| Review, June 1997|
Essentials: Lids that Fill the Bill
By Dan Wildhirt
Each year, helmets get safer, lighter, and more comfortable. This makes choosing one mostly a matter of style, and the current point of decision is visor or visorless. Although visored helmets are often thought to be strictly for trail use, a duckbilled lid — albeit slightly heavier — can handily do double duty, since most visors detach easily. Herewith, three helmets that get our top billing.
Bell's 10.3-ounce Image Pro has been around awhile, gaining refinements like a vented visor while losing something else: price. It's now $60, down from $80. As with most worthy hard hats, a plastic-elastic band hugs the occipital bone, ensuring yourhelmet stays put. Most welcome, however, is an easily manipulated system of straps and buckles that makes adjusting your helmet a breeze.
Specialized's 10.4-ounce Air Banshee ($100) offers extended protection for the base of your skull, but without looking too motherly. (Racy design and graphics solve that.) Cleverly constructed vents channel wind directly onto your forehead and actually accelerate the air. As for the bill, Specialized employs hook-and-loop tabs to attach it, rather than temperamental plastic pegs.Though its most popular color resembles that of sharp cheddar, Giro's 11-ounce Exodus RL ($150) is more akin to Swiss cheese, with no fewer than 21 vents to cool your cranium. A bonded outer shell covers the entire foam liner, making it a skosh heavy for exclusive road use, but the protective coating ensures that this good-looking lid will stay that way.
Photographs by Clay Ellis