Ekoi’s company mantra is ‘cycling differently’, and since the company was founded back in 2001 its CEO Jean-Christopher Rattel has aimed to produce high-quality cycling clothing that's available direct to market for a much lower price than the competition.
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Rattel’s other aim is to make Ekoi more of a community by actively encouraging feedback from customers, opinions good or bad, along with plenty of long term, real world testing to inform the brand and help it to improve products.
Olivier Roux, Ekoi's export manager, tells us: The relationship is vital, be it through the website or our Facebook page (with over 40,000 members) we get direct feedback on products and how we can improve. For instance, if something shows a problem we can remove it from sale within days and provide alternatives."
In addition to this approach to feedback, Ekoi invites 40 of its best customers globally to an annual VIP riding weekend, and has done since 2014. This year we were invited along to the event in Chatel in the French Alps to ride and check out Ekoi's new range.
Despite being huge in its French homeland, until now we’ve seen little of Ekoi’s products here, aside from interesting innovations like the Solair jersey — which it claims will rid you of jersey tanlines — or winter wear with built in LED technology.
That said, its sponsorship of AG2R should bring it more exposure, along with its sunglasses sponsorship of Quickstep.
Ekoi 2018 range highlights
Corsa Light helmet
Ekoi’s Corsa light helmet is a classic hugely-vented road helmet that stands out from the crowd with its use of coloured EPS foam cores.
The helmet is available in fluro orange, yellow, blue, and even white contrasting foam bodies. It tips the scales at a scant 210g for a L/XL size and is priced at £100.97, which comes a long way under its competitors' lightweight lids. It's currently on sale at £60.58, which is entry-level helmet money for a pro-level race lid.
Rattel tells us that next season there are two new road helmet models available. One takes its inspiration from classic road head protection (the original sausage-style head protection), and we’ve seen the prototype and its minimal, and retro looking, but still modern in its construction.
The second is a new super-light version of the Corsa Light, which has been built with input from Roman Bardet and the rest of the AG2R team for the toughest and hottest climbs in the Grand Tour. It will be available in four sizes and it claims the weight will be just 160g for a size medium, which if it can fulfil should make the new helmet the lightest in the world.
Aerodynamic magnetic helmet
Ekoi has also recently launched an aero road helmet, the Aerodynamic magnetic — magnetic because of the magnetic clamp. It was developed with input from the AG2R team and has been worn by Belgian road race champion Oliver Naesen.
It's only available in one size (a wide ranging medium), but unfortunately it's a little on the snug size for this large-lid wearer. It weighs 250g and is priced at £73.43 / $96.21, which is by far the cheapest aero road helmet we’ve seen.
The Persevo glasses, as worn by Fabio Aru and Marcel Kittel, are another interesting highlight and are priced at £54.60 / $74.50.
The glasses can be customised when ordering online; choose from frame colour, nose bridge colour, arm colours (you can even choose different left and right arms), rubber tips for the arms and nose pads. There are five different lens colours and types too.
Ekoi claims that any combination you choose from the thousands available will be shipped within 24 hours.
New bib shorts and pads
Ekoi offers its bib shorts in five different models with numerous colour and design variations in between.
The top model Morph bib short promises a one-size fits all design by using a seamless, tubeless manufacturing technique and a fabric that’s lighter than standard Lycra. The shorts are much faster wicking than before (1.9x faster) and much more elastic. It claims the short and bib sections conform to your body shape, which means that sizing isn’t as critical. We’ve yet to try these though, so will reserve judgement until then.
Like Endura, Ekoi designs its own pads to suit different riders, but where Endura’s model is based on sit bone width and ride position, Ekoi bases its on rider weight. With its new Progel memory pad customers can select a pad according to their weight.
One of the most interesting other pads in the range is the SAT. This was developed in conjunction with the University of Milan and the pad itself is only stitched to the short on its perimeter edge so the central section is split into two pieces, which it claims gives a much freer movement and a closer and friction-free fit.
The shorts range from £156.05 / $163.71 for the Morph short to £73.43 for the Comp 10 pro bibs.
There was plenty more kit on show too, have a look in the gallery above to see more from Ekoi.