Is Giro about to launch a new aero road helmet? It certainly looks that way, with numerous Groupama–FDJ and Canyon//SRAM riders wearing a new aero-sculpted helmet at the early-season stage races.
However, what some Groupama–FDJ riders have been wearing at Paris–Nice, alongside team-mate Stefan Küng at Tirreno-Adriatico, and the Canyon//SRAM Women’s WorldTour squad at the Healthy Ageing Tour, doesn’t seem to resemble any of the current Giro line-up.
Our eagle-eyed workshop manager (and occasional BikeRadar bike tester), Will Poole, noticed that Küng’s cool Swiss-coloured lid had significant differences to the current range and, with the Synthe and Vanquish now fairly long in the tooth, it looks like a new aero road helmet from Giro.
The Aether is a much more open and heavily vented design, though Küng’s head protection does share some similarities with the Synthe. However, the angular horizontal supports on the Swiss national champion’s head gear run at an angle rather than straight, plus it has a much more pronounced and solid mid-section.
This new aero road design will possibly be a replacement for the fast but divisive Vanquish. The Vanquish is a helmet that hits all the aero tropes with its closed design and pronounced shape at the rear, but it has never been a hugely popular model.
The integrated shield lens may save significant amounts of drag, but your average punter isn’t that keen to look like an extra from the Mandalorian on the club run or in the local bunch race, with most of us wanting to wear our own cycling sunglasses rather than a shield affixed to the helmet. (Maybe an extended version of the shield would work as pandemic-approved headgear for cycling…?)
However, the biggest difference between Giro’s current line-up and this smart-looking lid is that it appears to incorporate Giro’s innovative MIPS Spherical integration, where the slip-plane design doesn’t come from an insert or pad-anchors, but rather a shell that’s split into two halves and works to reduce potentially damaging rotational forces in the event of a crash.
Giro describes it as a ball and socket design, with an outer liner that rotates around the inner liner. MIPS Spherical has appeared on a number of Giro helmets recently, including the latest Aether MIPS and the new Manifest trail helmet.
We contacted Giro to ask directly if a new aero road helmet is, in fact, being ridden at the early-season stage races and received a fairly non-committal reply, though it does point to Giro’s pro riders wearing a pre-launch model.
“Our engineers and designers are constantly developing new ideas and designs in the pursuit of improved performance,” reads Giro’s statement. “These helmets are simply too good to make the world’s fastest riders wait for mass production.”
From that, it looks like we can definitely say a new Giro helmet is on the way and, from what we can tell so far, it’s one that appears to combine aerodynamic performance for road riders with the MIPS Spherical design standard.