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Looks are subjective, but I think the Ekoi Legende is beautiful, and brings to mind those helmets worn in the 1970s but with the modern details you would expect from a current high-quality helmet. It's pretty light and ventilation is excellent, though it's not cheap.
When I first opened the box of review kit and saw a leather handbag in it I thought someone at the road.cc office was playing a trick on me.
It turned out that, where most helmets arrive in a cloth bag or box, the Legende comes in its own leather bag. This helmet is designed to be premium; it even has your name stamped on the back (well, Mat's name as it happens, but whatever). Be in no doubt, these helmets are meant to be exclusive.
The French red, white and blue design on test led to me being given some words of encouragement to get to Paris as quickly as possible by some friendly Brexit protesters as I rode past the Houses of Parliament one morning. However, if you want to avoid being thought of as not British, it is available in eight more base colours with a choice of 20 different finishes, so you should be able to choose exactly the look you want.
On the head, the first thing you notice about the helmet is that it is small compared with most modern lids. It looks closer to the kind of thing you'd have seen Eddy Merckx wearing in the 70s than the sort Chris Froome wears today. One of its big benefits is excellent ventilation. Throughout the test rides I could feel a stream of air blowing across the top of my head, removing excess heat perfectly.
Fit is managed through the harness at the back of the head combined with adjustable buffers at the back and clips on the side. It was relatively simple to find a comfortable fit, although it would have been nice to have tightening and loosening reach further around the head rather than just from the back. However, it was comfortable throughout the review and stayed in place well.
The helmet comes with 9mm and 3mm pads, and a netted version to keep out bugs when riding. I went with the 3mm pads for the review and these have a nice level of cushioning combined with antibacterial qualities so they don't smell over time.
I particularly like the straps and clip. Each strap consists of two thin but robust strips of material with mesh between them. This helps with breathability and prevents the straps getting soaked in sweat during a hot ride. Connecting the two is a magnetic clip: just slide one half over the other and they lock into place, much simpler to use than a conventional clip. It's a little thing, but it's a nice touch.
Ekoi has used a polypropylene internal cage, which creates the foundations for a robust helmet despite the 28 large vents. It's this cage that means the helmet can be so well ventilated despite being so small on the head and relatively lightweight. It's 243g, which is respectable for a high-end helmet. For example, the HJC Ibex is around the same price and is 2g heavier, although the Kask Valegro is around 37g lighter and comes in at £10 less.
The RRP of the Legende fluctuates slightly, presumably to do with the exchange rate, and at the time of publishing is a very specific £176.44, which is expensive, though it certainly isn't the most expensive on the market, with top end helmets often exceeding £250. When you consider the level of customisation available alongside the technical aspects, it seems acceptable.
Overall, I was impressed with the Ekoi Legende. It is a high-end helmet with great tech specs, good looks and plenty of choice in terms of design. Ventilation is superb and it's also lightweight. The price is high, but there are others out there that cost more.
Premium looks and premium performance – and it even comes in a leather handbag...
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ekoi Legende helmet
Size tested: S/M
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A high-performance helmet with a premium design and huge degree of customisation.
Ekoi says, 'The design of this product was inspired by the first leather helmets seen in the 40's and called a hairnet (in English) or a boudin in french. Extremely well ventilated, with a wraparound shape for optimal air flow and protection, associated with the necessary comfort required for bike racing.'
This is an accurate description of the helmet both in terms of design and tech, with ventilation certainly one of its highlights.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ekoi lists these details:
- Full (liner & shell) In Mold.
- 28 vents.
- Ventilated straps (excellent wicking).
- 3 different foam densities to choose from + an insect net are supplied with the helmet for the perfect helmet fit adapted to fit every head shape and size.
- Fully-adjustable straps (below each ear).
- 9 different colour options: National colours of France / Italy / Belgium / Spain. Plus matt black & brilliant white / Transparent / Matt black / Gold / AG2R La MONDIALE TEAM REPLICA.
Very well made helmet that feels robust and durable despite being light and containing 28 vents.
Ventilation and comfort are at the forefront of the design and the helmet manages to excel at both.
Not the lightest on the market, but certainly not likely to give you a crick in the neck either.
Very comfortable thanks to excellent ventilation, effective fit adjustment, and a choice of pads.
You could pay considerably more than this for a helmet that may be slightly lighter but comparable in most other aspects.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: kept my head cool, stayed on securely, and was comfortable to ride in over several hours.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The aesthetics; Ekoi has achieved its goal of making it look as close to a hairnet as possible.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing major, maybe that you can't adjust fit across the entire head, only the back.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The HJC Ibex is around the same price and is 2g heavier. The Kask Valegro is around 37g lighter and comes in at £10 less.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A helmet with a performance that matches its looks. It incorporates excellent ventilation with a really good closure system and innovative clips to bring a modern twist to a vintage looking lid.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.