With the red Kite “no tt bike” time trails coming up I was curious to see if any of my chosen helmets would make a difference. I decided to compare the Kask Bambino, Garneau Course and Specialized S Works. The S works helmet was the lightest and Garneau claimed that the Course was an aero road helmet. The Bambino is of course a full on TT helmet.
How I decided to test them out. Choose a day with fairly light winds and ride the Laughlin Kilo at the same speed 3 times in each helmet. The Laughlin Kilo is just slightly uphill but perfectly straight. See strava segment. The course is lightly trafficked but unfortunately there were a few cars today and I don’t know what this did to the results. I did all the tests on the drops on my Storck road bike with a stages PM at as close to 20MPH as I could achieve. Due to the head/cross wind 20MPH worked out to be slightly over an FTP effort so the comparison was done at TT speed. There was a slight head/cross wind.
My conclusion was that I learned absolutely nothing from this exercise. Although the wind was light it did vary and there were a few cars to skew the results but there is absolutely nothing definite I can take home from this data. Perhaps this type of testing would work on an indoor velodrome but out on real roads it was a waste of time.
I expected the Bambino to be measurably faster than the others but the worst result I obtained on the day was with it. This doesn’t make any sense to me at all. If I look at the averages the difference between the Specialized and the Garneau is around 14W which is what I would have expected based on manufacturers claims. The Garneau helmet does feel fastest but I cant believe it is faster than the Bambino. I was somewhat disappointed with how they Kask felt. It didn’t feel fast at all.
- Run 1: Time: 1m54s – 20.3MPH – Power 262W
- Run 2: Time: 1m54s – 20.3MPH- Power 256W
- Run 3: Time: 1m54s – 20.3MPH – Power 242W
Average Power = 253W
The huge difference of 20W between run 1 and run 3 completely make this exercise a waste of time. If I had seen those differences between the various helmets I would have been happy. I didn’t think the wind was varying that much but these differences are huge. I am impressed how well I paced each effort. I didn’t note if there was more traffic on any one run.
- Run 1: 1m55s – 20.1MPH – Power 281W
- Run 2: 1m54s – 20.3MPH – Power 256W
- Run 3: 1m53s – 20.5MPH – Power 247W
Average Power = 261W
I was expecting 15-20W improvement with this helmet but the results are all over the place. The first run was terrible and I don’t know why. If these results could be relied upon you would state that the Kask was the worse helmet here. As it is I don’t know what the reason for the poor results are. Perhaps the wind got up for this session. I can’t believe SKY would use the Bambino if it was slower than a regular helmet. I still plan to wear the Bambino for Altamont Red Kite TT as I am sure it must be faster. For the Del Valle TT I will use the Garneau as it it is lighter and cooler (perhaps faster ??????).
- Run 1: 1m55s – 20.1MPH – Power 233W
- Run 2: 1m53s – 20.5MPH – Power 244W
- Run 3: 1m56s – 20MPH – Power 241W
Average Power = 239W
According to Garneau this is supposed to be an aerodynamic road helmet. Seat of the pants it felt to be the fastest helmet but the data simply can’t be trusted. The results between runs are pretty consistent and the wattage the best I saw all day. It is a very comfortable helmet and gets good reviews. For example. It also seems to be the quietest helmet and you cant really feel you are wearing it.