Bern Morrison Helmet
Reviewer Info: 5’ 8”, 160lbs.
Intended Use: All Mountain Riding (Enduro for the trendy)
Size: Large 57-59 cm, 390g
Color: Matte Neon Green
Test Locations: Moab, St. George, and Park City, Utah
Days Tested: 25
Bern has made helmets for multi-sport, multi-season applications for years, but the Morrison is Bern’s first mountain bike helmet to utilize their ZipMold technology. ZipMold is described as “a liquid foam injection process that provides a better weight to strength ratio, [which yields]…a lighter, lower profile helmet” that still meets the typical CPSC and CE EN standards required of bike helmets.
ZipMold technology makes for a helmet interior that is smooth, and it’s nicely finished. Padding is secured around the perimeter of the helmet with snaps, wrapping around the size adjustment mechanism (a large dial at the back of the helmet).
Padding at the top of the helmet attaches via Velcro. All of the padding is on the thicker side (read: more comfortable), the retention mechanisms are simple and secure, and the material used for the straps is quite nice and smoother than most. One area where some nice attention to detail is shown is the rubber loop that retains the excess chin strap; it is thicker than most and thus, less prone to shifting.
The Morrison’s visor mounts with two snap pins on each side, which hold the visor in place securely, but don’t allow for any angle adjustment.
Fit & Weight
I found the size Large Morrison to fit very comfortably. As a reference point, Giro helmets usually fit me well, and Bell helmets do not. But the foam pads on the Morrison are thicker than most, so I think it will be comfortable for a wider range of head shapes than many other helmets.
Fine-tuning the fit using the dial at the rear of the Morrison is easy, but the mechanism doesn’t offer as great a range of adjustability in each size as those on the Giro and Troy Lee helmets I’ve used.
The Morrison also features a bit more coverage than typical XC helmets. It sits close to the ears and drops nice and low in the back, toward the base of the neck. Other helmets I have used recently, such as the Giro Xen and Xar and the Troy Lee A1, definitely feel a little lighter than the Morrison, but don’t offer such complete coverage. And I don’t find the additional weight of the Morrison to be very noticeable on my head. Its price point is also lower, and the construction quality seems just as good as these other helmets, so I’m happy to live with those few extra grams.
Fortunately for me, but perhaps unfortunately for those of you reading this, I didn’t crash on my head wearing the Morrison, so I’m just going to have to rely on the safety certifications to speak to the effectiveness and safety of the helmet.
Most of what I have to say about the Morrison is very positive, but I do have some minor gripes. First, the visor is fairly short and does not offer much shade. I’ve found that a longer visor lets me keep my eyes on the trail ahead instead of staring at my stem when climbing into the sun.
The second complaint has to do with the ventilation. The Morrison has what seems like an adequate number of vents, and they are all reasonably sized, but there isn’t any channeling on the inside of the helmet to work in accordance with them. Channels do a lot to aid in cooling your head by pulling air through the helmet. Without them, I’ve found that parts of my head are always covered by the helmet and stay warmer than those under vents. In cooler weather this wasn’t a problem, but when temperatures reached 55 or 60 degrees F, I started to feel a little hot headed.
The Bern Morrison is a strong contender in the trail helmet segment. It’s considerably more affordable than many comparable helmets and offers a similar set of features.
If you are particularly warm blooded, or just feel very strongly about helmet ventilation, you might want to look at other options. However, if you typically ride in a cooler climate, tend to “run cool,” or are really keeping a close eye on cost, the Morrison ought to suit you very well.