The helmet I’ve had my eye on for a while is a Giro Vanquish. Skip down to the features if what you’re interested in how those features are working for me. And here is one of the reviews I used when considering the purchase. FYI, Amazon didn’t have the price quoted/linked in the article at anytime during the period I was looking, with the exception of a small size in and undesirable color (which isn’t what the link directs to).
Delays in buying the Vanquish sooner were… well, cost slowed me by about 6 months. I’m price sensitive and generally a late adopter. Moving to the point of purchase is an easier decision in the lower end price range, but there were other things that slowed the decision too. 1. Stores. 2. The search for other options with a visor/goggles. Was there a helmet with eye protection and additional features. 3. Reluctance to be seen as a poser. And, 4. Venting slits over the eyes.
No stores had the Vanquish when it first caught my eye, so I couldn’t check fit, and once they did, none of them were marketing to me. The sales rep at one store said “I don’t remember the name, but the only thing we have with goggles is for racers”. The name is actually on the box, which was just a few steps away. Another store told me the Vanquish and a commuter helmet with goggles that they also offered were both primarily for velodrome riding (wrong on both counts according to their respective manufacturers).
I’ve benefited from some articles that say “X product is for X rider”, especially in trying to make sense of group set levels as a less knowledgeable rider in the market for a bike that suits the demands of a high mileage project well, and at the same time isn’t more expensive than necessary. It seems to me though, that there’s little reason to keep the marketing or the perceived market for the Vanquish as narrow as it appears to be. People do have to make tough price quality trade-offs, but I think that a lot of people who are not racers and not terribly price sensitive would also find the appeal in this helmet, especially in a market that sells to Silver Comet riders.
The rider I first saw wearing a bike helmet with goggles was wearing a teardrop helmet (which first put the idea of not wanting to look like a poser in my mind). Nothing would look more like a poser than to have the less aerodynamic body while sporting the most aerodynamic helmet that few people have seen outside Olympic level training and competition.
I did find other options with visor/goggles. The commuter version had a much lower level of cooling airflow. The MTB version had friction fit goggles and I like the magnetic option better. It seems more durable. I didn’t look at any of the teardrop “coneheads”.
As far as other features in addition to the goggles go, I didn’t find helmets with any. Features I have seen in other helmets that would also be desirable are fall detection and imbedded earbuds. If I ever start to ride on roads, the turn signals and lighting that Lumos developed would be nice too. The Vanquish is very light though, and those things would add some weight, so it’s not a surprise they don’t add it.
It’s super lightweight, and I will likely notice immediately just how light weight if I ever go back to something different.
It’s cool and breezy. It is supposed to be comparable to a teardrop helmet for reducing drag. Giro is pretty proud of it. I understand why. Some reviews do say that there are other helmets with more airflow. With my tendency toward overheating and the importance of temperature regulation through the head, I may look at some of the others if it seems like I need to moving into the Georgia heat season centuries. This one is better than the last one though, probably not.
The Goggles,The reason I bought it.
They’re everything I expected and I am happy. They do not rest on any part of my face and the lack of ear pieces feels pretty free, just like what I hoped for. The Zeiss logo is in my peripheral vision, just like reviews say. It would be nice not to see that, but I don’t always notice. The goggles do pop off fairly easily, but not so much in actual use (unless I forget and try to scratch my nose).
It would be nice if the helmet came with a helmet bag, mostly mesh for evaporation and airflow, but a padded pocket for the goggles (or at least a goggles bag). It’s not something I usually care about, but after my second ride with it, I placed the helmet carefully in the back seat of the car. Later, a back seat passenger later put it in the floor where it got jammed into the seat adjustment rails. My new helmet that I finally bought had gouged lenses in the first week. Replacement lenses are $80. I’d like to see it come with more lenses. The darker ones are a bit too dark for the speckled lighting on a treed trail. They have made a lense that is mostly clear, and those new gouges would be less noticable if the clear one had been an option rather than an additional purchase. Polarized options would be nice too.
The eye protection of the visor/goggles is good enough that I open my eyes wider and relax my face much more than with sunglasses.
Air Flow Slits
The slits at the top of the goggles could prove to be an issue for me. The slits are there to wash your face in air. They work, which is a good thing if you want the cooling and don’t have dry eye. But, I do have dry eye. My problem could be age related, or it could be the amount of riding that I’m doing. It may be manageable. The first time I built up to a century ride, we started in cold months. It caused some seriously dry lips and peeling skin that seemed way too serious to be caused by the riding. But, the dermatologist simply told me to use Aquaphor on my lips and skin. It took a while. I was doubting her, but it worked finally. I still use it.
Now I have drops from the ophthalmologist that I use before and after my rides along with some other treatments. Time will tell how well the drops work and whether or not the slits cause any more drying than I had with sunglasses. As a general rule, in the past, my vision has been better when I ride (with or without glasses). That’s probably the cardio benefit I’m experiencing. And, logically, it seems that if I’m relaxing my face and opening my eyes more, the air circulation isn’t causing a bigger problem than riding without half my face covered. I looked for aerodynamic articles or video to answer that question with more certainty, but everything I found was about reducing drag for a competitive advantage and didn’t seem like information that illuminated to dry eye questions. I do suspect that three slightly smaller slits, one over the nose and two over the temples might be better for me, maybe better for other people too.
The attached goggles, slits and all, provide another benefit that is, maybe, unique to me. I don’t personally like anything on my forehead, probably due in part to the sensitive skin. Since I was old enough to decide for myself, I haven’t even had bangs. I tend to wear my helmet incorrectly. I’m not trying to be difficult, I’m just uncomfortable and I keep inching it up, then it seems to fit there in that wrong place. People give me grief about it, from strangers, yes, strangers, to my grandson. When they do, I fix it, a little, temporarily. Now that I’m wearing a helmet with attached goggles in a fixed location, it’s easy for me to know how far down on my forehead the helmet actually should go. My eyes go in the middle between the slits above and the bottom of the lens. If I wear it wrong, it doesn’t cover my eyes and it feels as stupid as it looks. So, this highly advanced helmet does have an unexpected advantage for this challenged rider with user errors.
Why would I be willing to tell this embarrassing fact to people I hope will support my project? Well, partly because I hope you’re laughing with me, partly because someone might benefit or learn from my mistakes, and partly because I’m just a 60 year old grandma who’s not trying to be anything except who she is. The little girl inside wants to go out and play, to share my project with people who might enjoy or benefit from it. The big girl inside hopes that someone looking at me doing this will say “You know, if she can do that, I can do this thing that I want to do.” That’s more likely if I don’t pretend to be something I’m not.
Now that I’m wearing the helmet properly, I’ll need to revisit the headbands I’ve been using. I had a variety for experimentation. My goal is to choose a best option to use always, so that the only times I will need to change the fit adjustments will be in the winter when I need cold ear protection. More on that later.