US and Worldwide cycle helmet giants Giro have been creating and producing protective head wear for cyclists since 1985. Base in Santa Cruz, California – the company has built a reputation as one of the leading manufactures in the innovation of cycle helmet technology, as they have proven with their highly rated Giro Synthe helmet which they launched mid 2014. However, with this high-end technology, comes a high-end price tag of £199.00 rrp. So for 2015 and for those cyclists with not so big bank balances, Giro released the Foray which would have a much more reasonable price tag of £49.99 rrp. Here’s how we got on with it.
Reasonably Priced Performance Protection
Undoubtedly the first thing to notice is that the overall design of the Giro Foray cycle helmet is incredibly like its older and more established sibling, the Synthe. Like the Synthe, the Foray is made using Giro’s In-Mold construction which uses an ESP (Expanded Polystyrene) liner that is ‘fused’ with a Polycarbonate shell. The result of this process makes the Giro Foray a strong, well ventilated and very lightweight helmet for it’s price bracket. Claimed weight for the medium (55cm-59cm) is 270g. By comparison the Giro Synthe is 234g for the same size. The Giro Foray helmet is available in 6 colours and the Giro website shows 5 sizes (although most online retailers only seem to stock small, medium and large seizes).
The Giro Foray offers almost the same extremely aerodynamic shape of the Synthe, but boasts more air vents. The 21 open, deep vents increase air-flow through the whole helmet and out through an almost exhaust-like vent setup at the rear. The positioning of the vents means that the airflow around the head is very good. In addition to external ventilation system, Giro have added channels on the inside of the helmet liner to act as exhausts for releasing the hot air build up inside the helmet. This whole wind-tunnel tested, air flow system works well but it is let down by the helmet’s internal foam padding.
I tested the helmet on a couple of hotter days when the sun was unrestricted by cloud and the temperature sat in the mid 20’s (these are hotter days in the UK). I get quite hot when I cycle, so riding at a pace with the heat of the day, my head quickly began to sweat. Whilst the ventilation system is impressive, unfortunately the foam padding at the front of the helmet is split into right and left sections and did little to prevent the sweat from dripping out of the helmet and into my eyes. Tipping my head forward to look down just made this worse as the sweat seemed to run out of the front exhaust channel. I have to say that this was NOT the case on every ride and despite the pads being thin, they do not compromise the comfort of the Giro Foray. We would just like to see the internal pads made a little thicker and slightly better positioned.
As mentioned at the top of this review, the Giro Foray is a very reasonable weight, not only for a helmet in this pricing bracket but for a cycling helmet full stop. The sizing is good and seems to have been well thought out. Unfortunately I seem to find myself at the crossover size of most manufactures with a 59cm head but having tried it on, the large size was clearly too big. When putting on the medium, it did feel a little snug around the sides of the helmet but not to the point of causing any discomfort and once you have fastened and adjusted the straps and tightened the rear head restraint, it is almost easy to forget you are wearing the helmet.
Safe & Secure
The Giro Foray cycle helmet is fitted with Giro’s excellent Roc Loc 5 head-restraint system. For those not familiar with the Roc Loc 5 system, it provides a lightweight, ‘easy to adjust’ support skeleton around the back of the head. The micro-adjust dial works as a ratchet system and draws the restraint system in, allowing you to have a secure and near perfect fit. The simple ‘twist’ dial clicks with even the tiniest of turns and is so easy to make the smallest adjustment mid-ride, you can always make sure the helmet is at its most comfortable. Something that I did find pretty neat is the 3 position bracket system. This is a 15mm vertical movement for the restraint system. You can simply push or pull the bracket up or down to find the optimum position.
The Roc Loc 5 system also acts as a harness for the helmet’s chin-fastening straps. The straps themselves are the typical nylon style and are a nice comfortable thickness. They have clip adjustments just below the ear level for further comfort and improved fit. Unfortunately, as with other cycle helmets with this kind of chin-strap, you need to give them a scrub as often as possible as they can tend to get a bit smelly with the build up of sweat.
Giro Foray Helmet Review Conclusion
Giro really know their stuff when it comes to making cycle helmets. They have been in the game for a long time and seem to really do their research. The company has arguably increased it’s profile with the Giro Synthe, one of the most popular helmets on the market. But in the Giro Foray helmet, they have managed to produce a performance level cycle helmet with a number features you would expect to find on something much more expensive. The Roc Loc 5 system is one of our preferred restraint systems when comparing to that of the competition. This is mainly down to it’s simplicity and ease of use. The Giro Foray helmet looks great and with the colour and size options there is something for everyone. I was impressed with the weight and comfort of the helmet, having been using a heavier helmet which cost almost 3 times the price. The chin-straps feel a bit cheap and basic but this is no great surprise for a sub-£50 cycle helmet. The only area which I feel lets this fantastic helmet down is the internal padding. Yes its removable and yes its comfortable, but it is thin and has no sweat absorption. Ok the helmet itself has excellent ventilation and a clever airflow system but for those riders who sweat a lot, the thin padding doesn’t quite do enough to channel the sweat away from the face. That being said, this really if a very good helmet which I have no hesitation in recommending to anyone from a ‘new to cycling’ rider to a ‘been cycling for years’ rider. At £49.99 rrp the Giro Foray helmet is exceptional value – but shop around and you will find it can be picked up with a 5-10% saving from the likes of Wiggle and Evans Cycles (at the time of this review).
Hot on the heels of the more established and higher priced Synthe, the Giro Foray is not a cycle helmet to be quickly dismissed. Offering an excellent comfort, weight and looks, at a sensible price.