The 14 Best Aero Helmets for Road Cycling (Save Precious Watts) [2022]

Best Aero Road Bike Helmets: Peloton of pro riders mostly with aero road bike helmets (Specialized Evade, Kask Utopia, and more)

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This is a selection of the best aero road cycling helmets from all price ranges. They are all certified and properly tested to meet the US and EU safety standards.

The bigger brands tested their helmets in wind tunnels to provide you with the best aerodynamics properties possible. Some even estimated the time savings their helmet will bring to you.

The following three are the best:

Continue reading to learn how many watts an aero helmet can save you, its other benefits and disadvantages, and much more.

NOTES
This roundup does not include time trial helmets.
All helmets are CPSC certified (learn more about certifications).
All helmets also allow you to adjust the fit using the dial or its alternative.


What Are the Best Aero Road Bike Helmets?

The best aero road bike helmets are aero optimized to reduce air resistance. This feature makes you faster, especially at higher speeds exceeding 25mph (40km/h).

Remember that aero road bike helmets are not as well-ventilated as standard road bike helmets. As a result, your head may overheat, for example, when climbing high mountains during hot summer days.

On the other hand, the worse ventilation can be beneficial in winter because it will help keep your head warm.

Grey Rockbros aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Rockbros aero helmet

Read More

Red/black S-Works Evade II aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
S-Works Evade II

Also available at competitivecyclist.com

Read More

Grey Kask Utopia aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Kask Utopia

Also available at competitivecyclist.com

Read More

Skip to comparison table…

Specialized S-Works Evade 2 & 3 (Best Overall)

Red/black S-Works Evade II aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
S-Works Evade II | Product picture source: specialized.com
White S-Works Evade 3 aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
S-Works Evade 3 | Product picture source: specialized.com

Main Features

  • Weight
    • Evade II: L – 0.67 lb (303 g)
    • Evade 3:
      S – 0.64 lb (290 g)
      M – 0.68 lb (310 g)
      L – 0.77 lb (350 g)
  • Extra safety feature: MIPS
  • ANGi sensor
  • Well ventilated
  • Magnetic buckle for effortless fastening
  • Available in multiple colors

Available Sizes

  • S 20.1-22.1 inches (51-56 cm)
  • M 21.8-23.3 inches (55-59 cm)
  • L 23.3-24.8 inches (59-63 cm)

Specialized designed their Evade aero helmet with 3 features in mind – low weight, good ventilation, and superb aerodynamics.

Currently, there is Evade II (which is being discontinued online), and recently released Evade 3.

Specialized claims Evade II can save 50 seconds on 40 km over a traditional road bike helmet and 6 seconds more than the previous generation of S-Works Evade.

Surprisingly, Specialized doesn’t claim any further aero benefits for Evade 3. The biggest difference between Evade II and Evade 3 is better cooling.

The Evade III should provide 10% better cooling while maintaining the same aero gains.

Unfortunately, further details about this testing are not available, so I can’t double-check this claim. However, you probably won’t notice the difference if you are a hobby cyclist.

But, riders who like to compete in crits, fast races, or sprinters where inches can decide whether you win may take advantage of its aero performance.

Evade helmets also come with an ANGi sensor that you connect to Specialized Ride iOS or Android app. Once it detects a crash, your smartphone automatically sends a message to your loved ones – safety first! You can also pair it with the Strava app to track your activities via GPS.

Another cool feature of this helmet is the magnetic buckle making the fastening super easy with one hand.

There is no doubt about Evade II’s popularity. Will the Evade 3 also be so popular? Time will tell.

The following World Tour pro cycling teams use this helmet in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

  • Bora–Hansgrohe
  • Deceuninck – Quick-Step

RockBros Aero Road Bike Helmet (Best Budget)

Grey Rockbros aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Rockbros aero helmet | Product picture source: rockbros.bike

Main Features

  • Weight:
    • 0.59lb (268g) [size M]
    • 0.63lb (286g) [size L]
  • Extra safety feature: n/a
  • Magnetic buckle for effortless fastening
  • Detachable and replaceable padding
  • Very affordable

Available Sizes

  • M 22.1-22.8 inches (56-58 cm)
  • L 22.8-24.0 inches (58-61 cm)

Generally speaking, aero helmets are pretty expensive, but not all. This RockBros aero helmet is a good example. It is a very affordable option, so if you have a limited budget but want to take advantage of an aero helmet, it is worth trying.

