At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
The Giro Isode helmet incorporates the latest MIPS technology, which is good to see at this price, and I also like that Giro has included a bug mesh in the front vents. The downsides are that the ventilation is average and it feels heavier than it is. A bit of a mixed bag then.
The Giro has gone for a one-size-fits-all design for the Isode, covering head circumferences from 54cm to 61cm, and I reckon it's this that makes it feel heavier than it actually is. I have a 56cm head so with the cradle wound in to suit, it just feels like there is a lot of helmet unsupported hanging over the back of my head (it's not me in the photos, by the way).
It feels top heavy in a weird way. I was testing this alongside the Bell Formula MIPS helmet, which was actually 11g heavier at 282g, but it felt so much lighter in use than the Isode.
The padding that comes with the Isode is quite thick as well, and quite soft, which makes it feel like the helmet is kind of squished on. If you back off the tension on the cradle to alleviate it, then the helmet becomes too loose.
I wouldn't say that the Giro is uncomfortable, but it does have quite a few compromises in the fit – for me anyway; a helmet's fit is a very personal thing after all.
The Isode has 22 vents in various positions but for some reason they don't translate to a particularly impressive amount of ventilation. Whether that is down to their size or position is unclear, although it is most likely a mixture of the two.
As the temperature has been dropping off to the low teens centigrade it's done a better job of keeping my head cool, but push the effort and your head will get sweaty.
One nice addition is the bug mesh behind the front five vents. If you've ever been stung by an irate wasp trapped in your helmet then you'll know it isn't a pleasant experience – especially if you are trying to deal with traffic all around you. This simple solution makes a big difference to riding in the summer and it's a mystery why more manufacturers don't include it.
You may have seen the initials MIPS added to the name of various helmets over the last year or so, and if you don't know what it is then let me fill you in. In a crash your head is subject to two types of forces, lateral and rotational. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and the little yellow tabs that you see between cradle and helmet allow some 'give' – a slip plane if you like, to reduce those rotational forces.
It's being used in all kinds of safety equipment and it's good to see it becoming available on helmets lower in the price range.
And that brings us nicely on to value...
Against some on the market the Giro is quite a sensibly priced helmet, but going back to that Bell I mentioned earlier it's surprising how much more you can get for your money. The Bell is £84.99 compared to the Giro's £69.99, but for that extra £15 the Bell is an all-round better package. It feels lighter, too, and looks more expensive than it is.
Performance-wise, I'd put the Giro on a par with the Specialized Align; they feel the same weight when you wear them side by side, too. True, the Spesh doesn't have the MIPS, but it is just 30 quid.
Overall, it's not a bad helmet from Giro, but it's overshadowed by others of a similar price.
Great to see MIPS at this price but it could do with better ventilation and comfort
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Isode MIPS 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?
Giro says, "Sometimes the smartest designs also are the simplest. The Isode™ MIPS® is an easy fit for riders who want classic style with the latest features, yet don't want to spend a fortune or compromise comfort. The Isode includes several features found in our premium helmets, like In-Mold construction to keep the weight low and the easy one-handed adjustments of our acclaimed Roc Loc® Sport MIPS system, for a sure fit at the turn of a dial. It's the perfect companion for your riding, no matter how fast or how far you ride."
It's not a bad helmet but lacks the refinement of some others on the market at this price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Full Hardbody coverage
In-mold polycarbonate shell with EPS liner
Roc Loc Sport
UNIVERSAL FIT SIZES:
UA 21.25' - 24' / 54 - 61cm
Not massively heavy, but it felt weightier than it is.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It is pretty average across the board at achieving what a helmet should do.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
MIPS technology at a good price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Poor ventilation and, for me at least, it feels heavy.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's a good price for a MIPS-equipped helmet but it lacks on the basics compared to some of the similarly and cheaper priced helmets, like the Specialized I mention in the review.
Did you enjoy using the product? I've got others that I prefer to wear.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
On the whole I found the Giro to be quite a basic helmet for the money, apart from the MIPS. There are some much better helmets out there for a similar price that offer more ventilation and, for me, a better fit.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!