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Oakley ARO5 Review

A sleek, stylish helmet with a quirky fit and adjustment system
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Price:  $250 List | $189.99 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Reasonably light, aerodynamic, stylish
Cons:  Quirky headband system, specific fit
Manufacturer:   Oakley
By Nick Bruckbauer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2020
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 15
  • Comfort - 20% 5
  • Adjustability - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Style - 15% 6
  • Ventilation - 20% 7
  • Durability - 15% 5

Our Verdict

With its sleek and stylish, aerodynamic design, good ventilation, and reasonably light weight, the Oakley ARO5 performs solidly across the board but has no standout features. Ultimately, it ranks a bit lower in our lineup because its BOA headband system is not as comfortable as others, and its specific fit and limited adjustability reduce the likelihood of achieving a perfect fit. Riders looking for a sleek and stylish design who are familiar with the fit of Oakley helmets will probably love this helmet, while others looking for a better all-around performer with a more versatile fit will find better options elsewhere.


Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


The ARO5 has a sleek and stylish design  but our testers found it difficult to adjust for a comfortable fit.
The ARO5 has a sleek and stylish design, but our testers found it difficult to adjust for a comfortable fit.

Comfort


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 ARO5 has a minimalist headband system and minimal padding  so if your head isn't the same shape as the helmet  it could lead to uncomfortable pressure points.
The ARO5 has a minimalist headband system and minimal padding, so if your head isn't the same shape as the helmet, it could lead to 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.

Adjustability


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.

Our testers prefer traditional headband systems rather than the BOA adjustment system with its wiry cinch cord that can get stuck on your ears when putting on the helmet.
Our testers prefer traditional headband systems rather than the BOA adjustment system with its wiry cinch cord that can get stuck on your ears when putting on the helmet.

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.

Weight


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.

Surprisingly lightweight for a semi-aerodynamic helmet  the ARO5 is well-suited for fast efforts.
Surprisingly lightweight for a semi-aerodynamic helmet, the ARO5 is well-suited for fast efforts.

Style


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 has a sleek and low-profile semi-aerodynamic design.
The ARO5 has a sleek and low-profile semi-aerodynamic design.
The ARO5 has a sleek and low-profile semi-aerodynamic design.

Ventilation


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.

With its gaping front vents  the ARO5 provides impressive ventilation for an aerodynamic helmet.
With its gaping front vents, the ARO5 provides impressive ventilation for an aerodynamic helmet.


Durability


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.

The soft mesh carrying bag and extra forehead pad will add to the longevity of this helmet.
The soft mesh carrying bag and extra forehead pad will add to the longevity of this helmet.

Value


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.

With one of the higher prices in our lineup  and with a potentially tricky fit  the ARO5 might not be the best value for most riders.
With one of the higher prices in our lineup, and with a potentially tricky fit, the ARO5 might not be the best value for most riders.

Conclusion


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