The Giro Helios is the American helmet brand’s second road helmet to feature ‘Spherical technology powered by Mips’ and sits just under the range-topping Aether Spherical in price.
Giro says it intends for the Helios Spherical to also stand apart from the Aether in its target market too, being given subtle styling cues that mark it out as less race-focussed.
‘The huge vents and fairly aggressive styling of the Aether is not everyone’s cup of tea,’ says Giro brand manager Eric Richter. ‘So as we look at where drop bar riding is going, we are seeing that people want clothing and gear that is a little more understated, but ultimately still has high-performance capabilities.’
What that means is the Helios is slightly more compact, with smaller vents and more padding inside the shell. Following a smart move pioneered by Bell, Giro has extended the Helios’s padding out onto the front lip of the helmet with a little tab right in the centre.
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With the rider’s head dipped this is the helmet’s lowest point so sweat naturally gathers there and can drip in front of the rider’s glasses instead of behind onto the lenses. It is a neat trick that is known to work well.
Considering the helmet’s features more generally, despite coming in at a lower price point Richter says the Helios slightly gets the better of the Aether in a couple areas.
‘It has a little extra coverage at the rear, and although it isn’t primarily designed as an aero helmet, because of its compact shape and the fact it’s a few millimetres narrower than the Aether it actually tests a little faster in the wind tunnel,’ says Richter.
With the Helios being aimed squarely at enthusiasts rather than pro tour racers, Richter says those details don’t really matter but are a nice bonus nonetheless.
The Helios’s advantages might have some questioning the validity of the older Aether but Giro says the new helmet isn’t quite as efficient at cooling the rider and is a little heavier, coming in at a claimed 250g for a size medium.
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‘Spherical Technology powered by Mips’
Regardless of either helmet’s performance attributes, their core design feature is the inclusion of ‘Spherical technology powered by Mips’. This is apparently now the more convoluted but correct way to label the technology formerly known as Mips Spherical.
The change in name has been made to reflect the difference in technology, which is actually a pretty valid reason because Spherical Technology is a very different beast to conventional Mips slip-plane layers.
It differs from regular Mips systems by eliminating the conventional additional slip-plane layer and integrating it into the helmet shell, which becomes more like a ball and socket joint composed of two helmet shells one inside the other.
‘By integrating the Mips slip plane and elastomeric anchors between the two Nanobead EPS foam liners, the interior of the helmet can be aggressively channelled to enhance airflow and cooling power, and is free of excess plastic or snag points that can compromise ventilation and sweat management, create pressure or snag points that pull hair,’ says Giro.
‘As Spherical Technology uses two separate foam liners, the density of each layer can be optimised with Progressive Layering to address the varying characteristics of high- and low-speed impacts.
‘The system was developed in the DOME laboratory in Giro’s Scotts Valley headquarters in partnership with Mips, and in addition to being available in helmets meeting relevant international test standards, helmets equipped with Spherical Technology earn five-star ratings from Virginia Tech as well.’
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The Giro Helios Spherical is marketed as a more accessible helmet, and is indeed some £40 cheaper than the £269.99 Aether, but its £229.99 retail price still puts it at the premium end of the market.
‘The thing with pricing is that Spherical is an expensive technology, it’s very complex to build,’ says Richter. ‘It’s essentially two helmets in one, so it’s never going to be a cheap helmet, but that £40 price drop compared to Aether should make it a more attainable/viable option for more riders.’
For all the comparisons with Giro’s own Aether, it is worth pointing out that the Helios Spherical’s attributes are compatible with many competitors helmets at a similar price point.
UK availability is expected in December so if a new helmet is on your Christmas list the Helios Spherical looks like it should be a genuine contender for the one you unwrap on the big day.
Source: Cycling – Cyclist