Helmets such as the just updated Bell Super 2R have redefined the category. Photo by Dave Kozlowski
Helmets have come a long way in recent years. Gone are the days when you were forced to choose between light weight and ventilation versus legitimate all-mountain protection. The modern trail helmet can do it all - especially if it has a removable chinbar, which adds a whole other level of protection and versatility.
When the trail doesn't mandate full-face protection, it's easy to scale back to half-shell mode. Photo by Dave Kozlowski
These chameleon'esque brain protectors allow you to slog uphill without overheating or feeling suffocated, and then quickly transform into full-face weapons for the downhill. They're a perfect fit for enduro racing and a place such as our Colorado test HQ in Crested Butte, where so many of the rides are straight up, then straight down.
This year, the crop of options is growing once again. Here are five of the most exciting new removable chinbar helmets spotted at the Eurobike trade show in Germany in early September.
Leatt DBX 3.0
The DBX 3.0 chinbar is removable with just two clicks, and it conforms to the ASTM1952 DH safety standard.
Leatt's new DBX range of helmets feature a dozen safety-enhancing turbines, which are made of 3D molded Armourgel and then set inside the helmet. The idea is that these rubber-like discs stiffen upon impact and deform to absorb both vertical and rotational impact forces (think MIPS). Leatt claims this technology reduces up to 30% of head impact at concussion level as well as up to 40% of rotational acceleration to the head and brain.
The new helmet features a dozen safety-enhancing turbines, which are made of 3D molded Armourgel and then set inside the helmet.
Both the full face DBX 5.0 and 6.0 models, and the 3.0 removable chinbar helmet are also fitted with 3D in-molded V-foam, a multi-density foam that deforms and compresses to better absorb impact, and to reduce forces transferred to the head and brain. The resulting reduced outer shell size allows for a claimed 20% less rotational forces.
The DBX 3.0 chinbar is removable with just two clicks, and it conforms to the ASTM1952 DH safety standard, whereas the upper half of the 3.0 shell is certified to EN1078 and CPSC1203 (regular bicycle standards), which nets a lower weight. The 3.0 helmets also have 18 vents, a magnetic buckle and dial adjuster, and a multi-position breakaway visor. There are 4 color options with sizes S, M, L. Price is $240 with availability set for March 2017.
Bell Super 3R
After hearing some riders complain of pressure points around the temples, Bell has removed and reconfigured some of the padding to alleviate this issue.
The helmet that ushered in the current generation of removable chinbar technology (and has been our go-to during the summer riding season) has gotten a refresh for 2017 with a focus on fit. After hearing some riders complain of pressure points around the temples (yep, it's tight), which often forced a size up, Bell has removed and reconfigured some of the padding to alleviate this issue.
The new 3R also added a Float Fit retention system and incorporated MIPS slip plane technology. There are 23 vents, plus an additional 6 in the chinbar. Safety certification is for standard bicycle use, not DH. There are six color options and sizes S, M, L to ensure plenty of choices. Price is $230 with availability set for October.
Uvex Jakkyl HDE
Winner of a 2016 Eurobike Gold award, the new Uvex Jakkyl HDE has 14 vents, a Boa tension adjustment dial, and comes in two sizes. The chinbar is attached via a pair of rotatable pins. It takes about 20 seconds to swap back and forth between uphill and downhill mode.
In addition, the helmet is formed lower than conventional bike helmets on the sides and at back, protecting a larger area of the head, claims Uvex.
Goggle fastening is integrated into the design, and the helmet can be used with goggles even in half shell mode. Check out this video to learn more.
Continue to page 2 to learn about new helmets from Lazer and Giro »
Lazer Revolution FF
Lazer, which was just bought by Shimano, enters the removable chinbar fray with its Revolution FF helmet, which is UCI downhill safety certified. Unlike the other helmets in this round-up, you'll need to carry a screwdriver or coin to remove the chinbar. However, you can snap a pair of ear covers into place if you're looking for more protection, but not a full-face set-up.
Lazer also developed a safety-enhancing accessory mount that is made from a flexible plastic, which decreases the potential for a snag during an impact. If for instance your POV camera does clip an object, the mount is designed to let it easily break away with damaging the unit. Lazer also drop tested the helmet with an accessory mounted to assure that it would not allow an intrusion into the outer shell.
Other features include an adjustable visor, goggle strap, and the ability to mix and match colors. The main shell and chinbar come stock in black, but you can choose from orange, green, and blue for the visor, safety mount, side cover, ear cover, and chin vent. You can see some of the green options in the model pictured here.
The helmet with ear covers sells for $130, with the chinbar sold separately for $120. Claimed weight size medium is 390 grams without chinbar, and 730 grams in full-face set-up.
Last up is the new Giro Switchblade, which was actually first unveiled at Crankwork in British Columbia. It's equipped with MIPS, and is triple-certified to CPSC, EN, and ASTM downhill safety standards. Chinbar removal is easy and requires no tools.
Beyond increased protection and ease of use, the Switchblade delivers comfort and versatility with the new Roc Loc Air DH adjustable fit system, anti-microbial padding, 20 vents with internal channeling, and two visors (one adjustable POV Plus and one with integrated camera mount).
You'll either love the look the Giro Switchblade in half shell mode - or you wont. We kind of like it.
To pass all the rigorous downhill safety tests, Giro opted to create a full-cut, over-the-ears main shell with the chin bar mounting base integrated into the helmet's base structure. This results in a half-lid style that has an aggressive old-school moto style. It results in better protection in half-lid mode but also hotter, more enclosed structure that will be polarizing factor for some riders. The Switchblade MIPS comes in three sizes and six colors. Price is $250.