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With a 60s mod revival in full swing, timely then that the road.cc office should send me Limar's award winning Velov helmet. On the one hand I'm really smitten with its funky design and classically Italian flavour but like so many things promising the best of both worlds, there's a danger it doesn't deliver in either. Tipping the scales at a very commendable 303g (57-62cm) the brief was to overcome the problem of too much ventilation and therefore frozen, soggy scalps through winter or boiled brains in summer.
Essentially Limar have achieved this via four neatly fitting composite panels that plug into what I'm calling a Universal Commuter Shell (or UCS, if any helmet manufacturers out there are short of acronyms); we're talking CE1078 compliant in-mould construction, 14 reasonably generous air scoops, washable anti bacterial pads to retain a comfortably hygienic, socially acceptable persona between tours de Zanussi.
Webbed straps sit surprisingly comfortably against the skin while dialling the perfect fit takes literally seconds, even in gloved hand and on the fly courtesy of the rear cradle's integral adjuster wheel. Its rubberised texture offers good support too, sitting just proud enough to avoid fouling rucksacks, messenger bags and similar rider mounted luggage when glancing over your shoulder. Standards of detailing/finish are reassuringly good, albeit slightly below similarly priced Teutonic competition.
In common with Met's Xilo, it's another fairly shallow design giving a perched sensation but this is soon forgotten after 20 minutes. Panel fit is close but I feared the few millimetres of gap would induce an irksome whistle in all but the most tranquil breezes. However, I needn't have worried and at 20mph, provided sufficient airflow to retain a comfortable inner climate. Midnight missions were as close to gauging cold weather prowess but once again, I could hare along, nudging 40mph on straight descents without distracting roar or painful frontal lobe headaches.
In cabriolet mode, airflow is better than 14 vents would suggest, although a bug net would've been nice, ditto shallow, detachable peak but in fairness it still performs well. By no means a bad lid, but I'd have to say that wearing a waterproof, breathable race cap beneath a regular lid works just as well and is easily parked in a jersey pocket mid ride when not required.
Stylish commuter helmet with closeable vents, works well, but a waterproof cap worn beneath regular lid has much the same effect
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Make and model: Limar Velov helmet
Size tested: one size, White/Black
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?
Limar says little, other than to confirm composition and labelling it as a free-ride/urban model. Certainly an innovator in the style stakes and reasonably effective in use but the jury's out as to whether the panel system will catch on.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
AIR VENTS: Innovative removable cover plate system
SIZE: M (52-57 cm); L (57-62 cm)
WEIGHT: 280 gr; 300 gr plates included
SIZING SYSTEM: Ultrafit+ System with height adjustment
PADS: Antibacterial pads
Nicely finished, although not quite level pegging with German competition.
Impressive by urban/commuter standards.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Velov meets its design brief but chic styling aside, doesn't really offer anything over a standard lid with waterproof breathable cap worn beneath. At moderate speeds and spring temperatures the panels still afford reasonable airflow without distracting roar or painful headaches and the cradle's positioning avoids interference with rider mounted luggage. However, in its naked guise, I missed a peak to keep rain, wind and airborne particles from my face and a bug net is standard fare, even on budget models these days.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Quirky, yet attractive styling, light weight, decent build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular but objectively, a buff or waterproof road cap has much the same effect.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? On balance, no
Would you recommend the product to a friend? A style conscious one
Age: 38 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)