Bright helmets from Giro
Have you noticed? Neon… it’s back. Those of us who grew up in the 80’s and early 90’s can rejoice, because all of our hot pink, bright green, and neon yellow clothes are coming back in to style. Not only do I see it in cycling gear, but running, swimming, and even basic gym apparel. I don’t know what sparked this comeback of superior style, but I’m not going to question it.The bonus for cycling is that neon colors mean better visibility to drivers on shared roads. Last year, we reviewed a slew of high visibility apparel, but ignored helmets. Today we will cover two helmets from Giro that are available in what they call ‘Highlight Yellow’ – the lightweight Aeon, and the aerodynamic Air Attack Shield.
Air Attack ShieldLet’s get this party started with the now-famous Air Attack:
As you can see, the Air Attack is half time trial helmet, half road helmet. We originally covered the details of the Air Attack upon its debut in June of 2012 (see Giro launches Air Attack linked at the bottom of this page).
Here are the basic specifications.
Giro Air Attack Shield specs:
Weight: 296 grams including visor (size medium)
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
CPSC Certified: Yes
Colors: Matte Black, Black/Silver, Black/Red, Blue/White, White/Silver, Highlight Yellow, White/Orange
The Air Attack follows the same sizing system as Giro’s other top road helmets – called ‘Superfit’ in the chart below:
I applaud Giro for offering an honest range of three sizes for this niche helmet. Some brands sneak in with only one or two sizes in lower-selling products, leaving those at the ends of the fit spectrum out of luck (or with an ill-fitting helmet).
I always need a Large size helmet, with a 59.5cm noggin. While dome-heads like me do get a great fitting Air Attack, we had to be patient; it became available many months after the original debut.
With no tail, the Air Attack fits inside of a standard road helmet box:
The construction of the Air Attack is similar to other high-end Giro helmets. The outer skin is polycarbonate, which is fused to a foam shell. This is said to offer the usual ‘light-and-strong’ benefit we see with many cycling products today, but we’re also told it helps with visibility. According to Giro PR agent, Mark Riedy, the color is not screened on, but rather molded as part of the polycarbonate to ensure brightness and clarity.
Here’s a look at the inside of the helmet:
The Air Attack has an inner suspension system called Roc Loc Air. This holds the helmet slightly above your head, so the air can flow through for better cooling. While I didn’t find it to be quite as comfortable as the more traditional Aeon (which we will discuss below), I still rank it as ‘good’ on the comfort scale.
For those concerned about helmet legality in the US, rest assured that the Air Attack is CPSC certified. My helmet’s sticker was slightly hidden just behind the retention system:
It is worth noting that only the Air Attack Shield model is available in Highlight Yellow. The standard version (sans shield) is not currently available in this color.
I initially wasn’t sold on the shield feature. It attaches to the helmet with three magnets, and I thought it might rattle or feel flimsy. Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the visor. It seems to hold firmly on the helmet, and I love the fact that you can flip it upside down for storage – rather than trying to find a place to stow a pair of sunglasses. Even if you’re buying a different color of Air Attack, I highly recommend the Shield version.
Overall, I have been very pleased with the Air Attack. Why review such a helmet when winter is so near? Isn’t this a race helmet? In fact, I think that winter training is one of this helmet’s best applications. While it feels cooler than most fully-enclosed aero helmets, it is definitely warmer than a high-end vented road helmet. The Air Attack has 6 vents, compared to 24 in the Aeon. I find it a little bit ironic that a helmet would double as a summer race helmet and winter training helmet, but that’s truly what I think this helmet is intended for. We actually see quite a few pro cyclocross racers using the Air Attack, and I suspect it is for the exact reason I mention.
Those looking for a more traditional road helmet in bright colors can look no further than the Aeon:
This is the newest top-end offering from Giro – a spot formerly held by the Atmos and Pneumo. It is meant to be light, cool (temperature), and cool (looking). Here are the basics:
Giro Aeon specs:
Weight: 222g (size medium)
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
CPSC Certified: Yes
Colors: Black, Titanium, Blue/Black, Red/Black, Silver/White, Black/White, Orange/White, Highlight Yellow
The Aeon is available in three sizes and follows the same sizing guidelines as the Air Attack (above). One difference is that the retention system is slightly different. It has the same style of dial…
…but no inner suspension system:
The Aeon uses what they call Roc Loc 5, rather than the Air Attack’s Roc Loc Air. I found that whatever they’re doing with the Aeon works wonderfully. It’s very, very comfortable. A big part of helmet comfort has to do with the shape of your head, and mine feels like it was built for the Aeon. I also found that the helmet felt very light; claimed weight is 222 grams for a Medium.
Just like the Air Attack, the Aeon passes CPSC standards:
I found that the Aeon stays supremely cool. Its 24 vents do their job, and I never found myself feeling trapped by the helmet. In fact, I brought the helmet with me to a Shimano press event in Maui, which featured several days of temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity.
Lucky for me, pro photographer Eric Wynn was on-hand to snap some photos, and I was curious just how bright the Aeon would look. Here you see a little yellow-and-orange spec in the distance…
As I get closer… well, I’m hard to miss:
I apologize for the horror I’m subjecting your eyes to, but you can’t say I’m hard to see. That’s full-geek mode with my Mavic Vision jersey, Exposure Diablo headlight, and Exposure Blaze tail light.
If you’re really on a neon kick, Giro also offers their Factor shoe in Highlight Yellow.
While it is impossible to say how much you’re increasing your safety by wearing accessories such as bright helmets and shoes, it certainly can’t hurt. I have gotten many comments and compliments on my bright helmets and jerseys. We’re glad to see these options offered for those that want them.
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