The Koina was debuted at Kona 2017 and, as top German triathlete Patrick Lange’s helmet of choice, it’s now been ridden to successive Ironman World Championship victories. While the odd Kona/Ekoi hybrid name doesn’t work for us, we were keen to try it for ourselves now it’s finally available on the market to triathletes.
While in recent years TT helmets have been getting rounder and stubbier, the Koina is part of a new breed that provides an in-between. There is a tail but it’s short, and head-on the shell has quite a wide frontal area. Ekoi claim the Koina has done plenty of time in the wind tunnel to perfect aerodynamics, and the tail is specifically shaped to avoid contact with the shoulders to minimise turbulence.
The large retention dial at the rear is easy to access, and there’s a magnetic buckle to speed up fastening time in transition. The section that covers the ears is very rigid indeed, meaning we had some difficulty getting it on and freeing the straps at the side to fasten. It’s doable (Patrick Lange manages it), but definitely isn’t the easiest TT helmet to get on at speed.
The ventilation is via a large slot at the top and a hole at the rear for air to pass through. There are also some small strategic gaps in the visor to provide extra airflow, which we found was enough to avoid overheating on long rides.
The visor is magnetic and very easy to get on and off, potentially useful mid-race if you need to remove it momentarily to shake off excess sweat. Our dark mirrored version worked well in a wide range of conditions from overcast through to a sunny autumn day without misting up, even in cold temperatures. You can also get blue or red mirrored versions.
Like all Ekoi’s helmets, the Koina complies with the European Union’s CE safety standard, but isn’t specifically tested to US or Australian standards. The ITU and Ironman recognise the EU test no matter what country you’re racing in, but it’s worth checking rules with organisers if you’re racing with the Koina outside Europe to avoid a costly extra purchase at a tri expo.
Overall we like the ventilation offered by the Koina and, if Lange’s results are anything to go by, it’s definitely fast. But we’d just like less of a wrestle to get it on to avoid potential time-wasting in transition. Although the price is steep, Ekoi’s customisation option on their website allows you to choose multiple colours, designs and even add your name to further sweeten the deal.
Verdict: Slightly awkward fitting, but a comfortable and well ventilated TT helmet, 84%
Buy from www.ekoi.fr