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Rudy Project Nytron helmet review

Rudy Project's Nytron helmet has been aerodynamically optimised around ventilation and protection, but how does that translate to real-world performance?

Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Our Verdict

A sleek, stealthy-looking aero helmet with impressive ventilation and all-round comfort

For

  • - Lightweight design
  • - Stealthy, low-key aesthetics
  • - Comprehensive fit and micro-adjustable retention dial
  • - Good ventilation
  • - Excellent strap management
  • - Printed as opposed to stick-on graphics

Against

  • - Chrome-coloured retention cradle doesn't suit aesthetic
  • - Matte finish can show up dirt and marks

When it comes to the best road bike helmets and best cycling sunglasses, Rudy Project is one of the pioneers with a lineage that dates back decades. The Italian company is known for pushing the design envelope and is not afraid of incorporating bright, sometimes leftfield colourways to stand out from the anonymity of what is fast becoming a saturated market. 

Rudy Project's latest helmet offering, the Nytron, makes no qualms about its intentions: it's an aero helmet at heart but also tackles the notion of ventilation with wind tunnel-tested results. Despite the bold claims, a helmet is always going to be a personal consideration - especially when it comes to its most important attribute, the fit. We've been using it for the past two months to see whether it performs in the real world. 

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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

The Nytron is available in three different colour options (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

As an aero-specific lid it's been shaped for the perfect balance between speed and ventilation using CFD and wind-tunnel testing (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

The Rudy Project graphics are painted on as opposed to the decals of its rivals (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

A closer look at the logo placement (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

The only sticker comes in the form of the Nytron label stuck to the rear (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Design, aesthetics and specifications 

Rudy Project has nailed the design and colour treatment of the Nytron helmet. As someone who prefers stealthier hues, the black and grey colour theme of the model pictured here works well to accentuate the helmet structure and form, aiding it to work well with any kit colour combination. While it's easy for manufacturers to get carried away when it comes to branding, the Nytron benefits from just the right amount so as not to cheapen the look.

It's available in three colourways: black (pictured here), white, and red/black, all of which come in a matte finish. As Rudy Project's premier aero helmet, it's already been used by WorldTour outfit Bahrain Victorious, both during last year's Tour de France and Spring Classics. A prominent standout - and this is something we've seen employed across the brand's premium offerings - is the refined logo treatment and graphic placement. There are no decals here. Instead, the Rudy Project wordmark on the flanks and logo on the front, are painted on which lifts the quality of the package.

The helmet, however, is not without design faux pas with the most notable being the 'Nytron' sticker on the rear and chrome treatment of the retention cradle. The chrome does nothing to benefit the look and feel of the helmet while the sticker comes across more as an afterthought than anything else. That said, on the whole, the Nytron - like its Italian sibling the Met Manta - is leading the design charge as far as the best aero helmets are concerned. 

In terms of sizes offered, the Nytron is available in two options: S-M (55-58cm) and Large (59-61cm). Our S-M helmet weighed in at 263g on our scales and while this isn't particularly heavy, it does represent a 13g disparity with the advertised 250g weight.

As an aero-specific helmet, the Nytron was designed and engineered in collaboration with aerodynamic experts Swiss Side who performed extensive Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel testing. As a result, the Nytron’s 15-ventilation-port design blueprint incorporates four In-Mould EPS liners that not only provide exceptional safety and protection measures but also help with ventilation.

Speaking of safety, the Nytron also benefits from Rudy Project's WG11 rotational impact test which measures the performance of the helmets against rotational impacts. Using the BRIC (Brain Injury Criterion) method, Rudy Project was able to crash test the Nytron to establish its concussive value of 0.24 which is well below the 0.60-0.68 baseline values. 

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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

The helmet comes fitted with a RSR 10-dial retention system complete with micro adjustability (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

The liberal use of strategically placed padding helps with comfort (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

The Nytron’s design blueprint incorporates four In-Mould EPS liners (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

Two size options are available: S-M (55-58cm) and Large (59-61cm) (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Ride experience and performance

Winter is a tricky time of the year to test the ventilation of an aero helmet as the colder temperatures compensate for issues such as heat soak. That's not to say the Nytron isn't well ventilated because it is - the temperature versatility is impressive and there's enough venting to allow heat to escape. I used the December period and Rapha Festive 500 to bank as much testing time as possible and came away mightily impressed by its cooling properties - which were especially noticeable when used in combination with a cap/skully. 

As previously mentioned, the Nytron is offered in two sizes (S-M and L) which should cater for most head dimensions. The helmet comes fitted with an RSR 10 dial retention system complete with micro-adjustability. While Rudy Project lists it as a unisex option, those with ponytails might struggle to find the perfect fit - the space between the retention dial and base of the helmet is minimal. On a personal level, the Nytron provided a comprehensive and stable fit. It feels neither bulky nor heavy and high-set flanks help it play nicely with most contemporary cycling sunglasses.

That said, it's not without fault. The matte finish does have a propensity for showing up scuffs and oily fingerprints, and while the Nytron is pretty quiet at higher speeds, wind noise does start to become apparent when moving your head or checking behind you. 

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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

We racked up over 25 hours of testing during a cold and wet Rapha Festive 500 (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

It benefits from 15 ventilation ports... (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet

...all of which have been 'scientifically' positioned for best possible performance (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Verdict

Aero helmets have a tendency to sometimes look a bit mushroom-like when viewed front on but Rudy Project has nailed the design of the Nytron - it looks great and the colour palette of the range has enough variation to sate even the most critical cycling sartorialists. 

It feels fast, provides adequate cooling (granted we haven't tested it in warmer weather so we'll need to revisit this point) can be used with a host of different sunglasses and the adjustable fit can be personalised thanks to the handy RSR 10 retention dial.

So what's the catch? Well, at £199.99 / $324.99 / €199.90 there are cheaper aero helmets available, but each one comes with a separate list of pros and cons. Having sampled most of its rivals, the Rudy Project Nytron is one of the better options in the segment. It looks good, feels fast and has one of the best fits currently available.

View the Nytron helmet at Rudy Project

Tech Specs: Rudy Project Nytron helmet 

  • Price: £199.99 / $324.99 / €199.90
  • Weight: 263g (actual, medium)  
  • Rotational safety: Rudy Project WG11
  • Retention: RSR 10-dial adjustable 
  • Aero: Yes
  • Sizes: 2 ( S-M and L)
  • Colours:  Black Matte, White Matte, Red/Black Matte 

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Aaron is Cyclingnews' tech editor. Born and raised in South Africa he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. As the former gear and digital editor of Bicycling magazine and associate editor of TopCar, he's been writing about bikes and anything with wheels for the past 16 years. A competitive racer and Stravaholic, he’s twice ridden the Cape Epic and completed the Haute Route Alps. When not riding, racing or testing bicycles in and around the UK's Surrey Hills where he now lives, he's writing about them for Cyclingnews and Bike Perfect


Height: 175cm

Weight: 61.5kg

Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB 

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