SCOTTS VALLEY, CA (BRAIN)—Giro dug back into the archives when developing the Air Attack aero road helmet, basing its newest innovation on the cutting-edge 1988 helmet of the same name, worn by such athletes as Chris Boardman and a young Lance Armstrong.
Fitting in between a time trial helmet and road racing helmet, the Air Attack has a rounded shape, but offers reduced aerodynamic drag and is lighter and cooler on the head than the Selector TT helmet thanks to new deep channel venting, thus solving two of riders’ biggest obstacles, according to Giro. The design incorporates a profile similar to conventional aerodynamic helmets but loses the long tail, and the RocLoc Air adjustable fit system adds extra ventilation by suspending the helmet 3 millimeters above the rider’s head.
The inspiration for the Air Attack stemmed from recent developments in aero road bikes, a category that has gained prominence in the past 18 months with bikes like the Specialized Venge, Scott Foil and Cervélo S5, said Giro spokesperson Mark Riedy.
“It’s a helmet meant for everyday use. It’s not a one-trick pony like a time trial bike or a time trial helmet, but it has a lot of aerodynamic elements,” he said.
Riedy said he sees the Air Attack appealing primarily to triathletes, but also road racers—Rabobank riders are already testing the Air Attack and some will likely wear the helmet in the Tour de France, along with riders from the Giro-sponsored Garmin-Barracuda team—track racers and even cyclocross riders. Longtime Giro athlete Armstrong was set to debut the helmet to the triathlon world Sunday in Ironman Nice until his recent suspension.
Since Giro supplies helmets to many global sports federation, finishing the Air Attack in time for the Olympics was paramount, Riedy said.
“Definitely all the federations came to us and said, ‘We need a new helmet for the Olympics.’ For us, there was no question, even going back to last year, that we were going to do this helmet at the latest for the Olympics,” he said.
The Air Attack will be available to retailers next spring at a retail price around $200 or $240 with an integrated Carl Zeiss optical shield. Giro expects Air Attack to fit into its line neatly and be a healthy contributor in terms of revenue and number of units sold.
Riedy also believes the helmet will drive forward a new aero road helmet category.
“I get the sense that other people are working on helmets like this,” he said. “I’ll be shocked if for the Olympics some of our competitors don’t have a helmet in the same area.”