For years, helmet makers talked a lot about vents. The more vents, the better the helmet, common wisdom went (although internal channeling has as much if not more effect on cooling). Then the talk switched to aero performance: fewer vents were faster, but hotter. Now many companies are trying to finesse a happy medium between cool and fast. Some, like the Giro Synthe or the Kask Protone, settle for a single shape that is fairly fast but with plenty of air flow. Others, like the Bell Star Pro, Casco SPEEDairo or Kask Infinity, have moving parts to switch between aero performance and ventilation on the fly.
BikeRadar strolled the halls of the Eurobike and Interbike tradeshows to bring you this 'best of' road helmet gallery. Note that some companies, such as Specialized and Trek/Bontrager, didn't attend either one, so you won't find their lids here.
For 2015, the Casco SPEEDairo adds a Zeiss-certified photochromic lens, which lightens or darkens automatically depending on ambient lighting conditions. This lens was exposed to dotted light from a special flashlight for two seconds right before the photo was taken; the dots faded within about 10 seconds as the lens readapted to the indoor light conditions. The SPEEDairo is more vented than many aero helmets, with a light mesh to keep bugs out. The SPEEDairo's integrated lens is attached with elastic straps, allowing it to be removed and secured above while riding. The SPEEDtime, on the other hand, is an aero-over-all-else design. It's also not cheap, at €400 (US$515 / £318).
- Related: BikeRadar's Casco reviews and news
The Catlike Mixino is a US$299 helmets with 39 vents and deep internal channeling for air flow. The Mixino has distinctive sculpting, but its internal performance is notable as well. Catlike uses graphene nanofibers to reduce bulk while maintaining strength. To accommodate various head sizes, the Mixino retention strap has detachable side panels with pads of various sizes. Ovalish pads at the rear angle-adjust for head shape, too.
The Bell Star Pro was introduced at the Tour de France. In addition to the integrated visor, the Star Pro boasts an open/close vent switch. The Giro Synthe is a happy medium between a well-vented helmet and a full-on aero helmet.
The Kask Protone launched atop the heads of Team Sky riders at the Tour de France, but it comes in other options besides sky blue. The Kask Infinity, like the Star Pro, can open and close its vents. Here, that is done by sliding the central panel of the external shell up and down. Kask uses 3D Dry padding with deep channels. The stitched-flat strap junction was a request from pro riders, Kask says. EcoLeather is used on some of the Kask straps.
The Limar Ultralight+ claims to be the world's lightest, at 175g in the CE version. (The CPSC version weighs 210g).
Related: BikeRadar's Limar Ultralight review
The US$219 MET Stradivarius HES uses gel padding and comes in two sizes (54-58cm and 59-62cm).
The new Lazer Z1 Fast (US$300) is similar to the standard Z1 with its snap-on AeroShell cap, but in this case, the shell is fully integrated and can't be removed (in order to satisfy UCI rules). The new Lazer WASP Air has a shorter tail than the original, which is slightly less aerodynamic than the standard WASP but supposedly produces less drag if and when the rider tilts their head down.
"The longer the event, the shorter the tail," says Lazer's Chris Smith. "Because you are more likely to move your head in a longer race." The Lazer WASP Air will also have an angle-measuring device to detect when the rider moves the helmet more than two percent outside of the desired angle, which will be set by the rider or a fitter. The angle device, which is still in prototype form here, will give an audio and vibration alert.
This prototype angle-measuring device will alert riders when they drop their heads more than two percent outside of the desired angle, which can be set by the rider or a fitter
Lazer has two helmets with MIPS technology, the US$230 Helium shown here and the US$70 Beam urban lid. MIPS helmets allow the head to move somewhat separately from the shell in the event of a crash, which reduces the potential for brain trauma, proponents say.
Swedish company POC continues to push into the road market. It's Octal helmet comes in a MIPS option. The Octal's white foam provides good visual contrast with the yellow MIPS layer, which pivots within the helmet. POC has two lines – the AVIP 'safety' line that comes in bright shades, and the new performance line with a darker aesthetic.
The yellow MIPS layer moves separately from the helmet shell, which can reduce the chance of brain trauma, proponents say