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REVIEW

Giro Quarter MIPS - Pad Fit Helmet

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Nov 26, 2019
Reading time

Pad Fit VS Headaches

All these years wearing a ton of different helmets I've always gotten headaches on rides, with the exception of shuttling in a full face. Never extreme, ride ending, headaches. just a dull pain in my head accompanied by fatigue everywhere else. I always assumed it was a matter of dehydration but drinking more, and different, liquids never helped.

Then I discovered pad fit skid lids which have a few advantages over the fully-vented helmets most riders wear. They are arguably safer for a couple of reasons; their shape and the ability for companies to use softer foam in the structure. What they sacrifice in venting they more than make up for in comfort and the protection VS price is unmatched.

The Giro Quarter MIPS was designed specifically for the tough life that kids (small, big, adult) put helmets through and it's a perfect companion on aggressive mountain bike trails.

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There's something about wearing a kid lid that brings out the goofball...

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...even when I'm really, really, really trying to make a serious face!

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Okay, sometimes I'm serious when I'm wearing the Quarter MIPS.

MIPS is easily the most discussed helmet technology on the market and whether I believe in it or not, in the case of the Quarter I'm happy to have it for two reasons. Firstly the fit is excellent and secondly, Giro is using the same excellent, thin, sweat absorbing pads from their other top-end lids.

There is one negative associated with MIPS here and that's a bit more side-to-side movement as the shell floats on the liner, when there is a light mounted on top. That said, between the 65 USD Quarter MIPS and my 50 USD Kali Viva I can happily run two helmets, one in the day and one alone in the dark, for less than the price of many single premium helmets. The Quarter MIPS fits me very well whether the slip plane is the be-all-end-all or not.

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The polyurethane bumper coating protects the liner in daily use so the EPS can do it's job when called on.

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The riveted strap makes for an excellent very low contact fit and the feel on my head is tight but light.

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No ratchet, no worries. The 180° pad fit is so comfortable that I recommend to everyone to try one on next time you're killing time in a shop.

I've been almost-exclusively using pad fit helmets now for months including the Viva, this Quarter MIPS, and my full face. The exception is some rides where I prefer to use the Leatt DBX 3.0 thanks to its removeable chin bar. With the chin bar installed I'm able to run the ratchet quite loose but, as is my nature, I still find myself always dreaming of a helmet that combines the Quarter with a removeable chin bar option.

I think there would be a solid market for a street, dirt, BMX for a helmet that combines the Quarter MIPS with a DH-rated chin bar at a reasonable price.

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The Quarter MIPS is as close as I've gotten to a helmet I don't notice at all when I'm riding.

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And, it feels totally natural whether riding a boutique mountain bicycle or a budget rig.

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I get the odd comment on the negative style-points but I quite like how it looks and the fit is fantastic.

A helmet doesn't change how a bike rides the way a seat, grips, pedals, shoes, or gloves can, but the Giro Quarter MIPS is as close as I've come to a helmet I don't notice when I'm riding. Like other pad fit helmets, it's not as well vented as some may prefer,* but as I noted with the Viva it surprisingly never bothers me in use.

* venting comes with its own issues

When people ask me about my 'kid lid' I always respond with; "when was the last time you tried on a pad fit lid?" The answer is often "never," so I always suggest trying one when there's time to kill in a bike shop. If nothing else it makes any adult look younger.

The 65 USD Quarter MIPS, available in S, M, and L, is an excellent, readily available, option that could very well be your next helmet.


Thank you to the Clairebarian & Mr. Lungtastic for their help with my camera work <3.

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Comments

ackshunW
+3 Absolut-M Andrew Major Mammal
ackshunW  - Nov. 26, 2019, 6:38 a.m.

I like the idea of softer foam, but like damn, could they put in two more vents? Is there a middle ground? 

You make it sound good but I could never imagine wearing that expect for in the dead of winter. 

Eric

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 26, 2019, 9:24 a.m.

One of the main issues in using softer foam and adding venting is, because the material isn’t as good in sheer, you have to use less larger vents to maintain a CPSC (etc) passing structure. 

There are a couple helmets I see on the trail that have such large vents I can’t help but wonder what level of protection they offer if I’m crashing in rock gardens or even in some of the stick piles I’ve found myself laying about in over the years. 

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to suggest that if that’s the way helmet design is going there will eventually be a reckoning as foreign objects - like sharp pointy sticks or rocks - end up bypassing the helmet and directly interfacing with the rider. To at least the same extent that many riders, even on the road, and looking at the exoskeleton-reinforced - highly vented - lids they’re wearing and realizing they compromise safety by being rigid enough to pass tests and look cool and have venting.

———

When I reviewed the Kali Viva I was rightly called out for the time of year I tested it in (neither the hottest or muggiest periods of the year) and in response to that criticism, which again was totally legit, I road the helmet through an entire years worth of conditions - night and day.

I’m a sweaty guy and run hot and there were certainly days this summer when the pad-set was overwhelmed and sweat cascaded down my face. But then, because of climbs I’m never going fast enough for active-venting to matter, that happens to me with every helmet I own.

I took it off a couple of times trudging up epic fireroads in the sun... but then I do that with other lids too.

Anyways, I did write a follow up piece on it about taking the pad-fit helmet challenge. I think there are a lot of riders who’d be surprised how little extra venting matters and how comfortable these lids are. 

Worst case they aren’t expensive (even ones with premium features like the Quarter MIPS) and can do duty commuting, at the pump track, etc if they don’t work out as a go to trail lid.

I don’t see myself going back. A properly fitting pad-fit lid is just too damn comfy never mind the protection/$.

Reply

ackshunW
+1 Andrew Major
ackshunW  - Nov. 27, 2019, 10:28 a.m.

