Swiss Side Aero Tip - Helmet Choice

posted by Fabienne Dirksen
April 24, 2020

For road cyclists, there are basically three types of helmets: road helmets, time trial helmets and aero road helmets. The three of them are designed to serve certain needs. Therefore, one helmet will never be able to cover all road disciplines – at least not to the fullest capacities possible.

The time trial helmet is designed for the best possible aerodynamics. If we take it as the aerodynamic benchmark, the step to a aero road helmet is about 3 watts at 35 km/h, the step to a regular road helmet is another 3 watts. This means that in terms of time on a 100 km course with 1,500 height meters of climbing, the aero road helmet will cost you around 45 seconds, the standard helmet 1.5 minutes in comparison to a time trial helmet.

For the absolute ultimate in aero performance you therefore got to go for the time trial helmet. These offer the slipperiest form, the lowest drag, but they tend to weaken it when it comes to cooling. If this is the most important factor, you may choose a standard road helmet as the last step. It is light, short and got a lot of ventilation in it. The aero road helmet is a step in between the two extremes: It resembles a typical road helmet, but has a slightly longer tail and typically a little less cooling. As already mentioned, a helmet like this will bring you roundabout a 3 watt penalty compared to a time trial helmet, but a lot more cooling. So, if you are crossing over between road cycling and time trial, but don’t want to buy (and own) two helmets, maybe you want to opt for an aero road helmet.

Photo: Tino Pohlmann