Skip to main content

Tech news: Giro debuts Air Attack aero road helmet

Image 1 of 7

The optional shield attaches to the shell with three magnets and features optics designed by Carl Zeiss.

The optional shield attaches to the shell with three magnets and features optics designed by Carl Zeiss. (Image credit: Dane Zaffke / Giro Sport Design)
Image 2 of 7

Track riders have employed solid-shelled helmets for years but it remains to be seen whether the general road-riding crowd will warm up to the idea.

Track riders have employed solid-shelled helmets for years but it remains to be seen whether the general road-riding crowd will warm up to the idea. (Image credit: Dane Zaffke / Giro Sport Design)
Image 3 of 7

The new Giro Air Attack is certainly unusual looking but riders looking for an edge might still find appeal in its claimed aerodynamic advantages.

The new Giro Air Attack is certainly unusual looking but riders looking for an edge might still find appeal in its claimed aerodynamic advantages. (Image credit: Dane Zaffke / Giro Sport Design)
Image 4 of 7

The magnets on the shield have been designed such that riders can flip it up and out of the way but still keep it securely attached to the shell.

The magnets on the shield have been designed such that riders can flip it up and out of the way but still keep it securely attached to the shell. (Image credit: Dane Zaffke / Giro Sport Design)
Image 5 of 7

Giro's new Roc Loc Air system is apparently so effective at improving airflow that the company has plans to integrate it into other helmet models.

Giro's new Roc Loc Air system is apparently so effective at improving airflow that the company has plans to integrate it into other helmet models. (Image credit: Dane Zaffke / Giro Sport Design)
Image 6 of 7

The new Roc Loc Air retention system encapsulates the entire top of the rider's head, creating a 3mm gap to the liner that Giro says allows for admirable airflow.

The new Roc Loc Air retention system encapsulates the entire top of the rider's head, creating a 3mm gap to the liner that Giro says allows for admirable airflow. (Image credit: Dane Zaffke / Giro Sport Design)
Image 7 of 7

Giro has tested the new Air Attack helmet on the company's "Therminator" instrumented headform, saying it ventilates about as well as having no helmet on at all.

Giro has tested the new Air Attack helmet on the company's "Therminator" instrumented headform, saying it ventilates about as well as having no helmet on at all. (Image credit: Dane Zaffke / Giro Sport Design)

This article first appeared on BikeRadar.com.

Aerodynamic technology is all the rage in road frame and wheel design so it was only a matter of time before it trickled into other equipment segments. Giro resurrects the old Air Attack moniker for a novel new road - not TT - helmet design that can supposedly save riders up to 17 seconds over 40km of racing as compared to the company's latest Aeon model.

Claimed to offer the "lowest wind-averaged aerodynamic drag of any road helmet design", the new Air Attack is certainly unusual looking, sporting a mostly solid outer shell with just six vents in total. In contrast, the Aeon is almost more air than foam with 24 air-sucking ports but according to Giro, that nearly solid outer shell is precisely what gives the Air Attack such a slippery profile.

The most aerodynamic configuration, called the Air Attack Shield, also includes an integrated eye shield that attaches with magnets and can be flipped out of view in case of rain - an especially rare inclusion for a road helmet.

Other features include lightweight webbing, a slim-line buckle, and anti-microbial X-Static padding. Claimed weight is 264g for a medium Air Attack with the shield adding another 32g.

In fact, Giro PR man Mark Riedy claims that pressure differentials and Venturi effects make the Air Attack about as cool as having no helmet on at all based on Giro's in-house testing on its instrumented headform (the Aeon, by the way, is supposedly cooler than a bare head). That being said, such a cooling mechanism likely also depends on the rider moving at a reasonable rate of speed, meaning that at first glance, the Air Attack doesn't seem to be the ideal choice for a hot day of steep climbing.

Then there's the question of the Air Attack's aesthetics, which Riedy admitted are polarizing but that for many riders, function will trump form.

"Honestly, I'd say that it's kind of like the [Cervélo] S5," he told BikeRadar. "When that came out, we had a ton of people say, 'that bike is really ugly'. There are lots of people who are concerned about that but a lot that aren't, who understand that a little bit of aero that can go a long way."

Among those early adopters is Rabobank sprinter Mark Renshaw, who wore a new Air Attack for each stage of the Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk in the Netherlands this past week.

Giro will offer the standard Air Attack in six colors and the Air Attack Shield in four, both with three size options each. Suggested retail prices are US$200 and US$240, respectively, and projected availability is spring 2013.

Think you're fast enough already? Then head over to our new fitness site BikeRadar Training. It's a free online resource for you to record and analyse all aspects of your training, log your training routes, get yourself tailored training plans, see how you're doing on our leaderboards, set goals and plan your season with a comprehensive events guide.