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2021 Helmet Buyer’s Guide

Protection and Speed combined

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

When it comes to helmets, more often than not you’ll find yourself making some sort of a compromise. The fastest, most aerodynamic models don’t always allow a lot of airflow, while those that do provide lots of ventilation aren’t necessarily aerodynamic. There are lots of options available, though, so you’ll find that you won’t actually have to make as much of a compromise as you might have thought – there are some pretty aero options that still provide enough airflow to keep you comfortable on even the warmest days. This year’s buyer’s guide offers a mix of options so triathletes of all levels who race over pretty much any distance can find something that will fit the bill.

Abus Gamechanger


Thanks to its Multi Position Design the Gamechanger remains aerodynamic no matter how you tilt your head or what sort of wind conditions you’re dealing with. Vents are designed to channel air around your head to keep you cool, while the skin-friendly straps and Zoom Ace adjustment system also helps to keep you comfortable. The large vents at the front also serve as a glasses holder for those times you need to store your shades.

Bolle EXO Mips


With it’s kamm-tail design specially engineered to reduce aerodynamic drag, the deep internal air channels provide great ventilation. The 360-degree fit system and Mips protection system ensure both a great fit and lots of protection, even in angled impacts. Weighing in at a svelte 290 g, you also get a removable and washable lining and a sunglass garage for those times you need to tuck your glasses away.

Garneau Equipe


A great example of how road helmets have become increasingly more aero over the years, the Equipe offers lots of ventilation – there are 33 vents – while also providing excellent aerodynamics. At just 260 g, it’s also extremely light. The Spiderlock retention system allows you to dial in the fit, and the X-Static XT2 padding will keep you comfortable for even the longest days in the saddle.

Giro Aerohead Mips


Here’s what you get when you take the shape of Giro’s fastest time-trial design (the Aerohead Ultimate) and add some ventilation. The polycarbonate shell uses internal channeling to move air past your head and there’s a wrap-around eye shield that gives you a great field of view. The magnetic anchor allows you to easily flip up and store the visor when you need to (for a faster transition you can leave it up and then easily flip it down once you’re on the bike). The Roc Loc 5 Air fit system ensures you’ll be able to adjust the Aerohead for just the right fit, too.

Lazer Volante


The teardrop shape provides optimal aero performance, which is enhanced by the magnetically attached lens that wraps around the side of the helmet to improve airflow. The Turnfit Tilt system allows you to adjust the helmet even on the fly, and there’s even a rear section that can be used to hold an ice pack for really hot days, or as ponytail storage for those with longer hair. The bottomshell venting and X-static padding helps with airflow and comfort.

Oakley ARO7


Pulling out all the aerodynamic stops, the AR07 features a Prizm Road visor that offers excellent color and contrast and enhances the aerodynamics of this speedy helmet. You can dial in a comfortable fit thanks to the BOA 360 Fit system, while the X-Static Brow Padding is both comfortable and specially designed to inhibit bacteria growth for as long as you have the helmet. The magnetic buckle will help you fly through transition.

Poc Ventral Air Spin


You get a great combination of ventilation and aerodynamics with the Ventral Air Spin thanks to the ventilation ports designed to channel air past your head and optimized design that reduces air turbulence. The EPS liner is light, but still provides excellent crash protection – at 230 g you’ll hardly feel this on your head at all. With lots of adjustment and comfortable straps you’ll be able to dial in the perfect fit, and there’s also a sunglass “garage” for secure storage of your sunglasses when you need to take them off.

Scott Split Plus


Designed for minimal drag in any head position, the Split Plus offers excellent protection thanks to the Mips Brain Protection System, while keeping your head cool thanks to optimized ventilation and airflow technology. You’ll get in and out of transition in a hurry thanks to the magnetic buckle and soft ear pads, and there are even sunglass storage doors to allow you to park your glasses while training and maintain the streamlined shape in a race.

Smith Podium TT


Speed is the name of the game thanks to the Aerocore construction and Koroyd material which provides excellent crash protection and an aerodynamic design that still manages to provide enough ventilation to keep your head cool. The VaporFit adjustable fit system lets you dial in a precise fit, and you’ll be able to see the course ahead in vivid detail with the integrated Podium TT Optical Shield that uses Smith’s ChromaPop lens technology.

Specialized S-Works Evade with ANGi


Light, aero and with lots of ventilation, the S-Works Evade offers a great balance between a functional road helmet and speedy triathlon lid. In addition to Mips technology designed to keep your head safe in a crash, the ANGi Crash Sensor will detect a crash and send a text message to specified contacts in your phone. Aerodynamics has been tuned in through lots of wind tunnel testing – it tested 50 seconds faster over 40 km than a traditional road helmet. Comfort is assured thanks to the magnetic buckle, HairPort 2 fit system, soft webbing and Gutter Action brow pad that’ll keep sweat out of your eyes.

This story originally appeared in the March, 2021 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.