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The Giro Ethos Mips Helmet is a well-thought-out and functional commuter helmet with a few unusual extras thrown into the mix. In addition to the now-familiar Mips lining – designed to reduce rotational of your brain if you crash – Giro has also added front and rear lights that double up as indicators. Giro has clearly made a top-notch helmet for those of us who ride in built-up areas, but the price could be a problem for some. At £239 it's dearer than any of those in our best cycling helmets buyer's guide.
As someone that tries to do most of their riding away from the busy built-up areas, I was wondering how useful I would find a helmet like this – but I was very pleasantly surprised how beneficial I found Giro's new helmet.
The most obvious features are the front and rear lights that also double up as indicators. These have two strips of LEDs at the front with another two at the rear. Not only is this a lot of lighting but I was surprised how bright they were.
You get a choice of four modes: high and low power constant outputs and high and low flashing. These options should provide the right choice for most of us.
First off, having lights at the very top of your head when you're riding makes you very visible to other road users, as no matter how high or long someone's bonnet is, they will always be able to see your head when you are near them.
I thought this helmet was at its best when there was fog and when visibility was generally a bit questionable. I wore this in addition to using my normal bike lights and felt that the helmet boosted my visibility, making my presence even clearer to drivers.
A further feature is the indicator function that is activated by a remote-control button on the handlebar. This lets you indicate using your arms and the helmet simultaneoulsy, which you'd like to think makes it abundantly clear when you're about to turn….
The indicator function is well thought out too, with a tap on the left or right button of the remote setting off that side's indicator, using Bluetooth to connect to your lid's LEDs.
When you indicate, that side's front and rear LEDs turn from their standard white or red to an orange, with an almost sequential flash, in a similar way to how the Audi indicator works. It's great for drawing the attention of other road users.
The remote was easy to mount on my bar, using only a small rubber band to secure it. It comes with three different length straps, so one of them should fit just about any bar out there.
Safety is obviously a key factor in the design of any helmet, and this is also true of this Giro. It includes a Mips liner, which I love, and it's lower at the back than most bike helmets, in a similar vein to a mountain bike helmet.
One further feature that Giro has included is the easily removable peak. I wore the helmet in rain and while the peak is quite small, it made a noticeable difference to the amount of rain hitting my face. It also helped reduce glare from the sun, which is always a plus. And if you don't want the peak, a few poppers and it's off, looking more like a conventional road helmet.
The helmet and handlebar controller are both charged via USB-C ports, at the back of the helmet next to the power button, and at the back of the remote respectively. Both are hidden under weatherproof seals. The helmet battery takes two hours to recharge, the remote an hour.
You'll get between two and a half hours and 11 hours depending on the output you choose. The high output delivers 45 lumens at the front and 30 at the rear, with 25 and 10 lumens if you drop down. I personally used it in the low flashing mode most of the time, as this gave the longest run time.
While the Giro weighs in at 475g, which is certainly heavy for a road helmet, I found it comfortable even on rides up to five hours long, which is a testament how well the helmet is designed and how well the weight is distributed. I had no neck discomfort and really was pleasantly surprised how comfortable I found it.
The helmet straps are also very comfortable and with plenty of adjustability I could get them exactly where I wanted, with a magnetic buckle keeping it secure.
I found the helmet quite warm, which has proved ideal over winter, though when it comes to summer I imagine you might get warm, though its 12 vents do supply some cooling.
I was concerned that I might struggle to wear glasses with this helmet, but even though the rear of the helmet drops down behind your ears, I could wear not only my glasses but also the Oladance Open Ear Headphones I was testing at the time. This is great for commuters who also like wearing glasses.
I did run into one small problem, which is going to be less important for commuters, and that was the inability to slot the arms of my glasses into the helmet when I wasn't wearing them, as the vents aren't large enough.
At £239.99, this helmet is not exactly what you'd call cheap, though when you take the array of features into account, the price is more understandable. The price is up there with helmets such as the Specialized Prevail 3 that Stu liked and the Lazer Vento that George found light and airy, but these are aimed at very different markets.
It's more like-for-like competitors – helmets aimed at the cycle commuter – include the Bollé Eco React Mips helmet that Nick appreciated both for its comfort and sustainability credentials, which is £140.
The Kask Sintesi is an all-rounder commuter-cum-road-cum-gravel helmet at a bargain £90 that has passed Kask's own rotational impact test. Lara thought it was one of the best helmets around when she tested it.
I enjoyed using this helmet much more than I had expected to. I found it comfortable and felt that the lights added to my night-time riding safety and thought the ability to indicate was great. I'd absolutely recommend this if you commute through built-up areas, and even if you're looking for additional safety and visibility for training rides.
A great option for improved night-time riding safety, but it comes at quite a price
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Ethos 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?
A LIGHTWEIGHT IN-MOLD DESIGN WITH BUILT-IN FRONT AND REAR LED LIGHTS AND REMOTE HANDLEBAR-ACTIVATED TURN SIGNALS IS THE PERFECT ACCESSORY FOR THE DAILY COMMUTE THROUGH THE URBAN JUNGLE
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
REFLECTIVE DECALS AND WEBBING
IN MOLD CONSTRUCTION
TPU SOFT RUBBER WATERPROOF BRIM
12 VENTS WITH INTERNAL CHANNELING
ROC LOC® CITY MIPS®
475G (SIZE MEDIUM CPSC)
COMPLIES WITH THE US CPSC SAFETY STANDARD FOR BICYCLE HELMET FOR PERSONS AGE 5 AND OLDER
BUILT-IN FRONT (WHITE) AND REAR (RED) LEDS
HANDLEBAR-ACTIVATED TURN SIGNALS (AMBER/YELLOW)
MICRO-USB C RECHARGEABLE
The helmet has a solid feel to it and appears to be very well made.
The lights function well, and the helmet performs as it's designed to.
It doesn't show signs of wear yet and the pad is still looking very good.
There's no doubt that this is heavy for a helmet, but that's pretty much inevitable given that it also includes a battery and four sets of LED lights.
The low back may not appeal to everybody but I found the Giro helmet extremely comfortable.
This is an expensive helmet, which is understandable given the Mips technology, lighting and remote-control indicators – but the cost is undeniable.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It was excellent – working well as a helmet with the lighting adding to my visibility at night.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I loved the helmet's LEDs, which I do feel increase night-time riding safety.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I was unable to fit my glasses in the helmet – and I also wish this helmet cost less.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
This is very much at the upper end of what you'd expect to spend for a helmet, but there are very few helmets that are directly comparable with the Giro Ethos.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if I lived in a busier place and had the budget.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they commuted... and had the budget
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Giro Ethos is a great commuter helmet, which adds greatly to safety with lights and indicators. And though it is quite heavy, you really don't notice this extra weight when you're wearing it.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Aeroad My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,