Monday, 4 May 2020

Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Running Poles Review



I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z-Poles. For those who don't know, Harrier are a new British company supplying trail running gear. You can reach their website here 
As the whole world is currently under some sort of lockdown I'm unable to take the poles out for a thorough test in the hills, but I did get to try them out on my local hill, so I'm doing an initial test review now and I'll update it once we're allowed back into the mountains.

First Impression

The first thing I liked about my delivery of Harrier goods was the packaging which was compostable. For a new small company, that really can be commended, and is something the bigger corporate guys should take note of..
My delivery consisted of 2 soft flasks, a dry bag and of course the Helvellyn Carbon Z-poles. The poles come in 2 lengths; 
Regular; for height 5ft 2" - 5ft 9". Pole length 110cm-125cm, 209g per pole, 36cm collapsable length,  and 
Long; for height 5ft 9" +. Pole length 120cm-135cm, 223g per pole, 37cm collapsable length. 
I had the long.


The poles come in a handy little carry case. It's not something I would take out with me running, but it is a nice little extra and keeps the poles stored tidily away at home.
The poles are slightly heavier than my current poles, BD Distance z aluminium (188g), but they are different poles so there's no fair comparison there. I will touch on this later.
The Helvellyn's come with carbonite tips, tip covers and mud baskets. The handle straps have a soft fleece lining and are adjustable, I had it on the smallest setting and that was perfect for me. The handles themselves are made of a soft to touch durable EVA foam and are a good size. The handles are thicker than other poles I've used but I found the Helvellyn's just right for my hands. A lot of poles have thinner handles, I assume to save weight and to make them fold smaller, but personally I prefer the thicker handles.
And finally, probably the most important, they look good....


On test

On the day of testing I wore my old 5l Kalenji running vest which doesn't have a pole attachment so I attached the poles to my Salomon running belt. Having any poles on a running belt means you get a bit of bounce, but I don't mind it and once you get going you fall into a bit of a rhythm and don't notice the bounce at all. The Helvellyn poles fold down quite small so fit perfectly on my belt. This is where they have a big advantage over the BD's. When I have the BD's on my belt my arms catch the poles when I run, as they are too long when folded up. I found the baskets a bit too big to fold the poles up neatly so didn't put them on. The baskets will be useful on muddier ground but would get in the way on rockier terrain. This is something I believe Harrier may change in the future.





On the hill the poles handled very well. They open and lock in place very easy and quickly. There's also a satisfying click when the pole is locked in place. They were light in the hand and had a good swing. And on the hills is where the adjustable poles have an advantage over fixed poles. I found the BD poles I have are a little too long on the uphill and just a bit too short on the downhill. Having the opportunity to adjust by up to 15 cm is great. I was able to adjust them to make them a little longer on the downhill meaning I didn't feel I was bending my back unnecessarily. And because they're adjustable they are slightly heavier than my aluminium poles. The weight difference is not really noticeable and personally I prefer a sturdier pole. Lighter poles feel like they could break at any time...



Conclusion

I really like these poles and will be the first I go to, especially if I'm carrying them on my belt. At a price of only £69.99 they are very competitive. 
Are they the lightest poles around? No. Are they the cheapest? No.. Are you going to get a better pole for the price..? I doubt it.. These poles are perfect for beginners and intermediate runners alike, so if you are in the market for some new poles why not support a new British company.. All details of the poles can be seen here

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