Giro Air Attack Shield: An in-depth review.

There has been a lot of talk about the new Giro Air Attack helmet. Giro claims it will make you faster and I have noticed a few of them popping up on the noggins of various South Bay wankers. I had a coupon for an on-line bike shop that was already having a sale on everything Giro, so I figured, “What the heck?”

The first question that comes up when purchasing this helmet is, “To shield or not to shield.” I decided to go the full monty and get the shield because it was only around $20 more. I have spent way more than that on useless cycling gear in the past anyway. The second question is, “What color?” The first time I saw one of these helmets, it was a white one perched upon Shon’s head and I thought it was a bit ugly (Shon’s air attack seems to have been handed down to G$, so maybe Shon thought it was ugly too. G$ will wear any piece of kit that makes him stand out.). This led me to bet on black.

Two days later, UPS showed up with my new helmet. It was packaged like any other Giro helmet in a super thin helmet bag that would probably dissolve if it got wet. The shield was already attached to the helmet in its upside-down storage position. I really hoped the shield would have come with some short of storage bag/cleaning cloth that every set of decent sunglasses comes with but alas, it did not. More about the shield later.

What's old is new again?

Many say the helmet is ugly. Let’s face it, everything cyclists wear is ugly. I am a middle-aged 205lb guy wearing spandex, for Pete’s sake. That being said, the helmet itself looks pretty good in black. I even applied a coat of car wax to make it extra shiny. To me it resembles a skateboard helmet or one of those old school hard-shell Vetta helmets that I wore when I was 16.

I got the straps adjusted and was ready to test it out on the New Pier Ride the next morning. I decided to forego the shield that morning because I knew if I was sporting the shield, I’d probably be the subject of trash talking by all the other NPR wankers. I am just too slow to stomp them into the ground anyway. The shield would be tested another day on a solo ride.

"Air Gap" in the front. Room for my deformed forehead.

The fit

I have always had a hard time finding a comfortable helmet due to the fact that I have a permanent bump right in the middle of my forehead.

This bump is made up of scar tissue from when I cracked my head open trying to pop wheelies on my Schwinn Stingray when I was 6 years old. What this means is I usually need to take a Dremel to my helmets and grind away a notch in the front of the helmet and get creative with extra padding so that the helmet won’t irritate my forehead.

When I put this helmet on, it did not seem to rub the bump on my forehead. It was extremely comfortable. It turns out this helmet has Giro’s new Air Roc Loc system where the helmet is sort of suspended over your head. It is meant to put an air gap between your head and the helmet to facilitate air flow (more on air flow later). What it meant for me is that this “air gap”makes room for my misshapen forehead and along with Giro’s “Featherweight” webbing makes this helmet (to me) the most comfortable I have ever worn. The helmet is a tad heavier than my Aeon, but nothing to worry about.


Air Flow

Front view without shield

When looking at this helmet, it is clear that this helmet lacks the gazillion vents most bike helmets have. The Air Attack has a total of six. So how good is the air flow on this helmet? Pretty darn good.

I can actually feel the air rushing over my head and down the back of my head. It really is noticeable. You can get an extra rush of air by dipping your head down a bit (as in looking at your computer or front tire). You don’t even have to be going all that fast to feel it either.

That all being said, I have not had a chance to try this on a long, hot climb, but I am guessing my head will be a bit toasty when I do try it. I get pretty hot even with my Aeon with a zillion vents, so this may not be a big deal. I will update this review when the weather warms up and I hit the mountains.


The Shield

Dork or bad ass??

I really thought the shield looked rather goofy when I put it on. Therefore, I really wanted to test it out on a solo ride to avoid getting crap from any of my cycling buddies. I even wore a different kit so as not the be recognized. Well that plan failed as I passed none other than the Wankmeister himself going the other way. No one is more skilled at dishing out crap than he (and we love him for it). He kind of looked at me not sure if it was me or not but not wanting to seem like a total dick, I yelled out “Hey Seth.” He gave me a “Hey Dave” back and we went along on our respective merry ways.

Front view with shield stowed

Anyway, the first thing I noticed after riding the shield for a mile or so was that my eyes were tearing up ever so slightly. That means that the wind is getting in my eyes. This never happens with my trusty SPY Screw sunglasses. I am not sure if this is by design or because I have weird cheekbones, but it really is kind of annoying. On top of that, the shield is hard to store and clean due to its size. The only place for it is to place it upside down in its storage position (see photo). Placing the shield in the storage position does partially block the vents but it does not seem to have a material effect on air flow.

Some other reviewers have said there was enough room under the shield to wear a pair of eyeglasses. While I don’t wear glasses and did not try this, I don’t think there would be room for a pair of glasses. The visor seemed really close to my eyes, I swear I could almost feel my eye lashes touching the shield. Perhaps this is because I am right in between a medium and a large in Giro helmets and I always opt to go medium to have the lightest, most compact helmet possible.

Side View with Shield stowed

On the plus side, the shield is designed by Zeiss and the optical quality is fantastic. It was nice not having to wear sunglasses but the wind in my eyes is a bit of a deal breaker. I think the shield would probably be awesome in the rain. I sprinkled some water on the shield to see if there was any hydrophobic coating to repel water and alas it does not. I’d like to try coating the shield with Rain-X and trying it out but the “rainy season” here in SoCal is pretty much over.
Over the past few days, the look of the shield has grown on me. My 4 year old says I look like a storm trooper. It looks pretty bad ass but the problem is that I am a slow wanker and trying to look bad ass (when I am clearly not) makes me a poseur. Then again, I ride a set of Zipp 303′s on my race bike so I am a poseur anyway. I am guessing the shield is going to stay home 95% of the time.


Aero Benefits/Shape

I didn’t notice any, though I am as slow as hell. It might save you a few seconds in a 40k TT. As far as the shape, people say it is ugly, but all bike helmets are ugly. I think this helmet in black looks great and I’d be willing to bet you would fare better in a crash since the smooth surface will slide across the asphalt better than a helmet with a bunch of vents.



  • Air Flow is superior, you really can feel it.
  • Fit is awesome (for me at least)
  • Very comfortable
  • Streamline and compact, no “mushroom head”
  • Optics on the shield are fantastic
  • Shield is easy to remove and replace


  • Pricey, but pretty much in line with other high-end helmets
  • Shield does not block the wind well
  • Shield is cumbersome and hard to store and clean
  • Aero benefits are marginal (unless your name is G$)
  • Hard to tuck a pair of sunglasses into the vents when you are not using them
  • Giro logo is rather large.


Bottom Line

Overall, I really like the helmet and while I would not rush out and buy one unless you are in the market for a new helmet. If you are, you might want to try one on and see how it fits. I would just go with the non-shield Air Attack and save yourself $30, unless you really want to look like a bad-ass storm trooper on your bike. The #1 reason I am keeping it is that it is the first helmet that I have tried that fits me like a glove, even with my deformed forehead.

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One Response to “Giro Air Attack Shield: An in-depth review.”

  1. Mason says:

    Best review I’ve read on this helmet, thanks! Answered all of the questions I had. I’m off to order mine now.

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