Ftiier folding helmet in black open front side view
Helmets

An Inexpensive Folding Helmet

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1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)
  1. Not Worth It
  2. Meh
  3. Good
  4. Highly Recommended
  5. Life Changing

What Is It

There are a number of folding helmets on the market that are all essentially the same thing– a bare-bones, lightweight, simple helmet that folds in on itself like an accordion. In terms of pricing, they are usually significantly cheaper than other folding helmets, which are often in the $100-$200 range.

The helmet does not collapse all that much, but it is lightweight, well-ventilated, easy-to-fold, and cheap (both in terms of cost and in terms of construction). Don’t expect all that much from this folding helmet, but if you’re looking for the bare minimum this is it.

Folding helmet in white open and folded

About the Helmet

The helmet looks like seven struts going longitudinally from the front to the back of your head. The struts are connected by nylon fabric strips that are bolted onto the struts as they crisscross them. The struts can be either slid open or bunched up together, which is what gives the helmet its folding functionality.

Manufacturer

You can find pictures of the helmet all over the internet under a bunch of different names (Cairbull, Ftiier, BIKEBOY, WildSide, Lixada, etc), and the only difference between them is the logo on the front.

I suspect that what’s going on is that there’s a manufacturer, likely in China, selling the white-labeled helmets to companies like Ftiier and Cairbull in bulk, which then resell the helmets on Alibaba, which then make their way onto Amazon with a slight markup. If you purchase the helmet, it typically arrives in an unlabeled, flimsy shoe box. It doesn’t seem to me like there’s a company that proudly stands behind this helmet, unlike almost every other folding helmet.

Comparing various sites selling the helmet, there is a lack of consistency in describing the product’s technical features, and they generally seem to contain poor English and product pictures stolen from totally different products. I’m not saying there’s necessarily something shady going on, but it does raise some flags for me.

Credit: Alibaba

Quality

The big concern I have is around safety, and just quality in general.

The first time I saw someone carrying around one of these helmets, I stopped to ask the guy what he thought about his helmet. He was in his late 20s, and his girlfriend had just bought him one of these folding helmets for Christmas a few months ago. While the guy did recommend his folding helmet, there were some things about it that annoyed him.

For one, the helmet was already coming apart, and he had only been using it for 4 months. The chin strap was starting to break, and the internal padding was peeling off pretty bad, which made the helmet uncomfortable to wear. Also, it bothered him that the helmet didn’t stay locked in either the open or folded position, and he felt it was hard to put on.

Looking around online, it’s clear that this is not an isolated case. There are lots of reviews online complaining that the helmet is poor quality, its padding peels off, and it breaks easily. That last one seriously worries me.

I will talk more about the helmet’s safety later on, but suffice it to say that I’m a bit dubious.

Recommendation

As you probably figured out by now, I don’t recommend this helmet.

Here is why, in a nutshell:

  1. I don’t trust its safety
  2. It breaks down quickly
  3. It doesn’t fold by that much

I personally believe that those flaws outweigh any possible benefits of this folding helmet, but to be fair I will also point out its strengths.

Reasons to Buy

This helmet design is just about as well-ventilated as you can get with a helmet. There is a folding helmet coming out on the market that may be as well-ventilated, but for the most part you can’t do much better than these.

It is also very lightweight— a little over half a pound– which is one of the lightest folding helmets around.

And it’s among the easiest to fold. You just smush it shut– nothing fancy or complicated.

But the main selling point about this helmet is its price. If you have a strict budget or don’t want to shell out $100-$200 on a folding helmet without trying out the concept first, you may have no choice but go with this helmet. However, keep your expectations low.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Well-ventilated
  • Easy to fold
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Questionable safety
  • Low quality
  • Doesn’t compact much
  • Doesn’t lock either open or shut

Who the Helmet Would Be Perfect For

If you really want to try a folding helmet, and can’t afford one of the better quality ones, I totally get it. The next cheapest folding helmet is probably the Pango (which I don’t really recommend) usually at around $60, and then the 174HUDSON (which I highly recommend) at around $80. Still, the 174HUDSON can be almost double the price of these cheap folding helmets, so that can be tough to swallow.

So here is who I think might want this helmet:

  1. You need a folding helmet, but budget is a major concern
  2. You want a folding helmet but are only planning on using it a few times, so want the cheapest option
  3. You’re just testing out the idea of a folding helmet to see if it works for you, and are happy to buy another one when this one breaks in a year

If none of these apply to you, here is a list of the other folding helmets on the market, where you will find one that’s a better fit.

Foldability

One of the few good things about this helmet design is how easy it is to fold. Some helmets can be complicated to fold. This one just collapses in on itself like an accordion.

Here is a gif showing how to fold and unfold this helmet. [Total side point, by the way, let me mention that the gif was originally posted to the Internet by FEND, which is a company that makes its own separate folding helmet. Since the gif went up, various sellers have started using FEND’s image to sell their own version of this helmet, even in some cases calling their helmet “FEND”. It’s to the point that it is actually extremely hard to figure out that FEND is its own separate company with its own separate helmet. This shadiness is just one more reason I’m doubtful about trusting online sellers of this helmet.]

