The Giro Nine has been around for a long time, but it’s still a perennial favorite. The Nine isn’t super flashy. Nor is it the most expensive high end helmet on the market. But that’s not always a bad thing. The Giro Nine is just a solid all-around helmet that a lot of people will really like.
Ventilation and Warmth: The Giro Nine features a thermostat control and super cool vents. This means that you’re able to control the amount of air flow in and out of the helmet by opening or closing the vents. The slide mechanism works pretty well, and I never felt like it was too sticky or hard to open and close. With the vents fully open the air flow is pretty solid, and I find it just about as good as the Smith Vantage helmet. The only advantage the vantage has is the ability to open just the front vents or just the back vents. The best part of thermostat controls is the ability to close the vents on days when temperatures are really cold. I typically find that I never need to wear anything under my helmet, even on really cold days. All I have to do is close the vents to any airflow, and my head stays nice and warm.
Fit: The Giro Nine has a form fit system that allows you to adjust the fit to your head size and shape. I almost always wear a medium in helmets, and I found that the Giro Nine was a perfect fit. I find that I prefer the dial system on Giro helmets a bit more than the Boa system you typically find on smith helmets. It’s not that it’s better or worse necessarily, but I just tend to prefer how easy it is to use. The Boa system is still great, however. What I also like about the Giro helmets is the Vertical tuning system allows you to adjust the fore and aft position of the helmet to account for different sized goggles.
Final Thoughts: The Giro Nine is one of the lightest helmets I’ve put on my head. It has a very comfortable fit, and most of the time you can’t even tell it’s there. The fit is relatively low profile although maybe slightly bigger than the Smith Vantage. I really do like the ear pieces as they are relatively low profile as well. They are also quite comfortable, and offer plenty of warmth on the cold days. Both of the ear pieces are also compatible with Giro audio systems and would work with Skull Candy and other after-market audio systems. The stack vents also do a pretty decent job of keeping goggles from fogging up, but of course it’s also important to have goggles with good ventilation.
Overall, the Giro Nine is a very solid helmet. I love the light weight feel, the low profile look, the comfortable fit, and the decent ventilation. While I can’t necessarily say that the Nine is better than the Smith Vantage or Variance, I can say that I tend to prefer the feel and look of the Giro helmets over Smith. I think many people will love this helmet, and some may prefer it over Smith, but I think it will really come down to a preference choice over performance.