Review: Giro Feature Helmet
October 18th, 2012
By Olly Forster
Successfully realising the needs and aspirations of the end user is never an easy task to get right, but it’s one you have to get right from the word go. Giro have been producing helmets that blend the venting and fit of a regular MTB helmet with the style and coverage of a skate style helmet, for over ten years now and when the Feature entered their line up for 2012, we had to take a closer look…
Words: Olly Forster | Photos: Nathan Carvell & Olly Forster
From the deep shell, increased coverage, moto inspired peak and bright colours, the Giro Feature represents a product that directly reflects the market they are aiming at. Today’s trail rider on a 150mm travel bike is not only pushing the bike and the trail, but themselves into an environment that doesn’t take to kindly to mistakes. Maximising protection without loosing touch of what your trying to achieve is exactly what the designers at Giro have done with the Feature.
From the moment I popped this on my head, I knew this helmet was going to be a good one as it fits and feels like it was made for my head, which is pretty round if your wondering. Fit aside, the fluro yellow, moto-style peak and ‘skate’ style appearance are pretty much what most riders are aspiring towards these days and it I still wonder why riders are still going for helmets that wouldn’t look out of place on a teenager riding a scooter down the local skate park, or worse still, a spandex EPO warrior in the Tour de France.
The Feature has great protection all around, especially in the rear, which is pretty extensive with these large exhaust vents to help channel air through the helmet. With 12 large vents in total, the Feature doesn’t pack the same clout of venting as a regular XC helmet, but taking into consideration the amount of material present, does a pretty good job.
I’m not a massive fan of graphics on trail helmets, just a good colour combination and maybe some subtle graphics to finish things off, which is exactly what you have here. If fluro yellow (Giro refer to this as Bright Green by the way?) is too much, there are plenty of far less in-your-face colours to choose from.
The internals of the Feature are designed around an inn-mold construction process, which fuse a tough polycarbonate outer shell with the helmet’s impact-absorbing foam (EPS) liner. The fusion process allows Giro to sculpt better ventilation systems into the liner like you can see in the photo below, allowing air to be directed in through the front and out through the rear.
The pad system is incredibly simple featuring only three removable sections and due to the ‘In-Form Fit System’, you don’t need to have another set of thicker pads to maximise on your personal fit.
This is awesome! The in-form fit system employed in the Giro Feature is amazing and offers a fantastic way of getting the fit just right for your head. Attached to a plastic band that reaches all the way from the back and out to the temples, and by simply turning the wheel, it retracts the band making it tighter allowing you to get your desired setting. To release, simply press on the wheel and the band retracts in the opposite direction – it works so well, you’ll have to release it to remove it from your head!
The fit system’s position is also adjustable – by simply popping it out from the red section pictured below, you can re-fit it depending on the shape of your head and where you want it to sit – ideally it should be cradling your skull for maximum fit and increased stability over the rough stuff.
As you can see from the photo below, the fit-system and pad set work together, giving the user a highly comfortable and stable helmet.
The Giro Feature is a great helmet and an instant favourite with a fit, that for me, was second to none and with a smooth profile design that is as far removed from a regular XC helmet as possible before going too far in the wrong direction. It’s looks will certainly earn it many fans within the growing aggressive trail market where products that bridge the gap between DH and XC, are highly favoured and making the distinction that what they are doing is anything but XC, is paramount.
The only downside I found with the Feature was do with heat build up and poor sweat absorption in the front, which would lead to sweat dribbling into my face on slower sections or pausing on the trail. The heat build up is an issue with all helmets of this style and a weigh off in terms of protection verses venting and one only you can decide upon. The Feature’s venting, although not as good as say the Fox Flux, certainly has the popular Urge Endur-O-Matic licked in this department and venting aside, the sweat issue is there from the design of the air channels in the EPS liner and it was only a minor issue that might not register with some users, as when up to speed, actually does a great job.
The Feature is a great looking helmet that certainly carries on in a long tradition of well designed and eye catching helmets from Giro, but what makes the Feature stand out is it’s fit and feel – you just gotta try one on to you’ll see!
Overall the Giro Feature has proved to be everything we wanted it to be, especially in the genre in which it was designed to fit into. Although it maybe a tad on the hot side compared to a regular XC lid, it still wipes the floor with a skate lid and even some of the other trail/ enduro specific lids out there. Venting aside, this is probably one the comfiest and most stable lids of its kind on the market, if not open face helmets in general and with looks that truly separate it from the competition, and coming in at £59.99 is most definitely on the money too! This is one helmet you really need to take a look at and it’s also worth noting that Giro offer the Feature in a women’s specific model called the Feather.
Giro is exclusively distributed in the UK by Madison and for more on the Feature and Giro’s range of bike gear, hit the logo!