You can’t race with out it, and it’s one of the most important pieces of cycling equipment. A Triathlon Helmet is a crucial piece of equipment not only because of the safety but because it can provide some wind resistance as well. However, if you’re new to triathlons or a veteran there are a lot of helmets to pick from. That said, we decided to showcase some of the top picks and what to look for in finding the best features and value.
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- MIPS Technology to help minimize weight without compromising safety.
- Air Drag Reduction.
- Multiple Colors & Sizes
- Len’s are attached to the helmet which can break if you crash.
- Straps are a bit short.
- More Expensive than other models.
The Giro Vanquish Aero Triathlon helmet was designed to surpass the Giro Attack helmet. The new design of the Vanquish gives the rider some key features that make it one of the best triathlon helmets. As it was built to not only be one of most aerodynamic helmets but no safety features were slashed to get the aero design.
Giro was founded in 1985, by Jim Gentes in California and they have quickly become a helmet leader for cyclists, skiing, and snowboarding. You can find most outdoor sporting good stores carry a Giro helmet. Their huge success is due largely to their advancements in technology. The Vanquish is a great example of Giro’s successful technology. For example, the Vanquish is equipped with TransformAir™ Technology allows airflow over the top of the helmet to reduce drag. You’ll notice that this helmet doesn’t have the traditional tear-drop triathlon helmet design. This is due to the TransformAir™ technology which has the same efficiency in a profile that is more comfortable and versatile for racing or training.
Fit & Comfort –
When it comes to having to wear a helmet for 112 miles or even more you need a helmet that is comfortable. Giro equipped the Vanquish with their Roc Loc® fit system that allows the rider to enjoy a comfortable fit while increasing cooling. The patented design allows the helmet to suspend off of the skull creating better air flow. This also allows heat to escape through the rear of the helmet.
Giro also wanted to incorporate a shield or sunglasses system to help eliminate having to wear glasses. As you can see the shield is sleek and in line with the helmet. It’s magnetic design makes it very easy to clean or remove. You’ll find that the shield is a great addition to the profile and feel of the helmet.
- Lightweight Aerocore In-Mold Construction
- Adjustable Fit System
- AirEvac Superior Ventilation
- Attached Lens if you already own sunglasses.
- Non-magnetic buckle.
- Few Air Vents.
The Smith Optics Podium TT is a triathlon helmet chosen by a lot of top athletes. It’s designed and built for aerodynamics and comfort. Plus with a lifetime warranty, it’s hard to find a helmet that doesn’t offer the same features.
Smith Optics is a leading manufacturer of outdoor recreation products for surfing, mountain biking, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, and even fishing. With an extensive engineer team they have been able to create one of the best triathlon helmets for athletes. The helmet is offered with a MIPS® system in multiple colors. Therefore, you know in the event of a crash you have a helmet that is scientifically proven to reduce rotational motion.
The Podium Helmet is manufactured with a few other features to improve your ride. First, the XT2® anti-bacterial lining is a great addition to any helmet. However, one that you know you’re going to sweat in is even better. The last thing you want is bacteria or a foul smell coming from your helmet. Thanks to Smith Optics for adding this technology. Lastly, the helmet is equipped with a built-in lens so you don’t have to wear sunglasses if you don’t want to. This also helps the helmet remain as aerodynamic as possible.
Fit & Comfort –
As far as comfort goes on the Smith Optics Podium triathlon helmet, it’s built with an ultra-single layer of webbing. This helps reduce weight while still ensuring comfort inside the lid. Even though the helmet doesn’t have a lot fo ventilation holes the system does have some patented technology that helps improve airflow. Lastly, the helmet is designed to accommodate numerous head sizes with the VaporFit™ system.
- New Design & Research Leads To High Price
- Unique Style
- Runs Small
If you’re looking for a triathlon helmet that is designed with the leading technology. Then the Rudy Project Boost 1 is going to be your go-to helmet. It was designed by aerodynamics guru John Cobb in the famous Pininfarina Wind Tunnel. The helmet is one of the best helmets when it comes to aerodynamics. Unlike what you’d think though, this helmet doesn’t compromise ventilation, as it has one of the most robust systems.
Where to even begin? The Boost 1 is an absolute beast when it comes to technological advancements. The helmet was designed with universal dorsal ridges, which helps convert side force into forward force. Thus this helps to improve the aerodynamics. Second to that is dynamic pressure points that helps pull air around the rider’s neck and off the shoulders to better assists with aerodynamics. As you can read here, Rudy spent countless hours in the wind tunnel perfecting the Boost 1. Lastly, when it comes to safety Rudy designed this helmet to be compatible with ICEdot crash sensor or ANGi system that is now under Specialized ownership. If you’re unfamiliar with the system it’s an emergency identification and notification system in the event of a crash. Which you can read more about here.
