Fly Racing have been increasing their involvement in the mountain bike world for awhile now, most notably with racers such as Bernard Kerr and Elliot Jackson. With a lot of years and a great amount of experience in the moto world, the brand has jumped into the mountain bike full-face helmet game with their all-new Werx Carbon.
The premium full-face market in the cycling world consists of a few options, most notably Troy Lee Designs' D3, Fox with their Rampage Pro, and the newer 100% Aircraft; the competition is stiff. The designer of the Werx Carbon, Jerry Lathrop, has put his twenty-plus years of moto and bike helmet design experience into Fly's new lid in an effort to have it join that group.
Fly Werx Carbon Details
• Carbon fiber shell
• EPS liner
• MIPS version available
• Removable cheek pads
• Adjustable visor
• 22 vents + 4 intakes in brow
• Anodized alloy mesh vent covers
• UClear audio compatibility
• Six color options
• Sizes: XS, SM, M, L, XL
• Weight: 950g w/ MIPS, 930g w/o MIPS
• MSRP: $449.95 USD w/ MIPS, $379.95 w/o MIPS
The Werx Carbon has a number of key features, including a carbon/kevlar shell, EPS liner, six adult sizes, and there's also a MIPS version that comes in at $449.95 USD and weighs less than most popular helmets, at 950 grams. The non-MIPS model costs $379.95 USD and is said to weigh 930 grams. Fly is also planning a later release of three youth sizes; that doesn't often happen in the premium helmet market. The helmet's EPS liner is pre-shaped to accept Bluetooth mics and earphones and it is one of the lightest helmets on the market.
Regarding the Bluetooth compatibility, Fly is working with UClear Digital Audio Systems. UClear can be used simply for listening to your favorite tunes while riding, but the benefit of the system is really the ability it gives riders to communicate with others while on the trail. The system is voice activated, and we see it being especially interesting for coaches and bike park instructors, or even patrol, with the ability to chat with others around them. The UClear system costs quite a bit to add - about $400 USD - but for those that have a need, it could be a valuable tool.
The weight of the helmet, at 950 grams, may not seem important to many, and we admit being skeptical of the helmet's safety when initially hearing how light it is. Interested riders can rest assured, with the helmet passing CPSC1203, CE EN1078:2012 + A1:2012, AS/NZ2063.2008 and ASTM F1952-15. In fact, Fly noted that the helmet's main focal points during development were safety first, weight, then airflow, and it looks like they've done a darn good job at reaching each of these.
How did they achieve the low weight without negatively affecting the impact safety of the helmet? It's pretty simple and one of those, "why didn't they think of that before" moments. Fly chose to go with an anodized alloy mesh at each of the helmet's air vents rather than the usual steel mesh. They say that this move saved a relatively significant amount of weight and allowed them to keep the EPS and rest of the helmet's shell untouched, making it possible to still pass impact tests. The MIPS version of the helmet weighs in at about 70 grams less than the nearest MIPS-equipped competitor, the POC Cortex DH.
It's also worth noting that weight reduction isn't just for the sake of it. A lighter helmet creates less force on the neck during an accident, further helping to minimize injury - provided it meets other safety standards, which the Werx Carbon does. This is especially important when looking for a helmet for a young whippet, and Fly will provide three youth sizes of the Werx Carbon in the future.
The Werx Carbon also features quick-snap removable cheek pads, something that is becoming more common in bike helmets over the last few years. This style of pad makes it possible to remove them without the helmet being taken off, making it easier to take the helmet off and prevent neck injuries after the crash. They are also a part of the helmet's fit, and those with a narrow jawline can opt to buy a smaller set of cheek pads to customize this.
One priority that's very noticeable when out riding in the Werx Carbon is the focus on the helmet's comfort and airflow. Though very subjective given the wide variety of shapes and sizes that we homo sapiens come in, the helmet felt very nice when we slid on. While on the trail, we found there to be plenty of airflow, noticeably more than previous helmets we've owned and ridden in. Most of this is thanks to the well-designed intake vents across the brow and front of the helmet, but we also noticed the unique, L-shaped cheek pads further adding to the comfort.
These pads run along the jawline rather than over the whole cheek and prevent the helmet from pushing your cheeks into your teeth. The shape of the pads also allows for a more room around the face and as a result, there's even more airflow. Despite the near 30C heat in Whistler for the launch, we were relatively comfortable with the Werx on. The helmet's cheek pads are easily removed, and they click back into place with secure tabs.
The Werx Carbon will be available in six colors, going from very bold all the way down to a stealthy looking matte carbon with black details for those that like to play it more low-key. Pricing starts at $395.95 USD for the non-MIPS model and $449.95 USD for the MIPS version.