Helmets are an essential part of every mountain biker’s kit. However, if you drag your head across the ground occasionally keeping a safe helmet in your kit can be expensive. Today we’ll be looking at two helmets that won’t break the bank when it comes time to replace them: The Giro Fixture and the Smith Convoy.
First, let’s talk about the features that each of these helmets have in common. First off, these are both half-shell “trail” style helmets. They both use a simple buckle closure.
They both also feature a MIPS liner. Rotational impact protection now reaches the base models on many manufacturers’ helmets. Thus, to my mind, it’s a no-brainer to get a helmet with this extra protection.
In my testing I found both helmets provided similar venting / cooling. The internal padding is also very similar.
While the Giro Fixture and Smith Convoy share a similar aesthetic there are several differences in fit. First of the Giro Fixture is a “one size fits most” helmet. Giro recommends head sizes 54 – 61 cm. If you have a very small head or a very large head, you may have trouble fitting this helmet.
The Smith Convoy comes in 4 sizes that cover head sizes from 51 – 65 cm. As a result a larger range of heads will fit in the Smith. Both helmets feature a dial system on the back of the helmet to refine the fit within the size range.
The strap systems on the two helmets have some key differences too. The Smith helmet straps feature adjustable clips that control the size of the front and rear straps where they meet the chin strap. The Giro on the other hand has a fixed sizing. Thus your only adjustment is the chin strap tightness.
I would that thought that this would give the Smith Convoy a distinct comfort advantage over the Giro Fixture. However in practice the stitched straps of the Giro helmet were more comfortable in my opinion.
In addition, there was one more key difference that made the Giro’s straps more comfortable. At the back of the helmet the Giro straps are routed through the dial fit system mechanism. This results in the straps laying at a comfortable position behind the ears. The Smith Convoy on the other hand routes the rear straps inside of the dial fit system. This resulted in the straps sliding around more rubbing against the back of my ears.
The Giro Fixture has a removable visor that snaps into the place on the helmet. This visor is designed in such a way that it will break away during an impact. It provides just enough sun protection. Some like the asthentic of a large visor, you don’t quite get that with the Fixture. The visor is single position, so you won’t be able to slide goggles underneath it.
The Smith Convoy visor is non-removable. While it is about the same size and shape as the Giro visor it doesn’t not appear that it would break away unless faced with a very violent impact.
The Giro Fixture features a matte finish and is available in twelve different colors. It has a bit more of a, “wrap around the back of your head” look and feel. This may add a bit of safety, but I definitely like the look more.
The Smith Convoy has a gloss finish that is available in 5 different colors. The helmets rear dial system drops a bit lower giving the appearance of the helmet not wrapping around the back of the head quite as much. In general the Smith looks a bit more like it’s sitting on top of your head.
Overall Winner: Giro Fixture (for most)
The overall winner for me personally was the Giro Fixture. If you have an average head size I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. If however your head is either very large or very small, the Smith Convoy provides greater sizing flexibility while sacrificing a bit of the refinement of the Giro Fixture.