Cannondale's Intake helmet is a good mid-price offering with a semi-aero look and a comfortable fit.
- Pros: Comfy, airflow is decent
- Cons: Big pads soak up a lot of water/sweat, strap placement if you're a Rules wanker
Cannondale says that the Intake is 'designed for the latest generation of cyclists who cycle on every surface, from road, gravel and dirt; this helmet will match your style when taking on any discipline.' But aesthetically it's probably going to have a greater appeal to riders who spend the majority of their time on the black stuff. It's a rounded, semi-aero design with no sticky-out bits; the look is pretty neutral really. I've used it in a race, and I didn't feel self-conscious in it on the commute, or doing longer audaxy stuff.
The Intake is a pretty comfy lid, all told. The rear cradle isn't height-adjustable but it sits low enough to make the helmet feel secure on your head. I found the Intake comfortable to wear and easy to adjust, with an easy-to-use clicky wheel at the back and generous pads that feel good against your head. The chin strap is fairly basic, but it's easily adjustable and it wasn't a struggle to get the lid nice and snug.
I tried both the S/M and L/XL as my 58cm bonce is top of the one and near the bottom of the other. I ended up wearing the larger one as I could fit a cap under that, but its size and shape meant that the sides of the helmet were just proud of my temples and so were the straps, meaning that the legs of my cycling glasses needed to go under, and not over. Some people don't like that. I can't say I'm much bothered and it's not the only helmet I've had that sits that way: my Uvex ED Aero race lid is the same.
If you've brought your sunnies but it's not sunny then stowing them on the helmet is easy enough thanks to the Superport design which holds the arms nice and securely.
Cannondale says that the Intake is 'Optimised to reduce wind resistance and improve air flow', but given that it's only 60 quid and in the absence of any information from Cannondale to the contrary (I did ask), I'm going to assume that there isn't any wind tunnel data and graphs and such to back that up. Certainly air flow through the 13 vents is decent enough; I wasn't really testing the Intake in conditions that were likely to make me overheat (Somerset in January isn't really known for that) but you can feel the airflow across your head.
In the rain and the cold (I've had significantly more of that to deal with) the less vented shell gives a bit of protection against the elements. Once rain does get in, the generous pads soak up a lot of it, and it takes quite a lot of cafe napkins to get them dry again. In the summer you're going to have the same problem with sweat. They're certainly more absorbent than the pads in other helmets I regularly wear (the Uvex, and a Lazer Z1).
In terms of stated protection the Intake is EN1078 certified, which is the standard most European helmets are tested to. There's a rundown of what all the different worldwide standards test for here if you're interested. I haven't come off and landed on my head during testing as I try not to do that, but the Intake should offer the same level of protection as any other EN-certified helmet, but possibly not as much as a Snell-rated one, or a MIPS one. If you want to weigh in below with your two ha'porth on whether that's a meaningful amount of protection, then keep it civil, yeah?
Anyway, my overall impressions of the Intake are positive. It's comfortable and neutrally styled so you can wear it for a lot of different stuff. The pads can get a bit moist, though. If you want something a bit more garish than the black version shown here it's also available in neon yellow.
Good mid-price helmet with a semi-aero look and a comfortable fit
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cannondale Intake
Size tested: Small/Medium
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Cannondale says, "The new Intake helmet is designed for the latest generation of cyclists who cycle on every surface, from road, gravel and dirt, this helmet will match your style when taking on any discipline.
"Optimised to reduce wind resistance and improve air flow, we've also integrated a storage feature on the side to ensure your eyewear is secure when not needed."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
13 air vents
Superport for eyewear storage
Optimised for minimal wind resistance
One hand fit system
Black / Volt Yellow
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a pretty likeable helmet.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable, neutral styling.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pads soak up a lot of sweat/rain.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Most aero and semi-aero helmets are £100 and above. But then, most of them are actually making claims about aero efficiency savings. The Intake isn't expensive compared with other helmets of a similar build quality.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
Not a lot to complain about here: well made, neutral looks, meets safety standards, fair price. Overall, it's a good helmet.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.