PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Great Head: Giro’s Ionos

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Great Head: Giro’s Ionos
Tough job for Giro… Trying to one up what many feel is the nicest helmet in the peloton in their own Atmos was no easy task, but they did the job with the new (though we’ve been tempted with ‘em for a year now) Ionos… Here’s how we see (or feel) it.

So it’s Tour time…
In Arizona that also means head melting, brain boiling, 5am ride start-type weather. No better time then for Discovery Channel to decide to change up their tour color scheme(a little last minute greenery?). Giro were happy to help and we were happy to get a helmet that normaly would have gone to Disco right when a better venting helmet is always on order.

click the thumbnail at the top for the biggie pic

So you’ve no doubt seen a bit of info and a few pictures of the new lid, and we got the same basic info as everyone else… Tested by 27 riders, over 50,000 miles, 21 vents, goes on your head, weighs the same as a hummingbird fart and yep, it’s got fiber showing.

If you’re like me though you wonder how Giro could make a better helmet than the Ionos’ older brother the Atmos… But we figured with the mountain of test equipment and development budget at Giro, if anyone could knock ‘em off it would be themselves. That said, my first head-on view had me thinking wait, the Atmos looks like it will vent better??!

They look similarly sleek and sexy, but the Atmos appears to have a more open front…

Then it was a top down look side by side and honestly, more of the same, as the Atmos looks more open…

It wasn’t till I got round back that the new Ionos started to remind me that there’s more to helmet tech than simply a lot of big vents…

A common mistake for helmet makers is placing most of the design emphasis on more vents and a good look… Then you get to the inside of the helmet, where air needs to move to do the job of venting and some others simply go no place…

A great example of the lack of channels is in this shot from a team helmet (to remain nameless) that had been “optimized” for me by a Pro tour mechanic for a hot day of rolling round…

nope this is not a Giro AND you should NOT do this to your helmet.

“Optimized” in this case meant taking a box cutter to the inner foam (again, don’t do this) and routing channels between the vents to make them perform better as the air not only needs to enter it needs to cross over as much real-estate as possible…

Tech ed head: also “optimized”

And then the hot air needs some place to get the “hell” out.

I was traveling while writing this and couldn’t confirm what my head was telling me (and feeling), but I think the Ionos is simply venting more completely front to back than the Atmos was and with emphasis inside and out back.

The Ionos actually looks far more open from the inside…

And a closer look will have you start to notice the depth of the channels…

You may also notice that the extensive shaping works not just to join holes, but to direct more of the air onto and over the scalp and out…

This new lid is a great example of “more isn’t always better”, as the Atmos sported more vents than the new Ionos…

Another design advance is in the general shape of the helmet. One of the few gripes I have heard about the Atmos was regarding wind noise. I never noticed it and certainly not enough to care but the new shape not only eliminates vents while venting better, it does so with what is probably less drag and a bit less wind noise…

Side by side, you’ll note that the Atmos (fig 1) has a more choppy / less flowing design than the Ionos (fig 2). The air moves around the Ionos better as both the shape and fewer vents create fewer rough spots…

I guess last and least changed is the retention system. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it was the rule as Roc Loc 4 seems to vary only in color from Atmos to Ionos.

Although I love minimalist retention systems far more than the overly complicated crap some helmets companies seem to think helps sell helmets, I would say if it ain’t broke you can still improve it. The Roc Loc is one of the best but I would love to see a 5-6 place vertical adjustment (up and down the back of your bean) rather than the three place adjustment of the Roc Loc.

That’s about it for this latest “Great Head”…

Riding it down the road, it seems to give the same huge airflow up front and I feel a little more flow in the back. Maybe that’s just me, but I’ll bet a dollar that Giro’s tech guy confirms that the 15% better venting is, in fact down to more complete exhaust.

The weight feels the same from Ionos to Atmos and that’s a great thing as the Atmos was already silly light (while still passing safety tests that a box cutter will have other helmets failing miserably)…

It comes in three sizes and according to Giro, they’ve used “Super Fit Engineering” using human scale factors data to create a helmet that fits 98% of all the heads in the world. My immediate request is that Giro start working on a saddle that will fit 98% of the other end!

It will come in Disco, Rabobank, Crystal Blue (also known as baby blue) and Silver, yellow / black, Red-Black-White, White – Silver and a flat Black.

Availability should be July and the cost will be US$225 (also probably making Atmos’s a bit cheaper which is also GREAT).

Oh and Ionos comes from “Ionosphere” the upper layer of the earths atmosphere.

You can visit GIRO.COM for more details…

Have Fun,

Charles Manantan

Note: if you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products we test here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper use and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

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