The new Helios Spherical is the latest helmet from Giro to include MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), a slip-plane that vastly reduces rotational forces that can cause serious brain injury in the event of a crash.
This thin liner usually sits between the helmet and the pads, which in my experience can decrease the volume of a helmet, altering the fit or impeding venting.
However, with the Spherical, Giro uses two EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam liners held together by elastomer ‘anchors’ with a ball and socket. This design allows the two liners to slide independently of each other.
Giro says the Helios is a premium design (with a price to suit) but one that’s not aimed at the professional rider ranks. Unlike Giro’s other premium helmets – the aerodynamically optimised Synthe and the maximum cooling Aether – the idea of the Helios is that it has 90 per cent of those characteristics but in a package with an emphasis on gravel riding.
This means less focus on aerodynamics and cooling and no bold ‘pro’ colourways, instead opting for a different design and more muted colours.
The Helios is a compact helmet with a slimmer profile and a latticework of vents throughout the shell. Some 15 of the 28 vents are forward, which is more than most modern designs. It also means the vents aren’t so big as to leave you exposed should you crash on rough, rocky gravel.
The fairly rounded shape of the Helios suited me perfectly. The interior uses minimal padding with a brow pad and four strip pads from brow to crown.
The brow pad has a clever tab section at the centre that draws any moisture away when you’re working hard, so you don’t get perspiration dripping down onto your glasses; the pads are removable and washable too.
Ideally, I’d like the straps to be removable for the same reason, as on Scott’s latest helmet, the Centric Plus. But they’re soft to the touch and smooth-edged so there’s no irritation against the skin.
Giro’s Roc Loc 5 Air retention system offers 3.5cm of vertical adjustment, while the micro-adjust dial takes care of horizontal fit around the cradle.
The Helios is a supremely comfortable helmet. Its minimal padding offers ample cushioning while the subtle channelling on the inside keeps air flowing across your head when you’re exerting yourself.
The EPS foam core is well protected by the hardshell extending past the edges, leaving no exposed areas that could be damaged by an accidental drop. And at 303g for my size large, the Helios is plenty light enough.