It was inspired by more premium aero helmets. It even includes some premium features like the magnetic buckle for easy fastening and cleverly designed air for better ventilation so your head won’t overheat in the summer.

Its weight is pretty low, so you will forget that you wear it during long rides. It also has replaceable inner padding, so once it wears out, you can replace it with the new one.

The main downsides are the chin strap which feels cheap and is not as comfortable as chin straps on more expensive helmets, and the limited colors available.


Kask Utopia (Best Ventilated)

Grey Kask Utopia aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Kask Utopia | Product picture source: kask.com

Main Features

  • Weight: 0.57lb (260g) [size M]
  • Extra safety feature: Passed WG11 test
  • Lightweight
  • Well ventilated
  • Highly adjustable fit
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Leather chin strap

Available Sizes

  • S 20.1-22.1 inches (50-56 cm)
  • M 20.5-22.8 inches (52-58 cm)
  • L 23.2-24.4 inches (59-62 cm)

I have a friend who is a bicycle helmet geek. He has already tried dozens of helmets, including several aero helmets (Abus Gamechanger, MET Manta, and HJC Furion). Kask Utopia is the best-ventilated aero helmet he tried. And he is not the only one that thinks so.

Kask Utopia is also very lightweight. This is good news for every roadie. However, more than weight, the correct fit is important. And that’s another field where Utopia excels.

You can adjust the circumference using the dial, and thanks to Kask’s Octo Fit, the dial’s fit position (so the helmets basically fit better). I have experience with the Kask Mojito helmet, which was the helmet that fit me best. Kask helmets are well-known for their good fit.

According to Kask, with Utopia, you save up to 6 watts at 30mph (50km/h). You probably don’t train at this speed, but it can make the difference in a race.

Naturally, even Utopia has its downsides. It is pretty expensive, its design may not be appealing to everybody, and it doesn’t have MIPS. It ‘only’ passed Kask’s internal WG11 rotational impact test.

WT team INEOS Grenadiers has been using this helmet in 2020, 2021, and 2022 seasons.

By the way, Kask also offers a Wasabi aero road bike helmet that has an adjustable airflow system. However, it’s by far less popular than Utopia.

Also available at competitivecyclist.com


Giro Vanquish MIPS

White/grey Giro Vanquish aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Giro Vanquish MIPS | Product picture source: giro.com

Main Features

  • Weight
    • 0.81lb (369g) [size M, with eye shield]
    • 0.67lb (305g) [size M, without eye shield]
  • Extra safety feature: MIPS
  • Removable magnetic eye shield (Zeiss lens)
  • Available in multiple colors

Available Sizes

  • S 20.1-21.7 inches (51-55 cm)
  • M 21.7-23.3 inches (55-59 cm)
  • L 23.3-24.8 inches (59-63 cm)

Vanquish was Giro’s flagship aero helmet (before the introduction of the Giro Eclipse).

It features a removable magnetic eye shield with a Zeiss lens that you can use instead of sunglasses and further improve your aerodynamics. In addition, the Zeiss lens increases the contrast so that you will see potholes and other obstacles from a larger distance.

Just keep in mind the shield is pretty large so that you will look like a time trialist. But, thanks to the magnets, you can remove it easily and use Vanquish as a standard aero road bike helmet.

Another benefit of Vanquish is the MIPS technology that reduces the strain levels during impact, increasing your safety (learn more).

The biggest downsides of Vanquish are its weight which exceeds 0.67lb (300g) in the M size without the eye shield, and the ventilation that is not as good as on Utopia or Evade II.

Two WT pro cycling teams used the Giro Vanquish in the 2021 season: Team BikeExchange and Groupama – FDJ.


Giro Eclipse MIPS

Blue/black Giro Eclipse aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Giro Eclipse | Product picture source: giro.com

Main Features

Available Sizes

  • S 20.1-21.7 inches (51-55 cm)
  • M 21.7-23.3 inches (55-59 cm)
  • L 23.3-24.8 inches (59-63 cm)

Giro Eclipse replaced the Giro Vanquish. It’s now Giro’s flagship aero helmet used by World Tour pros.

