What’s The Best Aero Helmet Set Up For Triathletes? | Visor Vs No Visor

What’s The Best Aero Helmet Set Up For Triathletes? | Visor Vs No Visor


When it comes
to picking, choosing or using aero helmets one
of the most common questions we hear from triathletes
and time trialists is whether we should go visor or no visor. And it’s a very good
question, is this more aero? Or is this more practical? Well we have teamed up with
Oakley using their rather fancy ARO7 helmet to answer those
very questions and more. (intense music) Now the purpose of a cycling
helmet is to protect your head, and that is still the primary aim. But over time, some watt-saving
aero savvy riders realized that with some clever shaping,
a covered head could in fact be faster through the air than a bare one. So in 1985, we saw Scott
Tinley more or less introduce these cleverly shaped aero
helmets to the triathlon world when he donned one on his way to winning the Ironman World Championships,
and it’s around this time that kind of marked the beginning of cycling’s aero arms race. But back then, these helmets
were more or less just fairings that smoothed out the
airflow over a rider’s head and actually had very little
in the way of consideration and protection for the rider’s heads. The designs gradually evolved and changed. We had some slightly longer
tails coming out of this. Visors were introduced,
new rules were introduced which required more protection
for the riders heads and with that came some
slightly bulkier designs. But since then, manufacturers
understanding of aerodynamics and real-world rider positions
has improved considerably. And this has brought about
the reduction in tail size of many helmets to reduce the drag that could be generated by
dropped or moving heads. Some people tend to see it fare better during lengthy bike
legs within a triathlon. But it is the visor that still
seems to have people torn. (upbeat music) Now personally, I’ve raced
both with and without visors on my aero helmets over the years. See, when I first stepped into
the world of non-drafting, longer distance triathlons,
I got my first aero helmet. I’ll be honest, it was
all a little alien to me. I was unfamiliar with aero helmets. I wasn’t that sure on
them and their looks, particularly with a visor. So I opted to go non-visor and very often I would wear
sunglasses underneath them, as I’m doing right now. And at the time, I thought this was a rather practical option,
I’m going to be running in these sunglasses
anyway, so it’s just a case of leaving my sun glasses
on, taking my helmet off, whacking my run shoes on, and off I go. And I thought it’s probably
good for ventilation in the helmet, too, and it
seems that many people out there also have very similar feelings too this. And this is predominantly where that visor versus no visor debate comes from. (upbeat music) Now mostly in my career and still today I opt to use a visor. I’ve learned a heck of a
lot more about aerodynamics, ways in which we can gain
free speed or simply reduce the amount of drag that
we were previously making. And an integrated visor
like this one on the ARO7 is a perfect example of that. In fact, you’ll find
most of the pro field now are using visors with their aero helmets even in hot conditions
suck as those in Kona. So what is it that makes
these visors so great? (mysterious music) Well, firstly we have
airflow across the helmet. By having an integrated
visor, the aim is to smoothen out the airflow around
the head that bit further. In addition to this, what I found is that it also gives you a greater
field of view without the frame of the sunglasses in the way. This has allowed me to
tuck my head down further, allowing me to get into a
more aerodynamic position with my body without compromising my view of the road ahead of me. Well, the helmet designs
have come leaps and bounds over the years, even a simple
aero helmet like this one has very good ventilation, makes sure that your head doesn’t boil
with inside the helmet, and to prove my point, actually, David McNamee wore this very
helmet to a third place finish at the Ironman World Championships in the brutal conditions
of Kona last year. (upbeat music) Okay, so the next big
question is transition, obviously having a visor on the helmet does make things a little bit more tricky when you’re trying to get the helmet on and off our head as we go through. But it is still easily doable. For some people it may take
a couple of seconds longer as you’re going through transition. But I would say that
the aerodynamic benefits of having a visor on your helmet should outweigh those
couple of second lost, particularly over a
longer distance triathlon. Now conveniently, on a lot
of aero helmets these days, you’re actually able to remove that visor quickly and easily, and on
some helmets actually able to turn that visor around,
snap it onto the top of the helmet, which
could be a good option when you’re going through transition. On this ARO7, we’ve actually
got a magnetic attachment so we can just easily pull that visor off. And then we can actually
start playing around with different visor options
for different conditions. So here I have the Prizm
Road and Clear visor options. Now unlike a lot of aero
helmets and their visors, these visors have certainly
not been an afterthought. Now we obviously all know
Oakley for their sunglasses, so unsurprisingly the same
technology and expertise has gone into these visors, I
mean, the clarity is topnotch. And this is so often
overlooked with visors. Where actually athletes,
these have confidence in their vision, there’s no distortion, their eyes aren’t having to work harder than they should be or being strained. All their effort is going into racing. So what Oakley have done
with their Prizm lens that I have here is that they’ve optimized it for the specific conditions of cycling out on the road, so obviously
the lights and the colors that we see when we’re
out on the roads cycling are very different from say
that of golf or baseball. So they’ve analyzed the
demands of each sport in their environment and
they’ve created this lens that transmits the right wavelengths for those specific conditions. Pretty clever stuff, eh? And that same technology in the Prizm lens can be found also obviously
within their sunglasses. But bringing this back to the
visor versus no visor debate, obviously it is a case
of personal preference, do what you’re happiest with. Although I would recommend considering the aerodynamic benefits
of going with a visor. That said, there have been
very successful athletes over the years going both
with and without visors, so don’t worry if you’d
actually like to start out going non-visor and getting used to that before opting to go with a visor. Now if you have enjoyed today’s video, please do hit that thumbs up button. And if you’d like to see more from GTN just click on the globe and subscribe. And if you’d like to see our
comfort versus aero video, you can see that just by
clicking just up here. And if you’d like to see our
seven aero hacks to go fast, you can see that by
clicking just down there.

