Early impressions left me undecided whether to pop Giro Reverb urban commuter helmet on my bonce or empty my bladder into it (you might have had some trouble with the vents-ed). Thankfully, I put my prejudices to one side and found myself enjoying its funky, yet practical styling and its pleasing functionality too.
I've worn a lid pretty consistently since 1989 and the Reverb certainly harks back to the marques early heritage, only without the weight and mekon-esque profile synonymous with hard-shell designs of the era. Given there are only nine mounted vents, airflow is pretty good and boiled brains shouldn't be an issue on commutes between five and 10 miles at a steady 10 to 15 mph.
Available in a choice of 11 colours, including 'highlight yellow' (Giro speak for day-glo) I think it looks most befitting of the classic red black/blue white for a fuller retro-flavour and in these latter guises it feels very similar to the Air Attack as worn by Greg Lemond in days of yore. Our matt black medium tipped the scales 18 grams heavier than quoted at 289g but this is still pretty reasonable given the standards of construction that suggest you'd survive being fired from a circus cannon.
Joking aside, finish is really good with a tough polycarbonate shell extending around the base in contrasting blue, thus protecting the expanded polystyrene from dings, scrapes and everyday casual neglect. Coordinated straps form part of a self-adjusting cradle that automatically adapts when caps, headbands and similar accessories are adjusted- a real boon for quick getaways and everything clicks together intuitively in a matter of seconds.
The Reverb's comparatively portly profile is quickly forgotten as air streams through the gaping vents with increasing speed and the cap-style peak offers reasonable defence from wind, rain, leaves and other debris. However, remember to pack a gore-tex cover or merino wool cap since sharp showers will leave you drenched-countering your best efforts to arrive at the office looking chic. Maintaining a steady 15 mph in corresponding temperatures didn't leave me feeling overheated, although matt black might be too hot for summer and isn't the most visible during the depths of winter. However, the skate shape offers a decent platform for mounting lights.
Quirky and pleasingly singly capable helmet for shorter commutes and urban riding
road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Reverb helmet
Size tested: n/a
"A classic take on cycling style for today's urban environment. The Reverb's compact, classic lines are a perfect match to the clean new style that is driving urban cycling. The light-yet-tough In-mold shell wraps around to the inside of the helmet to resist dents and dings from life on the streets, and a self-adjusting fit system eliminates the need to dial-in the fit when wearing a cycling or winter caps. The finishing touch is a simple, removable cycling cap-style visor that adds a touch of style without compromising cooling ventilation in changing weather".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polycarbonate Shell,9 large vents, In mould construction, EPS liner, CE1078 conformity
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Reverb is a surprisingly comfortable and stylish lid for short haul, moderately paced commutes. Solid construction and excellent detailing bode well for longevity too, although more ventilation would be welcomed come the warmer months.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Funky-retro styling, superb build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, although ventilation might be an issue come the summer.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)