Giro Air Attack Helmet
Giro Air Attack Helmet
Is it the end for vented road racing helmets?
Posted 4th October 2012
Earlier this year Giro launched a new lid, the Giro Air Attack helmet. Nothing odd there I here you say. However, it’s rounded shape and lack of open vents means it is very different to any other road racing helmet out there and it almost looks as if it would be more at home on the head of a BMX freestyler; but it is definitely designed for road racing and endurance cyclists. When you consider how many pros are following SKY’s lead in the search for every possible marginal gain and using helmets with covered-over vents, this evolution in helmet design does not appear as such an unusual thing.
Giro claim a lot for this helmet. Aerodynamic efficiency is the main gain being 11% better than the fully vented top of the range Giro Aeon. They claim to have achieved this without adding excessive weight or reducing the cooling benefits of a fully vented helmet, with the Giro Air Attack helmet having 97% of the cooling efficiency of the Giro Aeon and its multitude of vents.
In fact their claims place the Giro Air Attack helmet close to their time trial lid, the Giro Selector, in aerodynamic terms with only 11% more drag whilst offering 28% more cooling power.
They’ve done this by raising the level of the helmet above the head compared to a normal helmet, thus creating a huge gap, or channel as they would term it, for air to enter at the forehead, then sweep over the head and exit through special vents at the rear. At speed this is meant to offer enhanced cooling.
The Giro Air Attack helmet also comes with a nifty little visor which affixes via three magnets. It would appear from the video that this can literally be thrown into position when needed, which could be very useful in a race situation, and even stored mid-race with ease.
We’ve already seen the Giro Air Attack helmet on the heads of some pros, such as Rabobank riders, most recently in the World Championships. What we don’t know is what they are saying about it, but it must have been positive feedback, as the helmet will be available to you and I in early 2013.
How do we feel about that? Well if we accept the importance of the marginal gains theory and that aerodynamics are as big a deal in road racing as everyone would have you believe, then this new helmet could do well. Plus it also scores for those multi-disciplinary riders who mix road racing, time-trial, track racing and triathlon.
Is their a catch? Well yes. In a world obsessed with weight, the Giro Air Attack helmet weighs 264 grams with the visor adding 32g, whilst the fully vented Giro Aeon lid weighs only 192g. However, the TT-specific Giro Selector does weigh 430g, so if you do mix your road racing with a few time-trials the Air Attack may make sense.
The only other issue we can see is when climbing mountains on hot days; you’d want the lightest best ventilated helmet you could get. Indeed Giro themselves have said the Air Attack is the perfect helmet for flat stages. All this is very well if you are a pro and can swap helmets at will, but in the real world this may worry riders into sticking with vents though, after the British ‘summer’ we have just endured, that is probably not the biggest concern.
The ultimate question is one of taste; do you like the way it looks? Here at CycleTechReview.com there are decidedly mixed reactions. But either way, one really appealing thing about the Giro Air Attack helmet is the potential for personalising it, with all that extra surface area to paint, add logos to or sticker-up its the perfect place for Sagan to have his Tourminator skull, or Contador to have a brace of pistols, or Wiggo to sport the RAF Roundel, or even our own Hallett to add a pheasant…