Giro claims it can save up to 163.5 seconds over 100 miles (161 km). Vanquish could save “only” 103.1 seconds. Giro used their Aether helmet as a baseline.

Like most modern Giro helmets, the Eclipse features MIPS for reducing strain on your brain during a crash.

Giro does not skimp on bold claims on their website. For example, the cooling efficiency of Eclipse should be 89.25%. But unfortunately, they don’t provide an in-depth explanation of what this number means.

Anyway, if you want the latest and greatest from Giro, Eclipse is the helmet to get.

Eclipse is used by Groupama – FDJ in the 2022 cycling season.

Also available at competitivecyclist.com and performancebike.com


Abus Gamechanger

Steel blue Abus Gamechanger aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Abus Gamechanger (Steel blue) | Product pictures source: abus.com

Main Features

  • Weight: 0.6 lb (270 g)
  • Extra safety feature: n/a
  • Very comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Available in multiple colors

Available Sizes

  • S 20-21.6 inches (51-55 cm)
  • M 20.5-22.8 inches (52-58 cm)
  • L 22.8-24.5 inches (58-62 cm)

The Abus Gamechanger aero helmet is ideal for highly demanding riders who count every second. It can create the difference between victory and loss.

Gamechanger is, according to owners, very comfortable, and thanks to its pretty low weight (lower than S-Works Evade II, for example), you will forget you wear it.

This helmet also sets aside a large variety of color options to easily match them with your kit. For example, I am a huge fan of the “steel blue,” but you can choose a stylish chameleon purple, yellow, red, grey, and many more colors.

Gamechanger has a few downsides. Storing your sunglasses in the front doesn’t work very well. That’s why Abus designed the ‘AirPort’ that allows you to store them in the rear securely.

And the second downside is the ventilation. It is ventilated pretty well if you ride fast, but if you climb or ride slowly when it is hot outside (86°F+ / 30°C+) outside, your head will overheat.

Anyway, this does not change the fact that the Movistar Team WT team is an official partner of Abus helmets and their riders have worn them since the 2017 season. Mathieu van der Poel also wear this helmet in Alpecin – Fenix team.


Lazer Vento KinetiCore

White/black Lazer Vento aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Lazer Vento | Product picture source: lazersports.us

Main Features

  • Weight: 0.64 lb (290 g)
  • Extra safety feature: KinetiCore
  • Unique fastening system (belt)
  • Lightweight
  • Slot for a bike light
  • Available in multiple colors

Available Sizes

  • S 20.5-22.1 inches (52-56 cm)
  • M 21.7-23.3 inches (55-59 cm)
  • L 22.8-24 inches (58-61 cm)

The Lazer Vento is inspired by the popular Lazer Bullet 2.0 aero helmet. However, Vento takes the technology even further.

Vento is about 60g lighter, 2.3% more aerodynamic, and provides better cooling than Bullet 2.0.

Lazer also introduced a brand new KinetiCore safety feature. It is a fully integrated rotational impact protection similar to MIPS.

Unlike other road bike helmets, Vento uses the so-called ‘ScrollSys,’ a rubber belt for adjusting the helmet’s fit. As a result, it should be easier to use and more comfortable. But I am a little skeptical about it.

Lazer offers a rechargeable LED taillight that you can use with this helmet to improve your visibility. However, depending on your head angle, the light may not be in the optimal position.

Jumbo-Visma team (Wout van Aert, Primož Roglič) uses the Vento helmet in the 2022 season.


Rudy Project Nytron

White/red Rudy Project Nytron aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Rudy Project Nytron | Product picture source: rudyprojectna.com

Main Features

  • Weight: 0.66 lb (299 g)
  • Extra safety feature: Passed WG11 test
  • Well-ventilated
  • Strap management system
  • Available in multiple colors

Available Sizes

  • S/M 21.7-22.8 inches (55-58 cm)
  • L 23.2-24 inches (59-61 cm)

Nytron – the latest and greatest aero helmet from Rudy Project. Its modern design and great ventilation are one of the two most important features.

It also passed the WG11 rotational impact test (the same test that the Kask Utopia passed) to provide you with maximum protection.

Rudy Project claims that they worked with Swiss Side aerodynamics experts to save you as many seconds as possible.

