Giant Rev Pro MIPS helmet review: A top-end option with a fussy fit
The top-tier road helmet from the world's largest bicycle manufacturer.
The top-tier road helmet from the world's largest bicycle manufacturer.
The biggest names in the bike industry are forever moving towards being full-service brands. From offering the components that make up the bikes, to the clothes that are worn when riding them, these brands want your business. And in recent years these billion-dollar businesses have been investing sizeable amounts in the research and development of smaller products.
Arguably following in the footsteps of Specialized and Trek, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, Giant, has been steadily improving its apparel and accessory range. One of the newer releases is the Rev Pro MIPS, a pro-level road helmet that seeks to balance breathability, low weight, aerodynamics, and safety.
While it feels like Giant hasn’t broken into the helmet market quite like rivals Specialized and Trek (Bontrager), the company is quite confident in the performance of the products it’s been producing.
A few years ago Giant claimed its Pursuit aero road helmet was competitively fast while being more breathable than many other aero road helmets on the market. Meanwhile, the previous version of the helmet tested here, the Rev, was claimed to be one of the most efficient choices in terms of ventilation and cooling.
Giant was one of the earlier brands to really hone in on optimising a helmet’s internal channels to the benefit of aerodynamics, and as a side perk, the ventilation greatly improved too. And with help from Giant’s aero design and testing partner, Aero Concept Engineering (ACE), the new Rev Pro MIPS aims to keep the breeziness of its predecessor while making it slicker to the wind (no data provided).
As a result the new Rev Pro MIPS offer 20 vents with generous internal channelling. Giant’s five-position height-adjustable retention system integrates with the custom MIPS liner, while the numerous helmet pads all feature an antimicrobial material. Meanwhile, the thin straps feature adjustable splitters and a simple clip buckle.
This helmet isn’t the lightest thing out, and that’s no surprise given the MIPS liner and the fact that much of the exterior is protected by the in-moulded polycarbonate shell. I weighed an Australian-approved medium at 296 g, while a small saves 12 grams. The CPSC versions are expected to be lighter.
The Giant Rev Pro MIPS helmet retails for US$250 / AU$350 / €200, a price that places it as a top-tier offering but one that remains slightly more affordable than some other top-tier options.
Giant offers the Rev Pro MIPS in three sizes, and depending on where you live in the world you’ll have access to one of two distinct shapes. Most Western markets sell the oval shape (as tested), while there is a more rounded version sold in Asian markets.
The shape as tested is even more ovoid than many other helmets shaped for the Western market, and it wasn’t a natural fit for my head (which typically gets on best with European-designed helmets). The size medium was comfortable but offered too much floating room and sat too deep on my head, while the small saw me suffer pinch points on the edges of my skull through the middle of the head as if the helmet shape is too triangular. And while I haven’t tested it, it sure seems the Asian fitment would suit me best.
“We are studying this issue to see if we can provide better ratios to our sales companies for planning and forecasting in their markets,” explained Jeff Schneider, head of product and marketing in Giant’s gear division. “In the US, for example, in most cases, they really only need the size M ’round’ [to be added] and it seems to meet most of the needs in the market, but they have seen a few where size S might be needed.”
The profile of the helmet offers obviously deep coverage over the temples, a feature that’s surprisingly not more common. The very back of the helmet is quite shallow in protection but the area behind the ears earns better-than-average coverage, effectively solving the issue.
That elongated protection over the temples gives the sense of a deep-fitting helmet that prioritises safety, but I did run into issues with straight-stemmed glasses, such as the Oakley Radar EV, which rattled against this more generous profile. Giant states that compatibility with popular eyewear was a key design focus while increasing protection, but there will certainly be some combinations that aren’t ideal.
The retention system offers plenty of adjustment range and I found it comfortable. The height adjustment is finicky to use, but I like that Giant has moulded in plastic guides instead of clipping that adjustment straight into the EPS foam like on some other helmets.
The previously mentioned deep coverage over the temples and behind the ears helps to create a helmet that just feels safer in wearing than some of the more minimalist racing helmets. Add in the MIPS slip-liner and a fairly robust weight on the scales and things point to this helmet being on the safer side.
“All of our helmets meet AU/NZ and CPSC test standards [and] are MIPS-only to absorb rotational impacts,” said Schneider. “Aside from that, I can state that our number-one goal for helmets is the safety of our customers. Other brands will tout weights based on CE standards, but Giant/Liv do not produce CE certified helmets as we feel that standard lacks safety that is in line with our goals and standards.”
Unfortunately, to date, there have been no independent test results from labs like Virginia Tech for this helmet, or really any helmet from Giant’s range. Of course, it passes the strictest safety standards currently required, but how it compares against other helmets is currently unknown, and that’s a shame as I suspect it’d fare quite well.
Update: Less than a week after this review was published Virginia Tech added the Giant Rev Pro MIPS to its list of tested helmets. This helmet scored an impressive 10.2 (lower is better), putting the Rev Pro MIPS in the top ten of all cycling helmets tested, and top three amongst road-specific lids (only bested by Lazer’s G1 MIPS and Century MIPS).
The Rev Pro MIPS does a respectable job of keeping your head cool, but it’s not the breeziest lid I’ve ever worn. At speed the airflow is plentiful and I found it kept sweat drips at bay and my head cool. Equally, it’s not obviously noisy to the ears. Even at these lower speeds the helmet still manages to feel fairly cool, however, there are no obvious features to keep the brow pad dry and I suffered the occasional sweat drip as climbs dragged on.
The custom MIPS liner used here is certainly more minimalist and airier than the traditional liners used in helmets like the Lazer G1 MIPS, but its connected design still seems to impede the absolute effectiveness of the internal channelling. As if often the case with most MIPS-equipped helmets, there is a trade-off, but at least the MIPS system used here is indeed a true one-piece liner that slides independently of the shell.
The build quality of the helmet points to this being a robust option with secure attachment points for the straps and retention system. There’s also no soft materials or clips to come unbonded or break at the retention system. And as mentioned there’s quite a bit of coverage for the EPS foam (except at the base of the helmet). Assuming it’s not involved in a crash, this helmet should far outlast a number of more delicate helmets (such as the Kask Valegro).
The helmet offers a narrow frontal profile and sleek shape, but I can’t speak to its aerodynamic qualities or how it compares to others. And while Giant states this new helmet is faster than the previous version, those focussed on drag numbers should likely still look to other options that are specifically designed as aero helmets.
To recap, the Western version of this helmet just wasn’t a perfect fit for my head and so it’s not a helmet you’ll see me wearing in future. With such a polarising fit I’m keen to see Giant offer the more rounded Asian-fit versions in more markets. In the meantime, the old rule of trying before buying still applies.
If the lid fits, then you’ll likely be pleased with the safety-conscious coverage (and backed results), the robust retention system, and the competitively airy feeling. The fit has its quirks and the weight isn’t going to impress, but this helmet still deserves attention amongst its similarly-high-priced peers.
For more information, head to giant-bicycles.com.