I recently came across a coupon from bikenashbar because of a possible info leak (yay identity theft!) and was thinking about what to use it on. A sports trainer at the Richmond sprint tri told me that Aero helmets are the single biggest performance improver in terms of gear, so I'm looking about getting one of those goofy teardrops to wear on my head during races.
What are peoples' thoughts/experiences with Aero helmets? Is it worth it?
Make sure it is appropriately certified and USAT legal.
if you believe the hype from all the magazines/advertisements, etc. "supposidly" an aero helmet gives you the same savings in time over a 40km TT as a front aero wheel, meaning you get the same approx 60 sec of timees savings by spending $150 as you do $800 for a zipp front wheel.
if its sold through bikenashbar in all likelihood any helmet they sell will be USAT legal as its a US based store and has to sell a CPSC certified helmet, but i would double check the advertisement to make sure that its a CPSC helmet, baiscally any new giro advantage 2 and louis garneau are certified helmets as they are the most popular aero helmets on the market, there are other outside brands like las and lazer but htey are a lot harder to come by.
the thing you give up with aerohelmets is ventilation, if the bike course is hot you will be sweating in them they do not flow air as well as a normal bike helmet. something to consider, but then again if you are looking for pure speed and want no excuses, nothing beats it.
honestly, if you have the money then get it, but if you really don't need it, i think a good pair of high end bike shorts is a better investment, think castelli or assos. lol.
Which aero helmet(s) do you use? Do you race with a visor/eye shield or no?
if you think it is, then it is.
I use the giro advantage 2 helmet. It does not come with a visor and some sunglasses do not fit very well when wearing it because of the earflap coverings. Namely pro m frame glasses. The other thing I found was that the helmet since it covers you ears does not have the best hearing with it so race use only. Also strangely enough due to it covering you ears it also transmits a lot of wind noise again race day use only.
But it definitley looks cool no doubt. I have found that the oakley zero sunglasses work best with the helmet since they have flet earstems.
My other suggestion is to wait till next year. I think giro will put out the aero helmet they used in the tour this year probably by next spring. Supposidley it's even more aero and faster than the current helmet. But then again it's uglier than the current helmet
See this article for a review of (2007) aero helmets:
I use the Louis Garneau Chrono, which is not a big as some of the others. There are other newer models as well.
One factor to consider is that an aero helmet is only aero if you stay in an aero position. The tail will create drag if you look down or around.
Back to garydean's point about the helmet being certified, make sure it has the stickers on the inside. While I was setting up transition for Dextro the USAT officials were checking helmets to make sure they had all the appropriate certification stickers. The guy next to me had an giro aero helmet but it didn't have the stickers on it. The rule basically says no sticker no race, but official let it slide this time saying that he should go back to where he bought it and get one that has the stickers.
"Aero helmets are the single biggest performance improver in terms of gear"
Silly question - you have aerobars and are setup and fit properly on those already, right? B/c THAT is the single biggest improvement you'll make, next being the helmet, especially in terms of cost.
Otherwise, I think most of the other helmets are fairly close in terms of performance (if you use them right we're talking about seconds per 40 km TT).
something to know:
USAT demands that officials basically enforce without question two major rules in transition.
1. bar end plugs (i can't tell you how much they want this enforced without fail... this is right up there in importance with the bill of rights in the constitution as far as they are concerned, you could probably have hand grenades and machine guns on your bike in transition and USAT wouldn't even look twice, but if your bar ends are not plugged, you are not racing)
2. CPSC sticker in helmet. Again USAT HQ is saying without fail check for this sticker especially in ALL AEROHELMETS at races, no sticker no racing with that helmet, no questions asked.
If you are like me and tend to look around a lot during a race, even while in the aero position, then the helmet will actually slow you down rather than make you faster.
and they look so cool!
haha thanks for all the comments. I don't look around too much, but I do tend to look down at my front wheel. I think I'll just upgrade to a nicer normal helmet.
At Columbia, the officials would not let one female race because she did not have a sticker in her giro helmet. The officials stated that there are a lot of faux/copies floating around and they were told that enforce this policy. I would definitely make sure your helmet is certified if you are going to spend the money.