One thing that never ceases to amaze me at Eurobike every year is the number of new helmets on display. It’s a product category that continues to expand and evolve, and this year was no exception, with new lids from Giro, Lazer, Bell, Abus, Kask and Limar. Probably missed a few but these are the ones that stood out.
It wasn’t a stellar year for groundbreaking innovation, but the new Giro Aether was probably the most interesting new product. You might have read about this new helmet previous, how it has MIPS Spherical which employs a 2-piece shell to reduce the impact of a crash by providing a small range of rotational movement, but it’s not until you get the thing into your hands and see how it works that you really grasp the scale of the development.
The range of rotation is massive compared to regular MIPS, but how much difference that makes in a crash is open to debate - I’d love to see some independent crash testing to put it into perspective.
The other big factor is noticeable when you compare it to a Synthe MIPS. The new Aether has much bigger vents and when you turn both over, there are huge internal channels and the absence of the MIPS plastic liner should increase ventilation hugely, as well as improving comfort and fit.
First impressions are good, can’t wait to get one into the office for testing.
Abus launched the Airbreaker helmet at Eurobike 2018. It's based on the shape of the Gamechanger helmet launched a year ago, but the focus is on maximum ventilation and airflow in both head down and forward positions. It has 11 air inlets and 3 air outlets connected with flow channels inside the helmet to maximise cooling airflow when it's hot.
MIPS is increasingly popular on performance helmets but after consultation with sponsored pro cyclists, Abus has decided not to include it because they felt it prevented airflow and added weight. The helmet features a magnetic buckle strap and will weigh a claimed sub-200g in size small, so it's one of the lighter helmets on the market.
Limar Air Pro
Here’s the new Limar Air Pro, part of the Italian company’s overhauled range this year. This model intends to walk the tightrope between aerodynamics and ventilation. It has been designed with input from Astana and utilises wind tunnel testing to validate the design, which Limar claims is 20% more efficient than its current lightest and best-vented helmet, the Ultralight+.
Its shape, apparently inspired by nature, is said to be substantially more aerodynamic than its Ultralight+ helmet. The shape of the longitudinal ribs has a pyramid shape that is claimed to cut through the air more cleanly, while the longer tail is intended to reduce turbulence by providing a smoother detachment of air at the back of the helmet.
There are 20 vents as well as eight inner channels designed to funnel the airflow where it needs to go to cool your head and reduce drag.
Lazer has developed a new helmet called the Century with an integrated rear LED light and the unique Twistcap, a central cover that can be removed and rotated, held in place by magnets and which can provide ventilation or aerodynamics depending on your mood or requirements.
The Belgian company describes it as an all-in-one helmet and it’s not intended to replace the Z1, instead, it’s aimed at regular cycling, sportives and commuters etc. It’s going to cost €160 without MIPS, €180 with MIPS, we’ll confirm the UK price as soon as we add it.
Kask’s new Utopia helmet is billed as the “fastest ever road helmet” by the Italian company, with a design that saves a claimed 6 watts when riding at 50km/h (31mph) compared to the best competitor helmets.
Bell Z20 Aero
Not to be outdone, Bell was showing a new aero helmet, the Z20 Aero helmet. It’s claimed to be faster than its previous aero helmet, the Star Pro, the one with the sliding vents. It'll save you 40 seconds (on a 40km time trial at 400 watts) compared to the regular non-aero Z20 helmet, according to Bell. Fine if you can maintain 400 watts!
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.