Giro has been keeping your noggin cool (as in ‘hot’, ‘bad’ or ‘The Fonz’) for quite a while now. Keeping up with the movement into lighter, longer travel bikes and the need for slightly beefier but still well-vented head protection, the XEN must be the helmet of the past five years. Well now Giro wants to make your head cooler still (as in actually cooler) with the more breathable XAR. This helmet is a bit more angular than the XEN and incorporates 17 wind tunnel tested vents. It has more breathable X-static padding and a simpler fitting system, the Roc Loc 5, which relies on opposable thumbs to turn a dial rather than the push and pull of the old system. Now I don’t spend much time in a wind tunnel (unless you count Wellington) and consider a hot head as par for the course. While the XAR still doesn’t prevent a sweaty brow, it does allow noticeably more airflow, meaning there’s less chance of an overcooked head resulting in an overcooked corner. The true test of a helmet should always be what happens in a crash. Apologies, but I wasn’t about to put my head on the line in pursuit of journalism. But it is important that your helmet fits as it should, and not as a bonnet on the back of your head. I found the Roc Loc 5, with easy height and wrap adjustment, was great at clinging to my skull and keeping my lid where it should be. There are also some zany new colours and graphics to keep us kids feeling as hip as, well, our kids. So, if you’re a fan of the XEN, then step on up. The XAR is more of the same. Only better. MARK DANGERFIELD
After a sneak peak a few weeks back at EWS Whistler we finally get to see the all new Kona Process. There are three frames, two sizes and seven models to choose from and they will be at your local Kona dealer very soon
We take the new Niner RLT 9 carbon gravel bike for a spin around beautiful Mackenzie Country, then home for a month to see how she goes..
An new initiative from Fox suspension hits NZ later this year - Fox Factory Tuning - which lets you upgrade the internals of your fork or shock to the latest and greatest while getting a service
Rumours of an all new carbon Kona Process seem to be true as spy photos of the prototypes emmerge from EWS Whistler
Specialized's E-bike the Levo just got a few upgrades - Carbon frame, new motor and more range making an already great bike into something special (pun intended)
Trek have launched a new proprietary suspension design as part of their partnership with Penske Racing Shocks called RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft check it out...