Giro has updated the name of this helmet since we tested it. The Aether MIPS model that we tested is now referred to as the Aether Spherical. Besides some updated color options, the design and specifications — including the built-in Spherical MIPS system — remain the same.May 2021
Giro Aether MIPS Review
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Giro Aether MIPS
|Price||$150.00 at Backcountry|
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$225.00 at REI
|Check Price at REI|
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|$47.93 at REI|
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|Pros||Great ventilation, elegant style, advanced MIPS liner design||Lightweight, comfortable, well-ventilated, easy to adjust, high visibility color options||Ventilates well, comfortable, unique style, sunglass garage||Great ventilation, comfortable, durable||Very comfortable, great style, good for all disciplines|
|Cons||Expensive, heavier than other high-end helmets||Expensive, high-volume shape||Expensive||Heavy, bulky||Less adjustable than some, middling ventilation, narrow at the temple|
|Bottom Line||A high-end road biking helmet with excellent ventilation and a unique MIPS liner design||An extremely comfortable, well-ventilated, and lightweight helmet with minimal wind roar for all-day riding and steep climbing||This uniquely designed helmet offers excellent airflow and performance that warrant its high cost||A comfortable and very well-ventilated helmet that is a bit heavy and bulky||This stylish, well-built helmet packs in comfort and features at a lower price point than most|
|Rating Categories||Giro Aether MIPS||Bontrager Velocis MIPS||POC Ventral Air MIPS||Specialized Airnet...||Smith Persist MIPS|
|Specs||Giro Aether MIPS||Bontrager Velocis MIPS||POC Ventral Air MIPS||Specialized Airnet...||Smith Persist MIPS|
|Measured Weight||330 g (size L)||300 g (size L)||295 g (Size L)||364 g (size L)||326 g (Size L)|
|Size Range||59-63 cm (size L)||58-63 cm (size L)||56-61 cm (size L)||59-63 cm (size L)||59-62 cm (size L)|
|Number of Vents||11||12||15||22||21|
|Sizes||S, M, L||S, M, L||S, M, L||S, M, L||S, M , L, XL|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Giro Aether includes some very unique features not found on any other helmet in our lineup but does so with one of the highest list prices. It has a uniquely designed Spherical MIPS liner that adds to its excellent ventilation and is very easily adjustable, but its high-end features get slightly offset by a slightly higher weight and a much higher price tag. While the Aether is a comfortable helmet and consistently top performer, our testers rank a few other models ahead of it when it comes to fit and comfort.
The Aether has several features expected to be found on high-end offerings that contribute to its comfort, such as a full circumference adjustable headband, and a fully adjustable chin strap system with adjustable Y-buckles with straps that feed through the EPS foam liner. However, it only has minimal padding, and the Roc Loc 5+ Air fit system places the head directly against the foam liner in certain spots, reducing the overall comfort compared to models with more plush cushioning or a headband system that suspends the helmet away from the head. The Aether also seems to have a wider, rounder shape than other helmets, so it may be a little harder to achieve a perfect fit for certain head shapes.
The most unique feature of this helmet is how Giro's Spherical MIPS system is sandwiched in between two separate layers of the EPS foam liner, eliminating the thin plastic MIPS liner that is traditionally up against the rider's head. Giro claims this is to allow the addition of internal air channels within the first layer of EPS foam that works in conjunction with the extensive vent system to help increase airflow inside the helmet. While we found that this certainly helps promote ventilation, the feel of the two-layer liner took some getting used to. This is one of the most advanced MIPS systems on the market, but our testers concluded that other helmets still came out ahead of the Aether in the comfort ratings.
The Aether is one of the best-ventilated helmets in our lineup. It has some of the largest vents of any model and is supplemented with an intricate internal channel system to enhance airflow inside the helmet liner. While it isn't rated as the absolute breeziest helmet that we tested, its airy qualities are immediately noticeable compared to most other competitors. We subjected this lid to some brutally long climbs in steamy conditions, and it did not disappoint.
While the ventilation capabilities on this helmet are certainly admirable, one of the supposed reasons for Giro's two-layer Spherical MIPS liner on this model was to enhance airflow within the helmet. While this was certainly accomplished, other models on the market provide similar levels of ventilation without such a premium price tag.
The Aether is one of the most adjustable helmets in our lineup with almost every possible adjustment feature available to dial in a perfect fit. Its Roc Loc 5+ Air fit system has a full circumference adjustable headband that accommodates heads ranging from 59-63 cm in size Large, its chinstrap has adjustable Y-buckles that are fed through the EPS foam liner for easy side to side tension adjustment, and it includes headband fore/aft adjustment tabs with 2 cm of movement. Each of the adjustment features is easy to use and effective at its intended purpose, making it easy to find your right fit.
Weighing in at 330 grams in size Large, the Aether ranks near the middle of the pack in our weight scoring. While it's by no means a heavy helmet, its two-layer liner with dual-density foam and Spherical MIPS liner make it a little bulkier than some of the lightest options. Spending more money on cycling gear typically yields weight savings, but not necessarily in this case where the extra cost goes to some of the unique high-end features. Those looking for the latest crash protection technology in an attractive looking package likely won't mind the slight weight penalty.
Though this certainly isn't a heavy or bulky helmet, our testers found that it feels a little more substantial on top of the head compared to some other lower-profile models. The slightly wider shape and larger coverage area of the Aether didn't go completely unnoticed during our testing.
Our testers appreciate the style of this helmet. With its elegantly flowing lines and classy color schemes, it certainly exudes a professional appearance. It has a unique shape thanks to its two-layer Spherical MIPS system and has extra little touches like rubber sunglass grippers and reinforced arch panels. While style is subjective to personal taste, the Aether does a good job of portraying the high-cost, high-class helmet that it is.
As expected with such an expensive and fully-featured helmet, the Aether is very well constructed and appears to be quite durable. It is made with premium materials, and only has a small amount of exposed EPS foam around the front brim. Since it is one of the first helmets of its kind with the unique MIPS Spherical liner, it is unknown if there are any vulnerabilities with this system, but no issues were identified or are anticipated.
Typically, more durable helmets have more polycarbonate shell material and usually weigh more. The Ather does an admiral job of balancing durability and premium high-end features with a reasonably light weight.
While the Ather is certainly a high-performing helmet, it is not just one of the most expensive models in our lineup, but also one of the most expensive road bike helmets on the market. Since a lot of the cost is seemingly due to the high-tech MIPS system whose additional benefits are largely unknown at this time, it's hard to justify the extra cost when there are similar high-end models that are much less expensive. Riders looking for the latest safety technology in an elegantly designed package may be able to stomach the price tag, but most riders looking for high performance and solid value would likely be better served looking elsewhere.
The Aether is a high quality, high performance, high priced choice for riders who don't mind spending to have the latest and greatest equipment. While it is a comfortable, high-performing, and classy-looking offering from Giro, it will likely be hard for most riders to justify the high price tag when several other high performers are comparably much more affordable.
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