ENDURO DOMES | Helmets that Combine Coverage and Cool

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As enduro racing gains momentum in North America, a landslide of products catering to the “new” breed of renaissance rider has hit the market. Helmets are no exception, and just as the racing format’s proliferation has been a catalyst of the pursuit of the elusive combination of strength and lightweight when it comes to all-mountain bikes and components, expanding coverage and protection without sacrificing weight and breathability has become the mantra of enduro domes, expanding the selection of true mountain-bike helmets. Lucky then for the majority of riders, the format closely resembles what most mortals actually do on a mountain bike. So whether you’re looking to run goggles with your half-lid for the next stop of the World Series, or you’re just a weekend warrior looking for something better than a road helmet with a visor, here are eight enduro lids to keep you cool and covered.

 

Bell Super

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Even though it is the heaviest in the group at 390 grams, the Bell Super comes packed with enough features and a dialed fit to make the weight an afterthought. It provides some of the deepest rear coverage available in a half lid, but despite covering so much cranial real estate, features enough vents—25, to be exact—to keep you cool. Somewhat unique to the Super are the four brow vents just under the visor, designed to pull air in and through the internal channeling built into the EPS. The visor also offers 30-degrees of adjustability, which is not only nice when it comes to keeping a clear field of view, but actually allows room for goggles to rest off your face and under the visor. This, along with the integrated goggle guides, make the Super the most goggle-friendly of the bunch—and also leaves no doubt as to its intended demographic. Another standout feature of the Super is the integrated—yet removable—GoPro mount. Bell‘s Speed Dial fit system does a fine job of keeping things secure and comfy.

 

Uvex XP CC

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Although not the newest in the bunch, the made-in-Germany Uvex XP CC remains a solid performer in the all-mountain category. Formerly the XP 100, it gets a new name and colors for 2014. Despite full coverage and innovative who-woulda-thunk-it features like bug netting in the front vents and a Monomatic strap system allows you to micro-adjust strap tension on the fly, the XP CC is by far the lightest in the bunch at 260 grams. Thanks to something Uvex calls the IAS 3D+ system, one size fits all. While we were admittedly skeptical of a “one size fits all” claim on something as personal as a helmet, the fit system does its job well. Fore-aft length can be adjusted as can width, but the clincher here is the crown-height adjustment, which above all, seems to really allow you to find the just-right Goldilocks setting. Sixteen large vents help keep things cool and removable, washable, anti-microbial padding makes it easy to keep it clean.

 

Mavic Notch

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The French wheelmaker launched a line of technical apparel earlier this year aimed at the enduro trend that happened to include a new helmet very well suited to the discipline. Enter, the Mavic Notch. One of the lighter options in the group at 320 grams, the Notch is a ground-up trail helmet offering more coverage than Mavic’s cross-country offerings along with a unique rugged style.  Fit is dialed in courtesy of the Ergo Hold SL retention system, borrowed from the company’s road helmets to achieve maximum comfort and minimum weight. The anti-microbial liner fights funk and features a design that is continuos around the front brow with recessed channels for the straps for a seamless fit. A dozen forward-facing vents are coupled with large exhaust vents in the back for ventilation. The visor is fixed, which is fine as it doesn’t seem to obstruct field of vision, but riders looking for more room to run goggles may want to look elsewhere, although the visor is removable if doing so is more your style.

 

Giro Feature

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The Giro Feature has remained largely unchanged since its inception two years ago, but still finds a spot on this list for a reason—it is one of the lightest, offers some of the deepest coverage and is the most affordable. The In-Form fit system is among the more basic in the group, but does what’s mean to do and feels just fine. The Feature has 12 vents and internal channeling, but riders concerned with hot weather and longer rides may want to look at better ventilated options. But what the Feature lacks in ventilation, it makes with some of the most comprehensive coverage in the group and a round profile closer to a skate-style bucket than a spandex spear tip. The Feature also…um, features an adjustable visor. It all tips the scales at only 285 grams. Touché.

 

Urge Endur-O-Matic

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Even if you couldn’t see a single logo from afar, there’d be no mistaking an Urge helmet for anything else on the market—the Endur-O-Matic is no exception. The closest to being a full-on gravity lid sans chinbar in the group, the Endur-O-Matic offers the most coverage by far. There are only eight vents that give one the sudden “urge” to go bowling, but they are said to be positioned to create a Venturi Effect (air is accelerated as it moves through smaller spaces) along with the inner channels. The Gangsta Pad anti-sweat system mimics a bandana over your brow to keep the drips away, and along with the rear padding, does a fine job of wicking moisture for what looks to be such a sealed dome.

 

Troy Lee Designs A1

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Well known for its full-face offerings, Troy Lee Designs made a splash earlier this year when it returned to the half-lid game with the wildly styled and wildly popular A1. While the custom moto-inspired graphics and anodized hardware certainly make an impression, function leads form—as evidenced by three years of development and several scrapped prototypes. The goggle-friendly visor has 50 millimeters of adjustability, and a one-piece liner is as plush as we’ve ever seen in a bicycle helmet. Although Troy Lee Designs says more colors will be released throughout the year—we already saw a matte version of the Black Cyclops color at Sea Otter—the existing designs seem to be a love it or leave it affair for most riders. Regardless of how you feel about the graphics, once on, all else is forgotten. The A1 just feels right. The deep-fitting shell seems to cradle your skull just right. The retention dial will probably work for most melons, but there are also three height positions resulting in 20 millimeters of crown-height customization. The A1 weighs in at 340 grams without the visor, which, while not wispy, is quickly forgotten on long rides due to both the fit and cooling of the intake and exhaust vents and internal channeling.

