Review: Giro Eclipse Spherical Helmet – Aero gains, but they’re not cheap
We analyse if Giro’s new flagship road helmet is worth the hefty price tag
American company Giro has long been at the vanguard of the aero helmet trend. In 2012, it made waves in the cycling scene with its Air Attack – a road helmet which was said to save riders up to 17 seconds over 40km compared to the brand’s previous flagship helmet. It turned heads for its unique look, but also appealed to the watt-saving, aero nuts who were searching for every marginal gain on the road. Since then, Giro’s offerings of slippery road helmets have evolved quickly, with the most recent being the Giro Eclipse Spherical.
The main selling point of the Eclipse Spherical helmet is that Giro claims it has managed to maintain the lid’s aero credentials while also increasing ventilation and reducing the risk of overheating. This is achieved through the 17 ventilation points which are carefully placed on the helmet in areas where there is a risk of built up heat and moisture, as well as channels inside the helmet which direct air through and over the head. All of this while still maintaining a very fast helmet, which Giro claims beats the “closest aero road helmet competitor” by 14 seconds over 100 miles at 25mph (40.2 km/h) in a wind tunnel test.
But performance and breathability aren’t the only areas where Giro has looked to develop the Eclipse. Safety sits at the forefront of the brand’s priorities when it comes to new designs, with the addition of rotational impact protection being an important part of the Eclipse’s DNA.
The Eclipse comes with MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) technology. MIPS is a low friction layer that allows movement between the outer section of the helmet and the head in all directions, in turn reducing motion transferred to the brain in the event of impact. With the Spherical update, as seen on the new Eclipse, you get two separate EPS layers with the outer one able to rotate around the inner one if you crash, creating an even safer system.
Perhaps the most impressive thing is that Giro has managed to add additional layers to the helmet while keeping the overall weight of the helmet down. In size medium, the helmet weighs around 276 grams, a relatively standard weight when compared to other aero road helmets on the market. Add in Giro’s patented Roc Loc 5 Air system retention dial, antimicrobial padding and reflective decals and the Eclipse Spherical Helmet has everything you’d expect from Giro’s top of the range road helmet offering.
I was admittedly sceptical when I first saw the Giro Eclipse helmet as I tend to steer clear of aero helmets due to the risk of overheating while out on the bike. However, even when wearing the Eclipse in temperatures creeping towards 30 degrees, I was impressed by how well-ventilated it was. I could feel air move through my head towards the back of the helmet, this was especially comfortable when riding at speed or descending after a tough climb. The helmet feels lightweight and, though the MIPS Spherical system gives peace of mind that you’re protected if an incident should occur, it’s not noticeable when riding and doesn’t add extra bulk.
Comfort is also helped by the Roc Loc 5 air dial at the rear of the helmet which is easily adjusted so you can lock in the best fit for the ride. It also is readily accessible on the move should the helmet need to be tightened or loosened while riding. Large padding at the front of the helmet means that, although the Eclipse has a particularly round shape, it doesn’t cause any pressure points on the head. I would say that this did cause a slight build-up of sweat around the forehead area when climbing in the hottest conditions, but this is an issue which is common across most helmets.
My only gripe with this helmet is the lack of place to store sunglasses while on the move. There’s no easy docking point where you can pop your shades while climbing or when riding through areas of low visibility. Though this likely wouldn't be an issue on fast, short efforts, I’d prefer to have the option to remove my sunglasses on some of those longer rides.
At £239.99, the Giro Eclipse Spherical helmet is a big investment. It’s a lid that can’t be faulted in terms of aero performance, ventilation and safety standards, but it’s unfortunate that this has to come at such a high price. It is worth considering that although this is branded an aero helmet, it is versatile enough to be used on most terrain – the ventilation is good enough for it to be a climbing helmet (though the lack of sunglasses dock does hinder its chances slightly in this category) and it’s comfortable enough to be used on all-day rides.
Overall, it’s great to see a leading helmet brand place so much focus on safety, giving riders the option to wear a high-performance lid without having to take any risks when it comes to protection. If there is one area of cycling kit that is worth spending a little extra money on for better safety, it’s the helmet. It’s a high risk sport, and Giro’s Eclipse Spherical helmet is an ideal choice for protection and performance moulded into one sleek package.