Dashel leads in premium cyclists helmets with style
A 2019 MA! PICKS, UK’S first fashion-forward helmet brand for urban cyclists made its Southeast US debut at Atlanta Design Festival. Designed and handmade in Britain, Dashel is leading the trend for chic, stylish, and protective helmets made from the most innovative materials to ensure an ultra-lightweight and slim fit, available in a choice of striking colors.
Dashel was founded on the fundamental premise of delivering true craftsmanship and provenance using only the finest materials. After an intensive four years of product development and integrating expertise from the field of neurology, engineering, and design, Dashel was born and set to transform the way we view cycling helmets: as a protective, reliable accessory that can look as good as it performs.
Never before has form and function been fused together in an urban cycling helmet where high performance and good looks go hand-in-hand.
Made of carbon-fiber, the helmet has been purposefully designed with the urban environment in mind and weighs only 320 to 390 grams. It’s important to keep looking over one’s shoulder while cycling, so a lightweight helmet makes this easy and supports the body’s alignment and posture.
Each helmet’s shell is hand-molded at a family-owned factory in Cornwall, traditionally used for making helmets for the military and marine industry.
The streamlined fit of the helmet is tailored via specially designed inner pads that give a made-to-measure fit. These pads are designed with longevity in mind and are machine washable.
The harness webbing has a utilitarian quality and has been woven in Derbyshire in a mill established in 1775.
Dashel’s liner has been built to last from a multiimpact foam, which does not degrade over time and uses no chemicals in its production or recycling at the end of its life.
The helmets, presented in a stylish dustbag that doubles as a handy rucksack, come in an array of classic colors in either a matte or high-gloss finish. Choose from orange, grey, red, white, blue, or black.
Dashel was founded by Catherine Bedford (above right), who started her career designing accessories for luxury brands before specializing in trend forecasting and product development.
A keen cyclist, Catherine saw a gap in the market for an urban cycle helmet made with the same qualities that draw us to bikes and accessories that we love, namely provenance, craftsmanship, and the finest materials.
MA! founder Bernard McCoy Q&A with Dashel's founder Catherine Bedford
Bernard McCoy: Catherine, what should Americans know about Dashel?
Catherine Bedford: Just like in the UK, more Americans are rediscovering the joy of the bicycle for urban transport and the benefits that it brings to your mental and physical health, when we spend so much our lives cooped up inside. The UK has a long tradition of creating beautiful, innovative biking products: Brooks Saddles, Brompton Bicycles, and many great clothes and bag brands. But no one had attempted to the same for the helmet, so I founded Dashel.
BM: How did your background and experience prepare you in creating Dashel?
CB: I worked for many years for brands in the USA and Europe, providing consultancy on new materials and technologies, to help them develop new products. It was inspiring, and I had always wanted to develop my own brand. It took many years to save up the money to develop my own product, and it has been a slow process not having access to a corporate budget!
BM: How did you come with the name?
CB: Our first factory is in Cornwall, a part of the UK that has its own ancient Celtic language. Therefore, I wanted to use a Cornish word. Dashel (pronounced Dashle) means “thistle” in Cornish. It’s a local flower–colourful and protective—and I liked the way the word sounds: It encompasses “dash”–to nip out—and “shell.” The protective carbon-fiber shell is what makes the helmet special.
BM: What made you decide to use carbon fiber as a material?
CB: Nearly everyone else is using plastic: It’s functional but it can be heavy if not very vented. Carbon-fiber is really lightweight, even with a more urban and less vented design.
I love the weave of it; the underneath of the peak of our helmets is always left clear, so that you can see the material itself. You associate carbon-fiber with premium bikes and accessories—plastic, not so much!
BM: What inspired the helmet‘s form?
CB: I initially wanted to create a cap for cycling but realized early on in the development stages that it’s illegal to sell a traditional cap shape as a cycle helmet, as the peak is too long. For safety when cycling, you have to be able to look up at a 25 degree angle and have nothing impeding your view line. I loved the Vespa helmets we had in the UK in the 1960s; they were very stylish and individual, so they became the inspiration.
BM: Tell be about the enormous pride in hand-making a product in the UK?
CB: There is still a lot of skilled labor and craftsmanship in the UK. It is wonderful seeing the work and care that goes into making a cycle helmet, when normally you would associate that level of workmanship with a watch or luxury bag. It takes two days from start to finish to make a Dashel Helmet. I’ve been inspired by Shinola in the States doing a great job of creating jobs in the U.S. by reinventing classic products and making them in Detroit. However, at the end of the day, it’s not provenance but the design that sells a product.