Giant's Rivet aero helmet has been used by the pros and won some big races. Giant-Alpecin's John Degenkolb wore one in his Milan-San Remo victory, so it has a bit of provenance. And for us mortals, it does appear to offer a small-but-measurable advantage. I didn't find it the most secure or comfortable lid I've tried though.
The point of the Rivet is to be a bit quicker than a standard helmet, so let's jump straight in to that. "It's designed to produce maximum speed in real-world rider positions and critical sprinting situations," says Giant. So I took it up to our local closed road circuit for a bit of testing.
I'm not John Degenkolb (not sure I want to be at the moment, seeing as he's out of action after being hit by a car), so I can't tell you what kind of advantage you'll be getting at 70kph at the end of a Spring Classic. But at the speeds normal mortals ride, the data is interesting enough.
This is a graph of my laps of Odd Down circuit wearing the Giant Rivet and a standard helmet for comparison, a Scott ARX Plus. I was using a set of Garmin Vector 2 pedals to measure my power, and the power spread is from an easy 150W average for the 1.5km lap up to about 270W average, which for me is going pretty hard. For reference, that's a fastest lap of 2:22, which is just under 4th cat race pace (2:18 on Saturday, when conditions were similar).
What do the numbers say? Well, the trend line for the Rivet is above the trend line for the Scott, and depending on where you measure the offset you're looking at just under or just over 10W of difference. Put another way, 2-3 seconds a lap. It's not a rigorously scientific test and there are always going to be other variables at play in an outdoor environment, but it does suggest there's a measurable difference in the real world. Every little helps, right?
All of which is for nought if the helmet is shoddily made, or unwearably uncomfortable, or as heavy as if it were made of bricks, or head-cookingly hot. Thankfully it's none of those things. The ventilation, for an aero lid, is good. There are three big vents at the front and they channel air through deep cuts inside the helmet and chuck it out the back. It works pretty well even in high temperatures.
At 299g it's not the lightest lid out there, but there's more material in an aero helmet because there are fewer holes. Compared to its peers, it's about par.
I didn't find the Rivet the most comfortable helmet. It dug in a bit at the front and I would have liked the retention system at the rear to sit a bit lower. The padding is pretty minimal inside but I didn't find that an issue. The thin, soft webbing straps are pretty comfy but the yoke under the ear isn't adjustable, so make sure the fit suits you if you can before you commit.
I wore it mostly for racing and fast ride training, but I stuck to my trusty and very comfy Scott for other riding. I'm not sure a bongo hat is really a look you can get away with commuting on a bike with mudguards, anyway.
General build quality is good, and the helmet conforms to a raft of standards: CPSC, CE-EN 1078: 2012 and ASNZ. In a spill it should be as effective as any other certified helmet out there. How effective that might be is always a good place to start a robust exchange of views, but I think it's moot here: this is a helmet designed for racing, and you don't get a choice of whether to wear one or not when you pin a number on your back.
Overall, the Rivet is a good option for racing. It's one of the cheaper aero hats out there and it does appear to make a measurable, if slight, difference to the speed you cut through the air. If you're looking for every advantage in your next race then it's certainly one to look at. I didn't find it the most comfortable but it's okay, and head shapes differ. For the duration of a race it's not really an issue anyway. And it's won Milan-San Remo, so you're out of excuses.
Good quality aero helmet for racing, race-proven but still at the cheaper end of the market
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giant Rivet Bicycle Helmet
Size tested: Medium, Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Giant says: "Developed in the wind tunnel. Proven by race wins against the fastest pro sprinters in the world. For competitive riders who seek every aero advantage''without compromising fit, ventilation and light weight''the all-new Rivet aero road helmet offers the winning edge."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Protection: EPS density, and super-tough polycarbonate shells
Fit system: Cinch Pro, optimal position Y elements strap system
Ventilation: Direct flow cooling flowing air into ultra-deep internal channels.
Padding: TransTextura Plus™ X-odour anti-microbial pads
Extra: Computational fluid dynamic aero design
Certification: CPSC, CE-EN 1078: 2012 & ASNZ
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It appears to be measurably faster than a standard lid in side-by-side tests, and it passes the normal standards.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Doesn't look too mushroomy, ventilation is good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Retention system doesn't sit low enough, front of the helmet digs in a bit.
Did you enjoy using the product? I mostly saved it for racing.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, it's a good value aero lid that offers a measurable advantage.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for racing.
Use this box to explain your score
I didn't find the Rivet the most comfortable of helmets but it seems to do the job it's asked to, and the ventilation is better than other aero lids I've tried. Retention could be better.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.