Since the late 80’s Giro have always been leaders in the cycling game. Back then I remember watching my ol’ man ripping around the local criterium in a rad Giro lid. The shape, the fluro colours was all trend setting. Actually, most of these helmets could probably cut it nowadays as there’s a resurgence with this era. Well, their style might be, but lucky for us the safety standard has gone to another level.
I recently visited the offices of Giro Sport Design, Santa Cruz, California, USA. One thing that blew me away was the creative spaces throughout the building. Design is at the heart of the company. But they are much more than offices, there’s a full-on test lab, which they call the Dome which is where they develop all of their helmets. And crash test the helmets over, over and over again. The Aether is no different and has taken years of design, research and development. And the clever dudes in Santa Cruz have invented a new integration of MIPS that allows Giro to step ahead of the game again.
The key difference with the Aether MIPS is a two-part dual-density Nanobead EPS foam liner which helps to manage a wide range of impact energies, by rotating independently of a rider’s head and the helmet outer shell. This proprietary MIPS Spherical technology removes any obstruction to comfort, while also boasting deep internal channelling to provide cooling airflow. On the outer a 6-piece shell forms around the massive vents help get as much air as possible. These also add structural reinforcement via a shatter-proof AURA reinforcement. At the rear of the helmet is a new Roc Loc® 5+ Air fit system, featuring 3-way fit tuning.
Comfort came to mind when I first perched the Aether MIPS onto my head. Dialling in the retention system and docking my sunnies in the ports I headed out the door. It was just after 6am, the glare of the dawn sunlight was sneaking its way through the tall trees. I pulled my sunnies from the docking ports and put them over my eyes. I knew there was a good reason I get outta’ bed early! My excitement increased and with it so did my effort. I charged up the climbs and it was one of those rides when I had just seemed to have the groove. As the day started to warm up the vents helped the air escape from my hot head. Which meant I could just concentrate on the effort at hand. The wind wisped passed me as I accelerated along the flat terrain. The wind seemed to pass over the helmet efficiently. By the end of the ride I had an endorphin rush but was a little jaded.
I have now been using this lid over the past few months. The light weight construction, comfort and air ventilation are second to none. I don’t tend to wear helmets without MIPS nowadays, like you, I like to ride but I want to be safe whilst I’m out there. And if something does happen, I want to make sure I have the best head protection available. Giro have developed a comfortable two-part system that should be applauded. It should be noted this helmet does fit a little wide, on my head at least, but overall, it’s one of the best I have tried recently.
NZ RRP: $529
Words: Liam Friary
Images: Marcus Enno / Paul Spurling