High performance racing bicycle technology and technique
Commuter - Giro Air Attack Helmet
Thursday, August 7th, 2014


Giro Air Attack Helmet


Simon Whiten


Preview of the Giro Air Attack Helmet


We first covered the Giro Air Attack two years ago when it was first launched. It was a bold move by Giro as the styling was ‘old school’ and very different to the established vented helmets. However, in their usual shrewd style Giro got the timing just right, as many pro-riders were already employing aero covers over their vented helmets, similar to the one Mark reviewed recently for the Catlike Mixino, so the demand was there for a specific aero lid and Giro were ready to clean up…


The Giro Air Attack

The Giro Air Attack


It’s safe to say it’s been a bit of hit with certain riders. Look at any flat stage of the recent Tour de France and, just in front of sprinter, Alexander Kristoff, you’ll see that Katusha hardman, Luca Paolini for one, is a huge fan; as are our own, slightly less well known, Vince Halpern and Peter Cole, who both ride for Handsling Racing. I couldn’t ask Luca why he wears it in most of the races he does even when his teammates are wearing fully vented lids, but I could ask Vince and Pete…
Vince says that he was looking for a helmet that would be of benefit in lots of different disciplines, including road, time trials and occasionally triathlons. He hasn’t got a complaint about the ventilation in the summer and surprisingly has to wear a hat under it in the winter races he does. “It’s the best best helmet I’ve ever worn. It’s not too warm as more than enough air goes through the vents over the top of your head.”
As a sprinter Vince also rates the aero performance in fast finishes. “It definitely feels faster, and is nice and quiet as there’s no sense of wind battering your head. Best of all it’s very comfortable and easy to tighten up at the back with the small turn ratchet.”
He also rates the quality of it, “…only helmet I’ve had that hasn’t fallen apart after a season.”

Vince Halpern winning a recent criterium

Vince Halpern and his Air Attack winning a recent criterium

Peter also wanted something more aero to help him out in the sprints, saying that he “…feels fast wearing it”. Pete also had to have a helmet that was comfortable for the long training rides he does in every type of weather and agrees with Vince that it is “…the most comfortable helmet I’ve had to date.”
Peter Cole and his Air Attack waiting for the off in the team time trial stage of a recent race

Peter Cole and his Air Attack waiting for the off in the team time trial stage of a recent race

So what makes the Air Attack so special then? We have the new version of the Air Attack, which is more evolution than revolution or, as Giro put it, the new version simply ‘fine-tunes the design for a lightweight, compact and extremely efficient aerodynamic shape that slices through air’. I like Giro’s marketing spiel which claims that the Air Attack delivers ‘a dose of free speed’. Who doesn’t want that, even if in reality ‘free’ actually means ‘£150’? Certainly the design of the helmet was created in the wind tunnel, so you’d expect it to work in aero terms.
When it was first launched, Giro made claims of drag savings of 11% over a normal helmet and whilst this only adds up to a couple of hundred metres over a 40km time trial, you have to apply SKY’s marginal gains principle to aero equipment and consider the Air Attack as part of a wider aero package. In conjunction with modern clothing and an aero road bike the overall saving is well worth it and could help you reduce drag by a very healthy 15-20%.
Love it or loathe it, the styling is definitely aero

Love it or loathe it, the styling is definitely aero


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