When you buy a $500 helmet

The whole thing took around four hours. We ran 30s captures on each helmet at each yaw, but there was a bit of faff and a taring process that ate up time before each, plus baseline repeats etc to quantify accuracy.

It’s probably against forum rules for me to start trying to sell the subscription to you, so I won’t preach. But hopefully it does well, my bosses see, and I get to go play in the wind tunnel again! :rofl:

I’m open to suggestions on what we test if/when that happens!


This test and article was obviously a lot of work. The data got leaked and is being discussed here. The fact that you’re on here being helpful and answering questions ‘for free’ and not upset (well, it’s the internet) is reflective of your character. Class Act :handshake:


Out of curiosity I’d love to see an Ekoi AR14 thrown into the mix if you get back to the tunnel. I picked up a plain white one for a not bad price last year when it was the current aero helmet of a lot of TdF teams and I think a lot of Pro teams are still using it. If I wanted the helmet in the colours of Lotto etc it would have cost 3x the amount. Lol, I’ll stick to the aero gains of the plain white version which doesn’t go out of date when team colours change.

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As for whether it would be different: it almost certainly would change things if we tested at a more head-down angle, but I’m not sure by how much.

This is what I’ve always wondered; do you have any sense of whether the results change or how sensitive the results are (improve, worsen) if the angle of the head changes and/or the angle of the helmet changes on the head.

Most people like to adjust the helmet so the brow comes down as far and as close to the head as possible - eliminating the sunglasses / helmet gap. They do this by adjusting the occipital cradle down.

This however has the effect of tipping the helmet forwards unless the rider makes a slightly uncomfortable effort to look directly ahead (most of the time most people have their neck at a more natural angle)

But last year in the TDF and other races you started to see riders with helmets pushed back up their head.

Here is another photo - where the helmet now faces perpendicular to the airflow with more of the brow showing.

We all know the angle has a huge impact on a TT helmet in smoothing airflow onto your back - why not the road bike?

Here is the helmet. Originally, a rider brought this to the party & said he paid $40 for it. I paid $36 for it. I see now you can pick it up for under $34?

Triathlon Aero TT Bicycle Helmet With Lens Goggles Road Bike Time Trial Cycling Helmet For Competition Women And Men Helmet (aliexpress.us)

Basically it’s a Met Drone knockoff. The trip lines around the vents are almost identical. Main differences are the vistor integrates a lot cleaner on the Met Drone & the Drone has more of a ‘peak’ running down the top center of the helmet.

Look, here’s the thing: it’s a fast helmet but we didn’t test every helmet possible. This helmet is faster than a Kask Mistral, Kask Bambino Pro EVO, POC Tempor, Rudy Wing, Bell Javelin, P09, Giro Aerohead, Specialized McLaren. I’m not saying it’s the fastest helmet ever but for the price it’s a very fast helmet.

The AliExpress helmet is a lot more ventilated than the Kask/Poc helmets. The Mistral is very fast but if you are a triathlete, it’s very hard to get the Mistral on with the visor in place so that’s a problem in transition. I should note that the AliExpress helmet doesn’t symmetrically flip the visor up. You can flip the visor up & secure it with magnets but you can only get two of the magnets to rest right in the depressions designed to accomodate magnets…so the visor sits at a goofy (rakish?) tilt when the visor is flipped up.

Here are some more photos of the helmet IRL:


I would 100% never use a helmet from Aliexpress. Not because is not fast, but because the chances of actually doing what its suppose to do (save your head) are almost 0.


A popular sentiment!

Never even crossed my mind! So obvious once you say it… doh.

It wouldn’t surprise me if more than a few pro teams use helmets one size down and do the ol’ heated ice cream scoop trick to make them fit. This might explain why so many Euro pros have helmets that look small (streamlined) but, sit “high” on their head.

I’ve done a bit of this myself. I have a 59.5cm head, but a large helmet looks like a fucking koopa troopa shell on my head. So; medium Evade 3 and a bit of gentle “moulding” of the helmet to fit the shape of my head and eliminate hotspots.


That’s hilarious! Right on…


Yes the large Evade is a bit ridiculous looking but WTF so is putting on a kit. I can go from golf or tennis or pickleball to lunch/dinner and not feel like a dork. So WTH a large Evade is just easier so I went with it.

I am guessing that has passed exactly 0 of the usual safety tests required for it to be sold in the eu/australia/na etc?

EN 1078 That will get you into transition in the US. I’m not sure about EU/Australia.

A couple of things that have been asked/pointed out in the background & on other forums…

1.) Did we try the Mistral/Bambino with the aero visor?

No. Nobody has one, so we didn’t try it. All kask helmets were stock visor on. Also a note regarding just the bambino & bambino pro: those are slow helmets. They are slow on everybody’s head. I did test a bambino pro…it’s slow. No need to talk about it.

2.) Mistral is a track helmet, it outperforms at low yaw angle.

100% agree. That’s why I was trying to get more data. I thought the Mistral would be the victor at low yaw angle. On my head it’s not. On 60% to 70% of heads, the drone rip off is faster but I will concede a Met Drone performs better at higher yaw angles & definitely my PR 40k TT was 100% crosswind 100% of the way.

3.) Is it safe?

First of all, it’s not my interest or my job to convince anybody to wear an aliexpress helmet. If you want to ride the safest bike helmet, you should be wearing a Kali. Anything else is a compromise in safety in my opinion. Kali make the safest helmet.

My daily commuter helmet is the Giro Aspect. The rip off drone has similar foam density & thickness but probably a more robust outer shell. And, not surprisingly, a similar retail price.

So, on the safety scale I would rank the rip-off drone as safer than no helmet, safer than riding road tubeless on hookless rims (and much, much cheaper), not as safe as a Kali helmet, and a lot less safe than an Arai. :smiley: There you have it.

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How about the safest high end helmet? I loved the looks of my Specialized Prevail 3 helmet but now am coming off a concussion from a crash (helmet cracked through)… want to make sure I have the best.

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I’ve had the the Prevail 2 save my life x2, so I’ll never wear anything other than Spesh.


No such thing…you can only go off the VT ratings, which lists a number of high end helmets as 5-star. Which is “safest” is unknowable.

Use their ratings and find one that fits your head well. That is probably more critical than trying to figure out which is “safest”.

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Indeed, the notion of a “safest helmet” is wrong-think in lots of ways.

Don’t think there’s been a good helmet safety argument for a while, shall we go there?


I mean what objective evidence might you have that upsets the Virginia Tech rankings? Within 5* there is a huge variance - like BRR - I’d just go off the highest one on there that you can get on =].

The safest of the fast aero helmets are the Ballista and Evade which rank identically, but a noticeable amount less save than the prevail. I wonder if that’s because the Air vents act as crumple zones?