Time trial (TT) helmets broke out onto the cycling/triathlon scene after Greg Lemond’s 1989 Tour de France time trial win. Sporting a futuristic TT helmet and tri-bars, Lemond proved aerodynamics can make all the difference in a race against the clock.
Science shows that on a relatively flat course, the primary limiting factor on your speed (aside from fitness) is wind resistance. The standard analysis of drag is that the bike accounts for roughly 20% of the wind resistance, while the remaining 80% comes from the rider.
Of course, there are ways to reduce drag, like buying a time trial bike or deep section wheels. But these aren’t always the most cost-effective ways. One effective way of reducing drag and improving your bike spilt is investing in a good TT helmet. A good helmet on a 40K bike (Olympic distance) could save you seconds to minutes helping you get that personal best or win your age group.
The P-09 is Louis Garneau’s new TT helmet. Building off the success of the P-06, the P-09 is an upgrade from its predecessor in performance and price – designed for those looking to make gains and improvements on the bike.
Some of the drawbacks of using a TT helmet in a triathlon are airflow, easy of putting on in transition and comfort. The P-09 addresses all these concerns and makes using this helmet a “no-brainer.”
When reviewing this helmet, I was impressed with the retractable ear folds, it’s removable lens system and easy fit.
Running to your bike in T1 can be hectic. You’re trying to get your wetsuit off, bib strap on, getting nutrition into your pockets, all while making sure your helmet is on safely before grabbing your bike and attacking the course. It’s a lot to think about and concern yourself. New to the P-09 is the retractable earpiece. This makes for a smooth transition from swim cap to helmet and onto the road. The airflow through the ear is also noticeable. With a channel for air to flow through the earpiece, turbulence in this area is reduced significantly.
New to the P-09 is the lens system. Louis Garneau has created a lens that is moveable, again making the transition zone easier compared to other helmets. If you’re not a fan of the lens or a bigger fan of your cool shades, the piece easily is removable with the pinch-lock system. While testing the helmet out on some hot and humid days, it was annoying when my vision became disoriented with sweat drops. With no convenient way of removing the drops, for the next 100K, I was staring at my sweat for a while.
I found the P-09’s stabilizing system also to be comfortable. Using Louis Garneau’s Spiderlock technology (Spiderlock Pro TT), making on the fly adjustments are easy, even while staying in the aero bars. I found my head to fit snugly in the helmet and the ventilation provide by its four vents and Icefil padding was noticeable. A common detriment to using a TT helmet in a triathlon is the concern of overheating and ventilation. I agree with this; however, you have to take into account a lot of factors before making a decision (course, environment, personal preference, etc.). I rode with this helmet when it was 27 degrees Celsius, feeling like 37, and did not feel any effects of this so-called phenomenon of “overheating.” Also, I was out in the heat for 140K. Safe to say the P-09 did a good job of providing ventilation.
Ventilation in the P-09. Photo by Cam Mitchell
P-09 posterior view. Photo by Cam Mitchell
P-09 frontal view. Photo by Cam Mitchell
The P-09 weighs 12.4 ounces or 350 grams and is priced at $199.99.