 

Fox Head Flux

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One of the most popular helmets in the all-mountain/enduro category, the Fox Head Flux offers deep coverage with an aggressive look. It’s 352 grams is well ventilated thanks to 20 openings. In contrast to most “dial” fit retention systems, Fox Head‘s Detox fit system utilizes a ratcheting strap in the rear. Style and comfort lead the way as reasons this helmet continues to be a best seller.

 

SixSixOne Recon

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The SixSixOne Recon is a great option for more comprehensive protection in a sleek, lightweight package ready for all-day romps. The Recon weighs in at a tidy 300 grams and features matte graphics that stand out without being obnoxiously loud—a feat more difficult than it sounds. The straps anchor at the edge of the helmet, so they don’t rub your face or tussle with the liner over which one gets to hug your head. Eighteen vents and internal channeling provide “active” ventilation. The Recon shares the Detox ratcheting fit system with the Flux.

by Don Stefanovich

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INSIDE SEA OTTER 2013 | Part 2

The Link, Price Point’s finger on the pulse of the bike industry, delves deeper into the depths of Laguna Seca to continue bringing you coverage of the coolest new bikeswag from the Sea Otter Classic.

Giro Chamber

Served up hot ‘n’ fresh, the Chamber marks Giro‘s first entry into the downhill realm. Developed with none other than Aaron Gwin, the Chamber combines casual skate style with super-sticky vibram rubber soles. Flat and clipless-ready varieties are available, with the latter featuring a super-stiff sole. They’ve also lost considerable weight since debuting at Interbike in prototype form. An internal bootie,  EVA foam footbeds, impact-absorbing Poron XRD heel cups and velcro strap enhance comfort and fit.

 

Continental 27.5-inch Tires

Continental 27.5

Photo by Don Stefanovich

The German tiremaker introduced 27.5 (650b) versions of four of its most popular mountain treads. The Trail King (our personal favorite), Mountain King, X-King and Race King have all adapted to the tweener size. Currently only existing in 2.4 widths, Continental says most of the tires should be available in a full size run for 2014.

 

Troy Lee Designs Sam Hill D3 and Fresh A1 Colors

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Troy Lee Designs released much anticipated colorways of two of its most popular helmets, the D3 and the all-mountain A1. The D3 sees a fresh splash of color for the Sam Hill Signature edition while the A1 gets both a new metallic treatment and even a version with a matte finish.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The matte finish covers one of the original A1 paint schemes, but creates a stark yet welcome contrast to its metallic-flake siblings.

 

Optrix Barfly

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The new Barfly mount from Optrix makes mounting the XD5 to your handlebars a simple and versatile affair. It can be mounted for POV action, or flipped to lay the phone in a flat “landscape” mode if you’d rather use apps and training functions. 

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Optrix also made sure no one forgot its waterproof dunkability.

 

Marzocchi 380 C2R2 Titanium Fork and Moto C2R Shock

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Marzocchi is replacing the 888 with the new 380 C2R2 Ti fork. Compatible with 26 and 27.5-inch wheels, the 200-millimeter 380 is a complete redesign with 38-mil stanchions, titanium spring, new arch and lowers, titanium pinch bolts, a hollowed-out axle and new internals. It trades in the open-bath design in favor of a “Dynamic Bleed Cartridge” inspired by the Italian company’s motocross forks, which it says will provide the plush, smooth feel of open bath with the consistency of a cartridge.  The DBC cartridge employs a one-way seal to let oil in. A spring-loaded piston acts a compensator; the piston moves up to make room as the damper cartridge fills with oil, and then back down to take up excess volume as oil exits the cartridge. Impressive—and it all weighs in at a tidy 6 pounds, 2 ounces.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The ROCO isn’t going anywhere just yet, but the C2R will be the top-of-the-line DH shock going forward. With an eye on weight, the body is machined down to a minimalist design, and the 14-millimeter shaft and shock eyelet have been precision machined from a single piece of aluminum, decreasing weight and increasing strength.

Marzocchi doesn’t find the compression boost necessary, but offers the C2R both with and without for riders wanting increased tunability and bottom out. It all tips the scales at just 369 grams without the spring.

 

Bell Super

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Bell claims the Super splits the difference between heavy-duty downhill coverage and cross-country comfort and breathability. While that’s just another way of saying this is an all-mountain/enduro helmet, it seems to hit the mark in both form and function—not to mention style. The Super is also designed to readily accept goggles with an adjustable visor and guides.

 

Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40C

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Creating what it felt was the perfect carbon clincher wasn’t easy, but Mavic found a simple yet elegant solution.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The French wheelmaker used aluminum inserts for increased strength and stiffness, giving the spokes a strong anchor point while keeping weight respectable at approximately 1,545 grams per pair.

 

Sock Guy Rainbows and Unicorns

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We think these socks speak for themselves.

 by Don Stefanovich 

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