FIRST LOOK: Giro Air Attack Helmet

Giro Air Attack Helmet

Giro has just unveiled what might turn out to be my favorite helmet ever, and it's called the Air Attack. It is a road-like helmet, with TT helmet DNA. At first blush, it actually looks a lot like the Casco lid that TJ Tollakson has been riding for the last few years. But the Air Attack is actually a very nuanced, thoughtful product, poised to become the first in a sort of 'hybrid aero' helmet category. The Air Attack has been engineered to offer excellent aerodynamics given its form factor, while offering road-like ventilation and light weight. And because it's from Giro, you won't have to source one from an obscure foreign distributor for princely sums. These will be available in your local bike shop, at a retail price of $200 for the base model, $240 with the integrated visor. Sadly, we're going to have to wait quite a while for these, as the projected availability date is Spring of 2013.

Speaking of the visor, it looks awesome. I've long preached the benefits of an integrated visor for riding in aero, and loved the one in Giro's pure TT lid, the Selector. The Air Attack one-ups the Selector by using a magnetic snap system to mount the visor. The only other helmet I'm aware of that uses this concept is the Kask Bambino, which is not yet to market, doesn't have the same ventilation that the Air Attack does, and uses a rather rudimentary retention system (at least in the prototype I saw). Giro's product looks refined, elegant, and highly versatile.

I love the idea of an all-in-one helmet. Reasonably aero, but comfortable enough for long training rides. If it's as good as Giro suggests, it could save the average triathlete money versus buying a road helmet plus an aero helmet. In point of fact, the rounded back may be faster than a long tail when moving the head from side to side, up and down, etc. To that end, it may be the better choice for triathletes who move around a lot, versus the pure TT specialists who try to keep their head in one spot. Personally, I can see myself using this both training and racing.

Have a look at the video Giro put together to make its case for the Air Attack. They call it the Swiss Army knife of helmets. They say it's an entirely new product category, and I'm inclined to agree. I cannot WAIT to get my hands on one of these ... and I'll be waiting (im)patiently until they're available next year.