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eBay Finds: original Giro Air Attack helmet

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Smooth vent ports were unlike anything else, back in 1989

Smooth vent ports were unlike anything else, back in 1989 (Image credit: eBay)
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Classic Giro logo and colorway for this original Air Attack

Classic Giro logo and colorway for this original Air Attack (Image credit: eBay)
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The Air Attack aft profile was its most radical, with streaked vent ports

The Air Attack aft profile was its most radical, with streaked vent ports (Image credit: eBay)
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Only issue with this Air Attack is some delamination of the padding

Only issue with this Air Attack is some delamination of the padding (Image credit: eBay)
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Adding greatly to this eBay item's value, is the original packaging

Adding greatly to this eBay item's value, is the original packaging (Image credit: eBay)
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A splendid example of the helmet that changed everything

A splendid example of the helmet that changed everything (Image credit: eBay)

American cycling great, Greg LeMond, brought much innovation and flair to the Tour. As such, our latest eBay Find is an aero collaboration between two American cycling icons: Giro and LeMond.

In 1989 LeMond would thrill all by recording one of the most dramatic Tour de France victories of all time. The American bested his French rival, Laurent Fignon, by the narrowest margin: eight seconds.

LeMond’s legendary 1989 Tour de France win was a matter of mere seconds, where even the smallest advantage compounded to assure victory. In a time before cycling’s scientific obsession with everything aero, LeMond had an advantage on his head during the 1989 Tour de France time trial stages.

Giro delivered a very special aero helmet for LeMond’s 1989 Tour de France campaign and the American inarguably proved the worth of its aerodynamic principles during the event’s final stage. 

Establishing Giro in 1985, Jim Gentes was ready to revolutionise helmet design by embracing aerodynamic principles. With a typically innovative Californian attitude, Gentes discovered that NASA airfoil technology worked a treat in the performance time trailing environment of road cycling. 

The next point of innovation for Giro, was to rethink material composition. Gentes sourced inspiration from the surplus of outdoor industries at work in California, this time using surfboard-inspired fibreglass, to encase his Air Attack helmet design. LeMond was never shy of being an early adopter of daring new technologies and debuted the Giro Air Attack during his victorious 1989 Tour de France campaign.

The Air Attack proved that aerodynamics and rider comfort were not irreconcilable in a single helmet design. Its large ventilation ports allowed for generous cooling airflow, without creating too much drag.

LeMond’s 1989 Tour de France win validated the Air Attack and provided a template for the best road bike helmets of today.

The example listed on eBay is in outstanding condition and even includes its original packaging. As with any helmet of this age, even meticulous stowage cannot prevent padding degradation. Should you wish to actually ride your period original Giro Air Attack, it would require new pads. But for display purposes, it is in resplendent condition.

Perhaps the most telling validation of Giro’s Air Attack as an industrial design icon, is its presence in New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. If you wish to own a faultlessly original example of this original Giro icon, this is your chance.