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BBB isn't the first name that springs to mind when thinking of £100 helmets (well, give or take 5p), but their top of the line Falcon helmet graces the heads of notable pros such as Tom Boonen and everyone's favourite have-a-go hero, Johnny Hoogerland. The Quickstep version tested here is relatively subdued in its white and faux-carbon livery, with only a few Quickstep stickers giving away its origin. As such, it should play well with the majority of kit colour combos - an important consideration when trying to look 'PRO'. There is also a Cofidis version and a non team coloured one too.
The Falcon is middle of the road when it comes to the level of coverage it provides. You won't feel exposed with it on, but the sides are a little higher than on some other helmets. The shape itself is quite rounded and should fit a wide range of head shapes. The three spikes at the back lend the Falcon an aggressive appearance befitting of a racing lid.
Deep internal channels run the length of the helmet which funnel the air effectively from the plethora of frontal vents to the exit ports. In use, ventilation is good if not spectacular. It's not something that immediately jumps out at you, but I never suffered from an overheating noggin.
The fit is adjustable through a cradle which provides a wide range of circumferential adjustability (a phrase to conjure with - ed). Whilst not technically adjustable in the vertical plane, there is enough flexibility in the plastic arms to position the cradle just where you want it. The operation of the ratchets is necessarily a two handed operation which makes it more difficult to adjust while riding than systems which use a single dial. Once the fit is sorted however, the helmet sits well on the head and one soon forgets that it's there at all.
The rather basic ratcheting system does have its downsides though. Opening the ratchets up so that the cradle can be loosened requires you to press into the back of your head which in turn makes it harder to release the tension. The result is a very jerky action not befitting a helmet of this price. Similarly priced helmets from the likes of Bell, (the Sweep) and Met (the Stradivarius) have systems that are much easier to adjust on the fly. Overall, the cradle has a very 'plasticky' feel to it and just looks plain cheap.
The pads too, are also not the highest quality and could do more to wick sweat away. I did find that sweat was liable to drip down into my eyes when toiling up steep grades at low speed. On the other hand, the locking clips on the straps are a useful feature when adjusting the straps so that they lie flat.
Tricky one, it's definitely not a bad helmet, but the Falcon doesn't exude the quality you'd expect from a helmet costing almost £100, although it also has to be said that these days that price makes it more of an upper mid-range lid than a high end one. In use, it performs well but if I was spending my money on it I'd feel short changed by the cheap plastic cradle and the poor ratcheting design. That said, at the right price I'd consider buying one.
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Make and model: BBB Falcon Quick Step - Helmet
Size tested: White
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?
The BBB website is refreshingly free from marketing blurb when it comes to the Falcon, listing only its features. Nevertheless, this helmet is obviously targeted at riders looking for a top-of-the-range helmet with race pedigree.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The helmet features:
■ In-mold shell construction.
■ Carbon fiber and aluminum reinforcements.
■ High density EPS.
■ 23 air vents.
■ SpiderWeb inner reinforcement structure.
■ Rear vents for optimum air flow.
■ Adjustable straps for a perfect and comfortable fit.
■ Easy to use DualClose adjustment system.
■ Washable anti-bacterial pads.
■ Rear reflective stickers.
■ Sizes: S (52-55 cm), M (52-58 cm) and L (58-62 cm).
■ Colors: Vacansoleil, Cofidis and Quick-Step(gray eps).
The moulding appears to be of decent quality with no major split lines visible. The cradle is very cheap looking though, and its action could be smoother. It loses marks here more for the materials and design of that cradle and ratcheting system rather than the way it has been put together.
Middle of the road in terms of weight and ventilation, the Falcon performs well if not spectacularly. Changing the fit whilst riding, to remove a cap for instance, is difficult though
The helmet has held up well throughout the testing period and has survived unscathed a number of minor offs
At a claimed 269-297g for the Medium size tested, the helmet once again occupies the middle ground in terms of the weight spectrum. The helmet does feel lighter than the numbers would suggest thanks to it secure fit
The helmet sits well on the head and feels totally secure in use. As mentioned above though changing the fit whilst riding, to remove a cap for instance, is difficult though
While it is cheaper, than most of its competitors' most expensive helmets, it does look like corners have been cut to achieve this price point.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 20 Height: 190cm Weight: 70kg
I usually ride: Giant TCR Advanced 2 My best bike is: Canyon Ultimate CF7
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: road racing, sportives, mtb,
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.