Home > Gear

Buyer’s Guide: Aero triathlon helmets

Aero meets light meets ventilation in this diverse mix of speedy helmets

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

If you’re going to ride a bike, you need a helmet. That’s simple – what isn’t simple, though, is figuring out which helmet is best for you. Do you need something just for training and you’ll use a different helmet for racing? Are you in the hunt for something that will do double duty? Are you looking for something that will give you an aero advantage, but will also be comfortable enough to wear in super-hot conditions? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with this extensive list of options:

Garneau Vitesse


As the team at Garneau notes, the Vitesse’s name says it all — this is a fast helmet. Weighing just 12 ounces and featuring 14 vents, the Vitesse is incredibly comfortable, and you may find yourself forgetting that you’re wearing it at all. Garneau’s team of engineers ran countless fluid dynamic simulations when designing this helmet, ensuring that it is the perfect shape to help you be as aerodynamic as possible while also providing the exact amount of ventilation necessary to keep you comfortable. The Vitesse is dimpled across the top (a design feature the Garneau team has used in other helmets), which will help reduce drag even more.
Of course, a helmet may provide some welcome aero advantage while riding, but its main purpose is protection, and the Vitesse was designed with safety in mind. The helmet is well-reinforced, and it features up-to-date MIPS technology that reduces rotational forces in crashes. This means that, in the unfortunate instance of an accident, your Vitesse helmet could save you from serious injuries, which is exactly why you’re wearing a helmet in the first place.

Bollé Furo MIPS


Anyone familiar with Bollé knows that they make excellent, comfortable and cool helmets, and the new Bollé Furo MIPS fits that description perfectly. The Furo MIPS was inspired by sports cars and, just like a Ferrari or Lamborghini, it was designed to slice through the wind at blistering speeds. The helmet’s slick design delivers tremendous aerodynamics, and its lightweight makeup and carefully placed slits make it extremely comfortable, too. No matter how long you’re riding, your head will be kept comfy and cool inside the Furo MIPS.
On top of the aerodynamics and comfort, Bollé’s helmet is also built to protect you if you ever suffer a crash while riding. Bollé teamed up with MIPS (hence the helmet’s name) to produce a top-of-the-line protection system for the Furo. The MIPS safety system works to reduce the rotational force of the head in a crash, which could be the difference between you walking away from an accident or suffering severe head trauma. We know you don’t want to think about wipeouts and injuries, but these are always a possibility in cycling, so put the thought out of your mind by getting yourself a helmet that you know will keep your head safe and secure whenever it needs protecting.


Lazer Tardiz2


All you need is one look at the Lazer Tardiz2 to know that it’s a fast helmet. Its teardrop design and dimpled tail make it incredibly aerodynamic, and any triathlete knows that the more aero your equipment, the faster you’ll go and the fresher you’ll feel when you arrive at T2. Aerodynamics don’t always pair well with comfort, but that’s not the case with the Tardiz2, which was built to check both boxes.
The Tardiz2’s sleek and fast design will have you flying along the racecourse and, while your legs may be screaming at you, your head will be comfortable and cool. This is due in large part to the helmet’s “Aquavent” — a spring-loaded cap at the top of the helmet that was added so cyclists can douse themselves for a mid-ride cooling session.

Giro Vanquish MIPS


Yet another MIPS-integrated helmet, the Giro Vanquish is extremely fast and aerodynamic, while still providing top-tier protection. The Vanquish has Giro’s TransformAir design, which actively streamlines airflow and reduces drag, ensuring that you won’t waste any energy or time on the bike on race day. The helmet features a magnetic visor that can be removed with ease. This is great for training rides, as you may want to wear regular sunglasses, but it can be replaced with ease ahead of races, when you’ll want to take advantage of the aero cut of the visor.
Another reason that this is such a great helmet is because of its everyday wearability. You wouldn’t want to wear a teardrop TT helmet for a Sunday morning group ride on your road bike, but the Vanquish MIPS looks quite similar to a regular bike helmet, so you won’t feel awkward or out of place wearing it in non-race settings. The Giro Vanquish MIPS is cool, fast and comfortable, and it will check off all the boxes you want covered in a helmet: protection, speed and aesthetics.

