Oakley ARO5 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Reasonably light, aerodynamic, stylish
Cons: Quirky headband system, specific fit
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Oakley ARO5 has a sleek and stylish aerodynamic design with reasonable ventilation but earns average scores across the board with no real standout features. The main impression this lid left on our testers that its BOA headband system has limited adjustability, and its snug fit won't accommodate larger or non-perfectly-shaped heads.
Heads come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes, but it seems like the fit of the ARO5 doesn't accommodate a wide range of anatomies. With a rounder overall shape to it, this helmet has only two small pieces of padding, leaving the rest of your head sitting directly against the MIPS liner and EPS foam liner. If your head isn't exactly the same size and shape of the inner helmet liner, this can lead to a poor fit and uncomfortable pressure points.
The upper limit of the overall size range provided with this helmet is also quite limited. The size large we tested is the biggest model advertised and has a size range of 56-60 cm. The 60 cm upper size limit is much smaller than most other helmets whose size Large has an upper limit of 62 or 63 cm. This is one of the only helmets in the lineup with which our tester could not achieve a comfortable fit.
Similar to our comfort rating metric, the ARO5 receives reduced scores in our adjustability ratings due to its small overall size range. As mentioned above, the minimalist BOA headband system and minimalist padding mean that your head is mostly sitting right against the inner helmet lining. If your head isn't the same size and shape of the helmet, there are no adjustments to be made to eliminate pressure points. We also found that the BOA headband system with its thin, wiry cinch cord is not as comfortable as more traditional headband systems. The adjustment cord is very flexible and easily got caught on our ears multiple times.
We recognize that some riders with the right head shape will find this to be a very comfortable helmet, but its limited adjustability limits the range of users who can achieve the right fit.
Our size Large ARO5 weighed in at a measured 336 grams; a very reasonable weight for an aerodynamic helmet. This puts it right in the middle of our lineup in terms of weight. While aerodynamic helmets are typically heavier than traditional road helmets with more material and fewer vents, the ARO5 keeps the weight down with its smaller size within a size range, minimal padding, and lightweight BOA headband adjustment system.
The ARO5 is a nice looking helmet with its sleek and modern aerodynamic design and two-tone color schemes. The previously mentioned BOA headband system and its large front vents add to the sleek and modern look. Extra features like a built-in sunglasses holder, an extra forehead pad, and a lightweight carry bag increase its usefulness and style.
The ARO5 is surprisingly well ventilated for an aerodynamic helmet, with four large front vents. The inner MIPS liner is also perfectly cut to align with the vents, so there is no interference or obstruction of airflow. While not as breezy as traditional road bike helmets with upwards of 30 vents, the ARO5 holds its own and provides respectable ventilation performance.
The ARO5 gets a few points deducted in this category because it has a good deal of EPS foam liner material exposed around the brim of the helmet and on the top of the helmet. Other models with full coverage polycarbonate shells provide more protection for the vulnerable foam liner from accidental bumps and scrapes during transportation or storage. Using the included carrying case can help protect your investment when it's not on your head.
As one of the more expensive models in our lineup, and with a unique shape and fit that may not accommodate every rider, the ARO5 may not be the best value. Its sleek aerodynamic design and solid ventilation would make it a good pick for someone familiar with the fit and sizing, but most other riders will find equal performance and a larger size range with better adjustability in other helmets.
The Oakley ARO5 is a lightweight, well-ventilated, sleek, and stylish, aerodynamic helmet best suited for riders who are familiar with the fit and sizing of Oakley products. While it is a nice looking and well-built helmet, its specific fit and sizing may make it difficult for every rider to achieve a comfortable fit. Along with its high price tag, most riders may be better suited looking for a more versatile model.
— Nick Bruckbauer