In the last few years, we have seen an explosion of interest in the aero road helmet. First came solid shells on top of standard designs, however these suffered serious ventilation issues. Then last year we saw Giro introduce its Air Attack, a helmet built from the ground up to find a balance between aerodynamics and ventilation. Now Specialized has brought their entrant to the arena, a helmet that looks to be the polar opposite of the Air Attack, yet strives to achieve the same balance of cooling and speed – the S-Works Evade.
To create the Evade, Specialized first started with their fastest helmet, the McLaren TT. But the McClaren, like most aero helmets suffers from a harsh lack of ventilation. To fix that the engineers at Specialized set a goal of creating a helmet with enough ventilation that world tour riders would actually want to wear it. The result is a shape that while extremely organic, strikes the balance required to make a great aero road helmet (and is CPSC and SNELL B90A certified).
Specialized claims that the few of us that have the ability to generate 1000 watts over a 200 meter sprint can expect to see a 2.6 meter advantage by wearing an Evade versus a more traditional Prevail. Those of us whose abilities fall a bit more within the realm of human abilities can see a savings of 46 seconds and 10 watts over a 40 km course. The one comparison we would really like to see if the cooling abilities of the Evade versus the Prevail, but that will have to wait for our long term review.
Already the Evade has earned an impressive list of victories. Both Mark Cavendish and Vincenzo Nibali wore the Evade during their impressive Giro d’Italia campaigns, earning Nibali the maglia rosa and Cavendish his 100th victory.
We love the concept of aero road helmets; they give the average age grouper the ability to own a single helmet they can use for both training and racing. While many will look at the Evade and be unable to get past its unique shape, those that do are going to find a helmet that’s offers best of both worlds ability. More importantly they can tell their friends that if their helmet is good enough for Cavendish, it is good enough for them.