Anything with the two letters “X” and “C” back to back in the name might seem destined to be pigeonholed in the mountain bike market.
Bell’s Event XC helmet is designed in a semi-sporty, aerodynamic looking way, and has all the aspects of a helmet that’s meant for long rides over shuttles, and temperature regulating while climbing and descending. However just because it has the capabilities and necessities for “cross country” riding doesn’t mean it can’t deliver on just about any trail on the mountain.
On first impression, the Event XC is impressively light. Weighing in at 328 grams, it’s on the lighter side of helmets in the Bell lineup, as well as the market in general. I’ve forgotten I was wearing it a few times. This is also in part because of the Event XC’s very even fit. There are no noticeable pressure points on the forehead, top or back thanks to the minimal, yet well-placed padding. One pad lines the brim of the helmet, stretching from ear to ear along the forehead and the other two line around the top, center vent.
The superior fit is also thanks to Bell’s Twin Access Gear fit system, which has a dial that expands or contracts the circumference, however the whole retention system can also move up or down, depending on where it fits best on the back of your head. This really allows the wearer to customize the fit to what feels the best.
The Event XC is also equipped with MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System), which has seriously elevated the game in helmet technology in the past few years. Helmets were traditionally designed to handle linear impacts, meaning having the head come in contact with the ground at a direct angle. However, this isn’t always the case with mountain bike crashes, quite often, the head will impact the ground with a rotational impact. When the head is rotating and then comes to an abrupt stop, this exerts a different level of strain than linear impacts.
MIPS directly addresses rotational impacts by reducing the stresses of rotational acceleration. This is done through the use of a slip plane—kind of like a liner—that allows the helmet to rotate around the head during a rotational impact. Even though it might only move a few millimeters, this rotation redirects some of the energy from the impact. It’s an impressive, functional and minimal technology that helps reduce the chances of serious brain injuries in one more way.
One noticeable aspect of the Event XC is its coverage—one of it’s true XC features, and one that helps keep the weight down. Compared to a lot of other helmets, it doesn’t come as low on the back of the head or around the ears. Most of the time this is a personal preference, what feels the best and what fits the best. Personally, I didn’t mind less coverage, and it didn’t feel like the helmet was just sitting on the top of my head. It might not be the best choice for people who are gung-ho on high speed and lofty airs, for that more coverage definitely doesn’t hurt.
The venting on the Event XC is well thought out and keeps the helmet at a comfortable temperature. With 22 vents, there is no lack of fresh air, and what Bell calls their Overbrow Ventilation keep the air moving through the helmet. Four channels above the forehead direct air to the back of the helmet, at the top and sides of the head. On hot days I didn’t experience any overheating, and even riding in cold weather, my head stayed at a comfortable temperature.
The visor of the Event XC unfortunately cannot be adjusted, only removed. For me, this wasn’t the biggest deal, but if you’re some one who likes a variable position visor, it might be a deal breaker. There is plenty of room around the ears for sunglasses, however the helmet isn’t really designed to be used with goggles—another potential deal breaker.
Over all, the Event XC is a very comfortable and light weight helmet that I found perfect for everyday trail riding. I was definitely happy with the added safety features of the MIPS, even though thankfully, I never put it through the full-impact test. At $90, this is one of the less expensive MIPS-equipped helmets on the market, and a small price to pay for keeping your noggin safe.
MSRP: $90 (MIPS-Equipped)
See more details at www.bellhelmets.com