RAVAL HELMET COVER
40g (47g with bag) €20 (approx. £17.58 at time of writing)
The Raval Helmet Cover is a middle-weight, universal fit helmet cover from the imaginative Latvian company. Coming from the Baltic, you’d expect it to perform well in a UK winter. I’ve used it on the commute and for general riding, and it has kept of the rain and helped keep the warmth in. That, of course, is just what you’d hope.
Pros: robust, warm.
Cons: fits some helmets more neatly than others.
Raval describe the fabric as “Oxford type” water resistant, with additional reflective material forming the strip running from front to back across the centre. Beyond that, there’s an elasticated hem. This is a universal-fit helmet cover, and, in that context, you’d expect it to fit some better than others.
Over a Kali Therapy Century helmet – large size – it holds firm in place, but the hem does not stretch under the rim of the helmet all the way round. This is not a problem – all the vital bits are easily covered and it has not shifted mid-ride. The same is true of the Kali Lunati Frenzy MTB-style helmet, as well as more commuting-utility orientated designs. On smaller helmets it can envelope the whole. Whatever, it covers the vents and stays in place.
Unfussy; bung it in a cool (say 30degree) wash with the rest of your gear. Personally, I tend to wash water-proof or water-resistant gear together, using a technical or liquid detergent, but the helmet cover does not seem to have suffered too badly from being washed with the family laundry. Drying time, following a wash, is a few hours; following an hour in the rain, it has drip-dried in the office in an hour and a half – faster between showers on the bike.
Setting off for a depressingly rainy commute on a chilly December day, I was pleased to arrive without too much sweat, and with no ingress 5dgerees at 12-15mph). Lower temperatures were ideal, with a general pattern of comfortably warm head. On longer rides the pattern continued, for example over 40 miles in two and a half hours, with the temperature around 5C. I have only felt it necessary to the Showers Pass Cap when the mercury has dropped into sub-zero territory. Using an under-helmet hat, such as the ProViz Classic Under Helmet Skullcap, and it has been too toasty for me, but temperature control can be quite a personal thing and I prefer a cooler feel – especially on the way to work.
I’ll try things out in summer, but my feeling is that when things get warmer, I’ll revert to the additional breathability of a favourite old Gore Tex helmet cover. Having said that, on gentle, leisurely rides, that will be less of an issue. It is worth remembering that Raval are based in the Baltic where winter weather is less temperate than in the UK.
Water-resistant? Well, effectively waterproof, in my experience; tested by rain and by watering can.
The reflective strip gives good added presence front and rear, but can’t match the ProViz 360 Helmet Cover for standing out like a lighthouse.
I’ve scraped it on canal bridge brickwork and overhanging thorn bushes and brambles with out harming it. I’d not deliberately assault it, but there’s definitely a rugged feel.
You can buy a very decent helmet cover for less than £17.58, and some with enticing features. As mentioned already, the ProViz Reflect 360 Helmet Cover reigns supreme for the commuters and night-time trainers, but its sci-fi qualities are not necessarily to everyone’s day-to-day tastes or requirements. Likewise, the Bart Helmet Cover, by Tucano Urbano is even cheaper, performs well for leisure riding and commuting; it has a peak, too, which you may or not feel is desirable. Both are cheaper. Neither, in my opinion, match the breathability of my old Gore Tex cover. However, that will set you back around £35, and is not as warm as the Raval.
A lot may depend on just how cold it gets when you are cycling.
Not the cheapest or the most breathable, but a rugged, universal, helmet cover that does especially well, in my opinion, in colder temperatures. Winter riders, especially those heading away from the road regularly, may appreciate its robust, unfussy, character most.