There’s one piece of gear that every mountain biker has, but most of us rarely think about: a helmet. That is, we rarely think about it until we really need it.

The Giro Hex is a beefy lid intended for all-mountain, trail, and marathon applications. It features an in-mold EPS liner, polycarbonate shell, P.O.V. visor with 15 degrees of vertical adjustment, Roc Loc 5 fit system, and 21 vents.

According to Giro, the in-mold EPS liner allows them to create a lighter mountain bike helmet with better ventilation and more durability. The special moldability allows them to create their Wind Tunnel ventilation system, which scoops air in on top and around the front of the head and pushes it out the back of the helmet along with excess heat.

The Roc Loc 5 fit system provides easy one-handed tension adjustment as well as vertical adjustment, allowing the rider to easily adjust the fit on the go.

The Hex is available in numerous color combinations and designs (click here to check them out).

Photo credit, upper right: Sydnah Swails.

The Test

The first thing that struck me about the Hex was how rugged and no-nonsense this helmet looks. It may have something to do with the “matte brown lines” design, but the Hex just looks like it is durable and ready to protect your head, and it’s not going to be too finicky as it does it. I threw it on, adjusted the chin strap, tightened down the Roc Loc system, and I instantly felt as if I had been wearing this helmet for months. It has a natural, intuitive feel to it that takes no adjustment time.

Photo Credit: Sydnah Swails.

The 21 massive vents and Wind Tunnel ventilation system function as advertised: they will cool you down in a heart beat. In fact, during the late fall and early winter months that I have been using this helmet, the vents functioned almost too well: I had little excess heat, and I didn’t want to give it away! However, once things start really heating up in the spring, the massive scoops on top of the helmet will provide welcome relief while bombing down the mountain after sizzling climbs on the way to the summit.

The Roc Loc system worked great and it is almost as completely intuitive as the rest of the helmet. I still haven’t quite figured out what my favorite setting is in regards to vertical adjustment–probably because I’m not used to having a helmet that allows you to adjust that setting on the fly. However, the ease of adjustment allows you to play around with it even while rolling down the trail, allowing you to fine-tune to your heart’s desire!

Photo Credit: Sydnah Swails.

If I had to have a quibble with this helmet, it would be that the design and position of the vents makes it difficult to mount a head lamp or a helmet camera in the sweet spot. It’s difficult, but not impossible: with a little practice I was able to find the best vents to thread the straps through, and while I had to route them far down the sides of helmet, I had just enough strap on my mounts to successfully latch on to the helmet.

Bottom Line: The Giro Hex is an attractive looking lid that offers excellent protection, cooling, and adjustment in a no-nonsense package. MSRP is $90.

Many thanks to Giro for sending the Hex down for review!

# Comments

  • trek7k

    Nice pics Sydnah!

    I’m surprised there still isn’t an XC-style helmet with built-in mounting points for cameras and lights. It wouldn’t be hard to do either – just run a 2-inch rib across the center of the helmet and you’re done. As it stands now, helmet mounts sit on top of the helmet and stuff tends to get snagged by trees. An integrated mounting point would bring everything down an inch or two. The only thing I can think is there is some safety reason for not integrating a mounting point.

    As far as winter ventilation, you could go with a sexy helmet cover like this one:

    And at Outdoor Retailer I saw a stretchy “brim” you can add, turning your helmet into a sombrero (seriously).

  • mtbgreg1

    It seems like every light manufacturer and video camera manufacturer has it’s own mounting system, though. If we could get some sort of universal standard agreed upon, I could really see a built-in mounting bracket.

    Haha, thanks for the tips on the helmet cover. You know what I’ve discovered in really cold weather (below 20 degrees)? A standard ski helmet works wonders! I don’t know why I never thought of it before (someone gave me a tip early this winter), but a lot of DH ski gear has great practical applications for cold-weather biking. Might be a blog post that I have to write…

  • trek7k

    Yeah, most bike lights either use an O-ring or a stretchy strap which is pretty universal but it’s the helmet cams that have their own way of doing things. I have a box full of mounting hardware for helmet cams and GPS units – it is a shame they don’t all use a common system.

  • AK_Dan

    Im sold on Giro helmets, they have actually saved my life on more than one occasion. I have owned 5 and still have 4 of them, however I have to say I am not at all sold on their Roc-Loc system. While yes it is lighter and the fit can be adjusted to perfect, there is not ‘lock’ about it. I have this system on two of my helmets and have reverted to just using them for road riding. The constant vibration and jarring of trail riding makes the Roc-Loc loosen up requiring constant adjustments- usually at times when you really should have both hands on the bars. For me the original ‘ratchet’ type that squeezed together with two fingers and locks works much better. Love their helmets, just wish they would give a choice of which type of tension system they come with. @ over $100 a pop they are a bit spendy to be experimenting with too many of them.

  • arvi

    There’s version of the Kali Amara XC helmet that has a built-in cam/light mount, not to mention some similar rugged aesthetics to the Giro Hex:


    The Hex is definitely one of the candidates for for my next helmet. Those big vents will be useful in the south Texas heat.

  • fleetwood

    Nice review. Good looking helmet, and sounds functional too (except for AK Dan’s complaint). I just recently bought a Fox Flux. While it is slightly heavier than the Trek helmet I had before, I like the fit and the ease of adjustment over the Trek. I wonder if it is similar to the Roc-Loc.

    Anyway, I am convinced that this review was simply a vehicle for mtggreg1 to post some profile pics of himself. That chin hair is coming along nicely. Good work!

  • mtbgreg1

    @AK_Dan, I have not noticed issues with the helmet loosening up. On my latest night ride, I tightened down the ratchet pretty stiffly as I was running a light on top, and after a while I had to loosen it up as it was a bit too tight–it didn’t loosen on its own. I’ll keep an eye out for it, but based on my current experience, that’s not an issue with this lid.

    @Arvi, That’s an interesting design. But like I said above, I think we’d really need to have a basic standard agreed upon, or at least some adaptors.

    @fleetwood, see my reply to Dan in regards to the Roc Loc.

    Haha and thanks man! I’ve been digging the rocking the goat’ for a while now.

    @maddslacker, Sorry, I have not tried either of those helmets. This is the first Giro MTB lid I’ve used, although I own one of their ski helmets and love that as well.

  • fatlip11

    Same input from me as Dan… couldn’t get it to stay where I put it. If you touch the dial it popped loose. Thumbs down. Sorry, good review except for that.

  • mtbgreg1

    So question: did the helmets that you guys were using have the Roc Loc 4 or the new Roc Loc 5 technology?

  • fatlip11

    To be honest, I am not sure… it was about a year and a half back. I didn’t buy the helmet for that reason. I tried a couple different ones at the lbs and had the same issue with both.

  • AK_Dan

    Umm, me too, about a year and a half ago. and I don’t have one here to take a look at. I really do hope this is an issue they have fixed, too good of a product to have one glitch that makes it a zero.

  • mtbgreg1

    From everything I’ve read the 5 is supposed to be a big improvement over the 4 but without personal experience with both systems I guess it’d be impossible to say.

  • JSatch

    i’ve got an old version of this helmet so perhaps the locking system has been ‘improved’ since then, but i’ve never encountered it loosening up on a ride, or on a fall, which i have had many.

    the helmet is good, beefy and kinda mushroom’esque, depending upon your head shape. the vents are awesome, but tree branches also seem to more easily find their way in there, which can be surprising during a ride.

    it’s got pretty beaten up saving my butt, errr, head, and it’s probably time for a new one. one tough lid.

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