Date reviewed: July 2018 | Tested by: BikeSocial Test Team| Price: From £113.99 | www.held.de
Priced at £113.99 for plain colours, or £122.99 for graphics, the Held Travel Champ II is a relatively affordable flip-front helmet. Graham Mudd, BikeSocial Test Team member, has been using one for the past two months on his Suzuki Burgman 650…
Made of ABS plastic, this matt grey Travel Champ II has black graphics and feels good to the touch. The graphics are very well defined, and only when looking really closely can you see the layering; a very good finish for such a low-priced helmet.
The flip-front uses an easy system to raise the chin bar – a button built into the chin is simple to operate with a pinch, regardless of the thickness of gloves being worn, and locks into place with a solid click. While it’s only tested for use as a full-face when riding, the flip stayed up regardless of the speed being travelled at; even a sizeable nod of the head will not persuade the lid to close on its own.
At 1743g, the Travel Champ II is a relatively heavy helmet, even by flip-front standards; the Shoei Neotec for instance (which is substantially more expensive), weighs 1679g. In this price range there are lighter options, but this is still not going to cause any undue discomfort.
There are two independently closeable vents on the top of the helmet, and one on the front. The exhaust vent is always open.
While all easy to operate, the vents make little discernible difference in use, though in hot weather you can of course ride with the chin open.
The helmet is very still inside, thanks to an effective chin curtain. In the cold weather, while the helmet will be warmer, the lack of effective vents is a problem.
The visor is fairly easy to remove and refit, thanks to a lever on either side. It opens on a smooth, three position ratchet, using a thumb tab in the middle (great, and it’s easier to use with your right hand than one on the left when holding the clutch in). It can be just cracked off the latch, but it’d be good to have this opening further, without having to go all the way to the half open-position.
A Pinlock can be fitted, but one isn’t supplied – as the very small visor crack setting doesn’t effectively demist the lid very quickly, and the next stage is very wide, it would be worthwhile investing in one (from around £20), or using an anti-fog coating.
In heavy rain, the visor does tend to leak at the left and right along the top edge, but unfortunately it’s not possible to cure it by adjusting the mechanism’s side plates.
The drop-down sun shield is very useful, coming down well and only just touching my nose, blocking out almost all the light; a well-designed system that’s tinted enough to be comfortably dark in bright sunlight, but not so dark that you need to raise it when clouds pass.
The lining is simple to remove and refit for cleaning. The polystyrene shell has cut-outs for speakers, but I found them too shallow; if you’re likely to use an intercom, it’s worth checking if yours will be flush inside for a comfortable fit.
The operation of the micrometric ratchet buckle is really good – it’s easy to use even with thick gloves on and gives a reassuringly solid click.
Sizing and comfort is always subjective, but I found the Held sizing to be very tight – to the point that I needed the next size up from my usual.
I did find it had a pressure point above my eyes – it wasn’t painful, but it was distracting… your head may well be quite different.
The cheek padding is very thick, and there are no cut-outs for glasses – while mine sat squarely on my face, the arms were pushed painfully into the backs of my ears by the firm liner; if you’re a specs wearer, just make sure you try it first.
As good as the seal is at stopping the air getting in, the Travel Champ II does seem a bit noisy. It goes without saying you should wear ear plugs on longer journeys regardless of helmet, but the Held makes it essential. At 50mph I was struggling to hear the music and intercom over the sound… I’d liken it to an RAF Typhoon flying past.
I’m a big fan of Held – the company’s winter gloves are some of the best I’ve ever owned – but the Travel Champ II was a bit of a disappointment for me due to the lack of a channel for my glasses and the leaky visor.
The flip mechanism and drop-down sun-shield are excellent, but even at this low price, there’s some stiff competition you could also consider.