Helmet wind noise

My quick review of Specialized’s “Echelon” bicycle helmet.

It’s about time for a new bike helmet, and when Consumer Reports rated the Specialized “Echelon” highest for impact protection, I visited my Local Bike Shop and picked up this road helmet.

Specialized Echelon bicycle helmet review

I’m partial to white hats, and I really like the idea of reflective strips on the sides and back of this helmet. The snug fit and “Headset” retention keep my helmet in place, even with a GoPro Hero2 plonked squarely on top. The adjustment dial on the back of the helmet works well and doesn’t self-destruct, unlike a few other helmet retention bands I’ve used on helmets with higher prices.

The Echelon has the venting and weight you’d expect from an entry level helmet. The mass is noticeable when turning my head. This helmet has plenty of holes, but I don’t get the airflow over my head, resulting in an uncomfortably warm ride above about 75 degrees. Fortunately, those temperatures are rare where I live near the Santa Cruz coast.

One unexpected find: I really notice wind noise with this helmet. I depend partially on my hearing to track my surroundings and approaching hazards. Above about 15 MPH with this helmet, hearing is substantially impacted. Above 20 MPH, I can’t hear anything except the roar of the wind. I haven’t worn rearview mirrors in a while, but it might be time f to go back to mirrors so I know what’s going on behind me. I might try those goofy wind blockers that connect to the chin strap.

Summary: I like the look, fit, feel and price of this helmet. Weight and venting are mostly what I expected for the price. Wind noise was the big surprise.

4 Comments

  • mark Sauerwald
    July 25, 2012 - 4:17 pm | Permalink

    do slipstreamz help?  
    http://www.slipstreamz.com/

  • July 25, 2012 - 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know, but that’s the ‘goofy wind blockers’ I have in mind. Do you have experience with them?

  • July 26, 2012 - 1:22 am | Permalink

    I like the helmet.It’s nice. But before you buy it, make sure that it fits your head perfectly.

  • mark Sauerwald
    July 26, 2012 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I used to have a pair on my helmet – they make a huge difference in wind noise.  If I admitted to listening to my ipod while riding, I would say that they were definitely worth it :).   My current helmet isn’t as noisy, and I never bothered replacing the slipstreamz.

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