Race-tuned performance in a singletrack-ready package. The ideal helmet for a serious XC riding and racing has to b light and cool without sacrificing features. The Athlon's compact liner offers good coverage without excess weight, and huge Wind Tunnel vents with internal channeling that can't be beat for cooling power. A full Roc Loc 5 system enhances the helmet's stability and comfort for long hours on the trail and the adjustable/removable P.O.V.
visor shields your eyes from sun and branches. It's everything you need on the trail, and nothing more
Strengths: Great in black. Good mix of mtb and roadie style
So well vented definitely need skull cap for winter riding
Weaknesses: Rear head strap occasionally detached of its own accord
Great looking helmet suitable for all my cycling needs. Light weight, great fit. Bit expensive considering the fault. Saying this I'm looking to buy another having crashed one and wolloping my head!
a Weekend Warrior
from Los Angeles, Ca
Date Reviewed: May 26, 2011
Strengths: 2011 Athlon, with updated design, fit, and colors
Weaknesses: none so far
The Athlon was redesigned for 2011, I ordered the Pearl White with Lime Green flames. It fits better than my Flux, with better coverage over the ears and eyebrows. Tor Roc Loc system is very easy to use and fits helmet securely. It flows air about the same as my roadie Ionos, and weighs about the same. On extended climbs my head cooks inside my flux even on overcast days. I get excellent shading with the lower coverage over the eyes with the shorty visor.
If you like great air flow, light weight and cool colors
this is the helmet for you. I highy recommend it.
a Cross Country Rider
from Flowery Branch
Date Reviewed: May 20, 2011
Strengths: The Athlon is light, well-vented, and very comfortable. It is perfect for my XC uses. I wasn't looking for a cheap helmet that would hurt my head or the gram-saving helmet that would cost my savings.
Weaknesses: Visor adjustment could be a bit more stable
This helmet is great for its price point. For around $100 this helmet is very comfortable and has the stylish looks of helmets that cost at least twice as much. The vents in this helmet also keep my head at a much lower temp than did my Havoc.
a Weekend Warrior
from Vancouver, BC, Canada
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2010
Strengths: Nice styling, visor, easy to adjust.
Weaknesses: Visor is supposed to adjust but it doesn't really.
I use this around the city. I wanted a helmet with a visor and I wanted to try a Giro since they seem really popular. This looks a bit like a road racing helmet with a visor tacked on. It comes with 4 foam stick on pads with no instructions. I got mine on Ebay and it is a 2008 model so the new ones have a different adjuster at the back. The back has a thumb and finger adjuster that you just squeeze to tighten up but with no padding so I am guessing that is what the pads are for and I stuck two which makes the helmet very comfortable then just having a strap against your bare head. The visor comes right off which is a cool feature but it looks like the plastic might break if you did it many times. I like the styling mine is flat black and gray. Aside from the stick on pads inside the helmet is other Velcro pads which seem well designed. I can wear this for several hours and not notice it which is a good thing.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2010
Strengths: Looks good when not on your head. Suppose it will protect your head.
Weaknesses: Bulky, Poor Visual Quality, Poor Visor Design, No Bug-Net, Poorly Working Adjustment Sys
After using my old Cratoni helmet for 5 years I thought I should change it for something better. I thought being an upper-level model of this major brand, Giro Athlon was a good choice. And I liked the looks of that matt black color too. But damn it only looks good on the photos! When I actually wore it, it looked HUGE on my head!!! It is at least 1cm higher and 2cm wider than my old helmet.
The adjustable visor is just a joke. Is that really necessary??? Cause the visor is never really secure, its always loose and does not stay straight. Just clip it rigidly to a fair position and leave it alone!
The adjustment system is hard to work with: It is easy to tighten but loosening is a problem. I cannot see the point of using such a system.. Is it the weight?
But on top of all I am quite disappointed by the build quality. The mold split lines and the boundaries between foam and outer shell looks so bad that I was curious that it could be a second quality item and I’ve sent an email to Giro with a photo. I was told these are normal!
But I have to say the customer support staff is polite and friendly.
At least the sizing chart of Giro is right.
I am not even considering to use this helmet, I will try to sell it right away and look for another helmet. Even my old helmet which was less than half the price of the Athlon is FAR more superior.
a Cross Country Rider
from Oakville, On Canada
Date Reviewed: October 11, 2010
Strengths: Thinking about it...
Weaknesses: Pads done after 4-5 rides delaminated from the foam
Comfort non-existent looks like someone booted me in the forehead where the center pad rubs.
I thought this helmet would be comfortable and last a while. Boy was I wrong. After 4 rides the pain this thing is inflicting on me has forced me to go back to an old helmet and look for alternatives. The center front contact point feels like it is drilling me in the forehead. The padding is toast cloth is delaminating from the foam backing.
I have contacted customer service but from the sounds of things here I will not have my hopes that high.
I may also be inclined to agree this helmet is really just a road helmet in disguise.
Similar Products Used: Xen, Met Kaos UL, Bell Variant
Bike Setup: Ibis Mojo XTR/SRAM XO, Talas
a Weekend Warrior
from San Diego, CA
Date Reviewed: August 4, 2010
Strengths: Adjustable, comfortable
Weaknesses: Padding falls apart quickly. Customer support lacking.
This is for the '09 model. Bought this in Feb. '10. Nice helmet that fits well, but the padding deteriorates quickly. Emailed customer service about this in April '10 and they said they would ship out replacement pads. A month later, no show. Emailed again asking about status on replacement pads, no reply. Wait a month and again email about status, no reply. It is now Aug '10, I think I have waited long enough. Last Giro helmet I will buy.
Weaknesses: Doesn't look Giro! Too hot, slightly heavy and less protection. Designs = WTF!
