Need a new lid? How about something a bit different, a helmet with some unique features that you may not have seen before?
I've been rocking UVEX's xp 100 for some hot Summer miles in order to see if this German helmet can compare to more more common brands. What do I think?Read on to find out......
Depending on where you live, UVEX may or may not be a brand you are familiar with. The truth is that UVEX is in the protection game far deeper than most. Their product range is huge, ranging from industrial eye protection, sun glasses and goggles, as well as both winter and bike helmets. We'll be taking a closer look at their xp 100 helmet. A touch heavier than some other XC lids, but with more protection and some unique features, the xp 100 stands out from the crowd.
The Details... On the outside
UVEX xp 100 in matte black
The xp 100 uses a shell that affords a bit more protection at the rear of the head, with the shell extending lower down than some lighter designs. There are 16 vents, not quite as many as some other lids, but they are quite large. The front three also have a mesh covering (UVEX calls it Bee Stop) that is molded directly into the foam. The visor is held to the helmet with some sturdy push-clips and is not height adjustable. The shell itself is made of Makrolon
which is highly regarded for its safety enhancing properties. The xp 100 comes in four flavors: the stealth matte black that I tested, a black/white/gray motif, black/silver Matte and a gold matte that is a bit more eye catching. It weighs 255 grams.Individual Adapting System
The xp 100 is built around some unique features that set it apart from the crowd. The first is UVEX's Individual Adapting System, or IAS for short. The majority of helmets use some sort of band retention system in order to improve fit and security, IAS is a bit different though. The adjustable fit system is built around a single large adjusting dial that sits squarely at the rear of the helmet. Simply turn the dial and the band will adjust from 60 cm down to 55 cm (23.6" to 21.6"). The IAS band encircles your entire head, not just the rear half as is the case with most of the higher end helmets, and is also height adjustable. Because of this, UVEX does not need to produce quite as many shell sizes in order to please every rider out there. Those of you with funky shaped heads are also more likely to be pleased with the xp 100's fit, due to IAS's ability to adapt to most heads that are out there. The thing that sets IAS apart from most helmets is the ability to easily adjust the fit with a single hand, as opposed to having to fiddle with two clasps.
xp 100's IAS
What the heck is a Monomatic Buckle you ask? It's what UVEX has decided to name their chin strap clasp. Funny names aside, it's quite different from the usual system you'd find on an XC lid. The Monomatic Buckle has seven different positions, each one a with a separate click, and has about an inch of adjustment room. The idea is to find the proper length with the traditional over-and-through loop, and be able to fine tune it using the Monomatic Buckle. The single large red button is the release and was made to operate easily with gloved hands.
Fit and Function
Getting the xp 100 adjusted to your head is quite easy. Use the IAS dial to adjust how the band fits on your head, keeping in mind that the shell itself will float a bit on the band. I turned the dial to the right until the IAS band felt a bit snug, then I back it off a single click. You have it correct when your scalp moves with the band, but it's not tight enough to be uncomfortable. I immediately took note of the xp 100's even feel completely around my head. Even with the band over tightened to the point of discomfort, the pressure was still applied evenly. Adjusting the IAS was easy, even with gloved hands while riding. The long pad at the front of the helmet did an excellent job of keeping the sweat out of my eyes, even on the hottest of hot days.
I was fairly sure that UVEX's Monomatic Buckle was more gimmick than anything, but I'm eating my words now. It turned out to be a practical and useful system. I first adjusted the chin straps so that I had a bit of length to play with, around an inch that the buckle will take up. From here I could easily, and with a single hand, play with the straps length. It was nice to not have to run the strap right up against me while climbing on a hot day, or let it out a bit if I felt like I had a few too many burgers for lunch. When I wasn't playing with the buckles length, it was still a simple system to use with the single large release button.
The venting seemed to be on par with my last helmet(a Giro Xen), although I've never been able to notice a big difference in cooling, even with massively vented road helmets. UVEX's IAS held the helmet steady and level even on the roughest terrain. Fortunately I never tested the xp 100's ability to protect my head, but as always I do appreciate the extra protection that these sort of "all-mountain" helmets afford. It carries a U.S. CPSC safety standard. Any Issues?
Just one, actually. While the xp 100's visor was sturdy and not prone to flopping around, it did seem a tad low. It didn't hinder my vision in any way, but it seemed to be more prominent than visors on other helmets I've worn and I'd have preferred to be able to adjust its height.
I doubt UVEX is on your short list if you need a new lid, but it should be. The German made xp 100 proved to be as nice, if not nicer, than most of the competitions helmets. While helmet fit is a very personal thing, I was very impressed with the comfortable confines of the IAS system and it's ease of adjustment while riding. UVEX helmets may be difficult to find here in Canada, which is a shame because if you need a new helmet you should give them a test fit before deciding on a more common brand.
The UVEX xp 100 retails for $125 Canadian.Check out their online catalog