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MIPS has been a transformative technology for bike helmets, taking safety to a new level by protecting against the rotational motion of impacts. But there have been some drawbacks to traditional MIPS helmets, which use a plastic liner inside the helmet. They can be less comfortable and don’t ventilate quite as well compared to their non-MIPS counterparts. The plastic liners have been known to snag hair as well. The downsides by no means outweigh the improvements in safety, but there has always been a part of us that knows these helmets could be better. Luckily, Giro thought so too. Ever the innovator, Giro found a way to improve MIPS technology by embedding it inside the helmet between two layers of EPS foam. Called Spherical Technology, it debuted in the Aether Spherical at a price point of upwards of $320. Luckily the tech has come to a less expensive, albeit still pricey, helmet, one that proves once again why Giro is at the top of the helmet game: the Helios Spherical.
Spherical technology is at the core of what makes this helmet great, so it’s helpful to understand a bit more about it. This technology integrates the MIPS liner and accompanying elastomeric anchors within the helmet, placing them between two Nanobead EPS foam liners. The liners can move independently, in a “ball-and-socket” design similar to how your hips work, allowing the helmet to mitigate rotational forces in a crash. But the Spherical design adds another layer of safety, allowing different densities in the separate foam liners—one to account for high speed impacts, and the other for low speed ones—creating a well-rounded helmet ready for however you ride.
Before moving on, we have to take a quick moment to appreciate the paint jobs on the Helios, which use different colors on the different layers of foam, providing more depth to each colorway. The “matte warm black” color we tested features a forest green color on the inside layer, with matte black on the top layer. It still reads mostly as a black helmet, but the green adds some interest to the helmet.
The tech is pretty slick. You’ll have some fun playing around with moving around the dual foam layers, experiencing the ball and socket design at work. But beyond safety, the important part of Spherical tech is the new design opportunities it presents. The interior of the helmet can be channeled more aggressively with Giro’s Wind Tunnel channeling than helmets with traditional MIPS liners, enhancing airflow and cooling. The result is a helmet as breezy as its 15 Wind Tunnel vents would suggest—you’ll probably want to wear a cap under this lid during cold weather rides.
The fit on this helmet is magnificent. We experienced no pinch points or pressure as we adjusted the excellent-as-usual Roc Loc 5 Air fit system. The rubberized dial on the back of the helmet is small, but easy to operate on the bike, offering micro adjustments with a satisfying, audible click. And the helmet cradle is easy to raise and lower as well. The Ionic+ antimicrobial padding seems comfortable and effective so far—there is no smell coming from the helmet after a few weeks spent riding it exclusively and doing nothing to clean it. For added comfort around the chin, the strap is quite soft. It’s slightly harder to adjust or tighten than other helmet straps we have tried, but that’s a minor detail because adjustment should really only need to be done once.
Our size medium weighed in at 270 grams, pretty light although not the lightest option on the market. Combined with the great fit, the helmet disappears on the head, exactly what you want from a helmet. It also plays nicely with sunglasses, which can dock upside down in the front.
At $250, the Helios Spherical is still an expensive helmet, but it lowers the barrier to entry for the superb Spherical technology and delivers the expected quality of a premium Giro helmet. Hopefully soon enough we will see this tech make its way into more of the Giro line.
$250; 5 colors, 3 sizes; giro.com