in: China
- More info / company contact
Out of the box, The One comes stocked with a bevy of accouterments. A red LED light that clips into the rear of the helmet is included. This can be set to continuous or flash mode and runs on a watch battery with 40-hour burn time.
There’s also a QR sticker that, when scanned, retrieves a pre-recorded, 60-second voice message you’ve set up. This means anyone with a smartphone and QR scanning app can access your message, which would likely contain emergency contact information in case of a serious injury.
The One comes with both a mesh summer liner and a plush thermal liner for winter conditions. The chin straps thread through a pair of keeper tabs on the ‘earmuffs’ of the winter liner to keep it secure.
For the rider looking to shave seconds, The One Road Premium comes with two plastic panels that clip over the top vents, reducing draft friction (and providing a few extra degrees of warmth).
The upgrade costs $40. The panels can also be purchased after market.
‘The One’ In The Field
The helmet arrived in the heat of summer, just in time to wear on a multi-day ride across Idaho’s alpine desert. The 31 vent channels kept my head cool even during stagnant-air days in baking heat.
What sweat I did produce was mopped up nicely by the front foam pad, keeping my eyes dry.
Come September, I swapped in the visor and brought the lid to Europe for epic downhill mountain biking and more touring. Immediately I noticed the visor doesn’t lock in as tightly as it would on a lid dedicated to mountain biking. That said, the visor stayed put, doing what visors do best – shunning the sun.
Expecting rain, I brought the aero shells for extra protection. I ended up not using them but noted the shells were awkward to pack on the bike.
A trip in early October found me hunting for fire towers in Montana, where the mornings were crisp and the thermal liner was a welcome addition.
The liner is intended to be swapped with the summer pads; instead, I simply slipped it over the summer pads and buckled the winter liner in until the sun started to thaw things out.
Would a beanie work just as well? Sure, but my ears particularly appreciated the integrated earmuffs.
Pros and Cons
The good: The One road comes with a bevy of mods to meet the needs of the average rider who tackles mountain, road, and gravel biking … maybe even the occasional triathlon.
The rear dial ensures that The One is very comfortable and stays put even while chattering through washboard gravel roads. The thermal skull cap (included) keeps the head (and ears!) warm during cooler rides.
With roots in optics, it’s no surprise that Bollé’s first helmet has a dialed-in sunglasses garage. It’s a little fiddly to “blindly” slot the glasses in the port, but you eventually get the hang of it. Once they are docked, they don’t shake loose nor do they impede ventilation.
All this comes at a both a reasonable weight and price.
The bad: When clipped in, the shell panels significantly reduce airflow (and hence a reduced ability to shed heat). Of course, this isn’t an issue for cold or wet rides, but this could be bad for the time trial rider in the heat of summer.
More accessories mean more accessories to lose. If you’re the kind of person who tends to forget where you put the small parts of a ratchet set, this may not be the helmet for you.
Who should buy it?
Everyday cyclists who have a variety of bikes hanging in the garage but only really need one helmet.
Who’s it not for? The purist who appreciates a purpose-built tool.
If you follow the trends from Eurobike and Interbike, you’ll see helmets are flooding the market, with integrated-LED turn signals and brake lights. The One shuns the fancy “iHelmet” technology and re-imagines a better basic helmet.
Big vents help keep the noggin cool in the summer. Apply the panels and slide on the felt cap and you’ve got a fine winter helmet for cold weather play.
No need for speed? The One base helmet can be purchased for $130 and comes with most of the benefits of The One Road Premium: sunglasses garage, QR safety code, rear red light, a detachable visor, and two sets of liners.
For $40 more, you get the detachable aero shells, giving you a little extra weather protection and converting the helmet to an aero performance helmet. Either way, The One is a fine option for anyone who just wants one skull bucket for all seasons and terrains.