Tested: 6D ATB-1 EVO Helmet

So what is this thing again? And how is it safer than my regular helmet?

We went into the technology in detail in our first impressions piece, and it makes for some interesting reading, so we do suggest you take a look.

Way, way more going on than a regular helmet! Two shells, which float independently of each other, with ‘dampers’ in between the layers.

Here’s the nutshell version. The 6D helmet is constructed using two shells of different densities (harder outside, softer inside) which are separated by 6D’s Omni Directional Suspension system. This suspension allows the two shells a degree of independence from each other. It’s all about reducing the transfer of energy to your head and brain at the moment of impact, in a way that a conventional helmet, even those equipped with MIPS, simply cannot match.

 6D deserve to be applauded for really re-thinking helmets to find new levels of impact protection.

The basic concepts of helmet construction haven’t really evolved in a couple of decades, and 6D deserve to be applauded for really re-thinking helmets to find new levels of impact protection.

You can clearly see the two shells here.
It’s a big helmet, no two ways around it. The orange straps on our model definitely do emphasise the helmet’s width too.

I’m self-conscious. Should I get this helmet?

Well sorry, but you’re going to get noticed wearing this one! Maybe it’s because we opted for the brightest colour in the range, but the 6D does look considerably bigger than most helmets, including the larger ‘extended coverage’ lids out there.

At various stages we were told we looked like a toadstool or that we had a pumpkin on our head. Lucky we’re thick skinned, and you should be too, knowing that your brain is being well looked after.

The 6D compared to the Giro Montaro.

When heading to more challenging or higher speed trails, the 6D was the obvious choice.

Do you feel safer in this lid? 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, yes, we did. Interestingly, we found ourselves consciously reaching for this helmet instead of our usual lid on a number of occasions, especially when we were heading to more technical trails, and particularly when we were going riding on our own.

A magnetic clasp.

How about the fit and feel?

We really like the quality feel of the magnetic clasp on the chin strap, and the fact the strap is padded too (why don’t more helmets do this?). The retention system had no problems keeping the helmet nice and secure, but without any obvious pressure points.

The padded chin strap is really comfortable.

Even though the 6D weighs around 200g more than many open-face helmets, you’re never conscious of this, and the helmet doesn’t shift around, even on the roughest trails. You’d be surprised how many helmets fail terribly in this department – we’ve used plenty that are just about covering your eyeballs by the bottom of some of the rougher trails around Flow HQ!

The adjustable visor is easily bumped out of position – the plastic screws which secure it can’t be done up very tight, or they begin to round out. It’d be good to see this revised.

The 6D doesn’t get the airflow of some of its competitors.

A little hot? 

The only compromise we noted with using this helmet over our usual lids, was airflow. With the double shells and comparatively small number of vents, there’s not as much air getting to your melon. In summer, this will definitely be a warmer lid than many others.

Does it work?

Sorry team, as much as we’re dedicated to the cause, we didn’t crash onto our melons in the name of product testing this time around. So we can’t give you an honest answer in that regard. But the theory and testing data that 6D have made available makes a lot of sense.

Anything that makes mountain biking safer, but without overly impinging on your riding, gets a big tick from us.

Would you recommend it?

Anything that makes mountain biking safer, but without overly impinging on your riding, gets a big tick from us. And the 6D ATB helmet definitely delivers in that regard, bringing you more protection with very few downsides other than a little bit less airflow.

Whether or not you like the styling, well that’s a personal choice, but we’d suggest you’ve got your priorities a bit muddled if that’s the only thing stopping you from considering this helmet!

 

 

First Look: 6D ATB-1T EVO Helmet

So what’s the deal?

Fundamentally, open-face helmets haven’t changed much since the introduction of EPS (expanded polystyrene) as the material of choice, so the 6D ATB-1T helmet is a very progressive piece of kit. This is the first open-face mountain bike helmet to use 6D’s Omni Directional Suspension (ODS) technology. Cutting past the fluff, the aim of the game here is to create a helmet that transfers less energy to your noggin in the event of a crash than any other open-face on the market, which means less risk of brain injury.

The most brain friendly open-face yet?

How is that done?

What we have here with the 6D is kind of a helmet within a helmet – look closely and you’ll see there are two separate EPS shells, the outer one is firmer, the inner one is a little softer. But it’s what goes on between the two shells that really gives the 6D its brain saving edge, namely the ODS system.

Kind of like the turducken of the helmet world. Layers within layers.

ODS is a series of small flexible dampers – they look like little rubber hour-glasses or buttons – mounted to two plastic carriers that are joined to the EPS shells (take a look at the pic below for more clarity). The whole system ‘suspends’ the shells, allowing them to have degree of movement independent of each other.

Why go to all this trouble?

We don’t profess to be physiologists, neurologists or even very intelligent, but here’s what we understand. We’re still learning a lot about brain injuries, in all kinds of sports, but one of the most interesting things to emerge recently is data about the energy transfer in oblique impacts (e.g. the kinds where your head hits the ground at an angle, and slides or skims, rather than smacking straight down). What has been found, is that the angular acceleration passed to your head from an oblique impact is exactly the same whether the rider is wearing a conventional (read, traditional EPS) helmet or not. And given that angular acceleration is the primary cause of concussion, it makes sense to try and mitigate this.

