Oakley's Mips-equipped ARO5 is a well-made aero road helmet with good ventilation and a Boa retention-system that dials in a comfortable fit. Be aware that it is a deep-fitting hat, though, and can interfere with glasses.
- Pros: Boa lace adjustment system is very easy to use to get a comfortable fit
- Cons: Deep-fitting – small-headed people especially, try before you buy
Out of the box, the ARO5 claims great safety with the Mips system (see below) and has decent aerodynamics plus big vents for keeping you cool. It's the helmet of choice for a lot of pro triathletes this season, and Team Dimension Data will be using the ARO5 and TT ARO7 version.
The ARO5 sits in the middle of the range, with a lightweight polycarbonate shell and EPS protective foam. Oakley has incorporated Mips Brain protection technology into the helmet. This is being seen in a lot of helmets now, at all price ranges. It's a low-friction layer that, according to Mips, works by "absorbing and redirecting the energy and force generated during a crash that would otherwise be transmitted to the brain". It's clever technology and definitely something I like to see in helmets.
The helmet has big vents at the front which do a great job at keeping you cool. The X-Static brow pad is one piece and uses silver to inhibit the growth of bacteria and, apparently, eliminate odour. I didn't notice any nasty niffs in my weeks of testing. In the box you get a spare pad too. Padding in the rest of the helmet is minimal, with just a small pad for the top of the head.
Size & adjustment
Oakley has used a Boa FS1-1 system to dial in the fit of the helmet. It's a height-adjustable, 360-degree design using a lace that tightens all round the head and lies flat. The cradle can be adjusted up and down to get the right fit around the back of the head, then you can dial in the fit very easily, even with gloves on.
The straps around the chin are the nice lightweight sort that sit flat and you barely notice them.
As a small-headed person, I was reviewing a small, which should fit 52cm-56cm heads. Although I could get a comfortable fit, no matter how I positioned the helmet on my head and tightened it up, it wanted to sit too far forward for my liking. The Boa tension system worked really well, but I had to have it quite tight to try to get the helmet to sit well on my head. (It's not me in the photos.)
The issue I had was that the whole cradle and lace system sits very low, giving the helmet a deep fit. It fits fine if you don't mind it sitting low on your forehead, but it sat right on top of my glasses. The only way to get it to sit better was to have my ponytail threaded through the cradle, which is do-able if a little faffy, and not something I normally have to do with other helmets.
The ARO5 could be a very nice helmet, it's just not quite suited to my head. Other options you could consider are the Specialized's S-Works Women's Prevail II – a very lightweight helmet with some aero features – or the Lazer Cosmo, which fits better on my small head. It's the same price (well, 99p more) as the ARO5 now, and can be turned into an aero helmet by adding a shell.
The price could be a drawback for many, too. At £199.99 it is a top-end helmet, and if you want a more affordable road helmet without the aero features, there are numerous options – like the Bell Tempo Mips, for example, at £64.99.
If you like the look of the ARO5 but not the matt black, it's available in other colours.
A deep-fitting Mips-equipped lid geared towards roadies with a need for speed
road.cc test report
Make and model: Oakley ARO5 Helmet
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Oakley says 'Tuned for speed and ready for heart-pounding sprint finishes, ARO5 is an aerodynamic and comfortably lightweight design with BOA's 360 degree fit system, MIPS Brain Protection, and a moisture wicking brow pad'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lightweight Polycarbonate shell - integrated eyewear dock to securely stow your shades and keep them handy for quick and easy access
X-Static® brow padding - X-STATIC® harnesses the power of silver to create a powerful technology that inhibits the growth of bacteria on fabric, eliminating odor for the life of the product
MIPS® Brain Protection System - The MIPS® Brain Protection System is a helmet integrated, low friction layer designed to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head
BOA® FS1-1 System - The Boa® FS1-1 is a height adjustable 360° design that delivers an exact fit, perfect for you every time. With its soft textile feel and flexibility, the TX1 Lace lies flat against your head, allowing for seamless eyewear integration
EPS protective foam
Vane support structure
Seems very well made.
It has all the right safety specs and Mips, big vents that keep your head cool, and it's easy to adjust.
After a month of testing it is holding up well, no problems to report.
Not the lightest out there, but not bad.
It is comfortable, but sits low on my head.
It has a top-end price tag.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a road helmet it works well, with aero features making it good for racing too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I liked the Boa lace tension system; this works very well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's a deep-fitting helmet, and interferes with my glasses.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not my favourite helmet to use.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
I think the ARO5 warrants a 7 overall. It's a good helmet; the fit wasn't perfect for me – other brands are able to make small helmets that fit better, on me anyway – but the Boa tension lace system works very well.
About the tester
I usually ride: specailized dolce My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking