Hedonist: from the Greek hédoné (‘pleasure’) — one who regards pleasure as the chief goal of life
A number of figures, both real and fictional, have done more than their fair share to make crash helmets cool — James Hunt, Judge Dredd and Boba Fett among them — but perhaps none more so than Reginald Flint and Lindsay Chong, the duo behind Hedon, the company that makes the most dashing, comfortable and impressively crafted motorcycling headgear a man can wear. And there is more to these wares than the cool factor and quality: Hedon’s helmets, as the name suggests, are about capping off the sheer, unadulterated pleasure to be found on a motorised two-wheeled steed.
Hedon’s story begins in 2011, when Flint and Chong decided to blend their extensive experience — the former oversaw the operations of the oldest helmet producer in the world, Lazer, in China and south-east Asia; the latter is a respected product and graphic designer — to plug a gap in the market by fashioning stylish helmets using traditional methods. Without losing any emphasis on state-of-the-art methods and outstanding functionality, the pair also wanted aesthetics to be a major priority (“My passion has always been about creating and making beautiful things with an added edge and innovation,” Chong tells The Rake). To that end, they’ve taken urban motorcyclists’ headgear back to the drawing board, and come up with inconspicuous, light, openfaced helmets that exude style and grace, and yet are road-legal for the U.K. and Europe.
Hedon’s cake-and-eat-it approach to form and function derives from a design and manufacturing regime that is unique to the London-based company — and it’s striking how many of the procedures involved, with their emphasis on the tactility of the human touch, call to mind those you’ll see on the Aston Martin production line. “Our helmets are made of a composite of carbon fibre and fibre glass,” says Chong. “All our fibres are pre-impregnated with resin, giving them a very even finish. Each panel of fibre is hand-laid and moulded on to our head moulds, piece by piece, to be finished in our autoclave machine, in which the result is baked under pressure to reach its hardest and strongest state.”
The resulting shells, explains Chong, then go through one of the trickiest steps in the process: priming a fibrous and porous spherical shell to be silky smooth — which it needs to be in order for the paintwork to be up to standard — requires unwavering focus, tenacity and an attitude to detail that might be clinically certifiable. “We then paint our helmets with the same paint and techniques one would paint a car with, to achieve the same durability against the elements and lovely depth of colour,” Chong adds.