Ever think if you had just been that little bit faster it might have meant the race? Or, maybe during a scorching tri you wished your aero helmet was a lot cooler? If only, there was a helmet that blended the ventilation of a road helmet with the wind cheating nature of an aero helmet… which is exactly where Giro feels their new Air Attack fits in. More aerodynamic than a road helmet, better ventilated than an aero helmet, the Air attack claims the empty space in the middle offering racers yet another choice when they reach for their lid on race day.
In the video after the break, Giro actually refers to the Air Attack as the “Swiss Army Knife” of helmets. Click through to hear their explanation.
Not too long ago, the world of aerodynamic bike parts hit the wall. Airfoil and teardrop shapes had gotten so long that they were in violation of the UCI’s 3:1 aero rule where parts could only be up to 3 times as long as they were wide. After the 3:1 rule went into effect, manufacturers started looking at other ways to maintain aerodynamics without violating the rules. It wasn’t too long until manufacturers started touting the benefits of truncated aero shapes and designs like the Kamm Tail concept which “trick the air into thinking the tail is still there.”
Suddenly, aero shapes were lighter, potentially more stiff, and performed better in multiple yaw angles, etc.Following those developments after the Giro Advantage the Selector’s tail section shortened up quite a bit, so it should come as no surprise that Giro’s newest aero helmet looks more like a skate helmet than any aero helmet they’ve put out in the past. However, like most Giro designs, there is much more to the story than aerodynamics, as the goal was to create an aero helmet actually has excellent ventilation and wouldn’t cook the rider’s head like an egg.
So just how do you set out to make an aero helmet that actually breathes? You can start by creating a new retention system, namely the Roc Loc Air. Giro’s newest retention system suspends the entire helmet 3mm above the head which creates an air pocket between the riders head and the EPS foam. Thanks to the 6 aerodynamically optimized vents outside the helmet, the air that enters the helmets is forced through the internal channels, around the riders head, and out the exhaust ports thanks to some dialed Venturi action.
In order to validate their cooling claims, Giro utilizes their Therminator which is essentially a mannequin head that is heated to human temperature and is loaded with thermocouples that allow Giro’s engineers to map out the temperature of the head. By using this temperature mapping, they are able to fine tune the vents by finding out what works and what doesn’t while in the wind tunnel. Giro claims the cooling power of the Air Attack rivals some of it’s most ventilated road helmets.
In addition to the new retention system, the Air Attack will be offered in two models, with the Air Attack Shield featuring a trick new magnetically attached visor. Sure, Kask also has a magnetically attached visor, but the Air Attack features Carl Zeiss optics and has the ability to attach to the helmet upside down if the rider chooses not to use it (not sure what running it upside down does to those vents though). The visor is also easy to install or remove while keeping one hand on the bar since the magnets are self locating.
According to Giro, the Air Attack is not meant as a straight replacement for the Selector, rather a middle ground option for riders looking for an aerodynamic edge especially on longer courses. We were told that most likely, the time trials are short enough in this year’s Tour de France that the riders will most likely still opt for the the ultimate aero advantage of the Selector, though we’re guessing they might have a few of these on hand just in case.
As mentioned, the Air Attack will be offered in two models, the Air Attack and Air Attack Shield at $200 and $240 MSRP respectively. The helmet will be offered in typical S, M, and L Super Fit sizes and will have an estimated weight of 264/296g for a CE approved M helmet without/with shield. Look for the Air Attack to hit retailer’s shelves this spring, and until then check it out here.