Since we relaunched a few weeks ago, there have been a few reviews that we really wanted to share with you. First was the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX, and next came the Zipp 454s. Today we have the Giro Aerohead – a helmet already making its way quickly into transition and into the UCI record books. We’ve had the Aerohead since last July, but only got a chance to get some time with it over the past few months. And trust us when we say the wait was worth it – if only for the view. But we will get to that. First, lets recap what makes the Aerohead Giro’s preeminent aero helmet.
The Giro Aerohead MIPS
The Aerohead MIPS starts with a polycarbonate shell with built-in MIPS technology and features four integrated wind tunnel vents and overbrow ventilation to help with cooling, as well as a vented eye shield from ZEISS Optics with a magnetic lens anchor attachment. The helmet has magnets in two positions. The first attaches the visor in place in front of your eyes, and the second allows you to attach the visor to the top of your helmet, out of the way to get the Aerohead on and off easier. To ensure maximum comfort for even an Iron-distance ride, Giro went with their Roc Loc Air system that we so enjoyed on the Air Attack. As a side note, there is also the Aerohead Ultimate MIPS built with a TeXtreme carbon fiber shell to combine a smaller frontal area and reduced venting for even less drag.
Giro tells us the Aerohead MIPS is 42.4 seconds faster over 180km (at 250 watts) than the Giro Advantage (and 25.5 seconds faster that the Air Attack Shield). The Aerohead Ultimate MIPS is an additional five seconds faster than the standard Aerohead. At the track, Giro found the Aerohead saved 15 watts when compared to the Advantage (nine watts versus the Air Attack Shield), and the Ultimate saved an additional two watts.
Giro also tells us the Aerohead MIPS is 14.3% warmer than the Air Attack Shield, and the Aerohead Ultimate MIPS ends up being 22.3% warmer than the baseline Shield.
Giro tells us that both the Aerohead MIPS and Aerohead Ultimate MIPS both weigh in at 455g (we weighed our size medium Aerohead MIPS I at 458g). The Aerohead MIPS will set you back $250/ €299 / £299 and the Aerohead Ultimate MIPS at $550/ €599 / £599. A helmet pod and both eye shields – clear and smoke – are included with the Aerohead Ultimate MIPS, a grey shield with silver mirror only for the Aerohead MIPS. Additional accessories can be purchased separately, with the Helmet pod at $50 and eye shield at $60.
Since its launch, the Aerohead has been used to set the fastest average speed ever recorded atop Rohan Dennis at the 2015 Tour de France Prologue, the fastest stage time ever recorded atop Tom Bohli at the 2016 three days of west Flanders prologue, and the fastest team time trial in the history of the Tirreno Adriatico team time trial in 2016.
The first thing you notice when you put on the Aerohead is the view. With such a large visor, you simply don’t see the edge of the lenses. It’s fantastic. If you currently own an aero helmet with a lens, go ahead and put it on (we will wait). Now notice at the very far edges of your peripheral vision… you see the lens ending and the helmet beginning? You probably never noticed it before, and unfortunately you will never be able to un-notice it now (sorry for that). But if you put on an Aerohead, that little bit of blocked vision is gone. You simply get a perfect unobstructed view of the race course.
The Aerohead fits very much like the Air Attack and Synthe. It’s comfortable on your head from the moment you put it on to the moment you take it off. We have a 57mm head and have consistently worn a size Medium. We loosened it before we put it on, droped it into place, and were easily able to slide a hand underneath the tail to tighten it.
One of the typical complaints with aero helmets is the lack of sound getting through. And while this isn’t a huge issue on race day (unless the race marshal is yelling at you – but then you have a bigger issue on your hands than just being able to hear), this can be a pretty big problem while you’re out training. For example, it could mean the difference between hearing the car coming up behind you or not. On one of our test rides we had a two-hour Z2 ride, which we ended up just cruising along with a friend of the site. For two hours, we never had a challenge hearing what the other rider was saying next to us, so we call that a win when it comes to sound transmission.
Down here in South Florida, one of the biggest issues with aero helmets is ventilation. Simply put, no matter how much faster a helmet might make you for long course races, if it causes you to overheat, you simply cannot race with it. So when we first looked at the Aerohead we were a bit nervous. That huge visor and only two vents on top made us think that we were in for some very warm training. What we didn’t notice were the two small vents inside the visor – and let us tell you, those vents made all the difference. This is a helmet that rewards you for keeping your head looking down the road. If you look up, you get a steady stream of air over your face. If you look down, that nice refreshing feeling goes away. Now this will work for some riders and not others. Those who ride more naturally with their head down may find that, aerodynamically, the Aerohead works for them, but their ventilation may be limited. Looking at the gallery below, Tejay would be getting a better stream of air (if he was using the ventilated MIPS vs the non-ventilated Ultimate) than Linsey is.
The magnetic visor was another question point for us. We have found some magnetic attachments can be hit or miss. Sometimes they can shake loose. Other times they are so hard to engage\disengage that they might as well be bolted on. The Aerohead’s visor was more the later than the former – it held on rock-solid with just enough give that you could remove it as you rolled into T2. At IMTX this year we watched many age group and pro athletes come in with the Aerohead on top of their noggins, and many pulled the visor off with a single hand as soon as they came to a stop (or hopped off their bikes). They then flipped it up and reattached it to the top of the helmet – easy peasy.
Finally, the last item we wanted to cover (and which we typically get the most questions about) was whether it made us faster. And unfortunately, we can’t answer for sure without heading to a wind tunnel for consistent and repeatable tests. Add to that the fact that different rider’s positions require different helmets, and we just refuse to speculate. What we will say that if the Aerohead works for your position, you won’t go wrong with this helmet.
After spending time on the road with the Aerohead, it’s hard to have anything but glowing praise for it. It’s comfortable and well ventilated (for our position, at least). And, according to Giro, it’s the fastest helmet they make. Add to that its amazing visor, and we are sold. This is definitely a helmet worth testing out at your local bike shop. We highly recommend testing it on a trainer (as we would with any aero helmet) to make sure its shape is right for your body and position. But if it is, we would be hard pressed to recommend something else.