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Giro Vanquish MIPS aero helmet review

24 Jul 2018

A helmet designed to be ultra-aerodynamic but how necessary is that for us amateurs?

Cyclist Rating: 
• Comfortable and secure fitting • Copes well with heat at speed
• Visor is questionable • Heat can become issue when climbing

The Giro Vanquish launched last year just before Eurobike. The big sell around the helmet was that it was the one of the fastest road helmets on the market. Claimed to be quicker than Specialized's Evade, Bontrager's Ballista and Giro's own Air Attack.

It has become the go-to helmet for the likes of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) when they want to race fast, when they are looking to save every second possible in order to take their next big victory.

This is all well and good for the professionals but how does this translate across to us amateurs, the paying customers. 

Well the Giro Vanquish is a mixed bag.

Buy the Giro Vanquish MIPS aero helmet from Wiggle here

Faster and faster

Giro has used its Transform Air technology to produce a cliff on the peak of the helmet. This is claimed to reduce drag, passing air across it no different to a teardrop-shaped helmet without the drag associated with these helmets.

This has led to results it wants to shout about. 

According to Giro's own research - a baseline test of 40km at 400w - the Vanquish, without visor, is two seconds quicker than a Specialized Evade, 10 seconds quicker than the Bontrager Ballista and eight seconds quicker than the Air Attack, the helmet it is replacing.

Add another two seconds to these totals if you add the visor. 

However, in reality, these numbers mean very little. If any of us were able to ride a 40km time trial at 400w we wouldn't be buying our own helmet rather wearing the brand that sponsors our pro team.

Realistically, it's hard, almost impossible, to gauge the aerodynamic benefits of the Vanquish but if you pushed me I would say it felt faster than my Giro Synthe when travelling at similar intensities, but this is guesswork.

If you can't handle the heat

Ventilation for the Giro Vanquish comes in the form of four vents on the front and six on the back. On the rear are four smaller holes at the top and two larger portals at the point of the helmet.

Giro combines this all under the name 'Wind Tunnel Ventilation'.

It looks to pass air from the front, across the top of the head and back through the rear reducing drag while delivering 'optimum cooling'.

When you are riding fast the Giro Vanquish does this. When hovering around the 30kmh mark I could notice a constant stream of cool air passing through the helmet keeping me suitably cool.

Increase the pace and the air got cooler with more passing through. 

It even has the added benefit of producing a cool stream of air from the two larger rear vents that is directed down your spine, particularly welcomed in the recent good weather that we have unusually had in the UK.

At slower speeds, as you would expect, it is less effective. There is simply less air passing through to keep you cool and so causing the temperature within the helmet to rise.

It was particularly noticeable when climbing. Even on short ascents of five minutes, I could feel the change in temperature, becoming noticeably more sweaty and uncomfortable.

The harder I pushed the hotter I got so much so I considered it a barrier to going harder.

You could argue that the Vanquish is not designed for climbing and therefore my issues when climbing are invalid. But realistically, you will find yourself climbing in this helmet at some point so the warnings of overheating are necessary.

Where I could see the Giro Vanquish really shining however, is in the Winter. If I had done these same efforts in the middle of January when the temperature is over 20 degree lower then I wouldn't have had an issue, in fact it would have helped in keeping me warm.

To visor or not to visor

I couldn't bring myself to wear the Vivid visor. It made me look like an odd extra at the back of the Cantina bar in Star Wars: A New Hope and simply looks silly on your Sunday club run.

You could pull of the visor at you local 10-mile time trial if on a full TT rig but that's about it really. It's a shame because the Vivid is actually a pretty good piece of kit.

It provides an impressive field of unobstructed view while the Zeiss lens is effective across most light, keeping your eyes well protected.

Being set away from the face, the Vivid lens also prevents sweat building up on the brow or nose like a pair of sunglasses which also stops it from fogging. 

The clever magnetic system keeps the visor secure while keeping it easy enough to remove on the fly with it also sitting neatly on the top of the helmet when flipped around. 

Without the Vivid visor the Vanquish helmet works well with sunglasses, you will be happy to hear.

I tested a range of sunglasses from those without rims (Smith Attack Max sunglasses) to those with (Oakley Jawbreakers) and found they all fit the Vanquish well.

The peak of the helmet is far enough from the top of the glasses to prevent obstruction while the two ventilation holes double up as excellent ports to house the arms of your glasses.

Giro has combined its own Roc Loc Air fit system with MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) for added comfort and safety. 

The Roc Loc system fully encompasses the head and allows you to adjust to the perfect fit with three different height levels and a twisting dial that adjusts to the circumference needed allowing the Vanquish to sit trouble-free.  

Meanwhile, MIPS, as is now well-known, is a brain-protection system that via a internal cradle helps absorb rotational forces to the head in the result of a crash.

Touch wood, I haven't felt its benefit yet but you would trust it works.

Buy the Giro Vanquish MIPS aero helmet from Wiggle here

Lastly, the colour I tested - matte Glacier - was not to my liking but the other five options are all quite appealing, especially the one Giro calls 'Dazzle'.

Would I buy this over a Giro Synthe or the new Aether? No I wouldn't - I don't need to be more aero, I'm not a good enough rider to appreciate the difference - but I can understand the appeal of the Vanquish.

It's a solid helmet that will probably see you riding faster without you knowing. Just be warned, the visor isn't a good look.


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