Video: Giro launch Air Attack aerodynamic road helmet

The lowest drag of any road helmet, according to the US brand

by Mat Brett   June 20, 2012  

Giro have revealed their new aerodynamic road helmet, the Air Attack, that will be used in this year’s Tour de France and on the track at the London Olympics and then launched to the public in the spring.

The Californian brand claims that the Air Attack reduces aerodynamic drag while still being lightweight and cool. One problem with time trial-style helmets is that they often lack enough ventilation for long events on hot days but Giro reckon that they’ve dealt with that. They’ve extensively tested the new helmet in the wind tunnel and claim the Air Attack possesses the “lowest wind-averaged aerodynamic drag of any ‘road’ helmet design tested”.

The aerodynamic statistics that Giro claim for the Air Attack are these:

• 12% less drag than the Giro Aeon (standard style) road helmet

• 17secs faster than the Aeon in a 40km (25 mile) time trial at 40kph (25mph)

The Air Attack, which has already seen action on the heads of pro racers in a few races, will be available in two versions, one of them with a magnetically-anchored optical shield – what we Brits would call a visor but that’s confusing because that’s the word the Yanks use to describe a helmet peak.

“The two biggest obstacles a rider has to overcome are the wind, which forces a rider to work harder, and heat which forces the body to divert energy to cooling,” said Eric Richter, Giro Senior Brand Manager. “The Air Attack can help riders to overcome both obstacles more efficiently, and essentially creates an entirely new category of helmets that are light, cool and aerodynamically efficient at the same time. From road races and criteriums, to the track and triathlon, we see performance benefits for a lot of riders with the Air Attack.”

These are the Air Attack’s key features according to Giro:

• To minimize aerodynamic drag, the Air Attack features a frontal profile similar to conventional aerodynamic helmets, but without the need for a longer tail section. Giro reckon they’ve managed to truncate the rear while still getting the air to behave as if it’s still there. That makes us think a little of the Kammtail Virtual Foil frame tube profiles that Trek use on their Speed Concept bikes; they’re totally different shapes, obviously, but the principal of chopping off the rear end of the airfoil is similar. We don't have wind-tunnel figures but Giro reckon the Air Attack sits midway between their Selector TT helmet and their Aeon road helmet in terms of drag.

• The Air Attack features a new, adjustable fit system called Roc Loc Air, which acts as the head form of the helmet and a key part of the ventilation system. Rather than the polystyrene (sorry, EPS) sitting right next to your head, this system suspends the helmet 3mm above your head, creating additional ventilation space and taking advantage of air pressure and flow patterns to create a Venturi effect (where pressure is reduced when air flows through a restricted space) that forces air throughout the helmet’s vent channels and exhaust ports. Six external vents are synchronized with the deep channels in the helmet’s liner to improve cooling. You might get 20-odd vents with a standard road helmet. Giro reckon the Air Attack's level of cooling rivals that of their most ventilated helmets and it provides 28% better ventilation than the Selector TT helmet.

• The Air Attack Shield model features a magnetically-anchored optical shield by Carl Zeiss Vision, which is easy to install or remove with one hand. It can be flipped upside-down and stored on the outside of the helmet if you want it out of the way.

• The Air Attack uses featherweight webbing straps with an ultralight buckle. We’re assuming they’ll be similar to those used on the Giro Aeon, for instance. 

• It’ll come with X-Static anti-microbial padding, as Giro already use extensively in their range.

The Air Attack will be available in three sizes in circumferences from 51cm to 63cm. The estimated weight for the Air Attack Shield in size medium is 270g.

The relative lack of vents gives the Air Attack an almost urban helmet appearance. It might take a while to get used to those looks but that's often the way with genre-busting kit. The Cervélo P3 TT bike took a lot of flak for its looks when it was launched... until it started winning races. The same is true of aero road bikes, TT helmets... in fact, bike helmets in general. So maybe you'll learn to love those looks over time. Or maybe you won't.

We don’t have UK prices yet but the Air Attack will be €200, or €240 for the version with the Air Attack Shield with the optical shield.

For more info, check out the Giro website

20 user comments

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That is weird looking, prefer the kask.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1725 posts]
20th June 2012 - 13:23

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I think it looks better than the majority of 'road' helmets around too. Not convinced it's going to be a match in terms of ventilation though....

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posted by G-bitch [298 posts]
20th June 2012 - 13:28

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So it would seem we have gone full circle, from the bulbous polystyrene monstrosities of old, to lightweight good looking ventilated helmets and back again….

posted by Ducci [50 posts]
20th June 2012 - 14:05

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I like it a lot... Seeing it go up the mountains in the Tour will prove to me its cool enough to wear over here for sure.

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posted by richmitch [49 posts]
20th June 2012 - 14:12

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Ducci wrote:
So it would seem we have gone full circle, from the bulbous polystyrene monstrosities of old, to lightweight good looking ventilated helmets and back again….