6D claim that their ODS system achieves this and “dramatically reduces the transfer of angular acceleration to the head forms and the brain.”

The little red dampers, sandwiched between the two shells.

In terms of protecting you from other impacts – for instance toppling over backwards and hitting your head, or running front on into a tree – 6D claim they outperform all comers in those instances too. They say that other helmets, in order to pass high-velocity impact tests, are made too stiff and hard and therefore sacrifice absorption against low-velocity impacts. The 6D, by virtue of its dual density EPS shells and ODS, is able to offer more cushion against these low-velocity impacts, while the firmer outer shell doesn’t sacrifice protection in high-velocity impacts either. Look, we’re going to have to take their word for it here, but it makes sense to us.

The heart of the ODS system. The carriers, separated by low friction discs and with their movement controlled by the dampers, allow the two shells a degree of independence from each other.

How does this system differ to MIPS?

You’re probably familiar with the MIPS system, or you’ll have at least likely seen the little yellow label on many modern helmets. The ODS system is different to MIPS in a number of ways, but in essence, MIPS is a helmet liner that is designed to introduce a slip plane between your helmet and head, to reduce rotational forces upon impact. The 6D approach achieves the same outcomes (by virtue of the two shells being able to ‘slip’ relative to each other) as well as offering more compliance and energy absorption than a helmet without ODS.

The 6D vs the popular Giro Montaro. The extra size of the 6D is clear.

Is it bigger than a regular helmet?

All that technology has to fit somewhere, so yes, the 6D ATB is probably larger and heavier than your current helmet. Our size M/L weighs 524g. By way of comparison, a Giro Montaro with MIPS is 390g in size medium.

Size-wise, it is a big helmet. But really, when you compare it to many other three-quarter coverage trail helmets (particularly thenew Fox Meta helmet, or even the Bell Super) it’s not over-the-top big.

Does it look good?

From a styling sense, yes, we think it’s a cool looking helmet. The graphics are sharp, there’s a tonne of colour options, plenty of visor adjustability, and the retention system is easy to use. Still, it is big, and the overall size of the 6D is definitely going to turn off some riders who fear looking a bit like a mushroom, but surely your safety is more important than that. And we think you’d quickly get used to it too.

There are six colour options to choose from.

The 6D will set you back $289, which is certainly on the upper end of the helmet spectrum, but we actually think it’s a pretty sharp price given the innovation and R&D that has clearly been invested here. We’re going to ride this thing over the coming weeks, and while we can’t promise that we’re going to crash on to our heads in the name of testing, we’ll be back with a full report on the comfort, fit and ride performance soon.

Flow’s First Bite: Fox Proframe Helmet

We headed to Red Hill, on the Mornington Peninsula, to try out the Proframe at the helmet’s local launch. A steamy 31-degree day meant we had the ideal conditions to put the claims of breathability to the test.

Fox's Ross Wilkinson introduces the Proframe.
Fox’s Ross Wilkinson introduces the Proframe.

Fox Proframe helmet-8692

Who is it meant for?

Obviously the Enduro race crowd are one target market for this helmet, but Fox are hoping to cast a wider net than just the race scene. If you ride trails that regularly terrify you, or you’re simply a very good crasher, then Fox are hoping this helmet appeals, even if your riding involves plenty of climbing.

Fox aren’t trying to position this helmet as an item for downhillers – they have their Rampage helmet for that market. That said, we can’t see any reason why you couldn’t use this for downhill too. Downhillers get hot too, right?

Fox Proframe helmet-8815

How light is it?

Our medium sized Proframe tips the scales at 755g, which is around 400g less than our already light Fox Rampage full face helmet (1178g). This doesn’t make the Proframe the lightest helmet in this class (the MET Parachute is about 100g lighter), but it’s still a big weight saving versus a normal full-face.

Big vents in the chin bar ensure the Proframe is Banana Friendly®.
Big vents in the chin bar ensure the Proframe is Banana Friendly®.

Open the windows and let some air in.

Weight is only part of the equation, and when it comes to wearability on a hot climb, the helmet’s venting and breathability are going to play a bigger role than the grams. The Proframe has 15 vents up front, and nine out the back. The chin bar doesn’t sit any further away from your face than a normal full face, but it has huge, gaping holes (wide enough to pass the banana eating test) to allow you to breathe easily.

From front on, you can see just how many vents the helmet has to suck air across your head.
From front on, you can see just how many vents the helmet has to suck air across your head. Modelling by Baxter Maiwald (agency enquiries welcome).

The visor isn’t adjustable, but is positioned to drive as much air as possible into the vents. There’s a bit of a compromise here in having no adjustability, as we did notice you could just see the visor when descending. It wasn’t enough to be a worry, but we could still see it.

