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Spotted: Canyon’s new take on helmet design ditches half the strap

Is less strap better? A new helmet ditches the Y-shaped yoke for a mono-strap and adjustable, pivoting anchor.

After debuting double decker-style handlebars a few years back, Canyon seemingly now has its sights set on ditching the universally adopted helmet strap design. But rather than doubling up like it did with the Grail’s Hover handlebar tops, Canyon has taken its new helmet strap in the opposite direction, roughly halving the amount of strap.

Every bicycle helmet I (or you) have ever worn features a Y-shaped strap with the upper end of that Y passing on either side of the ear and anchoring somewhere along the side of the helmet at both the front and the rear. Those two straps converge below the ear into a single strap, connected by some kind of buckle.

Canyon’s new helmet, first spotted on the heads of gravel racers Petr Vakoc and Jasper Ockeloen at the Santa Val gravel stage race in Girona last week, adopts an entirely new design, ditching the section of strap behind the ear and instead adopting a mono-strap setup in front of the ear. The new strap still features a double attachment on the helmet rim but moves the attachment points much closer together into a single plastic-looking pivoting anchor. That anchor then appears to attach to a more traditional-style strap for the lower section of the new design, running alongside the jaw and down to a buckle under the chin.

It isn’t clear what benefits Canyon has identified in the new system, if any, or if the inside and rear of the helmet’s main retention system are adapted in any way to accommodate the new straps. All helmets sold must be certified to safety standards in markets like the European Union and United States, and those standards include specifications on positional stability and roll-off. Any switch to a more central strap mount must take those requirements into account.

The helmet, first spotted by some members of the Weight Weenies forum, appears to feature some aero cues, with just a few large vents on the front, a mostly smooth, closed-top surface, and three large exhaust ports on the rear. But given the added bulk the new strap design seems to introduce, it seems unlikely it’s driven by aerodynamic gains.

Interestingly also, both riders have the arms of their glasses running beneath the new mono-strap, which could be a coincidence or could indicate the new anchor introduces some extra bulk that necessitates re-routing the arms.

When asked for details on the new helmet, a Canyon representative told Escape Collective, “I can confirm that this is a Canyon product and that we’re working with Canyon athletes on innovative developments. I can’t say anything more specific about that technology or its release, but we are excited about the results.”

Vakoc, a Canyon supported rider, was also spotted (in photos on his own Instagram, so presumably the helmets are not entirely secret) wearing another helmet with more venting and seemingly also featuring the same new strap. Will it be more successful than the Hover handlebar design? Time will tell.

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