Interviewee: Andy Steel (International Sales Manager) and Kenny Perkins (Lead Product Designer)
What are the main trends in the helmet market for action sports in FW18/19?
Continued advancements for additional protection, with a focus on rotational and oblique impacts. Also looking at the ways to continue to shed weight to make lighter, more comfortable helmets.
Will you release any new models? If yes, what are their main features?
Following the instant success of our new Heist and Heist Brim releases for AW1718, which received the “Hot Gear Award” by SkiMag at 1718 SIA, we wanted to continue to focus on our product evolution by injecting a steroid shot into one of our favourite lids – The Weston!
The new Weston Peak, is an update of the Weston which has been a popular choice within our line for a few years. The Weston Peak is one of our lightest weight products, benefitting from our proprietary Tech – Zipmold+®. The new Brim aspect integrates directly with our goggles programme and completely launches the helmet towards fans of the Original®, but with all the trimmings you’d expect on this pimped-version. In addition, this premium helmet is paired with a plush new winter knit that features a BOA 360 degree fit system and integrated audio compatibility.
Any new technologies or other innovations?
Bern were the 1st brand to pair with audio giant – Outdoor Tech (ODT) in AW1415. When Outdoor Tech started, the partnership with Bern as part of our winter offering, helped catapult the brand into a household name among winter sport enthusiasts. Due in part to the relationship with Bern over the last 5 years, ODT now dominate the winter “drop-in” audio market.
We’re really excited to be continuing this partnership with them and offering the latest generation of 2.0 CHIPS®. These are available from Bern or ODT and our premium adult liners are all designed to integrate these products within our newly designed and turbo comfortable leather ear-cups. The 2.0 versions not only give you wireless audio and epic sound, but also works via the CHIPS®, an App on your smart phone to transform the system into push-to-talk communication devices that work anywhere on the hill!
What materials are you working with? Anything new to talk about?
Without a doubt our most unique and performance oriented material is our proprietary Liquid Foam technology we call Zipmold+®. Its a PC micro-shell lined with Zipmold+® liquid injected foam to create a super low profile finish that screams style. We are one of the only brands to not only use our highest tech for the adult consumers but also for our kids category. We know kids are charging harder and jumping higher than ever before and believe that all our kids product should be made to the same high standard as the adult counterparts.
We also have our proprietary PLUSfoam® Goggles. We’ve worked tirelessly to engineer not only the Industry’s 1st ‘green’ goggle material that is 100% recyclable but also made from the most lightweight foam available. Regardless of whether you’re into saving the planet or not, these goggles are real performers. The tech in the foam outperforms traditional foams, rubbers and plastics in extreme low temperatures but also fits like a glove. The frame is extremely soft and flexible so will naturally hug any face shape that is presented to it without creating any air gaps like traditional stiffer TPU frames.
When it comes to design, colours & patterns – what are the main trends in your FW collection?
Bern is not only known within the action sports industry as a major player and trend-setter, but equally within the mass market as a fashion accessory brand.
We’ve always paid careful attention to what’s in the pipe with all the street fashion and outerwear brands. This focus has been one of the reasons for our broad mass-market appeal, but also part of the keys to success for Bern, as our products can be easily matched with almost any outfit.
This may not sound very rugged or Grrrr to some beardy back-country wannabe’s, but like it or not, everyone cares about how they look, whether they want to admit it or not.
For Bern, having a technical range with well thought through colourways is a major part of our DNA, and part of the reason why we’re the only brand to successfully transition between multiple categories with a large proportion of our line.
For the 18/19 season, we’ve noticed some significant progression in pallet options, tones and colour blocking themes. As a result, many of the finishes this season will focus on these fashion and outerwear inspired changes.
In addition, our design team have been working extremely hard to re-invent some of the classic game-changing finishes, and update them with a more aggressive and clean look.
How are you addressing goggle compatibility and audio integration?
Research, research research!
Successful goggle compatibility and integration with a helmet depends on several key factors, including:
- The helmet you wear
- Whether the helmet has a visor / brim
- Your individual head shape / size
- The shape of your nose and length of your forehead
- Correct positioning of airflow channels and venting.
All of the above mean that every single person will have slightly different requirements for the perfect fit.
By analysing and understanding the contributing factors above, Bern were able to make significant forward steps with our newest products – The Heist Series and the New Weston Brim, to maximise the scope for perfect goggle integration for the widest range of consumers possible.
