XC riders require a helmet capable of not only providing security but keeping the head cool and ventilated enough with an aerodynamic design. Now, don’t get us wrong, but you won’t be finding a helmet specifically made for XC riding only.
However, we’ve already tested some of the open-face models from some prestigious brands and they work quite well for cross-country bikers.
Take a look at them without any further ado:
In-Depth Reviews of The Top XC Helmets for 2023
1. Giro Aether Spherical Adult Road Bike Helmet
- MIPS brain protection system for added safety
- Dual-density EPS foam liner
- 21 Wind Tunnel vents for good airflow
- Comes with eyeweat docking ports
- Aura reinforcing for improved durability
Featuring a lightweight and unique design, a properly ventilated body, and a well-structured shape, Giro Aether Spherical takes the crown among all other XC helmets available in the market.
The brand has focused on making this model a perfect fit for those who want to relieve themselves of any burden while riding on an XC terrain.
So and so, the helmet ensures not only standard protection but will keep your head safe from the impact of rotational forces at the same time. Some of its major features include;
The inclusion of SPHERICAL technology combined with MIPS plays a crucial role in protecting the head and neck region of bikers. Both these techs work like ball-and-socket to keep the shock of rotational forces as reduced as possible.
Talking of ventilation, it’s simply astounding. Giro Aether consists of 21 wind tunnel vents along with internal channeling to keep the inside as breathable as possible. XC riders can thus wear this helmet all day long without feeling any extra sweat or moisture.
The construction is simply top-notch. Thanks to the tougher polycarbonate outer shell, it ensures security from unwanted impacts and shocks. More precisely, the dual-density EPS foam liner is also there to keep the skull comfy and relaxed enough.
What makes this XC helmet even more idealistic for professional riders is its lightweight design. Featuring in-mold construction, the helmet barely weighs 263g. Once you wear it, it won’t even feel like you’ve put on a helmet all along.
The last important feature of Aether is its Roc Loc 5+ AIR fit technology that allows the riders to tune in the dial system for a snug and comfortable fit at the same time.
Testers and experimentalists at our facility have been performing multiple tests on this model and as per their views, “The helmet is an ideal fit for any XC rider who wants to take on a tiresome journey of some uneven and smooth trails.”
- Durable Six-Piece polycarbonate shell.
- Dual-density EPS foam liner.
- MIPS + SPHERICAL protection technology.
- Roc Loc5+ AIR ensures a comfortable fit.
- Perfect road bike helmet for XC biking.
- A bit heavier than advertised. (According to some customers)
- Unresponsive customer support.
2. Giro Syntax MIPS
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Many people had complained about the Giro Aether that it didn’t offer the due features according to its price tag. So, the brand came up with a solution, and Boy Oh Boy! What a solution that is! Giro Syntax is a road bike helmet that features MIPS protection and is an ideal option for XC bikes.
What makes it even more impressive is its affordable price tag. The helmet is barely available in an under $100 tag, which is simply exemplary. With the kind of protection and comfort it offers, the price tag is more than justified.
Breaking down the Syntax model in terms of features; the helmet has more of an aerodynamic shape with a polycarbonate outer shell. The inner EPS foam liner is infused with an in-mold construction to keep the weight as minimal as possible.
Adding to that, we see the MIPS, i.e. (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) being integrated into the Syntax helmet. It is there to keep the biker’s head safe from rotational forces.
Cooler than the Aether model that we discussed above, Syntax features 25 wind tunnel vents placed in a way that air flows inside the helmet all the time. It will, therefore, keep your head cooler than you’d even imagine.
Apart from the construction and an ultralight design, Giro Syntax offers an easy and convenient way of adjustment and fitting. The Roc Loc 5 dial system ensures vertical adjustment to ensure a snug fit all the time.
Although a removable visor is already included in this helmet, you can also replace it with a custom adjustable visor that you are more comfortable with.
Tougher, beautiful, and keeping the head protected in crashes, Giro Syntax is a go-to choice for all XC bikers having a short budget. We have tested it frequently from different angles and it stood firm in all the experiments without any issues.
- MIPS integrated ultralight helmet.
- Affordable price tag.
- Roc Loc adjustment offers a vertical fit.
- 25 wind tunnel vents for immense breathability.
- No spherical technology.
- The integrated visor is not so good.
3. POC Octal X Spin
- Certifications: CPSC
- Lightweight at 261g
- Aramid Bridge technology improves structural integrity
- Spin pads reduce impactby moving helmet relative to the head
- Multiple sizes and colors available
- Large vents keep you ventilated
Realizing what kind of bike helmets XC racers would mostly need, POC made some tweaks to its popular octal bike helmet.
