There are no words

Is this new Giro TT helmet real? Very much so and we shouldn't be surprised given the visible aero aids.

Ronan Mc Laughlin
by Ronan Mc Laughlin 04.03.2024 Photography by
Visma Lease a Bike
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No, literally, there are no words.

What do you mean: ‘it’s my job to find some words?’

Fine! Well, this is the best I can do while the two sides of my brain bicker over whether I love to hate Giro’s new time trial helmet or hate that I potentially love it … So much hate, so much need!

It’s only two weeks since we speculated as to whether Giro’s new partnership with Visma-Lease a Bike might result in a new TT helmet replacing the hugely popular but ageing Aerohead. Little did we know that update would come so soon and look so radical.

Visma unveiled the new helmet in a tweet with photos taken as riders rolled out for a recon ride ahead of the individual time trial that kicks off Tirreno-Adriatico later today.

Little is known of the new helmet There are no details on the new helmet yet, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out how Giro is hoping the new helmet (which does actually look like it was designed by a rocket scientist … ) will work aerodynamically. We’ll delve into what we can speculate on the latest heir to the “most hideous helmet in cycling” throne.

The image shows Jonas Vingegaard wearing Giro's new time trial helmet.

The new helmet seemingly tackles the main issues of rider and helmet aerodynamics: 1) rider integration, 2) narrow and “slippy” front, and 3) rider line of sight.

The extremely tall and narrow visor positioned way out in front of the riders face effectively doubles up as a nose cone presumably reducing the high pressure build up on the front of the helmet and aiding airflow around the head.

Aerodynamicists understand well the benefits of adding any narrower point to an otherwise rounded shape, Giro has simply worked out a way to add that to a TT helmet more so than any other design.

That tall visor presumably also aids with forward vision in the TT position, although, this will always be limited by head position and how far back in your skull you can rotate your eyeballs.

The image shows the side and visor of Giro's new time trial helmet.

It’s clear from this photo just how far in front of the rider’s face the front tip and visor of the new helmet actually sit. Aerodynamics are highly individual and rarely act how you’d expect, but if anything ever seemed blindingly obvious, it’s that this more pointed tip seems much “slipperier” than the traditional, more rounded front portion and visor of more regular time trial helmets.

As an owner and user of the Aerohead, the previous helmet was incredibly easy to put on (and rarity with TT helmets) and comfortable to wear. While the new helmet does look a little imbalanced and potentially heavy, it also appears just as easy to get on as the ever-popular Aerohead.

The image shows the top of Giro's new time trial helmet.

While at the time of writing we haven’t yet seen the new TT helmet on a rider on a TT bike in TT position, it certainly seems from this photo that Giro has paired that narrow front end to a wider rear presumably designed to integrate with the shoulders in an attempt to guide the airflow around the riders shoulders.

First you giveth then taketh away

The new helmet combines many of the elements we already know can make a fast helmet, so the question is, why hasn’t this wild design been adopted previously? A large chunk of that answer probably has something to do with aesthetics. Cycling wasn’t ready, and arguably still isn’t, until recently. More likely, though, designers presumably hadn’t adopted such a design because the UCI regulations now stipulate very clearly the maximum permitted dimensions for a helmet.

While designers have focused on tail integration and helmet width, such a forward-set design will inevitably push the overall length of the helmet over the permissible 450mm length. It seems these rules were introduced, at least partially, to restrict how wild helmet designers could get with integrating F1 nose cones onto riders heads.

The image is a screenshot of the UCI's helmet dimension regualtions.

While we haven’t yet got up close and aero with Giro’s new take on the TT helmet, it certainly looks like it pushes the limits of the UCI’s helmet dimension rules, removing or avoiding adding length to the rear specifically with the goal of adding length to the front.

We have yet to receive any details from Giro, but the new helmet arguably looks just as fast as it does wild.

The image shows Giro's new time trial helmet.

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