What's Cool In Road Cycling

Great Head v1.2: Specialized DECIBEL and Carrera ENERGY

We let Specialized and Carrera run their latest bean bounce barriers at us in a rematch of Great Head version 1. Specialized only needed to fix one thing to be damn near perfect and Carrera needed something that protected you from more a sunburn. Here’s their latest…

First up again is the new Decibel from Specialized.

Question number 1: Did they upgrade the retention system from the S-1?


Imagine for a few horribly tough seconds that Angelina Jolie is bad at Sex… That was kinda the way I felt about the S-1. Great looks, Super ventilation, light weight but it didn’t stay snug on my head the way it should. It wasn’t nearly as bad as that, but that helmet was so great in every way except the one that counted…

In fairness, I wouldn’t take an ugly girl over Angelina regardless, just like I wouldn’t take some of the crap helmets out there over the S-1, because the sum or the features add up to on hell of a good helmet. That said Specialized did an adequate job of fixing the one thing they needed to. The New Pro Fit retention system will snug up as tight as you please. All that is needed now is some up – down adjustability and they’ve got this dialed in perfectly. (note to Angelina, if you want to prove to me that you are the female version of the new Decibel, I AM HERE!)

Specialized didn’t stop with a retention upgrade though. They went whole hog and re-engineered the Decibel from the inside out.

The internal Skeleton is not new to specialized, but the lower weight is, and that’s an area that they were fine at in the first place. They also add just enough Carbon fiber to (exposed of course), well… say that they have Carbon fiber. No fault there, as we Cyclosnobs have demanded that there is Carbon in everything but our short chamois, that it functions or not, we don’t seem to care…

The structure is well thought out, as it does the job of keeping the Decibel together and also allows for the straps to be attached directly to the internal support skeleton. The structure also allows Specialized to get even more ventilation into their helmets, something I honestly though was impossible. The Channels are insane deep, passing under the padding (helping keep you dry)…

And the internal airflow is maxed out, starting at the mouth port and front vents

And stampeding across your noodle leaving virtually no sweat unchallenged.

Specialized still call it “fourth dimension” cooling, just as in the S-1, and it works again in extremely good fashion. It ventilates well enough in fact that it’s one more reason that you’re just a jackass poser for not wearing a helmet. Pro or no…

Bottom line: this is a top 3 on the market now for combined very high ventilation, low weight and safety. At 169 bucks or so, it’s priced where I would expect something from Specialized to be. That is to say that they look the best in the market right in the eye on quality and warranty ease, and poke at the competition with the annoying finger of being a few bucks lower in cost. $169 is the list. See em at www.specialized.com, or just about any place that sells bikes…

Next on tap (er top) is the Energy from Carrera Italy.

The first difference is that this is a solid genuine helmet, as opposed to the Carapacho that we had in the first Great Head review…

Look no further than the slew of stickers inside the Carrera to make you fully aware that this is a helmet, it goes on your head, and crap can still happen that hurts in any language…

What I noticed first about this helmet is that it has a pretty nice shape to it. A bit of flair without trying.

The front has a small vent in the center, but pretty good sized vents that ring the front and have descent flow through ventilation. There is a bit of extra material up front though and I would have gone for no hole and longer surrounding vents, as it actually would have given the Energy a more breathable forehead.

Note that I am so dedicated to my job that I have altered my hair to specifically allow for good helmet pictures (my father did too and his father before him…)

The ventilation channels themselves are not the massive volume of the Specialized, but not everyone lives in Phoenix either… these are just fine for temps into the high 80’s.

The smooth lines flow front to back and lend to a great looking lid.

And the rear end has the required exhaust ports and maintains the slick look

The Retention system is actually pretty nice. The snugging is done automatically see numero uno… Once you have adjusted the Velcro strips (numero two-o).

This is actually pretty easy and allows you to just put on and take off the lid without fussing with adjustment again, even if wearing a helmet liner or hat etc…

This is just a sexy helmet, made more so by the fact that Carrera are not littered throughout group rides like other brands are. Kinda like that built in exclusivity that comes if you search them out a bit. It works well in all but the hottest of hot climates, and the retainer works well after you get it set up. The shape is more for the slightly “rounder” head, but the stretch retainer will coosh up to anything.

If you’re looking for a source, check out www.carrerasport.com. You might have to hunt and peck a bit, but these are out there for sale, and Carrera have lots of other models (none cooler than the Carapacho we had before though!).

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