By David Ward
After spending my cycling career wearing Bell and Giro helmets, I have had the good fortune this summer of wearing a Rudy Project helmet, specifically the Rudy Project Windmax. This is as close as I have ever been to feeling like I had on no helmet at all.
The sides and rear of the helmet do not come down around your head quite so much. Indeed, when I put the helmet on, I almost feel like it could pop off the top of my head. But when the chin strap is done up and the rear adjustment made, the helmet is snug. From that point, I do not even notice it. That’s a good thing.
This Rudy Project comes with two attachable visors. I have previously had helmets with visors. While they are good for keeping the sun, when it is lower in the sky, out of your eyes, they also require more tilt from your head when climbing. As a result, I have rarely used them. Of the two visors this helmet came with, one is less than half the width of the other. For me, it is perfect. When sun is low, it extends enough to block the sun’s rays from that gap between the front of the helmet and my sunglasses, but it does not impede my vision when climbing.
The rear retention system is my only issue. It uses a knob that you twist with your fingers to tighten and loosen the adjustment around the rear of the helmet. It is this feature that truly gives one a snug fit and has been a great innovation on helmets. However, this knob sits too close to the rear shell to get a good grip on it. You have to pull the knob down to be able to securely grip and turn it. I have a smaller size head, and for larger heads, this does not appear to be a problem. At any rate, this is a minor issue, and I quickly adjusted to it.
With 21 vents, this helmet is the most ventilated helmet I have used, though there is a mesh inside the front half of the helmet which likely restricts airflow into the helmet. But this serves the purpose of preventing bugs, and especially bees, from getting into your hair, a not uncommon occurrence. Still, replacement pads without the mesh come with the helmet so you can remove the mesh if you desire.
The Windmax also includes, in addition to the extra padding, thicker padding for the sides of the helmet, and, for us OCD types, a bag to protect the helmet from scratches and dings during storage and transport.
This helmet is the lightest, most unobtrusive helmet I have used. On a Category 4/HC scale, I rate this a Category 1.