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TECH NEWS

Is Jonas Vingegaard’s latest time trial helmet one step too far?

Team Visma-Lease a Bike rode the Tirreno-Adriatico time trial in new alien-esque Giro TT lid, while Bahrain Victorious debuted an unreleased helmet from Rudy Project

Team Visma-Lease a Bike turned heads today at the Tirreno-Adriatico time trial, debuting a new Giro TT helmet but they weren't alone. Bahrain Victorious riders were also seen sporting an unreleased aero helmet from Rudy Project. This isn't the first time we've seen some spectacular TT lids in the WorldTour peloton so when will the UCI weigh in on this trend?

2024 Jonas Vingegaard Tirreno-Adriatico TT helmet (@vismaleaseabike on X)
@vismaleaseabike on X

Team Visma-Lease a Bike announced a three-year partnership with Giro as the official helmet sponsor at the start of this year and it hasn't taken long for an unreleased helmet to appear on the scene. 

The popular Giro Aerohead time trial helmet, which was released almost a decade ago in 2016, was hailed as the "fastest ever" Aerohead helmet. Now, with the new Giro Aerohead 2.0, as named by Paul Martens, Head of Rider Apparel at Team Visma-Lease a Bike in a video on X, it looks set to outdo its predecessor's performance.

It’s certainly sparked a lot of discussion, but this is just the latest carnation in a long line of ridiculous aero helmets. Uno-X Pro Cycling Team introduced the Star Wars-esque Sweet Protection Redeemer 2Vi Mips helmet this time last year, claiming to set a "new benchmark in aerodynamics." And now, the Aerohead 2.0 makes Poc's Tempor TT helmet look small. So, has aero gone too far?

2024 Visma Lease a Bike Giro Aerohead 2.0 side profile (@vismaleaseabike on X)
@vismaleaseabike on X

The appearance is totally different from its predecessor and appears to push the limits of the UCI's equipment regulations.

Article 1.3.031 states that: the dimensions of a helmet (including accessories) must not exceed the below dimensions:

Length (L) can be less than or equal to 450mm;

Width (W) can be less than or equal to 300mm; 

Height (H) can be less than or equal to 210mm;

2024 Visma Lease a bike Giro Aerohead 2.0
@vismaleaseabike

In the past, aero helmets have featured a tail extending from the back but in recent years, there has been a trend towards minimising this tail. Now, Visma-Lease a Bike is taking a different approach by extending the helmet's front instead of the rear leading to comments such as "he's got it on backwards". 

Although the exact dimensions of this helmet have not been disclosed, it will likely conform to the UCI's legal limit of 450mm in length. However, considering that the regulations don't specify the extent to which the length can extend from the front of the helmet, it's possible that this rule may need to be revisited.

2024 UCI regulation helmet dimensions

Reducing your frontal area is a crucial aspect of maximising aerodynamic efficiency in cycling and previously, we saw British pro triathlete, multiple-time Ironman champion and long-distance time trial specialist Joe Skipper use water bottle fairings to close the gap between his forearms, biceps and head. 

While body fairings are prohibited by the UCI, the new Aerohead helmet appears to function as a fairing in its own right with its unique design likely to provide additional aerodynamic benefits. 

It comes out very far in front of the rider's face with a narrow front but then extends and is nearly as wide as the rider's shoulders, which is likely aimed at redirecting airflow and reducing turbulent air in the frontal area, improving aerodynamic efficiency. 

The new design has raised concerns amongst many claiming it favours aerodynamics over safety. Numerous comments have been made speculating about the potential consequences of a crash, particularly regarding the leverage at the front and the size and placement of the visor.

When asked if this helmet is safe and quick, Martens replied, "Yes, I think you can describe it like this. It's always really important for a helmet to be safe"...

Team Bahrain Victorious was also seen in a new aero lid from Rudy Project which shares similarities to a firefighter helmet. It features a wide visor and flares out at the ears, currently seen in a camo design. 

2024 Bahrain victorious Rudy Project tt helmet
@BHRVictorious on X

What are your thoughts on these latest TT lids and do you think the UCI will ban these helmets? Let us know in the comments section below... 

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

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19 comments

Avatar
griggers | 4 months ago
0 likes

As usual, nothing new here - John Lafford and me were using a Darth Vader TT lid in the 90s...

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Velophaart_95 | 4 months ago
0 likes

I'm not anti tech, but I have an issue with a lot of TT tech; considering how few TT's we see in pro racing, I wonder at the sense of all the time and money spent in R&D. And how relevant it is for cycling in general.......

And then the safety issue.......

Why not just have TT's on road bikes, and normal helmets......???

