2011 Giro performance helmets — first look

Rock Loc 5 breathes new life into 6 existing models, debuts 1

Giro’s new-for-2011 Xar all-mountain helmet (US$130) is the talk of the brand’s upcoming line. But the bigger news may be the development of Roc Loc 5, an updated version of their venerable retention system, which shaves weight and improves the fit of six familiar road and mountain models.

Roc Loc 5 is said to be 40-percent lighter than the previous version, plus it adds better vertical adjustability (15mm in 5mm increments) and a dial to adjust circumferential fit that’s operable with one hand (Roc Loc 4 took two hands to easily adjust). Both vertical and circumferential adjustments in Roc Loc 5 can be done with the helmet on your head.

The system is claimed more durable too, as it was tested through 6,600 cycles of use in Giro’s test lab, which they estimate to represent over three years of real world use.

Roc Loc 5 for the road

For roadies, Giro offers Roc Loc 5 in four models, including: Advantage 2, Ionos, Atmos and Saros. For mountain bikers, the Xar, Athlon and Hex sport the new system.

Ionos (US$235) continues as Giro’s flagship model. It’s touted as the brand’s best-ventilated model and the lightest, due to Roc Loc 5. The 21 vents of the Ionos were developed in the wind tunnel to better cool the rider. Giro will offer two ‘Lance Collection’ models, which were used by Armstrong during the 2010 Tour de France. The Armstrong edition helmets are offered at no additional cost.

Ionos, top-tier road

The stalwart Atmos ($180) also received Roc Loc 5. This second tier road racing helmet is quite similar to the Ionos and features a composite sub-frame dubbed I.C.S. Giro’s sponsored mountain bike racers often choose the Atmos.

A choice between Atmos (pictured) and Ionos may come down to graphics or price

Saros, Giro's budget performance lid

The Saros hits the ($125) price point of Giro’s performance line and serves as the entry level to Roc Loc 5 equipped road helmets.

The Advantage 2 ($165) time trial helmet remains exactly the same for 2011, but also adds Roc Loc 5 for a better fit. There's still no word on whether their aero helmets used in the 2009 and 2010 Tour de France will ever make it into general production.

Finally, Giro’s unique vintage looking, yet ultra-light, Prolight ($200) remains without Roc Loc 5 and completely unchanged, even by way of colour, for 2011.

Roc Loc 5 hits the dirt

While Xar will undoubtedly steal the thunder from the rest of Giro’s 2011 mountain bike helmets and has already proven to be liked by both all-mountain (Jason Moeschler, WTB-Fox-Santa Cruz) and cross-country racers (Adam Craig, Rabobank-Giant), two more off road helmets will also come equipped with Roc Loc 5.

The 312g Athlon ($135) is Giro’s lightest endurance oriented helmet to come with a visor in 2011 and subsequently tops the brand’s offerings for cross-country racers looking for a visor and more off-road aesthetic than an Atmos. The Athlon was introduced in 2010. BikeRadar received the 2011 version of the lid for testing a month ago, so stay tuned for a full review in the near future.

Athlon for cross-country racers

The Hex all mountain helmet falls in line just below the new Xar. Its familiar shell doesn’t change, but as with the previous mentions, received the Roc Loc 5 retention system, which serve to keep it relevant for 2011. It costs just $90.

Hex falls in under Xen in Giro's all-mountain line

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