Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Jan. 15, 2020

If you’re a serious cyclist or triathlete, you may want to consider an aero helmet. These helmets reduce drag, which will make you go faster using the same amount of power output. They smooth the flow of air around your head and back, which cuts down on turbulence and allows you to cycle more efficiently.

Some companies claim these helmets can improve aerodynamics over traditional helmets by as much as 10 percent, provided it matches your shape and riding style. Check out some of the best aero helmets on the market in our buying guide below.

The Best Aero Helmet

The Vanquish features TransformAir design to streamline airflow and reduce drag. It uses MIPS technology to boost comfort, keep you cool, and protect your skull. You can wear normal glasses while riding and use the magnetically attached visor. The lens is easy to remove and reinstall, and the magnets feel very secure and safe. The helmet looks good, fits great, protects your eyes, and is not too expensive for what you get.

On the downside, there have been some complaints that a crack in the visor starts appearing within a short period of use. Also, the visor juts inward from the front of the helmet, and if you have a high cheekbones, it may dig into your face. The helmet may also be too bulky for some riders.

Key Features
  • Polycarbonate interlocking Hardbody with EPS foam
  • Roc Loc Air MIPS fit adjustment
  • Wind tunnel ventilation
Specification
  • Brand Giro
  • Model CASGIR0063
  • Weight 1.65 pounds
PROS

Comfortable and cool

Can be worn with regular glasses

Fits well

CONS

Visor may crack prematurely

Visor may dig into your cheekbones

Bulky

The ROCK BROS helmet claims to decrease air resistance by 40 percent compared to regular road bike helmets. It features a wider vent in the front with four deep internal channels for ventilation and improved aerodynamics. It also keeps you cooler and more comfortable while riding. It’s made of EPS and a PC shell for impact absorption, and it includes an easy-to-use adjustment system, making it suitable for both men and women.

The antimicrobial pad is also removable and washable. However, the helmet comes in very few color choices, and you may look a little like a Storm Trooper or Tron when you’re wearing it. The helmet lacks U.S. safety compliance stickers, so it would be illegal to use in a sanctioned event. Also, the helmet buckles under the chin with a magnetic clasp, and it may take a while to get used to it.

Key Features
  • Multi-Density EPS and PC shell with Integral Moulding Technology 
  • Four deep internal channels
  • Detachable and washable pad
  • Suitable for head circumferences of 22 to 24 inches
Specification
  • Brand ROCK BROS
  • Weight 0.59 pounds
PROS

Cool and comfortable

Good impact absorption 

Suitable for both men and women

CONS

Limited color options

Looks a bit bulky on your head

Magnetic chin straps may take time to get used to

The Kask Infinity Aero Road Helmet features a smooth shell and adjustable vents for aerodynamics. It provides streamlined performance and ventilation in nearly all riding positions. It is fully rounded and sleek without sharp edges and angles to promote airflow. The helmet stays locked in place, and you barely notice it’s there because it never wiggles or moves. It’s designed to absorb shock, and the 3D dry padding and multilayer construction makes it comfortable.

However, one issue with this helmet is the sizing may be inaccurate. Customers have reported that it fits smaller than expected. Also, it may feel a little heavier compared to other brands. In addition, it may not be as comfortable as some of its rivals.

Key Features
  • Polycarbonate shell and an EPS foam body
  • 3D dry padding
  • Octo Fit retention system
  • Eco-leather chain strap
Specification
  • Brand Kask
  • Model CPSC Infinity
  • Weight 1 pound
PROS

Adjustable vents increase efficiency

Shape promotes airflow

Shock absorbing

CONS

Runs smaller than expected

Heavier than other brands

Not as comfortable as other brands

The Air Attack Aero Road Helmet is lightweight and aerodynamic with a wind tunnel-aided design. The vents are strategically placed to generate power and improve efficiency. The Roc Loc Air fit system suspends the helmet just slightly above the top of your head, which results in an improved fit as well as more comfort. Overall, it’s more durable and better ventilated than traditional bike helmets.

While the helmet is great for managing moisture and absorbing impact, it isn’t without its faults. The chin straps may require a little adjusting and can be irritating if they’re not fixed properly, and they don’t lay as flat on your face as they should. The helmet is also not as attractive as some of its rivals.

Key Features
  • Lightweight, tailless design
  • Six vents
  • In-Mold polycarbonate shell with EPS liner
  • Roc Loc Air fit system
Specification
  • Brand Giro
  • Model Air Attack
  • Weight 5 pounds
PROS

Vents improve efficiency

Comfortable

Durable

CONS

Chin straps may be uncomfortable

Not as attractive as other aero helmets

The POC Octal Aero Raceday helmet does not have any vents and instead uses Coolbest pads to promote airflow, manage moisture, and keep your head cool and dry. The straps are molded into the liner for aerodynamics, comfort, and durability. You can adjust the size using an adjustment dial. The helmet sits nice and low on your head, it’s very lightweight, and it looks slick.

