Review: EKOI's AR13 Road Cycling Helmets
EKOI is a French brand that I had never heard about until this spring when I saw a rider on the Roompot Charles Team wearing one (it was the AR14 model). I was interested in a new black helmet as I was struggling to wear my Suomy Sfera; I loved it, but it was just too small.
EKOI is a French company that does a lot of sales by direct mail. They are the helmet sponsor of AG2R La Mondiale, Delko Marseille Provence, Roompot Charles and they also do lots of stuff with Arkea. I really liked the look of the AR14 helmet, but when I went to the EKOI site, it was not yet available. However, I saw a tremendous amount of helmets on sale for 50% off, including the AR13 which looked quite a bit like what I saw on the Roompot Charles rider.
With both the matte black and flouro pink helmets on sale, I decided to take a chance on buying both. I really needed a plain black helmet, and the plain flouro pink was perfect for my Campus coordinator gig. I am still in love with the Lampre Merida colorway Suomy Gunwind, but it is not just pink. I figured why not?
The AR13s arrived, and they looked great right out of the box. The fit of the L/XL sizing was just what I like in a helmet with plenty of adjustment either way. The Sfera was opened as wide as it gets which works in the warm season but doesn’t allow for much flexibility with caps or skull caps. The AR13 had a nice adjustment knob that would give me room for wearing something underneath.
The AR13 seems very light, only tipping the scales at 230g. This is right about the same weight as a Kask Mojito, but not quite as light as a POC Octal or Kask Protone which are in the 200-215 g range. It is also not as heavy as the Lazer Blade MIPS that I owned which is almost 330 g. On the head, the AR13 helmet is light enough to forget it’s there, so I am not complaining.
The thirteen vents allow for good airflow. We have had some warm days, and these helmets work just great. I also like the built in bug net. It almost feels like there is a cap sewn in to the bottom of the helmet, and it certainly keeps the bugs out, as I found on River Road last week. Keeping bugs, especially bees, from hitting you in the head while riding is surely a good thing!
I am not a huge fan of the straps that the AR13 has, as I feel like they sit too far away from one's face and come loose easily. However, I love their proprietary magnetic strap clasp. It took me a little while to wrap my head around it, but it is a great design that eliminates pinching your skin and stays firmly locked as long as the helmet is on your head.
I am not crazy about the stickers all over the pink flouro version, although the subtle look of the matte black is right up my alley. I disliked the logos all over my EKOI sunglasses, as well, so note that when you buy from them it seems like you are getting a discount to promote them. In their favor, I suspect that they will give good customer service if you need it. When I broke my lenses on the sunglasses, they replaced it no questions asked after I sent a quick picture.
The look, feel, and performance of the AR13 at only $47 when on 50% off, is a steal. Yes, the shipping is a lot from France (almost 1/3 of the total), but I am okay with the overall price. I bought two helmets and ended up paying about $65 a piece for them after the shipping. There is no way you can go wrong in getting two helmets of this quality for less than $150, and rotating these two beauties is going to ensure that they last a long time. I would easily give them 4/5 stars.