Friday, September 9, 2011

Helmet Review: The Giro Aeon

Before I get into today's post I wanted to let a small cat (Or kitten) out of the bag. I (Along with my lovely wife and some other friends.) am going to Interbike next week! So please be prepared for a lot of bike porn talk happening around here. You've been warned....

A little over two months ago I got into a crash in a bike race. If you haven't read about it you can do so here. During that race I was riding my trusty Giro Ionos helmet. Well needless to say after sliding on my head for 50 feet or so that helmet was toast. It died in the noblest of ways. RIP Ionos...

In comes the Giro Aeon. I was lucky enough to have an "in" with the shop and was able to get the new Aeon for my size large (I have a really big melon.) cranium.  Before they even hit the shelves.

My initial impression upon picking it up was how light it was. Which would make sense since the Aeon is basically the love child of a Prolight and an Ionos.

One of the big complaints about the Prolight was that the venting was not quiet up to par with the rest of the high end road helmets that Giro offered. I can say with utter confidence that they have solved that problem.

This thing is dirty light. It only comes in at 26 grams heavier than the Prolight. All this coupled with the fact that you get to use Giro's new Roc Loc 5 retention system.

The Roc Loc 5 retention system in my uber technical speak. Is a really, really, really tiny version of Bell's setup. I know, I know. I'll try not to talk over every one's head. You turn the little wheel thingy to either loosen or tighten the helmet.

I used the Ionos for a little over two years. It was a great helmet. I had very few complaints about it. But the biggest thing that bothered me personally was how high it sat above my head.  This was never an issue with my Atmos or the Pneumo before it. Both of these helmets sat a little farther down on my head and if anything were a little wider around my temple. Which I appreciated more.  I'm glad to say that they went back to that style of fit. Guys with large pointy heads don't need either one of those attributes accentuated anymore than they already are. Thank you very much....

I don't need any old Scottish people yelling at me to get the paper anymore....
Speaking of the Pneumo. I was glad to see that they brought back some of the styling ques from that design.

The two large vents to the sides of the center remind me of the Pneumo a lot. And that's a good thing. Because I always enjoyed the look and feel of that helmet.

I was also amazed at really how few contact points there are between your head and the helmet. This I would imagine, at least in part is what makes the helmet have such good ventilation. More open area = more free air flow.

Aside from the brow and the Roc Loc your head only really touches two small spots in the center.
 A couple other design elements that I think are pretty interesting. There is no carbon reinforcement in this helmet like the Atmos and the Ionos. Leave it to Giro to think that carbon is to heavy... As well as the thinner nylon straps and buckles. I assume they changed this mostly because of weight. But the straps don't soak up near as much sweat as the older ones did. Couple that with the adjustment buckles being small enough that they aren't noticeable or bothersome is a real plus. About the only other helmet that I think has as good or better set up in this department is the Lazer Helium.

So you may be grabbing the receiver of your phone about ready to call  your local LBS and have them order you a gross of these bad boys. But I would say hold onto your horses just for a second. Because now I'm going to talk about my two complaints about this helmet. And they are important... The first is a big one.

Neither my Oakley Jawbones or my two pairs of Smith Optics fit in ANY of the vents.  I can't tell you how disappointed I was the first time I was out on a ride and tried to stick my glasses up in my helmet. I tried every vent. With the glasses upside down and right side up. Front and back. All to no avail. So really that's a (Major) knock against the Aeon. Every other Giro helmet that I've ever owned I could find a place to safely stick my specks without having to worry about them jettisoning off into a ditch. If you have a smaller head (With a smaller helmet size.) than me you might be able to fit them somewhere. But if that's a major concern for you I would definitely check before I purchased.

The only other quibble I have about the helmet is the price. Which is pretty dear. $250 for a piece of equipment that is designed to be "used" once and then thrown away can be a tough pill to swallow. But your grey matter is nothing to be scoffed at. And if there is one thing I have learned is the relative bargain that buying new equipment can be versus hospital bills. Or worse...

So if you are in the market and a person with the financial means and the wherewithal. I would highly recommend this helmet.  The Aeon is light, well ventilated, easily adjustable and nice looking.

Kind of a no brainer....

Rubber side down,

Big E

Rubber side down

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