The HJC Gleo Kids Cycling Helmet is one of the best-looking children's helmets I've ever come across, with some neat features that elevate it above the competition, including a FidLock buckle, an easy-to-operate self-adjusting cradle, and customisable holes at the top of the helmet. It's pretty light, too, but you're paying a premium for it.
The Gleo has an in-mould structure, whereby the EPS inner is bonded to the polycarbonate shell, which HJC says offers 'greater structural strength'. It's CE certified to the EN 1078 safety standard.
> Buy now: HJC Gleo Kids Cycling Helmet for £80 from Saddleback
It's a very funky-looking helmet, available in four very cool matt colours, including blue/white, navy/blue, pink/mint, and the grey/pink on test. It can also be customised thanks to optional decorative accessories that can be fitted to the top of the helmet – at present these are a green plant with two green lugs, and three white horns.
Although they might sound a little silly, my kids certainly thought the plant accessory, which is included as standard, was cool. The horns are a separate purchase, an additional €16,50 (about £14.30) which is pretty steep, though I couldn't actually find them for sale anywhere.
The only downside is, when fitted, these accessories slightly restrict ventilation.
The Gleo is only available in one size, a small, which is 49-55cm. HJC says it weighs 230g, but it came up at 252g on our scales – I imagine that might be without the helmet accessories fitted, as they weigh about 30g. Either way, it's still pretty light, and although the helmet feels quite substantial, it's not bulky at all.
Inside the box you also get a spare set of pads for the liner, so you can keep the helmet in action while one set is washed.
One of the best aspects of the HJC Gleo is how well it fits, and how easy it is to adjust. Inside, the plastic cradle is adjustable in five ways fore and aft, and two ways up and down at the rear. I set this to its tightest setting, which makes me believe there's plenty of room for it to grow as your little one gets bigger, although it depends on what size and shape head they have.
Once the cradle position is set to the best fit for their head, the helmet automatically adjusts to suit each time you put the helmet on, thanks to the Selfit system. This neat system consists of a spring-loaded section at the back, which automatically adjusts to a snug but comfortable fit on the back of the head, ensuring the helmet is never loose, nor too tight to bother your child.
Though a conventional adjustable wheel at the back of the helmet isn't a big deal to operate, the Selfit system means it's one less thing to fiddle with when you need to get somewhere and you're trying to put a helmet on a somewhat reluctant child.
In terms of padding, the Gleo has six nicely cushioned pads in total on the inside of the helmet – two for the top of the head, two wide pads at the side, one at the front and one for the self-adjusting rear section.
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Complementing the Cleo's excellent fitment system is the Fidlock magnetic buckle, which is a bit of a revelation. My kids really dislike the conventional push connector, as they tend to get stressed out about it catching the skin on the underside of their chin (which has happened), but no such worries here – just delicately join both ends of the connector and it snaps into place.
On the strap side of things, there's plenty of adjustment here to suit longer heads; my five-year-old is slightly above average height and the strap was on the tightest setting. The adjustable wide divider at each side makes it very easy to individually adjust the head straps and get the perfect fit.
The Gleo is pretty well ventilated with a large intake at the front to draw air in and circulate it over the top of the head, while the three ports on the top act like an exhaust port, to draw warm air out.
Does it really work? Well, unfortunately a five-year-old doesn't really give too much away, so we'll just have to assume it does. She certainly never complained, even in the summer heatwave. As I mentioned earlier, the decorative accessories do block the exhaust vents when fitted, but at least they're very easy to remove.
The Gleo is by far and way the most expensive child's helmet I've come across. At £80 it's about £55 more than my daughter's Giro Scamp.
The Vitus Noggin is £29.99 (currently £29.99 on Wiggle), and even Specialized's Mio MIPS, which also features a magnetic buckle along with the protection-enhancing MIPS safety system, is much less at £50.
There's no denying that the Gleo is a very good helmet, which offers a great fit and ease of use, and the decorative accessories certainly do spice things up a little, but the price is pretty astronomical.
Brilliant helmet for little kids, but the price tag is out of this world
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Make and model: HJC Gleo Kids 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?
HJC says, "GLEO is a helmet for children.
It is a helmet for children that focuses on safety and convenience based on the vast database accumulated from the development of our motorcycle, road and urban bicycle helmets.
The customizable hole at the top of the helmet allows users to attach various accessories which children like.
The cushioned inner padding provides a comfortable fit and the magnetic buckle enables the user to take the helmet on and off very quickly and easily.
The GLEO helmet may look adorable on its own but looks even better when it is worn by children."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
In Mold Structure
SELFIT is an automatic self-adjusting fitting system
Snap fit system
Advanced Ventilation System
FIDLOCK Magnetic buckle
Rate the product for quality of construction:
High-quality build and flawless finish.
Rate the product for performance:
The Gleo does everything very well.
Rate the product for durability:
So far so good, the decorative accessories potentially prevent the top of the helmet getting scratched when your child inevitably drops it.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:
Absurdly expensive versus similar helmets.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty faultless – great fit, easy to operate and has decent ventilation.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The magnetic buckle and self-adjusting fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing other than the price tag.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's £55 more than the popular Giro Scamp, £60 more than the skate-inspired Vitus Noggin, and even £30 more than the Specialized Mio MIPS, which also features a magnetic buckle, and with MIPS has arguably better safety credentials.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I don't think I could justify spending that much on a helmet that wouldn't last for ever.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your overall score
Although it's far more than most of us would probably consider spending on a kid's helmet, the HJC Gleo does offer a brilliant performance. It fits well, is comfortable to wear and looks fantastic. The customisation is cool, though your kids might not care for it.
Age: 39 Height: 6'4 Weight: 175lbs
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,
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