Fend helmet gif showing opening and closing of white helmet obsolete design
Fend

You can basically pick up this helmet and figure out right away how to fold and open it.

Time needed to open/ foldOne second
Attention needed to foldMinimal
Time/ Tries to masterNone

Once folded, the helmet is about 4.5″ wide. That’s not so compact, but is still narrow enough to save you some space. For perspective, the most compact folding helmets fold to about 2.5″ (those would be the Closca Fuga and the Morpher).

Here are the approximate dimensions:

OpenFolded
10″ l x 8″ w x 5″ h10″ l x 4.5″ w x 5″ h

Portability

In terms of portability, the helmet does okay. It’s extremely lightweight at about 0.5 lb, so carrying it around by hand is pretty easy. It’s also fairly grippable once it’s folded, thanks to those struts. However, it doesn’t lock shut, so that can get a little annoying. Overall, the helmet is about average in terms of portability.

Fit

This folding helmet has a relatively bad fit.

First of all, it only comes in one size, with a fairly narrow range: M/L, 22.0″ – 24.4″ (56 – 62 cm). That’s likely too big for some people.

But also, the helmet is just not designed to be comfortable. The padding only covers seven thin strips along your head (where the struts are), and when the helmet moves on your head, it rubs the padding from the side. And this is all assuming that the padding is even there– many users have complained that the padding tears off pretty quickly.

Finally, the helmet uses a standard ratchet on the back. That’s the part that adjusts the helmet’s size– while it’s certainly good to have one, the standard plastic ratchet can rub the back of your head and feel uncomfortable. Other folding helmets (for example the Fuga and 174HUDSON, both designed by Closca) use an elastic ratchet, which is a lot more comfortable, and there are others (for example the LID Plico and Brooks England Carrera) that have an elastic frame inside to optimize the fit. There just wasn’t as much attention given to these cheap folding helmets, so the fit suffers.

Safety

Let’s start with the good.

The manufacturer of these helmets claims that the helmets are safety certified for Europe (EN-1078), Canada and the US (CPSC), and even Australia and New Zealand (AS/NZS 2063), which is extremely rare for folding helmets.

Some listings for this helmet even claim that the helmet is “multi-impact“, meaning that you can continue using it even after it’s been in an accident. That would be pretty incredible, as standard helmets need to be discarded after an impact due to concealed damage within the helmet lining.

But here is where my suspicion comes in.

“Multi-Impact”

First of all, let’s start with that “multi-impact” claim.

EPS foam– which is what the helmet lining is made out of, and is pretty standard among helmets– is not multi-impact. I don’t even know where to start with that claim, because there is just no basis or explanation for it on any product description I have seen. I even tried contacting one of the bigger sellers regarding it, who of course did not respond. So I’m just going to assume that that is bull crap.

Certification

And in terms of the safety certification, I am HIGHLY skeptical.

I’m not arguing that the manufacturer isn’t safety certified, but I would like to know more about where it’s been tested and what the results were. I have not seen a single posting that has attached a link to a safety testing report, or named the company doing the testing. This is in contrast to many other folding helmet manufacturers who proudly state the name of the company doing the safety testing and sometimes even attach a report with all of the test results.

The cynic in me says that the company doing the testing is an unreputable facility, probably in China, that is focused primarily on ensuring its customers’ helmets pass the safety test. I think that if that were not the case, the sellers would reveal the name of the company doing the testing.

There are two other reasons why I’m doubtful about the helmet’s safety.

Quality

It is clear from reading the helmet’s reviews that the quality of its construction is very poor.

One user actually posted a picture of the helmet with one of its struts completely detached– apparently that just happened on its own. Another user wrote that the latch is falling apart. Those are just some of the many complaints people have about the helmet’s quality.

I can’t imagine what would happen if the helmet was in an actual impact.

Coverage

Cairbull helmet in grey top view

The other issue is the helmet’s head coverage. While it’s great for ventilation, the head is mostly exposed when wearing this helmet. That poses a bunch of risks:

  1. An object can penetrate the helmet between the struts and then go on to hit the head completely unprotected.
  2. If hit at an angle, the helmet’s struts can be moved (or broken, apparently) and let an object pass between them to hit the head unprotected.
  3. Assuming the struts are effective at blocking the blow, all of the force of the impact will be focused on a single point. Since the helmet does not have a broad surface, the force does not get diffused laterally and will tend to concentrate on a single point. This is known as “localized loading” and can be dangerous.

Safety Doubts

Overall, I am doubtful about how much attention was given to the helmet’s safety features. The fact that it has huge gaps between the vents, and that the helmet construction is generally poor, makes me believe that it would not be adequate protection in an accident.

While the makers of the helmet claim it is safety certified in the EU, Canada/US, and Australia/ New Zealand, I think that the safety facility is probably too lax. And the fact that the helmet is advertised as “multi-impact” when that’s patently false makes me fairly concerned.

