Eyewear and helmets go hand-in-hand, so it would appear. Three of the largest eyewear makers have made or are now making helmets for road, MTB and snow sports. At Interbike, I got the lowdown on a few new lids from Smith and Belle and found out about Oakley’s new helmet collection.
Oakley ARO3 and ARO5 Helmets
After years of development, Oakley was proud to show off their all-new road helmets. Available in three models, I’m only going to cover the all-around ARO3 and the semi-aero ARO5. Since we’re talking about Oakley here, one of the primary features must be sunglasses compatibility.
Some retention systems get in the way of the temples and prevent a secure fit. Oakley is using the BOA FS1-1 lacing system for their retention dial and these are extra-special. The cable used is actually woven fiber instead of plastic. The result is a bonkers-comfortable fit and the cable is so small and soft that sunglasses slip right over it without any interference at all.
The ARO3 is mighty airy with huge vents that pass right through the body of the helmet. The ARO5 is semi-aero with less vents and more wind-cheating function. Both helmets are only available with MIPS. In fact, the whole line is MIPS only and were engineered from the ground-up to include the brain-saving technology. Looking at the helmets, every part of the liner is purpose-built to work in concert with MIPS. It looks and feels so much better as opposed to many helmets that are simply retrofitted to include MIPS afterwards.
Of course, they will have eyewear docking standard. Expect the ARO3 ($180) and ARO5 ($250) in stores sometime in early 2018. Oakley.com
Bollé Trackdown MIPS Helmet
The new Bollé Trackdown MIPS helmet has enduro on the mind. This new helmet delivers extended head protection and also includes brain-saving MIPS for added protection. Check out the 3-position adjustable visor — it can pivot upwards and out of the way or far enough to store goggles.
Of course, it features dial-in fit system for a precise and secure fit. The straps are also lightweight, soft and flexible. You’ll notice the eyewear garage on top and a nifty channel on the back that keeps goggle straps in place. Additionally, it includes two plugs that cover the top vents for muddy or wet days. The helmet really feels secure and comes in at an excellent price point.
While we only recommend going with MIPS, the Trackdown will be available in standard for $139 and MIPS for $169. Availability will be spring 2018. Bolle.com
Smith Network Helmet
The lowdown with Smith is a new ‘tweener helmet that rounds out the hole between the Route and the Rover. Dubbed the Network, this lid is just as comfortable on the local group ride as it is bike commuting. It features a removable soft visor and is even available in the cool Cinelli collab design shown here.
On the safety side, this helmet checks all the boxes with Koroyd and MIPS. The combination of rotational and impact protection is about as good as it gets and looks mighty stylish to boot. It also includes an integrated (removable) light/camera mount and 20 total vents. Retail price will be $160 with availability soon. SmithOptics.com