The arrival of HJC to the bicycle helmet market (the company has been making motorcycle helmets for 50 years) has brought a focus on aerodynamics, with every helmet in its range – from the WorldTour team-worn Ibex 2.0 (Israel Start-Up Nation and AG2R Citroën Team) down to the £90 Atara – developed with wind-tunnel time.
The Valeco sits one up from the Atara and two below the flagship Ibex, and is pretty light for an aero lid at 272.5g for a size large.
Its slender shaping makes for a good-looking helmet, while the finish is top grade, thanks to a clean integration of the hardshell into the EPS core with no uneven joins. The shell wraps under the brim of the helmet, protecting it from accidental damage.
Internally, the Valeco comprises a skeleton that reinforces the foam core, which HJC claims adds further protection for you in the event of a crash. It also allows the company to use multiple densities of EPS foam, enabling extra protection in high-stress areas and lower density foam in less important areas to keep weight to a minimum.
The seven forward- and seven rearward-facing vents make for an airy fit, with further heat regulation from the inside channels in the EPS moving air across your head.
The rear of the EPS core, however, is solid, so on warmer, hotter rides, the back of the helmet can become sweaty around the nape of your neck.
The slimline rear occipital cradle offers a generous 4cm of vertical adjustment and plenty of manoeuvrability horizontally via the micro-adjusting dial. The webbing straps have easy-to-adjust splitters, while the ends of the strap are finished with caps – a quality touch.
The X-Static pads are minimal, but the helmet’s ovalised shape fits well, the pads are washable, and you receive a second set of pads and a protective bag for your helmet, too.
I’d like to have seen MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) or a similar anti-rotation system, as much of the competition around this price point will include that feature.