Giro manages to nail both style and safety in the Escape MIPS. The profile is sleek and comfortable. There’s lots of coverage and the MIPS liner is better integrated than older versions
MIPS liner is less likely to catch hair than older versions
Easy to adjust rear cradle up and down
Integrated peak helps protect the face in an accident
Lights are easy to turn on
Lacks USB-C charging
Rear cradle padding isn’t removable
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Helmets are safety gear. The job of a good helmet is to keep you safe when the worst happens. That's not the end of the story though. Keeping your head safe is the baseline but like any cycling product, there are different options for different uses. If you are heading across town on a city bike, it's not going to feel great doing it in a race-ready aero helmet. As always, the right tool for the job is what makes sense and that's why we put together a list of the best commuter helmets. The escape MIPS also features in our best e-bike helmets guide.
One of the options on that list is the Giro Camden MIPS. It earned a spot because it's an excellent design with great coverage and an integrated rear light. Staying with a similar design, Giro has just added a new option that we think is worth a look also. The Giro Escape MIPS shares a similar style, also has integrated lights, but it's lighter and lacks the focus on e-bikes. If you are looking for an urban helmet for commuter duties then keep reading to see what we think of this new option.
Design and aesthetics
Style matters in a helmet. There's no reason to pretend it doesn't and when it comes to this attribute, Giro has nailed the urban look with the Escape MIPS. There are options for white, black, and grey but they are all a matte finish with a soft touch feel to them. There's no shiny, attention grabbing, colours available and instead you've got understated but sleek.
At the front there's a subtle integrated peak. It's not really enough to substantially block the sun but it does add extra, face-protecting safety. At the edges of the peak the crease and edge flow into the sides of the helmet. They create a line of angled vents and curve all the way around the back before connecting again at the front on the opposite side. The effect is a sense of movement while also adding functional vents and staying true to the urban aesthetics.
Perfectly integrated into all the body lines and venting is what helps the Giro Escape MIPS standout in a crowded space. Namely, a crisp line of lighting at both the front and back of the helmet. The front light is white with red at the rear. Controls, and the charging port, sit on the upper rear surface. A single press on the left button activates the 75-lumen front light in steady mode. A second push changes the solid lighting to flashing and extends the run time from two up to 10 hours. The 40-lumen rear light works in exactly the same way.
Sitting between the two controls is the charging port. Giro has opted to stick with the older micro-USB standard and there's a soft rubber cover. With the cover in place, there's no issue with rain riding. The Giro Escape MIPS enjoys an IP-65 water resistance rating that matches many common bike lights.
Flip the helmet over and you can get a clear view of the construction. While the lightest race-specific helmets use an in-mould construction, Giro has opted for a two-part construction with the Escape MIPS. The outer ABS-plastic shell sits over the EPS (expanded polystyrene) internal layer. While not the lightest option this design handles knocks better and is a better choice for a helmet likely to live a bit rougher life.
Keep moving toward the inside and final layers are the padding and the MIPS liner. You might have seen the extremely thin MIPS liners from older helmets but this one is a bit different. Both designs boost safety by creating a slip plane that allows the helmet to rotate in angled impacts. What's different is the propensity to catch errant hair. While not completely integrated like the Spherical technology that Giro uses on some of their helmets, it's a big step forward. It also combines well with the ponytail holder in the rear cradle, and the low-profile padding to boost comfort.
One of the most common questions I get about helmets all hinge around style. People want to be able to ride with their kids to school, or a variety of other errands, with a helmet that matches the style of the activity. They want something that looks good but isn't overly serious.
At the same time, people want safety. No one is willing to sacrifice style for substance and you shouldn't need to anyway. MIPS or a competing rotational impact technology, should be a given. What's less considered is getting proper coverage. Specifically at the front of the helmet on the forehead a helmet should always come low enough that you've got protection.
If that's what you are looking for, Giro and the Escape MIPS deliver the goods. I'm talking a lot about style here because that's what makes the Escape MIPS special. It looks great paired with one of the best commuter bikes and it's never going to elicit try hard jokes. Nailing that style is one of the challenges that helmet manufacturers often fail at. You want a premium helmet but not a racy helmet and that's what Giro has managed to do.
That style isn't at the expense of substance though. The MIPS liner never catches your hair and there's a ton of easy adjustability for the fit. Getting the chin strap forward enough to keep the peak at the right level is easy. You won't find yourself lost in the straps with hopelessly mismatched lengths. Once it's set, adjusting the length happens with a big loop that doesn't need cut to length. There's also adequate, though not generous, venting to handle hot days.
The other big feature of the Giro Escape MIPS is the integrated lights. The more you can make things easy for people the more they are likely to see use. With a weight of 494g, as measured for size medium, the lights have no drawbacks. The buttons are easy to press, and easy to find, with the helmet on. Turn them on when you head out and they will add a bit of visibility without relying on hi-vis colours.
The best helmet is the one that requires no sacrifices. It's got the right style for the use, it's got all the safety features, and it's comfortable. That's what you get with the Giro Escape MIPS. It only takes a couple of minutes to get the fit dialled and it's super comfortable with the perfect commuter style. The integrated lights solve the usual problems of being heavy and difficult to operate, they just work. It's also nice to see a design that should hold up to time spent in a bag.
In light of all that good, it's almost baffling to see the small missteps. Most people have a variety of USB-C and micro-USB cables and chargers so one or the other isn't a huge issue. Still, it's 2022, why not use the modern USB-C option?
The non-removable rear padding falls into that same category. Helmet pads should be removable so that they are replaceable. You can wash them in the helmet but after enough use you'll want to replace them and, in this case, you can't. It's a small issue but the rest of the design is so good that it's a noticeable misstep.
Tech Specs: Giro Escape MIPS
- Price: £129.99 / $130
- Brightness: Up to 75 lumens front, 40 lumens rear
- Run Time: Flash mode - 10 hours, steady mode - 2 hours
- Weight: 494 grams in size medium
- Size availability: S, M, L
- Colour Options: Matte Graphite, Matte Chalk, Matte Black
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