The great strength of the Giro Cinder MIPS is that it delivers excellent performance at a reasonable price-point. It carves away some of the premium materials found in high-end models like the Giro Synthe, which won the Editors' Choice award, but still retains a good deal of the protection, aeration, comfort, and lightweight build, though it could improve on its aerodynamics. Then again, you can use your savings to buy enough road food and beer to keep you motivated enough to stay in the saddle, thus offsetting any aerodynamic deficits the Cinder may have. With its solid design and consistent performance across our measures, this is a good choice for the rider looking to settle into a mid-range helmet and keep it for many years. It has sufficient ventilation to keep you cool in the summer and enough adjustability to accommodate headwear in cooler weather.
Giro Cinder MIPS Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, well ventilated, affordable, great adjustability, MIPS liner
Cons: Less aero, may be warm in hot weather, fastener could be finicky
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cinder hits a lot of high scores, not quite the top, but still respectable and it does so without siphoning off your excess cash.
The Cinder derives most of its comfort from its shape and the MIPS liner that hugs the skull and helps alleviate some of the direct contact that might happen in helmets lacking the crash protection system. It could use a bit more of its Air-FX padding, but the padding it does use is well placed along the front of the forehead and temples and another set of pads straddling the sagittal suture, the line that runs from the front of the skull to the back where the parietal bones fuse together.
That said, it was pretty comfortable on long and short rides. However, if you want to be smothered in comfort, we suggest putting your head inside the Top Pick for Aero winning Kask Infinity, which uses extremely supple padding and a snug Octo Fit floating cradle to provide an excellent fit. If you're interested in a less padded helmet that still achieves top comfort, look to the Giro Synthe MIPS.
The Cinder uses the Roc Loc 5 fit system to achieve a good degree of adjustability. At the rear is a two-way dial tension dial with fine grip to allow easier handling in the rain or after the sweat and oil starts taking over late in the ride. The retention frame also allows vertical adjustment to help fit more head shapes. It uses standard adjustable Y-straps to secure the helmet below the chin.
For those with a big need for adjustability, there are a few solid alternatives with superior adjustability. One option, the Catlike Kompact'o, offers a wide range of adjustment options to fit a wide range of heads and preferences and does so at a great price. The Top Aero Pick Kask Infinity also tops the list with a sensible chin strap and a range of retention adjustment options.
One of the tradeoffs Giro makes here is improved durability by adding more structural support while sacrificing a bit of ventilation. This can be contrasted to the Bell Stratus MIPS, which has larger vents along the front to improve aeration, but that could make the helmet more vulnerable to cracking from lesser impacts (hopefully they never see an impact greater than jostling around in the gear bag on a trip). Other stronger options include the Smith Overtake and Kask Protone.
In terms of the design or structure of this one, it does have something of a Michael Bay Megatron feel to it. Two layers of crisscrossing supports traverse the top to terminate in the front like caricature teeth, giving it a slightly menacing look. We think it's a good look, frankly. Helmets should look sharp, maybe even a little dangerous if other riders get too close. But to round off some of that edge, there are a few color options. Well, in fact, there are nine coloring options, some of which significantly reduce the menace and increase the matchability to kits, bikes, and the rest.
We recognize that this is a subjective exercise, but if you are looking for something a little flashier, we suggest checking out the Giro Synthe MIPS. For unorthodox designs that turn out to be pretty hot, check out the dynamic Kask Infinity and the artistic Catlike KOMPACT'O.
Twenty-six Wind Tunnel vents course through this helmet, making it a fantastic aerator and earning our appreciation on the muggy mornings that turn into windy, blazing afternoons. The internal channeling seemed to be effective, but there were a few models that tended to do a bit better, including the Catlike Kompact'o and especially the Specialized Airnet.
The Cinder sits at 316 g in a men's size Medium. That's slightly on the heavier side for high-performance road helmets, but keep in mind that this is a less wispy mid-range offering meant to last for quite a few seasons. The advantage is that it uses a thicker EPS liner to improve protection. That said, if you are in the market for a lighter helmet, you have quite a few options. You might consider the 291 g (size Medium) Catlike Kompact'o if you are interested in a wilder helmet. We also suggest trying out the higher-end Giro Synthe MIPS (268 g in Medium, 312 g in Large).
We don't think this helmet's price tag is a huge ask. This is a mid-range helmet with excellent performance and comfort. It provides solid protection, and it's versatile enough for most riders to spend years it.
While it didn't win any of our awards, it was certainly a major contender across the board. It's also not a bad looker and comes in nine different styles, making it easier to coordinate bike, kit, helmet, and shoes. To improve safety and longevity, it uses fortifications like the Thermoformed SL Roll Cage in its design. It also offers generous comfort for the longer rides and a range of adjustability options for even the most finicky rider. No, it's not the top helmet, but it's an above-average mid-range product, and we think most riders would be pleased with this offering.
— Nick Bruckbauer & Ryan Baham