The Xen helmet, Xen gloves, and Filter sunglasses from Giro go together almost as well as the #1 combo at McDonalds (stickers to the first commenter who can id the sandwich in that combo). Now I am 100% sure you’ve heard of Giro and the great helmets they make; heck, I’m sure many of you already have one. But did you know that Giro also makes sweet gloves and glasses? Giro may not be as well known for accessories beyond the lid but will change very soon!
To make things easier Giro uses the same names from the helmet line for gloves. The Xen glove (MSRP $38.00) and Xen Helmet (MSRP $130.00) sport similar graphics and color schemes and are both optimized for all-mountain riding. All mountain riders will ride near or through overgrown brush, tree strewn singletrack, and the not so occasional rocky path so it’s important to have a helmet and glove that can take the abuse.
The Xen Helmet is offered in several color choices for 2010 including matte gold, matte white digi camo, and matte olive fade. It took me just a few minutes to get my Xen comfortable using the straps and buckles. When adjusting your helmet you typically want to set the under chin strap just with enough space so you can open your mouth without interference. I also recommend adjusting the buckle on the sides so that they are about an inch below your ears.
The Xen cuts a lower profile that most helmets and sports an extended back side to cover the back of your head. The 17 massive air vents keep things cool even on hot summer rides and the cushioned brow pad does a good job managing dripping sweat. The included POV visor allows you to change the angle of the visor without rattling it out of position.
The Xen Gloves are super comfortable and allow great hand movement without any pinching. Unlike some gloves out there, the Xen features a clarino palm (a durable synthetic leather) and strategically placed technogel support padding. The padding allows you to ride longer with less pain from impact and vibrations associated with bombing rough trails.
Overall I would have to say that these gloves performed really well. The three silicon-patterned finger tip grips came in handy and allowed me to use just one finger to grip the brakes. I also didn’t have to worry that my finger would slip on the shifters, even when my hands got wet.
Having a great helmet and gloves is just part of the equation so I also decided to give the Filter suglasses from Giro a whirl at the same time. The Filter is designed to fit comfortably with Giro helmets, utilizing what they call Super Fit. Basically Super Fit glasses are designed to hold securely to your face without interfering with helmet straps, minimizing distractions during the ride.
Not only do the Filters fit well but the optics are pretty amazing as well. These sunglasses use Zeiss lenses which are very clear without any noticeable distortion. Filter lenses are also 100% UVA, UVB, and UVC filtering. My Filter sunglasses came with two sets of lenses – grey tint 18Z and the rose silver 18Z. For the trails I would have preferred an amber or brown lens as well – perhaps this is something Giro will add in the future.
The Filter sunglasses also feature Pop Top which allows you to flip an integrated lever to release the lens from the frame without having you grip the lens with your hand. This helps keeps lenses clean and scratch free even with frequent lens changes.
All and all I have to say that Giro has a great thing going with these three products and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend other Giro helmets, gloves, or sunglasses to anyone. You want fries with that?