One detail worth mentioning is the strap management system. Say goodbye to flapping straps!

The main disadvantage of the Nytron helmet is the sizing. The helmet is not suitable for people with small head circumference.

The Rudy Project Nytron is used by Team Bahrain Victorious in the 2022 season.


MET Manta MIPS

Blue/black MET Manta aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
MET Manta | Product picture source: met-helmets.com

Main Features

  • Weight: 0.55lb (250g) [size M, with MIPS]
  • Extra safety feature: MIPS
  • Very comfortable
  • Magnetic buckle for effortless fastening
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Lightweight

Available Sizes

  • S 20.5-22.1 inches (52-56 cm)
  • M 21.3-22.8 inches (54-58 cm)
  • L 23.3-24.4 inches (59-62 cm)

Manta is one of the lightest aero helmets on the market. Thanks to its low weight, it is a perfect choice for riders who suffer from neck pain due to the heavy helmet (or poor bike fit).

Manta will save you 10 watts at 30mph (50km/h), according to MET. This is even more than the Kask Utopia (6 watts at the same speed).

Owners mainly praise its comfort thanks to the Safe-T Orbital Fit System that allows a high level of adjustment and effortless fastening using the Fidlock magnetic buckle.

This helmet is available in plenty of color options (black, white, blue, red, etc.), so matching it with your kit is easy.

Manta was available in an option with MIPS and without it, but the non-MIPS option was gradually discontinued.

If the Manta is still too expensive for you, you can buy the MET Rivale, which is much more affordable.

MET Manta is a go-to aero choice for the UAE-Team Emirates World Tour pro cycling team.

Also available at amazon.com and wiggle.co.uk


Bell Z20 Aero

Grey Bell Z20 Aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Bell Z20 Aero | Product picture source: bellhelmets.com

Main Features

Available Sizes

  • S 20.5-22.1 inches (52-56 cm)
  • M 21.3-23.2 inches (55-59 cm)
  • L 22.8-24.4 inches (58-62 cm)

Although Bell Z20 Aero looks poorly ventilated, the truth is the opposite. It is one of the main features why it is popular.

Except for great ventilation, it also features MIPS technology for reducing strain levels during impact.

Bell Z20 Aero is also very comfortable thanks to the inner padding and shape that fits most head types. The fitting system works as expected on a helmet in this price range.

Its main downside is the chin strap which could be made from a better, more comfortable material. This one is a little bit unpleasant when you tighten it too much.

Pick from multiple color combinations and 3 sizes.


HJC Furion

Pink HJC Furion 2.0 aero road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
HJC Furion 2.0 | Product picture source: hjcsports.com

Main Features

  • Weight
    • Furion: 0.48lb (217g) [size M]
    • Furion 2.0: 0.43lb (195g) [size M]
  • Extra safety feature: n/a
  • Very comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Available in multiple colors
  • SELFIT system for automatic fitting

Available Sizes

  • S 20.1-22.1 inches (51-56 cm)
  • M 21.7-23.2 inches (55-59 cm)
  • L 22.8-24.0 inches (58-61 cm)

HJC took advantage of their experience from MotoGP when designing their Furion helmet. As a result, it is the lightest aero helmet in this selection. HJC claims it will save you 7% energy during your ride compared to other helmets. This is a very bold claim…

Anyway, owners like its appearance and high comfort level thanks to its SELFIT automatic fitting system. This helmet doesn’t feature a standard adjustable dial. Instead, this system automatically adjusts the helmet size even during a ride to provide a consistent fit.

It needs to be mentioned that this automatic system may not fit everybody, and according to some users, it may put too much pressure on your nape.

There are 2 versions of the Furion helmet, Furion and Furion 2.0. The second generation is slightly lighter and aero optimized than the previous version but also more expensive.

