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The Ekoi AR14 Star Ltd Chrome Gold helmet has a bling, less-is-more design, with no extra Mips or similar protection system and a rear cradle for adjustment that's definitely on the minimal side. It's light, comfortable and neatly finished, and does look awesome in the sun, but you're paying around £100 more for that over the standard options.
For more options, check out our guide to the best lightweight road cycling helmets.
Underneath the bling, the Ekoi AR14 is actually quite a basic helmet. You are getting an EPS (expanded polystyrene) shell with a polycarbonate cover, and it's great to see that Ekoi has extended the shell to cover the bottom of the helmet. Some cheaper lids on the market don't have this, which leaves the exposed EPS at risk to damage from drops and storage.
Inside the AR14 you get a cradle for adjustment, but it only covers the rear half of the helmet – many at this sort of price extend that to at least two-thirds if not all of the way round, which lets you dial in a better fit regardless of head shape.
The Ekoi didn't fit me as well as some: I could tighten the cradle with the dial, and this gave me a snug fit front to back, but around the temples I had a bit of a gap which couldn't be adjusted out. It might suit your head better, and wasn't a huge issue as the AR14 still felt comfortable overall, though there was a small amount of 'wobble' when I was riding on rough roads.
Inside you have some minimal padding. It's not very thick, but still manages to be comfortable and is removable for washing.
One thing Ekoi hasn't scrimped on is the chin strap. The weight saving hasn't stopped here either, with the webbing being two thin straps laced together by an open stitch pattern of material, but you do get a padded chin protector, which is nice, and the magnetic clasp has a soft closure, with less chance of you nipping your skin in it than a clip.
All of this minimalism adds up to a weight of just 228g, so you barely feel it on your head.
The AR14 is an 'aero-esque' road helmet; it isn't fully aero in shape like Kask's Utopia or Specialized's S-Works Evade 3, which are slightly elongated, taking cues from time trial options, but a standard road shape with a lot fewer vents.
From the front there are five vents, two either side low down, with one at the top designed to scoop air in.
You then get another six at the rear to let warm air out.
You can feel the air flowing through, and on rides where the outside temperature was around 18°C I didn't get overly hot, even on the climbs. How well it copes when the temperatures hit the high-20s later in the summer, I'm not sure, but if you are going for an aero helmet, you are probably willing to put up with the venting compromises of this type of lid, and the Ekoi is certainly no worse than others on the market.
A standard colour AR14 will currently cost you £155.05 on Ekoi's website. These limited colours bump that up to – at the exchange rates at the time of writing – £257.74. There are only 100 helmets available in each colour (there's pink, red, blue and white as well as gold).
My biggest issue with that price is that the chrome sections are only stickers, not paint. One of the stickers on this test lid has lifted on the corner, and closer inspection shows a few air bubbles beneath others. It's not the kind of finish I'd expect for this money.
The Kask I mentioned earlier is also a bit cheaper at £245, and has a better finish quality. I found it very comfortable, too.
From a performance point of view the Ekoi does a good job; it's comfortable, even more so if the shape suits you, and the airflow works well. For this kind of money, though, I'm not overly impressed with the finish.
Decent comfort and performance, but overpriced for the limited edition colour
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ekoi AR14 Star Ltd Chrome
Size tested: Medium
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?
Ekoi says, "Used by more than 300 professional road and mountain bike athletes, the AERO14 helmet is available here in a chrome version with a unique and exclusive design.
Created by our expert designers in hyper-customisation, this exceptional series of helmets was worn this year by the professional riders of the Cofidis team in the Tour de France, Euskaltel and Arkea-Samsic in the Vuelta.
It differs from the "classic" AERO14 by its chrome appearance which gives the colour a special shine. The shiny reflections and the subtle gradation accentuate the aerodynamic profile of the helmet. This way, the helmet is sure to make you shine alongside other cyclists and in the peloton."
It's an aero style saddle that performs well, although the limited edition finish does add a chunk of cash.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Aerodynamic model designed and tested in the wind tunnel
- 10 vents
- Magnetic buckle
- ATOP occipital support
- Full In Mold hull: top and bottom
- 6 rear vents
- Foams in Cool max
- Ventilated straps
- Approved for CE and CPSC standards (US CPSC 1203)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For the limited number of vents, airflow is pretty good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The gold finish looks awesome in the sun.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's an extra £100 or so over the standard model.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The HJC Furion 2.0, another road aero helmet, is much cheaper at £180, and it's lighter too. Kask's aero offering is closer in price at £245, but it does include Mips protection, if that's something you would like in your lid.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not the limited edition model, but the standard model would be a yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your overall score
This particular model doesn't feel like a £260 helmet, lacking the adjustment and extra protection systems we normally see for this sort of money. For the performance and weight I'd say the standard colour options would actually make a decent buy, but at an extra £100+ for the gold stickers I'd say its value really brings the score down.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!