We’ve got to admit that we were a bit gutted when Giro stopped making the legendary Xen as we still reckon it looks better than the Xar, but performance wise there’s little contest. The Xar is a fair bit lighter thanks to the full in-mould construction, while the internal ‘Roll Cage’ reinforcement offers better crash protection. Vents are Giro’s ‘Wind Tunnel’ channelled vents and are designed to be more effective than just a hole in the shell. It’s always nice to see companies gradually improving their designs rather than changing entirely year-on year and the fifth generation of the ‘RocLoc’ adjustment system is better than ever. This lighter RocLoc 5 design gives very accurate adjustment increasing the comfort and stability of this lid. Four sizes cover a wide range of head sizes, so you should find one to fit. The Xar is more expensive than some of the lids in this list, but it does have most of the bases covered, and covered well. Top it off with an adjustable peak (15 degrees of movement) and plenty of anti–microbial (non–stink) padding and the Xar is hard to beat. A light very well vented lid for packing in the miles.
Sizes: S (51-55cm), M (55-59cm), L (59-63cm)Vents: 17
It’s clear that this lid and the Fox one come out of the same factory and as a result they share many similarities, but there are still some clear differences. The most striking of these differences is the fit. This Recon has much thicker pads than the Fox offering which give a luxurious feel, but it does sit a bit higher so may suit riders with a flatter head better. The two lids used to share the same adjustment system, but 661 have recently switched to the excellent BOA system which works a treat. Oh, and despite being a fair bit lighter than the Fox this lid still has a very reassuring feel to it. This nigh on 100g weight saving is thanks to the in-mould shell that the 661 offers. This drops a significant amount of weight without sacrificing protection. Like the Fox, protection around the back of the head is superb and the 18 vents with internal channelling do a great job of getting the heat away from your head. The peak is removable should you wish to do so as well. A penny difference to the Fox offering, so fit will likely be the deciding factor in which one you were to go for, if you’ve narrowed your choices down to these two.
Sizes: S/M (55-58cm), L/XL (59-61cm)
One Industries Europe 08446 928 111
Urge helmets have done a good job of developing a range of distinctive helmets with solid design cues and much thought to what they refer to as ‘Eco conception’. Their website digs deep into everything they do and doesn’t miss a detail. If you love the looks, or can see past them, then Urge’s trail offering is a sound option. This Endur-o-matic might not offer any fancy adjustment system to tailor the fit, but the simple different thickness pads offer lots of comfort and they’ll never break. This is where the two-size range is less of an issue also, as the helmet is supplied with a full pad kit to tailor the fit and Urge suggest that their lids are as ‘low volume’ as possible. This lower volume is said to increase both safety and looks! The heavily piss-pot influenced design also provides a huge amount of head coverage and despite this, weight is low thanks to the in-mould shell. Although it might not have too many vents, they are positioned to created a Venturi effect, so they still do a good job of cooling. The unbreakable flexi-peak is a particularly nice touch, as is the ‘Gangsta Pad’ at the front which sticks out below the helmet to help any absorbed sweat evaporate. Few helmets offer this combination of low weight, great coverage and fantastic detailing at this price.
Sizes: S/M (54-57cm), L/XL (58-59cm)Vents: 8
Sweet Protection Bushwhacker
Another cutting edge helmet from Scandinavia, this time from Sweet Protection. The Bushwhacker may be relatively new to the market but it certainly does the job well. Weight is a sensible 330g thanks mostly to an in-mould shell and some serious venting. The difference with Sweet’s shell though is that it is a 5-piece construction with each piece specifically designed to protect certain parts of the head in a different way. Coverage is great, with the rear of the helmet extending well around the back and sides of the head. The reach and height adjustable retention system is an inspired addition making sure you can get the exact fit you want. Two pad thickness are supplied with the helmet to further fine tune the fit. 17 ‘digitally optimized’ vents do the job of keeping your head sweat-free and are positioned to ensure maximum airflow. Three sizes will cover most head sizes, and the colour options ensure you’ll find one to match your kit. The Bushwhacker might not be cheap but it does everything a premium helmet should do and uses state of the art technology and materials.
Also available with the MIPS brain protection technology, in both a standard and carbon model
Sizes: S/M (53-56cm), M/L (56-59cm), L/XL (59-61cm)Vents: 17
Price: £139.99 (standard version)
Still haven’t found your perfect lid? Try some more options below: