Giro Range MIPS
The Giro Range MIPS helmet is a great option for a skier focused on in-bounds resort skiing who occasionally hits the skin track. MIPS technology provides an extra layer of assurance while the Conform Fit technology provides for a customized fit.
- Customized fit
- Magnetic buckle
- MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) technology
- Vent Slide Sticks
- Profile Appearence
I tested the Range MIPS helmet by Giro while skiing in Northern New Hampshire during the winter of 2015-2016. There was not a lot of snow in the backcountry, but the resorts were able to make enough for this skier to get some time on the hill.
Fit, Comfort, and Profile:
In order to meet the varied head sizes of the skiing market, manufactures sell helmets with size ranges. I fall in to the medium range which is a head circumference of 55.5 cm to 59 cm. Since this is a fairly large range, manufactures need to provide a system to further customize the fit. Since I fall on the smaller size of the range, this allows me to tighten the helmet so that it is securely on my head. These systems are not only for comfort but also for safety. Helmets that do not fit properly do not provide impact protection and can occasionally cause additional injury.
The Range helmet uses what is called Conform Fit Technology which is a dial at the base of the helmet that opens and closes the two piece outer-shell to relax or tighten the fit.
When it comes to customization and comfort I found that I was able to adjust the helmet to fit my head perfectly. I also had my wife try on and adjust the helmet as well. Since our heads are in the same range she was able to adjust it to fit her as well. This is a nice feature for those who share helmets in a household or if you want to wear a beanie under the helmet.
The chin strap also aids in the fit of the helmet by allowing the wearer to tighten or relax the strap to form a secure fit. This helmet, like others on the market, are designed so that the chin strap is only needed to retain the helmet on the head during a crash. The skier does not need to crank the chin strap down to make for a snug fit. The strap should only be tight enough to prevent movement on the head. Since there is not a lot of tension on the chin strap, the buckle is not under much stress and does not slide or lose tension.
I have joined the Fit and Profile sections because unlike other helmets, the Range fit system expands and contracts the outer-shell when your turn the wheel to adjust the fit. This changes the profile and appearance of the helmet itself.
As I mentioned earlier, I fall on the smaller side of the helmets range. This means that I need to tighten the helmet in order to provide a secure fit. This tightening draws the outer-shell inward. I listed profile appearance as a negative because the tightening of the helmet slightly exaggerates the fact that my head is on the smaller side range. It is possible that the appearance is much worse in my mind than it is in reality but I felt it was worth noting.
I also found that the Range helmet sat slightly higher on my head than other helmets. This is likely due to the MIPS technology which will be discussed later. In the picture below you will see side-by-side comparisons of the Giro Range Helmet and my old Smith Vantage helmet (from 2011). The top two pictures are of the Range helmet by Giro and the bottom two pictures are the Smith Vantage.
Personal thoughts of appearance aside, I found the Range helmet to be very comfortable and liked the innovative approach to adjusting the fit.
Features and Ease of Use:
The Range helmet has a handful of features worth noting both for their innovation and their function. First is the Fidlock buckle. This is the buckle that keeps the helmet secured to your head. The thing that sets this apart from other buckles is that it uses a magnet incorporated in the latch system that makes latching and unlatching a simple process.
For those familiar with my other reviews of winter gear, I use a “glove test” to check the seriousness of a features ability to work in the cold. The basis of this test is that because winter gear is designed for cold weather, you should be able to use it with gloves on. This buckle easily passes the glove test. You only need to get the pieces of the buckles close to each other and they quickly attach. Taking them apart is just as easy. They simply slide apart. I would love to see this type of buckle incorporated into other winter outdoor equipment.
The second function of note was the vent system. I have found that a system to open and close vents on a helmet have become pretty standard. The Range helmet has 1 slide that either allows all the vents to be open or close. This winter in the Northeast was a winter in name only with above average temperatures and little natural snow. I only used the helmet with the vents completely open this season. My head stayed the perfect temperature and the open vents allowed for nice airflow.
I did find that the slide action of the Range felt cheap. It has a tendency to catch and make the opening and closing of the vents more difficult than one would expect. It occasionally stuck to the degree that I was concerned I would break something if I pushed any harder. Luckily there are rarely any days that you open and close vents more than once, but this concern is enough to list in the cons section and I would encourage Giro to look into the design.
The third feature is the most important. The Range helmet incorporates MIPS technology. MIPS stands for Multidirectional Impact Protection System and is incorporated into the design of the helmet. MIPS provides increased protection in crashes that involve the head impacting a static object (i.e. the ground) at an angle.
The helmet and liner are separated by an elastic system that allows a small, less than 2 mm, amount of rotation which reduces stress on the brain. Giro created a very informative set of videos which explains this better than I will be able to.
I take my testing for the Trailspace Review Corp very seriously, but I also enjoy not crashing while skiing. Because of this, I did not fully test the functionality of the MIPS technology in this helmet. But, I also haven’t fully tested the airbag technology in my car. To some degree you just need to trust the manufacturer that the system works and provides extra safety. This type of technology is a great step forward in safety and will hopefully start to be incorporated into more and more helmets.
The last feature worth noting is the integrated GoPro mount. I was unable to test this feature due to a lack of a GoPro. However, this was a very lackluster winter and would not have generated any jaw dropping video. With that being said, I will use this feature as an excuse to get a GoPro and hope for a better snow year in the future to update this post with video.
All of the features of the Range helmet were very easy to use both with and without gloves on. This is very important for winter equipment because it allows the user to stay protected from the elements while using the devise.
I tested the Giro Range helmet during the no-snow winter of 2015/2016 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The temperatures were mild and the snow levels were non-existent. At the time of this writing, I was only able use the helmet on groomed in-bounds resort trails, which this winter were more similar to vertical ice skating rinks than they were to snowy trails.
With that being said, because of MIPS technology I would be comfortable using this helmet for backcountry alpine touring trips in the Whites, conditions permitting. However, this helmet is not designed for ski mountaineering and should not be used once the user starts using a harness and ropes to access terrain.
I would recommend the Range MIPS helmet for anyone looking for a generalist ski helmet that works best at the resort but will keep you safe in the woods. There are number features that are well designed and innovative. I enjoyed testing this helmet even though the winter was less than stellar.
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample provided by Giro for testing and review)
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