Giro Feature MIPS Helmet

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Tested: Giro Feature MIPS Helmet

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Jeff Brines // Photos by Lynsey Dyer and Johan Hjord

Giro's Feature helmet has been in the company's line for a number of years. The helmet, aimed squarely at the all-mountain/trail rider/enduro set, received one significant update for the 2015 season with the optional inclusion of MIPS. We tested the helmet in a number of various climates and riding conditions. From snowy Jackson WY to the desert of Moab, UT and just about everything in between, we Featured our dome to bring you this feature.

Giro Feature MIPS Highlights

  • Construction: In-Mold polycarbonate shell with EPS liner
  • Fit System: In form
  • Vents: 12
  • Adjustable Read More »

Review by Jeff Brines // Photos by Lynsey Dyer and Johan Hjord

Giro's Feature helmet has been in the company's line for a number of years. The helmet, aimed squarely at the all-mountain/trail rider/enduro set, received one significant update for the 2015 season with the optional inclusion of MIPS. We tested the helmet in a number of various climates and riding conditions. From snowy Jackson WY to the desert of Moab, UT and just about everything in between, we Featured our dome to bring you this feature.

Giro Feature MIPS Highlights

  • Construction: In-Mold polycarbonate shell with EPS liner
  • Fit System: In form
  • Vents: 12
  • Adjustable moto-style visor
  • Colors: Matte Black, Orange, White
  • Weight: 310 grams (our scale)
  • Sizes: XS-XL
  • MSRP: $95 USD

Initial Impressions

To start, the Giro Feature features, well, a lot of features (pun intended). As noted above, this helmet includes MIPS which stands for multi-directional-impact protection system. In layman's terms, MIPS a specially designed liner which claims to help the helmet protect the rider a bit more in the case of a rotational impact.

Other features include in-form fit system for easy one handed sizing adjustment, a relatively competitive weight of 310-grams, 12 vents, extended "wrap around" coverage and an extremely attractive MSRP of $95 (US). Pulling the Feature out of the box, the matte black finish looked great. I appreciate understated helmets as they "go great with anything", and the extra head protection when compared to a more dedicated road or XC dome piece protector is something I particularly dig.

MIPS And Helmet Standards

Before we get into the helmet review, a few words on noggin health as it's something I take very seriously. Concussions suck. More serious brain injuries suck even more. Unfortunately, the brain is one of those parts that is extremely difficult to treat once injured. No helmet is going to prevent brain injury 100% of the time, but they can do a whole lot to help you in the event you clap your dome (that was for Spomer), so buy something quality and replace it often as a dented or dropped helmet may not function properly when you most need it.

Bike helmets in the US must meet the CPSC standard, a standard that has largely remained unchanged since 1998. Compared to the European CEN standard, it's often considered to be a more rigorous testing benchmark that has, in some cases, caused certain (usually road/XC) helmets to remain Euro only.

MIPS is not a safety standard but rather a special liner technology that can be licensed by a helmet company and added to an existing helmet design. Developed in 2001, the idea is to add more time for your brain to decelerate in the event of a rotational impact. If the liner does its job as claimed, it should cut down on axonal shearing in most crash situations, which in theory should lessen the amount of damage a bad crash does to your noggin. Learn more by watching the video below:

​In 2014, BRG (Giro's parent) bought a portion of the MIPS company. This acquisition may explain the rapid roll-out of the technology throughout the group's various helmet brands and models at very attractive price points (it's only a $20 upgrade to get the Feature helmet with this technology in it for example).

The million dollar question (or rather $20 dollar question) is how much of a difference does it make? Honestly, I didn't go bonk into various objects in a MIPS helmet and a non MIPS helmet to then go have my brain analyzed via a SPECT, fMRI or PET scan. Is it all rubbish? I don't think so and a number of other helmet companies licensing the technology don't think so either. In the game of protecting your brain, every bit helps. In this case it adds very minimal weight and the cost is less than a case of beer. So do the math...

On The Trail

The helmet performed awesome. Thankfully I didn't really "test" the helmet's protective qualities but riding around in it, I never once thought about it, which is the biggest compliment I can give to any piece of protective gear. It was invisible. I never noticed it doing something weird. It was as easy to adjust for a snug fit as anything on the market. It was never overly hot, it didn't pinch my head weirdly, and didn't I notice the weight. I sweat more than most, and I never had any issues in the sweat management department. The extra material wrapping around the back of my head gave me a bit more confidence and the visor was very functional.

In the aesthetics department, although I'm clearly no male model and the Feature didn't seem to make the ladies swoon for me, I feel it's a good looking helmet compared to other more trail-oriented options out there.

