Just In – Hayes Prime, Giro XAR, Giro Code

by Brian Mullin on May 11, 2011

The long awaited Hayes Prime’s finally hit the market recently, and Hayes sent me a set of the Expert version of the Prime’s, with 160mm two-piece rotors, and titanium hardware. The Prime brakes, are a completely new system, with a wholly redesigned caliper and master cylinder. The brakes were designed with more power and adjustability in mind. Their trick pop cam system will give the user more adjustability, in both stroke and reach. The dead stroke adjustment, which is the lever stroke where the brake pads come in contact with the rotor, is done with a small dial that can be changed with an index finger on the fly. The tool free reach adjustment is up in its usual spot by the pivots, and is easier to use with gloved fingers. Something unique is that the dual pivots are not two fixed points, but have a constant pivot point so that the lever advantage doesn’t change with reach changes. This pivot system gives the same feel, responsiveness and performance with any stroke or reach combination. They enlarged the piston size of the calipers, so the same clamp pressure will have a noticeable increase in hydraulic power (same pull more power). They also have a top loading brake pad for easier changes. They have a two piece rotor, which uses an aluminum carrier and steel outer ring, and gives a greater torsional stiffness and lighter weight than a traditional rotor. Normal rotors are cast in a single piece, while floating rotors are cast in two pieces (rotor and carrier). The carrier bolts to the wheel, and the rotor is attached to the carrier using float buttons. The buttons allow the rotor to move laterally (float), but restrict the angular and rotational movement, and this helps with vibration issues. The Hayes Prime comes in two models, the upscale Pro and the cheaper Expert. The Pro comes with the two piece rotor, and titanium and anodized aluminum hardware. Otherwise the models are functionally the same.

Hayes info: “It’s here. And it’s the first of its kind. PRIME hydraulic disc brakes feature industry-first technologies and offer more power, new components and a better ride. PRIME’s tool-free reach and contact adjustment, improved braking torque and feel and outstanding ergonomics are just a few of its many attributes. Plus, its ground-breaking, high-flow reservoir venting system has never been seen before. PRIME disc brakes are available in Pro and Expert configurations. If you thought Stroker was cool, you’re not gonna believe this.”

Available Rotor Sizes: 140, 160, 180, 203, 224 (mm)

Description Pro Expert
Dead stroke adjustment Tool free Tool free
Hose material Premium Standard
Rotor Two-piece floating Stamped stainless
Clamp screws, bridge bolts, & mount bolts Titanium Steel/Aluminum
Mount washer, banjo, banjo bolt, pivot bolt, and pad pin Anodized aluminum Steel
Laser etched graphics Laser etched Pad printed
Lever bushings Titacon Titacon
Pad material Sintered metallic Semi-metallic
Hose grommets Standard None
Push rod Titanium Steel
Premium finish/Cosmetics Standard None

Hayes sent me a set of the Expert version of the Prime’s, with 160mm two-piece rotors, and titanium hardware. They were kind enough to cut the hose length to my specification, so I didn’t have to hassle with cutting and bleeding the system. The split clamp system made installation easy, and I used their 160mm rotor in the rear, but since my Fox TALAS 180 is an 8 inch PM, I had to use a Magura 203mm rotor until the proper size arrives. I have had two good long rides on the brakes, and I am impressed, as they are pretty powerful beasts. They might not have the best modulation, but they more than make up for it with supreme power and stoutness. The lever feel is firm, without any play or sloppiness, which was very apparent when cranking on them in rough and steep terrain. On long downhills, they never hinted at fatigue, and didn’t have any fade, even when being pushed to their limits. The dead stroke adjustment was extremely handy feature, and it could be adjusted on the fly, although with gloved hands a slightly taller shape would give better grip. Making adjustments to the dead stroke had a profound alteration in the brake’s characteristics, giving some micro modulation, and changes to the stroke and tactile functionality. I am looking forward to more testing of the Hayes Prime’s, especially on my local gnarly terrain.

Giro XAR
Giro info: “The XAR offers all the features you’ve come to expect from Giro’s top-level trail-riding helmets—P.O.V. adjustable visor; In-mold composition with EPS foam and polycarbonate shell; Roll Cage reinforcement—but the XAR heralds a new era of performance, comfort and style. At the heart of this helmet you’ll find 17 Wind Tunnel vents as well as optimized internal channeling, and the visor is vented to increase airflow. Breathability on the XAR is incredible; there’s never been a lid this breathable on dirt. Even the padding is extraordinary thanks in part to X-Static fabric.”


