Integrated lights make Giro’s commuter-focused Escape MIPS helmet a clear cycle-to-work choice, says resident gear tester Charlie Allenby…
Giro Escape MIPS Helmet
$130 / £149.99, amazon.com
- Integrated rechargeable lights
- Reflective detailing
- Can get quite hot
Extra features: 5/5
Cycling to work is full of benefits that you don’t get from other forms of commuting. A good form of exercise, environmentally friendly and, in cities, often quicker than public transport or driving – getting to the office by bike has a lot going for it. If you’re planning on doing it year-round and in all weathers, though, it’s important to have the right kit from head to toe, which is where the Giro Escape MIPS comes in. It’s also ideal for wearing while riding the best e-bikes.
The leisure helmet (think more rounded like a skateboard helmet than a road or mountain bike-focused design) has a durable ABS external shell with an integrated MIPS system, but the feature that makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest is its built-in front and rear light set.
Giro Escape MIPS performance
A commuter-focused helmet is designed for the upright riding position of a hybrid or town bike and assumes that the rider is going at a slightly more sedate pace than a road cyclist. It can therefore get away with fewer and smaller vents, with ventilation and airflow less of a concern.
The Escape MIPs still includes 15, although they are noticeably smaller than those found on a more road-leaning lid like the Smith Network MIPS. During warmer rides or on steep inclines where I was forced to get out of the saddle on my singlespeed runaround, I would have appreciated slightly more ventilation, but at no point was I left truly red-faced.
The standout (literally) of the helmet, though, is its integrated front and rear lights. Rechargeable via a lead included in the box, the 75-lumen front and 40-lumen rear lights have constant and flashing settings and were a great way of adding some extra visibility to both day and night riding.
While I wouldn’t rely on them solely and would want to pair them with a set of on-bike lights, when riding they’re positioned at a driver’s head height to give you the best chance of being seen.
The one thing worth flagging is that the matte chalk colourway does show up dirt quite easily (which can become an issue if worn when it’s raining or without mudguards).
Giro Escape MIPS fit
The Escape MIPS is one of the most comfortable helmets I’ve ever worn. It sits perfectly on the forehead and temples and its plush padding helps it feel secure without being restrictive. At the rear, a dial let me fine-tune the fit to match my head’s exact diameter. The dial can also be used while wearing gloves – handy if you need to adjust during the depths of winter.
The strap’s reflective webbing could also be adjusted at the ears and the buckle, enabling a tailored fit.
Giro Escape MIPS value
The Escape MIPS’ $130 / £149.99 price tag makes it one of the more expensive commuter-focused helmets (and up there with the mid-range road and mountain bike designs). Its lack of versatility means you might want to look at the Smith Network MIPS or Oakley ARO3 Endurance MIPS for something that can be used for commuting in the week and road rides at the weekend, while the Specialized Align II offers the same MIPS safety credentials for a third of the price. But if you just want a helmet for commuting and like the idea of added visibility, then it’s hard to look beyond the Escape MIPS.