In the middle of our time with the Giro Selector, we happened to catch one of the Ironman rebroadcasts. We’ve honestly forgotten which one, but the image that stood out was Mary Beth Ellis on the bike – deep into her tuck with her helmet almost completely in line with her back (if you don’t know what we mean, do a search for her on the bike). It was that video that made us completely understand what Giro created when it introduced the Selector.
While the Selector has been around for a few years now, that hasn’t stopped triathletes from buying it and making it one of the more popular helmets in transition. And it was the Selector’s enduring popularity that prompted us to give it a try.
Sure, the data says the Selector is fast. But for this review, the biggest question we aimed to answer was how it made us feel during long rides. Were we able to stay cool? Or did we want it off our heads as soon as we rode into T2?
The Giro Selector
The most obvious feature of the Selector is that which inspired its name – the selectable tails. The Selector comes with two tail options, and which you choose will depend on the angle of your back when you get in your tuck. The Selector’s design goal is to create a single, continuous shape that flows from your helmet to your back (think back to that image of Mary Beth on her bike). With that in mind, we highly recommend asking someone to help you determine which tail option fits you best when you are actually sitting on your bike in your TT position (approximating it in the store just doesn’t cut it)!
The tails come in 10mm-deep and 40mm-deep options. We ended up going with the 40mm deep option. But again, this is highly subjective to your position and body, so choose wisely.
As for the cooling factor, at first glance the Selector looks like it’s going to be about as cool as an oven set to “broil.” After all, you can’t help but notice the complete lack of vents on the surface of the Selector. Although there are two small exhaust ports in the rear. However, like most things, you cannot judge a book by its cover. Giro has integrated multiple cooling channels into the Selector, which run from the front of your forehead, over the top of your head, and out through those previously mentioned exhaust ports.
Even better, the included visor does nothing to impede the airflow to those cooling channels. The majority of our rides with the Selector included the visor (why leave the visor home that you paid good money for it?), and we found the visibility to be excellent—not a single issue with fogging. Also, the visor is positioned far enough from your face so that, for the most part, it stays clear of sweat (a common issue we have with glasses).
Getting a TT helmet on and off quickly can mean the difference between standing on the podium and being the first car out of the parking lot. Luckily the Selector’s ear covers are flexible enough to get them over your ears in virtually no time at all. Likewise, we never found the visor to interfere with donning or removing the helmet.
The Selector uses Giro’s Roc Loc 5 TT retention system. The system uses a small brace that can be positioned (three possible positions) based on your head size to help create a snug fit. To be honest, this was one of our biggest disappointments with the Selector. While the brace does keep the helmet snug, it does not allow for on-the-fly adjustments (the Roc Loc Air system found in the Air Attack does). We often found ourselves wishing we could make small adjustments, especially as the ride wore on, only to find that wasn’t an option.
The helmet itself is available in S/M (51-57cm) or M/L (55-61cm). We actually found the Selector to run a little large as one of our editors who typically wears a size small helmet found the S/M Selector to be too large for her head. The Selector is CPSC and CEN certified, as well.
According to Giro, the Selector is worth 31 seconds (or 10.5 watts) when compared to their own Aeon over a 40km TT (at an average speed of 51.84 kph). Compared with an Air Attack, the time savings would be 14 seconds (or 6 watts).
From a drag perspective, the Selector creates 10% less aerodynamic drag than the Air Attack, and 20% less drag than the Aeon.
Apply these results to an Ironman distance, and the time savings could be measured in minutes!
As we mentioned earlier, one of our biggest questions about the Selector pertained to its ability to keep the wearer comfortable in hot weather. Would its shell, seemingly unblemished by cooling vents, still keep us cool? Fortunately for us, it did. While certainly not as cool as a true road helmet or one of the new hybrid varieties, the Selector did an admirable job of keeping us cool in even the hottest conditions.
Our final ride with the Selector was a 92° F 40km TT workout at noon (and this was not a dry heat) with the visor on. Even in these extreme conditions we never thought about taking the Selector off. In fact, we discovered that the Selector rewards you for keeping your head in a proper aero position. As long as we were looking forward, air flowed freely across our face and over our head. However, once we tilted our head down, all cooling effects disappeared.
At first we a bit intimidated by the Selector’s appearance. We were sure that the design, while fast, would quickly lead to overheating in the South FL sun. However, by the time we’d completed our review, we found that we had started to look forward to our rides with the Selector. It was comfortable, fast, and relatively cool (as far as aero helmets go). Most importantly, we were able to choose a tail that best fit our unique body style. And at the end of the day, when picking a TT helmet, you’re looking for the one that makes you the fastest while sacrificing the lease amount of comfort possible – both of which the Selector did admirably.