Giro's safest road helmet is its most refined to date
Lightweight feel and fit
Trademark racy Giro styling
MIPS Spherical protection
Assorted colour options
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The Giro Aether MIPS helmet is the brand's top-tier performance model. Naturally, the big talking point here hinges around the burgeoning notion of slip-plane technology, something Giro has tailored to improve comfort while still supplying concussion-reducing impact protection.
Dubbed 'Spherical', this in-house developed proprietary version of the Swedish-developed MIPS system promises unobtrusive levels of comfort, performance, ventilation and safety. We've been using it for the past four months now in a variety of weather conditions and have come away feeling impressed by what it offers as a package - scroll down to read why.
Design and aesthetics
The Aether shares a large portion of its DNA with the Synthe and, while both helmets are beautifully designed, sleek and refined, the Aether is nearly 20 grams lighter. The key nuances between the Aether and its siblings, however, is the manner in which Giro has managed to seamlessly stitch in attributes such as performance, comfort and safety without compromising the visual package. For the style-conscious, the Aether is available in myriad colourway options - 11 hues to be precise, as well as three sizes; small, medium and large.
Our Aether test helmet came outfitted in a colour Giro calls Red-Dark Fade. This design comprises a two-tone colour combination finished off with matte/gloss surfacing which helps create an added sense of sophistication and dynamism. Unlike other models in the Giro helmet range, the Aether forgoes the use of decals and uses a three-dimensional bevelled logo instead - it's all very refined and textural.
Utilising a six-piece polycarbonate hardbody shell, the Aether follows very much a form-over-function approach in terms of aesthetics. A shatterproof, transparent 'Aura' arch runs perpendicular to the five main venting channels for improved structural integrity while two additional structural buttresses finished in matte black provide back up.
Performance and fit
The first thing you'll notice when wearing the Aether is the comfortable and tailorable fit - the Aether weighs 265g on our scale (medium). With three size options available, the Roc Loc 5+ Air retention system works impressively well to provide a comfortable and secure fit. The fit also feels more encompassing allowing the head to sit deeper within the helmet shell as opposed to the helmet sitting high on top of the head - an issue many cyclists experience with other plastic MIPS-lined lids. The new location and clever positioning of the MIPS Spherical system have also made it easier and less uncomfortable to wear casquettes.
One of the standout features of the Aether comes in the form of ventilation. Despite the 11 vents on offer - which are ideal for hot summer rides - the helmet does well to regulate a constant temperature, even on cold wintery rides. Due to its bold and attractive aesthetics (and safety), it's no surprise the Aether is also widely employed across many cycling disciplines including road racing, marathon/cross-country mountain biking and cyclo-cross.
As previously stated, the Giro Aether uses a proprietary version of MIPS that was first introduced on the company's Avance ski helmet. The rationale behind MIPS Spherical was to create a safe helmet with radically improved comfort and fit over the conventional MIPS plastic slip-plane liner. This system comprises two layers of EPS foam that rotate independently of each other, thwarting rotational impact and bolstering overall effectiveness.
In fact, according to the industry's best-known independent helmet crash testing facility, Virginia Tech, the Aether currently ranks 11th in the list of tested road helmets. Using its STAR evaluation system that carries out a range of testing impact protocols, the Aether scored a maximum rating of five stars based on its ability to reduce linear acceleration and rotational velocity. The Aether is Giro's safest helmet to date (the Synthe MIPS follows closely behind in 14th position).
Like all the models in Giro's comprehensive helmet line-up, the Aether MIPS is a stunning lid to behold - but it's more the science and safety standards behind it that make it so difficult to overlook as an option. Some may be of the opinion that it's a little on the pricey side but the Giro Aether does everything it says on the box and more. Yes, there are 'safer' helmets out there (according to the Virginia Tech testing laboratory) but there are many other variables to take into consideration when making such an investment: fit, comfort and ventilation are just some of the other boxes the Aether ticks. Finally, it's also easily one of the best-looking helmets on the market offering a compendium of colour and design options to suits all tastes. In our opinion, it's one of the better helmets in its class - both from a functionality and safety perspective - and should be a genuine consideration for anyone looking to upgrade.
- Temperature range: Summer/autumn/winter: 0-22 degrees
- Test duration: Four months
- Terrain: Gravel, mountain bike trails, road
Specifications: Giro Aether MIPS
- Price: Starting at US$325 / £259 / AU$474
- Weight: 250g (claimed), 265g (actual, medium)
- Rotational safety: MIPS Spherical
- Retention: Roc Loc 5+ Air
- Aero: No
- Sizes: S, M, L
- Colours: 11
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