I dunno what wrong with Giro design when it comes to MTB these days ! I've been big fan of Giro products and best was E2. The Athlon model, Zen to Hex looks not much as radical as it was 5 years ago. The ventilation doesn't gulp as much as E2 or old model like EXODUS. The current design looks so cheap for mountain bike lines of helmet. Its no longer radical or looks head turning. The current weight of giro helmet for MTB isn't much to be proud of anymore. I don't feel any cool air zoom into my head anymore. The color looks gloomy and the rear helmet coverage is not much to protect my brain. Thank god i still keep some old Giro models like E2, Exodus, Switchblade, Hammerhead and Helios because the looks more radical, air cooling and fits great. When i saw at MET KAOS helmet at LBS i tot it was GIRO's but no, i guess the original giro helmet designs have jumped to MET company instead.
a Cross Country Rider
from Albuquerque, NM
Date Reviewed: May 16, 2009
Weaknesses: Poor visor placement, odd fit, step backwards from the E2.
bikefix.net Exclusive Review: Giro Athlon helmet
While they share quite a bit, mountain and road biking put different demands on equipment. Style aside (baggies vs. Lycra, tees vs. jerseys), there are gains to be made by optimizing a piece of gear for one discipline over another. Take shoes, for example. Roadies tend to value stiffness and light weight over mountain bikers' concerns for durability, walkability and traction. Sure, one can use mountain shoes on the road bike (many do) or vice versa (few do), but the best tool for the job is often optimized for that job.
Take helmets. On the road, riders' heads tend to be tucked down lower and their speeds higher than in the dirt. A helmet company could look at the angle of the riders' heads and the airflow they can expect to see and optimize their products' vents for maximum cooling either on the road or off. Similarly, mountain bikers tend to fall over backwards more than their road brethren and a bit more protection at the back of the head can be useful (while it would be uncomfortable on the road, interfering with the back of the rider's neck). Almost by definition, a product optimized for use in one setting (road, dirt, recumbent, etc) is sub-optimal in another.
Back in December, a crack forced the retirement of the last in my long line of Giro E2s. Introduced not long after the turn of the century, the E2 was the first cross-country optimized helmet to gain much of a foothold in the market. Sure, there were earlier attempts (my teal-to-purple fade Giro Hammerhead was an embarrassing example), but few took off in the way that the E2 did. With its large vents aimed to take advantage of the wind in an upright riding position and increased rear coverage, it was well suited to the average XC rider's needs. Better still, it fit most folks' noggins well and looked cool (and was cooler than subsequent 'all mountain' helmets). After a number of years, however, Giro decided it was time for a change. My interest was piqued by early photos of what would be called the Athlon the promise of a lighter, sleeker XC helmet.
When my Athlon and Soros (a mid-range road helmet) arrived, the boys down at the shop were unimpressed. It looks like a road helmet I remember Lucero saying, and he was right. The Athlon was a clear break from the aggressive, identifiably mountain design language shared by the E2, Hex and Phase (among others). Looks, however, aren't everything (and are highly subjective), and I can hardly see my helmet while on the trail. More surprising (and less subjective) was the fact that the Athlon appeared to have gained 40g over the E2 while decreasing rear coverage slightly.
On the bike, the Athlon feels hotter than the E2 it replaced. While it was less noticeable when temperatures were in the 40s and 50s, now that they've topped 85, I'm feeling the heat. After a particularly warm ride one Friday, I pulled my E2 out of retirement for the following Sunday's ride. At this point, there's no question in my mind that the E2 is a cooler helmet on the trail. Also annoying is the adjustable POV visor. Where the E2's visor was perfectly positioned for the majority of riding in its upper position- with a lower position available when the sun was low on the horizon, the Athlon's visor is a few degrees higher in each position, providing virtually no sun protection when riding into the sunset. That's fine for those who think that its alright to ride with a visor and drop bars (its not- doing so compromises your field of vision in the drops and looks, well, awful), but disappointing for a range-topping mountain helmet from a company as established as Giro. It also sat oddly on my head. Initially, I thought that the Athlon's front-high stance was a strap and retention system setup issue. Five months and no end of fiddling later, I have to say that it just sits funny and almost always needs repositioning before I'm comfortable riding with it.
One day, walking past the hooks on which my bags and helmets hang, I stopped dead. There, sitting side by side were two identical helmets. Yes, the ultimate competition-specific MTB helmet was a poorly positioned visor away from being Giro's second least-expensive road helmet. Remember that bit about optimization earlier? To say that I was disappointed was an understatement.
Of course, this goes a long way to explaining the orientation of the vents and reduced rear coverage. One can hardly blame Giro for wanting to save money on complex and expensive helmet molds, but the suggestion that a mid-range road helmet becomes a mountain bike helmet solely by virtue of its added visor is a bit insulting. With the E2, Giro proved otherwise. What this doesn't explain is the added weight, slapdash visor placement or fact that the SarAthlon wants to sit front-high on my head, even with the rear retention system in its lowest position and the straps adjusted properly.
I know that Giro has been busy diversifying into gloves and sunglasses and being brought under the Easton-Bell umbrella, but those are no excuse for a market and innovation leader to miss the mark in so many aspects of what should be a flagship product. Its not that the SarAthlon is a bad helmet, but its not even a very good road or mountain helmet. Even if its not explicitly claimed to be an E2 replacement, the Athlon costs about the same ($130) and as the E2's been discontinued, one can be forgiven for making that assumption. Unlike the E2, however, I just can't see the Athlon becoming a classic, long-running, or ubiquitous helmet in the mountain bike world. Shopping for a cross-country mountain bike helmet? There are deals to be had on the E2 and the competition will no doubt be stepping up to fill the gap it has left. Look for a Saros review in the coming weeks to see how this helmet performs on the pavement...