This is one of the more difficult questions to answer, because there are so many variables to take into consideration. How about you pick a specific purpose of the helmet, and we’ll take care of the rest? To answer the first question, there are certain riders who prefer the aerodynamics of a time trial helmet that fits very snugly to the head and can offer a high level of aero performance (ie. an aero helmet).

They require the tightest possible fit and may not even consider helmets that offer less time trial-specific features. Time trialling (TT) bikes are usually used very little by the general cycling public, but they are raced quite frequently by professional riders.

The aerodynamics of a TT helmet are therefore very important to the performance of the rider, and aero helmets are the subject of extensive testing by both engineers and athletes before they are released.

With the increasingly popular discipline of time trialling, more and more cyclists are taking up the sport in order to race in short, high-speed event. With this in mind, we recently took 5 of the best-selling aero helmets on the market and put them through their paces in real-world testing.

We wanted to see how they fared on the track – whether they were truly aero, how comfortable they were to wear, and how well they protected the head – so we raced them in a variety of conditions. We chose helmets that are on the more expensive end of the market (they tend to be well-built and share a similar aesthetic to each manufacturer’s other helmets).

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

Because of its comfy inside, excellent airflow, and crystal-clear, easy-to-use visor POC, the Cerebel takes the top spot on our list.

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

Specialized includes a great storage box and a set of good visors with the S-Works TT.

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The updated S-Works TT, which is based on the McLaren S-Works helmet, has side vents that Specialized refers to as “gills.”

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The Cerebel by POC has a stub-tail design that works well in a range of head orientations.

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The Wasp Air Tri also has a port located behind the front vent that a rider may utilize to douse a hot racing Lazer.

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The Wasp Air Tri from Lazer is ideal for people who compete in a variety of situations.

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The magnetic wraparound visor is simple to use and can be placed on top of the helmet when not in use.

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The Aerohead MIPS features a small tail but an expanded brow, according to Giro, which helps better direct airflow.

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The Rivet TT is an inexpensive aero option Giant has used to great success by Tom Dumoulin and his SunWeb colleagues.

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

Because of the absence of a visor and extensive internal channels, Giant’s Rivet TT offered the greatest ventilation of the helmets tested here.

The helmet on top of a time-trial tester’s or triathlete’s head is an important part of their equipment. It’s a game-changer in the battle against aerodynamic drag.

Brands go to considerable efforts to evaluate their helmets’ aerodynamics and determine the relative benefits of each design, as well as the watts they can save. However, since time-trial helmet performance varies so much, it’s impossible to offer generalized suggestions.

Instead, here is a look at how they fit, feel, and perform in everyday situations. What are the flaws and qualities that may have an impact on comfort and speed? What design aspects stick out the most?

Your decision-making priorities will shift depending on the duration of time trials or triathlons. I wore all of the helmets featured in a medium size, and each one saw a lot of action throughout my training for a 12-hour time trial.

They were all true to size, although some were a little tighter than others.

2018’s finest time trial helmets

Cerebel POC Raceday

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

Because to its comfy interior, excellent airflow, and crystal-clear, easy-to-use visor, the Cerebel takes the top spot on our list.

  • £330 (about $350)
  • 396g in weight

POC’s Cerebel is a far cry from the Tempor, the company’s initial attempt at a time-trial helmet. It’s not just considerably smaller, but it’s also based on a completely new design concept. For a broad range of riders, the Cerebel is designed to be quick in a variety of postures. I can’t corroborate these allegations, but given the POC’s rounded, bobtail form, it’s easy to see why. The POC is tiny, yet it’s nonetheless comfy, with the shell standing off the ears well. Adjusting the rear dial mechanism is easiest done with the helmet off, although individuals with tiny hands may be able to do it on the fly by reaching into the soft tail portion.

The POC has a wide field of view, particularly above the brow. This will appeal to those who ride in a very low posture, but anybody seeking to improve their aerodynamics will enjoy the clear vision.

The helmet’s vented visor and side gills do an excellent job of circulating air through it. It is possible to hear sounds depending on how your head is tilted. It would whistle at me if I lowered my head and looked down. While it was first irritating, it served as a helpful reminder to keep my head up and look ahead.

