I'll admit I like the classic look of the cycling cap and have produced quite a few images for VeloDramatic wearing my favorites from Rapha and Outlier. In truth I never ride anywhere without a helmet (often over a cap). My brain may be the only thing that distinguishes me from the asphalt we ride upon, so I have a vested interest in keeping it protected.
Assuming you're not repurposing an old garden bucket, it's certain that your helmet meets one of the mandated safety standards (CPSC in the US), and most of you probably own one or two. Like everything else VeloDramatic my helmet collection is a little over the top. There are now five helmets hanging neatly in the garage: a Specialized S-Works; a Catlike Whisper and three helmets from Giro; the Atmos, the Ionos and new for 2010, the Prolight.
Head on, the iconic, vented appearance of the Atmos and Ionos have always been easy to spot in the pro peloton and it hasn't hurt the fortunes of Giro that Mr. Armstrong has been wearing one, well... forever. I'm not sure if it's that gaunt pro visage or perhaps they all wear size small, but helmets generally look better on the pros. Hawkish, sharp and well proportioned. Mere mortals, like me, tend to have bigger skulls (I wear a Large) and some helmets make you look like you're wearing a Yakima SkyBox on your head. Finding a good fitting, good looking helmet isn't always easy.
Enter the Prolight. Giro claims to have gone back to the drawing board with this new model and it looks and feels the part. True to its name, its very light. My Large weighed in at 227g, compared to my Ionos at 361g and Atmos at 327g. It has a softer, less angular appearance. Like its predecessors (which are still actively produced and sold) the Prolight is manufactured with Giro's In-Mold technology, a process which bonds the outer polycarbonate shell to the inner EBS liner in one operation. More interesting is the new Roc-Loc SL self-adjusting harness. Instead of a ratchet mechanism to fine tune fit, the minimal SL system relies on a broad band of mildly compressive elastic at the back of your head to provide a stable fit. Giro uses a lighter webbing for chin straps, and provides an additional measure of adjustability with three snap-in connection points on the helmet body.
I'm really surprised how well this minimalist system works. I'm used to loosening my helmet, particularly when wearing it over a cap, then snugging it tight. There's no need for any of this with the Prolight. Grasp the rear band, slide it over the back of your head and snap the chin strap closed. The helmet stays put. The band is comfortable. Feels like a winner to me.
The vents on the Prolight look smaller than either the Atmos or Ionos, but there's no lack of airflow.
The Prolight is available in four colorways: Blue/Black; Red/Black; Black/Carbon and White/Silver. I love the subtle textural graphics of the latter and it's sure to be cooler on hot summer days. If you need a new helmet or just want to add to your own collection; maybe coordinate with that new white bar tape this Spring, you can't go wrong with this lid.
Switching topics. I've recently added an Elinchrom Quadra lighting kit to the photo arsenal. It pains me to say I can't always shoot with available light, so the trick is getting proficient and creative with strobes. I spent last Saturday experimenting with the Quadras, shooting the Giro helmet and sunglasses against a variety of backgrounds using a Rotalux Softbox on one head and a Varistar umbrella on the other. You'll see some of this photography over the next couple of posts as I look at more products I like from Giro.
Finally, thanks to a couple of regulars for pointing out that Garmin plans on releasing a new Black/White/Silver version of the Garmin 500 in conjunction with the Tour of California. I don't think for a moment they were listening to me when I made the point that the standard blue trim on the 500 doesn't coordinate with many bikes. I'm looking forward to the new version, I think I'll Ebay the blue one that Garmin just replaced after my recent mounting problem. Thanks, Garmin on both counts.