Fit & Comfort –
Rudy decided to equip the Boost 1 with an integrated shield and visor. If you are used to the older Rudy Project helmets that don’t have a built-in visor this is going to be a great upgrade. It’s really nice not having a pair of glasses resting on your face or worse fogging up. Each Boost 1 comes with a free pad to interchange for added comfort. It also has their Fastex system for opening and closing the buckle which makes it quick to buckle the triathlon helmet. Lastly, the 10 vents on the helmet give it the absolute best venting. There was no other that compared to this model. This also helped keep the weight down to a lightweight 10 ounces.
- Inexpensive Great Entry Level
- Removable Race Shield & Flexible Ear Flaps
- Channeled Ventilation
- Older Style With Tear Drop Design.
- A little heavy compared to other models.
- Not as modern looking.
When it comes to getting into the sport of triathlons the gear can be a factor as it adds up in cost quickly. However, you don’t always have to buy the top of the line to gain benefits. A perfect example of that is the Bell Javelin triathlon helmet. It’s far from the most expensive, however, it offers a great aero helmet for your next triathlon race.
Bell designs and manufactures bike helmets to motorcycle helmets they have a huge product selection. With a history that dates back to the 1950s, you know that Bell is a leader when it comes to making a superior helmet that is affordable. That said, if you’re looking for a helmet that balances price and aerodynamics, then the Javelin is a great option. Developed in the wind tunnel, the Javelin is a proven helmet that has won numerous races. It’s designed to remove seconds against the wind and provide a world-class comfort. Built with a removable visor, a feature like this is great for the price point it resides in.
Fit & Comfort –
The Bell Javelin is a minimalist type of helmet. It’s designed with as few as possible vents to keep it aerodynamic and yet enough to cool your head. Of course, it won’t have the leading technology to keep your head cool in extreme temps. It does have a sufficient ventilation system for any triathlon race. One of the best features the helmet has is a SeamFlex earflap system that allows you to put on the helmet for a quick transition. It also makes it easy to remove when you hit T2 as well.
What To Look For In Triathlon Helmets –
In order to find a triathlon helmet for your next race or training season. You need to know what to look for so you can make a great decision on a helmet that will serve the purpose you desire. Typically, when someone is looking for a triathlon helmet. They’re looking to shave some time off their race results. To a new triathlete or even someone who is outside the sport, this sounds absurd. How can a helmet make me faster? We all grew up with a pediatrician asking our moms or dads if they made us wear a helmet for safety, not for speed. However, this is not the case for triathletes. A good triathlon helmet serves the purpose of safety and speed.
Considering the distance of a triathlon such as a 70.3 or even a 140.6. There is a lot of time on the bike and if you can reduce your wind drag it actually can increase your speed. It’s not significant but over the course of 4, 5 or 6 hours you can shave off minutes of your bike. To some, they are racing for a personal best or podium finish, and to others, it’s that much less time they are on the bike. Everyone has a reason, so to assist in selecting a helmet we put together the top contributors.
It’s hard not to consider this as the number one factor even though most triathletes only think in terms of speed. That said, a helmet has to be safe it’s the main reason for wearing one. Thankfully, helmet manufactures realize this as well and they are constantly upgrading the technology in triathlon helmets to improve safety. Therefore, you’ll see features that decrease impact, improve impact absorption, or even notify a service of a crash. In the USA the CPSC or Consumer Product Safety Commission has to approve all products. Be sure to look for helmet manufactures that abide by these federal laws. The area you can come into some issue is with overseas manufactures trying to penetrate the US market so be careful and stick with reputable brands.
If safety is a necessity then aerodynamics has to be the second factor for triathlon helmets. As the reason, anyone looks for a triathlon helmet is help save them time on their bike split. Now each and every company will have their own version of what is the best. However, the things you want to look for are actual results or research and not just a marketing scheme. This is why the triathlon helmets we’ve selected in our list meet those standards. The brands have spent countless hours researching and developing the most efficient helmets.
A lot of triathlon helmets have patents or proprietary information to conduct their aerodynamic design. So pay attention to the brands that go above and beyond to improve upon their old models. It costs a company a lot to be the #1 designer, so be sure to pay close attention to companies that are consistently developing new triathlon helmets.
Comfort & Fit –
For most cyclist that spend a weekend a month riding their bike. Comfort is probably the last item on their list of must-haves. However, considering a helmet is to be worn for the longest portion of a triathlon. It’s important you pick one that fits correctly and is comfortable. I tend to look for helmets that are lightweight, easy to adjust and have respectable padding and ventilation. A heavy helmet can leave you with some head fatigue when in aero bars. Therefore, be sure to check the weight of helmets to understand what you’re comfortable with. Most aero helmets that don’t have the teardrop design are fairly lightweight. However, a teardrop may give you better aerodynamics over a long course race.
I want to touch on ventilation as it’s important to either keep your head warm in cooler temps or cooled in warm weather. Be sure to find a helmet that has some options for opening ventilation holes. The last thing you want is a helmet that causes you to overheat when the temperatures are rising. It used to be where aerodynamics was greatly affected by ventilation so companies opted out of research methods. However, in recent years technology in the wind tunnel has been able to surpass those ideas and create aerodynamic helps that still offer great ventilation.