Giro Athlon Helmet
Giro Athlon Helmet
Giro Athlon helmet, not just for the muddy stuff.
Posted 10th October 2012
Our resident cyclo-cross King and ex-pro, Tim Granshaw, reviews the Giro Athlon helmet and discovers its as comfortable on road as it is bouncing around in a muddy field – just remember to remove the peak when on the road to avoid any fashion faux pas!
Most of the time, things don’t go wrong on a bicycle. Occasionally things go horrendously. I’ve endured a 60 kph crash on a cement velodrome, a head on collision with a tree, a 55kph get-off on a mountain bike, and various bodily assaults by cars and pedestrians.
In most cases I was wearing a Giro helmet. Many times the helmet was destroyed, bloodied, crumpled, crushed. Each time I’ve survived, sometimes with some pretty devastating injuries, but with head intact.
I preface this article with such an admission for two reasons: first, without a helmet I would not have survived some of these collisions. Second, I have an affinity for Giro helmets because they have always protected me during the worst moments of my cycling career.
After my last big crash, I picked up a Giro Athlon helmet. The Athlon is the top of the line cross-country MTB helmet from Giro. The helmet is lightweight and trim, includes 23 vents for cooling, a detachable visor with 15° of vertical adjustment, and the really nice Roc-Loc 5 retention system. The helmet is offered in 5 different colours: Matte white, matte black, matte titanium, bright green and black, and metallic and orange and black. I love orange (my ‘cross bike is McLaren orange) and my team kit includes a healthy dose of orange, so the colour choice was easy for me!
The Giro Athlon helmet fitting system is straightforward. The helmet features three points of contact for adjusting fit; two helmet straps and a back of helmet retention device Giro calls the Roc-Loc. The straps are thin and easy to adjust courtesy of quick release buckles below the wearer’s ears. These buckles adjust the fore and aft of the helmet on the head while the standard buckle below the chin adjusts the strap tension.
Everyone’s head is a different diameter and when I first started racing, helmets utilised different pads which were added or removed from inside the helmet to match the wearer’s head. After a few hours of riding, pressure points would develop and headaches started… Now with the Giro Roc-Loc 5, adjustment pads are no longer needed. Like many other helmets on the market, an adjustable band stretches across the back of the Athlon, about 2.5 centimetres below the bottom of the helmet’s hardshell. Using a dial on the back of the helmet, it’s easy to tighten and loosen the band, reducing or increasing the helmet’s diameter. Neat. After 15 minutes of adjustment and tweaking, I had the perfect fit.
How’s the helmet out on the road and trail? You may have gathered from previous articles that I have a bad case of Italian prima donna bike racer. My socks match my shoes and my sunglasses don’t match anything. I’m pretty hard to please. The helmet looks sharp on the trail and, with the adjustable and detachable visor removed, looks great on the road as well.
The helmet incorporates a series of channels between the vents, stuffing air through the front of the helmet and shoving it through the exhaust ports on the back. After riding this helmet back-to-back with my Atmos road helmet, it’s apparent the slightly smaller vents don’t keep the head quite as cool as the road helmet, but debris will have a tougher time finding its way in as well, which is perfect now that the ‘cross season is upon us.
Even better, the helmet weighed within 30 grams of my Atmos road helmet. Because of this effective cooling and the helmet’s light weight, I barely noticed I was wearing anything on my head during rides. Part of the credit goes to Giro’s In-Mold technology: this method fuses the hard helmet shell and the lining inside it in one process. This ensures a lighter, better ventilated design than the hardshell helmets which use a three step process for making the liner, the shell, and then bonding them together.
If you are looking for a helmet that can be used off-road with a peak and on the road without peak in equal measure, this is a great choice.
Giro Athlon Helmet £69.99
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