The newest Octal X Spin has got all the protection features intact while maintaining the structural integrity to help XC riders cruise through off-road terrains with sheer comfort and relaxation.
Everything about this helmet shows how prestigious and well-renowned POC is when it comes to introducing comfortable helmets with the latest technologies to keep the head safe from multiple injuries.
Octal X as usual features the patented impact protection technology from POC, i.e. SPIN (Shearing Pad Inside). It can actually lessen the impact of rotational forces and in some experiments, it even performs better than MIPS.
The outer shell is as usual made up of tough polycarbonate followed by the inner extended polystyrene or EPS foam liner. Both these construction materials can keep the head not only comfortable but safe from imminent impacts while cruising on rough terrains.
Large ventilation ports available in the POC XC helmet maintain the airflow on the inside and keep the rider’s head away from any extra moisture.
Compared to the Giro road helmets that we mentioned above, Octal X barely weighs 261g, which makes it one of the lightest XC helmets available in the market.
Last but not the least, Octal X has been worn by many professional XC riders and they are all of the views that “It does wonders for us!” However, one minor problem is that it’s a little bit expensive and might not be a suitable option for newbie bikers.
- SPIN pads ensure ultimate protection to reduce head injuries.
- Durable polycarbonate shell with inner EPS liner.
- Ensures due comfort and convenience to XC bikers.
- Aerodynamic shape with large vents for immense breathability.
- Offers great rear coverage.
- Expensive XC helmet.
- Not ideal for beginner cyclists.
4. Scott Arx Plus Helmet
- Comes with a visor
- MIPS Technology for added safety
- Multiple venting channels for breathability
- Get it in multiple colors and sizes
- Fit Adjustment: MRAS 3
- Polycarbonate build makes it durable
Arx Plus from SCOTT is designed for XC enthusiasts who want to take on multiple off-road terrains on their bikes. This new model has got a rather unique shape with an open-face structure.
However, it can keep riders away from some serious head injuries including concussions and brain damage. The price? It does not exceed the $100 mark and that’s one of the reasons cross-country bikers are loving this helmet.
To take a start, the Scott Arx already has large vents placed at multiple positions to allow air on the inside. It can keep your head cooler than you might expect even on sunny days.
Adding to that we see a polycarbonate micro-shell, which is tough and resistant to minor and even some major shocks.
Followed by it is a durable and thickly padded EPS foam liner, which not only offers a relaxed fit but also ensures minimum impact to the XC riders.
Well, one of the best XC helmets have MIPS integrated into it, which could lessen the impact of rotational forces away, especially when a biker gets involved in a serious crash.
Last but not the least, Scott Arx Plus does feature trickle-down technology, which is just another level of protection when you take on gravel and dirt roads. The helmet is a solid fit for newbie XC riders who want to cruise all day long without facing any uncanny incident.
- Micro-shell polycarbonate construction.
- EPS liner with added MIPS protection.
- Easy to fit and adjust.
- Allows maximum airflow on the inside.
- Suitable for beginners.
- Available at an affordable price tag.
- A bit short chin strap.
- Might cause discomfort to riders with large heads.
5. Kask Protone
- Handmade in Italy
- Has the lowest drag co-efficient
- Octofit adjustment system ensures a perfect fit
- Weighs just 230G
- CPSC Certified
- Wind-tunnel tested
Made in collaboration with Team SKY (Professional British Cycling Team), Kask Protone is arguably one of the most sophisticated XC helmets ever designed. Sure, it’s an expensive model, but come on!
Would you expect handmade helmets available at affordable rates? Absolutely not! Comprising an attractive aerodynamic shape, a matte black color variation, and ensuring a comfortable fit, Kask Protone is already making rounds in the XC cycling community.
First things first, the best helmet for cross-country biking features a low-profile design with a skull-hugging structure. Thus, it automatically becomes a perfect fit for your head.
Secondly, you’d be surprised to know that the manufacturer has tested the wind-tunnel efficiency of Protone and it was simply outstanding. The helmet is extremely breathable and that’s the main reason you’ll see many professional XC bikers wearing it.
Apart from these features, the patented Kask fit system not only ensures a snug fit but could also keep the head of the rider comfy enough.
Well, not to brag or anything, but this model barely weighs 230g, making it a super-lightweight option for professional XC riders.
With all the features it offers, the $300 price tag does not seem expensive anymore as once you wear it, you won’t feel such COMFORT and RELAXATION in any other road helmet anytime soon.
