HJC Valeco helmet review

A great all-rounder, although there are better value options

HJC Valeco helmet
(Image credit: Future)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The HJC Valeco helmet is a great all-rounder, being quite comfy, blending ventilation with aero optimisations and being reasonably lightweight. It also doesn't cost an exorbitant amount compared to some other helmets on the market, although there are some options which offer a similar package for less. There's also a couple of downsides in that the retention strap can slide from its set vertical position and there isn’t a great sunglasses storing solution.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Comfy

  • +

    Reasonably light

  • +

    Venturi Ventilation

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Retention strap can slide from its set position

  • -

    Not great for storing sunglasses

HJC has been manufacturing helmets for almost 50 years and is sponsor to both AG2R Citroen and Israel Premier Tech World Tour teams.

The Valeco fits into the range as a more accessible all-rounder, being cheaper than the Ibex 2.0 and more ventilated than the Furion 2.0 – although still being lighter and more optimised than the cheaper Atara.

Construction: HJC Valeco helmet

Benefiting from 12 ventilation holes, the Valeco is yet another helmet taking advantage of the Venturi effect to combine cooling air flow with aerodynamic efficiency – the air passing through gets accelerated out the back of the helmet.

You can see the same principle at play when you cover the end of a hose with your thumb to make the water spray out more forcefully.

HJC Valeco helmet

(Image credit: Future)

Inside, antibacterial X-Static pads are employed to keep everything fresh, while the ‘occipital cradle’ features the tightening and loosening from a single dial and the height adjustment we’d expect to see from a helmet of this price. 

The claimed weight for a size medium is 245 grams but ours came in at 253 grams, which is within the +/- 10 grams error range HJC gives itself. 

The ride

On the bike, the Valeco was light enough not to feel like an imposition and the straps provided ample adjustment for getting the fit spot on. Likewise, the retention system provided an ample range of adjustment.

However, that is with one caveat. Although I could easily get the retention band to sit low enough when puting the helmet on, I found the band would slide back up quite easily while riding, with it ultimately sitting higher on my head than I would like.

The helmet still felt secure, just not quite as comfortable. Something almost doubly frustrating because if the band had stayed in its set position then the fit would have been perfect. 

HJC Valeco helmet

(Image credit: Future)

Having been riding with the helmet through the UK winter, the ventilation is an aspect I can’t comment on any further than that my head did get quite cold – I'll have to bring an update once the summer hits.

One final thing to note is that there isn’t a great sunglasses storing system. You can just about wedge them in the vents, but it’s not as seamless or quick to do as with other designs.

Value

At £125.00, the Valeco is significantly cheaper than many top performance helmets, while boasting some comparable features. The Giro Aether helmet costs £269.99 / $299.95, while the Specialized S-Works Evade II comes in at £249.99 / $274.99. The Bell Formula is cheaper at £74.99 / $94.95 and we found it to have an excellent fit, although it is a little heavier than the Valeco.

Verdict

The HJC Valeco is a good all-rounder, blending ventilation with aero optimisations, being quite comfy and reasonably lightweight. Compared to the sky-high prices of some other helmets, it's also relatively good value. However, there are some models offering a similar package for less. Also, the retention strap can slide from its set vertical position and there isn’t a great sunglasses storing solution. 

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