The Norwegian mountain bikers at Sweet Protection must have started doing more training on the road, because they have just introduced a new aero road bike helmet family called the Falconer. Available in three versions with or without MIPS, plus an extra aero non-MIPS version, the Falconer helmets offer a choice for most riders looking to go fast, with the same safety, performance and aesthetics they’ve shown in trail bike helmets. Sweet doesn’t want to entirely pigeon-hole the Falconer as a road helmet though, as they see even their in-house riders picking it for XC & CX racing as well, but the new design claims to combine both best in class safety with great aerodynamics in all versions…
The Falconers build off of the same all-encompassing in-mold tech that Sweet Protection developed for their Bushwacker trail bike helmet which we reviewed a couple of years back. Sweet really is putting protection at the forefront of their design and then figuring out how to build it into a light and low-profile shell. The Falconers aim to continue that, looking to go beyond just earning a ‘certification sticker’ but to build in safety to an aerodynamic helmet.
The base Falconer was still designed to be a fast helmet. Even without the removable covers the Falcon adapted aerodynamics through the alternating side-to-side vents and deep internal channels to keep airflow smooth. The helmet family’s chief designer says, “The key to this is how the air is guided, not just on the outside of the helmet, but also on the inside.”
That opening and channel orientation “results in a lot of air being guided over and around the head – which make it more aerodynamic and cools down the head.”
Sweet Protection gets a 4 piece in-mold shell, like the technology from their mountain helmets, to create a structure that uses polycarbonates with varying elasticity for separate parts of the shell to maintain safety & integrity of the EPS liner in impacts, but also delivers day-in, day-out durability.
Retention is handled with the same Occigrip dial and up-and-down adjustment like on the Bushwacker, and it also gets the same soft, well wicking pads. The 230€ Falconer comes in two sizes for 54-60cm heads, with the smaller medium claiming a 255g weight. The base Falconer is available in all black or white versions with either orange or gray accents.
The fit of the Falconers is more narrow than the mountain helmets, both to keep frontal area low against the wind, but also to help the helmet straps closer to the side of your head and out of the wind.
Of course the delineation of the Falconer MIPS is pretty straightforward. The helmet simply adds the familiar yellow MIPS liner to the standard Falconer, to increase brain safety a bit with regards to glancing, rotational impacts. The addition of a MIPS liner, which brings the helmet price up to 260€, will probably sacrifice a bit of ventilation like we’ve seen in other helmets. But Sweet has designed a fairly minimal MIPS liner aligned with the helmet vents to keep good ventilation, and a claimed weight of 285g for a medium.
The MIPS helmet is also available in the same two sizes (although it looks like it uses the same shell, so will likely fit a bit smaller) and comes only in white.
The Falconer Aero is the 2-in-1 helmet out of the bunch, because the covers that close off those top vents are quickly removable with small magnets holding them in place. Go quickly from fully aero to fully ventilated and stash the covers in a jersey pocket. Sweet wanted to push aerodynamics a bit further with the addition of the Aerocovers, but also sees them as a way to extend the comfortable range of the helmet into colder & wetter weather, by limiting ventilation.
The Falconer Aero doesn’t get MIPS for now, but still brings up the price to 270€ and the weight up to 310g including the 50g pair of Aerocovers. It is available in white, black, or blue, each with black covers
For now we’ve only seen that the new Falconers have received European CE/EN certification. Sweet does say that they are shipping now throughout Europe and Worldwide, but we’ve yet to see any US dollar pricing. Euro pricing does place the entire line just a bit higher price-wise than the latest iterations of the standard trail-focused Bushwackers.