A perfect helmet for slightly lairy cross-country riding.
A hardtail is now firmly the choice of bike as the rain continues, but which helmet to wear with it? Till recently, my options were my full face or slightly offensive early naughties cross-country helmet. But first impressions of the Giro Feature are that it’s the perfect head protector for hardcore hardtail antics. And thankfully, first impressions turn out to be largely correct.
The Feature fits into that niche of helmets that is seemingly all the rage these days, alongside funny sized wheels and magic seat posts. There’s a bit more protection round the back than your standard cross-country/road jobby; a style and cut that don’t make you look like you’ve got some cranial dysfunction; and a short peak to, well, make you look cool? Team this up with a fairly striking paint job (and there’s a whole host available) and you’re potentially left thinking “same old, same old.”
That is no bad thing; there really is no need to reinvent the helmet.
The Feature slots on easily and with comfort. At first the padding seemed thin and unlikely to help much if I planted my forehead into a Surrey pine, but that’s more to do with being used to the sofa-like padding of a full face. And it’s the foam that actually does the shock-absorbing when you head-butt a tree anyway. The straps also seemed a bit flimsy but turned out to be more than adequate. It’s good that they don’t twist easily too.
At the tops of climbs my brow wasn’t too sweaty, so the 12 vents and the channels inside the helmet were up to the job. Giro says that’s the Feature’s main, er, feature – its venting is designed to work well when you’re crawling up a hill. Seems to work.
The dial adjuster at the rear that closes the helmet around your head can be whipped up reassuringly tight with a single hand, so you can even adjust it mid-ride.
The Feature’s shape and In-Form fit system means you can use it with goggles, if you are willing to push the sartorial boundaries a little. The cradle at the back of your head can be moved up and down to adjust the fit over your forehead so that the front of the helmet sits close to your goggles.
We’ve lost track – is the goggles and open face combo distinctly uncool or is it cool once more?
The Giro Feature does what all good protective gear should do, and only makes itself noticed when needed. Such as when I slipped on a root and faceplanted into the dirt. When my mates had stopped laughing they assured me I was still here thanks to the Feature.
A quality piece of headwear. Nothing revolutionary, but the low-speed venting is nice.
Light enough for all day jaunts
Sturdy enough for lairy descents
Fashionable enough for village store posing
Slightly ‘cheap’ feeling
More information: Giro Feature helmet
UK importer: Madison Cycles
What Giro says about the Feature helmet
The evolution of coverage and performance for long-travel trail riding. As trail riding progresses, helmets have to evolve. The Feature starts with a new shape that combines a little more coverage than traditional helmets, with vents that radiate heat up and out of the helmet; perfect for climbing at lower speeds. And when the trail drops, our rugged In-Form fit system offers one-handed fit and stability adjustment, so you can dial-in the perfect feel and stay focused on the trail ahead.
Suggested Use: All-mountain, Trail Ride, Super-D
Features: Adjustable moto-style visor
Construction: In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell with EPS liner
Fit System: In-Form
Ventilation: 12 Vents with internal channeling