The Vanquish is Giro’s tale of two helmets. It aims to combine the aero benefits of the fast but frankly ugly Air Attack and the pleasing aesthetics, comfort, and venting of the Synthe. It accomplishes this combination, though in muted ways throughout. There’s no doubt it’s a fast and comfortable helmet. The aesthetics are still polarizing, and the venting is still what you’d expect from an aero helmet.
The Vanquish’s aero claims focus on Giro’s TransformAir system. The front of the helmet essentially overlaps the rear, creating an ‘aerodynamic cliff,’ according to Giro. It’s similar to Lazer’s Wasp Air helmet, which features a raised bump over the helmet. The purpose of both systems is to separate airflow from the helmet’s surface so drag-inducing eddies of air don’t form at the rear of the helmet. We didn’t send the Vanquish to the wind tunnel for independent testing, so we can’t confirm or deny Giro’s claims. But Giro is utilizing a known aerodynamic concept, so it’s likely there’s some measurable aerodynamic gain here.
One of the best features of the Vanquish is the magnetic eye shield. The Zeiss lens provides crystal-clear optics, but that’s not even the best part. The shield itself is perfectly positioned: It doesn’t press on the rider’s nose, and it’s not too high up either. It’s just right, which is a rarity among visor-style helmets. And the magnetic attachment system works flawlessly. It was easy to stow the shield when not in use, even while riding. Giro says the shield even improves aerodynamics. If shields aren’t your look, just leave it at home. The Vanquish doesn’t interfere with your sunglasses’ arms.
This is a hot helmet. But it’s much cooler than its predecessor, the Air Attack. Still, on the long, hot climbs in Austria this past summer, it was clear that cleverly-placed vents would only accomplish so much in a lid with ample unvented surface area. So while Giro claims vastly improved cooling that should vanquish the competition, it’s fair to say the Vanquish still succumbs to the typical hot aero helmet trap.
The Vanquish features Giro’s best-in-class RocLoc Air fit system, which is newly-integrated with the MIPS system. We first saw this type of integration on Bell’s Zephyr helmet and it’s a vast improvement for both comfort and breathability. It also lowers the profile of the helmet for a sleeker look. Because the system is integrated and the profile is lower, it’s possible you’ll need to size down. (I generally wear a size large in Giro helmets, but a size medium Vanquish fits perfectly.)
It’s easy to embrace the Vanquish as an ideal race-day helmet, provided that race day isn’t a super-sweltering summer day. It seems to have accomplished Giro’s goals of improving aerodynamics while creating a more aesthetically appealing lid, and it capitalizes on exceptional comfort courtesy of the RocLoc Air fit system. The Zeiss shield is perhaps one of the best features of the helmet, too. While the aesthetics are still polarizing, the Vanquish will certainly contend for the top spot in the aero road helmet category for its functionality and fit.