In the world of mountain biking, there are half-shell helmets, full-face helmets, and convertible helmets. Sitting somewhere in the middle of that triad is the brand new Giro Tyrant – a sort of not-quite-full-face-but-not-quite-half-shell helmet. You might have seen this lid on top of Josh Bryceland’s noggin lately, and that should give you a pretty good idea of what, and who, it’s designed for.
Looking a little bit like a Montaro and Switchblade had a slightly questionable-looking baby, the Tyrant is a completely new helmet design from Giro. According to the American helmet brand, the Tyrant is “Designed to meet the needs of today’s progressive trail riders“. The way we see it? This is an ideal aggro option for those who find full-face helmets a little too claustrophobic, but want more protection that your average trail lid.
Now Giro isn’t the first brand to have a crack at the daredevil style. The Fox Dropframe was launched this year, and we suspect the Tyrant will be equally love/hate. Whether you’re into the design or not, there are some pretty neat features lurking beneath that polycarbonate outer shell.
Hey There, Sweet Cheeks!
First though, we just gotta talk about those big ol’ ear guards! Like a modern trail helmet, the Tyrant provides plenty of coverage across the forehead and around the back of the rider’s head. Unlike a regular trail lid though, the Tyrant’s shell drops down on either side of the ears all the way down to the jawline. This provides additional impact protection on the side of the head, while also shielding the rider’s ears.
Overall, the shape isn’t unlike Giro’s Switchblade helmet with the chin bar removed. The Switchblade isn’t well known for being a light or breezy helmet though, so Giro have gone to some lengths to chisel off the grams and give the Tyrant decent ventilation. There are 14 vents in total, which includes the two horizontal vents over the ear-holes to prevent you from steaming up too much.
Inside the helmet you’ll find removable foam padding, as well as additional ‘cheek pads’ that help to give the Tyrant a nice and snug fit. Included with the helmet are two sets of cheek pads, one thick and one thin, which allows you to fine-tune the fit depending on how chubby your cheeks are.
To keep the helmet in place, you’ve got the Roc Loc Air DH retention system, which relies on a big rubber adjuster wheel at the back of the helmet to cinch up the harness. You can also adjust the vertical position of the harness’ rear cradle, by unplugging the anchor point and shifting it up or down.
MIPS Spherical – Two Shells Are Better Than One?
Without doubt one of the biggest features of the Giro Tyrant is its use of the MIPS Spherical design – a technology that up until now, has only seen on the Bell Super DH convertible helmet, and the Giro Aether road helmet.
MIPS Spherical is sort of like regular MIPS but on steroids. The system comprises of two shells – there’s a harder EPS foam outer shell, and a softer EPP inner shell. The two shells are moulded so that their contacting surfaces perfectly match each other, and then they’re polished smooth. The result is a slippery interface that sees the inner shell rotate independently of the outer shell – a bit like a ball & socket joint. The two shells are then connected together via four rubber anchors – those are the yellow dots you can see inside the helmet liner.
Why the dual-shell design? According to Giro, the harder EPS outer shell is a better material for harder, high-speed impacts. In comparison, the EPP foam shell is softer and has a slower rebound characteristic, which takes care of slow-speed impacts. The softer EPP shell is the one that sits closest to your head, which is really what you want from a safety perspective.
How Heavy Is It Then?
Because of the additional coverage and thick dual-shell design, the Tyrant isn’t particularly light alongside a standard trail helmet. Our Medium-sized test sample weighs in at a substantial 620 grams.
For comparison sake, a Giro Montaro (one of our favourite trail lids) weighs in at 375g, so the Tyrant is a lot heavier than that. Then again, it is a bit lighter than the Switchblade in half-shell mode, which weighs just on 700g.
That Big Ol’ Visor
With styling reminiscent of the Switchblade and Chronicle helmets, the Tyrant also gets an adjustable visor with loads of coverage. You can adjust the visors’ two anchor points with a 4mm hex key, though moulded grooves mean you can simply use your hands to perform the same job.
With the visor pushed all the way up, there’s room underneath to stow your goggles while in climbing mode. The profile of the Tyrant means goggles nestle in cleanly, and the back of the Tyrant’s polycarbonate shell has moulded in grooves to keep your goggle strap in place.
Unlike some other helmets out there, the Tyrant doesn’t have a plug-in mount for a GoPro. Instead, the top of the helmet has a nicely smooth surface through the centre that’s ready for a stick-on mount should you wish to plonk a camera up there.
Enough! Tell Us What It’s Like To Wear!
In terms of coverage and feel, the Tyrant really does connect the dots between a full-face and a half-shell helmet. The extra coverage around the ears, combined with the cheek pads, give it a cosy feel and a secure fit. The deep bowl-like profile is more akin to a full-face, just without the embarrassing hassles of when you go to eat a banana.
Giro is offering the Tyrant in three sizes: Small (51-55cm), Medium (55-59cm), and Large (59-63cm). Being a Medium in basically every helmet brand, that’s what I went for with the Tyrant. I found the sizing to be pretty similar to my favourite convertible helmet, the Bell Super DH, which isn’t surprising given that Bell and Giro are owned by the same parent company.
I’ve only a handful of rides with the Tyrant, and those have all been during a brisk Victorian winter, so I can’t comment on how well it ventilates on a hot summer’s day. I also can’t comment on the protection levels because miraculously I’ve managed to keep it rubber-side down lately. That said, the substantial coverage and dual-shell construction exude plenty of confidence – certainly a lot more than a regular trail helmet.
The only issue I’ve encountered so far is with wearing certain sunglasses, since the fit is pretty tight on either side of the head with the Tyrant. Longer armed glasses tend to foul on the inside of the shell and the harness, though this will vary from head to head and glasses brand to brand.
How Many Pineapples?
Six of those will get you a Giro Tyrant, with some cash left over to buy yourself a takeaway 4-pack at your local craft beer establishment. What the heck does that mean? It means the Giro Tyrant retails in Australia for $279. To put that in perspective, that’s thirty bucks more than a Montaro, and a hundred bucks cheaper than the Switchblade convertible helmet.
There’ll be three colours coming to our shores, including the Matte Black as shown, a Matte True Spruce, and a very bright Matte Citron.
So what do you folks think of the new Tyrant? Is this the helmet you’ve been looking for? Or a style that’s just a little too daring? Let us know your opinion in the comments!
Giro Tyrant Helmet Features
- MIPS Spherical twin-shell design
- Dual density foam construction with EPP inner shell & EPS outer shell
- 14 vents w/Channeled Stack ventilation at brow line
- Roc Loc Air DH retention system
- Adjustable cheek pads
- Tool-free bolt-on adjustable visor
- Goggle compatible
- Claimed weight: 615g
- Sizes: Small (51-55cm), Medium (55-59cm), Large (59-63cm)
- Colours: Matte Black (shown), Matte True Spruce, Matte Citron
- From: Sheppards Cycles
- RRP: $279