Bern make cycle helmets and head protection for a range of other non-motorised action sports. Despite the name they have nothing much to do with Switzerland and are in fact an American company, established in Massachusetts in 2004 by Dennis Leedom. Leedom, an action sports enthusiast at heart, has been working in the head protection arena since 1989. He spent eight years with Boeri Helmets, before moving on to start his own range. Bern came about after Leedom, who bikes, skates, skis and snowboards, took the knock which made him realise that what people like him needed was a single helmet that was adaptable enough to be used across all their sports. Along with fellow founder Adam Godwin and Josh Walker, and working with helmet designer Jonathan Baker from Injoy Design, this is what he set out to create.
The first Bern helmet was officially launched in 2005 but it was 2006, after Seth Wescott took snowboard cross gold at the Winter Olympics in Torino whilst wearing one, when the brand really took off. Today Bern is endorsed by a raft of skate, snow and BMX stars such as Kurt Yaeger.
What sets Bern apart from other lid makers is their focus on one helmet for all non-motorised action sports for all seasons. That’s not to say it’s a one-helmet-fits-all approach. They have plenty of designs, from the classic look to more distinctive appeal of models such as Nina. What they do is to sell upgrades to each design – such as knit inners, visors, peaks and ear protection – which enable you to adapt your helmet to varying conditions.