Endura's Pro SL helmet offers the sorts of safety features normally found on helmets at far higher prices. It also fits well, is light and looks great. However the lack of decent airflow makes this a helmet more suited to cooler conditions or steadier efforts.
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Endura has been steadily producing a range of helmets to run parallel with its clothing lines for some time now. The Pro SL is designed to accompany Endura's top tier kit and as such benefits from the best tech and materials the brand has used on a helmet to date.
Out of the box and the Pro SL is a traditional looking (read: non-aero styled) helmet. It follows the modern approach of using an in-moulded construction method to bond the harder outer shell to the standard polystyrene type main body. Where it differs is in its use of two different outer shell sections. This allows Endura to use sections of different colours such as the blue and grey of this example. One thing that I did notice is that the moulding process of the lower section seems to be completely smooth and seamless whereas the upper section has a few edges that display little gaps between shell and body - something that could cause issues further down the line.
Fit wise, this helmet really suits my head shape which is more oval with slightly flat sides rather than being a more classic oval or rounder shape. There are no odd bumpy bits or sections that caused pressure that I felt at all during the testing period.
Endura sell the Pro SL in a S/M, M/L or L/XL rather than individual sizes, a system I'm often at odds with. With a 56cm head size I tend to sit in between options. Choosing the M/L (55-59cm) I was expecting the usual issue of having it fitting when retention is wound in but with an overly large profile - think mushroom. With the Pro SL I have been pleasantly surprised with how low profile it actually is on my head and to be honest, although I wouldn't normally say so, it's quite flattering.
As with its mountain bike specific MT500 helmet, Endura has opted to incorporate Koroyd into the Pro SL's safety armoury. These sections of plastic tubing are designed to compress in a more uniform way than polystyrene alone, effectively acting as super efficient crumple zones to help reduce impact force and resultant head injuries. Fortunately I haven't properly put it to the test but it's always better to have more safety than less in my personal opinion. It's worth noting that normally helmets with a full complement of Koroyd such as the Pro SL exhibits tend to sell closer to the £200 mark, so this is quite a bargain from this point of view.
Retention is handled neatly using an easy to use rear facing dial attached to relatively thick straps that encompass approx. 270 degrees of the head. Incremental changes to tension are small and make fine-tuning fit really easy. The cradle also has three vertical positions for adjusting where it sits on your head.
The straps are soft and comfortable and are easily adjusted to sit on the jawline without having to spend ages dealing with fiddly clasps or finely balancing strap positions. Finally the internal padding is thick, comfortable and has a double layer construction that helps keeps sweat away from your skin pretty well.
Talking about sweat, airflow is the one chink in the Pro SL's armour. Even though there are fourteen sizeable vents, including three quite large forward facing ones, air flow is not as good as expected.
I found that as soon as the temperature increased or I got efforts underway, I encountered heat build up. This seems to be down to the fact the Koroyd tubes sit in a more vertical fashion and in doing so affectively block off a large amount of potential airflow. This has to be to do with creating optimum safety performance as fully horizontal tubes would be hard to crush in a frontal impact. Compounding matters the helmet also sits low on the head and lacks any noticeable internal channelling. This means the inner surface touches a large area of the cranium, preventing the free flow of air over the head.
With this in mind, the Pro SL might not be the best helmet for riding in hot or calm conditions, but if like most of us in the UK and similar climate zones you're used to cool or windy conditions the level comfort, safety and looks will still make the Pro SL a pretty decent choice.
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