Review: Giro’s almost perfect Hex trail helmet
I really, really want to love Giro’s Hex helmet.
An attractively-styled trail helmet, the Hex features moderate coverage, effective ventilation, three distinct sizes, and a very reasonable $90 price tag. And the fit. The Hex fits my head like few other helmets on the market. But going through FOUR Roc Loc 5 retention systems in eighteen months? That’s unacceptable.
Anchored somewhere near where the front straps attach to the helmet, Giro’s Roc Loc 5 drops down below the helmet to a small (dime-sized but fairly thick) wheel at the back.This wheel adjusts the system’s circumference, measured in easily discernible clicks. Two un-padded but comfortably shaped and well ventilated triangles (“Pods”) cradle the base of the skull, their height (and as a result the helmet’s attitude) adjustable between three positions.
The first time that the housing containing the Roc Loc 5 mechanism failed, I chalked it up to handling. Even though the helmet showed no other signs of abuse, the gray plastic housing split in several places, scattering little pieces around the back seat of the car. I contacted Giro, who sent out a replacement helmet, and resolved to be more careful when handling and storing the helmet.
The second failure came quickly after that, and just as inexplicably. Could my generic sunscreen I regularly slather on my near-bald head be eating the plastic? Sunscreen photos were sent at the Giro engineer’s request and another helmet was sent. The third prompted a call to Giro’s warranty line, who suggested that I was somehow abusing the helmet before sending out a new retention system (presumably from a more recent batch), “just this once.”
Which is a shame. I still love everything else about this helmet. The coverage is good and airflow more than adequate for rides well into the 80s. The straps can even be removed and washed without too much effort. The visor is easily adjusted between two positions and will pop cleanly off in a crash. The fact that Giro have prioritized fit by investing in three separate molds means that most riders have a sporting chance at a great fit. And the price is right. Though it’s not in the company’s 2013 line, I can only hope that a Roc Loc 6 is in the works for ’14. This helmet deserves better.