Written by Ben Price
The Ekoi Koina is the 5th generation Ekoi TT helmet, developed through extensive wind tunnel testing with Patrick Lange who went on to wear it during his course record-breaking Ironman World Championship victory in Kona in October.
So, this helmet certainly came with some serious credentials. Would it live up to all the hype? All I knew was that I was very excited!
Before getting the helmet from Ekoi, I had to go on their website and use their online tool to personalise the helmet design. This is a seriously cool feature in which you spend about an hour (in my case!) deliberating over the different colour choices for the helmet shell, ridge, logo etc. There are loads of options and they all look awesome! You can also add a national flag and your name for added blingy-ness. The helmet has to match my bike (obviously) – a black Trek Speed Concept II – so I went for an all-black affair with white writing for the logo and a black visor. Pure stealth fighter.
A week or so later the helmet arrived. When I pulled the Koina out of the box (like an excited child on Christmas day) I was immediately struck by two things:
1. It’s incredibly light*
2. It looks seriously cool! It really is a great looking piece of kit that makes you look and feel stealthy and fast! However, how functional is it?
The answer to this question is: very!
The visor attaches through a number of strong magnets and snaps into position with reassuring firmness. The field of view is obviously very good too. The helmet sits very comfortably on the head and is of very good build quality – it feels as though it is highly protective. However, there are two other really good features on this lid. The first is the ‘adjustable occipital bone micro-dial’ – or in other words, a circular ratchet at the back that you use to tighten the helmet. It works really well! The other is the magnetic fastening buckle. This is a really simple but clever piece of design that makes fastening your helmet dead fast and easy. It’s perfect for those early season or early race starts when your fingers are really cold and you can otherwise easily spend time faffing about trying to fasten a standard buckle. That happened to me once in an early season draft legal duathlon at Oulton Park – my hands were so cold that I spent an extra 90secs in transition struggling to do up my buckle and I said goodbye to a decent finishing place. This magnetic fastening buckle would have been very useful that day!
So, this all sounds very positive. So far, seriously good. What would it be like when out on the road? Only one way to find out!
I headed out on the TT bike with the Ekoi Koina firmly donned. It’s amazing how wearing a helmet with a visor that matches the black kit and the black bike makes you feel seriously stealthy and pro! However, to everyone else in the local area that sees you, they quite simply think: ‘Look at that try-hard idiot wearing a ridiculous helmet’!! Anyway, who cares what those non-cyclists think? I believe I’m seriously stealthy and seriously pro – and that’s what counts! Anyway, I headed out for 3 hours in the local Cotswold Hills. It wasn’t simply an easy ride, it was a structured training session involving 5 x 25-minute efforts at Z3 power with 5 minutes easy spin between. This meant I tested the helmet with some decent speed, plenty of time in aero and some seriously heavy breathing to test the ‘fogability’ of the screen. The greatest compliment I can pay the helmet is that I didn’t even notice it throughout the ride. I would have expected my neck to be tired by the end – it usually is after several hours in aero – but it wasn’t at all. There were no vision issues despite it being cold and misty in some points of the ride. All in all, it was impressive!
So, did the helmet live up to all my expectations? I would have to say an unequivocal yes. Ekoi has created a really impressive helmet here: fast, light, solid build, great features and awesomely stealthy looking!
*362g compared to 421g for another leading brand’s aero helmet that I use (weighed on my kitchen scales)
For more information please visit the website.