Fox Proframe helmet-8809
Kaia Ellis, razzing about on the trails of Red Hill.
Canyon Australia and Fox riders Kaia Ellis and Baxter Maiwald.
Canyon Australia and Fox riders Kaia Ellis and Baxter Maiwald.

Is that chin bar removable?

No. Despite the metal pins that appear to secure the chin bar, it’s fixed in place. The pins are just part of the reinforcement that allow this helmet to receive full downhill certification.

While the metal pin might lead you to think the chin bar can be detached, it's fixed in place.
While the metal pin might lead you to think the chin bar can be detached, it’s fixed in place.

What about strength? Can I faceplant with confidence?

Fox tell us that this helmet exceeds all the same standards as their Rampage full-face, so crash away! The more open vents of the chin bar might mean you get more gravel in your mouth, but your face should stay on.

FOX_RW_-71
Tegan Molloy on the rooty, dusty Needles downhill run.

The actual EPS material has a dual density (Fox call it Varizorb) which is designed to spread impacts across a wider area. It’s also MIPS equipped, which is a bonus, so if you do hit the dirt, the MIPS arrangement (which allows the helmet’s shell to slide slightly, independently of the liner) should ensure less rotational force makes its way to your melon.

Fox Proframe helmet-8838

Honestly, how is it to actually pedal in?

No bullshit here, this helmet was way, way nicer to climb in than we expected. We rode the Proframe on a properly hot day, over 30 degrees, and it totally outshone our expectations. We could breathe much more easily than in a traditional full-face, and there was an impressive amount of airflow to our face – we had none of that claustrophobic clamminess that can be part of pedalling about in a full-face helmet. Only on the top of head, where there is less venting, did we feel a bit hot.

FOX_RW_-80

Of course an open-face is still going to be a little more pleasant, but the breathability and all-round wearability for climbing was really good, and we didn’t feel compelled to rip the helmet off at the top of each climb like we normally would if wearing a traditional full-face.

Aside from the slight intrusion of the visor at the very top of our field of vision, overall visibility in the helmet is top notch. You can also hear everything properly, you don’t ride around in a muffled cocoon of silence of full-face silence, which is both more social and less disorientating.

Fox Proframe helmet-8836

What else?

Well, the Proframe is the first full-face we’ve seen that doesn’t look kooky if you ride wearing sunglasses and not goggles! There’s even channels in the padding to accomodate sunglasses arms comfortably. The chin strap buckle is nice too, using a magnetic clasp, which can be undone with one hand.

With its open, vented look, the Proframe actually works well with sunnies, whereas a normal full face tends to look a bit funky.
With its open, vented look, the Proframe actually works well with sunnies, whereas a normal full face tends to look a bit funky.

Each helmet also comes with two sets of pads of different thicknesses, so you can easily tweak the fit if you find it a little tight or loose in certain areas. There are a massive six different colours to choose from too. Six!

FOX_RW_-58

Couldn’t you just use a normal full face and take the cheek pads out for climbing?

Yes, but your head would be a damn sight hotter.  The extra weight of a normal full-face is considerable, and the breathability of the Proframe is leagues ahead of any normal full-face out there. Plus, who wants the hassle of pulling out cheek pads? This is a much better option.

Would we recommend it?

Yes! The Proframe has a lot of appeal. It looks great, is comfy, and very safe. We’ve only had an hour or so of trail time in the Proframe so far, but that was more than enough to assess that it lives up to its claims of excellent breathability.

The Fox Australia crew.
The Fox Australia crew.

Fresh Product: Giant Rail and Roost Helmets, now with MIPS Protection

Following the release of the popular Rail helmet last year, Giant bring an even lower priced version to the market, the Roost.

Both the Rail and Roost are also now available with MIPS Protection, a helmet feature that has grown to become a priority for the safety conscious. What’s impressive in this case is how Giant have brought a MIPS helmet to such an affordable price point, $159 for the Roost and $179 for the Rail.

Giant Roost and Rail MIPS-7734
The new Roost.

Giant Roost and Rail MIPS-7732

The Rail is an impressively light and well ventilated helmet designed to accomodate goggles with plenty of space in the front and a goggle strap clip out the back. The Roost forgoes a few features and vents to bring the price down but feels very similar on the head.

What is MIPS?

As Giant put it: “MIPS is a patented brain protection system developed to reduce the rotational violence from angled impacts that can cause strain to the brain. MIPS mimics the brain’s own protection system inside the skull by adding a low-friction layer between the head and helmet. A helmet with MIPS can absorb more energy from an angled impact.”

The yellow material is part of the MIPS Protection, a thin layer sitting between your head and the helmet's shell.
The yellow material is part of the MIPS Protection, a thin layer sitting between your head and the helmet’s shell.
mips
Strain level images from lab tests where two identical helmets, one with MIPS and one without, tested at the same speed show a clear difference. The more red, the more strain to the brain. A helmet with MIPS reduces the rotational violence transmitted to the brain.
The
The super light and breathable Rail.
Giant Roost and Rail MIPS-7721
Goggle strap clip on the Rail.

