Behold the Xar! I bet right now you’re imagining some big burly guy with tons of power and wealth overseeing his Slavic minions. Actually that would be a Czar. Even so, when you strap on Giro’s Xar I guarantee you’ll feel like an Emperor.
A while back I wrote about the release of Giro’s new Roc Loc 5 fit system which is featured in the Xar helmet. After testing the Roc Loc5 on my own noggin I’m ready to give you my thoughts on how I think the Xar fits and feels.
The Xar is the next generation premium all-mountain (AM) helmet from Giro. Taking some of the styling cues from the hugely popular Xen helmet, Giro set off to take this helmet in a slightly different direction. Sporting a bit more of an angular shape, Giro applied all their technical know-how to build the Xar for the more aggressive rider. A lot of time went into making this helmet comfortable, and comfortable it is.
The Roc Loc 5 system as I mentioned in previous articles takes up less space (making more room for eye-wear) while firmly holding the helmet in place. To me, a secure fit is the most important factor in making a helmet feel comfortable. The micro dial adjuster operates easily with one hand and is great for making sure the two rear pads position themselves evenly on the back side of your head just below the occipital lobe (back side of the brain just where the skull rounds itself towards the spine).
The pads are also adjustable up and down to ensure maximum comfort and fit (something that many lower-end models do not have and are not required by the CPSC ). The last thing mountain bikers want is a helmet that bobbles around while sailing over roots and rocks. What you don’t see in this helmet is the Dupont Nylon reinforcements molded right into the EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) liner for added protection without added bulk. So basically you won’t look like the Toad character from Mario Bro’s video games, unlike some other economy helmets out there. With the Xar you get a low-lined helmet that adds a measure of protection to the sides and lower half of your cranium. At a cost of $130 MSRP, the Xar is the top lid in the AM price range because you’re paying for the fit, finish, and technology in it.
Fitting the Xar took just a few minutes, dialing the Roc Loc 5 system and chin strap to the way I like it. Once adjusted it was a very nice fit. The sides of the Xar helmet are set in a bit so that the space is more ovalized than round (for those of you who have a very round head, try before you buy) but this suits me just fine.
Riding on the trails I found it an enjoyable experience knowing the helmet is there but not feeling uncomfortable or overly hot. I guess the time spent making sure that this helmet keeps you cool paid off. For an added measure I noticed the full width brow pad absorbed any excess sweat and moved it to the sides.
When you have a chance take a look at Giro and check out the Xar and the other helmets in the line up. They have something for everyone!
I’d like to thank the folks at Giro for providing the Xar for review.