Things That Could Be Improved

I'll be frank with this. The helmet did its job. But I'd like to see helmet companies take protection, especially concussion protection (or "mild" traumatic brain injury) to the next level. We're testing helmets to a standard developed in 1998. MIPS was developed in 2001. Lets bring a decade worth of advancements in our understanding of neuroscience to helmet technology. While I realize helmets likely do a much better job than they did in 1998, I still would like to see a manufacturer address this head on (again, pun intended). Push the market to do a better job with these life saving devices in non life threatening situations.

Pie in the sky rants aside, I found absolutely nothing wrong with this helmet.

Long Term Durability

I haven't had enough trail time with the Feature to elaborate on just how durable it will be the long run. Initial indications has it right up there with other quality helmets currently available. It has a few scuffs from the back of my truck but overall, it has held up as expected, especially for something you should replace often.

What's The Bottom Line?

This helmet is a stand-out performer and priced less than majority of the competition. Some products are meant to last a lifetime, a helmet is not one of them. A helmet is more like an oil change in a car. Yes, you own the oil but it has a shelf/usage life. Replacing both your oil and your helmet often is key to making sure it does its job. With respect to the Feature, it sure makes you're less likely to "push" an old helmet when replacement costs a fraction of what some of the competition comes in at. Add to this the fact that it offers high performance in an aesthetically pleasing package utilizing the best protection technologyavailable makes the Feature with MIPS a winner.

Visit www.giro.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Jeff Brines didn't go on a real date until he was nearly 20 years old, largely as a result of his borderline unhealthy obsession with bicycles. Although his infatuation with two wheels may have lead to stuttering and sweatiness around the opposite sex, it did provide for an ideal environment to quickly progress through the ranks of both gravity and cross-country racing. These days, Jeff races enduro at the pro level, rides upward of 150 days a year while logging over 325k of human powered ascending/descending on his bike. Bred as a racer, Jeff is more likely to look for the fastest way through a section as opposed to the most playful. Living in the shadow of the Tetons in Jackson, WY, Jeff works in financial intelligence and spends his winters as head ski gear guru and content manager over at earlyups.com.

Rate review: +2 Up Down
Vital MTB member jeff.brines
4240 jeff.brines https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/4240/avatar/c50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n.jpg?1321466271 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/jeff-brines,4240/all 08/29/10 13 4 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/jeff-brines,4240/setup 11 252 481 18 2

Great Helmet

Rating:
The Good:

Fits well Comfortable Offers great protection Reasonably priced

The Bad:

Probably have to buy a new one after one ride.

Overall Review:

I recently bought one of these, the Blue and lime green one to be exact. From the get go, the way the helmet sat on my head made me feel solidly protected. Just walking around waiting for a race to start, and having it sit idly on my head for over an hour, I forgot that it was there, which is extremely hard to come by in a helmet. I barely made it 0.3 miles into my race before taking a huge slam into the ground. Helmet has a fairly sizeable dent in it now. I suffered from a sprained shoulder and laceration on my arm, but I had no concussion. Now that is either dumb luck, or good engineering on the behalf of Giro and the MIPS.

I Read More »

Overall Review:

I recently bought one of these, the Blue and lime green one to be exact. From the get go, the way the helmet sat on my head made me feel solidly protected.  Just walking around waiting for a race to start, and having it sit idly on my head for over an hour, I forgot that it was there, which is extremely hard to come by in a helmet.  I barely made it 0.3 miles into my race before taking a huge slam into the ground.  Helmet has a fairly sizeable dent in it now. I suffered from a sprained shoulder and laceration on my arm, but I had no concussion. Now that is either dumb luck, or good engineering on the behalf of Giro and the MIPS. 

I would definitely buy this helmet again, and probably will have to judging on the dent in the side of the helmet.

Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member Joe_B
41003 Joe_B https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/41003/avatar/c50_dh_1464310073.jpg?1464309371 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/Joe-B,41003/all 05/26/16 1

Specifications

Product Giro Feature MIPS Helmet
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Rider Unisex
Number of Vents 12 Vents with Internal Channeling
Construction In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell with EPS Liner, Adjustable Moto-Style Visor, MIPS
Adjustable Padding In-Form Fit System
Certification
Bag
Size S (20-21.75 in / 51-55 cm), M (21.75-23.25 in / 55-59 cm), L (23.25-24.75 in / 59-63 cm)
Colors Matte Black, Matte Glowing Red / Highlight Yellow, Matte White CA Bear
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous
Price $95
More Info

Giro Website

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