Limar were at the forefront of the push to create the world’s lightest helmet a few years ago, with their Ultralight+ taking the honour after gracing the scales at 175g. As with frame design, aerodynamics have taken priority over mass recently, with the trad road and TT helmet hybrid – the aero road helmet – now receiving the lion’s share of innovation. After the Astana pro cycling team requested that their helmets were more aero than lightweight, the brands collaborated in the design process at the F1 wind tunnel in Magny Cours, France, and the result was a four-strong range, of which the Air Speed is the most aero.
The Air Speed was then taken to British Tri’s Olympic Podium squads (whose members are all free to find their own helmet sponsors, unlike Astana), who demanded a magnetic buckle that could be used at speed with cold, post-swim hands. At the time of press, 10 members are using the helmet (both Alex Yee and Tom Bishop sported it at the WTS race in Leeds), with more testing the range of three sizes ahead of August’s Olympic test events in Tokyo.
The end result is the GB Air Speed seen here, with the medium tipping our scales at a fairly light 253g. Ahead of mounting the bike, the straps are a little fiddly to set the correct level at, and we wish more brands would just adopt the three interlinking straps approach utilised by Kask. Yet the ratchet system is slick, the magnet effective, and the horizontal/vertical adjustment system secure.
So is it fast? We’ve seen the (unreleased) wind tunnel data and it is very impressive, with the helmet (alongside Kask’s Utopia) ahead of a pack including nearly all the major players. The tunnel tests were commissioned by Limar, but independently conducted by the aero authority that is Barney Wainwright at the Boardman Performance Centre. They recorded data at three speeds and two yaw angles, but sadly only with the athlete on the hoods so we’d want to see aerobar data before categorically stating this is a fast helmet for all forms of tri. But the slim, narrow build certainly feels swift on the road in all positions, and isn’t disturbed by crosswinds like the disappointing Giant Aero Pursuit we tested last issue.
In terms of safety, there’s no Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), which may save a little extra weight and money but is something we’d prefer. Venting from the 12 channels on hilly, sticky June days was decent enough, while the price compares favourably to rivals from Bell, HJC and Spesh. All of which makes this a serious option, especially for GB age-groupers wanting it to match their blue, red and white tri-suits (standard colours are available)
Verdict: lean, comfortable and with aero data to back it up. A winner for GB athletes 90%
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