When helmets finally infiltrated the pro peloton it took the Italians a bit longer to adjust to them than other countries. After all, one of their biggest heroes, Marco Pantani, was famous for wearing nothing more than a bandanna on his head . Their response became proactive, creating unique, stylish and innovative helmets. Here are three of our favorites. This feature on road helmets is in Issue 66 of PELOTON Magazine, on newsstands now. You can buy a copy at the PELOTON Shop or subscribe for our best deal right here.
Real-world aero, that’s what the Bambino Pro is all about. It’s easy to be aero in a wind tunnel when you just need to hold your position five minutes at a time, but over a long time trial? Kask’s Bambino Pro is fast in every head position, even when looking down to give your neck a break or grab your water bottle, thanks to the truncated tail—and it’s fast at every wind angle. The Bambino Pro also solves the issue of overheating in a minimally ventilated TT helmet, with 3D Dry tridimensional padding that reduces contact with the head by 70 percent. Fit sets the standard for TT helmets and it has our favorite Kask feature, the eco-leather chinstrap with the buckle placed under the ear. It also sets the standard in the real world, with more Tour de France victories since its release than any other TT helmet. $500, 340g (MD); kask.com
RUDY PROJECT RACEMASTER
RUDY PROJECT RACEMASTERTeam Bahrain-Merida might have the best looking kit in the peloton—and that extends beyond bibs and jerseys to bikes and the bling-ing gold Rudy Project Racemaster road helmets they wear. The Racemaster is Rudy’s top of the line and costs $350, but it is packed with features. It uses dual-density foam and a special impact-dissipating technology called Hexocrush, has an RSR 9 fit system that wraps the helmet around your head, and features bug netting and an integrated sunglasses dock at the back of the helmet (you can get matching gold Rudy sunglasses too!). The Racemaster even has a plastic fin at the rear that Rudy says reduces vortices to reduce neck strain. We’re not sure we buy that, but we love the Racemaster in flashy gold just the same. $350, 290g (MD); e-rudy.com
SUOMY GUN WIND
In a peloton of cookie-cutter helmets, none stands out more than the Suomy Gun Wind. This is the first bike-racing helmet created by the Italian motorcycle specialists and will spearhead the brand’s move into the U.S. Rather than the slash-like horizontal vents prevalent in most helmet design, the Gun Wind uses big, almost rectangular vents across the top of the helmet. In addition to giving it a unique look, the large vents are ideal for climbing in hot weather, allowing heat to radiate away when air is moving slowly. A Biaxial Size Adjuster and deep, thick pads provide a comfortable fit, while internal reinforcement keeps it safe. At just 250 grams, you won’t be weighed down by extra grams or derivative styling. $225, 250g (MD); suomysport.com