In time for summer we’ll be reaching for the Rail and Roost when trails are fast and temps are high.


RAIL MIPS – $179

ROOST MIPS – $159

RAIL – $144

ROOST – $124

Flow’s First Bite: Giro Montaro MIPS Helmet

This ain’t your average brain bucket, this sturdy helmet feels super-solid in your hands and has a deep fit with loads of coverage around the rear and sides of your head. There’s a removable mount for your camera or light, provisions for goggles with rubberised vents around the rear to grip the straps and the visor lifts all the way up for resting goggles off your face and onto the helmet. It ticks all the boxes in classic Giro style.

_LOW0024_LOW0044

Weight is up there at 375g for a medium. The TLD A1 is 350g and the Specialized Ambush weighs in at 240g. The Scott Stego with MIPS comes in at 340g and POC Trabec MIPS is also 350g. It’s certainly no featherweight.

All Montaro helmets are MIPS equipped, a system in-built into the helmet for added protection. MIPS is a plastic liner that helps reduce rotational forces transferred to you in the incident of impact.

The new Roc Loc Air retention system is adjustable with just one hand via small dial, and the visor is adjustable too. The straps and retention system are all very minimal, and should breathe well.

_LOW0016

There’s three colours coming to Australia, Matte/Gloss/Black pictured above. And a Matte/Blue/Lime and Matte/Flame/White/Titanium pictured below.

We’re big fans of Giro helmets, so we’ll be running this number a lot on the trails with confidence.


Features

P.O.V. Plus visor adjustment

Hydrophilic,anti-microbial padding

Full camera mount integration

Full goggle integration with strap grippers

MIPS equipped

Construction

Full wrap in-mold, In-mold polycarbonate shell with EPS liner, Roll-cage reinforcement

Fit System

Roc Loc® Air

Ventilation

16 vents with internal channeling


More on MIPS 

Flow’s First Bite: Giant Rail Helmet

New season, new look, new lid. Giant’s new Rail helmets have arrived Down Under and we’ve just picked one up. Time to get it sweaty!

Giant Rail Helmet-3
Clean styling for a cool head this summer.
Huge vents and an adjustable interior.
Huge vents and an adjustable interior.

First thing you’ll notice when you hold the Rail helmet is its serious lack of weight, it’s lighter than a pack of diet rice crackers. And the new-school styling is very on point, available in three colours (orange and black) plus a women’s styling option called the Liv Infinita.

Giant Rail Helmet-1
Good looking lid, we’re very impressed!

Aimed at the trail/enduro rider, the Rail has a bunch of cool features and more protection than your standard cross-country helmet.

There’s more of the helmet around the rear and sides of your head, there is plenty of flat surfaces to stick a helmet camera, and a nifty goggle strap clip to secure the straps of your goggles around the back.

Giant Rail Helmet-4
A little bungy strap and clip secures the goggles.

The visor has a huge range of adjustment, by tilting and lifting right up high your goggles sit off your face but can rest conveniently under the visor for quick access. A dial around the back adjusts tension, and the ‘Y’ straps are fused together, which fits us perfectly.

Killer value at $144, we’re impressed.

 

Tested: Bell Super 2R Helmet

The Bell Super 2R is the Enduro inspired cousin of the hugely popular Bell Super trail helmet.

The simple design, with a removable chin guard that attaches via three hinged clasps, has been embraced by Enduro racers and trail riders alike, giving riders two helmets in one.

Bell Super 2R 1

You’ve got the option either running it as an open-face, as a full-face, or carrying the chin guard with you in your pack so you can change it up mid-ride.

Without the chin guard, the Super 2R works like a normal Super.

The fit offers lots of protection down the back of your head, where traditional cross-country style helmets leave you more exposed.

With 23 vents plus four brow ports and a reasonable weight of 360g, it’s a comfy helmet on warmer days too.

Bell Super 2R 2

  • News
  • Simple
  • Fancy
  • Featured
  • Plain
  • Mobile
  • Two shots - both landscape
  • Three shots - Big on top
  • Four Shots - Big on Left
  • Five Photos
  • Two shots - landscape and square
  • Three shots - Big landscape, two small squares
  • Four Shots - All Same Size
  • Mobile (new)
  • Two shots - vertically stacked, both landscape

Bell Super 2R 14

The chin guard has adjustable cheek pad thickness (via simple removable inserts) and we found it pretty comfortable overall. That being said, the chinguard does sit a little closer to your mouth than with either a traditional full-face or the MET Parachute that we tested recently. But unlike a traditional full-face, of course, you can whip the chin guard off for the climbs and restore all the breathing space you need. Even with the chin guard fitted, the helmet still weighs under 700g in a size medium, making it even lighter than the MET Parachute.

In terms of certifications, the Super 2R doesn’t attain the same levels of certification as Bell’s dedicated full-faces (or the MET Parachute). However, under MTBA rules it is certified for downhill competition use in MTBA sanctioned events in Australia under standard EN1078 / AU2063. That said, if we were racing downhill solely, we’d probably still opt for a meatier helmet. It’s worth noting too, that there is a MIPS version of this helmet available, for just a little more cash.

