Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Giro Xen helmet review

Posted by Matt | July 22, 2008 | 7 comments so far

2008 Giro Xen in matte sepia brown
When it was introduced the Giro Xen was one of the first MTB helmets that combined two seemingly disparate styles, the skate park pot style lids with the more traditional, maximum ventilation mountain bike helmet. It’s a difficult trick to pull off as better protection means more weight, but the Giro was an immediate hit and has spawned many imitators.

Giro got round the style and packaging problem by reducing the number of vents (to 17) and increasing their size, which works better at slower speeds and allows them to bring the helmet coverage lower round the back of the head. The weight is still a reasonable 340g, even with the detachable visor.

In a way that information is merely incidental though. For me and probably most others, the criteria for choosing a crash helmet puts three issues at the top of the list – style, comfort and performance. I’d like to say the style is a bit lower down the list but that would just be a vanity too, of a different sort.

Luckily, to my eyes the Xen scores highly for looks. There’s a pretty big range of colours out there, so if you want that white(ish) and lime green combination for next year you’re in luck. I asked Cycleworks to order in the sepia brown version and wasn’t disappointed as it’s got a lovely matte-yet-metallic finish to it, complimented by the X moulding at the back being picked out in a deep red (there’s a few pictures of my Giro Xen on Flickr).

Comfort wise, well I’ve written in the past about how my particular aero head seems to object to certain helmet designs. Originally I hadn’t thought to buy the Giro Xen, which even with a deal you can expect to cost the best part of £80 – not cheap. Added to which, my experience with the cheaper Giro Animas had been disappointing.

After trying on several competitors, including the Specialized Instinct (a close contender, but boring black) and the Fox Flux (which I really expected to like but couldn’t get comfortable with) it was clear the Xen was the first choice. It fitted me perfectly as a medium which is the first prerequisite to it working in extremis and was very comfortable for me, with thick Coolmax pads and the Roc Loc 4 retention system helping to spread the load forces evenly. No more Klingon style grooves in my forehead but spectacular helmet hair instead!

As for performance, well you may have heard I came off the bike heavily last week which involved studying the tread of the front tyre as I went over the bars, landing on my head and shoulder. The Xen was showing some minor scuffage after that but stayed in one piece and more importantly, stayed on my head. Now that £80 investment seems very worthwhile to me.

Aside from that, I’ve found the helmet to be comfortable and pretty cool on the trail, almost at the ‘forget you’re wearing it’ level. Based on my experience I’d recommend it to anyone but try before you buy – your mileage may vary as they say.

Filed under Clothing, Reviews in July 2008


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 7 comments on ‘Giro Xen helmet review’

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  1. alohalisco says:

    I agree with you completely, the XEN is the best fitting helmet I have ever had, after 16 years in the bike industry I can say my head feels comfortable and protected.

    Speaking of protection, if you so much as landed on your head a little bit it would be a smart idea to exchange your XEN for a NEW XEN, the helmet is designed to disperse impact which means that internally it can be cracked and you can’t see the breaks nor feel them when you flex the helmet.

    What happens the next time you inspect the front tyre tread and land on your head, your XEN crumbles before it can spread the force and you end up with a concussion, or worse a broken neck. You seem like a smart guy, do the right thing buy a new one.


  2. Dave says:

    … I thought I heard somewhere that Giro would sell you another helmet for half price in the event of crash damage… no futher evidence / experience though. LBS question probably.

  3. Muddymoles says:


    Christmas looms, so wish lists form. But first, Happy Birthday Dave!!

  4. Aaron Lisco says:

    Aloha Moles

    I want to add you as a link on my site @

    wondering if that would be cool??



  5. Dave says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Looks like an interesting journey! We’re totally cool with the link, Matt will email you when he’s set one up our end as well. Drop us the odd email along the route when you can and we’ll push some readers your way.

    All the best,


  6. Related: Giro Hex helmet review | Muddymoles

  7. Related: Bontrager Rally helmet review | Clothing, Reviews | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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