Giro introduced its new mountain bike helmet at Interbike’s Outdoor Dirt Demo, the Xar (pronounced “Zar”), which should hit shops in early 2011.
Built on the history of the popular Xen helmet, the Xar is slightly more streamlined and refined, with a couple of new features, including the Roc Loc 5 retention system (check out the video of Roc Loc 5). Unlike the previous generation Roc Locs, the 5 features a single dial adjuster, making fit tweaks an easy, one-handed job. The new version of the retention system is a big part of the streamlining for 2011, which may be part of the ~40-gram weight reduction over the Xen.
Another great feature is the addition of a silver ion treatment to the helmet pads, which should hopefully keep helmet funk to a minimum. Helmet straps, however, are not treated with it.
MSRP is $130, and the Xar will come in small, medium, and large, as well as an array of colors. Our “metallic brown” lid that took for a couple of hot laps felt a touch lighter than my old Xen, and seemed to be very well-ventilated, even in the scorching Nevada temperatures.
Fit seems to be about the same as the Xen as well, and though it caters to slightly rounder heads, it fit my more elongated noggin rather well. We’ll be taking this one home for a longer-term review, so stay posted on whether or not the silver ion pad treatment is any
match for my notorious gear gnar.