25 thoughts on “What’s The Best Aero Helmet Set Up For Triathletes? | Visor Vs No Visor

  1. I go visor for racing. Got the Giro Aero with the magnetic visor cos glasses are impossible to get behind the visor if it is in place when the helmet goes on. Feels like a normal helmet and then the visor flips down and it is nicely enclosed. Great in the rain with glasses. Ventilation is perfect at least in the UK it is…

  2. Good video. I'm not sure a visor costs you seconds in transition, though. You actually save time because you don't have to put the shades on, and in T2 you just grab the shades and put them on while you're already running, for a near-zero time cost. Not to mention the fact that many will choose to wear no shades on the run, be it due to the weather, or because they want more air in their face.

  3. Thank you for your video! Another quick question, which shoe's model do you use (in this video for example)? Are they easy to pull in and out at the beginning and at the end of the bike lag? Thanks a lot!

  4. The other thing to consider is that when your hunched down in the aero bars, the top rim of the glasses get in the way of your field of vision. So you need a visor or glasses without a top rim.

  5. Visor – more open and cooler (temperature wise) than sunnies … just wish it was cool (acceptable) to do a bunch ride with a visor..

  6. So actually there's been quite a lot of recent aero testing done saying the opposite, that aero helmets with visors aren't slower without them.

  7. Are you going to talk about project iceman (if you’ve even heard of it) it’s going to be the first ever Ironman on Antarctica set to be done in February 2020.

  8. Well, I'm no aerodynamics expert, but:

    Victor Campernaerts didn't wore a visor on his helmet during the hour attempt, and he went pretty quick.
    I think I'm also right in saying Tom Dumolain usually doesn't have a visor on his helmet..

    Obviously this is a sample size of two, and aero gains would depend on loads of different variables..
    But still, I'd imagine those two would've tested this kind of stuff in a wind tunnel. Just sayin' 😉

  9. This video didn’t really answer your question but rather was just an advert for oakley. I have the aero7 and it is good but needs to be done up tight and is still a sweat box even in cooler. weather.

  10. As Pedro Costa mentioned below.  Many of us have to wear prescription glasses.  It would have been nice if you had factored that into your video.

  11. The Oakley helmet looks very cool. Seems like a lot of these different items test very differently on different people. I know the Giro Aerohead tests better with the visor but other helmets like the LG ends up being more of a wash. So depends? 🤔

  12. personally i have been trying all sorts of visors other the last .. 8 years. It turned out that because I have a rather big head and sensitive eyes I would get serious eye inflamations riding with visors. SImply because the airflow would come and hit my eyes. Especially when riding in cold conditions. With Really large visors (bimbo helmet of Kask) that seems to work. But then if very hot the sweat drops will drop on the visor reducing visibility. So yes visor but only in newer better designed and well fitted helmets. Simple

  13. I use visor. But that is mainly because I use glasses and can not see without glasses. The visor gives protection in the sun and keeps glasses dry if it starts to rain. Some would argue, that I could use cycling sun glasses with prescription inserts. But they are not good in wet weather and they have a tendancy to fog up in colder weather. So I find a visor the best solution.

  14. A really big advantage of using visor is the protection it offers from rain as well. With sunglasses the rain will easily run down from the helmet/your forehead down into your eyes. But a visor will protect your eyes from the rain.

  15. Im assuming the visor would also be better to keep the bugs off your face since it covers a larger portion of your face 😅

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