It was just not that long ago that helmets were made mandatory in the Tour de France. That year was 2003 where a fatal crash of Andrei Kivilev at the second stage in Paris-Nice prompted the UCI to make helmets mandatory from the next race onwards.
These days all the equipment used by the pros comes under great scrutiny, especially at the Tour de France. Among others is the bike helmets they wear.
The helmet technologies have improved significantly over the years and we now have helmets designed for specific purposes with all the latest safety technologies. For example,
- Regular vs aero helmets. On hilly stages, riders will opt for regular helmets that lighter, have more air vents for better breathability. For flat and sprint stages, many will prefer helmets optimized for aerodynamics that have minimal air vents.
- Safety technologies such as MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), SPIN (Shearing Pad Inside), Wavecel, and Koroyd can be found in the majority of the helmets the riders wear.
- Color and design. Most teams will have a team color/design for their helmets to match with their kits and bikes. A yellow helmet is worn by every rider of the team that is leading the Team’s Classification (the team that has the lowest cumulative time by adding the times of the three best riders of each team per stage).
For 2021, there isn’t a dominant brand, unlike the previous years. We have 15 bike helmet brands used by the 23 teams with Ekoi used by four teams. Some of the helmets also make it into our favorite helmet picks list.
Let’s take a look at all the helmets used by each team.
Based out of France, Ekoi which was founded in 2001 has grown to be a reputable brand in the cycling clothing market especially with helmets and sunglasses. Their direct-to-consumer model means that Ekoi products are 30% to 40% cheaper than its competitors.
Expect to see Caleb Ewan sprinting to his next Grand Tour win at the Tour de France in the Ekoi AR14.
- Helmets Worn : Ekoi Legende (Regular), Ekoi AR14 (Aerodynamic), Ekoi Chrono (TT)
- Worn by : Groupama FDJ, Team Bike Exchange, Team TotalEnergies
With a long presence in the pro peloton dating back to pre-2000, Giro helmets are used by three teams in this year’s Tour de France. Besides helmets, Giro is an established brand when it comes to cycling shoes. Riders will have three helmet choices; a regular, aerodynamic, and TT helmet to choose from.
There are also teams such as Trek-Segafredo and Team DSM that wear the Giro Aerohead helmet for time trials as their helmet provider doesn’t produce a TT helmet.
Another relative newcomer into the pro peloton, HJC is an established brand among Moto GP riders with a history dating back to 1971. HJC’s helmets feature their patented technologies such as COOLPATH for efficient airflow and cooling and SELFFIT for automatic self-adjustment.
Expect to see Chris Froome making his Tour de France comeback wearing the HJC Ibex 2.0 in the high mountains.
- Helmets Worn : HJC Ibex 2.0 (Regular), HJC Furion 2.0 (Aerodynamic), HJC Adwatt 1.5 (TT)
- Worn by : AG2R Citreon Team, Israel Start-Up Nation
- Available at : Wiggle
Belgian helmet manufacturer Lazer is another old-timer in the pro peloton with almost a century of history. They started by designing leather caps for tough men riding over cobblestone in Belgium before evolving into the technically advanced helmets we see today.
Get ready to see Primoz Roglic challenge for the overall win, supported by his trusted lieutenants such as Sepp Kuss and Wout van Aert wearing the Lazer Genesis.
Specialized helmets are worn exclusively by Specialized sponsored teams in recent years. From our observation, if the team is riding a Specialized bike, they will be using Specialized’s other equipment such as wheels (Roval), tires, helmets, and shoes.
Get ready to see fireworks animated by current Road World Champion Julian Alaphilippe in the S-Works Prevail 2 and 3X champion Peter Sagan in the S-Works Evade.
German-based Abus is a long-time, reputable brand when it comes to bike locks. A newcomer in the pro peloton, starting with Movistar in 2018, Abus has one of the nicest looking helmets in this year’s Tour de France.
One of the oldest riders in the peloton at 41 years old, Alejandro Valverde will be wearing the Abus Aventor in the hilly stages.
France-based Bolle has been around since 1888 and today manufactures helmets, goggles, and sunglasses for cycling and skiing. They’ve been a mainstay in the pro peloton in recent years with Orica GreenEdge wearing their sunglasses in the past.
- Helmets Worn : Bolle Furo MIPS (Regular), EXO MIPS (Aerodynamic),
- Worn by : B&B Hotels p/b KTM
Bontrager is the sister brand of bike manufacturer, Trek. Bontrager produces everything from helmets to saddles, wheelsets, and bike lights. So, it’s no surprise that Trek-sponsored teams will be using Bontrager equipment such as helmets and wheels (similar to Specialized sponsored teams).
- Helmets Worn : Bontrager Velocis MIPS (Regular), Bontrager XXX WaveCel (Aerodynamic)
- Worn by : Trek Segafredo
- Available at : Trek Bikes
A relatively unknown outside of the mainstream cycling brands, Czech-based Force manufactures a wide range of cycling accessories, clothing, components, and tools. Their products are mainly found in Europe and Central Asia through their growing network of dealers.
- Helmets Worn : Force Lynx (Regular), Force Neo Orca (Aerodynamic),
- Worn by : Intermarché Wanty Gobert
Kask is worn exclusively by Ineos Grenadiers (Team Sky) since its inception in 2010 and has won the most Grand Tours in the last decade. Undoubtedly, Kask is the most well-known helmet brand within the cycling industry. The Kask Protone has been a mainstay in their helmet lineup for many years and hasn’t been updated for more than 5 years.
Expect to see the Ineos Grenadiers train riding at the front all day long sporting the Kask Protone.
Based out of Bergamo in Italy, Limar manufactures a range of helmets for all cycling disciplines from road to gravel, mountain biking, gravel, and kids. The riders will use Limar’s top-of-the-line helmets at the Tour de France this year.
One of the fastest growing helmet brands, MET is based in the Valtellina valley in the Italian Alps. They’re just 100km away from the Stelvio and 20km from Lake Como. Worn by Tadej Podgacer to his maiden Tour de France win in 2020, MET will continue with UAE Team Emirates for this year.
- Helmets Worn : MET Trenda 3K Carbon (Regular), MET Manta MIPS (Aerodynamic), MET Codatronca (TT)
- Worn by : UAE Team Emirates
- Available at : Wiggle
Swedish-based, POC designed one of the most good-looking bike helmets in the pro peloton today. They’re also the inventor of SPIN (Shearing Pad Inside) safety technology which is used in their helmets. You’ll spot a light blue liner inside all POC helmets today.
With the pink POC Ventral SPIN Air helmets, you definitely can’t miss them on TV.
Started in 1985 in Italy, Rudy Project is a leading brand in outdoor accessories. They make helmets and sunglasses for various sports such as cycling, running, beach, winter, and watersports.
- Helmets Worn : Rudy Project Spectrum (Regular), Rudy Project Volantis (Aerodynamic), Rudy Project The Wing (TT)
- Worn by : Bahrain Victorious
Scott helmets are worn by Scott-sponsored teams, similar to Trek and Specialized teams. Known for its bikes, Scott also manufactures bike components such as wheels, handlebars, and saddles under its sister brand Syncros.