In conversation with HJC

HJC has a massive history in the motorbike world, but now the brand is setting its sights on cycling
By Kieran Howells,

HJC has specialised in the creation of motorcycle crash helmets for over 45 years. The brand has a long and intricate history in the sport of motorcycle racing, maintaining a 20 per cent share of the market. In recent years, the brand has expanded into the cycle sector, and is not setting its sights at the premier position in the bicycle market. To find out more, we talked to UK representative Mark Greshon. 

So HJC obviously has a long and rich history. How and by who was the brand started?
From 1971, HJC have been developing and manufacturing helmets, highly recognised in the field of motorcycling. HJC is well known in that sector with a product that has advanced material construction in both strength and lightweight performance. 45 years of commitment to excellence and advancement in helmet technology, HJC has mastered helmet production to premium standards. The business was started by chairman Mr Hong.

Heritage is important, but so is being able to adapt to modern retail demand. How does HJC stay relevant in 2018?
Although we have a long successful history in motorcycling, we are fully committed to invest in the bicycle industry. We have concentrated our efforts to launch helmets for road cycling and have plans to enlarge the product range from high-end to the upper-mid category. We are also investing in marketing activation such as sponsoring the UCI World Tour team ‘Lotto Soudal’, to promote HJC’s brand values to the consumer.

What kind of research and development goes into releasing a new product?
We’re continuously researching the market to gather consumer trends and response to new product. We also consult pro athletes in field tests with international and domestic pro teams and bring the two data sets together to feed into development. We are consistently testing in-house in our wind tunnel lab cooperating with motor cycle and bicycle helmet engineers to get optimal results.

Can you take us through some of the key elements to helmet safety; in the event of a crash, how does a helmet actually make a difference?
Key elements to this is research accumulated through numerous tests measuring shock absorption performance and impact duration over our years of experience and history. We can apply and adopt these to bicycle helmet manufacture. This development reduces significantly the critical shock to users’ head in the event of an unexpected crash.

What are the best sellers in the HJC range?
It’s early days for the cycling division of our business but the Furion is our best selling product at this stage as worn by Andre Griepel.

Are there many key differences in manufacturing helmets for cycling as opposed to motocross or motorbike riding?
The key difference between them is user environment and speed. HJC apply key factors from motor cycle helmet development such as response to high-speed shocks, ventilation system, weight reduction and other principal techniques to bicycle helmets manufacture.

The helmet market has steep competition in it, what edge does HJC have over other brands?
User fit and quality control as well as our designs and outer shape of our products are oriented on todays and future style demands. The FURION and as well the forthcoming IBEX appeal to the style conscious road rider and both incorporate a high level of safety and performance features for both the demanding enthusiast and pro riders in the Lotto Soudal team.

What does the future hold for HJC?
We are committed to the cycling market and have a number of exciting products in the pipeline. We are also committed to promoting the brand and supporting our riders in the long term. The industry can expect to hear a lot more from HJC!