Giro Sport Design has a new take on aero helmet shaping with the Aerohead MIPS and Aerohead Ultimate MIPS helmets. The Ultimate made its racing debut in the 2015 Tour de France, where Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) wore it during his prologue victory, in the process setting the fastest average speed of any prologue in the race’s history at 55.44 kilometers per hour.
This fall, the two helmets will be available to the public. The top-of-the-line Aerohead Ultimate MIPS is claimed to be the fastest helmet shape Giro has ever tested. Using the Wind Averaged Drag standard (a calculation based on drag figures across the most common yaw angles) that Giro and many other manufacturers believe is the most reliable predictor of real-world performance, the Aerohead Ultimate MIPS is over three seconds faster over 40 kilometers (and 400 watts) than Giro’s previous Selector.
The 455-gram Ultimate helmet integrates a MIPS multi-directional impact protection system, featuring a TeXtreme shell (a thin, light form of carbon fiber) to combine a smaller frontal area and reduced venting for less drag. It utilizes the Giro Roc Loc Air retention system found on many of the brand’s other high-end helmets, as well as a Zeiss wraparound lens specifically designed for the helmet. Other small details include hydrophilic, antimicrobial padding (said to absorb 10 times its weight in sweat), a carrying pod, and two lenses, clear and smoke. The Ultimate will retail for $550 and comes in two colors: raw carbon and white.
The Aerohead MIPS has a polycarbonate shell and features four vents on the front and rear of the helmet. Giro’s thermodynamic testing shows it to be nearly 10 percent cooler than the Ultimate model. It also features the Zeiss lens, hydrophilic padding, and MIPS technology. It retails for $250 and comes in four color schemes. The helmet pod can be purchased for $50 and extra eye shields are $60.
A short test ride along the California coast revealed the helmet to be quiet (to road noises) yet allow for a level of conversation typically not practicable with many tight-fitting aero helmets. The unique design of the eye shield, which attaches via magnetic anchors with a solid click, wraps fully around the ears. This allows for more airflow into this area. It also allows the helmet to be put on with less constriction, since the shield can be anchored upside down and on top of the helmet. The small, flat “triglide” strap adjusters are quick to adjust and sit flat against the face for a svelte feeling. The lens was very sharp, with only minimal distortion in the far reaches of its radically curved shape.
The helmet design places the rider’s head more in the middle of its shape than other designs. In other words, a substantial amount of the helmet’s form sits over the forehead, making for a shorter tail. It makes for a unique look.
The Ultimate will officially debut at Thursday’s time trial stage of the Amgen Tour of California on the members of BMC Racing, Katusha, and Team Wiggins.