Full Face MTB Helmets

Trail Safety

Full-face helmets are appropriate for downhill, and enduro riders. They encompass the entire head and have the most coverage of all types of bicycle helmets. They are designed for aggressive riding and higher speeds where intense crashes are frequently seen.

In a future post, I will be looking at pre-adolescent children and how they may benefit from full-face helmets during all types of MTB riding because the head of the child is less resistant to impact trauma during development.

Rewind a few years to the early days of MTB full-face helmets and if you had one, you would know that it was like riding the trails with your head in a heavy box and a spill might well involve damaged neck muscles because of the weight. Today, technology has taken giant leaps; protection is better, and the weight has reduced to an average of 750 grams compared to over 900 grams and poor ventilation at the turn of this century.

New Technology

The latest full-face helmets have adapted technologies from a range of sources that offer practicality and a blend of futurism.

360° Turbine Technology

Helmets made by Leatt for example, use 360° Turbine technology. Simply put, strategically placed discs reduce the energy and rotation typically created by an impact. The material these disks are manufactured from absorbs concussion-level energy and reduces the rotational acceleration to head and brain.

Koyroyd

Koroyd is a class leading energy absorber, with a unique structure which reduces trauma levels with innovative energy management properties. During an impact, the Koroyd cores crush evenly, decelerating the energy from the impact and reducing final trauma levels.

It is through the crushing of these cores that the kinetic energy is converted. Traditional energy absorbers convert little energy, and act more like a spring, storing the energy and releasing it as the incident unfolds. This spring like phenomenon is because of materials having hysteresis. Koroyd has minimum hysteresis offering a far superior structure to reduce the risk of injury.

This incredible energy absorption material can be found in helmets by Smith and Endura.

MIPS

You may have seen MIPS labels on the back of helmets or the packaging. Many helmet manufacturers have incorporated this into their designs, and it means Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS).

Rather than your head rotating during a crash, MIPS helps the helmet to rotate and reduces the amount of shock to the brain. It’s not an entirely new system and was developed in Sweden by Hans von Holst, a Swedish neurosurgeon and professor emeritus who has dedicated his professional life to studying head injuries.

His research recognized that protection against brain injuries was inadequate. In 1996, he began to explore the relationship between brain injuries and helmet construction and together with Peter Halldin, a researcher at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, the duo developed ground-breaking technology in the way helmets were designed and manufactured that proved to significantly increase brain protection.

More Advances

Magnetic buckles provide security and quick release with systems like ‘Fidlock’. No need to remove your gloves either.

Following advances in materials, helmets with wide vents are common and modern helmets are no longer head saunas, no matter how hard you’re working.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is not something new to helmets but combined with other materials methods of tuning it to manage low or high-speed crashes have been developed.

More Than Just A Helmet

Riders need goggles, sunglasses, helmet cams and manufacturers have responded by building in appropriate mounts and clips.

Who includes what?

At a Glance (An ‘X’ is a YES)

MIPS brain protection system Fidlock helmet buckle EPS liner Removable chin bar Adjustable Visor System Fast Wicking Padding Goggle Compatible 360° Turbine Disks Koroyd Technology Weight
FoxProframe X X X 750 gr
MET Parachute MCR X X X 840 gr
Troy Lee Designs Stage X X X 690 gr
Bell Super DH X X X X X 850 gr
Endura MT500 X X X 640 gr
Leatt DBX 4.0 X X X X 880 gr

 

If you like a futuristic, military-style design, then the FoxProframe helmet Looks great and has huge ventilation slots and air-guidance slats that produce a cooling helmet with excellent safety credentials.Foxframe

MIPS brain protection system

Fidlock buckle

Varizorb EPS liner

24 big bore vents

750g (size medium)

 

 

 

 

The MET Parachute is possibly one of the best lids available.

It has a large, detachable, magnetic chin guard, so you can transform it for downhill or comfortable climbing with the snap of a magnet. It has safety features you should expect, looks good and comfort is premium.

MIPS brain protection

Fidlock buckle

Removable chin bar

Boa-FS1 fit system

840g (size medium)

 

 

 

 

Troy Lee Designs Stage helmet looks amazing and is packed with so many safety features that it exceeds the most common safety certifications. It has 11 high-flow air intakes and 14 open core exhaust ports to enable air flow around the head to keep you fresh no matter how hard you’re working the trails.

POLYLITE Shell construction with fibre reinforcement

Dual density EPS, co-moulded with EPP for high and low-speed impact

Fidlock magnetic buckle

MIPS brain protection

690g (size medium / large)

 

 

 

 

This tech-loaded helmet, the Bell Super DH, features a tool-free removable chin bar. An over-brow ventilation system links with the helmet’s carefully spaced ventilation holes to provide cooling airflow and, a goggle-friendly eye-port keeps glasses and goggles secured.

