trial run: giro selector helmet

Thanks to my friendly neighborhood Nytro Women’s Team, I’ve been fortunate enough to sport Giro’s sexy Selector lid all year. While race PR’s aren’t available on Amazon, well-made gear is the best compliment to disciplined training.

Nothing screams “I’m a triathlete!” like an aero helmet. If you’re looking to invest in one piece of gear next year that will make you more aerodynamic, let me echo the experts who would suggest one of these beauties. Plus, an aero helmet’s 200-dollar odd price tag is a steal compared to wheels, which can run you into the thousands. Plus, if you’re courting the idea of doing a time trial, an aero helmet is your ticket to looking—and performing—the part.

But of course, it’s not all about vanity. Let’s take a look at the three things I like best about this helmet, having tested it on races from 28 minutes to five hours and 36 minutes this year.

Giro Selector review

Debut in Mexico, no eye shield.

Comfort: A significant upgrade from what I wore last year, I noticed the Selector’s quality as soon as I put it on: No more cardboard boxes on my head! I’ve always felt more comfortable in a road helmet, which hugs the noggin more like a glove than the awkward aero variety that feels more like a clumsy mitten. This one has a surprisingly secure, minimalist feel however. The Roc Loc TT fit system features a spring-type design that applies tension to the back of your head in order to keep the helmet in place as you ride. Unlike traditional road helmets, however, it must be adjusted and dialed in ahead of time, so spend some time getting it right before your race. The ear “flaps” are flexible and easy to move out of the way when you’re putting the helmet on, and dampen wind noise without deafening you to passing cars and cheering spectators.

Adaptability: One of the most notable updates from its predecessor, the Advantage 2, is the Selector’s removable eye shield. While not as adaptable as the Louis Garneau Vorttice‘s retractable lens, the shield snaps on and off the helmet (with some effort, mind you), and forms a clean, smooth front profile. Opting to use the shield means that you don’t have to worry about putting sunglasses on until T2 in a triathlon. I used the shield in my time trials, but in all my triathlons this year opted for sunglasses instead. Part of this was that they offered more flexibility regarding the cloud cover, and wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic. That said, I will try the shield in my next race, as other reviewers have noted that the tint on the shield is quite light. The lens has two side openings which act as vents, and direct air inside, over the head and out the matching ports in the tail. The helmet comes with a smoke lens, but a clear lens is also available for purchase.

giro selector review

This helmet’s tail is another area where this helmet is similarly customizable–and where it gets its name: You have the option to select one of two tail sections (both come with purchase) that extend from the ear covers to the rear. Depending on whether your back is more rounded or flat when riding in the aero position, you can choose the tail segment that allows the helmet to sit flush with your back, thus minimizing air flow around the helmet. I brought the helmet to Ironman Cabos with me, never having tried it on while on a bike (duh). It fit, and that’s all that mattered, right? I’d brought the taller, 45mm tail with me, and when I got in my aerobars, the helmet tail hit the back of my neck and pushed the helmet forward. When I got back, I realized that it was the height of my ponytail that was the problem! For women, simply lowering your ponytail should solve this problem, so don’t let your hair lead you to thinking you have the wrong tail segment selected.

Giro Selector helmet review

With eye shield on Fiesta Island.

Speed: For those of us who don’t have access to pricey wind tunnel testing, time trials are good ways to track power gains, and see what difference gear really makes. And what do you know? After a five hour and 36 minute trial run in Cabos, the new black bullet propelled me to a PR (28:46) in April at my third time trial of the year. Of course I can’t give it all the credit, but by process of elimination (other factors remaining unchanged–i.e. same bike and disc wheel), I’m gonna hand it to the helmet. And despite there being other factors working against me (namely worse weather conditions and a slight hangover) the Selector came through, handing me a 10 second improvement over my previous record.

The Selector is available in small/medium (51-57cm/385g) and medium/large (55-61cm/418g), and in a variety of colors. It comes with a lightly padded bag to help protect it in transit—I am hoping to replace the flimsy drawstrings with something beefier to make it more comfortable to tote around in airports. It retails for $275.

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