Giro's Two-Shell Aether Helmet - Eurobike 2018

Jul 10, 2018
by Mike Levy  
Eurobike 2018


Giro's new Aether helmet employs a shell-in-a-shell design that allows them to move independently of each other thanks to a ball socket and elastomer joint system called MIPS Spherical. Because of this, the outer shell can float ever so slightly on top of the inner shell, which allows it to take in and dissipate rotational impacts better than a traditional design. It also means that there's no need for the plastic MIPS liner.

The Aether is quite light - Giro says 250-grams for a medium - and retails for $325 USD.


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While there's no official, industry-wide standard when it comes to MIPS, the very large majority of performance helmets have adopted the plastic inner liner as it's said to let the helmet to 'slip' on the rider's head during certain types of impacts. That slip is claimed to go a long way in preventing certain types of head injuries because it allows the helmet to move slightly and absorb some of the critical forces. But the MIPS liner isn't a slam dunk, with it messing up the venting and fit of some helmets, or allowing the helmet to slip and rock around when it should sit still.

MIPS Spherical, which was a co-development between Giro and MIPS, aims to solve those issues while still offering all the same benefits.


Eurobike 2018
Eurobike 2018
With no MIPS liner to block the vents, the Aether looks extremely airy.


The Aether itself has been a three-year project, with the MIPS Spherical system first being used in a snow helmet where it was easier to apply. Cross-country and road helmets, with their immense amount of venting, are a much more complicated application, hence the long development time.

One of the challenges was that the complicated shell shape was preventing Giro's normal EPS foam from getting into all the tight spaces that it needed to fill. The solution was to use an EPS foam with smaller beads - Giro calls it Nano Bead - but this turned out to be a win-win as it then allowed for the inner and outer EPS shells to have a different density, and therefore be focused on different types of impacts. Nano Bead is softer, so it's better at dealing with slow-speed impacts, whereas the hard EPS shell can take in harder hits.


Eurobike 2018
Eurobike 2018
Venting aside, the Aether looks a lot like a traditional helmet, and its outer dimensions are no larger, either.


If you're thinking that this shell-in-a-shell design sounds familiar, it might be because you've seen it before from 6D and Leatt. Both other those options are relatively heavy compared to a standard lid, as well as looking absolutely huge on a rider's head. And that's why I expected the Aether to have the same mushroom-like shape... But it doesn't. In fact, it has essentially the same silhouette as the less expensive Synthe that uses the standard MIPS liner. It's even the same weight, too.

One thing that is different is the temperature of the rider's head while wearing the Aether - Giro says that they've measured both and the Aether can lower temps by 2-degrees compared to the Synthe. That's a big deal if you struggle in hot weather like me, or live somewhere that often feels like it's the inside of the volcano.


MENTIONS: @GiroSportDesign


Must Read This Week

66 Comments

  • + 49
 Rear view is giving off a real Maclaren vibe.
  • + 11
 Tail lights for sure. Needs a hydraulic spoiler.
  • + 5
 @chillrider199: that would make it super enduro!
  • + 2
 BMWi8
  • - 2
 @tmadison12: A super douche
  • + 7
 'McLaren'.
  • + 1
 they must learn
  • + 3
 @glenno: The i8 swallowed a 911. Look at it from the back and you can never unsee it. Sorry for that.
  • + 4
 @jclnv: no I meant the baby stroller company
  • + 34
 Despite the fact that a $325 price tag is cheaper than my co-pay for an ER visit, it's still too damn expensive. My wife would freaking kill me or just call me a dumbass if I bought this. She'd be like, isn't that like half the price of a decent fork or frame? Yeah, she's been learning, that one...
  • + 4
 @deadflat I'm sorry dude. Gone are the day's of "Yeah it was 100 bucks" huh!! Mine still believes me when I say it was the "Bro deal of bro deals" haha!
  • + 8
 You should have been a dentist
  • + 8
 Fork costs at least $1000 and frame like $3000. So you can say "No", but doesn't make it better. Still very expensive.
  • + 12
 $325 is a good deal if it can actually help to prevent a concussion. If it lets you go back to work the next day without feeling like a space cadet then it has paid for itself
  • + 4
 @webby01: prevent a concussion? no such helmet exists in this version of reality. Seriously. No one is ever going to make that claim, not with current helmet designs/technology. Except maybe that neckwarmer that inflates into a just-in-time helmet. That type of design has, IMO, the highest probability of actually preventing concussion.
  • + 1
 @Kapricorn: yes but does your neckwear have MIPS? Otherwise it's useless
  • + 6
 So your wife doesn't believe your life is worth $300? Good to know where you stand at least...
  • + 1
 @Weens: Right? I barely got through the word safer when I was telling my wife I wanted to buy a full face for the bike park before she said it was fine.
  • + 1
 @Kapricorn: It may not exist yet, and no company would ever make such a bold claim for fear of a law suit from old mate on his rocket powered e-bike. But any helmet that increases the time of collision is a step in the right direction. This helmet is a small step, that airbag neckwarmer is a large step. Hopefully someone can find the happy medium between the two that is functional and ideally reusable
  • + 1
 @Weens: point well taken, but she and I do question the effectiveness of MIPS, and the fact that we feel that fear tactics are being used to push us to higher prices. Last time I checked, there were no standards on measuring sliding resistance, and measuring/limiting rotational acceleration, albeit someone wrote the Europeans were making progress on this.
  • + 1
 @Brightside: Fair enough but I ride a HT and frames are a whole lot less than $3k.
  • + 1
 @Bobbyd82: HA HA HA! I must say that I don't get the price discrepancy across the product lines. Obviously, features other than MIPS must account for the $325 price tag. I own several GIRO lids and my road one is MIPS/Forday and cost $85 retail.
  • + 3
 @Kapricorn: Yeah actually dude they can. You're completely ignoring severity of concussions. Concussion aren't you get one or you don't. It's far more complex than that. We've learned quite a bit recently that even minor impacts cause concussions but just on a much smaller scale. Helmets are getting better at dissipating energy that can keep you out of the concussion zone or at lease mitigate the amount of time and to what extent you're in it. Moderate to big impacts still cause a concussion, we haven't figured out how to slow the head down enough to keep the brain from hitting the skull but we are getting much better at the smaller more common impacts.
  • + 6
 "One of the challenges was that the complicated shell shape was preventing Giro's normal EPS foam from getting into all the tight spaces that it needed to fill. "
"Cross-country and road helmets, with their immense amount of venting, are a much more complicated application, hence the long development time."

