As a bicycle helmet company, Thousand is relatively new, having only entered the market in 2015 with their Kickstarter campaign to launch the Heritage helmet. What set the Heritage helmet apart from other urban/commuter helmets was a blend of unique visual design and simple functionality. Thousand’s goal with the helmet was to create a ‘helmet you want to be seen in’ to promote helmet usage. In this review, we’ll be looking at the latest Thousand Chapter helmet. The helmet is aptly named marking a new chapter for Thousand by incorporating a number of new features to the brand’s helmet lineup. With the Chapter helmet, Thousand hopes to expand their target demographics by attracting not only urban riders or commuters but also those who ride further distances.
The Thousand Chapter helmet utilizes premium color schemes and attention to detail along with modern elements like MIPS and a removable tail light.
To this end, the Chapter helmet integrates a number of features to improve the performance and functionality. The most obvious safety feature is the MIPS layer that sits against your head and is designed to absorb some of the rotational force in an impact. A clever magnetically attached rechargeable LED tail light provides improved visibility when riding in low light situations. Another obvious visual change is the redesigned vents, which are larger and more aggressive to provide better cooling for longer rides. As the saying goes “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”, the retail price of the Chapter helmet is $135 which represents a 50% increase over the Heritage helmet.
|Measured weight (in g)||368 (size M) + 28 (tail light) + 30 (tail light holder)|
|Likes|| + MIPS integration |
+ Removable tail light
+ PopLock feature
|Dislikes||– Limited venting on hotter days|
– Tail light has low run-time
– Handscrews on removable bill are not user friendly
|Where to Buy (US)||Thousand|
The Chapter is securely shipped in a mailer cardboard helmet box with custom graphics thus reducing packaging waste.
In the box you’ll find:
- Chapter helmet
- Branded suede finish fabric helmet storage bag
- Removable tail light
- Seatpost tail light mount
- Instruction Manual
- Light Instruction Manual
DESIGN & USABILITY
Consistent with the Thousand brand, the Chapter helmet’s visual design takes a number of cues from retro motorcycle helmets. The helmet has a familiar dome like design, with a total of eight rectangular vents oriented front to back. At the time of this review, there are only three available color schemes for the helmet: Racer Black (what we have), Super Moon White, and Club Navy. The Racer Black version we have has a premium looking matte finish with the bill/tail light housing in matching black.
The attention to detail is what really impresses us with Thousand’s helmets. With our helmet, the subtle Thousand logo on the front and the PopLock cover are a glossy black that really pops against the matte finish. You’ll also find the black gloss finish around the bottom edge of the helmet which provides a subtle contrast and gives the helmet a more upscale look by concealing the EPS foam. Even the nylon strap that holds the PopLock cover is a matching black. The iconic yellow MIPS logo on the side of the helmet and the yellow inner liner are the only splash of color you’ll find on the helmet. The MIPS integration adds an additional layer of safety by reducing the chance of rotational impact in case of an accident while making it more attractive with other helmets on the market.
The helmet also features a removable bill which is attached using a screw on each side of the helmet that can be removed by hand. We found that removing them required a lot of patience and time as the slightly raised portions of the screw are difficult to grasp and were fairly long because of which we prefer a magnetic attachment design, actual screws, or even plastic tabs to simplify the removal/installation. With the bill removed, the helmet looks a bit strange as the screw holes and center tab are clearly visible. However, we suspect most people won’t remove the bill except to customize it with paint/stickers or potentially swap it out should Thousand offer them separately.
FIT AND COMFORT
The Chapter helmet utilizes an integrated dial fit system and adjustable nylon straps. The combination of the dual direction dial on the rear of the helmet and simple plastic cams on the straps make it easy to get a secure and comfortable fit. While we were a bit disappointed in the use of common nylon straps compared to the vegan leather used in the Heritage helmets, we found that this helmet felt much more secure than the Heritage. Thousand has utilized well positioned and plush removable foam pads which makes the Chapter comfortable enough for short or long rides. While this helmet features more aggressive venting, we did find that it’s still not a replacement for a typical road bike in terms of cooling.
On long rides with extended climbing, we found ourselves sweating as the eight vent design is no match for the swiss-cheese design of most modern road helmets. Nevertheless, we think the Chapter helmet definitely achieves the higher performance goal Thousand aimed for. On our scales the medium sized helmet came in at a relatively light 368g, which is one of the lightest commuter helmets we’ve reviewed (compared to Lazer Urbanize and Coros SafeSound). This is particularly impressive as the weight is a 100g reduction compared to the same sized Heritage helmet (468g). One advantage of the weight reduction is that it feels a bit more comfortable on longer rides.
Perhaps one of the most unique features of the helmet is their ‘secret’ PopLock. This is simply a small round hole near the rear of the helmet with a magnetically held cover with the ‘Thousand’ logo on it. The hole is large enough to slide a cable or U-lock through to secure the helmet when you’re out and about. While we’ve also seen this type of feature with the Lazer Urbanize, we found that the Thousand’s side placement makes it more convenient to slide a lock through.Thousand also provides an anti-theft guarantee and will replace your helmet free of charge if it is stolen while using this feature.
REMOVABLE TAIL LIGHT
The Chapter helmet also has a removable tail light in the back. The micro USB rechargeable tail light has a five LED design and rounded rectangle profile. At 50 lumens and with two different output modes (constant and irregular flash), the tail light itself is well designed. A simple transparent housing ensures the light has excellent side visibility and an unfocused wide beam. The real party trick of the tail light is the magnetic mount design. A strong magnet is built into both the helmet and the body of the tail light, allowing you to simply slap it on the helmet. The light automatically turns on when being attached making it easy to hop on the bike and go.
The tail light has a simple one button interface, a 2-second hold turns it on/off and a quick press will cycle through the modes. Despite only having two modes, the tail light also has mode memory which means it’ll always turn on in the mode you previously had it on. One minor usability issue we found was that while you can turn the tail light off while attached to the helmet, you can’t turn it back on. To turn the tail light on you need to remove it from the helmet and press the button for 2 seconds or re-attach it to the helmet. The tail light can also be locked while not attached by holding the button for 5 seconds which makes it safer to leave the tail light in a pocket or backpack without it accidentally being turned on.
Thousand also includes a seatpost mount for the tail light that also has an integrated magnet and simple rubber strap design which allows it to be used on the bike besides the helmet and is included at no additional cost. We found that it worked well on both a seatpost or seat stay and felt secure. Our main issue with the tail light is the rather short runtime (1 hour on constant, and 2 hour on flash) which means it will need to be recharged often. Also, as with many tail lights on the market, there is no battery status indicator which means you don’t really know that battery charge state. Another thing we didn’t like is that the light stays on during charging which can be annoying if you’re plugging it to your laptop.
Overall, the Thousand Chapter helmet combines unique visual design elements and high performance details. With an integrated dial system and MIPS, the helmet has modern safety elements one would expect from a premium helmet. Although we prefer the look of the vegan leather straps of the Heritage helmets, the nylon straps are soft and easy to adjust. What really elevates the Chapter helmet is the attentioned to detail such as the magnetic buckle and magnetically mounted rear tail light. Design touches like the premium matte finish, gloss logos, and glossy black helmet lip really give the helmet character. Although the Chapter isn’t a replacement for a road bike helmet (in part due to the limited venting), it is an excellent commuter helmet that is versatile enough for longer rides or just exploring with.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Thousand. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.