The root of the word ‘helmet’ comes from the medieval utterance helm, for protective headgear donned in combat. Helmets used in war date back to 900 BC, when they were worn by the Assyrian soldiers of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia to protect the head from penetrative strikes, as well as absorb the energy of crushing blows. Unsurprisingly, they soon became symbols of valour and courage in popular culture. Amongst the most famous helmet clad mythological deities are Mercury the Roman God of Speed and Athena the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War. Throughout history, the helmets of warriors were routinely decorated using various motifs including heraldic coat of arms in the medieval age, faces of demons intended to intimidate foes on Japanese Samurai helmets, while ancient Roman helmets known as Galea featured different plumes and spikes to allow for rapid recognition of the soldier’s rank.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, helmets have been associated with the pioneering spirit of early aviation and motorsport. But it is particularly in the world of modern motorcycling that the helmet is the most requisite form of safety equipment. Even so, the vast majority of helmets are bulbous, plastic and aesthetically displeasing to the eye. For decades there has been a huge vacuum for a craft oriented helmet brand to reconcile the need for protection, with beautiful elegant design. Fortunately for the motorcycle world, Hedon Helmets, founded by married couple Lindsay Chong and Reginald Flint, has stepped into the darkness like a proverbial Prometheus to shed light on the miasmic haze of questionable motorcycling style. Hedon was created to transform the helmet, whilst retaining all its integrity as a protective device, from a purely pragmatic tool to a design object of such startling beauty that even non-motorcycle riders have been tempted to purchase them purely for display. And accordingly Hedon has simultaneously become the hottest cult brand in the vintage and custom motorcycling worlds as well as the universes of design and craft.
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 craft oriented methods. To that end, they’ve taken urban motorcyclists’ headgear back to the drawing board and come up with tremendously light, hyper-stylish helmets that are Zen reductive in their purity of lines and yet are road-legal for the U.K. and Europe.