Why not hook up the gravity crowd 1st with a great full face then?
  • + 3
 Because that would be easier. This lets them flex their design and innovation muscle to establish themselves as the supreme rulers of the galaxy.
  • + 3
 Bell Super DH basically has a shell within a shell and it is very comfortable.
  • + 7
 MIPS is dead long live MIPS. Funny they haven't mentioned the drawbacks of MIPS until they have MIPS 2.0 starting to appear. Bring back your defunct MIPS and get 20% off a half decent MIPS.
  • + 4
 Is MIPS snake oil because I see absolutely no benefits it can bring me as I have a full head of hair which would do the same thing surely? MIPS would make my lid heavier, bulkier and less ventilated leading to higher heat exhaustion- something that has become very apparent over the last few weeks in the dry 30 degree heat wave. Oh and a side point, your helmet is never actually so tight that it cant move anyway..... so never mind drawbacks, what are the actual plus points? (Apart from extra wonga for the manufacturers)
  • + 4
 @ilovedust: ha. 30 degree heatwave. Sorry that made me laugh.
We can regularly have 28 Degrees overnight here during summer. 30 degrees is a nice pleasant spring temp. 40 is when it gets unpleasant
  • + 0
 @ilovedust: Yeah, 30C, haha. hHello from California. Maybe with all this global warming, you guys will finally put A/C in your buildings.
  • + 1
 @ilovedust: My guess is that the normal human head is not a perfect sphere and a helmet can't fit crooked on a head and that means that in a crash there wouldn't be any of the movement that MIPS claims to mitigate.
  • + 8
 Yo dawg I herd you like shells so I....
  • + 4
 All helmet reviews need at least one picture of the helmet on a human head. You say it's not more mushroomy than other MIPS helmets, but I need to see that to believe it. All MIPS helmets look pretty mushroomy to me.
  • + 2
 For anyone wondering about the safety benefits of MIPS, Virginia Tech University recently released their initial findings of their bike helmet research. Granted, these are roadie helmets, and they’re still testing; however I thought that it was really interesting to look into. The full journal write up is floating around as well, if you’re into that sort of thing.

www.bikeradar.com/us/road/news/article/bike-helmet-safety-ratings-virginia-tech-concussion-risk-reduction-assessment-52514
  • + 2
 and again, they tested in the only conditions MIPS could do good: a super tight strapped helmet in a non realistic dummy head with no hair and no skin sliding on top of the skull.
Gimmick.
  • + 2
 Looks like a clever approach to the rotational impact problem. Obviously this is the front end and if it works and can be applied I'm excited to see the trickle down to a lower price point helmet for regular go fast, have fun, don't die mountain cycling.
  • + 4
 Is there actually any reputable source that mips and all that other new stuff actually has any significant advantages?
  • + 3
 Consumer reports has .. MIPS helmets did much better than traditional ones.
  • + 5
 In short... no. But that’s because concussions (and most of the brain for that matter) are not really understood.

It is important to know that in every crash there are three impacts: the first is the helmet hitting the object; the second is your head hitting the helmet; and the third is your brain hitting the inside of your skull. It’s the third impact that is by far the most dangerous. So anything that can be done to minimize that third impact is a plus in my book. This same concept applies with automobile accidents and the rest of the body - that’s why cars crumple more now.

