The HJC Atara is a comfortable helmet offering a simple and easy riding experience. With its large central intake, sleek aerodynamic design and lightweight construction (only tipping the scales at 214g), it's an aggressive yet visually appealing helmet. It's designed for everyday use and certainly a great choice for road riders new and old, and comes at a decent price – although the lack of extra safety tech is a bit disappointing.
Although the Atara is HJC's entry-level road riding helmet, at first sight you might mistake it for a more expensive road racing lid. As I said above, it features a sleek aerodynamic design centred around an aggressive central intake, and HJC has limited it to a measly 214g, making it ready for fast rides, climbs and everything in between.
It's a well-made helmet – the polycarbonate shell is seamlessly bonded to the EPS liner to prevent turbulence and drag – and I found it more than comfortable for medium to long rides (50-75km) during warm summer days.
HJC claims the Atara benefits from the technical development of its high-end Ibex 2.0 and Furion 2.0 models, amd this is clear to see in the Atara's design, from the Ibex 2.0's intake design to the Furion's big bore exhausts. You also get HJC's Advanced Air Channel System which is designed to increase airflow over the scalp to keep your head cool without adversely affecting aerodynamics.
The Atara certainly offers a quiet ride, with the lack of wind noise increasing my situational awareness, and something I really appreciated while riding through narrow Cheshire lanes.
> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best cycling helmets
However, I found it hard to tell whether the Atara was keeping me well ventilated – I never felt overtly cool, but I didn't feel like I was overheating either. And upon finishing every ride my scalp was noticeably dry to the touch, so the Advanced Air Channel System was clearly working in tandem with the aggressive intake and big bore exhausts.
I found the Atara incredibly comfortable, whether I was rolling over smooth bike paths, down country lanes or up cobbled streets. Naturally, its lightweight design helps, and on longer rides I barely registered I was even wearing a helmet.
HJC has included its adjustable occipital cradle with integrated vertical adjustment to ensure every rider finds the perfect fit. I found it easy to adjust one-handed and was able to find the perfect fit in a matter of minutes. It also means the Atara can comfortably accommodate longer hair.
There are three X-Static pads fitted to the Atara that can easily be removed for handwashing. I had expected the minimal number of pads would result in an uncomfortable riding experience, but this simply wasn't the case. The central forehead pad is noticeably plush, although I think two extra strips of padding on the sides of the head would improve the experience.
Sizing and colours
The HJC Atara is available in three sizes – S (51-56cm), M (55-59cm) and L (58-61cm) – and nine colours, so you'll easily find one that matches your bicycle or apparel.
At £75, it's decent value, especially with its sleek, aerodynamic design, premium materials and light weight. However, there are similarly priced models that come with additional safety tech, such as the Specialized Echelon II MIPS at £80, and, for £15 more, the Lazer Strada with KinetiCore technology at £90.
> All you need to know about Mips
There are cheaper options, though: new riders and those looking for an excellent commuting lid could go for the versatile and significantly cheaper Specialized Align II (only £45!) that Hollis absolutely loved – yes, it's almost twice as heavy as the Atara, but it's still cool and comfortable and as it includes Mips technology it should provide better protection in the event of an accident.
Overall, I really enjoyed riding with the Atara. Thanks to its lightweight construction and three X-Static Pads, I often forgot I was wearing a helmet. Moreover, the in-mould construction and aggressive, aerodynamic design really look the business and are backed up by a smooth and quiet ride. However, it's slightly let down by the lack of additional safety tech featured on rival helmets at this price, and HJC's marketing has slightly stretched its claims of 'optimum ventilation'.
Sleek, aerodynamic and very light lid but ventilation could be better and it lacks the extra safety tech of rivals
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Make and model: HJC Atara Road Cycling Helmet
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?
The HJC ATARA is a road helmet designed for beginners and everyday cyclists. Although realistically, any road rider would find it more than comfortable.
HJC claims the ATARA 'benefits from all the technical development of [its premium] models... the IBEX 2.0 and Furion 2.0" resulting in an aerodynamic and comfortable helmet with a perfect fit. Plus it is "light in weight, easy to adjust to your head size and makes no compromise on security."
On first appearance and certainly after my first ride, it certainly feels like HJC nailed its description of the ATARA. It's comfortable to wear thanks to its easy adjustability, weighs next to nothing meaning you often forget you're wearing a helmet, and, when out riding, wind noise seems almost non-existent which is a testament to its aerodynamic design. If anything, HJC appears to undersell its product - most road riders I'm sure would be more than happy to wear it, whether they're commuting or partaking in a gran fondo.
