While the muddled Engrish of the Kabuto website makes for amusing reading, their helmets are serious business. This Japanese manufacturer is still little know here in the cycling market, but they’ve been protecting the melon of riders like Greg Minnaar for years, as well as producing some very fine motorcycle and motocross lids.
The Faro is Kabuto’s dedicated mountain bike open-face helmet (they have other visor-less helmets that would also serve, if that’s your style), and it packs in all the usual features we like to see in a high-end helmet. An in-moulded polycarbonate shell makes for clean and robust construction, there’s a sturdy and easy-to-twiddle dial for adjusting the fit and at 260g the weight is on par with most trail lids. You also adjust the positioning of the retention system vertically too, with four positions. The integrated light bracket up top for a Cat Eye light is a bit out of left field; our recent experiences with Cat Eye off road lights haven’t been positive, so we don’t think it’s a feature we’ll ever use.
We really like the aesthetics – the stumpy visor, while not offering exceptional sun/branch protection, is less offensive than many of the whopping ‘beaks’ out there. Venting is more than adequate (we rode with this helmet in 40-degree Alice Springs heat), and the use of mesh on the inside of the leading vents to keep out debris and bugs is appreciated.
It’s the fit of the helmet that’s the real talking point. It fits deep, far deeper than most. This is fantastic, if you’ve got the head shape to suit. The depth means you get a great feeling of security as it cups more of your dome than other helmets, and it is a very stable fit without the need to crank down the retention system too tight. Users of the old Giro Xen helmets will find the fit very similar – super comfy with no pressure points.
The deep fit does cause issues on some heads. One of our testers found that the retention system (even when adjust to its highest position) rubbed on their ears, and the depth of the shell leaves little room to fit sunglass arms in between your ears and the helmet shell. Make sure you check the fit with your favourite riding shades!