Smith Jetstream TT


With a lightweight and aerodynamic build, the Jetstream TT is the top-performing time trial helmet from Smith. The Jetstream comes with two magnetic visors — one colour-enhancing and one clear, so no matter what the day looks like (overcast, sunny, somewhere in between), you’ll be able to see everything on the racecourse perfectly while still remaining aerodynamic. The helmet features five vents dispersed across the front and back. These will help to keep you cool as you power between T1 and T2, but they won’t produce any drag. The Jetstream TT comes in three colours: matte black, matte cinder haze (orange and black) and white. No matter which colour you pick, you’ll be one of the most stylish and sleek riders on the course
When it comes to safety features, Smith has teamed up with Zonal Koroyd and MIPS to produce a helmet that will protect you no matter what. Going from the outside in, the helmet has a hard outer shell, followed by EPS foam, then Koroyd technology (which has a flexible design that will collapse evenly on impact, protecting your entire head). After the Koroyd section comes the MIPS system, which helps to reduce the rotational force of the head in a crash. Paired together, this is one of the safest (and fastest) helmets you can get.

Specialized S-Works Evade


As the team at Specialized notes, for a long time, you could pick two of three traits for a helmet: it could be lightweight, aerodynamic or well-ventilated, but not all three. There had to be a trade-off somewhere, but thanks to the Specialized S-Works Evade, that’s no longer an issue that cyclists and triathletes need to face. The Evade was designed, tested and reworked in Specialized’s wind tunnel, and the company says its team left no stone unturned developing the finished product. The result is the fastest and most aero helmet that Specialized has ever produced, saving 50 seconds over 40 km compared to a regular road helmet, and six seconds over the previous iteration of the Evade.
The helmet’s aero profile didn’t lead to sacrifices in comfort, ventilation or weight, nor did it impact the Evade’s safety features. It comes equipped with MIPS SL, a protection system that can only be found in Specialized helmets. The MIPS SL technology is integrated into the helmet’s padding, and it provides up to 15 mm of rotation in every direction. Hopefully you won’t need these safety measures, but if you do, you’ll be well-protected.


Oakley ARO5 MIPS


The Oakley ARO5 is a very well-ventilated helmet, with several large slots for airflow right on its front. While the helmet will take in plenty of wind as you charge forward on your bike, it is still very aerodynamic, with internal channels that will funnel the air through the helmet and out two smaller vents in the back. Two of the front vents also work as a designated eyewear dock, so you can place your sunglasses there without needing to worry about them falling out at any point during your ride.
Thanks to the MIPS integration, you know you’ll be safe should any accidents occur on the road in training or racing. The team also linked with BOA for the helmet’s fit, which is comfortable and snug. The BOA system features a dial to tighten or loosen the fit, and it can be adjusted to one of three height options, ensuring that no matter who’s wearing this helmet, they’ll be able to find a comfortable position for it. The ARO5 is a great option for anyone looking to get an aero helmet that they can wear in everyday training, as it is fast and high-performing while still resembling a regular road helmet.

Scott Cadence Plus


Scott’s Cadence Plus helmet was designed with aerodynamics in mind, and it is the perfect fit for any type of cyclist, whether you’re racing triathlons every weekend or riding in a peloton on Sundays. While the Cadence Plus has a competitive aero profile, it still has great internal airflow, with five big vents situated right at the front of the helmet. This allows you to fly along on your bike while keeping cool, which will help you feel fresher longer.
The helmet features a MIPS protection system that the company paired with its own Scott Air technology. This integration makes for an extremely safe helmet that will save your head in the event of a crash, but it is also the reason for the Cadence Plus’s stellar ventilation and airflow. On top of these features the helmet is super comfy, and its height and tightness can be adjusted, which ensures that you’ll find it to have a pleasant fit for no matter how long you ride.