This is what HJC says, in full:
"The HJC Atara Road Cycling Helmet is an entry-level helmet suited to everyday riding. Drawing directly on the technically progressive design utilised in HJC's top-of-the-line helmets, the Atara is at once lightweight, super comfortable and crucially, protective.
If you're looking to feel the benefits of a beautifully crafted HJC helmet at a lower price point than with flagship models such as the Ibex 2.0 or Furion 2.0, then the Atara will be a solid investment for you.
As with all HJC helmets, the Atara has been developed and refined in HJC's bespoke wind tunnel facility. You can be confident that every detail of its construction is the result of a singular drive for superior aerodynamics, ventilation and protection, which will mean greater enjoyment, performance potential and lasting safety for you on every ride.
If you're looking for a stalwart, stylish helmet that'll perform just how you need it to, day in, day out, then this is a great choice. The Atara is available in a range of timeless block colours and with removable, replaceable and washable inner padding."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Saddleback, HJC's UK distributor:
Weighs only 210g (+/-10).
Developed in HJC's bespoke wind tunnel facility.
Sleek and elegant construction.
Aerodynamic and well-ventilated.
Unisex, universal fit.
Rate the product for quality of construction:
High-quality construction. The in-mould design ensures a seamless blend between the EPS and shell. All parts feel like they're made of high-quality materials.
Rate the product for performance:
Lack of wind noise was incredible and testament to the Atara's design. Ventilation was okay, if a bit underwhelming compared to HJC's claims – it certainly kept the scalp/head dry but could have been cooler.
Rate the product for durability:
The finishing of the Atara doesn't feel cheap and the parts have withstood a few months testing without issue.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
There are lighter lids, but it's up there, tipping the scales at just 214g (below the manufacturer's advised 220g).
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Sizing is spot on for me, and the Atara sat comfortably on my head. Its lightweight design helps, but while the three X-Static Pads absorb vibration and wick sweat away, I think it would benefit from two more X-Static pads along the sides of the head (in line with other similarly styled helmets).
Rate the product for value:
It lacks the extra safety tech of others at this price, though its lightweight design compensates for it somewhat.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lightweight and comfortable over medium-long rides (50-75km) – at times I forgot I was wearing it. I would have liked more ventilation – I felt warm on occasions although my scalp/head did remain dry throughout.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's light, comfortable and easy to wear. The adjustment is spot on and its seamless construction looks the business.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Ventilation could be improved. HJC claims the Atara benefits from the technical development of the Ibex 2.0 and Furion 2.0, but it has half the ventilation of those.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's slightly expensive considering you can buy comparable helmets with additional safety tech, such as the Specialized Echelon II MIPS for just £5 more.
Lazer's Strada KinetiCore Helmet is a little more – £90 – but comes with Lazer's answer to Mips.
Hollis recently reviewed the £45 Specialized Align II helmet and spoke glowingly of it. Although the Align II may have more of an all-round design, it's still an attractive option to road riders, albeit on the weighty side.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, comfortable and easy to chuck on and go.
Would you consider buying the product? On the fence – if it had Mips/KinetiCore or similar, definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they were getting into road riding.
Use this box to explain your overall score
I'd definitely recommend the Atara, and would be more than glad to receive it as a gift, however, I wouldn't go out and buy one. Although I'm a fan, and certainly think it's suited to commuting and general road riding, there are similar spec helmets featuring Mips (or similar safety equipment) as standard at this price point. Yes, they might not be as light as the Atara, but you can't put a price on safety!
Age: 24 Height: 173 Weight: 72
I usually ride: BMC Teammachine SLR ONE My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding,
It is indeed the one you were thinking of. There's an original in the Imperial War Musuem which is where I first found out about it.
Why on earth would you 'presume' that based on what I said above?...
Am I reading you correctly that you think if a helmet doesn't have MIPS (or similar) then it doesn't have any impact protection?🤔
They've started using autocorrect?
My experience in Slovenia is that most residents speak better English than I do
Well - there's always a measure of "change!" Anything new does take time for people to "learn" even if objectively it is safer....
Did you fold the plastic mudguard lip under so it rubbed on the back tyre and sounded like a motorbike?
Sorry meant for another thread…
Is it not that the car separates and protects them from all those around them? The sense of invulnerability is compounded by many decades of...
Indeed - there are always three sides to every story; your version, my version and the truth.