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2015 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Helmets

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$290, Smithoptics.com
The draw: Superior ventilation and safety

The newest offering in Smith’s road helmet line is also its most aerodynamic and breathable. Within the sturdy exoskeleton, a lightweight honeycomb network of straw-like tubes wraps around the entire head, providing significant protection while allowing air to flow freely for max ventilation. MIPS, a new impact safety feature, reduces twisting force in a crash to lower the chances of a head injury. Pair this helmet with the brand’s Pivlock shades, which can be stored on the helmet in a variety of positions.
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$300, Specialized.com
The draw: Pure speed

Worn by some of the top riders of last year’s Tour de France and meticulously tested in the Specialized wind tunnel, the new S-Works TT has been through the ringer to earn its speedy, aerodynamic place. Specialized claims a 62-second savings over a 40-kilometer ride as compared to a road helmet, thanks to its drag-reducing shape reminiscent of a fish (with appropriately named “Gill Vents”). It comes in a stealth black or silver/red combination and includes two detachable shields: clear and smoke-tinted.

$240, Giro.com
The draw: Stylish performance

As the aero helmet for people who don’t love pointy-tailed aero helmets, the second generation of the Air Attack delivers a versatile, comfortable design that’s still focused on speed. The inner fit system of the helmet keeps a slight space between your head and the outer shell and lets you control the fore-aft tilt with an easy dial. The six vents allow air to freely stream through the helmet and help with ventilation, and an optional eye shield is simple to clip on. Plus, wearing it on a regular training ride is totally acceptable.
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$325, E-rudy.com
The draw: Streamlined efficiency

The Wingspan has dominated helmet counts in Kona in recent years, partially due to a smart marketing campaign, but also thanks to its reliably light and fast feel. Aero expert John Cobb was integral in the development of the Wingspan, which has a streamlined design with a short tail. It covers your ears but still feels breathable and is super light (around 290 grams). Although Rudy offers white and black options, the company has never shied away from bright colors—this limited edition bright orange version definitely makes a statement on the bike course.