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.
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.