Scott's Cadence Plus helmet

Worn by Sebastian Kienle to his best Kona time ever last year, Scott's Cadence Plus offers lots of ventilation and protection in an aero package.

| May 10, 2017 | GEAR

Sebastian Kienle wears the Scott Cadence Plus at the 2016 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Sebastian Kienle wears the Scott Cadence Plus at the 2016 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Photo >Frank Wechsel / spomedis

Ridden by Sebastian Kienle in Kona last October, the Scott Cadence Plus helmet offers the exact balance many triathletes are looking for – aero performance with enough air flow to keep you cool, even in Kona’s sauna-like conditions, all in a light-weight (270 g), extremely comfortable helmet.

Kienle is famous for his attention to aerodynamic detail, so you know that if he chose to use the Cadence Plus that it must have tested favorably compared to Scott Split helmet he’s worn in the past. It’s always a tough call for triathletes to make – how important is being a bit cooler and hauling a bit less weight going to make in your overall performance? Certainly, when it comes to racing in an event like Kona, where heat is a huge factor, the added airflow in an aero road helmet seems to be a logical choice – as long as you’re not losing too much time. On paper it would appear that Kienle made the right call in Kona last year. While he didn’t regain the championship he won in 2014, he was a close second to Jan Frodeno and had his fastest-ever Kona time – 8:10:02, which was over four minutes faster than he went in winning the race in 2014.

While there’s no doubt that a fully aero helmet like the Split will be faster than the Cadence Plus, Scott has managed to create a helmet that, according to their tests, provides appreciable time savings over a 40 km TT. The aero gains are one thing, but it’s the combination of aero and ventilation that likely tipped the scales for Kienle when it came to his Kona helmet pick.

The Cadence Plus was developed by Richard Kelso at the University of Adelaide in Australia based on wind tunnel testing and real-life experience gleaned from the Orica-GreenEdge cycling team. Kelso and his team started by creating an aerodynamic helmet. Then they added the vents in such a way as to minimalize the effect on the aerodynamic properties of the helmet. There are five large vents on the front along with a couple of smaller slits. The air then flows out of three rear vents. (The Cadence Plus also comes with specific plugs that you can place in the five large front vents that will improve aero performance and keep your head a bit warmer if you’re out on a super-cold day.) 

All this excellent air flow doesn’t help, though, unless the helmet is also comfortable. Kelso and his team nailed that, too. They mapped arteries and nerves in the head and adjusted the retention system accordingly. Thanks to the 360-degree Halo fit system used in the Cadence Plus, you can literally dial in the correct fit. For added safety MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) was uniquely integrated into the helmet so that it helps pull heat from the head, giving you that extra protection without affecting the ventilation.

Where the Cadence Plus really shines, though, is that it suddenly becomes a very real option as a training and racing helmet. Rather than have to buy a helmet to train in and another aero option for racing, now you can get a helmet that will serve you well for both.