I’ve owned a cycling helmet or two and I’ve also written a post or two on helmet fashion…
I’ve tended to stick with Bontrager or Specialized simply because that’s what the local shop carries – I’m more partial to the shop than brand.
This post isn’t about fashion or color scheme though, this one will get right down to safety – and not from a protection standpoint either. All helmets have to meet the same standards. This post is going off the rails, and getting into something I didn’t know was a thing until a couple of weeks ago.
I picked up a Bontrager Starvos Mips a couple of weeks ago because Specialized did away with the S3, and I planned on riding the 5200 more this year anyway… I retired my two year-old S3 and donned the Starvos for my first ride.
The first thing I noticed was the perfect fit of the straps – it was truly awesome and far better than anything I’ve owned with a big “S” on it. I also loved the boa closure system – top notch… I headed out the door, threw leg over top tube, turned right out of my driveway into a headwind and the wind noise was obnoxious. Headwind, crosswind, even with a tailwind, the wind noise was horrible – so loud I couldn’t hear traffic coming up behind me.
Friday I couldn’t stand another day on the trainer so I went out solo with the new dome protector. The wind noise was distractingly loud. I was thinking it had to be me, that I simply needed to get back in the groove again. Maybe the winter had been too long… Two vehicles snuck up on me in the first five miles. That had never happened before, not even when I was a noob (see that last photo above – still makes me laugh at how little I knew).
By the time I was pounding out that last mile I was driving myself nuts. It couldn’t be me, it’s like the helmet split the wind and it was slamming directly into my ears, that’s the only way I can describe it. When I got back to the house I left my bike outside and went in to grab my old Specialized S3… sure enough, I could (and did) hear a car coming about 400 yards sooner. It wasn’t me, it was the melon cover. Fortunately, because I do most of my shopping at a brick and mortar store, the owner swapped it out for me.
Folks, all helmets are not created equal.
I really hate to add one more thing to be aware of, but this was a big deal for me. I liked that Bontrager helmet, but I couldn’t live with the amount of noise it created.
And before you take to the comments, it wasn’t the straps. The straps fit better than anything I’ve ever worn.