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Aero road helmets: 9 of the best reviewed

Aero road bike helmets are an ultra-smart compromise of standard and TT cycling helmets. Jack Sexty reviews the merits of 9 for both training and racing…

Scott Cadence Plus


The Cadence Plus has consistently impressed since debuting last year, and it’s one of the most adjustable,
well-vented and fastest aerodynamic lids you can buy, placing fourth in our timed test. There are five big vents at the front and three at the back that provide airflow from every angle, and we didn’t once feel the heat during a test ride with some long, steep climbs. If it’s cold out, Scott supply vent plugs to help minimise brain freeze. Our medium weighed 288g, and the generous padding over the MIPS system adds to the barely-there feel.
There are also three places to adjust the height of the retention system to ensure an optimum fit for a wide range of different head shapes. This is aero road done right, and will serve you well over any triathlon distance, no matter what the weather’s doing. 

Verdict: A great all-rounder that’s really light, fast, comfortable and easy to adjust for fit, 92%

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Ekoi Aerodynamic


Ekoi’s Aerodynamic gets straight to the point with its name, while the no-nonsense design sees a smooth shell and minimum venting at the front. Aesthetically it looks like a bowling ball, but it performed pretty well in our road test, clocking 14:14 for sixth place. The ventilation looks sparse, with just four small slits at the front, and that’s exactly what it is. After overheating in mid-teen temperatures during a hilly ride in Wiltshire, we wouldn’t want to ride this in a summer triathlon with even a hint of a hill at middle-distance or above. While the Aerodynamic isn’t the coolest or fastest helmet on test, it’s considerably cheaper than the others so it’s worth considering for sprint- or Olympic-distance racing in mild temperatures. We also like the magnetic buckle, and the retention system offers a good range of adjustment.

Verdict: hot and questionable looks, but the price will appeal to short-course racers 74%

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POC Octal Aero


We thought Limar’s 007 Superlight looked unusual, but the Octal Aero takes the prize here with its bulbous appearance. The front is so straight and pronounced it looks like there should be a visor there to fill in the space. Inside are some thin strips of padding that don’t provide much in the way of comfort, but there’s a big layer of foam between this and the monocoque outer shell to provide plenty of protection. Because the helmet is so wide, the straps also taper in at a pretty extreme angle and are far away from your face at the temple area, which can’t be great for airflow – our test backed this up as the Octal Aero placed last in 14:18. The ventilation isn’t the best, with just one gap in the middle for air to pass through the vents at the back. A highlight is the retention system, which offers some extra adjustment for an optimal fit.

Verdict: quirky, expensive and lacking in both comfort and ventilation, 68%

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Bontrager Ballista


Weighing 272g, the Ballista combines lightness and speed superbly. Thanks to the three sizeable vents at the front and six at the rear, we didn’t once feel like we were overheating. In our timed test, the Ballista was suitably ballistic, exactly matching the time of the Specialized Evade for joint second place. The dial on the retention system is courtesy of BOA, meaning there are wires at the side that are less likely to cause irritation and are easier to combine with sunglasses. The rest of the fit system offers plenty of adjustment, and you can fine-tune the height at the rear. Our only criticism is the straps, which are flimsy and will require tucking away or cutting down at the ends for most people. Otherwise, more than two years after its release, the Ballista is still one of the best aero road helmets out there, and also has MIPS for some added crash protection.

Verdict a fast, well-vented and sensibly-priced creation that’s only let down by the straps 90%

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Continue reading our guide to this year's best aero road helmets (3/3)


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Hi, there is no mention on Scott Cadence time tested. Is the test conducted on a tri bike or road bike?

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