There are some fine things that come out of Ireland. For one thing, it’s (most likely) the land of my one grandfather’s birth, and also the land where I have family from the other side of my gene pool. (I like to think of that side as the deep end).
It’s also the home to Guinness, shillelaghs and Tullamore Dew. And most recently out of all those, the Mycro Xtra Lite Hurling helmet.
Now, for those of you who aren’t aware of the proud Irish sport, hurling is a game wherein…uh…well look here’s a video, complete with horrible music:
And as you saw in the video, part of the equipment the folks who play hurling wear is a helmet; which brings us to a package I got from the county Cork. I know a few people who already play bike polo with hurling helmets here in the States, but I haven’t seen a review of them up on
those other bike polo sites, so I thought I’d give my thoughts here.
The helmet is one of the lightest I’ve ever come across. coming in at something like 570 grams, when on your noggin you can really barely feel that it’s there (compared to other helmets with face cages). To that same point, they breathe more than most other helmets, and after walking around my house for two hours with it on, I didn’t feel at all uncomfortable–though my wife, dog, and cat all might have felt something bordering on awkwardness.
the build of the helmet, due to it’s lightness, comes across as flimsy to me. But this is because I’m used to using Bern Watts helmets, which are constructed in such a way that is very thick and very solid. The Mycro is not designed for this–it’s designed to be as non-intrusive as possible, and the thinner, molded and bolted outside manages to provide head coverage without the heaviness. The padding on the inside is remarkably soft and comfortable, and the foam
beard protector chin strap gives me great hope for protection when someone goes for that big dumb shot and swings their mallet like a madman.
The face cage is secured at three points: one point at the forehead (which allows you to swing it up and down like you’re a knight, which i like), and one on either side of the helmet just behind the ear. These three points allow the face cage to move in order to accommodate your particular chin position, and makes the helmet more comfortable to put on and take off (when compared to a fixed position face cage).
I noticed a greater amount of peripheral visibility, and a greater amount of lower range vision (when looking down at the space just before my feet) and upper range vision (when looking up while having my head down) than my Watts. I tried a few different activities wearing the helmet, including baking and working on the computer (yup) and I found that the spacing between the wires was such that it didn’t matter they were there. Still close enough together to block mallets and probably balls (I need to check on that), the cage is spaced far enough apart that I didn’t feel like I was losing that much vision at all.
The only part I didn’t like was the very necessary bar going horizontally through the middle of the cage, which did bother me a bit until I got used to it. I haven’t played with this helmet yet (in case the walking around the house and baking didn’t tip you off), but I think I might get a touch frustrated at that.
Also a note for those of us with glasses: not only does this helmet not pinch your glasses at all, but I could even reach in from the side and push my glasses up/around without any fuss.
This is not a Bern Watts Helmet. This is not even a cycling helmet. It has warnings all over it about not using it for any other sport but Hurling and some other one that I forgot to write down but sounded very Gaelic. It’s not going to help all that much against traumatic impact between your head and the boards/goal.
But that’s not why I got it, and if you’re thinking about getting one of these, that shouldn’t be one of your reasons, either.
This helmet is great at two things: protecting your face, and protecting your noggin from glancing blows/road rash on your skull. Even just in slamming my fist against the side of my head when wearing it, I noticed that force absorption is somewhat limited when compared to a Watts.
But it’s going to make a difference in the more common types of contact bike polo players experience: errant mallets, interrupting ball flight paths, and the shucking of PBR cans.
Why so high? Well, it’s a specialized piece of equipment made for a very small group of people, relatively speaking. The cost is fairly prohibitive when you look at getting a Watts on eBay for 20-40 bucks or any other bike/hockey helmet at discount prices.
So I won’t be able to say whether that price is worth it until I actually play with the thing a few times.
It’s super light, pretty to look at, and covers my face without much impact on my visibility. I’m excited about trying it out, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to say that about a helmet before.
If the snow we’re supposed to get melts by tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be rolling around with this on my noggin, and then we’ll see!