Removing the chinguard:

Attaching and removing the chin guard is completely tool-free, with three hinged clasps, that lock it into place. We’ve seen some riders attach their Super 2R guards in a couple of seconds, and while we’re not that speedy, the process is simple enough to do with your gloves on and without removing the helmet.

A few practice sessions on the couch and you’ll have it down! It doesn’t feel gimmicky or flimsy at all – the chin guard feels nice and robust, and the attachment is solid. It’s also light and small enough that carrying it around on a ride is actually viable.

Bell Super 2R Black 5

Bell Super 2R 15

When climbing, or not using the chinguard, the chinguard can be tightened down nicely onto the back of a hydration pack through its ventilation holes. Compared to a half-face or full-face lid strapped onto your back, there’s a lot less bulk, reducing the chance of something getting snagged out on the trail.

The top end Super 2R also features high grade safety features like MIPS and ICEdot.

Bell Super 2R Black 4

Bell Super 2R Black 1

Overall, the Bell Super 2R is a worthy of consideration for a variety of riders, regardless of whether you’re a keen Enduro racer looking for that extra security on the descents, or just someone looking for more protection to ride more technical trails.

We wouldn’t go as far as to throw away our full-faces yet, but if you don’t do downhill runs or need/want that much protection, the Super 2R is sensational both in terms of performance and value for money.

Tested: MET Parachute

The original MET Parachute can lay claim to being one of the first ‘Enduro’ specific helmets on the market, with its detachable chin guard. For better or worse, these helmets were barely seen in Australia (thanks to our perplexing helmet standards regulations), but the latest iteration of the Parachute is here and it’s ready to rumble with the new school Enduro crowd.


 

MET Parachute 1

Unlike the original Parachute, which took a two-helmets-in one approach to protection (just like the Bell Super 2R), the new Parachute is an ultra-minimalist full face – the chin guard is not removable despite appearing as if it is – with an emphasis on ventilation and low weight. In the world of Enduro racing and technical all-mountain riding, there’s definitely a need to maximise protection, but wearing a full-blown full-face helmet is too much of a hindrance for many to live with. The Parachute aims to make full-face protection possible without all the usual downsides.

What’s truly impressive is that the Parachute passes all the same standards/certifications as every other ‘regular’ full-face approved for downhill riding on the market

MET call it a ‘utopian dream’ which sounds a bit bat-shit mental, but what’s truly impressive is that the Parachute passes all the same standards/certifications as every other ‘regular’ full-face approved for downhill riding on the market! So, from a safety perspective, it all hunky-dory, yet it weighs 400g less.

MET Parachute 10
At only 700g, the Parachute is around 400g lighter than most full-face helmets.

At just 700g, it’s about twice the weight of the type of all-mountain open-face helmets that are popular with Enduro riders, but around 400g lighter than an average ‘regular’ full-face helmet. But it’s not just lightweight, it’s also exceptionally well ventilated, both around the mouth and over the top of the head – you definitely never get that ‘head in a sauna feeling’ of a conventional full face. We found the breathability of the Parachute to be sensational. All the padding is removable, which is not only good from a stink perspective, but the cheek pads clip in/out using simple press-studs, so it’s really easy to remove them on long climbs to improve the ventilation even more.

The goggle strap clip is a handy addition, and the adjustable retention system is easy to use and gave us a really secure fit. As we noted in our piece a few weeks back, the D-ring closure for the chin strap seems at odds with the convenience of the helmet overall – in operation it wasn’t a problem, but we’d still prefer a standard chin strap buckle. The styling definitely has a touch of Batman about it and won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but once it’s on you can’t see it anyhow.

MET Parachute 6
Goggle strap. Man ponytail not included.

Is it a versatile enough helmet for us to consider trading in our open-face lids? Not for us personally, but we think that many people will, particularly if their riding involves taking it easy on the climbs and smashing the descents. For some people, the risk of damaging their teeth or face is too big to ignore, and that’s a fair call to make. The Parachute gives those riders an option to feel protected without having to ride with their head in a world of sweaty claustrophobia.

Overall, the MET Parachute is an option worthy of consideration for the keen Enduro racer or even the trail rider looking for a little bit more protection.

Fresh Product: Bontrager Rally Helmet

Bontrager’s latest lid is going to be a hit with the new-school enduro crowd. The Rally is all what we want from a helmet, but with increased protection over your standard brain bucket, an eyeball burningly bright colour option and an adjustable visor to make space for goggles.

The moment we popped the Rally on our heads, we decided its a new favourite.

For $179, it’s also a pretty good price for a cool new lid, check it out. Comes in black, too.