MIPS brain protection

Fidlock buckle

Adjustable visor system

Fusion in-mould polycarbonate shell

850g (size medium)

 

 

 

 

 

The Endura MT500 is manufactured with Koroyd technology. Large vents channel air through the matrix of Koroyd tubes, allowing an exceptionally breathable performance – perfect for climbing. This helmet is certified to the highest safety standards and is the lightest in its class.

Goggle compatible

One-hand micro-adjustment fit

Antibacterial, fast-wicking padding

Extremely lightweight construction

640g (size medium)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Leatt DBX 4.0 won the 2018 Interbike Innovation Award for Mountain Bike Product of the Year. There’s a lot of tech packed into this. It has 360° Turbine discs that reduce impact shock to the brain, and dual density foam absorbs hard knocks.

Fidlock buckle

Detachable mesh chinguard

22 large ventilation ports

Dri-Lex moisture-wicking system

880g (size small)

Mountain Bike Product Innovation Awards 2018 by Interbike

If you’re interested in who was awarded last year, here’s the list. Developments in the cycling industry have led to the cancellation of the 2019 event.

  • Pivot Firebird 929 (long-travel mountain bike)
  • Shimano ME5 Shoe
  • Leatt DBX 4.0 Helmet
  • Oakley DRT5 Helmet
  • Enduro Bearings 12 speed pulley (increases shifting performance, and reduces overall friction)

Comments & Questions

Your comments and questions are always welcome and will receive a quick response. If you would like to add your favorite full-face helmet, please don’t hesitate to do so and I will include it in a future post with a link back to you if you want it, so long as you provide a brief review.

Affiliate Links

You can order any of the helmets listed in this post at Chain Reaction Cycles by clicking on the banner to the right. They have an excellent 365 day returns policy too. Please understand that if you order from CRC, I may receive a small commission but this in no way affects the price you pay. You can read the details by clicking on “Affiliate Links” on the right of the top menu bar.

Just Ride Hard, Ride Fair, Nobody Hurt

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10 thoughts on “Full Face MTB Helmets

  1. Surely a great read this was and I enjoyed every bits of it. To be honest, getting a full face helmet design seems like a very great idea that I would be very thrilled to get involved with since it can help me  a lot to get that perfect helmet that would prevent any injuries to the head when crashing happened or occurred. I like the Leatt DBX 4.0 since it is obviously the best among all. My question is, can a person riding just for fun also get something of this nature?

    1. Hi Roddarick, Thank you for your comments. Yes, any rider can wear one of these regardless of the type of riding they enjoy. What I like about the Leatt is the removable chin guard so if you’re not riding severe terrain such as fast downhill, you won’t get too hot. These helmets are light too so, it’s not like carrying a heavy weight on your head. There are numerous helmets available today. If you need a new one, always ask and I will be happy to help.

      Best regards

      Steve C

  2. Although I am not much of a biker of any sort, it is great to know that bikers have many options when it comes to helmets. So, what is your preference when it comes to helmets? I imagine that helmets have changed over the last few years now that mountain biking and other rugged sports are quite popular now.

    1. Hi Geri, Thank you for your comments & question. Although I ride with a choice of two Bell helmets, when I need a new one it will be the The Leatt DBX 4.0 or newer version depending on when I need it. Aside from the excellent safety features, it has a removable chin guard so it can be used for several riding disciplines without the rider overheating. A good helmet is crucial to safety and it’s great to know that manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to reduce risk of injury.

      Best regards,

      Steve C

  3. I have really enjoyed reading your  article because am good at  riding but i have been looking for good helmets which could smoothen or make my rides more enjoyable but by your article i have landed on one which has taken all my minds and am likely to get one and that’s the Endura MT500 thanks for this article

    1. Hi Mugalu, Thank you for commenting and I’m pleased you have found a helmet that will suit your riding. The Endura is one of the best out there although I must admit that in addition to safety features, I prefer a bit of color 🙂 Happy riding, Steve

  4. A full face helmet is used mostly by those who are in the competitive races most times and I feel it is specially designed for them to prevent injuries that may end their careers and some minor cases, their life. So, I would not be needing to get this since I ride only as a form of fun and also alongside friends. However, it was surely an awesome reading

    1. Hi Ramos, Yes, FF Helmets are often seen in competition but many downhill riders (and others) wear them too. They are also a very positive idea for kids because they offer great protection to still developing heads. I’m pleased you enjoyed this post. Thank you, Steve C

  5. Riding is fun always have been and always will be. Ride is more when one has protection. The better the protection gear the more safe the ride, it ease the mind. It is good to know that there is someone out there that is always thinking of us riders and continue to make the safety gear better and safe for us rider, from little bike to bigger bikes. It only take a split second to get hurt.

    1. Hi Billy, Thanks for your comments and I agree completely. It’s great to know that we can minimize injury and stay on the trails thanks to ongoing developments. Not forgetting our ride skills too. Even as an experienced rider, I still practice skills drills. Happy riding, Steve

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