And go down the motorsport model, and each team nominates one bike model to use for the entire year.......

Avatar
Grub | 4 months ago
1 like

Given how much extra material there now is at the front etc, I can't help thinking that in the event of a crash, that extra helmet length could potentially create more rotational or directional force, a lot of which will got through the chin strap? Could end up garotting the rider?! (I'm no physicist BTW)

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Paul J replied to Grub | 4 months ago
1 like

That is very much a concern - which the bike helmet industry stays quiet about. Bike helmets may reduce rates of some head injuries, but they increase rates of neck injuries.

There is a consequence to adding 300g+ of weight at another 5 to 10cm or so from the scalp. Leverage and rotational inertia is a bitch.

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Rendel Harris replied to Paul J | 4 months ago
2 likes
Paul J wrote:

Bike helmets may reduce rates of some head injuries, but they increase rates of neck injuries.

This is often stated but a meta-analysis of peer-reviewed research covering 64,000 cyclist injuries in total found no association with increased neck injury: https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/46/1/278/2617198

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Paul J replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
0 likes

By often stated, it's from the Elvik meta-analysis- which that more recent meta-analysis cites. I hadn't read that one, thanks for pointing to it.

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Tom_r_k | 4 months ago
0 likes

I wonder about these helmets in a crash, imagine if you caught the visor in a fence

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Rendel Harris replied to Tom_r_k | 4 months ago
0 likes
Tom_r_k wrote:

I wonder about these helmets in a crash, imagine if you caught the visor in a fence

I think most, if not all, have the visors held on by magnets and so they would come off quite easily if any force were applied.

Avatar
Miller | 4 months ago
1 like

When I was still time trialling I used the original giro aerohead for one season. It didn't seem too radical, I found it slightly uncomfortable though. The last aero helmet I used was a POC Cerebel. It was a lovely lid, low key and comfortable, and good looking. At my level it didn't need to be cutting edge.
This new Giro one though, you're going to need to win to not get mocked. And they weren't even close to winning.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Miller | 4 months ago
3 likes
Miller wrote:

This new Giro one though, you're going to need to win to not get mocked.

I don't think winning would protect from mockery, perhaps more accurate to say you're going to need to win to make the amount of mockery you receive seem worthwhile.

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Steve K | 4 months ago
0 likes

9th.

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Paul J | 4 months ago
2 likes

Those are not helmets, they are fairings - quite obviously. Head mounted, but fairings none the less.

It's ridiculous, and needs to be stopped. Helmets should just be banned.

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peted76 | 4 months ago
2 likes

A new season of cycling, another silly TT helmet... another year of 'Darth Helmet' meme's. 

We're all now just waiting for the UCI fun police to implement a ban.

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ubercurmudgeon | 4 months ago
4 likes

I can't believe they're releasing it under the Giro brand, when the same company also owns Bell, which has the perfect model name available: the "End".

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Global Nomad | 4 months ago
0 likes

UCI rule incoming I expect....helmets must follow shape of head...forehead must be x cm's above stem....dodgy plastic surgeons offer work arounds....

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Cugel | 4 months ago
1 like

Why is techno-cheating allowed in these supposed bike races that pretend to be a test to discover the fittest and most adept cyclist but are in actuality a marketing-fest for all sorts of silly gew-gaws eagery purchased by all sorts of silly wannabees?

Whatever - that head thing is surely a fairing and should be UCIed away, away to the silly-bin! Mind, so should all them other bits of aero and weightless bling of little or no utility except to profit-mad manufacturers and landfill operatives (keeps them employed).

If all the professional "cyclists" had to ride A Standard Racing Bike with no variations other than size, the true best-at-this-race cyclist might emerge. Not that it would matter a single hoot.

On the other hand, we humans need a good distracting from reality and our various self-wrought impending dooms so ..... lets have some mad shoes at the other end of the "cyclists" to discuss in the jabber & prattle virtual snugs.

When will they be issued with wheel-hub knives to see off the other two-wheeled charioteers?  The drunken crowds of spectators would love that.  (See Roman circus for details). A wunnerful & exciting sporting spectacle, with crashes and blud!

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Dunnoeither | 4 months ago
2 likes

Looks like this helmet can only be used on courses without bridges or tunnels as riders may geht stuck.
The good thing about this design ist that it doubles up as bike shed or tiny house and can store up to three gallons of water and two Happy Meals if your neck muscles can handle it.

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andystow | 4 months ago
11 likes

I think it looks better in black.

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Jorin replied to andystow | 4 months ago
3 likes

I was waiting until this story hit here (saw it at GCN), specifically to post exactly the same picture. Bless you for this.

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