The battle for aero, once the domain of the time trial, has been raging in the peloton for the last few years. Wheels, frames, positions and even apparel have all been re-examined and re-imagined to shave precious grams of drag. Road helmets have not been immune. While safety, lightweight and cooling were once the goals, they to have been bitten by the aero bug. Specialized and Mark Cavendish used an aero shell to speed up his Prevail at the Road World Championships and Lazer had been offering one for years, of course it was originally called a rain cover.
With the UCI frowning on them as nothing more than ‘fairings’, it was only a matter of time before the aero road helmet was born. Giro has been the first major player to place a shot across the bow, with what looks very much like a commuter helmet met a Keirin helmet and had a love child.
It’s called the Air Attack and utilizes a key aspect of new aerodynamic thinking, truncation. The Air Attack is essentially the front of a traditional TT helmet, with the long tail removed. Giro found that the air could be fooled into thinking the tail was still there and flow accordingly. This is the same thinking behind the Trek Speed Concept and to a lesser degree the SCOTT FOIL, the Kamm Tail.
To handle cooling Giro took advantage of the high pressure at the rider’s brow to force air into the helmet without massive frontal channels. The helmets interior is still heavily channeled to carry that air across the rider’s head, but Giro had another trick up their sleeve to maximize this. A new fit system called Rock Loc Air actually suspends the foam 3mm above the rider’s head to allow the air to cool the entire head. They used their novel Therminator to verify this new systems effectiveness by measuring temperature across the entire head.
The final piece to the puzzle is an available magnetically attached face shield. Using three magnets the shield can easily be placed on the helmet, removed, or even stored upside down on the helmet. The face shield, using Carl Zeiss optics, does appear to occult the channels at the brow, which would potentially reduce the helmets cooling ability.
Much of Giro’s traditional helmet technology is on display as well - Featherweight webbing, Slimline ultra-light buckle, X-Static anti-microbial padding. At 264-grams without the face shield and 296-grams with, the helmet pays a very small weight penalty considering the relatively full shell.
No aero data has yet been released, such as grams of drag saved over an Aeon or Atmos. Giro does claim it is the fastest road style helmet they tested, although the list of helmets tested was not released.
Available Spring 2013 in Sm-Md-Lg.
MSRP: Air Attack $200 Air Attack with Face Shield $240.