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Spiuk Dharma Helmet £119.95

The Dharma is Spanish manufacturer Spiuk's top-end helmet and comes with a variety of features and accessories including a removable aero shell.

The Dharma helmet comes with a peak which is mostly pointless as it's only an inch wide at it's deepest point so it's too small to be much use as either a rain guard or sun shade. It serves no purpose other than as a styling exercise, but luckily it's easily removed and forgotten.

Also included is Spiuk's Double Pads Kit, that's an anti-insect mesh with its own padding that fits in place of the existing pads in the front of the helmet and puts a thin airy material barrier over the vents. So if your life is plagued by insects and locusts making a bee-line for your helmet then you might want to swap over to this lightweight screen.

More on-trend than either of those two attachments is the clip-on plastic aero shell. Spiuk don't trot out any impressive claims about how much time the shell will save you over 25km compared to an unfaired helmet, but don't let that stop you clipping it on to help you snaffle that Fast Bronze sportive time. Alternatively and probably more pragmatically useful you can press it into service as a rain cover or a vent shield to keep your noggin warm over the winter months. The shell leaves the two temple vents out front and the rear exhausts open so some air does filter through and there's still somewhere to poke your glasses but it's does make your head noticeably warmer. Popping the shell on will add 40g to the helmet.

Free of the aero shell, ventilation is taken care of with 20 vents. There are no bold claims about any special breezy technology infused into the helmet or the wind channeling capabilities magically induced by the placement of their vents, all Spiuk say is that it has an extraordinary helmet ventilation system.

Extraordinary might be putting it a bit strongly. As helmet venting goes it was perfectly fine, not as visually gappy as some other helmets but over a pleasingly long summer with some excursions to even warmer climes, with proper climbs, the Dharma never felt an uncomfortable sweatbox nor like sticking your head in a wind-tunnel. Just pretty normal airiness for a modern helmet really.

The straps are traditional helmet strap fare: standard buckle closure with adjustment via click shut yokes under each ear to get things just so. There's a little rubber loop to tuck away the loose strap ends. Take note, people, it's there to be used.

Spiuk's interpretation of an adjustable cradle is their W-Precision X1, probably named because it looks like a squashed X. The cradle has a three-position up/down adjustment to get the most comfortable fit on your head, and it's padded to further that end. It tightens to your skull with a very positive thumbwheel that's easy to play with on the move and in a deviation from the norm the thumbwheel has to be pushed in and turned anti-clockwise to release the tension. It's a very effective design.

The internal space of the Dharma is quite round, but with slightly flattened off sides, but those with thin slab-sided heads need not face away as the W-Precision X1 does a good job of fitting the helmet to most shaped heads. With the fore anchoring points of the cradle right up near the temple it wraps around the most awkwardly shaped skull, even if externally it can look mushroomy on narrower heads. It's quite a deeply sculpted space too, making the Dharma sit further down and around the head, which adds to the sense of security compared to some other helmets that can feel a bit 'perchy' on the skull.

When it comes to protection the Dharma has that covered with Spiuk's Conehead system. Spiuk inject their Conehead helmets with a dual density foam to create a stronger outer that absorbs impact better than the average helmet with lower density areas closer to the head for the low impact areas. This means the outer of the helmet is more resistant to the day-to-day knocks and scuffs, accidental drops and maybe the odd bump that may compromise other helmets' integrity, while the lower-density internal layer still offers sufficient impact protection when needed.

It's a system that, at least on the aesthetic front, seems to work. After a season of use, what exposed foam there is on the Dharma isn't showing the dents and nicks that other helmets can exhibit after being thrown on café tables and rattled round the boots of cars. The included microfibre bag also helps with this lack of degradation, it has to be said.

The majority of the Dharma is covered with an in-moulded protective shell, like most helmets these days. That fuses the shell to the inner EPS, and the whole lot is designed to work as one piece to diffuse energy on impact. Further helping impact protection is the Spiuk Supercage offering extra front strength in polypropylene and ABS.

All of that means the Dharma meets CE-EN 1078 helmet standards, but unfortunately the test period failed to come to any sudden conclusion as to whether it met those standards or not, nor did the test period include a identical crash in a helmet built to the same standards but at a fraction of the cost to see if the Spiuk was worth the extra money. Sorry to disappoint.

But for the 99.999999% of the time you'll be wearing a helmet the Spiuk Dharma did what all good helmets should do, and that was to be pretty much unnoticeable. The W-Precision X1 retention system ensures the helmet fits to most heads and has enough adjustment to make it comfortable, while the 20 vents keep your head from cooking.

If the green version you see here isn't your thing you'll be pleased to know the Dharma comes in eight other colours, some of them less garish, so you can match your helmet to jersey to bike to socks to nail varnish.

Verdict Comfortable, light enough, vented enough helmet with added aero/rain shell and mosquito net

Overall Rating: 7/10

If you have enojyed this article check out more great reviews at Road CC.

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Technical specifications are for guidance only and cannot be guaranteed accurate. All offers are subject to availability and while stocks last. Errors and omissions excepted. Silverfish UK Limited acts as a credit intermediary and only offers credit products for Close Brothers Retail Finance. Its registered office is: Close Brothers Group plc, 10 Crown Place, London EC2A 4FT. Credit is subject to application and status.

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