By Chuck Collins — The Rudy Project Boost 01 Aero helmet is the first modern aero-style helmet that I’ve ever worn for regular riding around.
Almost thirty years ago, I had a Giro aero helmet. In its day, it was cutting edge, had a big fin, and of course, faster – laughing out loud. But it would be silly to ride around town with the big fin, though occasionally, someone would and the word ridiculous would come to mind.
Fast forward to present day, yes, I’ve been riding around town and country wearing the Rudy Project Boost 01, with the detachable shield installed. Surprisingly, the shield is not too dark for wearing glasses as well. As important, there is no feeling of claustrophobia. The Boost 01 definitely has a modern look.
In the Boost 01, I have not experienced any discomfort wearing the Boost 01. The straps adjust easily. The adjustable fitting knob secures the Boost 01 functionally to one’s head. The helmet’s shape is slightly oval, but for my head shape, I would prefer it slightly more oval. The sizing is comparable to other helmets that use “small/medium” sizing as opposed to “universal” sizing. The one I’m testing is a small/med.
The Boost 01 comes with a snap in opaque neutral swing poly-shield that pivots from a hinge on the poly-plastic visor mount bracket. The shield installs intuitively by placing the lateral hooks into slots on the helmet and then snapping the center clasp. The Boost 01 comes with two main-port fittings, one solid, and one perforated for cooling and also acts as a bug screen. The Boost 01 comes with a fine helmet bag.
I have yet to wear the helmet in very hot conditions, but I’m going to guess that the air-flow has been optimized as it was pretty easy for the bee I encountered to enter the main front port without the perforated main port fittings in place. Rudy Project does offer insect shields for other helmets in their line-up for everyday riding.
I found the Boost 01 straps easy to adjust that hold the adjusted position well. Of the clasp, if you encounter a bee, you had better be able to remove said helmet quickly and intuitively. You will find a standard clasp mechanism on Boost 01. It’s true, I’ve been putting on and taking off helmets for almost thirty years. The Boost 01 did not fail me. Surprisingly, I found no bee. Maybe the bee made its exit out a rear vent.
I was recently on an eighty mile ride wearing the Boost 01 with a cycling cap and an ear-warmer. I wore the cycling cap backwards so that it would fit comfortably. I experienced no fatigue. That experience is contrary to wearing my non-aero everyday helmet which is maybe 80 grams heavier. While wearing my non-aero helmet, I experienced neck fatigue after about twenty miles while wearing the same cold weather set-up. I was surprised at the difference.
You know, I had expectations that an aero helmet would be quiet, but my experience has not confirmed my expectation. I can not say definitively one way or the other. I have yet to perform a noise test.
But are you noticeably more aerodynamic and thus faster?
As I do not have a wind-tunnel at my disposal, I do not have the means to quantify the parasite drag of the Boost 01. Does the Boost 01 improve laminar flow over a non-aero helmet, effectively reducing the size-of the barn door? My experience, subjective mind you, is yes. The Boost 01 in my experience seems to reduce parasite drag. Parasite drag becomes more prevalent at the square of the increase in one’s velocity per a blocking surface area – i.e. the proverbial barn door. Want the math? See: http://bit.ly/2I2IGVG
Why might this matter? Well, as a bike racer or time-trialer, every incremental improvement in efficiency saves you energy. It might matter, provided you’re not bleeding energy throughout an event like riding on the front for no good reason. That little bit of energy conservation might prolong a bonk. Or the tiny aero advantage might allow you to cover a gap, or over forty kilometers, maybe save a handful of seconds that helps you crush your PR.
Hocus-pocus? No, the math is real, it’s just that all of your other incremental inefficiencies add up. One might also consider an aero-helmet as cheap speed relative to buying expensive carbon and aero wheels or an aero-frameset, or in the other technologies like ceramic bearings, super lubricants, ovalized spokes, laminar-flow clothing, etc.
The Rudy Project Boost 01 Aero-helmet has proven its utility that speed specialists will appreciate. And finally, the Boost 01 supports the fragile ego of this old bike racer that still wants to hold on to performance idealism that I never had in the first place. That said, even though I’ve never had an engine, I’m faster for it while wearing the Boost 01.
For more on Rudy Project, see: https://www.rudyprojectna.com