Thanks for the considered response! I’ll take your advice to at least check one out & try it on. 

Eric

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 27, 2019, 2:19 p.m.

Awesome; I’m not trying to claim it’s THE choice for everyone but I’d love to hear from riders who try one on. 

Since I started wearing the Viva all the time I’ve noticed people wearing pad-fit helmets regularly - as in they were always wearing them but now I notice. People generally give a blend of the same reasons I list - fit, protection, comfort, and of course price!

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Nov. 26, 2019, 10:33 a.m.

Are you going to be testing the Giro Tyrant when It comes out? Seems like It would be a good comparison.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 26, 2019, 12:50 p.m.

The Tyrant is not a pad-fit helmet. It uses Giro’s Roc Loc retention system.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 27, 2019, 2:22 p.m.

Ha. At SRP of Tyrant MIPS is 170 USD versus 65 USD for Quarter MIPS!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 27, 2019, 11:01 p.m.

The Tyrant is available now, and AJ's review is here: https://nsmb.com/articles/giro-tyrant-full-cut-helmet-release-first-impressions/

Reply

andy-eunson
+1 Andrew Major
Andy Eunson  - Nov. 26, 2019, 5:26 p.m.

I think ventilation is somewhat overblown with vents and exhaust ports and crap. I was compelled to purchase helmets with few vents a few years ago as I was treating my scalp with this stuff called Efeudex for actinic keratosis. I had to keep my scalp out of direct sunlight. I had a Giro aero road helmet and an Urge for mtb that looked a bit like a bowling ball with a few round holes in it. People thought the helmets would make me sweat. No. Going hard makes a person sweat. Back in the day when we trained on the road with a head band and no helmet, sweat poured off my head. That Urge helmet had a brow pad that curved out at the rim in front of my face so sweat dropped off out in front. The Giro was a bit of a sweat channeller but a sweat buster brow pad fixed that. I have a Laser road helmet with lots of vents but it channels sweat directly into my right eye for some reason. Again a sweat buster pad made the helmet useable for me. I sweat more than Hunter S Thompson. Way more. I overwhelm Halo head bands. So to my way of sweaty thinking, it’s not really a question of ventilation as much as sweat management.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Andy Eunson
Andrew Major  - Nov. 26, 2019, 10:04 p.m.

Have photos of this sweat buster pad installed? Does it change the fit of the helmet? Is it noticeable when on?

Very curious as I totally agree re. sweat management VS venting.

Reply

andy-eunson
+2 Andrew Major Mammal
Andy Eunson  - Nov. 27, 2019, 8:59 a.m.

https://www.traxfactory.com/shop

If I knew how to post a photo I would. The pad is more dense and a bit thicker than some pads. So if your helmet just fits it is possible for the Sweat Buster to be too thick.

Reply

geraldooka
+1 Andrew Major
Michael  - Nov. 26, 2019, 9:22 p.m.

I’ve never found pad fit helmets to be that much more comfy vs ratchet style. But I suspect much like saddles this may be an eye of the beholder type thing. I’ve had a Poc Trabec MIPS going on 5 years now still as comfy as the day I bought it. The only time I wished for something else is when I strap a light to the top of it. Its a light helmet but sits somewhat far off my scalp, so perhaps having one sit closer to my head would help it feel less like I have a noose wrapped around my forehead with the other end tied to a small indoor dog. Can you run straps from a light mount under the padding?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Michael
Andrew Major  - Nov. 26, 2019, 10:04 p.m.

Running a strap for a light mount isn't an issue but I only used the Quarter once for night riding. As with most* other MIPS helmets I've used the outer shell moving on the MIPS liner makes the light move about too much for my tastes. I use a Kali Viva for night riding unless if I'm riding unknown trails or pushing my abilities in which case I have a Leatt DBX 3.0 with a chin bar and a stick-on GoPro mount for my light. 

*The Bontrager Rally MIPS helmet is my obvious exception but it may be that the mount itself is so good that any play in the MIPS system simply felt comparable to non-MIPS lids with a strap-on mount?

Reply

geraldooka
+1 Andrew Major
Michael  - Nov. 27, 2019, 10:03 a.m.

Cool. So I know you and I share different opinions re weight for certain bike things. I'm guessing based on your positive reviews you find the extra weight of these types of helmets a non-issue?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Michael
Andrew Major  - Nov. 27, 2019, 11:35 a.m.

I haven't noticed it but you made me curious enough to compare. The Giro Quarter MIPS is 115-grams heavier than a Giro Montaro MIPS with the visor removed (apples to apples). 

A large portion of that is going to come down to the shock-absorbing shell that's accounting for the repeated offs of Park and DJ riding? 

Anyways, I wear this helmet for hours and never notice the difference. It's certainly not like trying to ride all day with my full face on.

Reply

geraldooka
0
Michael  - Nov. 27, 2019, 2:25 p.m.

10-4 I'm looking for a local source for the Viva as I think it would make an excellent wintertime night rig. Seems no online dealers are available here so I will have to call around. Cheers.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Michael
Andrew Major  - Nov. 27, 2019, 2:43 p.m.

Where you located Michael? Should be able to find a Viva anywhere in the world!

geraldooka
+1 Andrew Major
Michael  - Nov. 27, 2019, 3:08 p.m.

In Victoria, you know that little backwater town on the island. :)

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 27, 2019, 6:37 p.m.

Hahahaha. Is that anyway near Gnarnaimo or Cumberland?!

Reply

geraldooka
0
Michael  - Nov. 28, 2019, 8:18 a.m.

Ah yes, always the media darlings those two. South islands got some sweet riding too ya know! :) Ya we get up there a couple of times a year.

Reply

geraldooka
0
Michael  - Nov. 27, 2019, 3:08 p.m.

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