Giro XAR Review

by Brian Mullin on June 29, 2011

The stylish All Mountain helmets are comfortable, with smooth and rounded lines, has good coverage and adjustment systems, and a trick and superb adjustable visor. The helmet incorporates some innovative safety features, such as a three piece shell and a reinforced foam liner, and has a well engineered ventilation system, with 17 vents. In comes in five colors and three sizes, to cover the gamut of styles and fitting.

The helmet uses the industry standard In-mold EPS liner with polycarbonate shell, for impact absorption, durability, ventilation design and strength. For additional safety, the liner uses their Roll Cage, which uses a reinforced web of DuPont Nylon molded inside the EPS foam, and the shell uses three separate pieces for reduction of scratches and abrasions.

Giro XAR – Impressions
The helmet has a fairly round shape, with smooth lines throughout, and only the rear has any distinctive angulation. The colors and graphics are subdued (except for the Matte Neon), and I really liked the Black with Cyan/Lime lines of my test helmet. It has good coverage for your head, and has a nice extended rear section for additional protection.

The chin strap system is sort of interesting for a modern helmet, as both sides are molded directly into the liner, and are not attached in the usual manner to the rear circumference adjuster. The side adjustment claps for the chin strap are easy to open and close to make the proper and even tension around the ear, and they stay locked down without any slippage. Since the straps are attached, it did take some extra fiddling to get everything set properly.

The helmet stabilization system for the XAR is called the Roc Loc 5, and it uses a small wheel to adjust the circumference strap, which reaches around 75% of the inner helmet, and 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 vertical position fitting, has three very distinct clicks, and it’s simple to squeeze or spread it with one hand to find the required spot. I sometimes found that when I had the wheel cranked down hard for downhills and technical terrain, that I got a slight binding around my temples and the front of my head?

The ventilation system is pretty nice, and was especially noticeable when getting some speed going, which allowed optimal functionality. The system has 17 Wind Tunnel vents, which are designed with an active vent and an internal exhaust channel to pull in the cool fresh air and expel out hot stale air. The air channels rise above the head to let the air move freely. On steep slow climbs it did seem to get warm, although that is a common issue for most helmets.

The inside of the helmet uses their X-Static padding, which dried quickly and wicked well, and was adequately comfortable, but was a bit on the thin side, and a touch more thickness would be preferable. They also need to add some padding in the rear, especially by the Roc Loc 5 system, as it can be irritating if you’re bald, have thin hair or don’t wear a skull cap. The padding is made with 99.9% pure silver, and has anti-microbial and anti-odor properties to keep the helmet fresh, so it doesn’t get the funk, and they’re removable and machine washable. 

The bell winner for this helmet is their P.O.V. adjustable visor system, which uses an internal clutch mechanism that allows 15-degrees of vertical rotation. It’s a pretty darn sweet feature, and it was nice to alter the tilt for varying light conditions and the type of terrain being ridden. The 15 degree’s meant it could be pushed down for good extended coverage, or rolled up out of the field of vision. I really liked that I could have it lowered for long climbs and the flats for maximum protection, to keep the sun out of my eyes and off my face, and then I could roll it up for technical terrain or going downhill, when you wanted a spacious and panoramic field of view.

Measured Specs:
Weight (size Large)- 356.5 grams

Bottom Line
The XAR is a great helmet, that is comfortable, with excellent safety features, and has a good fit adjustment system, which uses a combination of the Roc Loc 5 and the chin strap, to work in synergy, and provide a secure and solid fit. The wheel on the Roc Loc 5 needs to be enlarged, since it’s difficult to use with gloved hands. The prize winner on the XAR is the P.O.V. adjustable visor, which is functional and highly useful. The ventilation system with the 17 Wind Tunnel vents does a good job of moving air through the helmet, especially when moving with some speed. The X-Static padding wicks and dries perspiration, but it’s on the thin side for maximum comfort, and needs to be added to a portion of the Roc Loc 5.


Strengths

  • P.O.V. adjustable visor system
  • Comfortable
  • Chin strap side clasps
  • Safety features – liner Roll Cage and three piece shell
  • Good Ventilation

Weaknesses

  • Roc Loc 5 adjuster wheel is too small
  • X-Static padding is too thin
  • Needs padding on the Roc Loc 5 system

MSRP – $130

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Giro XAR Specs:

  • 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

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