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Giro Synthe MIPS Reflective helmet review

6 Feb 2018

Giro attempts to improve on an already near-perfect product

Cyclist Rating: 
A clever update to an already top quality helmet
Easily scuffed after very few uses

Since its launch in 2014, the Giro Synthe helmet has fast become one of the most popular helmets on the market. Pop down to your local race, take part in a sportive or just enjoy a Sunday bike ride in a popular cycling destination and you will see hoards of Synthes donning the heads of many men and women.

Why? Because it is aerodynamic, lightweight and breathable while remaining timelessly stylish, killing multiple birds with one stone.

In one helmet, the Synthe is good enough to be raced on the roads and in time trials while also being perfect for long hours spent training in winter or climbing Alpine climbs in summer. 

Now, Giro is attempting to add another weapon to its arsenal by introducing its very first reflective Synthe helmet. If Giro could pull this off well, then it would have to my mind created the closest thing you can get to the perfect helmet.

If it isn't broke, don't fix it 

Before moving on to this marquee change from Giro, it is worth mentioning that the rest of the helmet is more of the same.

At 290g the Synthe still remains one of the most lightweight aerodynamic helmets on the market while staying plenty breathable.

Containing 26 vents, air was able to pass through the helmet with ease keeping my head comfortable no matter how hard I was pushing myself. It was quite the relief not having to take my helmet off after a big climb to let my head cool down.

Helmets have always been an issue for me. With a relatively large head (ok, it's bigger than 'relatively large' but my mum promises that's because I have a large brain) it has always been a struggle finding a helmet that fits well. 

It has often been the case that even the biggest helmet sizes offered by some brands are still not big enough for me. However at 63cm, the upper size limit of the Giro Synthe is plenty generous with its Roc Loc Air system providing a fit that feels secure without moving into the realms of tight.

The reflective Synthe also incorporates the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System or MIPS which promises to redirect and absorb energy sustained in impacts away from the brain. I'm yet to crash but I trust that this will reduce my chances of head injuries if I do.

In my opinion, the Synthe is still one of, if not the most, aesthetically pleasing aero helmets around. It sits on the head neatly appearing sleek on even the most most awkward of head shapes which is rare for an aero lid.

Usually when a helmet decides to go aero it resembles a mushroom on most people's heads. Thankfully, this is never the case with the Synthe.


The big change for this latest Synthe is that Giro has incorporated reflective technology along the sleek top section of the helmet. 

During the day this looks like your usual stealthy, all-black Giro Synthe that you will see in abundance at a local crit race or in Regent's Park on a lunchtime spin. However, wear it at night and it transforms.

Taking the reflective Synthe out for its first ride in the dark I was unsure as to whether it would deliver, overly aware of how dark the helmet was and how hard it would be for fellow road users to see if not reflective.

Thankfully my concerns were put to bed almost instantly. Riding down into my local town, the helmet caught the gaze of almost every light within sight reflecting a luminous grey colour for all to see.

To make sure, on my second night ride I asked a friend to join me to double check whether I was truly visible. He confirmed I was. 

I began to think that this reflective Synthe could well be the 'perfect helmet' but it was not long until it showed its Achilles heel. 

The nature of work here at Cyclist means that I am often travelling around with my kit to various sportives and rides both here in the UK and abroad, handily attaching my helmet to my backpack to prevent it from taking vital bag room, standard practice for anybody travelling with their lid.

It was on the third or forth occasion of doing this I noticed an issue. As I carried my lid around it would pick up the occasional knock as I got off of trains or into cars. While your usual helmet weathers these blows with ease, the reflective Synthe did not.

It appears that the material used to make the helmet reflective does not take being bashed so well and now my much-loved helmet is covered in marks and scratches.

While I admit this is a personal fault that could be avoided, at £259 I would expect a helmet to hold up better to slight bumps and knocks. 

It was a pity for this to happen as apart from this, the Giro Synthe Reflective is probably the best helmet I have ever worn and the closest anybody has ever come to a helmet for all occasions.

Not only was this lid aero enough for a time trial or race but it was comfortable enough for long hours in the saddle spent riding a sportive or training ride while looking effortlessly cool in every situation.

Now that it is reflective, it has also become the perfect choice to commute in.

If Giro is able to sort out the small blip of the helmet scratching so easily then I would even go as far as suggesting that this helmet is in a league of its own.

Buy the Giro Synthe MIPS from eBay here


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