The visor’s magnetic connection is well-executed. For riders who want to use the smallest helmet possible, the POC makes it simple to remove the visor before putting on the Cerebel and to replace it before removing the helmet.

The Cerebel comes with two visors, one of which is almost transparent yellow and the other of which is tinted darker for brighter situations. The tint was “developed jointly with Zeiss to increase the contrast of the road surface, enabling the rider to notice any abnormalities or hazards in time,” according to POC’s website. While I wish the tint was a little deeper at times, it does an excellent job of emphasizing variations in the road surface.

With its stated aerodynamic strength, the POC is a strong competitor for people who struggle to maintain a static posture, run long distances, or compete in sprint events on the track.

It’s a nice-looking helmet with a good visor. The Cerebel is the most costly helmet here, at £330 / $350, but it does come with two visors and a semi-rigid carrying bag, and it should be fast for a broad range of athletes.

S-Works TT TT TT TT TT TT TT TT TT

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The updated S-Works TT, which is based on the McLaren S-Works helmet, has side vents that Specialized refers to as “gills.”

  • Price: $300 (about AU$450).
  • 463g in weight

The Specialized is the longest helmet mentioned here, making it possibly the best for riders who are disciplined about their riding position. It’s important to keep the tail down on a longer helmet in order to make your shape as slippery as possible.

Derived from Specialized’s previous S-Works McLaren TT helmet, the newer S-Works TT is updated with patented side ‘gill’ vents that increase airflow through the helmet. Having never tried the McLaren, I can’t comment on any improvement in cooling, but the S-Works TT is reasonably well-ventilated for a time-trial lid.

The Specialized comes with a pair of great visors, one tinted for bright conditions, the other clear. The optics are crystal clear with no appreciable distortion.

The visor is held in place by three plastic clips. This is secure to a degree, however, when riding, I managed to eject a visor as I attempted to spin the helmet back on my head to bring the tail down. Thankfully, as many Specialized sponsored riders do, you can run the S-Works TT without the visor and use your own sunglasses.

Despite being virtually tied with the Giro as the heaviest in the round-up, the S-Works TT is comfortable even on extended rides. Perhaps the longer tail helps to hold the tail down and the head high by bringing some of the weight backward.

The Specialized, like the POC and Giro, has a zip closure and a semi-rigid storage box to protect your helmet and visors during transportation.

With its long tail, the Specialized is sure to be quick for riders who can focus on maintaining a fast head position. If that describes you, the S-Works TT is a worthy contender.

TT Giant Rivet

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The Rivet TT is an inexpensive aero alternative used to excellent success by Tom Dumoulin and his SunWeb colleagues.

  • £180 / $229 / $230
  • 426g in weight

The Giant has an obvious history due to Tom Dumoulin, Ellen Van Dijk, and their Sunweb colleagues, and is perhaps the most simple of the helmets in this lineup. There is no visor included, and the tail portion does not change form. But you do get a really quick helmet that’s built for a broad range of rider positions.

Giant is the most ventilated choice here, so that’s the one I went with on warm days. The absence of a visor is responsible for a lot of the wind. The four circular vents at the front of the helmet, deep interior channels, and a big exit port at the back of the helmet all help with ventilation.

The absence of a visor means you’ll need to make sure your eyewear fits inside the helmet. With the Rivet TT, I wore Oakley EVZero Path sunglasses, which have thin ear stems and a frameless design that are ideal for riding in a low time trial position. My Adidas Zonyk Pro spectacles, on the other hand, did not fit as well.

The Giant is snug around the ears, which is probably helpful for aerodynamics but may be unpleasant on prolonged rides. The Rivet TT, in my opinion, would be ideal for short, hot time trials or triathlons.

At £180 / $229 / $230, Giant’s Rivet TT is the cheapest helmet on the list. The Giro, on the other hand, is the cheapest and comes with a fantastic storage box and a beautiful wraparound visor. Of course, it isn’t as properly ventilated as the Giant. It all boils down to your priorities.

