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Giro Synthe aero road helmet launched

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Giro's new Synthe road helmet is said to not only be more aerodynamic than its own Air Attack but also better ventilated than the uber-airy Aeon

Giro's new Synthe road helmet is said to not only be more aerodynamic than its own Air Attack but also better ventilated than the uber-airy Aeon
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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The new Giro Synthe spurns the argument that an aero helmet can't also look good

The new Giro Synthe spurns the argument that an aero helmet can't also look good
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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X-Static padding should keep odors at bay. The final padding setup is still being finalized

X-Static padding should keep odors at bay. The final padding setup is still being finalized
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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The new Giro Synthe will be offered in seven standard colors plus an additional limited edition scheme

The new Giro Synthe will be offered in seven standard colors plus an additional limited edition scheme
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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Giro acknowledges that not all glasses will fit well into the storage ports but that the company tested most popular brands and models

Giro acknowledges that not all glasses will fit well into the storage ports but that the company tested most popular brands and models
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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While some helmets opt for a very straight pathway for incoming air, Giro stil prefers to 'wrap' the paths around your head

While some helmets opt for a very straight pathway for incoming air, Giro stil prefers to 'wrap' the paths around your head
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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Deep internal channeling helps air pass across the top of your head. The Roc Loc Air retention system also partially suspends the helmet off the top of the riders' head to create more room for the air to move

Deep internal channeling helps air pass across the top of your head. The Roc Loc Air retention system also partially suspends the helmet off the top of the riders' head to create more room for the air to move
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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According to Giro, the so-called 'Aero Mesh' side panels not only improve ventilation and aerodynamic performance but they also provide a convenient place to stash sunglasses

According to Giro, the so-called 'Aero Mesh' side panels not only improve ventilation and aerodynamic performance but they also provide a convenient place to stash sunglasses
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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The rearmost exhaust port is decorated with a plastic shield-like piece

The rearmost exhaust port is decorated with a plastic shield-like piece
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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The clean styling is evocative of classic hairnets

The clean styling is evocative of classic hairnets
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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Giro equips the new Synthe with the height-adjustable Roc Loc Air retention system

Giro equips the new Synthe with the height-adjustable Roc Loc Air retention system
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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The profile of the Giro Synthe is remarkably trim but then again, such tight lines are necessary for good aerodynamic performance so it's not a big surprise

The profile of the Giro Synthe is remarkably trim but then again, such tight lines are necessary for good aerodynamic performance so it's not a big surprise
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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The new Giro Synthe is impressively good-looking for an aero road lid

The new Giro Synthe is impressively good-looking for an aero road lid
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)
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As compared to the Giro Aeon (left), the new Synthe is noticeably more compact with a visually smaller and more compact profile

As compared to the Giro Aeon (left), the new Synthe is noticeably more compact with a visually smaller and more compact profile
(Image credit: James Huang/Future Publishing)

Giro today launched its latest and arguably most performance-oriented road helmet to date, the Synthe. Claimed to be 13-percent lighter and even slightly faster (in some conditions) than the current Air Attack, and yet slightly better ventilated than the ultra-cool Aeon, Giro says it's 'the one' helmet that's suitable for all conditions, all the time.

"It's the helmet if you're interested in all-around efficiency - cooling, aerodynamics, ventilation," said Giro senior brand manager Eric Richter.

The one metric that Giro doesn't toss out there, though, is the one that we'd argue is most important to riders who simply weren't interested in the decidedly polarizing Air Attack. By our estimates, the new Synthe is easily 114-percent better looking with surprisingly classic, hairnet-like lines and a sleek, low-profile aesthetic that's not only inoffensive but actually manages to look good by drawing features from the Aeon, Air Attack and Aspect. We measured a small Synthe to be nearly 10mm narrower than a comparable Aeon.

It's also impressively light at just 250g (claimed) for a CPSC-approved size medium (CE versions will be closer to 230g), plus there are dedicated slots to stash your sunglasses (and they actually work).

Retail price will be US$250 / £200 / €250 when it arrives in stores in December with three available sizes and eight different color choices.

The numbers story

Giro says that testing in multiple wind tunnels has shown the Synthe to be its fastest road helmet in typical riding situations: with the helmet at a 30-degree angle from perfectly upright and in wind-averaged conditions that take a wide range of wind angles into account (although the Air Attack is apparently still faster in a more aggressive, 'head down' position).

Moreover, Giro says the Synthe is faster than the Specialized S-Works Evade by a difference of about 8g of drag at 40km/h.

While the biggest contributor to the Synthe's aero performance is its smoothly tapered shape, the helmet's unique Aero Mesh side panels further alleviate drag. According to R&D director Rob Wesson, those panels control the so-called boundary layer and provide a smooth pathway for air to escape that doesn't excessively trip up the external airflow like fully exposed side vents.

Giro also says its in-house 'Therminator' instrumented head form shows cooling power almost exactly on par with a bare head.

First ride report

We did just one ride in the new Synthe, but it was in the stifling June heat of the Arizona desert.

Our first impression was certainly the surprising appearance. While it looks good in pictures, the Synthe looks even better in person.

Ventilation was also remarkably good with excellent flow-through and plenty of open ports for heat to escape when you're just sitting at a stoplight and sandwiched between the oppressive sun and hot tarmac.

Giro admits that there's still a little bit of work to be done on the fit and finish but overall, the Synthe essentially disappears on your head. The height adjustable Roc Loc Air retention system helps suspend the helmet's shell just off the top of your head and the fully circumferential contact does a decent job of distributing pressure - although we were still happy to hear that the brow pad section will ultimately be taller for production.

Giro says sponsored teams will use the Synthe in the upcoming Tour de France and we'll have proper production samples for long-term test in about 30 days so stay tuned for more. So far, though, we like what we see.