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Giro Cinder MIPS Review

A comfortable mid-range offering that will keep the dome safe.
Giro Cinder MIPS
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Price:  $150 List | $119.90 at Amazon
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
Manufacturer:   Giro
By Nick Bruckbauer & Ryan Baham  ⋅  Oct 29, 2018
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 15
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Adjustability - 15% 7
  • Weight - 15% 4
  • Style - 15% 6
  • Ventilation - 20% 6
  • Durability - 15% 8

Our Verdict

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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Giro Cinder MIPS
This Product
Giro Cinder MIPS
Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $119.90 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$154.99 at Competitive Cyclist
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$324.95 at Competitive Cyclist
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$100 List$59.00 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, well ventilated, affordable, great adjustability, MIPS linerLightweight, comfortable, low profile, good ventilationGreat ventilation, elegant style, advanced MIPS liner designWell ventilated, affordable, comfortable, uses CES protectionLightweight, well-ventilated, very affordable
Cons Less aero, may be warm in hot weather, fastener could be finickyExpensiveExpensive, heavier than other high-end helmetsForehead padding requires visor, bulky, doesn’t use MIPSNot as durable or adjustable as high-end models
Bottom Line A comfortable mid-range offering that will keep the dome safe.A high-end road biking helmet with a semi aerodynamic profile, that is lightweight and well-ventilated.A high-end road biking helmet with excellent ventilation and a unique MIPS liner design.A playfully designed offering with plenty of features for casual and serious riders alike.A low-cost, lightweight helmet with many of the same features as higher priced competitors.
Rating Categories Giro Cinder MIPS Giro Synthe MIPS Giro Aether MIPS Catlike Kompact'o Urban Giro Foray MIPS
Comfort (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Adjustability (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
9
Style (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Ventilation (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Durability (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
Specs Giro Cinder MIPS Giro Synthe MIPS Giro Aether MIPS Catlike Kompact'o... Giro Foray MIPS
Weight (grams) 316 g (size M) 312 g (size L) 330 g (size L) 291 g (size M) 312 g (size L)
MIPS Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Number of vents 26 19 11 21 21
Sizes S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L
Size Range (cm) 54-61 cm (size M) 59-63 cm (size L) 59-63 cm (size L) 51-61 cm (size M) 59-63 cm (size L)

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


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.

Comfort


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.

The Cinder is an all-around cruiser  great in most road conditions for most of the year.
The Cinder is an all-around cruiser, great in most road conditions for most of the year.

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.

Adjustability


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.

A standard Y-strap and buckle pair with the Roc Loc® fit system to offer reasonable adjustability.
A standard Y-strap and buckle pair with the Roc Loc® fit system to offer reasonable adjustability.

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.

The highly accessible two-way dial at the back of the head makes it really easy to adjust mid-ride.
The highly accessible two-way dial at the back of the head makes it really easy to adjust mid-ride.

Durability


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.

Style


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.

Sure  we could have picked an actual model  but you get the idea - the helmet looks fine and you'll look fine in it too.
Sure, we could have picked an actual model, but you get the idea - the helmet looks fine and you'll look fine in it too.

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.

Ventilation


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.

Weight


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).

The Cinder comes in at a pretty average 316g - nothing to be upset about.
The Cinder comes in at a pretty average 316g - nothing to be upset about.

The combination of MIPS  padding  and ventilation make this a solid mid-range offering.
The combination of MIPS, padding, and ventilation make this a solid mid-range offering.

Value


We don't think $150 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.

Conclusion


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.

This is an ideal helmet for most rec riders and weekend warriors and will definitely meet the needs of most racers through cat. 3 or 4.
This is an ideal helmet for most rec riders and weekend warriors and will definitely meet the needs of most racers through cat. 3 or 4.


Nick Bruckbauer & Ryan Baham