We recently wrote about Mother Nature influencing Zipp’s 454 NSW design, and now Rudy Project is taking ques from it as well with their aero road helmet, the Boost 01. But did Rudy’s design work for us? First, let’s cover what makes the Boost 01 different.
The Boost 01’s big claim to fame is that Rudy Project says it has 12% less aerodynamic drag at a variety of yaw angles when compared to other conventional road helmets. To achieve this, Rudy enlisted the help of aerodynamicist John Cobb for testing the Boost 01 at the Pininfarina wind tunnel.
The helmet features a built-in shield (available in clear, smoke, or orange), which incorporates Rudy’s lens technology and their Flip Up magnetic retention system. The Flip Up system offers a removable shield that—as the name suggests—can flip up, making it easier to get the helmet on. Rudy claims that it also cuts fog and keeps you cooler during long rides.
Now, back to that design influence we mentioned earlier. The central ridge of the Boost 01, or what Rudy calls the Dorsal Ridge, was inspired by sharks to convert sideways forces into forward propulsion. When it encounters cross winds, this feature delivers all the advantages of a long-tailed helmet without the negative repercussions at the front. The Boost 01 also features improved weight balance. The tail is shortened and material has been added to the front (where the Dorsal Ridge is) to move the center of pressure forward. According to Rudy, this can limit swiveling caused by side winds. Of course, we don’t have a wind tunnel at our disposal, so we just have to take Rudy’s word for it.
Rudy wanted to give riders the option to customize the helmet’s ventilation with two removable covers—one closed and one mesh. Choose the closed option for aerodynamics and the mesh for better cooling. We’ve been testing the Boost 01 during the summer months, so we opted for the mesh version most of the time. When it comes to South Florida summers, we’ll take all the ventilation we can get.
Rudy’s RSR 9 fit system allows you to also customize the helmet’s fit to your head as needed. Now we did have a little bit of an issue with our helmet when we first attempted to fit it for testing. The wrap-around, adjustable fit structure kept popping out on us when we tried making adjustments and then putting the helmet back on. We’d just get it adjusted where we needed, go to put the helmet on, and…no luck. We determined that this was probably user error once we realized that we simply weren’t using enough force to pop it back into place securely. Not a big deal – just something to keep in mind if you encounter the same issue.
We rode the Boost 01 both with and without the removable shield, and the ventilation never suffered even when we had the shield flipped down. The shield also never fogged up on us. The Flip Up system made the helmet quick to get on and off, just as Rudy described. The shield was also super-easy to remove, too. We did tend to prefer to ride the helmet without the shield and instead used out own sunglasses. Speaking of sunglasses, The Boost 01 features an eyewear dock, which is essentially two channels that are integrated into the side vents.
So, what did we think?
We rode with the Boost 01 a few times earlier this summer, and the first thing we noticed was that the fit just wasn’t working very well for our multisport editor, Tracy (the primary tester in this case). She adjusted everything, and the helmet size was definitely correct for her head, but the front of the helmet seemed to sit very far forward. This caused it to actually enter her field of vision while she was in the aero position. We contacted Rudy, and they gave us a few recommendations for correcting this. However, no matter how many times we tried to adjust it, the helmet just wasn’t cooperating. And when looking at Tracy’s profile while wearing the helmet, we could definitely see how much farther forward it sat on her head compared to others.
We had a few theories as to why Tracy had this fit issue with the Boost 01. First, every person’s head shape is unique. So when it comes to helmets, what may work perfectly for one person, may not fit another. The Boost 01 may have simply not been a good match for Tracy’s head shape. Second, like many female cyclists, Tracy pulls her ponytail back through the rear opening of a helmet’s fit system. Usually, she has no issue with this. But in this case, it is always possible that a ponytail can push up on the helmet a bit, contributing to the forward shift. Regardless, this was really the only issue we had with the Boost 01. And considering we haven’t heard of this issue from others who have tried the Boost 01, we think this could be just a personal fit problem.
Otherwise, the Boost 01 was incredible comfortable and light. The ventilation was definitely top-notch, even in South FL summers. And the fit was easy to adjust. The Boost 01 is available in seven different colors and two sizes: small/medium or large. You can pick one up with the removable shield for $399 or without for $349.