© Giro

Giro

Giro is a manufacturer of helmets, shoes, and apparel, founded by Jim Gentes in 1985 and based in California.

Giro
Giro

History

Giro was born in 1985, when Jim Gentes, an industrial designer and bike racer from California, found himself frustrated at the quality and style of cycling helmets. Not yet mandatory in professional racing, there was little attention being paid to weight, aerodynamics and, just as importantly, what looked and felt good.

Gentes made the most of his scientific knowledge and connections to establish Giro as a pioneer in the advancement of helmet design. He collaborated with NASA scientists to take airfoil technology used in World War II fighter jets and adapt it for use in an aerodynamic helmet shape for triathletes. The following year, Gentes took a prototype of a lightweight, high-performance road cycling helmet to a bike show in Long Beach Bike Show, came back with $100,000 in orders, and the company took off from there.

After more innovations in aerodnyamics, which saw Greg LeMond famously time trial to 1989 Tour de France victory wearing an Aerohead helmet, the company set about refining various safety features, launching a first full-face lid for mountain bikers.

Giro was acquired by Bell Sports - a fellow manufacturer of helmets - in 1996, and the 2000s would see a diversification in the brand’s product range. As well as moving into snowsports, it manufactured its first pair of cycling gloves in 2008 and would branch out into cycling apparel five years later. In between came its first foray into footwear, with shoes now the most significant aspect of its cycling offering behind helmets.

BRG Sports - as Bell became known through other mergers - was acquired by Vista Outdoor in 2016 and Giro continues to operate out of Santa Cruz.

Did you know?

Giro’s headquarters is home to around 50 different testing fixtures. One is a crash test dummy named Brad - essentially a massive piston with a model head, who is sent smashing into metal blocks on a daily basis.

£30,000
- Record daily total of helmet damage from testing

Pro cycling

Team sponsorships: Canyon-SRAM, USA Track Team, Miami Blazers, LA Sweat.

Athlete sponsorships: Geraint Thomas, Thibaut Pinot, Keegan Swenson, Mathias Flückiger, Alice Towers, Alex Morrice, Agnieszka Skalniak-Sojka, Griffin Easter, Haley Smith, Hannah Otto, Lars Forster, Luke Wiedmann, Vital Albin, Tobin Ortenblad, among others.

Highlights

  • The pioneering Prolight helmet - Giro’s first dedicated road cycling performance helmet is still regarded as a game-changer. Previously, helmets had been cumbersome and ugly, but the Prolight was constructed from EPS foam, making it lightweight while also drawing on Gentes’ first experiments with aerodynamic design, and incorporating ventilation properties for good measure. This was absolutely the making of Giro as a brand.
  • LeMond wins 1989 Tour de France - Giro had a hand in one of the most iconic moments in Tour de France history. The final time trial of the 1989 Tour is the stuff of legend, with Greg LeMond going full aero to snatch the yellow jersey from Laurent Fignon by eight seconds. As well as a revolutionary pair of aero bars, LeMond was sporting an Aerohead helmet, at a time when helmets were not compulsory and his rival set out with hair flapping in the wind.
  • Giro's first shoes - The most significant of Giro’s expansion came in 2010, when they dived into the cycling shoes market. They’d already started making gloves, but shoes are now a major part of the business, worn by leading pros in the world’s biggest races. 2010 saw the launch of a seven-shoe line, four for the road - with the flagship model taking the Prolight moniker - and three for mountain biking.
  • Leipheimer wins Leadville in Code shoes - Levi Leipheimer was one of Giro’s key ambassadors and, after he tested Giro’s new road shoes in the Tour de France - he was given a pair of the new Code MTB shoes three days ahead of Leadville 100, and proceeded to set a course record.
  • Vos wins Olympic gold - Giro reinvented its AirAttack in 2012, with a rounded aerodynamic profile with minimal venting. The helmet was ridden to Olympic glory that year by Marianne Vos in London.
  • Double gold in Rio - Greg Van Avermaet and Anna van der Breggen both wear Giro Synth helmets to win the road race gold medals at the 2016 Olympics.

Top Giro Stories

Link to UCI approves Visma-Lease a Bike’s striking new helmet
Jonas Vinegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) racing in the now approved (again) Giro Aerohead II

UCI approves Visma-Lease a Bike’s striking new helmet

For a second time, the sport's governing body has approved the Giro Aerohead II

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Link to Has bike tech become too complicated for its own good? - The GCN Show
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Has bike tech become too complicated for its own good? - The GCN Show

Dan Lloyd and Si Richardson react to the news that Trek is slimming down its options and question whether more brands should follow its lead

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Link to Have the new super aero time trial helmets gone too far? GCN Tech Show
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Have the new super aero time trial helmets gone too far? GCN Tech Show

Alex Paton and Ollie Bridgewood return to discuss what proved to be a controversial week in the world of bike tech

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Featured Video

What Type Of Bike Helmet Should You Buy?

What Type Of Bike Helmet Should You Buy?

Helmets are an important piece of safety equipment, but with so many different styles with so many different features at so many different price points, how can you know what helmet is right for you?
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