  • All Mountain, trail riding, Endurace/Marathon XC, Super D
  • In-mold EPS liner w/ polycarbonate shell – This process fuses the helmet’s outer shell with its impact-absorbing EPS liner. It allows the XAR to be lighter, more durable and better ventilated.
  • Roll Cage – This reinforcement is a tough web of DuPont Nylon molded inside the helmet’s EPS foam liner. It provides an extra measure of strength and integrity that you’ll never notice unless you need it.
  • Hardbodies – The XAR molds three, separate outer shells to the EPS foam liner. This complex construction keep the foam protected from scratches and abrasions.
  • P.O.V. adjustable visor – This visor is anchored by a patented internal clutch mechanism that allows 15-degrees of tool-free, on the fly vertical adjustment. Best of all, it won’t rattle or come loose over rough terrain.
  • X-Static Padding – In addition to being very comfortable, our X-Static pads provide anti-microbial properties to help keep your helmet fresher, longer. The pads are also easily removable and machine washable.
  • Roc Loc 5 – This helmet stabilization system allows you to easily dial-in both helmet fit tension and adjust vertical position wit a single hand
  • 17 Wind Tunnel vents, internal channeling – This design combines active vents with internal exhaust channels that thrust fresh, cool air over your head while forcing heat and stale air out.
  • Colors – Black with Cyan/Lime lines, Matte Black with Gray bars, Metallic Orange with Blue/Yellow lines, Matte Metallic Brown with Orange bars, Matte White with Gray bars.
  • Sizes – Small 20″- 21.75″ (51-55cm), Medium 21.75″ – 23.25″ (55-59 cm), Large 23.25″-24.75 (59-63 cm)
  • MSRP – $130

This is a comfortable helmet, with a nice fit and good ventilation. The adjustment system uses a combination of the Roc Loc 5 and the chin strap, which work in synergy, and provided a secure and solid fit. The chin strap system is sort of interesting, as both sides are molded directly into the liner, and are not attached in the usual manner to the rear circumference adjuster. The chin strap uses some nice clasps for adjustment, so after a bit of fiddling I got it all set properly around the ears. The Roc Loc 5 system is pretty handy, and uses a small wheel to adjust the circumference strap, which reaches around 75% of the inner helmet, and in addition it has a three position vertical setting. This gives plenty of adjustability for proper fit, although I do wish the wheel was a bit larger, since it can be difficult to use with gloved hands. The ventilation system is pretty nice, and was especially noticeable when getting some speed going, and allowing the system to function. The X-Static padding dried quickly, and was adequately comfortable, but was a bit on the thin side, and a touch more thickness would be preferable? The P.O.V. adjustable visor was a pretty sweet feature, and it was nice to alter the tilt for varying light conditions and the type of terrain being ridden. The XAR is a great helmet, and I am looking forward to some more test time with it.

Giro Code
Giro Info: “Hardcore trail riders and XC racers want maximum power transfer plus the comfort and durability need to withstand rugged trails and conditions. The Code answers the call with a light-yet-tough Teijin microfiber upper that shapes to your foot, plus our adjustable SuperNatural Fit Kit that allows you to tune the level of arch support, enhancing efficiency and comfort. Welded scuff guards boost the upper’s durability and structured feel, and the optimized Easton® EC90 unidirectional carbon sole provides pro-level stiffness for the most efficient power transfer available.”


  • Weight – 355 grams in size 42
  • Upper – Teijin lightweight microfiber shapes to your foot; Welded scuff guards provide enhanced durability; Strong and secure ratcheting buckle closure (replaceable); Offset “D-ring” at mid-foot strap helps to prevent pressure points
  • Outsole – Easton EC90 unidirectional carbon is optimized for stiffness and power transfer; High traction lugged outsole is optimized for grip and durability; Mid-foot scuff guard enhances grip when not clipped-in, and protects carbon sole
  • Footbed – SuperNatural Fit Kit with adjustable arch support system and X-Static anti-microbial fiber
  • Compatible with standard two-bolt MTB cleats
  • Colors – White/Black (Red accents), Black (Red accents) and Magnesium/Black.
  • MSRP – $279.99

Not tested as yet.

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