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HJC Valeco road cycling helmet review

2 Jun 2020
Verdict:

Respectably light, semi-aero road lid from a big-name motorcycling brand

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Decent weight • Great venting • Won’t break the bank
Against 
Slightly crude adjustment • Finish could be neater

I’ve been wearing HJC helmets for decades now, but they generally come with a full visor, chin bar and the ability to save your head if you hit the road or race track at high speeds. The company’s prowess is in motorcycling, where its helmets have graced the heads of world champs.

But in 2020, on the assumption that racing resumes as and when expected, HJC lids will grace the heads of the Lotto-Soudal squad. They’re wearing the top of the range Ibex 2.0; I’ve been wearing the HJC Valeco helmet. And it’s a combination of expanded polystyrene, polycarbonate and wind tunnel know-how well worth your consideration.

 

Fit comes first

The HJC Valeco does not feel instantly comfortable, but you can discern little about a helmet’s fit until you’ve fastened it. My classically-medium skull measures 57cm in circumference, slap bang in the 55-59cm range of the Valeco’s intended fitment, but the first time I donned it I felt pressure at the crown and forehead.

However – and it’s a big however – as soon as the rear click-wheel is tightened, the pressure points disappear as the cradle seats neatly on the head, adjusting the tension very well to evenly distribute pressure.

Buy now from Merlin Cycles for £125

My one gripe with the whole fit set-up is that click-wheel, which is decidedly ‘clicky’. There’s little finesse to the closure, but on the up-side, at least its slightly crude method has a positive engagement.

The overlayering of the polycarbonate shell is also a little crude in places, especially at the very front of the helmet.

 

It’s a breeze

The might of HJC extends to ownership of its own wind tunnel testing facility. More often used to minimise drag for its MotoGP racers, it’s been put to use on the Valeco to test aerodynamic performance, ventilation efficiency and noise. With seven sizeable inlets to the front and five exhaust vents to the rear, cold air is amply funnelled in and hot air dispersed.

HJC has adapted the Bernoulli principle (18th century fluid dynamics research has a place in 2020… who knew?) to extract cool air from the frontal openings to dissipate internal heat.

What you need to know is it works very well. Given the unexpected heatwave of coronavirus-induced lockdown Britain, it’s a feature that I’ve been very grateful for (there’s nothing I can do about the amount of hair poking through those vents until the hairdressers re-open…).

 

Long ride comfort and safety

Without throwing myself up the road and placing more stress on an already stretched NHS, there’s obviously no way of testing the crash protection of the HJC Valeco. But the company does boast that, ‘an internal skeletal frame integrated into the EPS not only holds the helmet in one piece but also makes it stronger and more resistant, to protect your head in the event of a collision.’

Buy now from Merlin Cycles for £125

What impresses me most is that HJC has managed to bring a mid-range road cycling helmet in at 245g (for a size M) and £125.

It’s light enough to slip on, fasten (loudly) and ride for hours with little to tell you it’s on your head. And that inconspicuousness is what makes a good helmet.

Apply a closure system with a little more finesse and tidy up the cosmetic neatness, and this would be a four-star helmet all day long.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
£125

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