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The Top Three Bike Helmets for Triathlon

Adam Nakada

A properly-fitting bike helmet is a mandatory and possibly life-saving piece of equipment you’ll need to wear during training and racing in a triathlon. Choosing the right one for you can be confusing and possibly overwhelming, as there are many different types on the market. Aero or not? Attached eyepiece or not? This guide covers a few of our tops pics, allowing you to narrow down which type of helmet will suit your needs best.

1.Giro Vanquish MIPS

While this helmet is at a slightly higher cost and is also one of the heavier triathlon helmets that we reviewed, there are so many things to love about this helmet and we feel it is well worth the price. First, using a patented design that suspends the helmet just slightly off the top of the skull, this helmet allows cool airflow to pass directly over your head, further enhancing the performance of vents and internal channeling that exhaust heat out of the helmet. The polycarbonate shell of this helmet uses four interlocking pieces to provide ample availability of customization as well as impact resistance. The shell is then in-molded with expanded polystyrene foam to offer more protection. However, this foam is applied in layers which once again offers more impact resistance than simply a molded foam padding. What really sets this helmet apart is that it features an optional Zeiss visor that connects magnetically. This allows for easy removal if it is not necessary. On top of that, this triathlon helmet also comes with eyeglasses grips to make wearing both glasses and the helmet comfortable. The build and quality of this helmet make it tops for us.

2. Louis Garneau P-09 Helmet

Aero helmets aren’t for everyone. You do sacrifice a bit of ventilation for speed.  However, if the biking leg is your strongest or weakest leg of the race, then you might want to consider using an aero helmet. This helmet really nails the concept of “built for speed.” The frontal surface is reduced to a minimum, making the helmet more compact. The inferior part of the tail is reversed for better airflow at the shoulders, and a Speed Port allows air that enters at the front of the helmet to exit through vents behind the ears to release any pressure. A better vent position combined with additional and deeper evacuation channels allows better airflow for improved ventilation. The improved lens system includes a visor that lifts up--and can be easily removed with one hand-- for a fast and easy transition.

Back to ventilation - which holds many riders back from choosing aero.  Surprisingly, this Garneau helmet does a fairly decent job in this respect. First, the padding of this triathlon helmet uses padding not found on any other others on our list. Specifically, the use of the Icefil padding allows this helmet to keep your head cool and your internal temperature down despite not having the best ventilation. That said, this is another triathlon helmet that makes it a point to give the wearer control by offering a couple of different modifications that allow you to control exactly how much drag you want to reduce or how much additional ventilation the helmet provides. The only flaws we found were that this helmet is a bit heavier and more expensive than others.

3. Rudy Project Boost 01

Rated #1 at Kona, this helmet is truly a fantastic hybrid triathlon helmet. It manages to provides both solid drag reduction as well as ventilation. First, the design of the helmet is balanced in all directions, but it offers special benefits to variable winds. Featuring a dorsal ridge that converts sideways force into forward force, this helmet provides plenty of drag resistance whether facing forward or from crosswinds.

Even better, this is another triathlon helmet that features the vortex killer system which generates significant ventilation in and around the wearer’s head. The Boost 01’s Dry Foam padding will whisk the sweat from your head without absorbing it, allowing you to stay cooler without having to worry about bacterial build-up. Of course, if you are worried about bacteria at all, you can lay those concerns to rest with the inclusion of the antibacterial Static-X padding on top of the Dry Foam. The only drawbacks we found were that it is a bit more expensive than others, and the fit can be hit or miss.

Final Thoughts

As with all other triathlon gear, there is not a one-size-fits-all helmet that will work for every athlete.  You will definitely need to decide what the most important factor is for you - after safety!- and make your decision from there. You really do get what you pay for, so don’t skimp on quality. After a while, you may find that you’re ready to switch to a faster or more ventilated design...or if money isn’t an issue, you may want to try one of each and see what makes the most impact on your ride. Good luck shopping, and stay safe out there!

The Top Three Bike Helmets for Triathlon

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