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Giro Synthe MIPS Review: The Best Road Bike Helmets of 2020 – Cycling Helmet Review

Best All-Around Premium Road Bike Helmet of 2020

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Aerodynamics 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 90% 90%

Price: $176.00 – $270.00

Weight: 268g

Vents: 26

Fit System: Roc Loc 5 Air

Safety Tech: MIPS

What We Like: Highly Adjustable, Well Ventilated, Aerodynamic, Great Sale Prices

What We Don’t: MSRP is Nearly as Expensive as the POC Ventral Spin

The Giro Synthe is a premium road bike helmet aimed at bringing all of the features that you want in a race day helmet to a helmet that is comfortable enough to be worn every time you throw a leg over your bike. While this might sound like a tall task, the Giro Synthe MIPS road bike helmet lives up to its rather lofty ambitions in almost every way.

Compare to Similar Products

See Our The Best Road Bike Helmets of 2020: Cycling Helmet Review!

POC Ventral SPIN

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 90% 90%
  • Aerodynamics 100% 100%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 100% 100%

Pros

Unparalleled Combination of Weight

Safety

Ventilation

Cons

Price

Weight: 280g

Vents: 14

Fit System: Proprietary 360 Degree Retention System

Safety Tech: SPIN

Giro Synthe MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Aerodynamics 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 90% 90%

Pros

Highly Adjustable

Well Ventilated

Aerodynamic

Great Sale Prices

Cons

MSRP is Nearly as Expensive as the POC Ventral Spin

Weight: 268g

Vents: 26

Fit System: Roc Loc 5 Air

Safety Tech: MIPS

Lazer Z-1 MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 90% 90%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Ventilation 100% 100%
  • Aerodynamics 60% 60%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 90% 90%

Pros

MIPS

T Pro

Highly Adjustable

Magneto Eyewear Doc

Cons

Heavy

High MSRP

Weight: 284g

Vents: 31

Fit System: ARS Advanced Rollsys System

Safety Tech: MIPS, T Pro

Giro Aether MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Aerodynamics 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 100% 100%

Pros

MIPS Spherical

Roc Loc 5+ Air Fit Retention System

Cons

Staggering Price Tag

Weight: 267g

Vents: 11

Fit System: Roc Loc 5+ Air

Safety Tech: MIPS Spherical

Smith Trace MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 90% 90%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 60% 60%
  • Aerodynamics 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 100% 100%

Pros

Top of the Line Safety Features

Improved Ventilation Over Smith Overtake

Cons

Still Not the Best Ventilation

Price

Weight: 280g

Vents: 18

Fit System: VaporFit

Safety Tech: MIPS, Koroyd

Giro Foray MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 80% 80%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Ventilation 70% 70%
  • Aerodynamics 80% 80%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 80% 80%

Pros

Premium Features at a Budget Price

Cons

Doesn’t Vent or Fit Quite Like the Giro Synthe

Weight: 298g

Vents: 21

Fit System: Roc Loc 5

Safety Tech: MIPS

Bell Stratus MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 80% 80%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Ventilation 70% 70%
  • Aerodynamics 70% 70%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 70% 70%

Pros

Premium Features in a Mid Priced Helmet

Cons

Lacks Some of the Safety Features of the Bell Z20 MIPS

Weight: 296g

Vents: 18

Fit System: Float Fit

Safety Tech: MIPS

Kask Valegro

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 80% 80%
  • Weight 90% 90%
  • Ventilation 100% 100%
  • Aerodynamics 70% 70%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 50% 50%

Pros

Lightweight

Great Ventilation

Cons

No MIPS

Issues With Octo Fit Retention System

Weight: 234g

Vents: 37

Fit System: Octo Fit

Safety Tech: In Molding, MIT

Kask Protone

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 80% 80%
  • Weight 80% 80%
  • Ventilation 70% 70%
  • Aerodynamics 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 50% 50%

Pros

Highly Adjustable

Aerodynamic

Cons

No MIPS

Falls Short of the Giro Synthe’s Adjustability and Ventilation

Weight: 248g

Vents: 20

Fit System: Octo Fit

Safety Tech: In Molding, MIT

Bell Z20 MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 90% 90%
  • Weight 50% 50%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Aerodynamics 70% 70%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 80% 80%

Pros

Float Fit Race Retention System

Ventilation

Cons

Weight

Nowhere to Stash Sunglasses

Weight: 305g

Vents: 18

Fit System: Float Fit Race 

Safety Tech: MIPS

Kask Mojito X

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%
  • Ventilation 60% 60%
  • Aerodynamics 60% 60%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 50% 50%

Pros

Solid Performer in Every Category

Cons

Doesn’t Vent or Fit Quite Like the Giro Synthe

Weight: 220g

Vents: 26

Fit System: Up & Down Fit System

Safety Tech: MIT, In Molding

Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability

A look at the outside or inside of the Giro Synthe road bike helmet might lead you to believe that this would be a helmet reserved for race days. However, actually wearing the helmet reveals that this idea could not be further from the truth. The Synthe is among the most comfortable helmets that we have ever worn, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees.

The Giro Synthe uses a Roc Loc Air fit retention system, which we have reviewed fondly in mountain bike helmets in the past. Unlike most helmets, the Roc Loc Air fit system keeps the inner eps foam of the helmet suspended away from your head, which increases the helmets ability to keep your head cool.

Furthermore, most helmets’ retention systems attach to the helmet near the temples. This means that running the helmet on the tighter side can cause it to shift forward on your head, and even cause uncomfortable pressure points near the temples. However, the Giro Synthe’s Roc Loc Air fit system wraps all the way around your head, allowing it to comfortably fit a much wider range of head shapes than most road bike helmets.

The Giro Synthe is further adjustable via the very minimal Y buckles, which allow you to dial in their fit around your ears.

Overall, the Giro Synthe features top-notch adjustability and fit for the widest range of head shapes of just about any road bike helmet in our review.

Weight

Weighing in at 268g, the Giro Synthe is a lightweight road bike helmet, particularly for one equipped with MIPS.

Ventilation

The Giro Synthe MIPS boasts 26 vents and is an extremely well-ventilated helmet. In fact, we rank it only just behind the class-leading Lazer Z1 MIPS and POC Ventral Spin in this category. The Roc Loc Air fit retention system keeps the helmet suspended away from your head, allowing more airflow than most helmets. However, the Giro Synthe MIPS’ 26 vents are smaller than those found on the most highly ventilated road bike helmets that we reviewed, and this means that, particularly at slower speeds, it falls just behind those helmets that were top notch in this category.

Safety Tech and Additional Features

The Giro Synthe MIPS uses a standard MIPS insert as well as in molding, which are both fairly standard for top of the line road bike helmets, where there is little separation among the top contenders. 

Meanwhile, a sunglass perch is a nice addition to the Giro Synthe, as anyone who has ever lost a pair of sunglasses while trying to thread them through their helmets vents can attest.

Aerodynamics

While we don’t have a wind tunnel on hand for testing the Giro Synthe certainly looks like an aerodynamic road bike helmet, and we know that Giro put it through extensive wind tunnel testing to make sure that it is as aerodynamic as it looks. Furthermore, you would be hard pressed to find a more aerodynamic helmet that you would be keen to ride in every day.

The Bottom Line

A lightweight, aerodynamic helmet that is well ventilated and comfortable enough to be your daily go-to helmet for both training rides, as well as races, sounds just about too good to be true, but the Giro Synthe MIPS helmet really does pull it off, earning our top pick for the best all-around premium road bike helmet of 2020. Furthermore, it can frequently be found on Backcountry for less than $200, making it quite the steal to boot.

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