Bike helmets have always been designed in a low-profile or a half-helmet style and for many years, the characteristic look did do wonders in regulating speed, wattage efficiency and fitting.
However, there’s no denying that a half-helmet does lack in coverage and leaves the neck and the chin exposed to impact injuries.
With time, bike helmets have integrated better safety technologies like MIPS for rotational impact protection, dial adjustment systems for better fitting and underlayers of foam for enhanced comfort.
Along with all of the above features, the Swedish company Giro has launched their Switchblade bike helmet that comes with a removable chin bar and offers full coverage!
It is leading the industry with its innovative engineering and in this guide, we breakdown all of the pros and cons of the Giro Switchblade bike helmet.
Giro Switchblade Helmet Features Review
Purchasing a bike helmet is at least a 5-year investment (unless it’s involved in an accident in-between) so diligent research is almost mandatory when narrowing down your choices. Here are details on the complete features of the Giro Switchblade helmet.
Shell Material and Safety
The Giro Switchblade is engineered with an in-mould constructed tough polycarbonate shell for lightweight durability. It is fused with the interior liner to enhance impact protection and ventilation of the helmet.
Speaking of impact protection, the bike helmet has MIPS integrated which disperses rotational impact energies so cyclists are safer on the road at high and low speeds.
To further enhance the safety of the cyclist, the Giro Switchblade is equipped with a chin bar which can be removed to improve breathability. Though reattachment of the chin bar can be finicky, it is better to have it than to not – especially during uphill and downhill pedalling.
Size and Fit
The Giro Switchblade is designed in three standard sizes: small, medium and large and fits all head shapes true to size.
To optimise the fitting of the helmet exactly to the head, the Switchblade is outfitted with a dial adjustment system for horizontal positioning and Giro’s own patented Roc Loc Air DH system to adjust the helmet vertically.
The combined effort is facilitated by the inner padding which is shaped according to the contours of the head so the cyclist is comfortable and protected from sudden impact on the road.
The Giro Switchblade bike helmet is outfitted with a built-in clear visor that can be adjusted to three positions. It is held together securely and does not budge even at high-speed downhill pedalling.
When the chin bar is removed, the visor offers a good field of vision at steep trails when adjusted to the lowest position. At a point higher, it shields the cyclist’s eyes from the glare of the sun and at the top-most position, the visor expands the field of air circulation and moves away from line of vision.
A replacement visor is also given in the box and has a camera mount built-in.
The Giro Switchblade is optimised to perform its best with the chin bar attached and that includes ventilation. The bike helmet is designed with a high-cheek zone for better coverage of the ears and at full-face mode, it maximises the airflow to the head.
However, when the chin bar is removed, the coverage from the high-cheek zone limits the stream of air. A cheek-pad system is installed to ensure no sweat builds up and causes heat exhaustion.
At short distances, the half-helmet style would work well but for uphill pedalling, the full-face style is recommended.
The Roc Loc Air DH retention system, Giro’s patented technology, allows cyclists to pull the helmet down vertically for a secure fit. The helmet is then held to the head via a smooth chin strap that closes using a D-ring lock and does not tangle with stubble.
The Giro Switchblade weighs a pound with the chin bar attached and it is one of the lightest full-face bike helmets on the market. The efficient retention system also evenly distributes the weight around the head so it feels lighter while riding up tough terrains or steep trails.
The Giro Switchblade is quite comfortable to wear even with the lack of foam padding inside. It securely fits according to size, ventilates the head and keeps the cyclist safe from impact injuries. However, it works best at short-distance riding as wearing it for a long time can overheat the head.
The industry-leading Giro Switchblade has a lot of benefits attached with its full-face design and it’s difficult to find a con big enough to opt out of choosing it. The chin bar does need some getting used to but the single-tab system ensures it won’t take long.
The Giro Switchblade is priced at $390 (medium size) which for a modular helmet with MIPS integrated along with the company’s patented fitting and adjustment system, is decent. It is true to claim and may last longer than most helmets since it’s best used minimally.
Specifications at a Glance
- Full-face coverage
- MIPS integrated
- Horizontal adjustment
- Vertical adjustment
- Optimal ventilation
- Highest safety rating
What We Don’t Like:
- Attaching the chin bar requires effort
Bike helmets with full face coverage are a rarity in the industry – especially ones that perform well however, Giro Switchblade surpasses expectations and offers cyclists a full-face helmet that is breathable, impact protective and comfortable.