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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 22-26, 2008
Part 15 - October 7, 2008: New helmets coming for 2009
By James Huang
Giro debuts new mountain and road helmets plus complete glove line
Giro will retire a couple of long-standing favorites in its helmet lineup for 2009. The new Saros road model will push aside the popular Pneumos while the nearly identical Athlon will replace the venerable E2.
Both feature multi-piece in-mold microshell construction with Roll Cage internal reinforcement, 23 large and well-channeled vents, and Giro's excellent Roc Loc 4 retention system. While Giro pegs the US$120 Saros as a road helmet, the Athlon's included tilt-adjustable visor apparently turns it into an off-road race lid and tacks on another US$10 in the process.
The top-end Ionos and Advantage 2 road and aero helmets carry over unchanged from last year in terms of function but new color 'lockups' mean that racers, club teams and the like can now switch between road and time trial events and still maintain the same look.
Giro will also jump into the cycling glove market with ten all-new men's and women's models that cover the range from road racing to downhill. Common features include an interesting three-panel 'Super Fit' palm construction that Giro claims is better tailored than most and minimized bunching for a more comfort and better grip.
The top-end Lusso road model features a real Cabretta leather back, a Pittards leather palm and strategically placed Technogel padding that is supposedly better able to disperse shock and pressure than most gels. All the way at the other end is the downhill/freeride-specific Remedy with its armored mesh back, padding-free Pittards leather palm, microfiber thumb, and high-tech d3o crash pad.
All of Giro's new gloves are slated for market release around January 2009.
Bell challenges the excuses
Ultra-premium high-end helmets are still the hottest-looking end of the segment but it's arguably the mid-range where we're seeing the most advancement for the general consumer. Bell's new Array carries a modest US$100 price tag but also high-end features such as well-channeled ventilation, an internal reinforcement cage and the company's latest height-adjustable TAG (Twin Axis Gear) retention system.
Almost more importantly, the Array looks more expensive than it is with its slick shape and six available colors. We'll work on nabbing one of these for official review to see just how close Bell's latest model performs to top-end lids but already suspect this to be a strong value leader for 2009.
Lazer rolls with it for 2009
Lazer will expand use of its exceptionally easy-to-use Rollsys circumferential retention system to four additional models for 2009.
Save for the external 'white carbon' reinforcements, the new Helium road helmet looks virtually identical to the existing Genesis but its target weight is nearly 100g lighter at 220g. The Helium's dual-density foam liner deserves most of the credit for the weight loss but more aggressive internal channeling shaves a few grams as well while also improving airflow, too.
Rollsys will also be included in the new Tardis aero helmet which was still in early prototype form as of this year's Interbike show. Though wind tunnel testing is still pending, Lazer plans to borrow some aero know-how from its Belgian neighbor, Ridley. Leading edges on the Tardis will feature drag-reducing surface textures similar to what was introduced on Ridley's latest Noah and Dean frames and Lazer also plans to employ dimples on the tail section.
The Tardis will also use a unique 'aqua vent' right up top. Even the best aero helmets aren't nearly as well ventilated as road models and Lazer envisions that riders can dump water directly on to their melons during a ride through this port to cool themselves down. Special padding and channels will then apparently distribute water throughout the interior in a somewhat controlled manner.
Off-road riders will get the new Nirvana with its increased rear coverage and venting that is tuned for the slower speeds typically encountered on the trail. A removable visor will come standard and Lazer has even specifically shaped the Nirvana's front surface to make it easier to mount lights.
Finally, BMX and urban riders might find interest in the new Crux. Lazer isn't exactly sure how the lightweight microshell model will be received what with its expensive-for-the-segment US$80 projected price tag but feels the Crux's substantially lighter weight and better fit will make up for it. One thing is for sure: the planned overlapping two-layer shell certainly offers a unique look so we'll have to wait and see whether or not it'll be accepted.
Spiuk elbows its way in with the big boys
Spiuk showed off its latest Daggon helmet atop the heads of the Agritubel squad at this year's Tour de France and now that we've gotten a better firsthand look at it, we like what we see even more.
The Daggon includes some of the latest tech trends in this sharp-looking lid such as carbon external reinforcements in its multi-piece in-mold shell and we expect the deeper internal channeling to deliver better ventilation than before.
Spiuk's usual CompactFix retention system will also be used along with its full-coverage insect netting. The latter can be replaced with the included conventional padding, though, for those who want maximum ventilation instead or are lucky enough to live where bugs aren't much of an issue.
Suggested retail price is US$199.99 and Spiuk will offer the Daggon in at least five different colors.
Also new for 2009 is the MTB-specific Input. Carbon reinforcements are used here as well and the 21 vents include larger exhaust ports to help evacuate hot air. Naturally, Spiuk's CompactFix retention system is also included along with a detachable visor.
Spiuk will introduce the Input in seven colors with a retail price of US$169.99.
New LAS lid offers distinctive Euro style
Italian helmet maker LAS brings its Euro style to its latest Victory model for 2009. While equipped with fewer vents than the existing Haxial, the Victory's vents are bigger and presumably move more air as a result.
The one-piece internal padding includes protective netting to keep out insects and an anti-bacterial treatment wards off odor. Claimed weight for a small sample is 230g.
Speaking of the Haxial, one of that helmet's most distinctive features is its unique top-mounted aluminum 'ventilator' that supposedly helps suck in cooling air. One can debate the scoop's functionality but its continuous surface also provides a convenient canvas for customization. Simply submit a photo to LAS and the company can apply the image for your very own one-off lid.
Premium new helmets from Louis Garneau
Louis Garneau's new Diamond road helmet boasts a whopping 40 vents in its in-molded microshell yet it's not so much the number of vents, but rather the type, that makes it so interesting.
Several of the Diamond's vents are of the so-called Venturi style whereby incoming air is supposedly accelerated as it moves through the port. If they work as claimed, the vents should move far more air than their small size would suggest. Even if they don't work, though, the other vents are sizeable and seem well-placed so it might not even matter.
Riders competing against the clock will get the new Superleggera which is roughly 80g lighter than the existing Rocket Air and also better balanced to reduce neck strain. A dimpled front half is designed to reduce drag and an optional polycarbonate windscreen can also be added.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com