HJC helmets are or were used by the follow ing World Tour pro cycling teams in the 2021 and 2022 seasons:

  • AG2R Citroën Team
  • Israel Start-Up Nation | Israel – Premier Tech
  • Lotto Soudal

Smith Optics Ignite MIPS

IOrange/blue Smith Optics Ignite bike helmet shot from profile
Smith Optics Ignite | Product picture source: smithoptics.com

Main Features

  • Weight: 0.68lb (310g) [size M]
  • Extra safety feature: MIPS
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Good price-value ratio
  • Zonal Koroyd technology for increased safety

Available Sizes

  • S 20.1-21.7 inches (51-55 cm)
  • M 21.7-23.3 inches (55-59 cm)
  • L 23.3-24.4 inches (59-63 cm)

Smith Optics is not very known in the pro peloton because they don’t sponsor any team. However, their helmets are worth it because they are well-built and pretty affordable, offering a better price-value ratio than the high-end aero helmets.

Ignite will appeal to everybody who likes a simple and modern design. It doesn’t have an old-school mesh against insects but a skeletal structure that may remind you of the WaveCel at Bontrager helmets.

This helmet also features Zonal Koroyd technology that is, according to Smith Optics, better at absorbing impacts. So in combination with MIPS, you get the best protection possible.

The ventilation is pretty good but not as good as on Kask Utopia or S-Works Prevail II, so if you live in a hot area with long climbs, I recommend choosing another helmet. Another small complaint I have about this helmet is the weight that exceeds 0.66lb (300g).

Also available at competitivecyclist.com


POC Ventral Spin

Orange POC Ventral Spin road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
POC Ventral Spin | Product picture source: pocsports.com

Main Features

Available Sizes

  • S 20.5-22.1 inches (50-56 cm)
  • M 21.3-22.8 inches (54-60 cm)
  • L 23.3-24.4 inches (56-61 cm)

POC Ventral Spin is probably the closest helmet to standard road bike helmets. It doesn’t look as aero as other helmets in this roundup, but I included it because, according to POC, it sets the benchmark for aerodynamic performance.

I know it is a bold claim, but according to owners, you will feel fast, comfy, and safe at the same time with this helmet.

Its design was tested using Computational Fluid Dynamics software to optimize its design for better airflow resulting in great aero and ventilation properties.

Thanks to POC’s SPIN technology, its safety is on a similar level as helmets with MIPS while keeping its weight low.

Although some people hate the design of POC helmets, they are unique, and this helmet has its place on this list.

POC Ventral Spin is an aero helmet of the EF Pro Cycling (EF Education-EasyPost) WT team.

Also available at competitivecyclist.com and jensonusa.com


Bontrager XXX WaveCel

Red Bontrager XXX WaveCel road bike helmet shot from profile, front, and the rear side
Bontrager XXX WaveCel | Product picture source: trekbikes.com

Main Features

  • Weight: 0.78 lb 352g [M]
  • Extra safety feature: WaveCel
  • Magnetic buckle for effortless fastening
  • Crash replacement guarantee (1 year within the first year of ownership)

Available Sizes

  • S 20.1-22.4 inches (51-57 cm)
  • M 21.3-23.6 inches (54-60 cm)
  • L 22.8-24.8 inches (58-63 cm)

The Bontrager XXX WaveCel aero helmet is made using a unique 3D printing technology. According to Bontrager, this technology is 5 times more effective when protecting your head from injuries than standard foam technology. Virginia Tech rated the WaveCel helmets with 5* (out of 5* possible).

It differs from Bontrager Specter WaveCel in the design, but other features are very similar. XXX WaveCel is just more aero.

Thanks to the BOA rear dial, you can easily adjust the fit, and the Fidlock magnetic buckle makes fastening the helmet quick, secure, and hassle-free.

The large air vents ensure good ventilation even during hot summer days, so you don’t have to be afraid of overheating because they allow good airflow.

Bontrager also offers a crash replacement guarantee. You get a free replacement if you involve in a crash within the first year of ownership.

The biggest downside is probably the weight, about 50g more than on other similarly priced aero helmets.

Trek-Segafredo used this helmet in the 2021 and 2022 cycling seasons.


