What's Cool In Road Cycling

First Blood: Specialized TT Lid Hits The Street

Pez gets it’s hands on (er head in) Specialized’ new TT lid. So “new” in fact that it’s not in it’s Euro-first Launch mode yet, but will be soon. Take a peak at the first “impact resistant” Aerobean cover to hit Pez.

The first thing I noticed about this helmet is that it was unlike a few others at the Tour and pretty much all the Helmets at the Giro (Specialized had these ready for the Domina guys on time). The Specialized lid looks like a normal TT helmet instead of either using a helmet condom or looking like somebody just parked a Range Rover on your head…

The guys at Specialized are pretty happy not just with the fact that their athletes don’t look like complete dorks (our Italian desk said a few people were laughing and making truck horn noises as some of the riders in the Giro TT’s went by), but that this lid is actually as aero or more aero that several of the non protecting TT head gear that they tested before designing the new helmet. That’s great work considering that several teams still had it wrong come tour time, while Specialized riders were rolling in style back in may…

The Helmet it’s self also has a few nice features that I didn’t really expect, like solid EPS foam front to back in the helmet rather than molded in sections with a shell pressed over. That’s tougher to make than a few of the others, but lets the lid perform up to standard and not have to use more material to compensate for joints.

You’ll also notice that they have their new and (massively) improved “PROfit” (say “Pro – Fit”) retention system in place (adios brain trust…). That’s a good thing on the TT helmet but more importantly should allow them much higher profit (standard pronunciation) buy selling more of their standard road helmets as well… The Chin strap is also easy adjusting, and not as sloppy as some past TT helmets.

Specialized left a fairly standard teardrop shape for the new cover,

But toss in a few vents along the way…

That said, this is still purely TT focused (in case you were gonna use it as a daily training lid…) and has what looks like a channeling system that sucks in air in the front…

And blows out the back…

A look inside lets you see that there’s no deep channel between the two, like on lots of standard helmets, but it’s for a reason…

The channeling in most standard road lids simply hurts the aero properties of a helmet, and these are built to perform. The venting they do have does function though, and does so without costing you those precious seconds. You do get a little flow though the brow vent, and get some exhaust action from the rear vents. But since this is Phoenix, I wanted to a little more blowing action.

But how’s it feeeel?

I added the single strip of padding (just a spar pad from another helmet) down the center, running between the front and back vents. Starting the pad in the middle, heading over the back, helped snug the fit in the front, and didn’t raise the helmet off my forehead at all, but put a little more gap between my skin and the foam core inside in the area between the vents. No wind tunnel test to see if it hurt the performance, but the airflow inside increased dramatically.

The Fit was pretty much like any other good helmet. The retention system and straps are well done, a treat compared to some of the flimsy crap in the non-protecting aero skins.

The shape dictates where it will sit on your head so it doesn’t poke you in the back, or make you do your impression of a shark riding a bike (fin up). You’ll need to figure it out on the bike in a tuck, not in a mirror in your bathroom… But since boxes from Serotta, Kuota, Lightweight Wheels (Germany) and Zipp showed up, I have had a hard on that prevents a true tuck position. And since I didn’t take pictures on the bike before now, you’ll just have to guess how to fit it. If you really want to know how it looks on someone, hit up GrahamWatson.com and scroll to the Giro and Tour pictures for this year…

Obviously this is a pretty “specialized” helmet. In fact, Specialized, Giro, Bell and the like have all commented that they will not sell enough to make up for all of the technology that go into their new TT lids. The point isn’t adding TT helmet sales here, but to maintain image and sell what the public are buying. But credit goes to organizing bodies that first required all riders to wear helmets (that was the right thing to do) and now require all Helmets to meet standards. It makes even more sense to require protection to be built into the helmets riders where when going balls out on TT bikes that generally handle like crap.

Big props to Specialized for making a very solid, full foam helmet that performs well in form and function.

Look for them very soon starting in Europe, or on the head of a complete goober in Phoenix.

In the mean time check out Specialized.com. Lots more there than just helmets!

Note: if you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

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