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Giro Switchblade 1

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Giro Switchblade MIPS enduro helmet

Two in one...

We are massive fans of Giro helmets, in fact our editor has only recently mothballed his 10 year old Xen lid to swap to a more up to date MONTARO! What’s the deal then with this new switchblade?

In 1998, Giro created the first mainstream mountain bike helmet with a removable chinbar – it was called the Switchblade and in their catalogue that year, they described it as a helmet that “easily converts from a full- featured cross-country helmet to one suitable for downhill.”

The Switchblade was way ahead of its time.

In the years that followed, we’ve seen many similar options come and go, all based on the same premise of taking a cross country helmet and adding a chinbar, giving added protection when necessary yet allowing easy removal when riding tamer trails. With the growth in the popularity of assisted uplifting this type of helmet was potentially ideal, but they failed to catch on. Most riders using trail or enduro bikes for uplifts simply bought a full-face DH helmet and goggles to use on these gravity driven tracks. Maybe these convertible helmets seemed a compromise? Maybe they just looked a bit awkward or goofy?

Giro_H_Switchblade MIPS_Matte Vermillion-UV Purple

Fast forward a good few years and with trail riders tackling more aggressive terrain and the growth of enduro racing there was need for more protection. Bell launched the Super 2R helmet and it soon gained acceptance very quickly, getting a place in our 2016 Dirt 100 selection. Here was a light, well vented trail helmet that offered plenty of protection and had a quickly removable chinbar – ideal for a weekend of enduro racing or a day of uplifts at a bike park. The market was ready for this type of helmet and Bell had produced a great design.
It wasn’t going to be long before Giro had a similar helmet (especially with brands such as Lazer launching their new Revolution helmet) and we’ve seen snapshots and hits of what they had coming for a few weeks now…

Giro Switchblade 3

And here it is, the Swichblade MIPS, launched today at Crankworx in Whistler.

The Switchblade is the most complex helmet Giro have ever made – a helmet for mountainbiking – and that means ALL of the mountain, climbing traversing and descending the most technically challenging terrain – with all the built in safety that a DH helmet provides and more than a touch of moto cool.

Equipped with the Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), the Switchblade MIPS is triple-certified to CPSC, EN-1078, and ASTM-1952 Downhill safety standards – both with and without its chinbar, which is quickly and easily removable and replaceable without tools.

Beyond increased protection and ease of use, the Switchblade MIPS delivers unrivalled comfort and versatility with the new Roc Loc® Air DH adjustable fit system, hydrophilic X-Static® anti- microbial padding, 20 vents with internal channeling, and two visors (one adjustable P.O.V. PlusTM and one with integrated camera mount.) The Switchblade MIPS is produced in 3 sizes and 6 colorways and will be available in the UK in late September.

The full-cut, over-the-ears style gives this helmet an aggressive look even when the chinbar is removed and reminds us of open-face moto style helmets we’ve used over the years here at Dirt.

The Switchback’s styling (without the chinbar) gives hints of the days of the full-face mask and goggles look…

Giro Urge Openface
Open-face helmets from over the years – with plenty of side protection.

From early on, Giro worked with top professional riders Richie Rude and Cody Kelley (Yeti / Fox Shox Factory Race Team) to get the details just right. But more than just racers on the Enduro World Series will embrace this helmet – its features will appeal to aggressive trail riders, freeriders and even dirt jumpers who will be drawn to the full-cut style.

 

 

Giro Switchblade Screen 3

Key Features of the Switchblade MIPS include:

  • CPSC, EN-1078, ASTM-1952 Downhill certification – both with and without the chinbar
  • MIPS Multi-directional Impact Protection System reduces rotational energy to provide more protection in certainimpacts
  • Easily removable and replaceable chinbar
  • 20 Wind Tunnel vents with internal and cheek pad channeling
  • Roc Loc® Air DH fit system with bumper to prevent unwanted adjustments if helmet contacts neck brace or backpack
  • Hydrophilic, X-Static® anti-microbial padding
  • P.O.V. Plus™ adjustable visor
  • Spare visor with integrated camera mount
  • Rubber grippers integrated into rear vents for goggle retention
  • Three Super Fit™ sizes
Giro Switchblade Screen 1
The 1998 original Switchback helmet.
Giro Switch x 2 black
The chinbar is easily removed when not needed.

So, the new Switchblade breaks ground into new territory. With more protection that the Bell Super 2R, this DH capable helmet is not only versatile but has excellent ergonomics and is easy to use. Giro’s quality and detail shines through (as they have shown with the Montaro) making this a class leading lid when it comes to finish and materials too.

As much as there’s plenty of innovation here, is this helmet overkill for most riders? If you’re running this Switchblade without the peak is it going to be too warm as just a trail lid? After all, it covers your ears and although there is through-flow venting, is it effective? That peak looks a touch long to us (in a similar manner to the Fox Metah) – will it disturb the balance of the helmet?

These are questions you’re likely to be asking and have been raised in discussion here at Dirt. Giro have pulled out some great designs such as the Feature and Montaro – hopefully this Switchback will hit the spot too.

We’ve got samples en route way to us at Dirt – we’ll get some riding (and racing) done in this new Switchblade and let you know our thoughts. Nearly twenty years on from the original, this helmet may well be just what we’re looking for.
Giro Swit Screen 5


Giro Switchblade 1

PRICE: £249.99

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Giro Switchblade 2017

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