There’s quite a bit of innovation happening in the bicycle helmet world. Earlier this week we unveiled and reviewed the innovative Smith Overtake aero/road helmet, and this month Giro along with Kali Protectives (stay tuned) are also showing off new helmet models as well.
Giro’s lineup of premium helmet models seem to cover the range of needs for every cyclist. On one end of the spectrum, they have the Air Attack, released in 2012 just in time for Giro sponsored riders like Jeremy Powers to wear during the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky. The Air Attack was born to fit the needs of the cyclist who demands aerodynamic benefits at the costs of ventilation. Giro’s Aeon, on the other hand, supplied riders who place a premium on a cooler head and an ultralight lid.
This week, Giro introduced their new Synthe. As the name suggests, the Synthe is supposed to be the synthesis of all the best parts of the Aeon and the Air Attack.
While the Synthe closely resembles an Air Attack with vents, Giro claims that their new helmet is 2% cooler than their ultralight flagship road helmet, the Aeon. While the Aeon looks like one of the most ventilated helmets with its sheer amount of vents, the back view of the Synthe reveals massive exit vents that the Aeon lacks. Rather than cooling your forehead with large forward-facing vents, Giro’s Synthe is designed around the concept that it’s more beneficial to channel air from the front and out the back, cooling your complete scalp. Just like cooling yourself in a car, rolling down the front and rear windows work much better than opening the driver’s window alone.
Giro’s claimed weight for the Synthe is 250 grams. That is the equivalent of shaving 13 percent off the Air Attack. One of the many possible causes of this is the advancements in the retention system that hides under the helmet’s shell. A profile view of the Synthe shows a razor thin adjustment retainer, which works itself beneath the entire helmet.
Giro also claims that while the Synthe is far superior to the Aeon’s aerodynamic drag, it is also marginally faster than the Air Attack. This last claim comes with a large asterisk. With a headwind, and the rider’s head angle at 30 percent, which Giro says is a common angle for pro-level riders, their laboratory tests show slight gains compared to the Air Attack. Of course, these benefits won’t be realized for riders who are more apt to putting their head down and mashing their pedals, which would force the top of the helmet to battle the wind.
Lastly, the Synthe is set to hit Giro retailers this December, which might be too late to salvage your cyclocross season, but just in time for the National Championship in Austin, Texas. The Giro Synthe will MSRP at $250.
As usual, we’ll aim to bring you a full test of this new helmet from our cyclocross and gravel-specific perspective.
Also be sure to check out our recent test and review of the Smith Optics Overtake, and stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine for more product releases, including the new bikes and accessories we found at Press Camp 2014!