The 100% Aircraft helmet was first seen on the head of Loic Bruni on the World Cup downhill circuit, but it's now available to the public, even if you don't have rainbow stripes on your jersey. Although it is aimed primarily at the downhill crowd, its light weight makes it a good option for enduro racers as well, or anyone who doesn't feel like lugging a helmet that weighs the same as a bowling ball along on a ride.
Thanks to the use of a carbon fiber and Kevlar shell, along with clever gram-saving tricks like a titanium D-ring buckle, the Aircraft weighs in at only 1042 grams for a size medium, a very competitive figure for an ASTM-DH certified helmet. For comparison, Bell's Full 9 weighs 1154 grams, and a Troy Lee D3 Carbon is 1100 grams. 100% didn't forget about ventilation either, and the Aircraft has a total of 25 vents to help keep the air flowing, vents that are designed to work in conjunction with the internal channels that are molded into the helmet's EPS liner.
100% Aircraft Helmet Details
• Carbon / Kevlar composite shell
• 25 vents and channels
• Removable liner and cheek pads
• ASTM DH, CPSC, CE, AS/NZ certified
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
• 8 color options (chrome adds $50)
• Weight: 1042 grams (size M)
• MSRP: $400 USD
The helmet's cheek pads can be removed with the helmet still in place, a useful, and increasingly common feature that's intended to help medics remove a helmet without compromising spine stability. The Aircraft helmet is available in six different colors for $400, and if you're looking for something fancier, there are two chrome color choices that go for $450. Performance
No two skulls are shaped alike, and not all helmets fit the same, which is why it's always important to try a helmet on in person before throwing down hundreds of dollars on a shiny new lid. For my relatively oval-shaped head the Aircraft was a perfect fit – snug around the cheeks, ears, and brow, but without any uncomfortable pressure points. It's not quite as cushy as the Bell Full 9, my current benchmark when it comes to comfort, but it's still very comfortable, and it is lighter, with a more svelte outer shell profile than the Full 9.
It hasn't been the warmest of summers so far, but temperatures have climbed into the 80s (≈28° C) a few times, and on those days the Aircraft managed quite well. It's still very much a full face – you're not going to find the level of airflow found on a half shell XC lid here – but it also never felt uncomfortably hot or stifling even when taking laps under a blazing sun. When worn with goggles, a couple of the rear vents are blocked by the strap, but that didn't make any noticeable temperature difference - it's those top two side vents where the majority of the ventilation is occurring.
In a moment of klutziness I did manage to break the visor, which brings me to the first of two small gripes I have – a spare isn't included in the Aircraft's $400 asking price. There is a handy carrying bag
, but still, for the price an extra visor would be a nice touch. To be fair, the Bell Full 9 doesn't include a visor at a similar price, and while the TLD D3 does include one, it also costs $50 more. On a related note, I do wish that there was a wider range of upwards adjustment for the visor. Even in the highest position I still found myself catching glimpses of it every once in a while - a couple degrees more movement and it would be completely out of the way, no matter the angle of the trail. According to 100%, an updated visor shape is in the works, and will be released this fall. Other than those two quibbles, the Aircraft was virtually unnoticeable when I was wearing it, which is the ultimate goal of any helmet.Pinkbike's Take:
|Light, well ventilated, and stylish, the Aircraft is a excellent option for riders looking for a new high-end full face helmet. - Mike Kazimer|
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