Bike

This Season’s Best Triathlon Cycling Helmets

We break down seven of this season's best triathlon cycling helmets with our unique ten-point rating system to help you decipher the new world of short-tail aero helmets, aero road helmets, and traditional aero helmets.

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More than ever, multisport athletes have a ridiculous amount of choices when it comes to triathlon cycling helmets. It used to be you just had to pick from a handful of road helmets for your everyday training rides, and if you got fast (or fancy) enough, you’d add a long-tail aero helmet into the mix. You’d wear your super-ventilated road helmet for 95% of your rides, and you’d wear your ventless (but slippery-fast) aero helmet when you raced—and you’d keep that chin up to keep that long tail down.

But times change, and with the introduction of aero road helmets—short-tail helmets with incredibly aerodynamic properties—and shorter-tail aero helmets—that allowed for a more fluid racing position—the decisions became tougher. Now, you could argue that there are good enough aero road helmets for race day and short-tail aero helmets that would work for training rides. Now you can have it all!

To help cut through this new world order of triathlon cycling helmets, we’ve put together a guide with 10 ratings that help decipher what’s going on with this season’s offerings. Just like everything, different triathletes in different situations, with different bodies need different things—and as such we’ve tried to break down and quantify each helmet to help you shop.

See a helmet that works for you? Check out our more comprehensive helmet guide with expanded testers’ notes. But first scroll down to get a sense of what’s out there, and let our testers’ ratings help guide you in the right direction.

How we test and rate helmets

Fit Notes What shape of head the helmet fits best
Overall Comfort Scale from 1-5 on overall comfort while riding—this can include construction and materials
Ventilation Scale from 1-5 (1 is not ventilated at all, 5 is extremely ventilated)
Variability of Aero Head Position means you must remain exactly in one position for aero effectiveness, 5 means you can move your head anywhere for the same aero effect
Aggressiveness of Aero Head Position means you could be just as aero on an upright hybrid bike as a tri bike, 5 means a very very low tail, high chin position for best effectiveness
Additional Safety Features 1 means it is simply CPSC certified, 5 means it has many additional safety technologies, like MIPS
Speed in Transition 1 means takes a long time to put on/take off, 5 means very fast
Value 1-5, this is not just the price itself from low to high, but how much bang you get for your buck
Visor Included If so, how it's attached
Eyewear Storage Yes or no
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Scott Split Plus | $300, 350g

Fit Notes Best on narrow, oval heads
Overall Comfort Scale 4; Soft ear pads, light fore/aft weight imbalance
Ventilation 3; Includes optional vent plugs
Variability of Head Position 4; Surprising stability
Aggressiveness of Head Position 4
Additional Safety Features 5; Includes MIPS
Speed in Transition 4; Magnetic clasp and flexible ear pads
Value 4
Visor Included No
Storage for Eyewear Yes

Scott delivers a comfortable and versatile aero helmet.  Although this helmet lacks a visor, it pairs well with Scott Shield sunglasses for an aero fit and speedy T2. Removal plugs provide increased ventilation for hot days or eyewear storage.

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Rudy Project The Wing | $410, 320g (S/M no visor)

Fit Notes Best on round head
Overall Comfort Scale 3: Slightly imbalanced
Ventilation 4; With optional magnetic cover removed
Variability of Head Position 5
Aggressiveness of Head Position 4
Additional Safety Features 1
Speed in Transition 2
Value 3
Visor Included Yes
Storage for Eyewear No

Rudy Project The Wing is a solid choice for iron-distance athletes seeking aerodynamics and ventilation. High cost and specificity of this helmet make this a good addition for athletes willing to spend extra to add to their equipment kit for targeted events.

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Smith Podium TT | $350, 360g

Fit Notes Adjusts to both round and oval heads
Overall Comfort Scale 4; Odd-length ear covers
Ventilation 2
Variability of Head Position 5
Aggressiveness of Head Position 4
Additional Safety Features 5; MIPS and Koroyd
Speed in Transition 5; flexible ear pads
Value 4
Visor Included Yes
Storage for Eyewear No

A versatile aero helmet for sprint- and long-distance triathlons alike. Fits like a conventional road helmet with aerodynamic benefits and a stylish appearance.

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Lazer Volante | $400, 465g

Fit Notes Best on oval head
Overall Comfort Scale 2; Off-balance fore to aft
Ventilation 1
Variability of Head Position 5
Aggressiveness of Head Position 1
Additional Safety Features 1
Speed in Transition 1
Value 2
Visor Included Yes
Storage for Eyewear No

The Volante is best suited for time trials and athletes capable of maintaining a low tail, chin-high position. However, the Volante provides excellent aerodynamics and an outstanding field of vision provided by a large, wraparound visor.

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Specialized Evade II with ANGi | $275, 305g

Fit Notes Fits a narrow oval head best
Overall Comfort Scale 4; Feels a little top-heavy
Ventilation 4
Variability of Head Position 5
Aggressiveness of Head Position 3
Additional Safety Features 5; MIPS, ANGi
Speed in Transition 5
Value 5
Visor Included No
Storage for Eyewear Yes

A great all-around aero-road helmet providing aerodynamics, ventilation, and comfort.  Would make a good choice when choosing to buy one helmet for both training and racing—particularly for sprint- and olympic-distance races.

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POC Omne Air Spin | $150, 305g

 

Fit Notes Best for round head shape
Overall Comfort Scale 5; Lightweight with comfortable padding
Ventilation 5
Variability of Head Position 1
Aggressiveness of Head Position 1
Additional Safety Features 5; SPIN
Speed in Transition 5
Value 5
Visor Included No
Storage for Eyewear Yes

Although not an aero helmet or a race-day choice, this road helmet packs in a lot of safety and comfort features for an unbelievable price point. The One Air Spin is an incredibly well vented, lightweight, and comfortable training helmet at a price that gives you room to purchase a second helmet for racing if need be.

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Rudy Project Nytron | $325, 250g

Fit Notes Neutral between round and oval
Overall Comfort Scale 4
Ventilation 3
Variability of Head Position 1
Aggressiveness of Head Position 4
Additional Safety Features 3; Additional Rudy independent testing
Speed in Transition 5
Value 5
Visor Included No
Storage for Eyewear Yes

Definitely worth a second look for a one-helmet-does-all purchase. Aerodynamic enough for racing at all distances while providing comfort and ventilation for most training-day scenarios.

Read the extended test of the Nytron here.