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The Cratoni C-Blaze road helmet is a nicely executed lid offering the sort of performance demanded for racing, but affordable enough for training and everyday riding too. However, despite angular styling and comprehensive range of adjustment it favours regular head shapes, so try before parting with your wedge.
These days, most manufacturers have in-mould techniques sussed but a surprising number of budget to mid-range models are still let down by so-so finish. Thankfully our black/grey sample was blemish free and despite some initial scepticism; the retro reflective stickers have remained firmly attached. It conforms to the usual CE1078 standard.
Achieving a perfect fit takes all of ten seconds thanks to the ratcheted chin strap and stocky thumbwheel closure. This is particularly useful when wearing winter gloves; the serrated texture and positive action seem more convenient than most.
Helmet ventilation was once just a numbers game - Count The Vents - but helmet design has become more scientific, and you now usually get an inlet and exhaust system that's designed to drag cooling air over the scalp and carry rider-generated heat out for a consistently temperate inner climate. The C-Blaze nudges 200g and sports 21 vents and I've barely noticed it. Alternating between it and supposedly airier models suggests additional vents will only present a noticeable advantage in stonking hot weather more typical of the Mediterranean than blighty.
Meanwhile, back in rural north Essex, chill, blustery descents at 45mph failed to induce painful 'ice cream' headaches, or that irksome whistling that can stifle communication on group rides. Slower ascents confirmed the exhaust system's worth, retaining an even temperature throughout, and the low density, machine washable Clean Tex pads and chin straps mopped up excess sweat. The bug netting should bar entry to kamikaze insect life.
On the flip side, recent rains of biblical proportion had us soaked given twenty minutes or so but I'm pleased to confirm it appears compatible with standard Gore-Tex covers.
Competent and very likable road helmet, though one favouring standard head shapes, so try before you buy.
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Make and model: Cratoni C-Blaze RD
Size tested: Uni
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?
"Attractive Allrounder - Our C-BLAZE is characterized by an attractive prize performance ratio and an outstanding finish. Perfect fit and wearing comfort is achieved through our reliable 360° adjustment system and additional height adjustment sidewards".
Bold claims but broadly agree.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* "21 Air vents
* Removable visor incl. visor-pins
* Rearlight compatible
* Height adjustment sideways
* Inmolded insect protective net
* Strap dividers for easy handling
* Ratchet buckle incl. chin pad
* Clean Tex pads
* Incl. spare pads
* Bag included
* Weight: 220 g"
To a better standard than I've come to expect at this price point.
Holding up nicely against the rigours of everyday service thus far.
Highly unobtrusive—barely noticed it.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Cratoni C-Blaze is an extremely capable all-rounder that delivers the sort of performance demanded from a competition lid, while remaining user friendly and versatile enough for generic road riding, whether audax, club runs or commuting.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything given the design criteria and asking price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing of note.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for general road riding or riders seeking a good entry level race lid.
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)