Bontrager Rally 3 Bontrager Rally 7 Bontrager Rally 10 Bontrager Rally 8 Bontrager Rally 5

Features

  • In-mold composite skeleton allows a greater variation of vent shape and size
  • Headmaster – One-handed fit system adjustable by height and circumference
  • FormFit – Flexible head-conforming brow band improves comfort and ventilation
  • FlatLock Strap Dividers – Strap management made simple with a fixed position fit
  • Internal, recessed channels manage airflow through the helmet and over the head
  • Drop-in Coverage – Coverage below traditional bottom edge for more protection
  • Crash Replacement Guarantee

Fresh Product: Upcoming New Helmet Range From Giant

Giant are one of a growing list of bike manufacturers to throw themselves wholeheartedly into the soft-goods and apparel market, along with other players such as Specialized, Trek (with their Bontrager kit) and Scott.

Should match your Reign nicely!
Should match your Reign nicely!
Time to get all matchy-matchy!
Time to get all matchy-matchy!

They’ve just released all the details of their new Rail and Infinita helmets (men’s and women’s respectively), which are extended coverage style helmets, aimed at the trail and enduro market. Packing more rear protection than a standard cross-country lid, they’re also mighty #enduro with plenty of room for a goggle strap, a moveable visor and swathes of flat surfaces to stick your camera mount.

Unfortunately it’s still a few months before we’re likely to see these helmets in Australia – expect to find them here about the same time as the new season bikes, in August/September.

 2015_Giant_Rail_Black-White

• Trail-specific design with extended rear coverage.

• AirFlow ventilation combines 18 straight side vents to guide airflow through deep internal channels to keep riders cool at variable speeds.

• Removable, moto-style extended protection visor mounts cleanly to the sides and is infinitely adjustable on the move.

• Integrated goggle strap clip keeps the strap in position and prevents goggle from falling off in a fall.

• Integrated camera mounting surface, GoPro mount compatible.

• Low-speed and high-speed impact-tuned construction with Direct Support vents, optimized low-density EPS, and ultra-thin toughened polycarbonate shells all in-mold bonded together.

• Element Strap System (ESS) brings together Cinch Pro™, Optimal Position Y, and LiteForm™ webbing into one fit and retention system for superior fit and comfort right out of the box.

• Cinch Pro™ fit system offers optimal coverage by cradling the occipital bone for full protection, support and comfort. • Lightweight LiteForm™ webbing wraps around the head better for a more secure fit.

• TransTextura Plus™ anti-microbial padding helps fight bacteria growth by pulling sweat from a rider’s head and transferring it through the AirFlow vents. The natural property of the fabric inhibits microbes that cause odors.

• Sizes: Western: S (51-55cm), M (55-59cm), L (59-63cm) Asian: S (52-56cm), M (56-60cm), L (60-64cm)

• Weight: 275g (size M, CPSC, w/visor)

• Colors: Black/Blue, White/Blue, Orange/Yellow, Black/White, Cyan/Blue

• Certifications: CPSC, CE, AS/NZS

The women's version is called the LIV Infinita. All the same features, just more purple.
The women’s version is called the LIV Infinita. All the same features, just more purple.

 

Flow’s Freshies: MET Parachute Lightweight Full Face

Along with the difficulties of colour matching your gloves and shorts, enduro racing/riding throws up the challenge of choosing what helmet to use – do you go for the breathability open-face, the protection of a full-face, or do you ride with both and feel like a turtle with your life on your back?

MET Parachute 8

MET’s answer is the new Parachute helmet; a super lightweight, dedicated full-face (the chin guard is non-removable) with ventilation galore, designed to be comfortable on the climbs and protective when it matters.

MET Parachute 9
Note the goggle strap clip at the base of the helmet.

Weighing in at 720g on our scales, it’s a hell of a lot lighter than even the lightest leading carbon fibre ‘true’ full faces (for instance, a Fox Rampage carbon is 1150g) and is crammed with more features than you can squirt your Camelbak at. There’s a goggle strap clip, the forehead pad is a hypoallergenic anti-stink gel material, and unlike other full faces there’s size adjustment via micr0-adjust dial. It also comes with a helmet camera mount that slips neatly into one of the vents.

MET Parachute 3
We’re not sure about the use of a d-ring closure for the chin strap – it seems like a pain for gloved hands.
MET Parachute 1
Unlike most full-faces, there is size adjustment.

We’re not 100% sold on the styling, but we’re hardly Christian Dior. First impressions are that the Parachute strikes a good balance between protection and bulk, so we’ll be handing it over to one of our enduro-racing test crew to get their thoughts for a full review soon. Pricing is $279.99 AUD, which seems pretty damn reasonable (and a lot cheaper than dental work).

MET Parachute 2
The forehead pad is made from gel to avoid stench.

 

 

Flow’s Freshies: Products We’re Using, Testing or Loving

Scott Stego Helmet with MIPS

$229

www.scott-sports.com

We’ve been using the Scott Stego for a year now, but it’s now available in this rather flash gloss black and fluoro colour scheme that is oh-so-enduro. There’s a reason why we like this helmet so much – it’s incredibly comfortable and offers plenty of coverage to suit the increasingly reckless riding that today’s all-mountain bikes encourage. Like the Scott ARX Plus helmet we featured a few weeks ago, the Stego has MIPS technology. In a nutshell, MIPS is a liner that is designed to reduce the forces transmitted to your melon by allowing the helmet shell to rotate independently of your head under an angled impact. Read more about it here. The Stego also has a large, flat surface near the top of the helmet that makes it perfect for a stick-on helmet mount – much neater than using a strap-on mount!