Options

This folding helmet can usually be purchased in one of five colors: Black, Grey, White, Yellow-Green, and Pink.

Reviews

The reviews are so-so. People who like the helmet focus mainly on the fact that it folds to saves space, but a lot also mention that its quality is a big concern.

The positive aspects in the reviews are:

  1. The folding concept is cool, and it’s great that the helmet saves space
  2. The helmet is well-ventilated

The negative reviews talk heavily about the poor quality. The main highlights:

  1. The padding tends to fall off (this complaint is common)
  2. The side broke off (incredibly, more than one reviewer mentioned this)
  3. The latch fell off

If you adjust for the novelty factor of the folding helmet (as there are many other folding helmets on the market) the reviews will tend to tilt negative. But to give credit where it’s due, the helmet does have excellent ventilation.

Comparison to Other Folding Helmets

Although this folding helmet design tends to be the cheapest, there are others that are more or less comparably priced (meaning, they are usually under $100). If you’re looking at this inexpensive folding helmet, you should also consider these.

One thing all of the helmets below have in common is that they all fold down to only about 4.5″. For some reason it seems to be hard to cross that threshold. However, if you really want to see the full list, including the super thin ones (ie Morpher and Closca Fuga), you can see the summary of all the folding helmets available here.

BioLogic Pango

Biologic-Pango in black both open and folded

The BioLogic Pango is almost twice the price of this helmet, but is much better quality. Unfortunately, it’s also twice the weight, and twice as hard to fold. So I usually don’t recommend it.

However, if you want a helmet that’s much lower-end, yet will adequately protect your head and last a long time, this would be your best bet.

FEND

FEND helmet in black both open and folded

FEND is a company selling a folding helmet very similar to this one.

Rather than folding together a bunch of struts on either side of the helmet, the FEND just has a single chunk on either side which folds inwards. In many ways, these helmets are very similar, although the FEND is a higher quality product. It’s usually around $100. I have reservations about the FEND as well, but I would recommend it more than I would this helmet.

LID Plico

LID-Plico in green front side view

The LID Plico is a folding helmet with an elastic frame inside that makes it very easy to open and fold. It’s a bit bulky looking, but offers good protection.

Overall, the Plico is is so-so. Sometimes it comes down to looks, and honestly this one can be a bit polarizing. The Plico comes with a rechargeable light, but for your sanity I recommend you ignore that feature (it tends to die quickly, making it frustratingly useless).

(Tip: if you like the helmet but find it sold out on the company website, try Amazon.co.uk— not sure why but that seems to be the only place to buy it).

174HUDSON

174Hudson-Stack foldable helmet in grey with neon back open and folded front and side views

Of all the under-$100 folding helmets, I would recommend this one the most. It’s simple, good quality, and folds well. The companies behind this helmet are Closca (the same one that makes the super-light, narrow Fuga) and Priority Bicycles. I personally have this helmet and use it a lot. I trust the companies, as they stand by their products.

The 174HUDSON might not be the most compact folding helmet, but it’s lightweight, easy to use, highly portable, and good quality. You can buy it on Amazon or on Priority Bicycles’ website.

Other Folding Helmets Under $100

There are a few others you might be interested in, if you’re considering getting this accordion-style folding helmet. I’m putting them down here because I think they’re pretty different from this folding helmet, or that one of the options above is in every way better.

Overade Plixi

Overade Plixi in blue both open and folded

The Overade Plixi is a solidly-built folding helmet that’s highly customizable. It offers good protection, but is unfortunately a bit complicated to fold. We think it’s so-so, and generally prefer helmets that are easier to fold and are lighter. You can buy it on Amazon if you’re interested.

Brooks England Carrera

Brooks England Carrera Foldable Helmet in grey open front view

The Brooks England Carrera is like a more sophisticated version of the LID Plico stylistically. You can read our description of it here, and the comparison of the Plico vs Carrera here. It doesn’t seem to be available for purchase on Brooks England’s website anymore, but you can buy it on Amazon.

Cyclo

Cyclo-open-and-folded

The Cyclo is a fairly affordable helmet that’s expected to come to market in 2020. Its big innovation is that it’s made of fully recycled and recycleable plastic. It seems slightly less convenient to fold and unfold than this helmet. However, the ventilation is similarly excellent. In some ways, the helmets are pretty comparable, but unlike this helmet, there is a company that proudly stands behind their product. Here’s our review of the Cyclo.

Have a Question or Comment?

Did you see anything here that you disagree with, or would like to add to? Still have a question about this helmet? Want to share your experience with us? We would love to hear from you! Post your comments in the chat box below.


This review was written by the Things That Fold editorial team. We have based our review on information we found publicly online, such as the vendor’s website, online sales channels, other review sites, and news articles. We do not currently own this product.

Our website uses affiliate links, meaning that if you click on a hyperlink, we may receive a commission for referring you to the seller’s website. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. Any prices and availability shown are based on time of publication and may subsequently change.

Product images on this page are taken from the product’s official website or from the product page of an official sales channel.

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