One problem with the helmet is that it may be a little small or narrow for some riders. Also, it may be heavier than the advertised weight, and the little knob that acts as the adjuster is not the best quality.

Key Features
  • Polycarbonate shell and EPS foam
  • Size adjustment system
  • No vents
  • Coolbest pads promote airflow
Specification
  • Brand Poc
  • Model 10625
  • Weight 1.6 pounds
PROS

Keeps you cool and dry

Lightweight

Stylish look

CONS

May be too small and/or narrow

May be heavier than advertised

Size adjuster is low quality

This helmet is light, fits great, and features a magnetic tinted visor. It comes on and off easily, which saves valuable seconds in transition during competition, and the integrated visor is much easier and more aerodynamic than trying to jam on sunglasses. It comes with eight vents: four in the front and four in the back for optimal airflow and comfort. The company also claims it’s 25 percent lighter and smaller than rival aero helmets.

One downside is you can’t take the helmet off with the visor attached to it, and it may not fit people with larger heads or facial features. Also, the visor scratches easily, and the knob for the rear tensioner may break after a short period of use.

Key Features
  • One size (fits head circumference from 21 to 23 inches)
  • Magnetically fastened shield
  • Eight vents
  • Abrasion resistant PET outer shell
Specification
  • Brand SLS3
  • Model Triathlon
  • Weight 13 ounces
PROS

Lightweight

Comfortable

Good airflow

CONS

Not for people with larger heads

Visor easily scratches

Rear tensioner knob may break prematurely

Best Aero Helmet Buying Guide & FAQ

Triathletes and cyclists have one goal in mind when they get on their bikes: go as fast as possible. But one of a cyclist’s biggest enemies is aerodynamic drag. That’s why you need everything possible to minimize resistance. With the right helmet, you can ride more quickly using the same amount of effort.

Our review and buying guide includes many of the features you need to consider when you’re shopping for the best aero helmet. There are several things that set each make and model apart, and we want to direct you towards the best ones to make your cycling experience as efficient as possible.

Why Do You Need An Aero Helmet

It goes without saying that the number one reason for purchasing a bike helmet is for safety. If you enter a competition, it’s required. If you’re practicing on your own or simply riding for fun, a helmet protects your noggin in an accident, so really, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t wear one. As for aero helmets in particular, they offer some benefits that standard helmets don’t.

The best aero helmet will reduce drag. This will make you just a little bit faster than the competition. While it may not be by a huge amount, it may be just enough to beat an opponent. These helmets are also quite comfortable and breathable. They often include vents for cooling purposes, which is helpful when you’re doing climbs.

There really is not substitute for an aero helmet, particularly if you’re competing in a triathlon or time trial event. They offer many advantages over other types of helmets.

Benefits

  • It protects your head in an accident.
  • It provides an aerodynamic advantage over regular helmets by reducing drag. It smooths the airflow around your head and back, reduces turbulence, and allows you to ride more efficiently.
  • It is comfortable and breathable.
  • It’s particularly beneficial when used at speeds over 22-23 mph when overheating is not a problem.

Types of Aero Helmets

While there are numerous types of bike helmets (i.e., road, commuter, enduro, etc.), there are really only two types of aero helmets: long-tail and stubby. Today, most people opt for the shorter versions. Helmets have evolved over the years, and newer aero helmets are favored by more athletes than ever.

  • Long-Tail

Years ago, long-tail helmets became quite popular. They are characterized by the long tail in the back of the helmet. When worn correctly, the airflow merges over the helmet. However, you have to be in the perfect body position in order for the helmet to work effectively.

Also, if you are in a time trial race or other course that requires you to look right and left or down, the tail will waggle around. This will actually create drag instead of preventing it. That is why the head position and the helmet itself is so important when you’re riding.

  • Stubby

These days, many companies sell stubby aero helmets. They have some of the same benefits of long-tail helmets, such as smooth airflow. However, they work much better and more efficiently when the rider’s head is down. While some still opt for long-tail helmets in short races, if you have even the slightest imperfect head position it will affect performance.

It is very difficult for most athletes, even professionals, to stay in a perfect position for the entire ride. It can become even more difficult when your adrenaline is pumping. So, if you’re riding on the open road or in a time trial, a stubby aero helmet is probably a better option, particularly if you struggle to hold a perfect riding position.

What to Look for When Buying an Aero Helmet

Finding a suitable aero helmet takes some research. The worst thing you can do is buy the first one you see because you’re too lazy to make brand comparisons. Make sure you examine all its characteristics so it fits properly and keeps your head in a cool and comfortable position.

  • Vents

One of the most important things to consider when buying an aero helmet is ventilation. Most brands have at least a few vents to keep you cool. This is particularly important if you know the ride is going to be hot. You especially need a ventilated helmet if you’re going to be doing a lot of climbs because very little air moves over your body in this scenario.

It’s important to keep relatively cool when you ride, so the heat doesn’t become overwhelming. That can affect your health as well as your performance.

