Gear Review: Rudy Project Wingspan and Rush Helmets
As part of our triathlon series, we also had a chance to check out some of the latest offerings helmet offerings from the Rudy Project. For our road rides and more basic training activities, we used their Rush road helmet and for more flat rides and in competition we used their Wingspan TT. Both represent the breadth of the offering that Rudy Project provides and looking at each one individually really allows us to focus on their strengths and weaknesses.
The Rush is very simply your quintessential road helmet. Its styling reflects your very typical classic road helmet, nothing new or dramatic in its appearance, but highly functional. The Rush is also a low-cost helmet which is great given its light weight (~240 grams) and the level of protection and airflow. I tried the medium model which is my normal size and I did find it very well fitting if not almost a little snug and when worn with a cycling cap it actually was too tight. Something to keep in mind if you’re considering, definitely try it on and get the sizing adjusted properly before you buy.
I have used a lot of helmets over the years and I found the Rush to be comparable in many ways to some of the evening most expensive helmets that I’ve had. With over 21 vents, it provided a ton of airflow and overall it’s a very well fitting and practical road helmet that lives up to your expectations of the Rudy name. The RSR retention system also dials in well and stays fixed throughout your ride. It’s not breaking any new ground and it’s not especially flashy, but it functions very well. While I didn’t have to try its protection level directly, I imagine it performs pretty well.
The Wingspan TT
The Wingspan TT is classic Rudy Project triathlon gear. You have seen this style helmet a million times and probably thought how cool it would be to wear one and you wouldn’t be alone. The Wingspan is super light (~325 grams), more than you might imagine given its appearance and size, but it’s only a few ounces different from your normal road helmet. Note the Wingspan isn’t made really just for protection, it’s all about performance and this is also where it shined. I used it on my really hard training days, especially on long flats. I use it on days when it was all about distance and performance and not when it was about long climbs. I wouldn’t say I’m in a position to actually see the level of performance increase that might come with a helmet like the Wingspan, but it made me feel fast. That may sound odd, but it meant a lot because when I had it on I felt like a triathlete and more so in competition than anywhere else. I felt like I could perform better and I’ve never had a helmet make me feel that way. It makes me smile just thinking about seeing myself using it in competition. It was, for lack of a better term, empowering.
The Wingspan comes with a couple different grills for the front of the helmet to add additional airflow or for blocking completely to improve performance. It also comes with a soft carry bag for the helmet. The way you size it and wear it and put it on is identical to a normal road helmet, but I did find myself wearing it a little lower on the front which seem to improve the performance over time. I also tightened it down a bit across the padded chinstrap to keep it nice and snug against my head and prevent any movement. In competition, the transition was fast with and I had no complications whatsoever. Again, I did not have to test it on the ground, but I’m sure it would’ve performed well.