Agreed - but then, for a long time, the very concept of wearing a helmet looked ugly. Now we've all got used to it. Maybe we will with these too - aero certainly seems to be the way the manufacturers are pushing...

posted by step-hent [638 posts]
20th June 2012 - 14:20

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Looks safer not having the pointy bits at the back which reduce the protection provided by most road helmets.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1301 posts]
20th June 2012 - 14:36

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Raleigh wrote:
That is weird looking, prefer the kask.
Is that not a plastic cover that Sky use (and the UCI are banning)? - unless of course you mean the track helmet...

posted by mustard [72 posts]
20th June 2012 - 14:40

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richmitch wrote:
I like it a lot... Seeing it go up the mountains in the Tour will prove to me its cool enough to wear over here for sure.

i would think that in much the same way that teams use aero road bikes and deep section wheels for the flat, and lightweight bikes for the hills, they'll chop and change helmets too.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7036 posts]
20th June 2012 - 14:58

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step-hent wrote:
for a long time, the very concept of wearing a helmet looked ugly. Now we've all got used to it. Maybe we will with these too - aero certainly seems to be the way the manufacturers are pushing...

They won't make half as much money if they only sell the same model as we bought 3 years ago (and don't see the need to replace it) so they have to keep offering us something better - lighter, more ventilation, improved strap adjustment, and now the latest buzzword is 'aero'.

The lightest, best vented and probably most aerodynamic option is free, but no helmet manufacturer wants you to choose that!

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posted by Simon E [1778 posts]
20th June 2012 - 15:46

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www.vulpine.cc
@aslongasicycle
@vulpinecc

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posted by aslongasicycle [251 posts]
20th June 2012 - 16:53

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aslongasicycle wrote:

they would be missing a trick if they dont bring this colour scheme out Smile

i would like to see one in the flesh to be honest and perhaps try a sanitized demo one.

every little helps with aero and all that

posted by russyparkin [550 posts]
20th June 2012 - 20:53

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Simon E wrote:

They won't make half as much money if they only sell the same model as we bought 3 years ago (and don't see the need to replace it) so they have to keep offering us something better - lighter, more ventilation, improved strap adjustment, and now the latest buzzword is 'aero'.

The lightest, best vented and probably most aerodynamic option is free, but no helmet manufacturer wants you to choose that!


I assume this "free" option you're refering to is wearing no helmet...? It's proven that a well ventilated helmet is actually cooler than wearing no helmet and, unless you're bald and have no ears, a helmet (even current heavily ventilated models) is more aero than no helmet as well... not to mention the obvious safety factor.

...though I suppose you're right about it being lighter at least.

posted by badbadleroybrown [17 posts]
21st June 2012 - 8:18

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badbadleroybrown wrote:
I assume this "free" option you're refering to is wearing no helmet...? It's proven that a well ventilated helmet is actually cooler than wearing no helmet and, unless you're bald and have no ears, a helmet (even current heavily ventilated models) is more aero than no helmet as well... not to mention the obvious safety factor.

...though I suppose you're right about it being lighter at least.

Does anyone have this proof? There's no way that current heavily ventilated helmets are more aero than no helmet!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1301 posts]
21st June 2012 - 8:38

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It actually looks like a great commuting helmet (minus visor), as its quite casual. I wonder if they'd do one in matt grey, ideal for a green logo...

www.vulpine.cc
@aslongasicycle
@vulpinecc

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posted by aslongasicycle [251 posts]
21st June 2012 - 9:40

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badbadleroybrown wrote:
It's proven that a well ventilated helmet is actually cooler than wearing no helmet and, unless you're bald and have no ears, a helmet (even current heavily ventilated models) is more aero than no helmet as well... not to mention the obvious safety factor.

I'm afraid I don't agree. I ride with a Bell Ghisallo and without and I know which option is cooler and less sweaty, and it's not the helmet.

And proven by whom?

Figures I've seen for aerodynamics for bare head v road helmet v aero helmet show bare head (short hair) is better than road helmet while a bald head is almost as good as the aero helmet. Longer hair is worse than short but I can't remember if it's as unaerodynamic as a standard road lid.

"Obvious safety factor"? http://road.cc/59533

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posted by Simon E [1778 posts]
21st June 2012 - 9:54

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mustard wrote:
Raleigh wrote:
That is weird looking, prefer the kask.
Is that not a plastic cover that Sky use (and the UCI are banning)? - unless of course you mean the track helmet...

Its not a cover. (which the UCI did ban)

Its an integrated part of the helmet -> so its the same principal as the Giro one...

posted by ALIHISGREAT [109 posts]
21st June 2012 - 11:10

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aslongasicycle wrote:
It actually looks like a great commuting helmet (minus visor), as its quite casual. I wonder if they'd do one in matt grey, ideal for a green logo...

much friendlier than heavily ventilated helmets for rainy commutes too Wink

posted by diego [26 posts]
21st June 2012 - 17:41

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diego wrote:
aslongasicycle wrote:
It actually looks like a great commuting helmet (minus visor), as its quite casual. I wonder if they'd do one in matt grey, ideal for a green logo...

much friendlier than heavily ventilated helmets for rainy commutes too Wink

good point on the vents! im sold already. the kask that sky are using is going to be sold. i think its like the old rally car principle. i.e. the helmet has to be sold to the public or be awaiting release and it can be used.

i know they are paid to use this stuff but if there was a big detramental affect to less vents then the pros wouldnt use them if it would sacrifice their race and the kask one has been ridden consistently over some week long tours.

im intrigued more by the giro than the kask i have to say as it looks quiet cool

posted by russyparkin [550 posts]
21st June 2012 - 18:27

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Looks just like a Casco track helmet.

Sean

posted by seanieh66 [192 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 9:36

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As with all things cycling if it looks "cool" and some pro wears it, people will pay that ridiculous price to reduce their drag while averaging 16mph because they are 1 stone overweight.

andrew streit

posted by andrew streit1 [26 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 12:13

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