How did we do this? By drawing out the apex of the front of the helmet as well as reducing the angle and outer length of the brim, our boffins were able to accommodate the trends for much larger frameless-goggles, and avoid common integration issues like the user feeling their goggles are being pushed down their nose. A simple solution to that problem is to wear a smaller pair of goggles, but our new offering gives the consumer more choice to wear the goggles they prefer and have them integrate neatly with their new Bern lid…genius!
In addition to the above benefits, we’ve been tweaking all our ventilation patterns and offer a stacked ventilation system within our new lids. This specifically helps pull air-flow away from your goggles to help prevent any fogging after your last face-plant!
Bern are proud to have been involved in audio since the start. We developed our Premium knits a few years back which have evolved significantly. For AW1819, our latest Premium Liner offers greater comfort though a completely redesigned interior panel layout as well as a super-cushy sweat-wicking top-mesh and 360 Boa® Fit System.
In addition, the audio experience has been improved via a new leather audio pocket. This feature gets rid of our old rubber ear-cups and give a more comfortable fit along with a far higher-end finish.
Easily accessible through velcro opening, the new ear cups accommodate Outdoor Tech Chips (sold separately) but will fit almost any wired or wireless solution. Hidden cable routing means tangle free shredding . The Premium (Audio Ready) Liners come as standard with over 50% of our adult range, although our Team fit models are also compatible with the Premium Liner upgrades if you decide you want to give your session a soundtrack. We also offer a lower entry cost out of the box audio package in our classic Watts with 8-Tacks Audio for those who want more cash for the bar or bus ride home.
Please talk us through your 2-3 keys models for FW18/19.
We will talk you through the award winning Heist and Heist Brim. This collection of helmets represents the evolution of the Watts, Lenox (our Original Brim Style classics), and Macon, Brighton lids featuring the same outline profile but with a different vent pattern and a no-visor look.
The Heist helmets all feature our latest construction process which combines our best existing technologies for a superior strength to weight ratio and a super low-profile effect.
DSI – Duel Shell Integration: A rugged hard top shell paired PVC Zipmold+® in-Molded lower shell. This reduces weight and increases strength without compromising protection
Energy Absorbing ribs – like crumple zones in a car that will take the hit and absorb the punishment before your nogin does!
Bern Impact Armour – Aluminium plates in critical temple and back of the head zones adds strength to protect the squishier parts of you head
ABS Top Plate and Vent Cover – Adds stregth and reinforcement around the vents while protecting from penetration by rock or pointy stuff! A removable internal vent cover seals things up when to keep you warm when the temperature takes a nose-dive
Boa Fit System – Bern were one of the 1st brands to work with Boa and develop a true 360-degree fit system. No pressure points, no hotspots, just comfort
Sink Fit – Bern were the originators of Sink-Fit. The lid sits super deep on your head, combines epic safety coverage around the back, both sides and the top. A smaller, lower-profile look with a pillow-like feel
New Premium Liner (Luxe) – Hand sewn and blind-siched seasmless liner for the ultimate comfort experience. Removable, washable and fully compatible with our gangster beanie to keep your face frost-free in a blizzard!
Seamless Fusion / Goggle compatibility – The Heist is purpose-built to accommodate a wide range of the most popular goggles on the market, as well as be a perfect fit for Bern’s proprietary PLUSfoam® Goggles – The Eastwood and Monroe. Whether using our epic PLUSfoam® Goggles, or another great brand, the Hesit eliminates the gaps and provides you with a sealed-from-the-elements feel!
The Weston Peak:
Our brand new visor-style, vented, and ultra-lightweight snow specific lid for adult men. The Weston Peak utilizes our exclusive premium Zipmold+® technology to create a comfortable lightweight helmet that’s fully certified for snow.
The Weston Peak also features a hugely upgraded liner Premium Luxe Liner as seen in the Heist.
Boa Fit System
Seamless Bern goggle integration, and goggle airflow channels
7 radial vents
Insane value for money
The standard Weston and Bristow lids all have an upgraded crankfit liner with the new panel layout and materials as per the Weston Peak
Our Classic Series:
All our original Bern favourites like the Watts / Lenox / Baker / Muse / Macon / Brighton, have all had vast improvements to the Boa liners
All these lids feature our 360 Boa® Fit System and trick updates to the Premium (audio-ready) mesh liner, along with between 16-18 vents depending on the style. These are highly desirable products with a new look and mix of finishes on each lid from Gloss, Matte and Satin
We also have MIPS Impact System options for all Adult and Juniors thinSHELL® models