Features: Fully Certified CPSC 12.03, highly adjustable, 21 vents, light weight
Colors: Multiple combinations (4 in the U.S. and Canada; 6 in Europe)
Top-of-The Line Helmet from Rudy Delivers
The WINDMAX is one of those helmets that fits like a glove. After a minute, you forget you are even wearing it. It is comfortable, and the air flow is excellent. There’s very little wind noise that other helmets can generate, and this lid is easily adjustable to fit everyone.
The price is right, too – at least by comparison. The WINDMAX is by no means inexpensive – it’s top dollar for a helmet – but it is right in line with what other manufacturers charge for their top-end helmets.
This helmet’s strength is helped by fusing two parts (exoskeleton shell and solid one-piece inner injection molded body) together into a single unit via an ample amount of structural reinforcing fiber, essentially making this helmet double reinforced. It is important to note that this reinforcing fiber keeps the helmet together in the event of a crash.
Another feature you will notice is 21 large vents, which help with cooling as well as helping maintain a minimal weight. What you might not notice is that these vents are positioned to maximize air flow through the helmet. A vent design that pulls in air from the front only to be unable to exit the same amount of air makes for a hot helmet. The Windmax also includes internal air channels to ensure that hot air generated by exercising is easily expelled out the back.
A size Large weighs only 10.5 ounces (298 g), which helps reduce neck fatigue, especially on longer rides of 50+ miles.
The coolest feature, though, is a bit more esoteric.
Bugnet: My Favorite Feature
One of the coolest features is the bug net. Where I live, there are lots of bees always flying, and this netting helps stop them from getting sucked into the vents and stinging you in the head. The picture below, left shows the front view of the helmet. You can see the bug netting just below the shell. The picture to right shows the underside of the helmet, which shows the integrated bugnet and padding. The netting can be quickly removed and easily washed. This is my favorite feature of the helmet!
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How to Adjust the Fit
There are three things that work together to ensure the perfect fit on your head:
- Padding – Three options for padding: Default option as shipped – Bug netting with integrated pads installed; Standard thickness pads – Same thickness as above option but sans the bug netting; Thick pads – 2x as thick as standard.
- RSR8 Tension Adjuster – The round knob at the rear of the helmet to adjust tension on the head.
- Adjustable Head Ring– Allows for vertical adjustment on the nape of the neck. The Head Ring has 3 positions so that you can adjust the helmet to sit low on the head, medium or high.
The Windmax comes with 2 easy-to-attach visors that snap into the front of the helmet. With the Windmax, you have 3 options. Large visor for MTB, small visor for road, or none. The visors are highlighted with the same pattern as the helmet so they look like they are an integrated package.
In all my years of cycling, this was my first time to use a visor on the road – and the small visor works very well. I like it on the helmet.
How Easy Was it to Adjust?
Rudy Project has made it very easy to dial in the fit by pre-sizing the helmet straps based on helmet size. Pulling the helmet out of the box, the first test fit was very close to ideal. I had to fine-tune two adjustments to get the perfect fit: (1.) I tightened the RSR8 retention system by twisting the knob one click; and (2.) I set the adjustable head ring to the middle position. This was due to the bug netting taking up some of the space inside the helmet, causing it to feel wobbly on my head. Propping the helmet up a little higher on my head via the head ring gave me a near-perfect fit.
My final adjustment was to slightly re-position both cheek buckles, as they were too low. I slid each one up an inch and I was good to go!
How Did it Feel on the Head?
Most of my helmets I have used in the past are sized LARGE and fit on the looser side. Cinching down on the rear adjuster tightens them up enough so I get a good fit, but not a perfect fit. Once I start sweating, they tend to slide down on the forehead.
Let me take a minute to talk in general about helmets and how they fit on your head. Everyone’s head is shaped slightly different than the next person, and, since each manufacturer’s helmet is also shaped slightly different, a given helmet might fit one person but not the next. For example, just think how uncomfortable the helmet would be if your head was oval-shaped and your helmet was more of a rectangular shape. It’s been my experience talking to people that the shape of Rudy Project helmets will fit most cyclists pretty well.
Let me add that Rudy Project currently has MIPS technology only in their RACEMASTER helmet. If MIPS is a deal-breaker for you when choosing a new helmet, you might want to check out another of the many helmets we’ve reviewed recently: https://www.roadbikerider.com/product-reviews/gear-that-goes-on-you/helmets
The Rudy Project WINDMAX fit me slightly on the loose side, but, as stated earlier, one click of the RSR8 adjuster was all it took to fix that. The real test is whether the helmet slips down onto your forehead while riding and, no matter how sweaty or how many miles, the Windmax stayed in place.
This winter in Southern California has been wet. Actually real wet! (Maybe you’ve even heard or read about it.) Which means I’ve been riding in quite a few rainstorms lately, and this helmet has stayed right in place despite the extreme wetness. No slipping, no sliding.
As mentioned earlier in the review, once on and in the midst of a ride, you barely even know it’s there.
The Last Word
The WINDMAX is one of those helmets that fits like a glove, owing to its design and excellent systems for dialing in the fit. After a minute, you forget you are even wearing it – which is probably the next-to-highest praise you can give a helmet. (Doing its job to protect your head in a crash would be No. 1.) It is comfortable and the air flow is excellent. There’s very little wind noise that other helmets can generate and it is easily adjustable to fit everyone.
I was going to ding the rating due to the higher price, but after looking at pricing of its competitors, the WINDMAX is right in line with what other manufacturers charge for their top end helmets. I highly recommend this helmet!
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he’s a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He’s the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick’s full bio.
Priced high is right! I can’t imagine any helmet being worth almost $400.
MIPS is a solution in search of a problem which doesn’t exist. Go to helmets.org (bike safety helmet site) & search mips & you’ll see. It’s making it’s inventor/proponent rich, but not much else. In a nutshell, put any bike helmet on, tighten as much as possible, & see if you can move it, I bet you can, which is what helmets.org says. They quote a Snell official as saying it’s “snake oil.” They also have a good critique of the “Bicycling” magazine article which pushed mips, pointing out ridiculous claims in the article. You may have to do another search to find that critique. Unfortunately, helmets makers have drunk the kool aid, spent $$$ tooling up, started making only mips models, more $$$$ on cost of helmets, etc. I know I’ve probably started something here, but do the research before you jump on this “gotta have” bandwagon.