Aero HelmetsWeight (Size)Extra SafetyPrice RangeBuy
Specialized S-Works Evade 30.68lb / 310g (M)MIPS$$$Check Price
Check Price (Performance Bike)
Rock Bros Aero Road Bike Helmet0.59lb / 268g (M)No$Check Price
Kask Utopia0.57lb / 260g (M)WG11 test$$$Check Price
Check Price (Competitive Cyclist)
Giro Vanquish0.81lb / 369g (M, with shield)
0.67lb / 305g (M, w/o shield)
MIPS$$$Check Price
Giro Eclipse0.62lb / 280g (M)MIPS$$$Check Price
Check Price (Competitive Cyclist)
Abus Gamechanger0.60lb / 270g (M)No$$$Check Price
Rudy Project Nytron0.66lb / 299g (M)WG11 test$$$Check Price
Lazer Vento0.62lb / 290g (M)Kineticore$$$Check Price
MET Manta (MIPS)0.55lb / 250g (M)MIPS$$$Check Price
Check Price (Wiggle UK)
Bell Z20 Aero MIPS0.65lb / 296g (M)MIPS$$Check Price
Check Price (Competitive Cyclist)
HJC Furion 2.00.43lb / 195g (M)No$$Check Price (2.0)
Smith Optics Ignite MIPS0.68lb / 310g (M)MIPS$$$Check Price
Check Price (Competitive Cyclist)
POC Ventral Spin0.62lb / 280g (M)SPIN$$$Check Price
Bontrager XXX WaveCel0.78lb / 352g (M)WaveCel$$$Check Price
List of the best aero road bike helmets with info about their weight, extra safety features, and price range

My Verdict

RockBros road bike helmet is the best budget aero helmet. Thanks to its affordability and good quality, it is a nice entry-level aero helmet for beginners and casual riders with a limited budget. It even features magnetic fastening, a nice-to-have feature that increases convenience.

Specialized Evade II with ANGi (also available at jensonusa.com) is the best aero road cycling helmet. According to Specialized, it will save you 50 seconds on a 24.85 miles (40 km) distance compared to traditional road cycling helmets. Furthermore, it has an ANGi sensor that detects a fall and sends a message to your emergency contacts using your phone.

And finally, Kask Utopia (also available at competitivecyclist.com) is the best-ventilated aero road bike helmet. It is also pretty lightweight. At 0.57lb (260g) in M size, you will forget you wear it. And, it is very comfortable thanks to Kask’s Octo Fit technology. It may not be the most aero helmet on the market, but most likely the most versatile one.


How to Choose an Aero Helmet?

Before you hit the buy button, it is good to consider whether or not an aero road bike helmet is a good choice for you. Make sure to consider the following features:

Bike helmet parts (shell, vents, buckle, etc.) explained in detail
Bike helmet parts | Product picture credit: Rockbros

Size, Fit & Adjustability

Choosing the right helmet size is important not only for how well you will look wearing the helmet but also for your safety. Poorly fitted helmet may cause more harm than good.

How to choose the right size of the bike helmet?

  1. Measure your helmet circumference using a tape measure.
  2. Compare your head circumference with the manufacturer’s helmet size chart.
  3. If you are between sizes:
    • Get the smaller one if you don’t plan to ride in winter with a hat.
    • Get the larger one if you plan to ride in winter with a hat or have a large afro.
      This is obviously very individual, and I recommend trying the helmet in person.

How do you know the helmet fits?

You have to feel it. If the helmet pushes you somewhere, it is probably not the best option for you. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also recommends double-checking the following:

  • Two finger-width should be between your eyebrow and the helmet.
  • The side straps should form a “V” shape under and slightly in front of your ears.
  • The buckle should be centered under your chin, and it should be tight enough, so you don’t snug one or two fingers underneath it.

The modern bike helmets have adjustable side straps, chin straps, and dial fit (or its modern-self adjusting alternatives). You can adjust them all so the helmet won’t be too loose or tight.

How to wear a bike helmet: Petr Minarik wearing a bike helmet view from the front left, front, and rear
How to wear a bike helmet?

Design & Aerodynamics

Manufacturers try to surprise us with fancy claims like:

  • Our helmet will save you 50 seconds on 25 miles (40 km) over a traditional road bike helmet.
  • Our helmet will save you 10 watts at 31mph (50 km/h).
  • Our helmet will save 5% of your energy on a ride than a traditional bike helmet.

Unfortunately, we, ordinary mortals, cannot verify them because testing in a wind tunnel is expensive.

Therefore, I recommend choosing a helmet you like and thinking about aerodynamics in the second instance. The differences between the aero helmets in this selection are minimal. Yes, races are sometimes decided within inches, and an aero helmet can play the difference, but will you be able to measure the difference between two high-end aero helmets?

