The Giro Vanquish MIPS is a superb all round helmet if you prefer to have one helmet to cover training, racing and TT use. Light and with pretty much class leading airflow for its category. It truly is comfortable as it is aero. If there's a downside to the Vanquish it would have to be the aesthetics. It's not a helmet that flatters many riders and there are several better looking lids in the category that I would prefer to use.
Fit and airflow
By James Bracey
By now Giro's latest aero road helmet, the Giro Vanquish MIPS, has been seen on the heads of many of Giro's sponsored riders including Mark Cavendish's Dimension Data team. Like it's predecessors such as the Air Attack, it's a design born of the wind tunnel and extensive computational fluid dynamics analysis.
Giro has created the Vanquish to be the perfect compromise between your typical ventilated road helmet and a specific, aerodynamic TT style helmet. Giro has left nothing to chance with the Vanquish in order to make you go faster. It comes with a fairly impressive array of features, not only on the outside but inside too.
The Giro Vanquish MIPS outer shell has been almost split in two with the largely featureless front portion designed to look like it wraps over the smaller and narrower rear half. This wrap is something Giro call TransformAir and the step down acts to trick air into behaving as if the helmet has a traditional tear drop TT shape but allows for a more practical shell design.
Four forward facing vents are employed to do the job of pulling cooler air over your head and these are complimented by six further vents at the rear designed to dispel warm air and regulate head temperature. In practice these actually do a very efficient job despite the normal restrictions with a helmet of this type. The Giro Vanquish MIPS certainly is nowhere near as airy as a pure road helmet but you can feel the vents doing their job and the internal channelling works very well to release warm air and sweat. The two lower front vents also have a generous silicon coating to help keep your eyewear safe when not wearing them.
Inside and Giro has employed the latest MIPS safety liner. This technology, as you now, works by having a sliding inner surface that enables any rotational forces that are generated in a crash to be dissipated to an extent that should reduce the likelihood of skull and brain injuries.
This new liner is made of a much more breathable material than previous versions and has no noticeable negative impacts on the fit or comfort of the Vanquish. It also incorporates Giro's longstanding Roc Loc retention system and anti-microbial pads to create an environment that is an absolute pleasure to put your head.
Where the Giro Vanquish MIPS stands out from many of its rivals is in the inclusion of a neat magnetic visor. More suited to TT duties (or dare I say it, triathlon) it snaps into place perfectly every time thanks to three strong magnets. When not needed, it can be flipped and clipped to the helmet using the same magnets.
The optics and tint of the Carl Zeiss made visor are pretty spot on. Despite the large curvature distortion is almost at zero, only noticeable at the very edge of your peripheral vision. Tint wise, it works in a wide range of light conditions but will struggle on very overcast days or when riding roads with large tree cover. The Vanquish plays well with normal eyewear so you don't have to use the visor if you so wish. But be careful with it, in Giro's infinite wisdom they do no not supply a protective carry bag for it.
Without going to a wind tunnel and undergoing specific testing it's difficult to really quantify just how much faster the Vanquish is over an open style road helmet but I can say that I pulled up several Strava PRs on the first ride with the helmet (on segments I ride regularly).
At that time the helmet was the only change to my equipment. What I can say is that there was never any time when I was wishing I was wearing another helmet for performance reason. And that is a pretty good endorsement in my book.
There is one issue I have with the Vanquish and whilst it might be relatively trivial to many it is the proverbial fly in the ointment for me. The looks. When it first arrived, the squared off shaping and awkward split personality styling reminded me of a Horseshoe Crab (look it up). Not the most beautiful of creatures.
The colour I tested (Citron/white) didn't help as it gave the Vanquish the look of a very cheap safety helmet. I'm sure it would look better in other colours but for me the styling would be enough for me to look elsewhere if I were choosing an aero lid.
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