- Handmade in Italy.
- Tough outer shell with inner EPS padding.
- Wind-tunnel tested vents.
- Developed in collaboration with Team Sky.
- Pricier than other standard XC helmets.
- Recommended for professional bikers only.
6. POC Omne Air Bike Helmet
- EPS liner for crash protection
- 360° size adjustment system
- Easily adjustable precision straps for comfort
- Good air flow
- Patent-pending silicone pad tech improves safety
The Omne Air Spin from POC is usually advertised as a Daily Commuting Bike Helmet. However, we’ve been testing it on several off-road terrains and it has not disappointed us as of yet.
The features, protection technologies used, and the construction of the helmet, all point out only one thing Omne Air Spin is, in fact, one of the best XC helmets available in the market at a justified price tag.
Starting with some major features, the Omne Air is absolutely versatile. You can use it for XC riding, daily commuting, or normal road biking without any hassle.
In the meanwhile, we do see that the outer shell of the helmet is made up of tough and rugged polycarbonate. Infused with it is the EPS foam liner followed by the SPIN pads for extra protection.
Not only that, but POC has utilized streamlined technology, which makes the helmet extra lightweight to wear with added breathability.
The 360° size adjustment system, on the other hand, allows an easy and secure fit. Not to forget, one hand dial system is there to fine-tune the helmet according to the requirement of the bikers.
With the kind of features that Omne Air Spin comes with, one could say that it’s an ideal fit for longer rides without causing any problems.
- SPIN protection technology.
- Precision molded straps for added safety and a secure fit.
- One hand dial size adjustment system.
- Versatile helmet for XC and daily commute biking.
- Poor packaging.
- Some helmets were opened with the seal broken.
7. Troy Lee Designs Born from Paint A3
- 3-Way Magnajust visor accomodates goggles
- Sweat Glide System quickly wicks sweat
- 16 vents for optimal airflow
- Helmet bag, (2) spare sweat glide strips and Ionic comfort liner
- EPP and EPS improve protection
- Custom creations done by hand
There’s nothing more advanced and beautiful than a Troy Lee helmet made specifically for XC and Trail riding. The Born from Paint A3 has got the most updated protection technologies and features with rugged construction.
This XC helmet is capable of not only protecting your head and neck but will also help you ride in style as the overall shape is quite aesthetic and unique.
To get started with some important specs, A3 comes with a co-molded EPP (Extended Polypropylene) and EPS foam liner to reduce the impact of unwanted crashes to a higher extent.
Moreover, the Magnajust visor is also there to keep your forehead and eyes safe from the penetration of smaller branches. It can also accommodate biking goggles without any hassle.
The patented TLD Sweat Glide system is also present to remove sweat and extra moisture from your brows and forehead. It, henceforth, ensures immense comfort and convenience.
We also see the presence of 16 vents positioned ideally to enhance breathability and to keep the extra moisture on the inside reduced enough.
Priced at rather an expensive range, Troy Lee Designs A3 won’t let you down whether it’s XC, trail, or downhill MTB biking.
- EPP and EPS molded liner.
- Rugged outer shell.
- Magnajust visor can accommodate goggles.
- Ensures a snug and comfortable fit.
- An expensive option for XC riders.
- Not so famous as compared to other helmets.
Related: Best Winter Bike Helmets in 2023
8. Giro Register MIPS
- Removable quick-link visor
- Quick dry padding
- 22 Wind Tunnel vents
- Equipped with MIPS protection
- Get an excellent fit with ROC Lock system
- Durable and lightweight
Even with such an affordable price, GIRO has integrated MIPS in its recreational bike helmet, which makes it a suitable choice for cross-country riders. The helmet has got multiple color varieties and it sort of has a unisex design.
Hence, both male and female adult athletes can choose to keep their heads protected from unwanted crashes during cross-country marathons.
One of the best budget XC helmets has got a polycarbonate outer shell along with an EPS liner in an in-mold construction to maintain ruggedness and durability.
Similarly, MIPS is added to control the impact of rotational forces that are quite common when bikers get into a crash on off-road trails.
Thanks to the availability of 22 vents, the constant airflow will keep your head cool and away from any disturbance.
In the end, what matters the most is that a helmet must fit you ideally and Giro Register MIPS offers just that. The universally designed helmet can fit your head with little adjustment easily.
- MIPS protection.
- Suitable for daily commuting and XC riding.
- 22 vents increase the inner airflow.
- Side straps are non-adjustable.
- Chinstrap could be better.