  • Fit

Everyone’s head is different when it comes to their size and shape. As a result, not every helmet will fit every person. It’s vital that you find a helmet that fits properly. If it’s too tight, it will be painful. If it’s too loose, it will adversely affect your performance, and it will also be uncomfortable.

Make sure you measure your head properly before you shop for the best aero road helmets. Then consult the product’s sizing chart to make sure the circumference of your head corresponds to the right size. Also, consult reviews to see if the helmet tends to run smaller or larger than advertised.

  • Adjustability

As we just mentioned, a good fit is key when you’re shopping for the best aero road bike helmet. However, you still need the ability to make some adjustments on the helmet. Whether you’re looking for the best budget aero helmet or the best premium helmet, they all should have a retention device to make it fit even better.

These devices are usually located on the back of the helmet but are sometimes on the sides. You turn the dial to make the helmet fit better on your head. This will securely keep the helmet on your dome, particularly at higher speeds.

  • Padding

The best aero bike helmet will feature removable padding. This will allow you to detach it so you can clean it. It’s common for padding to become drenched in sweat over time. It can also start to smell, particularly if you wear the helmet frequently and don’t clean it. A removable padding allows you to wash it when necessary.

Also, some helmets include more than one set of pads to accommodate different temperatures. For example, denser padding can be used on colder days to insulate your head. These options allow you to customize your helmet to make it more comfortable, regardless of the conditions.

  • Visor

The best aero helmets feature some sort of built-in eye protection. Typically, this involves an integrated visor. The visor should be removable for convenience. However, with some brands you may have to remove the visor before you can take the helmet off your head, which can be a hassle.

Also, some visors are not comfortable with certain shaped faces. If you have larger facial features, a visor may press into your cheekbones. Keep these things in mind when you’re searching for the best aero cycling helmets or best aero helmets for triathlons.

  • Weight

The lighter you are, the faster you’ll go, right? The last thing you want is to wear a helmet that bogs you down because of its weight. You want your entire setup to be as light as possible, including your helmet. This is crucial on climbs when your goal is to save as much time as possible.

In addition to increasing performance, lightweight aero helmets will also feel better on your head and neck, no matter what riding position you’re in. You want to avoid neck pain as you’re racing down the road.

  • Safety

Last, but definitely not least, is safety. After all, the number one reason for wearing a bike helmet is safety. Some helmets are better made and better quality than others. If you want ultimate head protection, look for a brand that features Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) technology.

This slip-plane technology decreases the severity of a concussion in a crash. It reduces rotational forces caused by certain impacts. Even better, a MIPS-equipped helmet doesn’t feel any different than other types of helmets. You won’t notice the difference, but it will provide increased protection.

Tips for Buying and Using an Aero Helmet

There are many well-known helmet brands on the market, including Specialized, Giro, and Kask. However, it takes more than a brand name to make you ride faster. Among other things, you need to make sure that your helmet works well with your head and body position. If it doesn’t, you may be wasting your money.

Not all helmets are designed for all people. That’s why it’s a good idea to conduct a field test to make sure the helmet you purchase is the best one for your type of riding. You also have to make sure you ride in the proper position; otherwise, you will create more drag than necessary.

  • To minimize drag, lower your head and torso angle and narrow your shoulders and arms. If you have a poor body position, it will adversely affect aerodynamics no matter what type of helmet you use
  • If you have the time, conduct a field test to find the best helmet. A field test will also help you find the best riding position(s).
  • Some helmets test well on certain athletes but not on others. That’s why it’s essential to get one geared towards you, not someone else. 

Best Aero Helmet FAQ:

By now, you are probably convinced that a good aero helmet will increase your riding efficiency. However, you may still have some questions about this type of helmet. We go into a little more detail about the materials used to make these helmets, how long they last, and what they actually achieve in the FAQs below.

Q: What material is used to make aero helmets? 

The outer shell of aero helmets is typically made of thermally injected plastic known as polycarbonate or fiberglass. The liner is made of foam to protect your head in an impact.

Q: How long does an aero helmet last? 

Most aero helmets last for about five years. If you see signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or scrapes, or if it’s been in an accident, then you should replace it.

Q: How much time will I save using an aero helmet? 

If worn properly, an aero helmet may shave 30 to 60 seconds off each hour of riding. However, it also depends on how well the helmet smooths the airflow down the rider’s back.

Our Top Pick

Our pick for the best aero helmet is the Giro Vanquish Aero Bike Helmet with MIPS. It’s designed to streamline airflow, reduce drag, boost comfort, and keep you cool. It looks good, fits well, and protects your eyes. It also comes with a removable lens that’s easy to install and uninstall.

Sources:

  1. Is a long-tailed helmet faster? – Cycling Weekly
  2. Stubby vs. long tail aero helmets – which is faster? – Cyclist
  3. Using An Aerohelmet: Is It Worth It And How Do You Use It? – Intelligent Triathlon Training

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