Giro Tyrant "Full-Cut" Helmet Release & First Impressions
Not everyone riding a bike cares about the clock, and the influence of the new wave of 'jibbers’ is being felt across the globe. Led by the likes of Josh “Ratboy" Bryceland, Josh “Loosedog” Lewis and the rest of the 50:01 crew, the jibbers are bringing a new outlook to mountain biking. Regardless of whether we need yet another label to categorize riding bikes, Giro is looking to take helmet design in a new direction, providing a different style for the jibbers out there. Their first product for this new direction is the Tyrant helmet.
- Full cut design for more coverage
- MIPS Spherical
- Dual-density foam layers to better manage impact energy
- Browline ventilation
- 14 vents with internal channelling
- Cheek pads fine-tune fit
- Weight: 620g (Size M)
- S (20”–21.75” / 51–55cm), M (21.75”–23.25” / 55–59cm), L (23.25”–24.75” / 59–63cm)
- Colours: Matte Black (Tested), Matt Black Hypnotic, Matte True Spruce, Matte Citron
- MSRP: 150 USD
While the Switchblade can be worn without the chin piece, Giro felt a design specific to this full-cut style was needed. With the targeted riders being more relaxed and goofing around in the bush, Giro also changed the lines of the helmet. Gone are the aggressive, pointed vents and angles of the Switchblade, replaced with rounder, softer lines. The helmet has similarities in appearance to the old baseball helmets I wore as a kid.
Designing a new helmet with style as a priority over speed doesn’t mean safety has been forgotten. The Tyrant features MIPS Spherical, which features two separate foam layers that rotate independently like a ball and socket joint. Giro also used two different foams in each layer. The outer is a firmer EPS foam, well suited to high-speed crashes, and the inner layer is a softer, lower density EPP foam. The EPP layer features rebound characteristics and Giro says it "addresses the slower more common, slower speed impacts.”
Giro currently uses the MIPS Spherical in their Aether road helmet, which retails for 350 USD. Going into this project, Giro’s Senior Director of Marketing, Dain Zaffke wanted price kept low. Giro was able to incorporate the safety tech desired in the Tyrant for a retail price of 150 USD. It’s a reasonable amount for a helmet offering this technology and protection.
In addition to the dual foam density and MIPS SP technology, the Tyrant features a hard outer shell that’s fused to the liner for added durability without excess weight. The added coverage provided by the Tyrant's full cut still has a weight penalty of at least 200 grams compared to all-mountain helmets like the Troy Lee A1 (417g), Kali Maya (355g), and Specialized Ambush (290g). At 620 grams, it weighs 176 grams more than the new Oakley DRT5 too, which is on the heavier side of regular trail helmets.
Riders interested in helmets offering the Tyrant's coverage and style won’t be fussed about the extra couple hundred grams. On an adult head, the weight isn’t a problem, but this amount of coverage isn’t for everyone. If weight is an issue, you may be better sticking with a regular lid for the time being.
The Tyrant offers good adjustability too, with the Roc-Loc Air DH fit system providing good range and comfort thanks to the padded rear piece. It’s also adjustable vertically, allowing riders to comfortably position the helmet to cup the back of the head. The pads are slim but positioned well, providing plenty of cushion between helmet and noggin and ear-pads are available in different sizes to help fine-tune the fit. My size medium helmet's ear-pads don’t provide the kind of comfort and security I’d prefer but the stock helmets will come with two sizes to customize with.
Handling and Riding in the Tyrant Helmet
Handling the helmet and looking at the details of the exterior, it feels like a more budget-friendly lid. As with the visual elements, the feel reminds me of my youth. The Tyrant's shell has a firmer, more plastic feel and with the ear covers needing to provide protection but not suffocate your ears, there's some exposed plastic. It allows good airflow compared to something like the Pro-Tec Full Cut, for anyone who's ridden that.
The adjustable visor moves well out of the way for anyone who likes stowing goggles under the visor. Not surprisingly, the helmet integrates well with goggles and I had no issue with the larger frame size of the Oakley Airbrake MX or the smaller Giro Tempo or Ryders Tallcan goggles. Unfortunately there aren’t detents to softly lock the visor in position and the fasteners are plastic. The subtle channel at the rear of the helmet to help position the goggle strap worked better with goggles that have silicone strips to lock things down. If you prefer to wear riding glasses, there’s nowhere on the Tyrant to store them during a hot climb. Maybe it’s an MTB fashion sin to wear glasses with this much coverage anyway?
Moving inside things change quickly. The pads and Roc-Loc Air DH system are similar to more expensive Giro helmets and once I spotted the MIPS Spherical system I was surprised the helmet didn’t cost more. There’s a lot of detail that goes into the MIPS SP system and using two different foam densities between the layers further complicates things. Standing still and shaking my head, I can hear the outer of the helmet slide over the inner layer but on the trail it’s no worse than with any other helmet that covers your ears.
Giro has incorporated what they refer to as Stack Ventilation in the Tyrant. They claim the vents above the brow draw heat up and away from your goggles and that the 14 vents draw hot air out through the helmet. Unfortunately, the helmet doesn’t vent well and on warm climbs I found it uncomfortably hot. This coming from an Australian who loves the heat. While moving at a decent clip and with a good breeze, the air flowing through the ears of the helmet is noticeable and welcomed, but I still found it hot in warmer weather. But it's possible riders jibbing about in the bush won’t break a big sweat on a climb…
Riders who want fuller coverage without going to a full-face helmet have few options. TLD had a cut down version of their D2 full-face years ago and Giro's Switchblade has been a great option for the last few years. The Tyrant is dedicated to those who like the look and extra coverage and it offers excellent safety features for a comparably low cost. While ventilation isn’t great, the Tyrant will be an excellent option for riders seeking extra warmth during the cooler riding months.
More information on the new Giro Tyrant is available on the Giro website.