Tour de France Tech: Giro unveils new aero road helmet, super light lace-up shoes

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Meet the new Giro Synthe aero road helmet and Empire SLX super light road shoe.

With equal emphasis on fashion and function, Giro unveiled a new aero road helmet and a pair of super light lace-up road shoes on the eve of the Tour de France. The helmet, known as the Synthe (short for synthesis), will be worn by three teams in the world’s most important bike race: BMC, Katusha and Iam Cycling. The rest of the cycling world will have to wait until early December when the 250-gram $250 lid starts showing up in bike shop stores.

The wispy Giro Empire SLX lace-up shoes (175 grams for size 42.5) will retail for $350 and come on-line sometime in October.

The Synthe, says Giro, took all the best features of its Air Attack aero road helmet and melded them with its lightweight Aeon brain protector in hopes of splitting the difference. Instead, using wind average drag (a formula that takes into account a variety of yaw angles to calculate a single drag measurement) as a driving design force, Giro claims its designed a new lid that’s actually more aero efficient than the Air Attack and many other helmets on the market, but with far better cooling. But perhaps best of all the Synthe looks like a traditional helmet, not the undeniable aesthetic statement of the polarizing Air Attack.

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The Empire SLX comes in anodized red or white with black, while the Synthe will be available in a wide range of colorways.

Besides claims of top tier aero efficiency and enhanced cooling, marquee features include convenient eyewear docking ports, 19 vents with internal channeling, and integrated aero mesh panels. The mesh panels help further enhance ventilation, and improve aerodynamics by creating a boundary layer for air passing across the helmet.

An easy-to-use fit system can be adjusted with one hand and is designed to suspend the helmet 3mm over a rider’s head so air can better flow through the helmet for improved cooling.

Meanwhile, the new lightweight shoes build on the previous Empire, shedding weight but retaining the lace-up styling. Giro says that while some might be scared off by the laces, they believe the system provides a more custom fit unequaled by more traditional strap-and-buckle shoes.

An Easton-made carbon fiber outsole keeps stack height and weight low, while retaining stiffness. Sizes will range from 39-48 and the shoes will come in two colors, anodized glowing red and white with black. Giro says it’s also working on a MTB/cyclocross version but didn’t reveal a release date.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the / staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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