One step down from Giro’s flagship Montaro helmet, the Chronicle keeps the fit and safety features of the best mountain bike helmets and loses a little of the ventilation and a couple of bells and whistles. It’s still easy to recommend, especially to rowdier riders.
The Chronicle MIPS is a trail and dirt helmet with a deep fit around the sides and back of the skull. It has the MIPS impact protection system that’s standard above about £100: an inner liner designed to reduce rotational damage to the brain if you crash.
Fit adjustment comes from Giro’s long-serving Roc Loc 5 system, which lets you adjust the tightness around the sides and back of the head with a small dial. You can also tweak the vertical position of the adjustment band by up to 1.5cm. Both systems have a nice positive click action.
Comfort comes from 16 smallish vents, and the padding liners are made of Coolmax, which wicks away sweat.
You can click the visor upwards and downwards into three positions while you’re riding; the highest position leaves enough space to store your goggles out of the way.
One thing you’ll notice is that at the base of the helmet, the protective outer shell doesn’t wrap around the softer expanded-polystyrene inner, so you’ll need to take care not to biff it too much when you put it down.
You might be skeptical of a ‘fits really well’ verdict – everyone’s head is different, after all – but add me to the chorus of people who agree that this lid has a strikingly good fit.
That’s partly down to the deep, well-rounded shape of the whole helmet, and partly because of the adjustability of the Roc Loc system inside. The height adjuster is the clever bit, it means that you can move the tensioning band to sit neatly below the bump at the back of your skull (the bit covering your brain’s occipital lobe). When you dial it in, it cradles the head really nice and snugly, without any discomfort. Shake your head before the straps are even done up and it barely moves.
If you’re coming from a less deep helmet and are looking for added protection, you’ll notice that the Chronicle has a really nice feeling of cocooning the head yet it doesn’t feel heavy, despite its looks. One thing you may notice is that heat builds up relatively easily, but most of the time you’ll forget you’re wearing it.
Goggle wearers will appreciate the liftable visor, with space for goggles underneath (there’s also a groove for the strap round the back). The visor was just about adjustable with one hand while riding; two hands was much easier. We wondered whether the arms of bike glasses would catch on the low edge of the helmet shell in front of the ear, but our 100% S2s were just fine.
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This is a well-fitting helmet with good safety and usability features, at a decent price. It’s easy to recommend it. The minor downsides are that the ventilation isn’t amazing, and on the base of the helmet, the exposed polystyrene inner is vulnerable to dents and cuts.
If you’re wondering whether to buy the Chronicle or Giro’s £150 Montaro model, at full RRP the price gap makes the Chronicle a good buy. They have a similar great fit, same visor, and the same MIPS system, and testers report that the padding on the cheaper Chronicle is more durable. If you find a deal, you might go for the Montaro, which has more vents and a better-protected base; a slightly fancier Roc Loc with the same adjustment functionality but more ventilation; a clever breakaway camera mount; a little extra reinforcement on the inner shell, and sticky grippers for goggles straps on the rear.
Tech Specs: Giro Chronicle MIPS helmet
- Sizes: S (51-55cm), M (55-59cm), L (59-63cm), XL (61-65cm)
- Rotational protection: MIPS
- Fit System: Roc Loc 5
- Vents: 16
- Colors: 4
- Weight: 342g (M, MIPS)
- Price: $110.00 / £109.99
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