Nik Cook squeezes his noggin into four go-faster helmets to test their comfort, ventilation, weight and ease-of-adjustment on the fly…
Louis Garneau P-09
Price: £219 from www.louisgarneau.com
With a truncated tail, it’s clear from the off that the P-09 will suit riders with a fairly stable position but will forgive some dropping of the head. To improve airflow, Louis Garneau’s designers have reduced the lid’s frontal profile and added a behind-the-ear exhaust vent.
All this makes it very comfortable, keeps you cool thanks to its big, front air-intake and, at 402g for a large, isn’t overly heavy. Generous venting can mean more turbulence, but you need to decide whether you want to avoid overheating or head rattling based on your target races.
A stroke of genius is the flip-up visor, which, in combination with a large and easy-to-access cradle wheel, shows that triathletes have obviously been considered during the design process.
Verdict: Cool, comfortable and transition-friendly aero helmet, 90%
Catlike Chrono Aero WT
Price: £199 from www.catlike.es
The only full-teardrop helmet on test is, unsurprisingly, also the heaviest at 485g for a medium/large lid. You’d have to be fairly confident of your riding position and ability not to drop your head to wear this helmet, but, since Catlike supplies the Movistar pro road team, this lid will have been put through thorough aero testing.
It’s comfortable, with a four-point adjustment system and a gaping front vent that delivers impressive airflow throughout. The magnetic visor-attachment mechanism is a little fiddly and you certainly wouldn’t be able to easily replace it while wearing the helmet.
Also, during the test period, one of the magnets kept falling off. Fortunately you can remove the helmet with the visor in place, so this isn’t a transition issue. And even with the long tail, you can still easily adjust the cradle with one hand.
Verdict: Decent long-tailed option but some quality issues with the visor, 83%
POC Cerebel Raceday
Price: £280 from www.pocsports.com
Swedish brand POC is more famous for the love-them-or hate-them looks of its ‘flared’ long-tailed aero helmet, the Tempor. The stubby-tailed Cerebel Raceday is more conventional as far as shape is concerned and shares a number of similarities with the Kask Bambino.
Developed with the Garmin-Sharp Pro Cycling team and aero input from Volvo and Watts Lab, it’ll have done the tunnel time and will suit a wide range of riders and conditions. The medium tested here tipped the scales at 370g making it the lightest in the group.
It’s comfortable to wear but, with venting limited to slots in the Zeiss visor, overheating could be a problem. Its biggest issue for triathletes will come in transition. You can get the helmet on with the visor in place but tightening up the cradle is fiddly when rushing to save precious seconds.
Verdict: A versatile, high-quality, stubby-tailed helmet, but may cost time in transition, 85%
Lazer Wasp Air
Price: £249 from www.lazersport.co.uk
Although not quite a genuine stubby-tail, the Lazer Wasp Air has been fairly brutally docked and is suitable for a broad spectrum of riding positions. As the new helmet supplier to the marginal-gains-obsessed British Cycling squads, you can be sure the aero numbers have been crunched.
The lens is an integral part of the helmet but can be moved forward to expose two vents to aid cooling. This increases its suitability for longer and hotter races and, at 420g for a medium/large, it isn’t prohibitively heavy.
With the visor locked into its closest-to-the-face position, you can still pop the helmet on fairly easily without risking nose damage, while the extreme rear cutaway makes accessing the adjustment dial very easy. It’s comfortable and is plenty cool enough for warmer events.
Verdict: Versatile shape, adjustable venting, good in transition and surprisingly cool, 88%