The Rivet TT is the way to go if you like to run without a visor and if keeping cool is a continuous problem.

MIPS Giro Aerohead

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The Aerohead MIPS features a small tail but a longer brow, according to Giro, which helps guide wind more effectively.

  • Price: $260 (AU$380) / $250 (UK).
  • 460g in weight

In many respects, Giro’s Aerohead MIPS is unusual. For starters, it’s the only helmet with a MIPS rotational impact liner on the market. The Aerohead also features a forward-overhanging design that, according to Giro, is quick over a wide range of head positions. The wraparound, magnetic visor is also unusual in that it reaches farther over the wearer’s brow. One’s ears are revealed when the visor is removed and kept neatly atop the helmet utilizing magnets. The Aerohead is quick, but it has flaws. Installing the visor over the face is simple and can be done with one hand. The optics on the visor are adequate, but not as excellent as those on the POC or Specialized.

The Aerohead is just 2 grams heavier than the Specialized, which is the heaviest helmet in our test. It tries to drag your head down with its front overhang and short tail. This isn’t an issue for a short race, but after a few hours, it may start to bother your neck.

The Aerohead isn’t the coolest helmet in the lineup, however. The wraparound visor covers more of the face, which is likely to contribute to the feeling of a hot head.

It is, however, $50 less than the S-Works TT and $100 less than the Cerebel at £260 / $250 / AU$380. It comes with a semi-rigid, cushioned casing, but just one visor, like the others. As a result, it’s a steal for a sleek helmet with a well-made visor.

If you’re looking for the lowest possible drag, Giro also has the Aerohead Ultimate, a little smaller overall form that doesn’t prioritize ventilation but comes at a premium price of £520 / $550 / AU$800.

Air Tri Lazer Wasp

Best Time Trial Helmets: 5 Aero TT Helmets Put Through Their Paces in Real-World Testing

The Wasp Air Tri from Lazer is ideal for people who compete in a variety of situations.

  • £250 (about $310)
  • Weight: 443g

The Wasp Air Tri from Lazer is a shapeshifter. While it is intended to be quick, it also prioritizes ventilation. It’s highly adjustable to shifting circumstances and various rider requirements, with an optional long tail and many alternative venting choices.

At addition to a vent in the front, the Aquaport hatch is located on the top of the helmet. It’s designed to enable a cyclist to squirt water over their head during long rides in hot weather. While the function adds weight to the helmet, it’s certainly worth its weight in gold if you run hot.

The Wasp’s visor also helps with airflow. It can be pushed away from the helmet using various indents in the mounting hardware to improve airflow, and it works very well.

On a hot day, the difference between a closed and open visor may make or break an attempt. It may be slower in terms of aerodynamics, but if it prevents you from overheating, you’ll be better off in the long run.

While I like the visor’s flexibility, the glass itself could need some assistance. The optics aren’t as sharp as those of many of its competitors evaluated here. There are a few wavy areas around the nose cutout in particular that may make gazing down at your computer a little strange.

On the bright side, the Wasp may have the greatest situational awareness of any full-coverage time-trial helmet I’ve tried. Most helmets that cover your ears make it difficult to hear oncoming vehicles.

Lazer also sells the LifeBEAM heart-rate monitor, which uses helmet pads to detect your pulse. In addition, the helmet may be equipped with a smart inclination sensor. It serves as a reminder to the rider to keep the helmet’s tail low and against the back.

This is a wonderful training tool as well as something that can be worn during a race. As previously stated, Lazer also provides a larger tail portion as an alternative for riders that want a more extended helmet design.

The Wasp Air Tri costs £250 / $310 and is ideal for cyclists who compete in a range of circumstances. Additional attachments will increase the price, but the Lazer might be considered a bargain given its flexibility and the accompanying helmet bag.

Updated November 21st, 2018

Time trial (TT) helmets are a very popular type of cycling helmet, and for good reason. They are designed to minimize the wind resistance you feel when riding in a fixed gear, saving you energy that you can use to push harder or faster. The best time trial (TT) helmets can also be used for road riding and all types of racing.. Read more about best time trial helmets 2022 and let us know what you think.

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