Oakley has taken their interest in cycling headgear to the next level with the new Aro aero road bike helmets. Oakley launched into snow sports helmets last winter because they wanted to integrate optics and helmets since the two are so closely intertwined in fit and performance. It’s all about heads up protection, with two products that work together. For snow, they introduced MBS (modular brim system). Those ship with two brim sizes for the helmet, which lets you custom fit to whatever size face and goggle you have. Not only does this eliminate any gaps, but also keeps the belt from pushing down on your goggles and putting pressure on your nose.
So, how does that innovation translate to cycling? It doesn’t, directly. But Oakley Global Category Manager Hans Arnesen says they saw a lot of opportunities to improve the system in cycling, too. They’ve been in cycling since 1984, and two-wheeled sports are in their blood…their first product was a set of moto grips.
Optics integration was the most important aspect in the design (behind safety, of course). Hans said if they were going to launch a product, it needed to solve a problem. Hence the BOA integration, with their Spectra lace. It’s a soft Dyneema material that lays flat on your face without cutting into the skin. So, should you crash, there aren’t straps to mash your sunglasses frames into your head, or vice vera.
And there’s vent shaping and actual channels in the EPS to securely hold your sunglasses. Like in your face, it’s designed around a 3-point contact patch.
The Aro 5 is their regular aero helmet, and the Aro 3 (not shown) is cut down from the same mold but gets more ventilation and cooling to offer “everything a Pro Tour team would need for any type stage.”
Another problem they’re solving? Bulk. Notice that there’s virtually no padding. It’s a race fit, so it’s able to have a lower overall profile and be more aerodynamic.
The Aro 7 TT helmet integrates a prizm lens into the helmet (Aero 7), which can be mounted upside down if you don’t want to use it.
They built the Aro 7 helmet with Jan Frodeno, a world champion triathlete, and tested in the wind tunnel -anywhere from 15 to 30 different iterations depending on model- to get it where they wanted to be. Like their sunglasses, it’s an optically correct lens using their Toric design that corrects for the actual shape of the lens.
Retail should be from $180 to $250 to $500, depending on model. All include MIPS, and the Aero 7 gets a carrying case and also includes a clear lens, and it uses a magnetic buckle for quicker transitions in triathlons. Available February 1, 2018.
OAKLEY CYCLING KITS – BIBS & JERSEYS
They’re also launching road cycling kits, made for them by BioRacer. This post is a work in progress, check back for pics and more details on the clothing…updating as we write more!
Team Dimension Data will be rocking the helmets along with the eyewear and kit in 2018. Down the road, look for mountain bike models to follow, and they hint that they’re working on ways to dramatically decrease concussions without adding bulk or weight.