Ventilation

Ventilation is an essential feature because it greatly contributes to your riding comfort. Unfortunately, aero helmets are known for worse ventilation than standard road cycling helmets.

However, manufacturers push the limits of design every year, and aero helmets (like Kask Utopia) are well-ventilated and aero at the same time. So how do you find out whether is a helmet well-ventilated? If you can’t try it and do a test ride, you have to rely on reviews from other customers.

Weight

An average aero road bike helmet weighs around 280g (0.62lb). The lightest aero helmet is the HJC Furion 2.0.

This chart shows the weights of the best aero road bike helemts
Weights of the best aero road bike helmets

Weight is a relatively important factor, as a lightweight helmet is more comfortable, so it does not cause neck pain on longer rides.

Helmets with MIPS are usually 0.88-1.59 ounces (25-45 g) heavier than helmets without this technology.

Certifications

Every bike helmet sold in the USA must meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) quality standards to be authorized for sale. In Europe, there is the so-called EN 1079 standard, in Australia and New Zealand AS/NZS 2063, etc.

The purpose of the certifications is to verify that the helmet meets certain safety and protection requirements.

Extra Safety Features

As explained in the certifications section, bike helmets must meet certain criteria to be legally allowed for certain markets. Some manufacturers push the safety even further.

The following safety features are the most widespread:

  • MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System)
  • SPIN (Shearing Pads Inside)
  • WaveCel

The less known alternatives like Kali, Leatt, 6D, and KinetiCore, are also worth mentioning.

So, what are they good for?

The main difference between standard helmets and helmets with these technologies is that these technologies are developed to reduce strain levels that occur during impact and may lead to brain injury.

Let’s now talk more in-depth about the three most widespread.

TIP: Learn when to replace your bicycle helmet.

MIPS

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. This system was developed and researched for more than 20 years. It reduces the forces that arise during an impact and are then transmitted to the brain.

These rotational forces can cause brain damage. Helmets with MIPS (or MIPS alternatives like POC’s SPIN) reduce the risk of brain injuries.

How does MIPS work?
MIPS allows the head to move 10-15 mm inside the helmet. This reduces harmful rotational motion that would otherwise be transferred to your brain and cause injuries.

The movement is possible thanks to the inside construction. If you want to know more details, I recommend watching the following video.

How does MIPS work?

What is the MIPS downside?
Helmets with MIPS are heavier by about 0.88-1.59oz. (25-45g) than standard, non-MIPS helmets. But, the improved safety is worth it, isn’t it?

You might also be interested in these MIPS vs. Wavecel differences.

SPIN

SPIN was developed by POC and is very similar to MIPS. In fact, MIPS even took POC to court due to intellectual property infringement.

The principle and goal are the same, but the technology differs. Unlike MIPS, SPIN uses SPIN pads that reduce rotational and linear forces. Watch the following video that shows the animation of how SPIN works.

SPIN technology explained

WaveCel

WaveCel, most known for its use in Bontrager helmets, is a cellular structure inside of a helmet that reduces impacts and rotational forces.

WaveCel technology explained

How does WaveCel work?

Trek explains the WaveCel technology in 3 steps:

  1. Flex – reduces the initial frictional forces.
  2. Crumple – reduces the impact forces.
  3. Glide – the WaveCel redirects the energy away from your head.

What is the WaveCel downside?
Similar to MIPS, WaveCel also adds around 1.76oz. (50g) to the helmet’s weight. Furthermore, WaveCel technology is used on Bontrager’s helmets only. Its use by other manufacturers has not been allowed yet. WaveCel helmets are also more expensive than helmets with MIPS or SPIN.


TIP: Learn more about bike helmets in my how to choose a bike helmet article.


Pros and Cons of Aero Road Bike Helmets

Aero road bike helmets should be faster thanks to their aero profile. Are they? Of course, they are but by how much?

In an interview for Cycling Weekly, Michael Hutchinson stated that a time trial helmet can be up to one minute faster than a standard helmet during a 24.85 mile (40km) time trial.

The aero road cycling helmets are somewhere between TT helmets and standard road cycling helmets.

