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Royal Enfield Continental GT650 – TG's Custom Bike Build

£6,239
Published: 04 Jul 2024
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Here’s how and why you should treat your head to a beautiful new helmet

Motorbikes are dangerous. And protecting your noggin isn’t just a legal requirement, but crucial. However helmets offer an opportunity – a way to express yourself without anyone seeing your face. 

However, with literally thousands of lids to choose from, getting a new one can be a bit overwhelming as there are so many styles to select from; aerodynamic full-face lids, to modular ones that make you a hero in a half shell (like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle), open-faced options, as well as pee pot half helmets if you grew up riding a pushbike with a colander on your head. But, once you have your base, you can go down further rabbit holes and go wild with visors, paints, finishes, and stickers to make your lid something special.

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But as our custom Royal Enfield build has been all about celebrating skilled creators and artisan industries in the UK, for our lid we wanted something special that ticked all these boxes. So, we avoided the big-name brands and went for a genuine work of art from Hedon, the London-based helmet brand that makes Fabergé eggs for your head.

Hedon is a beacon of luxury in the world of skid lids. Founded over a decade ago by Lindsay Chong and Reginald Flint, the plan was to infuse the humble helmet with unparalleled panache thanks to Lindsay’s background in graphic and product design forged with Reg’s legacy in helmet manufacturing. For these two, helmets aren’t just about safety (which, comfortingly, they take exceedingly seriously), but about making a statement; a philosophy deeply influenced by the illustrious yet fleeting legacy of Ruby, the Parisian helmet brand that once turned helmets into haute couture.

Hedon – Luxury Motorcycle Helmets

Ruby, conceived by Jerome Coste in 2004, redefined the motorcycle helmet as a luxury item. Coste’s creations were lavish, crafted with precision, and spoke the language of luxury through collaborations with fashion houses like Karl Lagerfeld and Dior. Unlike your normal Power Ranger lid, they were the epitome of style, using materials that married comfort with high-end appeal, such as melding old-school plush leathers with resilient, lightweight and techincal modern materials like carbon fibre. Yet, despite its acclaim and pioneering vision, Ruby folded in the mid-2010s. But that just motivated Lindsay and Reg to have a go themselves. 

Inspired by Ruby’s audacious spirit and artisanal commitment, Hedon set out to craft helmets that were not only protective but also profoundly beautiful. The name 'Hedon', derived from 'hedonism', reflects an unabashed pursuit of pleasure — a brand ethos that Lindsay and Reg champion fiercely. Their approach is one of uncompromising quality and aesthetic integrity but with a sprinkling of rock ‘n’ roll and free-spiritedness. It’s really a great irony that each helmet has to conform to such strict safety regulations but offers so much freedom of expression at the same time.

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Now, given we’re at the final stages of our bike build, a custom Hedon helmet really is quite literally the cherry on the top. Wanting something that would blend seamlessly with the rest of the build, I went through the daunting task of trying to articulate my vision to Lindsay, something that is easier said than done.

But dealing with the Hedon team is unlike any other helmet fitting; the process is intimate, reflective of the bespoke tailoring one might find in the backrooms of Savile Row. It starts with the design, then the selection of materials — not the usual plastics and synthetics that dominate the market, but luxurious leathers, carbon fibre, and glass fibre, chosen for their durability and aesthetic appeal. The shells are hand-laid, ensuring each helmet’s unique contour is perfect. Then comes the meticulous task of painting, polishing, trimming and finishing, often inspired by grander artistic movements and mad materials, designs, and themes.

As you enter their unsuspecting unit in South London, its vibe is more like a sophisticated South American drug den (fitting for the hedonistic vibes) than a manufacturing facility. The whirring of polishers and a spray booth fill your ears as a small, dedicated, diverse, and determined workforce gets to work.

Hedon – Luxury Motorcycle Helmets

Lindsay, leading the design, envisaged a helmet that would not only complement the motorcycle’s custom livery but also echo Calder’s artistic signature. The challenge was to take Calder’s abstract, floating shapes and bold primary colours onto a helmet, transforming it into a moving sculpture, wearable art that could cruise down the road with impact.

The execution was done by Hedon's paint wizard, Christian Moreno – a Spanish savant who grew up spray painting mopeds in his front room. To turn the helmet from a concept to reality involved hand-sketching the designs, digital rendering, and then painstakingly masking and painting layers upon layers of colours, ensuring that each hue popped with vibrancy yet remained harmonious. The final varnish is not just protective but adds a depth of gloss that makes the helmet’s surface resemble a freshly painted canvas.

With prices starting at £450 and rising to an eye-watering £2,000 for their gorgeous, gilded and metal flake collaborations with brands such as Saint Laurent, it’s sometimes hard to work out if you should wear them on your head or put them in an art gallery. Yet, as Lindsay would argue, why should safety come at the expense of style? In Hedon’s world, the two are symbiotic, each enhancing the other. Who said luxury and utility can’t go together? That’s why brands like BMW are commissioning Hedon to do their limited-edition lids.

You can see the effort Hedon’s team put into each helmet. And ours, vibrant yet sophisticated, finished with a yellow visor and matching painted logos to the bike couldn’t be a better piece of timeless punctuation to finish our enduring build. When it comes to helmets, this is not just manufacturing; it's an art form. Now I’ve just got to try my best not to scratch it.

Hedon – Luxury Motorcycle Helmets

 

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