Giro Surface

Giro Surface

Giro recently sent me their new Surface helmet to try out. It’s a smooth, skate-style helmet with an adjustable internal fit-system that provides a better fit than most skate helmets. Stylistically it falls somewhere between the Nutcase and the Bern. I like the fact that it’s adjustable over a wide range, it’s smooth on the outside, it provides full coverage in the back and on the sides, and it’s aesthetically clean and understated. It’s a clear step up in comfort from my ancient Bell Metro, and the fit is nice and snug without pinching. So far I like everything about it, though we’ll have to see how the minimal vents work when spring/summer rolls around. Giro

Giro Surface
Giro Surface

26 Responses to “Giro Surface”

  • Rider says:

    Nice looking helmet!

    I like the full coverage.

  • charles says:

    This might be a nice winter helmet…….helping to keep your head warm. Is there room for a thin wool skull cap under it?

  • Joseph E says:

    This sort of helmet is great for the winter, when you don’t want extra vents to let in cold air or rain. But it might be a little warm in those Sacramento Valley summers.

    I notice they come with different colors and patterns as well, like the Nutcase helmets.

  • dwainedibbly says:

    Good to see more choices in this part of the market. I think I’ll eventually end up with 2 helmets: one like this for colder days and a well-vented one for summertime.

  • Frits B says:

    Can I say that my first thought was of a German Wehrmacht helmet from WW2? Effective shape apparently :-)

  • david p. says:

    this is a blatant duplicate of the bern. right down to the coloring and shape.

  • Alan says:

    @david p

    I’ve had both in hand and I wouldn’t call it a “duplicate”. The Bern is more boxy and has a squared off edge around the top. The Giro visor is nearly identical to the Bern, but the overall shape is closer to a typical skate helmet like the Nutcase. All of these helmets are quite similar and owe a debt to Pro-Tec, the company that originated the skate helmet in the 1970s.

  • randomray says:

    That’s going to be way too hot in warm weather . I’m thinking it may be an outstanding winter lid though . As far as one helmet looking like another , you only have so many design choices when you’re protecting the same thing . In this case even changing the outside and padding is limited as you still need distance for your head to decelerate inside the helmet .

  • tim petersen says:

    I always see your Sam H with what looks like the honjo hammered fenders. Can I ask what size tires and fenders you have? I am building up a Sam H this winter so your advice might prove helpful. Thank you.
    Also want to say that I really appreciate your web site. I visit it most every day.

  • Alan says:

    Hi Tim,

    I’m running the 33.3mm Jack Brown Blue Label from Rivendell:

    The fenders are the 43mm Honjos:

    Good luck with your build and drop me a note if you have any other questions.


    PS – I’m glad you enjoy the site.

  • AndyN says:

    I’m a bit dismayed to see the white helmet has flowery graphics. As a guy who commutes through the winter darkness and gloom, I favor a white helmet for visibility, but I object to the industry-wide practice of assigning products by gender based on pastel/flowery versus black/aggro designs. It’s a moot point, however; after 4 Giro helmets I’ve gone to a Bern because the Giro fit seemed to have changed, and the prices have gotten crazy.

  • Jim Phillips says:

    I have a Sam Hillborne on the way. I have been thinking Honjo fenders as well. Did you drill and install them or your local bike shop? I am worried about doing it myself.

    I have Bern vented and I can say the vents really work! In fact I am thinking about a second helmet without the vents.

  • Alan says:

    Hi JIm,

    I bought pre-drilled Honjos from Velo Orange and installed them myself (I highly recommend getting the pre-drilled Honjos from V/O). It was fairly straightforward due to the Hillborne’s generous clearance and properly positioned mounts. If you’re comfortable doing basic maintenance and repairs, I don’t think it’ll be difficult for you. That said, on other bikes with less clearance and poorly positioned braze-ons, it can be a daunting task.


  • Terry S says:

    The Surface helmet is very similar to their Revolver Ski Helmet. I’ve often thought of using a snow board helmet for Winter use. The fewer vents and coverings over the ears would keep my noggin warmer.


  • Pete says:

    I’m not really partial to this style helmet, but all the comments do have me thinking about a “winter” helmet – an idea that for some reason had never occurred to me before. I have an old Giro that is pretty short on venting, which might be better for winter. Of course, you could always just put a rain cover on the helmet to cover the vents in cold weather.

  • Michael Nartker says:

    Since you mention your “ancient Bell Metro” I have been wondering what the consensus is on whether helmets should be retired based strictly on age. I’ve been considering switching to my old Giro Nine.9 snowboard helmet for winter warmth. however, I recall being told once (by someone trying to sell me a helmet) that the materials in the helmet break down over time and that helmets should not be used after about 5 years of age. I’ve read conflicting opinions relating to this, and wonder what others think.

  • dynaryder says:

    I have a Bern,way to hot for DC summers,and it has front vents.

    @charles: Bern has models that come with inserts with earflaps(what I have) for winter use.

  • Graham says:

    I was going to comment on the apparent lack of vents, but given that I wear a nutcase helmet all year in coastal NC, I suppose that I’m not really in a position to add intelligently to the conversation!

    As you might surmise from the above, I think that helmet needs some stickers or something!

  • Scott says:

    I have a Surface helmet in matte black … couldn’t resist when they became available. I thought it might be hot with the minimal venting, but they’ve actually set up an air channeling system of sorts that really works well, directing air under the brim and over your head. Even in black, it’s every bit as cool as my Bell Citi helmet. It is a bit heavier, though … but doesn’t feel at all uncomfortable in use.

  • Pete says:

    Re old helmets, the fact us that plastics break down. The other things is that standards usually go up. So aside from old plastic, a new helmet is probably tested to higher standard than an old one.
    The only experience I have is in motorsports, where you are usually not allowed to use anything but the most current standard which is updated about every 5 years or so.

  • kfg says:

    Plastics break down, as Pete says. It’s the liner you’re worried about, not really the shell. As the styrene outgasses it becomes hard, brittle and crumbly. It only works to the extent that it’s squishy.

    Unlike what Pete says, so have standards, which are so broken as to be virtually useless. Note the Giro website “technology” section says absolutely nothing about the technology of its ability to protect your head or what standard it was tested to, never mind what that standard means.

    You’re not supposed to ask those questions.

  • Pete says:

    @kfg. I was thinking more about the Snell standards for motor cycling and motorsports helmets. Apparently the case with bike helmets hasn’t been so good, as you point out:

  • Derek says:


    Do you think this helmet would work well with ski-style goggles? Things have been pretty chilly here earlier this week in the Chicago area, and they are only going to get colder early next week (single digit highs, <0F lows, windy!). I am going to get a pair of goggles, but I think I will need a different helmet to get them comfortably compatable on my head. I was looking at the Bern or Nutcase, but this is definitely an option.

  • Alan says:

    Hi Derek,

    It sure seems like it would work. The shell looks nearly identical to their Revolver ski helmet:


  • Kate says:

    I was actually doing research on helmet certifications today and I found that GIRO helmets are certified by the lowest standard possible – the US CPSC standard, and they don’t display this information on their website.

    Know what standards your helmets meet!

  • Alan says:


    I was under the impression all helmets sold in the U.S. only meet the CPSC standard. Do you have a list of helmets that meet a higher standard, and if so, which standard(s)?


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