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With styling, safety, weight and ventilation comparable with models twice the price, Canyon's Excel race helmet illustrates how far mid range lids have evolved, to the point where making distinctions between models is very difficult.
However, for all its good points the detailing and overall finish quality of our test sample was disappointing.
Canyon are a largely Internet based, straight to the consumer bike brand - you can find them in about 100 shops in the UK too, but they distribute direct which theoretically means savings get ploughed into better spec. Conformity to CE1078 and in mould construction are what you'd expect at this end of the market – the latter process simply means the foam liner is blown into the hard shell as it forms.
This has two major advantages. Firstly, it allows improved ventilation for less weight without compromising strength or protection, reducing production costs into the bargain. Twenty-four well-conceived vents and machine washable anti bacterial pads bode well for a hygienic and comfortable inner climate while the universal head-ring system affords a perfect fit in seconds. A marked lack of Scotchlite reflectives offended my sensibilities, but I'm pleased to report the head ring makes a very serviceable small to medium LED caddy.
Out on the road minor niggles quickly evaporated and I have been pleasantly surprised by the low weight and the constant cooling breeze whistling through my hair. Riders prone to ice-cream headaches could either wear a buff, or stretch cling film over the shell, providing some additional shower protection into the bargain. With an old school trade cap beneath, the Edge assumes the persona of a remarkably competent trail lid which is great news if you partake in a bit of 'cross or forest fun. Despite my misgivings, the shell finish hasn't deteriorated with the usual everyday carelessness, cleaning up like new given a once-over with a clean cloth.
Lightweight, stylish and extremely comfortable helmet let down slghtly by finer detailing
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Make and model: Canyon Excel Race Helmet
Size tested: 58 - 62 cm
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?
"Giving you the ultimate protection where you need it most whilst being cool and aerodynamic. This helmet is a serious contender to the other helmets in its class!". On balance, I'm inclined to agree.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Road / Race style helmet with double In-Mould integrated bonded shell & SOFTLOK 2 fully adjustable headband and harness fitting system.
24-dynamic design air flow vents for ultimate comfort, padded chin buckle guard & Airmesh inner pads.
Race inspired graphics over black EPS base. Weight: 244 grams.
Small/Medium - 54-58cm
Large/X-Large - 58-62cm
Finish was below par on our test model.
Very unobtrusive at 225g
Great airflow,tactile straps and fittings with excellent ventilation to boot.
Generally very good value for money but the finish of our test model was disappointing and competition is very fierce at this price-point.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Minor niggles forgotten, the excel is a very lightweight and stylish competition lid with excellent airflow and surprising levels of comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Low weight, sharp styling, great comfort/airflow.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Quality of finish, specifically the outer-shell.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Age: 37 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)