MIPS is the first real attempt anybody has made to mitigate that third impact with helmet technology.
  • + 3
 The MIPS system is considerably safer than traditional foam dome helmets, according to this study from Virginia Tech. www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/new-tests-show-some-bike-helmets-protect-better-than-others
  • + 1
 @ddspaz: That’s why I say in short, no. The actual source of a concussion in the brain still is not known. Some doctors think that it comes from one part of the brain (the thalamus) squishing/rotating against the upper mid part of the brain.

So MIPS really is just a bunch of action sports engineer nerds (like me) trying to solve a problem with very little information to go off of. And I’m really glad they’re trying because too many people are getting hurt with long-term injuries (like the symptoms showing 20+ years later). So I will 100% support anything trying reduce the chance of more tragic incidents, like Dave Mirra, from occurring.
  • + 1
 @bogdan75: Really? Need to find that.
  • + 1
 @bogdan75: like consumer reports say ”if not for the neck brace I would've break my neck"
  • + 4
 a helmet that even makes your head look weirder!
  • + 1
 Its really good to see that by this time next year it will be almost impossible to find a helmet without some sort of mips! Smile
  • + 2
 It's kinda funny, since still afaik nobody managed to prove that MIPS actually does anything, despite making helmets more expensive.
  • + 2
 @FuzzyL: Virginia Tech University here in the states recently released some of their findings from their on going helmet research (looking into reduction of concussions)

www.bikeradar.com/us/road/news/article/bike-helmet-safety-ratings-virginia-tech-concussion-risk-reduction-assessment-52514

While, obviously not conclusive, it’s certainly interesting research
  • + 1
 Wasn't this helmet tested by a third party site, along other helmets, and rated 2 stars in the crash test? $325 for a chinese helmet seems a little too much.
  • + 4
 Back in my shop days I saw an invoice for a small custom order of Giro's top end road helmets. MSRP of the non-custom version was $200 as I recall, so $100 wholesale. Giro was being charged under $4 per helmet. I understand that R&D costs need to be recouped, but >2500% markup on a mass-market item seemed a little excessive.
  • + 1
 Patriotism via origin-of-manufacture should be the first thing that comes to mind when attempting to wrap one's head in protective styrofoam.
  • + 2
 @PinkyScar: it is not about patriotism... first is about quality. Compare a giro helmet with a Kask, then you may understand.
Moreover Producing in China means having helmets made by workers getting paid 25 cents a day (a long, long day), while the industrial waiste is most likely dumped in the river (I have been there) and the same water used for watering vegetables farms (back on your table). The wigs pocket a fortune, getting bigger paychecks every year. Company employees get paid the same rates as 10 years ago (valid for most industries).

So, buying products made in certain places it is not only a human right issue, but also an economical issue that will affect everybody. In the past ten years, the rich got richer and everybody else is still paid the same rate.
Besides getting a lower quality product.
  • + 0
 @RedRedRe: What about high quality Chinese manufacturing, sold by US brands? Or low quality made-in-US products? Or when lessening of environmental protection means a factory can open in your backyard because "more American jobs"? Or if no one makes money from a boutique US helmet because it costs too much to produce and nobody can afford it?
  • + 1
 @RedRedRe: Substitute "US" with any country that relies heavily on Asian production.
  • + 1
 @PinkyScar: What high quality asian made products are you talking about?
This giro helmet? Just looking at the pictures you can see the poor finish with chips here and there, the flimsy ratcheting in the back and the poor materials used for the padding.
Make yourself a favour and go see a comparable kask helmet at a store.They do not cost 4 dollars to produce. But they are cheaper.

My point is.... in the past 10 years the 1% richer people got xxx times more money, while the 99% is still getting paid like 10 years ago.

They do not have to raise your pay because they keep producing cheaper and cheaper stuff for you to buy.
While they make huge money producing at low cost and still selling at huge profit.

Everytime you buy a product made in certain places, you are making the rich richer and yourself poorer.

The only solution would be to research companies before buying product from them.
  • + 2
 I wonder if the 2 shell-elastomer damper design infringes on any of 6D's patents?
  • + 1
 How would mips help? There is 0 resistance from the liner, surely it should be a stiffer 'spring' to protect against, you know, hitting a head on rocks at 20mph?
  • - 1
 its an XC lid. They dont need the extra protection
  • + 1
 I’m curious about this too. I would think that they can “stretch” a lot further than what is demonstrated in the video.
  • + 1
 That's a whole lot of article just to explain there's a new roadie helmet coming out
  • + 1
 I don’t buy helmets from gun makers
  • + 1
 Are they still owned by Vista Outdoor?
  • + 1
 I believe they are currently but they are parting ways.
  • + 1
 But can you use it for downcountry?
  • + 1
 Ghastly lid.
  • + 2
 To each their own. I think it looks pretty darn nice.

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