Giro's Aether is a fabulous helmet that offers an excellent level of ventilation, plenty of comfort and new MIPS Spherical technology.
- Pros: Well ventilated, comfortable, lightweight, MIPS Spherical technology
- Cons: The price tag
Let's start with the MIPS Spherical tech because that's the most important feature. As you might well know, MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. According to the company behind it, MIPS is "scientifically proven to reduce rotational motion by absorbing and redirecting rotational energies and forces transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head."
MIPS usually comes in the shape of an internal liner – a polycarbonate plastic layer that sits between your head and the expanded polystyrene (EPS). Here, though, rather than being added after the event, the MIPS Spherical technology is an integral part of the Aether's design.
The helmet features two distinct layers of multi-density EPS foam that can move relative to one another. The two layers are linked by little yellow tabs but you can easily shift the outer layer of EPS in all directions while the inner layer stays motionless next to your head.
The idea is that in the event of an angled impact, the inner layer slides beneath the outer layer, reducing rotational motion transferred to the brain.
The advantage of MIPS Spherical compared with a MIPS liner is that there's no obstruction to ventilation. You get loads of air flowing over your head here, the three central vents being particularly large.
The shell is made up of several pieces of polycarbonate with what's called an "Aura reinforcing arch" adding to the structure. This is a shatterproof, transparent piece that you can see running laterally across the front vents. It's thin and it sits quite a long way from your head so it doesn't interfere much with the ventilation.
Loads of channels in the EPS foam liner allow air to flow over your head. The Aether is among the coolest helmets I've ever used.
If things do get sweaty inside, an internal pad stretching right across your forehead helps stop moisture dripping down into your eyes – although, like other pads, it can become saturated on a long, hard climb.
Giro has included little rubber grippers at the bottom of two of the front vents to keep your glasses in place when you stow them up there. They work well to stop any slipping when you tilt your head downwards.
Giro's Roc Loc 5+ Air fit system is excellent. You get the choice of three different height positions at the back and the occipital contact points on each side are individually adjustable, which might be useful if your head isn't quite symmetrical.
The Roc Loc 5+ Air fit system encompasses the full circumference of your head which both spreads the pressure and means that it'll accommodate a wide variety of different head shapes comfortably. As with most systems, it's controlled via a clicky dial at the back. On-the-fly adjustments are easy, even if you're wearing chunky winter gloves.
The webbing used for the strap is thin and lightweight, and our medium sized helmet hit the scales at 267g. There are lighter helmets out there but bear in mind that any MIPS system will add a little weight.
The only issue I've had is with the temple sections of the helmet touching, and occasionally moving, the arms of some sunglasses. This is because glasses without much nosepiece adjustment sometimes sit higher on me than on most other people because I broke my nose donkey's years ago, and that little lift has been enough to cause contact. I got several other people to try out the Aether MIPS and none of them experienced the same thing, but if you have a high nose bridge you might want to check before you buy to be on the safe side.
At £259.99, the Aether is far from a bargain bucket option, but if you want a load of ventilation and comfort, and you're convinced of the value of MIPS, this helmet is exceptionally good.
Exceptionally good helmet that provides excellent cooling and comfort along with new MIPS Spherical technology
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Aether 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, "The Aether MIPS combines airy, open design with a revolution in rotational energy management to advance head protection for cyclists. Inside the Aether, a dual-density EPS foam liner helps manage a wide range of impact energies, while also boasting deep internal channeling to provide cooling airflow. Our proprietary MIPS Spherical technology is integrated between the layers of EPS foam – instead of against the rider's head – giving riders the benefits of MIPS without obstruction to comfort or cooling power. The stunning silhouette is formed by a sleek six-piece shell that surrounds a series of massive vents, with added structural reinforcement via a shatter-resistant AURA reinforcing arch. The final touch is our Roc Loc 5+ Air fit system, featuring 3-way fit tuning, that allows for easy adjustment in seconds."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Giro lists these features:
MIPS Spherical Technology
Shatter-proof Roll Cage
Featherweight Webbing with Slimline Buckle
Sunglass Docking Ports in Front Vents
In-mould polycarbonate shell
Dual-density EPS Foam Liner
Roc Loc Air
11 Vents with Wind Tunnel Internal Channeling
There are many lighter helmets out there, but this is light for one with MIPS.
This is a difficult one to score. It's expensive, but it features brand new MIPS technology.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
We don't impact test helmets on the basis that that has already been done in order for them to receive their safety certificate. Go to our story on MIPS to see if you're convinced of the benefits of this additional technology.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The level of ventilation and the resulting cooling.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It didn't work with all sunglasses for me, although it looks like I'm very much in the minority there.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The price is high although, in its defence, the Aether comes with a brand new version of MIPS technology, and early adopters usually have to pay for the privilege.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Aether is an exceptionally good helmet. Only 'perfect' warrants a 10 on our scoring system, and I wouldn't say it's quite that, but it's definitely a 9, and a strong 9 at that.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.