Triathlete.com

2017 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Helmets

Photo: Oliver Baker


$250, Performancebike.com

The draw: Full vision at full speed

Not a full long-tail aero helmet yet not an aero road helmet either, the Aerohead splits the difference for improved aerodynamics and reduced weight. The massive wrap-around shield offers a tremendous field of vision and increases the aerodynamics, but magnets make it easy to remove if you want a more open feel. The nearly solid design (there are only four vents) is also meant to cheat the wind to the fullest, but the trade-off is less ventilation, so it is not ideal for athletes who heat up easily. MIPS technology (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) works to isolate your head from violent movements during an impact.

$250, Backcountry.com

*Best in Class*

The draw: Do-it-all lid

After testing to find the most aero shape for a road helmet, Scott took those design ideas and added eight vents—five up front and three in back—to give the Cadence Plus impressive ventilation while keeping its aero properties. It comes with vent plugs that easily pop in, but they’ll only save a measly watt. The fit is secure and comfortable with plenty of adjustment. Since it’s not a full-on aero helmet, you can train in it every session without overheating or looking like you’re ready to race. As with the Giro, MIPS technology adds another element of safety.

$225, Specialized.com

The draw: Fast buckle system

The Evade Tri started as a full aero lid then got a slimmed-down profile and ventilation. Not just fast when on, it’s also fast to pull on and off in transition. Specifically designed for triathletes, the magnetic buckle can easily be operated with cold hands, or even a single hand. There are five height settings that adjust using a slide mechanism on each side, plus a micro-dial for tightening, so finding a comfortable fit is no problem. The lightweight straps are barely noticeable. Since it straddles the line between racing and training, the Evade Tri works as your only helmet.

$232, Backcountry.com

The draw: Incredible adjustability

The Protone is an everyday road helmet that’s also great in the wind tunnel. A tale of two halves, the vents up front allow for airflow through the helmet to keep you cool. At the back, the solid shell optimizes aerodynamics by forcing air over the helmet rather than through it, particularly useful when you’re hammering with your head down. The most adjustable road helmet we’ve seen, it sports the most height adjustment of any helmet we tested along with micro-dial tension adjustment—and you can adjust the width of the two rear cradles that hold the helmet in place. The anti-allergy, eco-leather chinstrap may seem odd, but the soft feel is noticeably more comfy than nylon and is easy to wipe clean.

$400 with visor ($350 without), E-rudy.com

The draw: Everyday use with a visor option

Developed with help from aero guru John Cobb, Rudy Project’s first aero road helmet has a distinct shape. Not exactly round, the ridge along the center is designed to convert sideways energy, like a crosswind, into forward energy. The optional visor (available in clear, smoke and orange) makes it even more versatile for training or racing. You can customize it further by keeping it open, or using two different front vent plugs—mesh for better cooling or solid for the most aerodynamic set-up. With six different height settings via a center tab and an improved retention system, dialing in the fit is easy.

$280, Jet.com

The draw: Comfy aerodynamics

This long-tail helmet has the classic aero shape that’s been proven fast on race day. Its narrow profile cheats the wind without feeling tight or restrictive. The fully enclosed visor further enhances the aerodynamics, with three small holes at the top to help with airflow and enough peripheral vision to not feel claustrophobic. Despite the narrow look, it fits comfortably without pinching. The earflaps are also highly flexible, so pulling it on was not an issue. Only two vents—a small one up front and a large exhaust vent in the rear—give it some ventilation. Insert a plug in the front vent when you want to go all out.

$245, Competitivecyclist.com

The draw: Dimpled for speed

The P-09 stands out as the only helmet that utilizes a dimpled texture design, like what is used on a golf ball to increase laminar (read: smooth) airflow. The visor doesn’t enclose the entire opening of the helmet, helping it ventilate and making it feel more open. Two vents—one up front and a large one in the rear—allow for some air to pass through, though you can use a plug for maximum aerodynamics in cooler weather. To keep you from heating up, the internal pads use Icefil technology that turns sweat into a refrigerant.

$220, Mavic.com

The draw: Super cool—and super light

Mavic’s unique vent placement can be seen as two parts: The front is focused on aerodynamics and the rear on cooling. The more solid front section acts to channel air over the helmet for improved aerodynamics. At the middle to rear of the helmet, 19 vents pull hot air out rather than force air in to provide cooling. The result is a helmet that feels fast but won’t overheat. Another model we like for both for training and racing, the CXR features reflective highlights to keep you visible when the light is low. With all of those vents, it’s not surprising that it is one of the lightest aero helmets on the market at half a pound.

– Helmet reviews by A.J. Johnson