Giro Switchblade Mips
Words & Photos by Drew Rohde
Nearly two decades ago Giro first released the Switchblade helmet. At the time, it was a unique design and although it left a bit to be desired in terms of safety and looks, the new Switchblade is the shit. I’d been waiting for a product like this to come along for the last couple of years and when Giro first presented the new Switchblade to me in Whistler last summer, I was beyond stoked.
Packed with a long list of technological acronyms, the Switchblade is a multidiscipline lid that will keep you stylish and safe. MIPS, or Multi-directional Impact Protection System, is a slip plane technology designed to mitigate brain trauma due to rotational movement in an impact. To further bolster this adaptable helmet’s resume, ASTM certification is achieved with or without the chinbar installed, which is an impressive achievement. Safety was one of Giro’s highest priorities when designing the Switchblade, however this did not prevent them from keeping comfort and aesthetics in the equation. Giro used a wind tunnel to fine tune the ventilation channels for heat management while their Roc Loc Air DH system keeps the helmet secure and comfortably in place. Giro ships all Switchblade helmets with multiple cheek pads to fine tune the fit and new owners will also get two visors; one for regular riding and a spare with an integrated camera mount, for gnar-riding when you want to go pro.
As soon as I put the Switchblade on my head I felt comfortable, protected and stylistically, on point. The fit was right on the money. I wear a medium with a 56cm head measurement. It took me a couple tries to get the chinbar installation without looking, but it quickly becomes a matter of seconds—something that can be done by feel. I spent most of the winter wearing the Switchblade without the chinbar installed as the added coverage kept my ears and face much warmer than a traditional helmet. While the added warmth was welcome in the colder months it is something to consider in the hotter summer months. On warmer days I definitely noticed the extra heat trapped in the helmet on long climbs, however the sweat was contained very well with the highly absorbent pads. Once on the move, the 20 vents help clear heat quickly and make the extra warmth on the climb worth the added confidence going down.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Switchblade is easily at the top of my favorite new products list and is a piece of gear I’ve been waiting on for years. All the hard work Giro put into this helmet has paid off. It is a bit warmer than a standard helmet, but as a person who’s already knocked a few beans loose, the added security and confidence is well worth it. Along with the impressive fit and safety, Giro killed the style game with this one. It looks like a standard full face with the chinbar installed. With the chinbar removed it’s reminiscent of the old Troy Lee open faces or a trials moto helmet. Fit, form and function couldn’t have come at a better time. With trail bikes becoming so capable and budgeting being an important part of the mountain biker’s world, the Switchblade kicks ass all around.