The Giant Strive MIPS Aero Road is an understated and generally well-thought-out helmet that meets its everyman design brief well. That said, some detailing fell below my expectations for this end of the market.
Giant says the Strive is based upon the Rivet, but with improved ventilation and accessory-specific features. Generally speaking, the specification is precisely what I'd expect. We have a matt black polycarbonate outer shell fused to the EPS liner and CE1078 conformity. Despite daily use and some filthy weather, I've not felt the need to add any rejuvenating matt preserve to date.
Unusually, there are only 12 vents – but this theoretically makes the design safer in a crash. I might sing a different tune on a long, gruelling Continental climb in the height of summer, but the airflow system seems to provide a temperate climate, whether bombing or grinding along, suggesting Giant has the balance right.
'Transtextura' anti-bacterial pads wick moisture, passing it through the rear 'exhaust' vents, neutralising any residual stuff into the bargain. Talking of wind, there's been no conversation-muting roar or distracting whistle on blustery descents.
The MIPS technology is the thin yellow layer between head and helmet, designed to work like a car's roll cage, protect the brain from twisting forces associated with a more traumatic crash. Hopefully we'll never need to depend on it.
The thumbwheel cinch-fit is extremely intuitive and easily tweaked on-the-fly to accommodate caps and other headwear – the same goes for chin and Y-straps.
The teardrop shape is not only flattering but fits really snugly and has some practical benefits, though how much of an aerodynamic advantage is difficult to quantify without windtunnel facilities.
There's a channel at the front specifically designed with action cams in mind. I've mixed feelings about the aesthetic, and generally prefer handlebar mounting, especially with my Tom Tom Bandit. No dramas with Go Pro patterns, mind.
Round the back sits an embossed panel. Removal is straightforward and reveals a magnetic light mount. It's definitely neat but you'll need to invest another £20 in Giant's integrated Numen Plus Link tail light; leaving the panel in situ and using the mother of all 'O' rings, you might get lucky, but so far I've been unsuccessful in persuading any of my rear blinkie collection to fit.
On the one hand, there's a lot to like here. The slightly unusual shape is actually quite subtle and won't look odd when you've hopped from fixer to tourer or gravel bike to hybrid. It delivers pretty much everything I need from a road biased lid and a cap arguably works better than a plug-in peak in these riding contexts.
That said, given the asking price and Giant's purchasing power, it's disappointing that the polycarbonate shell does not extend around the rim. Okay, so this might add a few paltry grams, but it would also offer greater defence against accidental everyday carelessness.
Nice road helmet with some really clever touches but the polycarbonate shell should really extend around the rim
road.cc test report
Make and model: Giant Strive Mips Aero Road Helmet
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Giant says: "Designed with Giant's AirFlow ventilation system, Cinch Pro fit system and a modern, rounded shape, Strive is an all-rounder road helmet with purpose-built features and technologies."
My feelings: I like the neat, integrated concept and it generally meets its broad design brief surprisingly well and without feeling too generic.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Giant's website:
CE1078 in moulded construction, polycarbonate shell, GoPro compatible mounting surface so you can replay the highlights and integrated magnetic light mount for increased visibility. Includes revolutionary MIPS brain protection system.
Protection: In-mould polycarbonate shell and MIPS
Fit system: Cinch Pro™ and Liteform™ webbing
Ventilation: AirFlow ventilation system
Padding: TransTextura Plus™ X-odour anti-microbial pads
Extra: GoPro compatible and integrated magnetic light mount
Well made but slightly disappointed to find EPS liner exposed around the rim.
Fills most road-centric roles very competently.
Feels lighter and airier than the numbers would suggest.
Good but no less than I would expect from this end of the market and economies of scale.
Good, with a lot of engineering that isn't obvious, but given the brand's purchase power, I was slightly disappointed to discover the polycarbonate outer did not extend to the rim.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've really enjoyed using the Giant Strive MIPS helmet. The integrated features are nice, albeit slightly restrictive in terms of LED choice. It also has the "social chameleon" bit sussed too, looking and performing well regardless of whether I've been belting along on a pared-to-the-essentials TT bike, commuting on a tourer, or indulging in a bit of rough stuff on my 'crosser.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lighter and airier than weight and vents would suggest, integrated touches, MIPS type roll cage system was also very interesting and unobtrusive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Exposed EPS liner.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but not at full RRP in its current guise.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Generally speaking, yes, but with the above proviso in mind.
Use this box to explain your score
An understated design with some good engineering and clever touches, but at the expense of some other minor detailing. Detailing that I would expect to be standard on a helmet of this price, given Giant's purchasing power.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)