Finding that right balance between protection, comfort, performance and price point can be tricky with today’s helmets. Luckily, there are now many MIPS-based and other helmets that are proven safe and effective that don’t break the bank. At $250, the new Giro Helios Speherical MIPS Helmet isn’t exactly a budget lid. But, it features an exclusive Spherical MIPS design that essentially places two helmets inside each other for maximum protection and rotational impact protection.
Giro Helios Spherical MIPS Helmet Features:
- Spherical, ball-in-socket MIPS design
- Inner and outer in-mold EPS “liners” for even smoother rotation on impact
- 15 Wind Tunnel vents
- Roc Loc 5 Air fit system
- Plush antimicrobial XT2 padding
- CPSC certified
- Weight: 270 grams (medium, actual)
- MSRP: $250
Spherical MIPS at a lower price point
When the Giro Aether Spherical helmet was launched, it turned heads (literally). The Spherical MIPS design is awesome to see and feel in person and really makes a ton of sense. What didn’t make the most sense for many riders was the $320 price tag. While safety should never be cheated to save a buck or two, it’s still a lofty price for most. With that, Giro went to work to build a lower-priced variant and that’s the new Helios Spherical MIPS helmet that I’ve been testing for a few months.
Unless you need the ultimate breathability and performance, the Helios should be just the ticket to achieve that Goldilocks balance between all the important characteristics we’re all looking for in a road helmet. With that, Giro bills this one as a road or gravel helmet, but it’s just dandy for all disciplines. And, Virginia Tech has tested the Helios Spherical MIPS and given it 5-stars (may not be published yet).
At the outset, I was testing the Helios Spherical in the dead of winter. Compatibility with a skull cap or cycling cap has been superb as the Roc Loc 5 easily dials in/out based on what I’m wearing on top of my shaved head. The dial remains easily-reached for quick adjustments pre-ride or mid-ride, as needed. What’s unique about Giro’s patented Roc Loc 5 design is that it wraps around the entire circumference of your head, thus ensuring the most even tension. It doesn’t pull the back of the helmet forwards only, but surrounds your entire noggin with cradling comfort. It works perfectly.
Moving into warmer weather, the fit has remained equally-comfortable. I shave my head, so I can feel every nuance and the padding and fit system offer invisible comfort. Once I put it on, I forget about it (a sign of a great fit). The thin straps and simple buckle are easy to adjust and sit flat against my face. I don’t have to worry about hair interfering with MIPS, but some do and that’s one of the biggest features of the Spherical MIPS design — your hair won’t interfere with the slipping liner.
Every helmet manufacturer builds their molds to fit a variety of riders, but Giro tends to be more on the round side, thus leaving some gaps on either side of the liner for people with more oval-shaped heads (like yours truly). However, their Roc Loc 5 fit system makes quick work of that space and allows for a safe and secure fit for a variety of head shapes.
With the helmet-in-helmet design, there’s a lot of pieces in the way of ventilation, so as you can imagine, summer riding will not be as airy as other helmets. It cools well, but falls short of the best summer helmets, like the S-Works Prevail II Vent, POC Ventral Air SPIN or Kask Valegro. I’ll add that it’s not a quiet helmet at speed, with lots of wind noise (about average or helmets in this range).
Something I love is the semi-attached brow pad that Giro uses here. It extends to the front of the helmet and actually attaches with Velcro. What this does is help contain sweat and keep it from dripping inside your sunglasses and instead tends to allow it to drip in front of and off your lenses. It works great until the pad gets saturated, then it performs about on par with other helmets, so you’ll get drips inside your glasses. The thick padding does soak up a lot of liquid, so squishing it out will result in a mid-ride waterfall. In the end, the brow pad works great for shorter or cooler rides, but summer riding over several hours will overwhelm it.
As far as sunglass compatibility goes, I’ve worn these successfully with Smith Attack Max, Tifosi Sledge and Koo Demos sunglasses and they are perfectly-compatible. All temple tips sit nicely and don’t interfere with the retention system and they stay put atop the helmet, when needed.
- Helios MIPS design is unique and provides excellent safety
- Compatible with a variety of sunglasses
- Roc Loc 5 retention system is superb
- Drip-free brow pad is awesome
- Very light weight for all that tech
- A little chunky looking
- Not the ultimate in breathability (but on par with similar helmets)
The Bottom Line: Giro Helios Spherical MIPS Helmet
For everyday duty on all types of roads, the Giro Helios Spherical MIPS is hard to beat. you put it on and the Roc Loc 5 retention system cradles you in ultimate fit and comfort. I love the sweat-free brow pad that has prevented nasty drips inside my sunglasses and the Spherical MIPS design is unique and eases any safety concerns I’ve got. MIPS works (I’ve actually tested it in a crash) and I believe in the technology. This implementation offers an even clearer vision of just how MIPS can help save you from injury should you crash.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com