Giant adds MIPS to the popular Rail trail helmet
It’s fair to say that the emergence of MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) boosted riders’ awareness of helmet safety, and the possible dangers caused by rotational impacts. It’s now increasingly common to see MIPS, or similar systems, fitted to new helmets. The Giant Rail MIPS helmet is a case in point.
The Rail is Giant’s top of the line MTB helmet. The adjustable peak, full-coverage, goggle strap and GoPro compatibility put it firmly in the goggle wearing, enduro gnarr section of riding. Somehow Giant has managed to put all this and MIPS into a package that weighs less than 340 grams. That doesn’t put it far off the weight of many road lids, let alone other trail helmets.
It manages this firstly by employing eighteen large vents across the whole of the helmet. Then, rather than using a hard polycarbonate shell over the entire outer, Giant has left the edges of the EPS foam construction exposed.
No mushroom head here
The Rail MIPS has a reassuringly encompassing feel when you first put it on. The shape is a little rounder on the inside than some, but despite my 56cm head circumference putting me at the smaller end of the medium size, it fortunately lacked the mushroom appearance you might get with a wider shell – even with the added bright yellow MIPS layer. The padding is extremely comfortable with nice chunky bits at the temples and is removable to enable a little spruce up when it inevitably ends up a little stinky.
The adjustment dial is also nicely tactile; it stands proud of the retaining cradle to make it really easy to adjust even in thicker gloves.
Riding in Rails
Riding in the Rail MIPS is a pleasurable experience. The low weight pushes it to the back of your mind and minimizes it bouncing and shifting when riding hard. Plus the high level of ventilation makes it a little less sweaty than some more enclosed designs.
The soft and flexible peak can be easily moved out of the way if you use goggles (the elasticated goggle strap is a neat touch as well) but a few times it ended up on the wonk where one side moved more than the other – not great when trying to look good for the camera.
The Giant Rail MIPS helmet does have a couple of other minor issues that stop it from being a really great helmet. Number one: to keep weight down, the straps lack any form of adjustment, and the temple strap tends to billow outwards. Number two: the exposed polystyrene edges start looking a little tatty if you are in the habit of not being too careful with how you stow your helmet.
Giant's Rail MIPS helmet rolls low weight, comfort and great features into a helmet suitable for harder riding. A few little niggles prevent it from being a truly excellent all-round performer.