by Lars Hundley
How obtained: Cold hard cash out of my own wallet, at full retail price.
Available: Where Specialized products are sold, like your local bike shop and the manufacturer web site.
RBR Sponsor: No.
Tested: 10+ hours and will probably be riding it for quite a while.
- Good ventilation.
- Very aero. Specialized’s 3rd fastest road helmet.
- MIPS for safety.
- Optional ANGi sensor for even more safety.
- Good price for a fast, safe helmet.
- Slightly heavier than high end helmets
- Straps are not as adjustable (but worked fine for me personally)
High end bicycle helmets are expensive. When you start looking at helmets with leading edge safety features like MIPS, you’ll find models from the big companies that quickly jump to $250 or $350. I personally paid $300 for the Bontrager XXX Wavecel a few months back, which I reviewed.
What’s important to me in a helmet is safety first, followed by airflow and aerodynamics. But my biggest problem with the road aero category is that most aero helmets are quite hot in the Texas summer heat because they typically don’t have enough vents or airflow since they are designed primarily for speed.
So when I read that Specialized’s $150 Airnet helmet had MIPS and was their third fastest road helmet after the TT, a time trial helmet, and the Evade, a road aero helmet, I was intrigued. Once I saw all the air vents, I was convinced that it might be the right kind of road helmet for hot weather riding. I pulled out my wallet and bought one.
You Can’t Have it All, but Almost
The ultimate helmet for me is light weight, inexpensive, aerodynamic, comfortable, with great ventilation and the best safety features available.
Believe it or not, this $150 helmet has almost all of those bases covered except the light weight part. And even then, it’s only about 50 grams heavier than the more expensive, over $200 helmet category.
When Specialized originally came up with the design, they weren’t even shooting for aerodynamics. They were going for a look similar to the old leather hairnet style of helmets. Turns out that this look was also great for both aerodynamics and venting.
The pads inside the helmet are made with Merino wool, which is designed for temperature management and also tends to avoid picking up the kind of permanent stink that synthetic fibers can over time.
Adjusting the helmet is easy, with a simple microdial type of design that you can twist to tighten or loosen until it’s perfectly on your head. As mentioned before, the Y clips on the straps are not adjustable like some other helmets, but they fit me just fine the way they are designed. If you typically have to do a major adjustment to get your straps in the right spot against your face, then this could be an issue for you.
The helmet also has reflective elements so that it lights up when car lights shine on it in the dark.
ANGi is Specialized’s new electronic crash detection system that syncs with your phone through an app that you install. If it detects a crash, it commences a countdown on your phone that, if you’re ok, you can stop and keep riding. If, however, ANGi determines that you’re in need of help, it’ll send an alert to your selected contacts with your last known GPS coordinates and a message that you’re in need of help.
The Airnet does not include the actual ANGi sensor like some of the more expensive Specialized helmets. But the newest Airnet version is compatible with it, and has a spot ready for it to be mounted. You can pick up a sensor for $50. I haven’t added one of these yet, but am thinking about buying one to review later.
I was pleased to find a helmet in the under $200 range that’s fast, has all the newest safety features and plenty of airflow too. It even looks good! I’m happy with my purchase and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this helmet to others.