Review: Giro Aerohead Helmet
article & images by Nick Salazar
Aug 17, 2016
Giro has been making fantastic helmets for a long time. And their commitment to pushing the envelope in terms of helmet tech is second to none. Following the broad successes of the Advantage, Selector, and Air Attack, Giro has recently launched its next-gen aero helmet platform, the Aerohead. And it might be our favorite aero helmet ever.
From the front, the Aerohead strikes a familiar sihlouette. Its subtle dorsal ridge looks just like the one on the Selector we reviewed back in 2011. But that's about where the similarities end. The Aerohead is a unique design from the ground up.
The most obvious new feature is the unique wraparound design of the visor, which covers the ears, and snaps on securely with magnets. Moreover, the visor can be docked upside-down on the top of the helmet, for storage during transition or a spot of bad weather. These magnets show significant refinement over the ones we previously saw on the Air Attack. The Air Attack magnets were prone to falling off the visor, but the Aerohead setup is rock solid.
While it's a striking visual feature, the wraparound visor serves two very important functions. The first is that it makes the helmet insanely easy to put on during transition; it comes on like a normal helmet, no fuss at all. And snapping the visor in place is as easy as putting on (or taking off) sunglasses. In this respect, I'd say it's even easier than the POC Cerebel we reviewed earlier this year.
But the second feature of the visor is perhaps more compelling. Its wraparound shape is designed to promote better airflow around the helmet, addressing what is sometimes considered an Achilles' Heel of aero lids. According to some studies, visors can sometimes be an aero penalty - Specialized claims as much with regard to their own S-Works TT Helmet. The Aerohead, on the other hand, was designed from the ground up such that the visor is an aero benefit. Some independent testing from the likes of ERO Sports suggests that the visor accomplishes its goal handily, making the helmet very fast on a variety of riders.
My time with the helmet has left me extremely satisfied. For me, it handily defeats the POC Cerebel and Louis Garneau P-09 that were previously tied for my favorite. This thing is in its own category. For me at least, the fit is perfect. Looking at the side-on shots of the helmet with my position, it's harder to imagine a better fit. With my head just moderately tucked, it fits the shape of my back perfectly. Absent a wind tunnel test, I'd easily say this is the best fit I've ever had.
The interior of the helmet is slightly snugger than my previous two Giro lids in size Medium, possibly due to the extra space taken up by the extra protective MIPS layer. But that was an easy fix -- there's a bit of padding inside that I trimmed out - I chucked the top strips and just kept the forehead band, nice for absorbing sweat across the brow.
Others have noted that this helmet feels hot when sitting inside on a trainer. That's true - it's surprisingly warm just sitting indoors on a trainer. Of course, you'd never do this in practice unless you're a journalist taking photos for your site. Once you actually get out on the road, the helmet is surprisingly cool! It's better, in my experience, than the POC Cerebel, better than the LG P-09, and better than the Giro Selector. Giro's own Air Attack is a bit cooler, but a lot less aero too. The Aerohead keeps me plenty cool once out on the road.
In addition to the perfect (for me) shape, the good ventilation, great fit, and Giro's dependable construction and adjustment hardware, the killer app here is that visor. It truly gives the helmet road-lid convenience while providing top-shelf tt-lid aerodynamics. And the fact that the lens is mirrored is the perfect finishing touch. Now, I won't be taking the helmet out with my road bike. But I'll definitely take it for training rides on the tri bike, where the visor means I don't have to constantly be pushing sunglasses up the bridge of my nose. And of course, this is my go-to racing lid going forward.
Note that this review covers the Aerohead MIPS. There's also the "Ultimate" version of this lid, which basically loses the vents in front (probably not something I'd want to do), and trades the outer layer for carbon rather than plastic (but according to the published specs, without any weight savings). I'm quite happy with the standard version, which is my new go-to helmet for all tri-related stuff.
My favorite triathlon helmet, ever.