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Verdict: 
Comfortable and well-ventilated helmet
Weight: 
288g
Specialized Airnet
8 10

The Specialized Airnet is a comfortable, well-ventilated and lightweight helmet that is a good candidate if you have a £100 budget.

It has the appearance of an aero helmet, and that's because the shape is based on the company's Evade aero lid, but critically it boasts more vents for superior ventilation. In the wind tunnel, Specialized claims that while the Airnet isn't as slippery as the Evade that it's loosely based on, it's less draggy than the long-running Prevail. (I reviewed the S-Works Prevail back in 2012 – you can read that test here.) 

> Find your nearest dealer here

The low-profile shape of the Airnet is also evocative of the old leather hairnet hats that cyclists used to wear before polystyrene helmets really took off and became mandatory in the professional peloton. If you're wondering what one of those looked like, here's a photo or two...

Specialized Airnet Helmet - front.jpg

Specialized Airnet Helmet - front.jpg

On the head, the Airnet is very comfortable and feels very similar to the Prevail. It's heavier, but the weight difference is easily overlooked when you look at the £60 price gap between the two. There's the same turn-dial retention system found in Specialized's more expensive helmets, and it does an excellent job of gripping your head without any excessive pressure.

Specialized Airnet Helmet - bag.jpg

Specialized Airnet Helmet - bag.jpg

Merino pads provide good moisture management but it's the 23 vents that ensure the helmet deals well with hot weather. In fact, it's one of the best-ventilated helmets I've tested and certainly competes well against similarly priced rivals, and even helmets costing much more.

Specialized Airnet Helmet - inside.jpg

Specialized Airnet Helmet - inside.jpg

Hands up if you like to park your shades in the helmet from time to time... Me too, and the Airnet accommodates shades very well, with gripper material to ensure they stay put, handy when grovelling up climbs.

> Read our buyer's guide to performance helmets

My only criticism is the lack of adjustable straps. The plastic Y junction that brings the straps together, fortunately, sits comfortably below my ears, but it would be nice to be able to adjust them to suit.

Verdict

Comfortable and well-ventilated helmet

road.cc test report

Make and model: Specialized Airnet Helmet

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Specialized says: "Clean and simple, the Airnet helmet is the ideal blend of functionality and performance for riders seeking both adventure and style."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Specialized lists these features:

Ultra-light Mindset micro-dial fit system with height adjustability for the perfect fit.

4th Dimension Cooling System with deep internal channels, large vents, and aligned exhaust ports.

Composite matrix internal reinforcement allows larger vents for enhanced cooling.

Vent grippers are integrated at the front and rear for secure eyewear storage.

drirelease® Merino wool pads for increased comfort and sweat/ temperature management.

Thin, soft, and lightweight 4X DryLite webbing won't stretch out with sweat or water.

Tri-Fix web splitter for improved comfort and ease of strap adjustments.

Instrap webbing system for ultra-light construction and security.

Reflective decals for increased visibility in low-light conditions.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

Really comfortable, just slightly let down by lack of adjustable straps.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10

Not the lightest, but it's not exactly heavy.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Provides good comfort and fit.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Really good ventilation.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Lack of adjustable straps.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably

Use this box to explain your score

The Airnet is a really good helmet for the money but it loses a mark for the lack of adjustable straps.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

12 comments

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BrokenBootneck [228 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Is that the full aero version without vents?

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flathunt [245 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Ha, sure it's not the 'airnet ?

I used to have a Specialized Crossroads too, I'm not sure they test their names in the global market.

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handlebarcam [1064 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Looks like the Red Dwarf crew are going to have to worry about an even worse foe than Outland Revenue chasing them three million years into deep space: Specialized's Intellectual Property lawyers.

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w3ftm [3 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Oi mate, you've got a badger on your head!

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Dr_Lex [464 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
w3ftm wrote:

Oi mate, you've got a badger on your head!

Or, from the side, an enormous mint humbug.

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The _Kaner [1147 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

...

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earth [381 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Do Specialized have some kind of obsession with hair? They call their saddles Toupe's and their helmets are [H]Airnets.

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Grimani [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes

Its unfortunate the test sample was white. I have the black scheme and its much less Toad-head and actually looks pretty slick. Fits just like a Prevail or Evade, and is one of the few helmets that actually fits my big ol' head.

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PaulBox [679 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

One of the ugliest helmets I've seen since the 90's...

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peted76 [798 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm sure it will look good on some blessed people, but for me the mushroom effect is a bane of my oddly shaped head.. this would just make me look dafter than I already do.  

Personally I'd like Spesh to update/revamp the existing prevail and make the Evade a little lighter. Both of which IMO are cracking helmets.

 

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Jimnm [269 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
peted76 wrote:

<img>http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/scratchpad/images/5/5e/Toad_Mario_Pa...

lmao be ideal for Sikhs !

work it out