Jam packed with safety features and capability plus class leading comfort makes the Echelon II MIPS a challenger for best budget helmet. It's just a little weighty.
By James Bracey
The Echelon has been part of Specialized's road lineup for several years now. And in this time it has had a few changes. A complete overhaul a couple of seasons ago saw the launch of the Echelon II, a more recent update added MIPS and this latest 2019 model sees provision to mount a safety system called ANGi.
The Echelon II has one of the most sculpted, organic profiles of any helmet in its class with not a single straight line in sight. Producing one of the best looking helmets by far. To make this shaping possible Specialized use an internal structure made using composite materials to allow them to pare away the EPS polystyrene material that makes up the main helmet body whilst still retaining strength. This leaves the Echelon II with thirty one air vents arranged in conjunction with a series of inner air channels to port air in, along and out of the helmet keeping your head cool.
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A MIPS liner adds an extra safety measure, reducing rotational forces but does add weight to the overall package. The latest safety innovation from Specialized, ANGi, can be accommodated on the retention band at the back of the helmet. This small device connects to a phone and acts as a ride tracker, crash detector and safety beacon. It can detect a potential crash situation and contact any emergency numbers you have saved with your location. There is an additional cost obviously but it could be a neat addition.
The Echelon II is an incredibly comfortable helmet and sits well with many head shapes. The retention system has more vertical adjustment than most others and it also encircles the head fully creating a very secure and stable environment. The straps lack adjustability but the TriFix fitment sit in almost the perfect spot to keep things comfortable.
All this sophisticated construction plus the additional safety features make the Specialized Echelon II MIPS a touch portly. The similarly equipped Giro Foray MIPS, for example, is sixty grams lighter. It isn't overly heavy though and the comfort and air flow is good enough to outweigh the extra few grams.
The Echelon II MIPS also has additional visibility to add even more safety. The straps have a reflective strip woven in and reflective stickers at the back aid rear visibility.
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