The Specialized “Mode”
NOTE: This review is not compensated and I received no free products or other reward for writing it.
Obviously given the risk of dumping at a high speed riding a 5′ high Penny-Farthing, I put a lot of research into choosing a helmet. Cost was always the secondary consideration to arriving at the safest helmet given my unique use-case.
The Specialized “Mode” came in 4th out of 179 helmets in the safety rankings of the Virginia Tech Cycling Helmet Safety Tests and is the lid I wear riding/racing my Penny-Farthing. It also incorporates the Mips safety feature. The Mode’s size “Medium” adjustable sizing can adjust to also accommodate my 57mm head wearing a thin Merino wool winter beanie/skullcap under it when winter cycling. Given the fact that the helmet retains all the heat it is BRILLIANT for winter cycling! However, sadly the inverse is true wearing it on oppressively hot days…
The Mode promotes its’ cooling features, but it really doesn’t work (look at the tiny vent holes in picture at left). I wore it racing at the 2023 Great Knutsford Race (I came in 8th) and it was 27C/80F for the first 2 hours of the 3 hour race. Salty sweat was pouring out of it and burning my eyes so bad that it was blinding me; not a good place to be in a Penny-Farthing race with 111 riders ;-). I had to periodically stop to rinse both my sweaty head and the inside of the helmet out. Needless to say this cost me some time in a race where there was hardly anything between 6th, 7th & 8th places. Having said that though, I still feel this lid offers better protection then the standard “ribbed” cycle helmets. So even knowing that the helmet has a cooling problem, I’ll still stick with it until something better comes along. If I have to make a compromise between protection and comfort, protection is going to win every time.
The lining is Velcro-ed inside, so you can at least wash the sweaty thing out which is nice.
Overall I’m really happy with the “Mode’s” comfort and feel confident it would offer more protection than a standard cycle helmet to protect me in the event of a serious accident. The Specialized “Mode” can be purchased HERE