Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New Helmets: A Personal Review of IRH and One K

I've been looking forward to Helmet Awareness Day all year. This year, my dutiful Ovation was up for replacement, and I had decided to upgrade to something a little bit nicer. (Don't get me wrong. I loved my Ovation! It was a good helmet, especially for the $60 price point!) So when the magical day of helmet sales finally rolled around, I jumped...

I'd tried both the One K and an IRH on at Dover in April, but honestly couldn't remember enough about the experience to make a decision. Thankfully, free returns make ordering helmets fairly painless. I excitedly donned my show coat and dove in!

The Options: One K Defender & IRH Air 10

First Impressions:
IRH -- Very similar to the Charles Owen look, which I love. The big vents make it more attractive then the competitively priced COs. However, the vents are kind of hidden behind the padding in the interior, making me wonder how effective they really are. The harness is a little cheap, but the back part of the helmet is really nice and padded.
IRH Air.
One K -- The matte finish makes the helmet look almost gray. The front V shaped vent looks silly. The inside is very airy-looking. When you hold up the helmet you can see daylight through the vents, making me think it's probably super ventilated. The harness position is fixed and rather forward. I actually like that, as it feels more secure and less likely that the settings would loosen over time.
One K. With silly face. You're welcome.
The Fit:
IRH -- At first I thought this helmet fit great. It was slightly snug, but not so tight I worried my head would explode. My head touched the top of the helmet, which is usually a sign of okay helmet fit. However, I later noticed the back of the helmet wasn't making contact with my head. Almost like there was a ton of extra space back there. I didn't like that, even though the rest of the helmet fit well.

One K -- I have an obnoxiously small head. (6 5/8", guys. I'm basically a child. It's even hard to find baseball caps that get small enough to fit me.) I ordered the One K in small; though, I would have preferred to order an extra-small, a size listed on One K's size chart but not actually sold anywhere. As expected the small size was a little too big on me. It would probably fit perfectly with my hair under it, but (sorry hunter princesses) I prefer to exercise my right as a Dressage Queen and ride with my hair in a ponytail.
Luckily, One K makes exchangeable liners in extra small. I zipped off to the local tack shop and picked up a tiny liner for $20 and snapped it into the One K. With the smaller liner, the helmet was a perfect fit. I didn't have the same issue with the weird gapping at the back of my head that I had with the IRH. Success!

Overall Impressions:
IRH -- I love the look of this helmet. It's classy and would look really fantastic in the hunter or the dressage show ring. The deep black of the crushed exterior is lovely, and the vent is very understated and on trend. I think this helmet is the most flattering to my face, but from the side it's a little less flattering and a little more mushroom-shaped. I like it, but have some reservations with the fit. Plus, the liner is built in to the helmet, making washing it nearly impossible. As I sweat more than my horse, this is a bit of a problem.
Mushroom in action!
One K -- With the extra small (and washable) liner, my thoughts on this helmet changed. Initially I didn't like the matte look. It's a little too informal for showing, and looks kind of gray next to my coat. However, in sunlight I think it looks better, and my coat is pretty wild for dressage (Yellow piping, you still make my heart pound!) I think the combo is doable. The more bold vents of the One K are kind of huge, and maybe a little bolder than I'm used to. The look from the front isn't the best, but I do think the helmet is really sharp from the side, especially with the way the harness ties in.
The back of the One K comes down further than the IRH, which limits my ability to sport a really awesomely bouncy pony tail. My ovation has a ponytail hole, which is basically the best thing ever. I will miss it. The lower back on the One K actually makes it feel much more secure on my head, and I know that more protection back there is a good thing. The IRH kind of felt like it wanted to pop off. The One K feels more like it's suctioned to my head. My hair will be grossly plastered to my neck, though.
Aww yeah! Side view!
After a little bit of debate, I decided to go with the One K. I love the washable and exchangeable liner, and that was honestly what tipped the scales for me. If I decide to return to the world of hairnets (a reformed prodigal lunchlady, if you will), I can simply snap in the original small liner. It's that easy. As the helmet gets older (and smellier), I can also buy replacement liners. That's awesome. I also think the more informal style really goes well with my schooling look, which can be kind of crazy colorful for the dressage world...
What do you mean kelly green isn't the usual color for DQs?
What do you guys think? I know One K is pretty popular with dressage riders, so I won't stand out in the ring. Am I crazy for still being a little attached to the more traditional look?
The stretchy bag is pretty nice, too.

25 comments:

  1. I really like the look of the One Ks. I think they're really sporty and attractive looking.

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    1. They really are! That appeals to me a lot for day to day riding.

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  2. I like the look of the One K better. And dat coat. ;)

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    1. Dat coat doh. Such love. So thankful. Yay Europe. ;)

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  3. Good choice! I've had my OneK for a year and I love it. Washable liners are the greatest helmet invention ever.

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  5. I like the One Ks a lot- they don't make my head look as weird as the Charles Owens and most of the IRHs do. (I spend a LOT of time trying on helmets at work.) I *think* the XS is only available in black in the suede model...You know, just in case you need a different one for show. ;) Although you should probably just go ahead and accept that you need the one with Swarovski crystals. Because I hear they're adding a score for the amount of bling you wear...

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    1. Bahaha! It's a coefficient collective, don't cha know! ;)

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  6. ok your expression in the One K is pricelesss! :)

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    1. It sure beats my bitchy resting face! ;)

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  7. I had basically the opposite experience - the One K made me look like a mushroom and the IRH fit way better. This is why there are different brands of helmets, lol!

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    1. Yay variety!! I feel like we pick the exact opposite in everything! It's good to have you around. ;)

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  8. I love the look of the One K and have definitely enjoyed the vents on mine this summer!

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    1. I've really been impressed with the amount of ventilation the One K gives. Like, legit impressed!

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  9. I love my One K! I'm not 100% in love with the look, but I don't hate it. What I like the most is the ventilation and comfort, especially the harness. I can't stand things around my throat and the angle and padding of it keeps me from feeling like I'm being choked. My head is also really small and most helmets look huge on me, but the One K doesn't. It doesn't bother me to wear it in hot weather either, I never feel like my head is frying. Really, there hasn't been much I can fault about it.

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    1. That's a great point about the harness! I can actually wear this one snug, and other styles I can't. They freak me out.

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  10. I want a onek. I had an IRH and it didn't fit me at all (and hurt my head), so I'm not their biggest fan.

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  11. excellent choice!! and i kinda love the modern look even if it's less dressage-y

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    1. I'm always embarrassing my inner dressage queen!

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  12. The One K looks awesome on you! I have a matte Samshield I use for showing and LOOOOVEEE it.

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    1. How do you keep the fingerprints off of it? Ahhh! :)

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