The removable inner mesh net covers about the frontal 2/3rd’s of the helmet, and I found it to be quite comfortable, and I used it instead of the optional pads. Being removable also makes it easy to wash, to remove accumulated gunk. Either padding system attaches using small Velcro patches that are glued inside the helmet’s shell. The plush suede like padding was soft, and has a comfy tactile feel on the skin, and since it was attached o the netting, the pads didn’t drift. The net does a good job of keeping errant bugs from getting into through the front vents, and it can be adjusted to floating within the helmet depending on how you attach it to the Velcro pads. The padded chin strap was a nice feature, which added greatly to the comfort level of the helmet. On extremely hot days, the net can trap heat somewhat, but the ventilation holes do an excellent job of cooling things off.
I found the visor a bit small, and along with the somewhat blunt front end of the helmet, it didn’t offer as much sun protection as comparable helmets.
The Sterling has an excellent adjustment system that uses a comfort ring along with their retention dial system called the RSR7. I really liked the RSR7, it pulled very evenly, and was easy to adjust, even with gloves on. The RSR7 allows a finely tuned fit, and auto adjusts for both height and circumference with the turn of the dial, giving a secure fit without any excess flopping around on your head. I found the adjustable side straps difficult to use and adjust, but most troublesome was their propensity to breaking apart.
I broke 4 of the adjustable strap buckles in a short period of time, so I contacted Rudy Project about the breakage issue (they were aware of it), and they sent me an updated version that was slightly beefier. The new version lasted a good deal of time, but unfortunately they also broke. I gave up, and used some athletic tape from my first aid kit as a stop gap measure. Mountain biking can be a bit tough on helmets, with a lot of tossing it on and off, getting it caught on hydration packs, etc., but a buckle should stand up to the abuse.