 

 

Flow Freshies  2

Flow Freshies  3 Flow Freshies  1


 

Crank Bros M17 multi tool

www.crankbrothers.com

In our opinion, this is the best item in Crank Brothers’ comprehensive range of multitools. It’s a solid little number, at 168g, but the steel construction is really tough and the grippy, knurled side plates feel great in your palm. The chain breaker is well made (often these are extremely crappy on multitools), though it’s not specifically designed to work with 11-speed chains. All the usuals are there (torx 25, phillips/flat head and a full suite of Allen keys) but it’s the no-fuss build quality that we appreciate most.

Flow Freshies  11

Flow Freshies  12

 


 

Drift Stealth 2 Camera

www.driftinnovation.com

$329

The wearable camera market is a real battleground, with a lot of highly credible players pushing the technology so far right now. It’s easy to get caught up in frame rates and resolutions, but from our experience usability and ease of operation is what makes the most difference – if your camera is pain to mount, is too bulky or is hard to navigate/operate, you’re not going to want to use it. The Stealth 2 takes the usability bull by the horns, weighing in at under 100g and with a low-profile shape and robust construction that makes it easy to mount. We’re going to be using this camera a lot in the coming weeks, so expect a full review soon.

Flow Freshies  7

Flow Freshies  4

 


 

Bontrager XR4 tyres

www.bontrager.com

It’s official: the Bontrager XR4 is our new favourite do-it-all trail tyre. We fitted a set of this meaty rubber to our Trek Fuel EX9.8 long-term tester and it totally transformed the bike into a radical, grip-seeking shred missile. With a huge bag, resilient sidewalls, plenty of support and a great compound, we can’t find fault with this tyre. Ok, it’s a bit heavy. But we’re happy to carry around 820g per wheel for performance like this.

bontrager xr4

 

bontrager xr4 2

 

Fresh Product: Troy Lee Designs A1 Drone Helmet

After years of research and development, the Troy Lee Designs Team is proud to introduce their latest creation, the A1 helmet. Here at TLD, styling, graphics, fit, function and safety are key in everything we create.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 3.22.14 pm

This lightweight, fully encapsulated all-mountain helmet utilizes maximum coverage and dimension to keep you safe and protected in all riding conditions. Whether you’re charging single track, riding dirt jumps or grinding out miles on the XC bike, the A1 helmet offers the premium fit, protection and style you want.

With our new A1 helmet we at Troy Lee Designs are proud to introduce our resounding return into the aggressive all-mountain half shell category.

  • Single piece, ultra plush, removable and washable comfort liner made of anti-microbial moisture wicking material for a dry, comfortable feel.
  • The fully adjustable moto inspired visor comes with anodized aluminum hardware and will block the sun and protect you from branches.
  • The triple position adjustable retention system allows you to customize the fit of your helmet depending on your type of eyewear, head shape and riding style. If you wear goggles or glasses, this helmet can be adjusted to fit your needs and still keep you secure and protected.
  • Reinforced polycarbonate shell in-molded with the EPS liner extends down the sides and back of the head for maximum protection and durability.
  • 8 pressurized intake passages draw in cool air for maximum ventilation.
  • 8 rear vacuum vortex outlets help exhaust and draw heat from your head.

Fresh Product: Bell Super Helmet

ALL-MOUNTAIN RULER

Though the line between gravity mountain bikes and cross country machines has been blurred the last couple years, most associated equipment is still high-contrast–either overbuilt for DH gear or wispy light for XC. The new Bell Super aims to split the difference, riding that all-mountain line perfectly.

25 vents. More protection needn't mean less ventilation.
25 vents. More protection needn’t mean less ventilation.

In order to meet the demands of the all-mountain, trail ride and enduro racing scenes, Bell has released the Super, a versatile performer with specific features for this growing style of riding. Incorporating an innovative eyewear management system along with a clever, integrated break-away camera mount and advanced ventilation matrix, the Super is the perfect complement to the do-anything breed of all-mountain bikes.

Using input from Bell’s stable of sponsored riders, Bell came up with a purpose-built package for aggressive riders who need the versatility to go from XC-style climbs to near DH descents and everything in between.

Over-brow ventilation. Perfect for those folk with excessively thick eye brows.
Over-brow ventilation. Perfect for those folk with excessively thick eye brows.

Key features include:

· Integrated Camera Mount makes capturing the ride hassle-free with a removable mount that seamlessly affixes a GoPro camera.

· GoggleGuide™ Adjustable Visor System allows riders to manage their eyewear with minimal intrusion into the ride. The flexible system accommodates both goggles and sport glasses and works either with the visor installed or without using the included goggle retention arms.

· Overbrow Ventilation™ works in concert with 25 vents to usher cool air over the head through four intake ports on the helmet brow.

