What's Cool In Road Cycling

Rudy Project Wing57 Helmet Review

Billed as the world’s fastest and most aerodynamic Aero-Tri helmet, the Rudy Project Wing57 has a big reputation. Our racer in France, Chris Selden recently got his hands on one for this extended test.

The Wing57 Project
The engineers at Rudy Project were given the task to build the world’s fastest and most aerodynamic Aero-Tri helmet and they think they’ve achieved that with the new look Wing57 model. It’s been built with the guidance of aerodynamics guru John Cobb and is partially based on what was already a very successful and fast helmet – the Wingspan.

The new, completely redesigned Wingspan57

The previous incarnation of the Wing57 – the Wingspan…

What You Get
Getting the Wing57 out of the box it was immediately apparent that this was a helmet that had been designed as an aero helmet from the ground up and was not simply an aero adaptation of a standard road helmet like many other manufacturers serve up. The only things that seemed to be shared with the road models in the Rudy Project lineup and the Wing57 were the buckle and the retention system.

For retention the Wing57 uses the RSR 8+ which is one of the best dial systems I’ve used. It’s an easy one hand operation to tighten or loosen the helmet but also has the advantage of being able to be adjusted vertically to make sure that it sits on your head just right.

The RSR 8+ retention system. Easy to use, highly adjustable.

This was just the first ‘comfort’ feature that I noticed with the Wing57 but it was the first of many. The Fastex buckle with chin protection padding was nice and easy to use – but a fairly standard inclusion on any decent lid. The aero venting on the Wing57 however was anything from standard and my first ride on a sunny winter’s day had me feeling something that I never feel with a TT helmet – cold!


Yes, there is some serious air ventilation going on with this helmet – but it’s not all about the two obviously large holes at the front it’s also about how the air flows through the helmet.


There are two very large rear vents that expel the air and when combined with the side vents they are said to help the straightening of the air flow over the rear of the helmet in what Rudy project has dubbed the, ‘Vortex Killer System’.


Breaking through the PR blurbs and the cool sounding name ‘Vortex Killer System’ basically means that more air goes into the helmet than a standard lid but it’s not just pushed in haphazardly, it’s actually channelled in intelligently in order to minimize drag and instability.

The air that goes into the right side vent is in fact channelled out the opposite side and it’s this redirected airflow that is the key to the system. It’s designed to minimize the friction and instability beyond the rear of the helmet, pushing the expelled air past the neck and shoulders at a different rate and volume compared to the air arriving in the opposite direction. Less friction should mean quicker times on the bike…

Side vents just below the large Rudy graphics form part of the ‘Vortex Killer Sysytem’

It’s an interesting science behind the venting sysytem but one that is quite frankly impossible for me to prove on the road. The increased ventilation over a standard TT helmet was proven though immediately to me and my cold head but luckily Rudy Project have a solution for this also.

Firstly you could block the two entry points entirely with a simple, solid clip in system…

Front ventilation points blocked and visor also installed

Or you could use what has become my favorite as spring finally breaks through winter’s grasp here in France for me – the mesh style insert that provides good ventilation but not excessive like the standard open holes which would be perfect for summer.


The Comfort Continues
Ventilation aside now it’s time to move on to another feature of the helmet – the shorter tail. This is another feature that has actually been designed with aerodynamics in mind but also shows through in comfort levels. The shorter tail than previous generations like the Wingspan has changed the centre of gravity of the rider’s head providing a more comfortable position when riding that is easier to hold for long periods of time.


This shorter tail was combined with the adding of material on top of the helmet which was inspired by sharks of all things and has been dubbed the ‘Dorsal Ridge’.

This front view clearly shows the raised ‘Dorsal Ridge’ of the Wingspan57 on the top of the helmet

The Dorsal Ridge is designed to help convert sideways force into forward force and the shorter tail moves the center of pressure of the helmet forward to match the rider’s center of gravity.

Removable Tail!
Having said that the Wing57 has a shorter tail though they also give you the option of extending this with a removable, magnetic aerodynamic tail called the ‘Jetstream’ which fits on the end of the helmet.

The Jetstream unattached, sitting next to the back of the helmet…

….and attached in place with its simple magnet.

This is again one of those options that is supposed to increase the aerodynamic performance of the helmet but also ticks all the boxes when it comes to comfort. I personally have never experienced it as I am tall and have a very flat back style but previously teammates of mine have suffered with other aero helmets and excessive tail length rubbing on their back. This has also been a problem with long distance triathletes and cyclists alike who use Camelbaks or similar and have been unable to do so due to their helmet hitting their reservoir.

The Wing57 from the rear with its claw-like look of the Jetstream attached.

Depending on the shape of your back and shoulders this longer tail could help improve performance but if the longer tail isn’t for you and your style then simply remove it.

Peter Sagan using the Wing57 with the Jetstream attached

Easy On The Eyes
Rudy Project haven’t forgotten your eyes either with this helmet as it comes with a fully integrated yet removable optical shield. Being in the sunglasses game for many years it was no surprise for me to find that the shield was a high quality item, made of advanced polycarbonate and with UV protection.


It clips in simply in seconds and stays secure with no vibrations or movement detected throughout the test period.

The gap at the front of the helmet is where the visor slips in with a simple click


The helmet comes with a black eye shield as standard but polarized versions or clear options are available to buy also.

On The Road
With the great ventilation, secure and highly adjustable fitting, well thought out aerodynamics and more Rudy Project have seemingly thought of everything when producing this helmet but none of it would matter if it didn’t feel good when riding. Thankfully that was far from the case with this being hands down the most comfortable aero helmet that I have ever used. The engineers may have set out to create the fastest helmet on the market but they certainly didn’t neglect the comfort and usability in any way.


The adjustment of the fit available, aerodynamics, its lightweight (300 grams for small, 320 for large), quality integrated visor and surprisingly quiet ride for a TT helmet made for an enjoyable test everytime I took it out. Available in a multitude of colors and in 2 sizes (54 – 58cm, or 59 – 61cm) this is one aero lid that anyone in the market for a TT or triathlon helmet should have a serious look at. Check them out at your local RudyProject dealer or online at e-rudy.com

• Check prices at Amazon.com here.

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