The new Cinder MIPS from Giro shares a lot of technology and styling cues from its top end Synthe model, but considering it comes in at half the price it's certainly a helmet you should put on your 'must try' list. Especially when you take into account how comfortable the fit is.
The Synthe MIPS is an awesome helmet, but most of us probably can't lay down 250 quid on a brain box without wincing, so the Cinder is a very viable alternative.
You get, as you'd no doubt expect, an expanded polystyrene shell with a polycarbonate shell. Nothing out of the ordinary here but an added bonus is the thermoplastic skeleton that'll keep the helmet together after that initial impact. In the past I've crashed a similar helmet and the skeletal structure certainly held it together, so that if I'd bounced from road to kerb for the secondary clout, my head was likely to have still been protected.
Over the past few months you might have seen the MIPS acronym being bandied about behind helmet names and wondered what it meant. Well, MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, a standalone company that has developed an inner cradle to resist rotational forces of the head should you crash. See more here. It's not much to look at, being a thin piece of plastic inside the helmet, but the theory behind it is pretty sound.
If you look at the photo of the inside of the helmet you'll see the MIPS liner and the four yellow dots are elastomers. MIPS is basically a cradle for your head, and should you hit the deck the liner and elastomers let your head move in relation to the helmet, almost like a shock absorber.
It's a comfortable fit, as is the rest of the helmet. The Cinder uses Giro's Roc Loc 5 adjustment system, which allows you to tweak the fit at the rear of the head. It's not as advanced as some as it'll only synch things in at the rear rather than all the way around, but it does provide a comfortable fit. There is some up and down adjustment too, which Giro describes as single-handed – it's true, but you have to take the helmet off first, so that's a bit of a misnomer.
As far as ventilation goes, the Cinder gets 26 vents and they offer pretty good airflow. The Thermoformed skeleton takes up quite a bit of space but a solid structure certainly outweighs the slight offset to venting.
It's 90g heavier than my current favourite the Met Manta and it is noticeable, but when you compare it with similar MIPS helmets we've tested the Cinder sits somewhere in the middle. It's the same when it comes to value for money compared with other MIPS helmets we've looked at – it sits alongside the Smith Route, midway between the Bern FL-1 and the Bell Gage. The Giro scores well on aesthetics for me too.
Overall, the Cinder is a great helmet that has some really classy looks, an impressive structure and a great fit. The only thing that strikes me as odd is that the MIPS version is £25 more expensive than the standard Cinder. How much can a small piece of plastic cost? That aside, when taking everything else into account I'd happily shell out for the Cinder.
A smart looking and solid feeling road helmet that is just so comfortable to wear
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Cinder MIPS
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 Cinder™ MIPS provides all the features an avid road rider wants in a lightweight package. The design is inspired by the classic aesthetic of our premium Synthe™ helmet, offering similar performance and style. Key features include the Roc Loc® 5 fit system, which allows you to easily dial-in both fit tension and adjust vertical position with a single hand. Air-FX padding offers comfort on your longest rides, and the helmet is equipped with MIPS to redirect impact energy, providing more protection in certain impacts."
I think the Cinder is a very comfortable helmet that matches the competition on price and weight.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
In-mold polycarbonate shell with EPS liner
Thermoformed SL Roll Cage™ reinforcement
Roc Loc® 5
26 Wind Tunnel™ vents with internal chanelling
MATT BLACK/BRIGHT RED
MATT HIGHLIGHT YELLOW
Real attention to detail in its construction and a smooth transition between the EPS liner and outer shell.
Pretty impressive for riding in. Everything just feels right and venting is acceptable too.
About 90g heavier than my normal aero helmet, but against other Mips equipped helmets it sits somewhere in the middle.
Plenty of adjustment available to get things just right.
On par with other similar helmets.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I can't vouch for its head saving capabilities but as a piece of apparel it's comfortable and unobtrusive.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's £25 more expensive than the non-MIPS version which seems a bit pricey.
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 score
The Cinder is a well-thought-out helmet that is highly adjustable so you can get the perfect fit, and with the MIPS and roll cage adding structural stiffness it's well up there in terms of the latest technology.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 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
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.