Lazer‘s airflow-smoothing Aero Shell was something of a novelty when it debuted at Ronde van Vlaanderen back in 2010. Three years later, though, aero road helmets are practically the norm, with nearly every major brand getting into the game, including Giro, Scott, Specialized, Kask, Uvex, and Ekoi.
BikeRadar has already covered the Giro Air Attack in depth, but if you thought that helmet looked unusual it’s nothing compared to Specialized’s take. After an early look after Milan-San Remo, we managed a much more thorough inspection at Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Specialized appears to have adapted some design cues from its McLaren time trial helmet, with both models seeking the same goal: to cleanly rejoin the airflow out the rear of the helmet and down onto the rider’s back instead of it careening turbulently off the edges of the tail.
Specialized seems to accomplish this by sucking a lot of air straight into the very front of the helmet and then giving it few places to exit except the exhaust ports at the back of the shell. Two upper ports appear to keep air from flowing over the top of the helmet, too, instead pulling it down over the rider’s head. Other features include the same Tri-Fix webbing splitters and Mindset retention system, as found on the company’s Prevail model.
Other aero models we saw were mostly filled-in versions of standard road helmets – almost as though the vents simply weren’t cut out of the polycarbonate shells. Scott‘s version is a more through rework, however, with a completely smoothed-over shape based on its standard Vanish Evo that presumably posts better numbers in the wind tunnel.
Scott’s aero road lid
All these companies will claim to improve aerodynamics and save rider energy with their aero lids – and Giro in particular offers up some pretty heady numbers. Given the temperatures at the start of this year’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, however, we can’t help but wonder whether some riders might simply have been trying to stay warm.