Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Aero Helmet Reviews
LG Vorttice, LG Superleggera
Giro Advantage 2, Giro Selector

By Jack Mott and Adam Stroobandt

After increasing training volume and quality and improving your position on the bike, an aero helmet is the next best bang for your buck. Their teardrop shapes and reduced vents lessen drag as wind pounds into your head and over your back. Even when you tilt your head down and point the long tail of an aero helmet straight up, you are still producing less drag than a road helmet. There isn't much of a downside apart from looking a bit strange. Just put one on and save around 30 seconds per 40k. Simple! But which helmet is best? Well that depends, as usual. Austin Tri-Cyclist takes a look at four models we carry and breaks them down for you. Even better – to celebrate the 2011 Longhorn 70.3 race all in-stock aero helmets are on sale 20% off list price for race weekend!

What's in a Helmet?

The most important consideration in choosing an aero helmet is how well it fits your body and position. You want a helmet whose tail fits closely against your back, and one that is no larger than it needs to be. Pick the smallest size that fits you comfortably, and spend a moment to determine how well it fits against your back. Customers are welcome to set their own bikes up in our fitting center and see how different helmets look on video.

Visors can improve aerodynamics, but many riders prefer to use their own sunglasses. All of the helmets in this review allow you to remove the visor if you don't want it. Ventilation can also be a big concern for some in the Texas heat. Vents will reduce the aerodynamic advantage of a helmet, but if you don't want them, you can always put some packing tape over the vents for cooler days or for shorter events. None of these helmets differ in their weight enough to be a performance concern, but less weight could be a comfort advantage for some riders.

The Lineup

ModelWeight (w/o visor)VisorVentilationList Price
Louis Garneau Vorttice433g (medium)includedYes$250
Louis Garneau Superleggera345g (small)optionalYes$170
Giro Selector419g (small/medium)includedMinimal$275
Giro Advantage 2375g (small)noneYes$160

Louis Garneau Vorttice

The top-of-the-line aero helmet from LG is the most distinctive-looking option. They seem to have thrown every aero geek idea in the book at this helmet: dimples on the front, vortex generators in the middle, and a Trek Speed Concept style truncated airfoil on the rear. LG claims that all of these features reduce drag, and that this has been tested in the wind tunnel, though actual data has not been made public. The truncated shape on the back of the helmet may prove advantageous to riders who do not hold their head very still, or tend to look down much of the time while racing. We found this helmet to be easy to put on and adjust. It was one of the heavier helmets in the comparison, but only by a few grams. A UV protective visor is included in the price but may be removed if preferred.

Louis Garneau Superleggera

The word "superleggera" is Italian for "superlight" and this helmet does not disappoint on that front, coming in as the lightest helmet in the comparison. These weight savings are not likely to win you any races, but they may keep your neck more comfortable if you struggle with that issue. Dimples are still featured on the front, as well as a few vents. Otherwise the shape is more conventional. The Superleggera is a solid helmet that is also easy to put on and adjust. A visor is not included but may be purchased separately.

Giro Selector

This helmet is the most expensive and seemed to be the most complex, as well. The adjustment mechanisms are extensive but not simple. The helmet covers much more of your face and ears than others, and wraps very tightly against it. The helmet can take a while to put on, and may not be the ideal choice for triathletes looking to get out of T1 as fast as possible. Time trialists should give it a serious look, though, as it probably has the best aerodynamic pedigree of the bunch. Another interesting feature is the bottom of this helmet can snap off and be replaced with a lower profile one, allowing you to customize the fit of the helmet against your back. This helmet is currently the helmet used by pro team Garmin Cervelo, Tour de France TTT champs, who take their time trialing very seriously. A visor is included with this helmet.

Giro Advantage 2

This helmet is the simplest and most affordable helmet in our comparison, but is still a wind tunnel tested product that has been worn by TT champs such as Dave Zabriske. This helmet was a breeze to put on and adjust and should work well for triathletes. There is no mechanism for a visor to be installed so sunglasses are not optional. If you prefer wearing your own eyewear anyway, save some money and give this helmet a try.

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