Used: Nexx XR1.R helmet

Let's talk about Nexx, baby

WITH the arrival of a new test lid, my Nexx XR1.R is going to have to take a backseat for a while, and that's a real shame, as we've got along very well together over the last three-and-a-half months. 

Safe to say the Nexx brand doesn't figure in most people's top five, but after sporting it on my forehead over many winter and spring commute, motorway blast and bike launch, I have a positive view of this Portuguese product. 

Though one is inside a helmet most of the time, looks do matter, and on this front, the XR1.X is a winner. I love the sculpted shape - the contours, the emphatic slashes created by the boomerang-shaped black plastic vent covers, the subtle hints of red, even the understated lettering. I opted for the standard model in pearlescent white, but Nexx has another 10 variants and graphics. 

The XR1.X exudes quality - the paint and finish, the materials and fitment, the operation of vents and visor: all look and feel premium. The shell, according to Nexx, is made of a carbon-kevlar-fibreglass composite, and the result is a distinctly light lid. The sticker puts it at 1.35 kg, plus or minus 50g (though my size S weighed in at 1.43 kg on our scales) and when you wear it, your head can definitely feel the difference. As I possess the upper vertebrae of a man twice my age, anything that doesn't stoke pain in my neck/upper back gets my vote. 

It's a well-fitting lid, with three shell sizes available (XXS-XS, S-L, XL-XXL). The padding and liner are removable. Wearing spectacles with the XR1.X is not an issue. Retention is by double-D-ring. For the first couple of weeks, the end of the buckle strap was quite stiff and I struggled to get it through the rings, to the point where sometimes I had to look in the mirror to do so - but it's softened up and is fine now. 

From inside, what strikes you first about the XR1.X is its extremely wide field of vision. It's like a reverse open-face - unless I roll my eyes up I can't see the top of the helmet. The visor operates smoothly, making a satisfying 'thunk' sound on closure, with a chunky tab on the left side making glovework easy and also serving as a visor lock if pressed when fully closed. Though the uncoated visor fogs up far too easily out of the box, a Pinlock anti-fog insert is supplied. I discarded the breath guard as it didn't do much for me. 

Also very noticeable is that the chin curtain and closed vents keep the wind out neatly, a real boon in cold weather. Ventilation is generous - three main inlets (one chin, two forehead, operated by plastic switches) and two main exhaust ports at the back of the top of your head, plus a further four mesh-covered vents, a pair apiece front and back - and when you need it (so far, not very often for me), effective. Wind noise is hardly an intrusion.

At £185, this lid appears good value, offering premium spec at a midrange price. But it's not all perfect; the XR1.X has only a three-star SHARP rating. That's a shame, as similarly-priced lids such as the AGV S4, Bell M1 or the Nitro Evo Carbon FF, to randomly pick from the SHARP search results, all get five stars. That said, you could quite easily pay double the Nexx's asking price for well-known premium brands and still not get a better rating.

Certainly in terms of its style, weight, build quality and daily performance, Nexx's XR1.X is very impressive indeed.