Abus GameChanger


Abus says its GameChanger helmet redefines aerodynamics. The company’s designers worked with the Movistar Cycling Team to produce the GameChanger, so you know that it’s going to be a fast and comfortable helmet — professional cyclists wouldn’t settle for anything less. The helmet has great airflow with Abus’s “forced air cooling technology,” which will keep your head cool and comfortable throughout your ride. This works in tandem with the helmet’s interesting cut and design to slice through the wind as quickly and efficiently as possible. On top of this, it is equipped with Abus’s “multi shell in mold” construction, which is where the helmet gets its protective features to save you if you ever have a crash.
Abus isn’t a name that Canadian cyclists and triathletes will know as well as some other brands, but the Italian company is popular in Europe and slowly making its mark in North America.

POC Ventral Spin


The POC Ventral Spin is where aerodynamics, ventilation and safety meet. When discussing the Ventral Spin, the POC engineering team cites the Venturi effect, which is an idea in physics that says the velocity of a fluid (or, in the case of the Ventral Spin, the velocity of the air) passing through a tight space will increase, while its static pressure will decrease. This, the POC team says, is why the Ventral Spin is so aerodynamically perfect, as the air going into the helmet’s front five vents will increase in speed and shoot out the back, therefore producing very little drag on you, the rider.
The engineers say that, “by leading air through rather than around the helmet, its wake is minimized.” At the same time, the Ventral Spin’s cooling abilities are increased, as there’s constant airflow within the helmet against your head. On top of the helmet’s aero and cooling features, the Ventral Spin has a built-in layer of silicone pad technology that helps to protect your head at impact. POC has dubbed this technology SPIN, an acronym for Shearing Pad Inside. Put all of this together and you have a very fast, very comfortable and very safe helmet that triathletes everywhere are going to want to try for themselves.

Met Manta MIPS


The Met Manta MIPS helmet was created with the help of professional cyclists (top-tier cycling squad UAE Team Emirates wear it), who said they wanted four areas to be considered in its development. Firstly, there was the matter of safety, which is where MIPS comes in.
The second point was aerodynamics. Cyclists and triathletes want to be as fast as possible, and if a helmet can help shave even just one second, it’s worth it. Well, the Manta MIPS will save much more than a single second. When the Met team tested the helmet in the wind tunnel, they determined that it saves four watts compared to its Manta predecessor, and that it performs three watts better than other competitors on the market. Finally, there are the questions of fit and style. With great ventilation and plenty of padding, the Manta MIPS will fit anyone and everyone perfectly. As for its design, it looks very sleek and very cool. With several colours available and a sharp, fast shape, anyone wearing this helmet will look great as they fly by their competitors on the racecourse.

Bontrager Ballista MIPS


The headline on the Trek webpage that features the Bontrager Ballista MIPS helmet says it all: “Aero got cool.” Just one look at the Ballista MIPS and you’ll see what they mean by that. It comes in one colour — purple — and even if you would normally stick with a classic black helmet, you’re going to like the look of the Ballista. Of course, looks are hardly the most important part of a helmet, so let’s get to the more pressing matters of speed and safety.
When it comes to aerodynamics, this helmet has a wind-tunnel tested and proven design that utilizes strategically placed vents to channel air into, and through, the helmet, which will allow you to cruise forward with minimal drag. While most (hopefully all, actually) of your riding will be spent upright, accidents do happen – the Ballista includes MIPS technology along with its other safety features to provide lots of protection. If you do suffer a crash and your helmet is damaged, Bontrager offers a “crash replacement guarantee” for a free replacement in the first year of ownership.

Bell Z20 Aero MIPS


The Bell design team knows that every watt counts — they say so themselves — and that’s what they kept in mind when producing the Z20 Aero. This helmet has a “drag-defying shape” that will eliminate any worries you have of being slowed down by your equipment on race day. The Z20 Aero comes in several colours, including a very cool and unique gloss black/mint. No matter the colour you pick, you and your helmet will be a blur as you pass everyone on the course.
Whether you’re racing or training, you want to be able to focus solely on the task at hand. You shouldn’t have to worry about potential crashes or getting hurt, and with the Z20 Aero — which is equipped with MIPS technology — you won’t have to. Odds are that you won’t crash next race, but it’s always a possibility, and if you do, your helmet will keep you safe and healthy.