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Gear Review: Uvex XP100
By Rob Manning

Comfy, light, safe and well ventilated are key points for the XP100.

Protect your noggin!
A helmet is a necessary part of your riding kit. Actually, it's the one thing you should NEVER head out on the trail without. Protecting that most valuable asset (your brain) is a big deal, and you need to take it seriously. Offering protection from rocks, trees and all various and sundry obstacles, the most often used helmets on the market are from makers like Giro, Bell and Specialized. Heads up, big 3, there is a new kid in town, and it's ready to kick ass and take names.

Uvex is different from other helmet manufacturers in that it doesn't follow the norm. First off, it claims to produce everything from the world's lightest helmet (the FP1) to full face protection for downhill racers and junior models for young riders. What's particularly special about Uvex's helmets is their construction. The helmets are made from something called Makrolon, which is a space age material produced by Bayer corporation. Using an "inmold" technology the high density polystyrene guts are directly formed into the helmet's shell. This gives you the same high degree of shock absorbtion combined with a significantly lighter weight helmet and it allows for loads of ventilation ports. To put it bluntly, it keeps your head safe and cool and weighs in less than the competition. Sounds good to us.

The proof is in the riding
Comparing the XP100 to my Xen, I was impressed that it offered more rear coverage and weighed significantly less. I like the idea of covering the back of my head a bit, and the Uvex does this quite well. Plopping it on my skull, I realized that Uvex has done the adjustment part of the helmet more than right. The Individual Adapting System (IAS as they refer to it) is a cinch to use. It has a single adjusting dial on the back of the helmet; spin it one way to cinch it down, spin it the other to loosen it. The IAS guarantees a great fit, and is easily adjustable mid ride when padding soaks up and packs down and you need to readjust. It's so easy it can actually be done with one hand while riding down the trail, and that's something to be said.

The chinstraps are another interesting creature. Instead of a traditional webbing and buckle, the XP100 uses a sort of ratcheting system with a single release button, known as a monomatic closure. The ratcheting system allows for some degree of adjustment on the fly; no more fiddling with soggy and unwieldy buckles and straps mid ride; just ratchet it up a couple more notches and you're good to go. Again, being able to operate these with one hand is unheard of in the helmet world.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of the XP100 is the "Bug Stop" mesh built right into the front vent openings. I've had the displeasure of having various and sundry stinging insects get stuck in my helmet, and that's highly unpleasent. Through the entire test period, I found a couple bugs stuck in the mesh, but none of them were able to get their barbs into my scalp. Two thumbs up just for this.

Bottom Line
Uvex will shape up to be a major player in the helmet market in the coming years. When word of high quality, very competitively priced and feature rich helmets hits the masses, you can expect that these will sell out quickly. Major features: monomatic closure, 16 vent openings, Bug Stop mesh in forward vents, IAS system. One size fits 55-60cm heads. Weight 255 grams. Check it out at Uvexsports.com.

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