· The Speed Dial™ Fit System is designed to work with helmets that have lower rear coverage. This new system cradles the head and creates a glove-like fit with the turn of a dial.

· Fusion In-Mold Microshell bonds EPS foam to shell for durability

· Internal Reinforcement in order to maximize venting and minimize bulk, high-end helmets feature internal reinforcement structures.

· Lightweight Cam-lock Levers™ for easy strap adjustments

· Lightweight Buckle

· Lightweight webbing

· X-Static Padding is quick-drying and anti-microbial

· 25 vents, 4 brow ports

Fresh Product: POC Trabec Helmet

The Trabec is a well-ventilated in-mold helmet that combines functionality and performance for single track and enduro riders in need of the highest degree of protection. The construction is similar to the trabecular bone structure, which has excellent resistance and durability. The inner EPS core, reinforced with aramid filaments, is tough and resilient and the outer PC shell is constructed with the seams located in the areas of least exposure.

TECHNICAL FEATURES

  • Size adjustment system
  • Adjustable visor protects your eyes from rain, sun, mud and tree branches
  • Aerodynamic ventilation channel system – 16 vent slots
  • The fit is designed to be around the head versus on top, for superior protection
  • Aramid fiber grid covered areas

WEIGHT: 340 g

Fresh Product: New All-Mountain Helmet From Smith Optics

The all-new FOREFRONT defines Smith’s innovation platform and serves as the ‘go to’ helmet for all-mountain riders. Created to provide all-mountain protection with road-race weight, the Aerocore™ construction of the FOREFRONT allows riders ventilated protection as never before seen in a bicycle helmet.

Forefront all-mountain bike helmet from smith optics on Vimeo.

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 8.23.58 AM

Kabuto Faro Helmet

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!

 

 

Troy Lee Designs Introduces the New A1 All Mountain Helmet

Troy Lee Designs is proud to officially introduce the newest addition to our growing line of bicycle specific helmets, the A1.

With the freeride, downhill and BMX helmet market cornered, Troy Lee Designs decided it was time to venture into new territory. Three years of research and design later, the team has developed a top of the line helmet for the XC/Enduro, Trail, and All Mountain rider.

Like all other TLD helmets, the A1 has undergone rigorous safety tests to ensure that it provides superior protection, exceeding CPSC standards and CE EN certifications, while still weighing an average of 320 grams and allowing for maximum ventilation.

Other features of the A1 helmet include an easily adjustable visor, strap dividers and adjusters, a unique adjustable TLD retention system, and anodized aluminum hardware.

Built with moto inspired components and world famous graphics, the A1 upholds the Troy Lee Designs iconic vision that has been a prevalent staple of the bicycle industry for years.

A limited first-run quantity of the helmet in Limited Edition Gold Metal Flake Cyclops and Black Cyclops Colorways will be available for purchase at finer dealers worldwide beginning on February 4, 2013. The helmet will be available in XS-2XL.

A select group of media and Troy Lee Designs global distributors were recently given the opportunity to test the helmet on downhill and cross country rides with TLD athletes Cam Zink, Brandon Semenuk, Logan Peat, Aaron Gwin, Eliot Jackson, and Leigh Donovan. The outpour of praise about the new helmet could not have been better.

“I have more mountain bike trail riding in my roots than I do freeriding, so I have been wanting a TLD trail helmet forever! Really happy with how this A1 turned out, will be putting a lot of miles in with it.” – Cam Zink FMB Tour Hero

“Coming from an XC background I understand the importance of a vented helmet and since I’ve moved into Freeride, I only trust a helmet with lots of coverage. The A1 gives me that light, breathable design with out being concerned with safety” – Brandon Semenuk 2X FMB World Champion

“I first heard about the A1 project a year ago and have been eagerly awaiting it since. And the team at TLD did not disappoint. It fits like a glove, protects my dome better than any other trail lid, and looks as good as the rest of the Troy Lee helmet line. If I had to sum it up in one word? Dialed.” – Lars Sternberg, Transition Bikes/Enduro Racer.

“I have come full circle with Troy Lee Designs, I had one of those sweet Edge helmets in the early 90’s, with a TLD sticker kit! I have been wanting a helmet to ride in that was more protective than all the other helmets on the market, which are just glorified road helmets with a visor. I think we nailed it with the A1. We catered to the heart of the market, which is that mid to big travel trail rider, enduro rider, or even cross country rider, with a helmet that is extremely safe, elegant, stylish, light and built to last” – Craig “Stikman” Glaspell, Troy Lee Designs Sports Marketing.

Certified vs Non-Certified Bicycle Helmet Impact Test

Athlete Recovery Fund (ARF) Presents: Certified vs Non-Certified Bicycle Helmet Impact Test.

Come along with pro riders Mike Clark, Brandon Dosch and Chad Kerley. This video shows without a doubt the tremendous difference in protection between certified and non certified helmets. We tried to simplify the physics as much as possible but the results are undeniable. Make sure if you are riding BMX you are wearing the proper protection. It could mean the difference between riding again or not.