Rapha Helmet review£250.00

Giro’s Synthe gets Rapha’d

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Giro’s popular Synthe’s simple, almost classical looks and low-volume shape — with a design that mixes clean lines with aero considerations — has proved to be a winning formula. It can also be styled to match a variety of outfits, which has not gone unnoticed by Rapha.

Expanding on its long-standing shoe collaboration, Rapha has restyled Giro’s MIPS-equipped [Multi-Directional Impact Protection System] Synthe, by painting all of the shell in white, black or chartreuse.

Those redesigned panels cover two vents, leaving 17, but seven generous internal channels

Less obviously, the ventilating aero mesh on either side of the silicone-edged sunglasses ports has been replaced by a finely ribbed plastic. The Giro logo and aero mesh covering the truncated tail’s central port have gone too, and the only branding on the helmet is a single Rapha logo on the very top.

The featherweight webbing straps have been exchanged for slightly thicker reflective webbing, which is a bonus in our book.

Our large example weighed 295g, which is quite reasonable, and only a 34g increase over our non-MIPS Synthe. The addition of MIPS only enhances the Roc Loc Air retention system’s already excellent fit and security, while increasing impact protection. Two X-Static pads at the brow and crown are sufficient for comfort and long-term freshness.

Those redesigned panels cover two vents, leaving 17, but seven generous internal channels and the open rear port ensure no noticeable difference in cooling. No additional aerodynamic claims are made, but from lengthy testing, they’re no hindrance to performance.

On the road, wind noise is a rarity, and however you hold or move your head, airflow around and through the smoothly contoured helmet is constant. It’s one of the easiest helmets to live with and now includes subtle Rapha style.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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