For example, Specialized claims the following:

The Evade saves 50 seconds over 40km versus a traditional road helmet and roughly six seconds over the prior iteration of Evade.
Source: specialized.com

If you are a racer or live in a flat area without long climbs, an aero helmet may be a good option because it reduces drag.

Remember that aero helmets are not as well ventilated as standard road cycling helmets. The overheating is noticeable during hot weather or long climbs.

Aero road cycling helmets also tend to be slightly heavier than traditional helmets.

Type of road bike helmetProsConsRecommended for
Standard• Well ventilated
• Light
• Less aerodynamic• Warmer months
• Casual road cyclists and pros
Aero• More aero• Less ventilated
• A little bit heavier
• Colder months
• Pros, racers, eventually time trialists and triathletes
Time trial• Most aero• Worse ventilated
• Heavy
• Time trialists and triathletes
Pros and cons of standard, aero, and TT road bike helmets and their recommended use

Pros and cons of standard and aero road bike helmets


Why Should You Wear a Helmet?

Wearing a bicycle helmet is especially important from a safety point of view. Would you guess by how much overall head injuries will be reduced when using a helmet? My tip was 50%. And I was not far from the truth. According to this study, the number of injuries is reduced by an average of 60% when wearing a helmet.

According to this 2012 study, only 29% of adults and 42% of children wore a helmet when riding a bike in the US.

I follow the ‘leading by example’ rule. So I wear a helmet whenever I sit on a bike. It doesn’t matter if I ride 60 miles trip or to a local grocery store.

Did you know that 61% of bicyclists killed in the USA in 2018 were not wearing helmets? Helmet use was unknown for 24%. (Source)

The following chart shows the number of bicyclist fatalities by helmet use between 2010 and 2018.

The number of dead bicyclist had a growing trend in all categories (no helmet use, helmet use, unknown) in the USA between 2010 and 2019
Number of bicyclist deaths by helmet use in the USA (2010-2019) | Data source: iihs.org

Based on trend lines, you can see that all categories grow. This is not a good sign.

KEY TAKE AWAY: A bike helmet is important, and it can save your life.

Federal vs. State Law in the USA

There is no federal law in the USA that requires wearing a bicycle helmet. There are 3 main groups of the US states in terms of wearing a helmet:

  • There are statewide laws that require wearing helmets in 21 US states.
  • There is no state law, but local law exists in 16 US states,
  • and there are only 13 states with no state or local helmet laws.
    (Source)

So, what are the bike helmets laws in the USA? Check the following map.

Map of bike helmet laws in the USA
Map of bike helmet laws in the USA | Data source: helmets.org

DISCLAIMER: Updated on the 26th of October, 2020.


Bike Helmets FAQ


Aero Helmets Used by World Tour Teams in 2021 & 2022

Here is a list of World Tour pro cycling teams and the list of aero helmets they use for flat and hilly stages.

TeamAero Helmet 2022Aero Helmet 2021
AG2R Citroën TeamHJC Furion 2.0HJC Furion 2.0
Astana Qazaqstan TeamLimar Air SpeedLimar Air Speed
Bahrain – VictoriousRudy Project NytronRudy Project Spectrum
BORA – hansgroheS-Works Evade IIS-Works Evade II
CofidisEKOI AR14
EKOI AR15
EKOI AR14
EKOI AR15
EF Education-EasyPostPOC Ventral SPINPOC Ventral SPIN
Groupama – FDJGiro EclipseGiro Vanquish
INEOS GrenadiersKask UtopiaKask Utopia
Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert MatériauxForce OrcaForce Orca
Israel - Premier TechHJC Furion 2.0HJC Furion 2.0
Lotto SoudalHJC Furion 2.0EKOI AR14
Movistar TeamAbus GamechangerAbus Gamechanger
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl TeamS-Works Evade IIS-Works Evade II
Team BikeExchange - JaycoGiant PursuitGiro Vanquish
Team DSMSCOTT CadenceSCOTT Cadence
Team Jumbo-VismaLazer VentoLazer Genesis
Lazer Bullet 2.0
Trek – SegafredoBontrager XXX WaveCelBontrager XXX WaveCel
UAE-Team EmiratesMET Manta#MET-Manta
List of aero road bike helmets of World Tour pro cycling teams.

This post is regularly updated to provide you with the most up-to-date product tips. If you find a product that is not up to date, please, contact me.

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