The Giant Pursuit MIPS Aero road helmet is its attempt to bring the wind-cheating effects of a time trial helmet to the road without sacrificing ventilation. It's an interesting shape and comfortable to wear, and you can feel the cold wind passing over your head once you're up to speed, but it is on the porky side.
- Pros: Good ventilation at speed, comfortable padding and cradle shape
- Cons: Heavy, slab sided shape can catch the wind
Giant hasn't made any massive claims about how many watts you'll save over a standard helmet but it says that its design 'minimises drag, producing maximum speed in real-world rider positions'.
Without a session in the wind tunnel it's hard to quantify just what difference it does make against a vented helmet, but I didn't really notice any gains, though that's not to say they aren't there.
I will say this about the shape, mind: with a blustery crosswind your head doesn't half get blown about.
The biggest issue with most aero helmets is venting, but the Giant does a pretty good job of getting the air through from the front to the back. The Pursuit has eight large vents at the front and another seven at the rear, and when you are travelling above 20mph you can really feel the cold air entering and removing the heat from your head.
Once you start to slow, though, it isn't all that effective, especially if your head is pointing slightly to the ground like when you are climbing up a steep hill or grovelling through a headwind on the flat.
Other aero helmets I've worn, like the Met Manta – one of my favourites – manage to feel much cooler throughout the ride.
Another problem with the Giant is its weight. This medium (55-59cm) tips the scales at 328g – that's 113g heavier than the Met and 74g more than the Specialized S-Works Evade II aero helmet. That's noticeable on your bonce, especially on a long ride of over four hours.
Giant has teamed up with MIPS to fit its safety system inside the Pursuit helmet. If you aren't already aware, MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System which uses slip-plane technology inside the helmet to reduce rotational forces from impacts. (Read more here.)
If you look at the pic above of the inside of the helmet you'll see the little yellow tabs. There are four of these flexible mounts, with one end mounted to the polystyrene shell and the other to the helmet cradle which allows it to float. The theory is that should the helmet suffer an impact, your head has a small amount of independence to move around and not be subjected to rotational forces as well as the linear ones.
There are various tests and results on the internet on the benefits of MIPS, but I haven't crashed while wearing one yet so I can't give any real hard evidence on the subject.
The cradle itself offers a comfortable fit and is easily adjusted by the thumb wheel at the rear. There is also up and down adjustment at the back of the helmet.
The padding isn't massively thick but it is comfortable against the skin and does a good job of soaking up any sweat; it's anti-microbial too, so that should stop any unwanted whiffs from bacteria growth.
The straps are easy to adjust and feel fine against the skin under your neck. Giant also says that these are hydrophobic, so they won't absorb sweat as you ride.
Stick the word 'aero' in the title of any cycling product and the price normally goes up, so it's no surprise to see a £189.99 price tag for the Pursuit. That isn't overly excessive for a top flight aero race lid – the Specialized Evade II mentioned above has an rrp of £200 and it doesn't come with the MIPS technology which will add to the price of the Giant.
Another similar but more expensive helmet is the Giro Vanquish MIPS Aero at £239 – and it's heavier, though that probably comes down to the included visor.
Overall, the Giant has some good and some not so good traits. Aero helmets always have compromises for the majority of riding, ventilation being the top one. Here, that works at the speed the Pursuit is designed to be ridden at, so it's just a shame the helmet is so noticeably heavy.
The Pursuit helmet is available in three sizes and comes in black, white and black/cyan.
A comfortable helmet that has okay venting but is a bit on the weighty side for long rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giant Pursuit Mips Aero road helmet
Size tested: 55-59cm
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, "INTEGRATED FOR SPEED. Pursuit combines the aero speed of a TT helmet with the head-cooling ventilation of a pro road racing helmet. Pursuit brings together innovative technologies to optimize aerodynamics, ventilation and comfort, all in one helmet"
I couldn't notice any massive gains in performance during real world testing, and the ventilation is okay rather than great.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Giant lists these features:
Sizes: S (51-55cm), M (55-59cm), L (59-63cm)
Optimized ventilated aerodynamics design
Design minimizes drag, producing maximum speed in real-world rider positions
Strategically placed AeroVent ports optimize airflow through the helmet, which improves aerodynamics and adds head-cooling ventilation
AeroVent ports pull incoming air through the helmet and streams it through deep internal channels to regulate temperatures during hard efforts
TransTextura Plus™ anti-microbial padding helps fight bacteria growth and the natural property of the fabric inhibits microbes that cause odors
Low and high-speed impact-tuned construction with optimized low-density EPS, and an ultra-thin toughened polycarbonate shell
Element Strap System (ESS) brings together Cinch Pro™, adjustable locking dividers, and LiteForm™ webbing into one fit and retention system for superior fit and comfort right out of the box
Integrated MIPS Cinch Pro™ fit system offers optimal coverage by cradling the occipital bone for full protection, support and comfort
Lightweight, LiteForm™ webbing wraps around the head better for a more secure fit and is hydrophobic so it won't absorb sweat or stretch out like other webbing
The shape of the cradle and padding works very well, but its weight means it can become uncomfortable if worn for a long time.
Against specific aero helmets like the few mentioned in the review, it isn't actually that expensive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a helmet designed for riding fast it does a pretty good job.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? On the whole it was okay, but it wouldn't be my go-to helmet for the majority of rides.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your overall score
There is a lot to like with the Giant Pursuit: it's comfortable, and the venting is okay for an aero lid, but its weight and ability to get blown about in a crosswind take the shine off for me.
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!