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  • May

    Top Cycling Helmets Compared – The Shoemaker Review

    By Jarrod Shoemaker, 2008 Olympic Triathlete

    Editor’s Note: There are dozens of helmets to choose from and picking the right one can be a challenge. Luckily, we’ve got one of the best triathletes in the world to help you find the perfect one. We sent four high-end road helmets to 2008 Olympic Triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker to test. These helmets all strive to provide the perfect balance of low weight and ventilation with an emphasis on aerodynamics. 


    The Louis Garneau Course Helmet looks like a normal helmet, but it is aerodynamically advanced. Louis Garneau used computer modeling software to optimize the airflow from the front of the helmet. The air in the front is allowed to flow directly to the back of the helmet. The helmet is very open on top to keep your head cool in warmer conditions. The interior channels allow the air to pass through the helmet, providing ventilation in addition to providing an aerodynamic advantage.

    The padding is well placed to create a comfortable fit and the helmet feels very natural while cycling. Adjustments are easily made on the back of the helmet to enhance the fit. I really liked the way this helmet sat on my head.

    Jarrod’s Take: A well-designed and thought-out helmet that fits comfortably and is very well vented. A good choice for an everyday use helmet.

    Pros: Comfortable fit, aerodynamic venting and cooling

    Cons: Slightly heavier than comparable helmets

    GIRO SYNTHE ($249)

    The Giro Synthe is a great road helmet. Giro makes a wide range of helmets for every cycling discipline and this is one of the brand’s lightest offerings. Giro designed this helmet with the goal of making it as aerodynamic as possible while still providing outstanding ventilation to make it worthy of use during a road race, triathlon or time trial.

    The Synthe does a great job of cooling your head by allowing air to pass through.

    It also has an awesome adjustment system that secures your head without pinching. I really liked the ease of use.

    Jarrod’s Take:  The Synthe is a high-quality, light helmet that’s great for everyday use for recreational cyclists to professional athletes.

    Light with terrific ventilation and cooling. Adjustable system is one of the best on the market.

    Buckle is quite small and can be tricky to quickly snap in a triathlon.


    The Smith Overtake represents a brand new design in road helmets with a material never used before in the cycling industry. Smith has added a light honeycomb-type material that takes impacts very well by absorbing force far better than traditional EPS foam. It’s also very breathable since the honeycomb is open on both sides and provides a striking aesthetic.

    The Overtake also scores well on aerodynamics, comparing favorably to other aero lids on the market. Smith designed this helmet with safety and breathability at the forefront, but made sure it was also aerodynamic enough to be raced in.

    Jarrod’s Take: This high-tech helmet is for the more advanced rider who is looking for the perfect combination of aerodynamics and ventilation.

    Breathable open design with great ventilation. Very good adjustment and locking system.

    A bit big and bulky as the front extends a bit into farther off the forehead than I like in particular.

    BELL STAR PRO ($279.95)

    This helmet fits into the category of don’t judge a book by its cover. My first impression was that it looked clunky and retro, but it actually has some great innovations. The helmet is built with an adjustable “ActiveAero” switch that opens and closes the vents in the helmet. Riding with the vents closed makes the helmet a bit more aero and can help in cooler conditions to keep heat in.

    The Bell Star Pro also has an integrated face shield that is easily removable thanks to some cleverly placed magnets. 

    This is better than most other systems that clip on and off. The adjustment system works well and is easy to adjust. 

    The fit is comfortable and idoesn’t feel too bulky.

    Jarrod’s Take: The Star Pro can be used for both training and racing, and is a great option for beginner triathletes and experienced racers alike.

    ActiveAero system make helmet aero or not. Face shield w/ easy magnetic clip

    Not much front ventilation and a bit of an old-school design, which is not necessarily a con for everyone.


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