9. Base Camp Bike Helmet
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Finally, the last XC helmet that we are going to discuss is suitable both for men as well as women. The Base Camp Bike Helmet is an extremely cheap choice for bikers who don’t have enough money to invest in the helmets that we mentioned above.
Although it has limited features, one can say that it can still keep a biker’s head safe from minor accidents and crashes. Starting with some notable aspects, the XC bike helmet is made up of a high-quality PC shell infused with a deluxe EPS liner.
There are 14 vents available within the helmet that offers enough breathability to keep a rider’s head cool enough and away from any extra sweat.
Featuring in-mold construction, the Base Camp bike helmet weighs no more than 255g, thus ensuring a safe and comfortable wearing experience for XC riders.
In the end, the chin strap is easily adjustable. You can tuck it beneath your chin as per the circumference of your head and enjoy your ride accordingly.
- High-quality Polycarbonate outer shell.
- Thickly padded EPS liner.
- Unisex design is suitable for men and women.
- Breathable enough with 14 vents.
- For entry-level bikers only.
- Lacks MIPS protection.
Buying Guide: Choosing The Right XC Helmets in 2023
The weight of a helmet directly impacts the way you want to ride a bike. Imagine, if you wear a full-face helmet weighing around 1000 grams, what exactly will happen?
You will not only overburden yourself but will make your head and neck tired within a short time. That’s one of the reasons you need to consider the overall weight of the helmet.
An open-face helmet designed for road biking, XC, and trail biking barely weighs a few hundred grams to offer a lightweight wearing experience.
So when you choose a bike helmet, make sure that its weight does not exceed the 300g mark, or else you won’t feel comfortable wearing it. All the helmets we have listed above fall within the 300g weight capacity, so you can make a good choice from above as well.
Cross-country riding requires stamina, girth, and the will to keep driving on uneven off-road terrains. From that perspective, ventilation would play a crucial role in a bike helmet.
Usually, helmets feature multiple vents that allow the influx of air to keep the inside breathable and ventilated enough.
But nowadays we also see the special wind-tunnel tested vents that are designed to keep a rider’s head cool enough while having a reduced wind resistance.
Although the presence of more vents would mean better ventilation, but could also sacrifice the protection that the outer shell of a helmet offers. However, we don’t think that XC riders would face any problems even if they choose a helmet with multiple vents.
Not too Large Nor too Tight
You should keep size and comfort above all no matter what bike helmet type you choose.
Whether it’s an XC, trail, or an MTB helmet, if it’s too large, it won’t be able to protect you. In fact, it could make you feel uncomfortable with all the slipping and non-adjustment.
Contrary to that, a way too tight helmet is also difficult to wear for many riders. It will not only suffocate your head but also impact the blood supply to your brain.
Hence, we always say that an XC helmet should fit you in a way that you feel comfortable wearing it all day long without facing any issues.
Almost all helmets from multiple brands feature a hard and tough polycarbonate shell. The shell’s function is to slide upon a crash to reduce the overall impact.
The inner liner composed of EPS or extended Polystyrene is of prime importance here. It will keep your head comfortable as well as keep it safe from the harsh shocks and impacts that you could face during an accident.
In terms of construction material, there are no major differences, but you can go for a helmet with a dual-density liner, especially if you want extra protection.
Protection from Rotational Forces
Rotational forces are one of the reasons riders could actually feel the crash in their head. They could cause concussions and other severe injuries.
To tackle this problem, helmets usually have MIPS, SPIN, or WaveCel protection technologies integrated with them. All these protection technologies can reduce the impact of rotational forces and keep your head safe from a serious head injury.
Thus, it’s always a plus point to go for an XC helmet that has either the MIPS, SPIN, or WaveCel protection technology installed in it for safety against rotational forces.
Last but not the least, you might need a helmet with a camera mount if you want to record your biking journey and later upload it on YouTube or Facebook, etc.
You’ll easily find many helmets that offer the camera mount feature. We’d recommend taking a look into Giro helmets as they have got integrated camera mounts to which you can attach your GoPros accordingly.
The meaning of XC riding is not that you ride your bike without protecting your head from different obstacles. A good XC bike helmet could support your head, keep it safe from injuries, and ensure a comfortable as well as a relaxed biking experience.
We’d recommend that you consider the important factors before making the final decision. If it were up to us, we’d recommend you the following three helmets based on budget factors:
- Giro Aether Spherical Adult Road Bike Helmet – As it’s the best option available, especially if you have got enough budget.
- Giro Syntax MIPS – As it’s the best budget option for professional bikers.
- Kask Protone – If you are aiming for a long-term investment in terms of an XC helmet.