Opinion: Why 3/4 Shells Aren't As Silly as They Look

Jan 27, 2022
by Henry Quinney  

“Do you like your teeth?” Answering this, as a Brit, isn’t the yes or no, cut and shut answer one could expect. Maybe I better rephrase that. Do you want your teeth forcibly removed? Well, probably not. Even somebody with teeth that resemble a Picasso painting, without a parallel line in sight, probably doesn't want them taken out by force. Funnily enough when I first got to Canada from the UK, seeing everyone's perfectly straight and pearly white teeth firsthand made me almost grateful for the mask mandate, if only to hide my own tombstones.

I suppose it’s an odd thing, the concern we have for our faces. In one relatively small area, there are a lot of vulnerable pieces and when we ride bikes I think we’re acutely aware of that. Well, for the most part. Even if a Hapsburg Prince went OTB they would probably still think to protect their features, even if in actuality it’s the ground that I would feel sorry for once that battering ram of a jaw picked up some real momentum.

I don’t think it’s merely vanity to be concerned about your facial features. In fact, I think it’s a very human thing. I don’t know if it’s learned or ingrained but the idea of smashing your face into something isn’t quite as easy to brush off as a damaged limb or battered torso - even if those others can be equally severe.

Convertible helmets are more and more common but even fixed chin bars can leave me concerned.

The only type of trail I don’t like to wear an open face on is when the speed is high, the trail is rough and the grip is low. I hate that feeling of having the front wheel snatched from you and not having enough time to even get a hand out in front of your face. Steep and tech doesn’t bother me so much. I suppose those crashes don’t tend to have the same immediacy, or high speed and sometimes can feel like falling over more than crashing, or at least at the speeds that I tend to bumble along at.

I recently tested a Giant Realm MIPS helmet. I’m not sure what to call this style. Ear-muffed-open-face? What about a three-quarter job? Maybe not. My friend, who we'll refer to as Johnson here, was nicknamed Half-a-Job-Johnson by his partner. We never knew exactly what that referred to and always presumed it meant he didn’t do the dishes properly or something… either way, three quarters sounds a bit unfair.

Admittedly, this style of helmet isn’t that easy on the eye, and that’s irrespective of brand. They seem to look like a polystyrene version of something Gimli would wear, albeit with a massive avant-garde, high fashion golf visor that elderly ladies have on holiday to keep the heat from their face, but are they as silly as they look? I would say not.

"And my axe!" You tell 'em, Kaz. To be fair, the Tyrant doesn't score that high on the Gimli-scale, especially compared to the angular Fox Dropframe..

The obvious question is that if you’re riding trails that demand more protection and yet still involve pedaling, why on earth wouldn’t you go for a lightweight enduro full face? They’re made to the same standards as a downhill helmet, they might even come with removable jaw protection and they can keep you cool and fresh on the descents and climbs, while wearing something only slightly heavier and less breathable than the halfway house of the ear-muffed-open-face.

Well, I suppose I come at it from the other end - if I’m riding a trail that has me reaching for a full face, why would I want anything other than a downhill helmet? The enduro helmets, while light and comfortable, have never really instilled me with that much confidence. I don’t know if it’s the flexing jaws, the low weight or the padding that feels like it often doesn’t hold your head completely securely that has me concerned, but I just never feel totally confident in them. And, if I don’t feel totally confident then what’s the point?

I know there are better and worse executions, and I don't want to tar them all with the same brush, but some of them, even with all the relevant safety certifications, seem a bit sketchy. It's the ones that are chasing low-weight as the highest priority and feel as light and flimsy as an ice cream cone that I don't look on favorably.

TLD A3 review
I love my A3 and its deep fit, but I also see a place for open face helmets with even more coverage.

I suppose years of the bike industry positioning high-end helmets as not merely satisfying standards but far exceeding them, and this being very important, has left me somewhat skeptical about the certifications in general. For the record, I am definitely skeptical of removable or flexing chin bars. With full downhill helmets becoming lighter, better ventilated and working better with yellow PVC sunglasses than ever, it has me asking why I’d even bother? Okay, I’m joking on the last bit but you catch my drift - downhill helmets have never been so good, and that’s what I compare the enduro full-face helmets to, not anything with an open face.

And the half-a-job-Johnson helmet definitely does offer something different to what I consider to be its main competition, a classic open face helmet. When the comparison goes between the two, the ¾ shell does come off looking more favourable.

Another question would be, is this style of helmet merely a fad? It’s all very well and good the 50/01 riders wearing them while they’re getting-trendy-in-the-woods, but what about you and I while we’re dragging brakes and casing jumps? I wouldn’t say so, and I think helmets such as the Realm are here to stay. They might not have the chin bar of some burlier helmets but that’s also what makes them so versatile. For me, it’s not just the weight of a full-face helmet but also the chin bar keeping my hot-air exhalations in that makes me not want to wear one.

With full-downhill helmets as ventilated as the 100% Aircraft 2 the enduro full-face makes even less sense to me.

If I was doing days of bike park laps or wild trails would I wear one? No, to be honest. If it deserves extra protection then I want a full downhill helmet. However, I think the Realm, and helmets like it, for all day lift-assisted alpine riding with some vertical gains thrown in, cruisy spins with friends or cooler climates.

Truthfully, if I need a full face then a lightweight one isn’t going to satisfy me, but there are plenty of times where I might be going to ride technical trails where I would gladly take extra protection but I don’t want to overheat. If I’m riding something gnarly, then I want to feel safe and comfortable that I’m adequately protected. If I’m pedaling and it’s hot then I want something to breathe not trap the hot air next to my face. If it’s a long climb and something truly dangerous I’d rather just take the cheek pads out of my full face and suffer a little. Either way, there’s a far greater chance that I’m reaching for an open face with extra coverage than a lightweight enduro helmet.


311 Comments

  • 231 6
 I'm a hero in a half shell.
  • 79 2
 Turtle power
  • 17 0
 I just turtle up when I go OTB
  • 20 0
 Cowabunga
  • 56 0
 Must be a real Shredder
  • 10 0
 that's a fact, Jack!
  • 6 0
 Can the chin guard be just a frame? Kind of like a football helmet?
  • 11 0
 No helmet will stop a Splinter, and they hurt!
  • 11 0
 This is an n+1 helmet promo. (The only reason I have more than one is because I keep the only slightly crashed ones for emergency use)
  • 3 2
 @headshot: Yes, n+1 is just right, for bikes & helmets.
For AM/EN in the alps I only use the Giro swichbalde without chin, which is simply the safest option due to coverage and the Upper shell also being ASTM (DH) certified, which means bigger forces are covered, than a regular halfshell MTB helmet.
For Bikepark Leatt 4.0 (non detachable)
For XC, Leatt 2.0 (not a lot of coverage, but very light & well ventilated)
For Commuting: the oldschool Protec Pisspot with EPS.
For Road, HJC.
  • 2 0
 @andrewfrauenglass: Or like the bar that skiers have.
  • 3 0
 That episode of The Simpsons where Lisa needed braces and the dentist showed her a book titled "The Big Book of British Smiles".
  • 197 3
 I've seen/ heard of one too many silly crashes that resulted in face carnage to not wear a full face most of the time. The worst was a buddy who worked at our shop years back, who is a great rider, was just dropping into a trail when the lack of full face struck. His pedal was stuck on a root, and as he went to drop in, his bike stayed put, and he OTBed and slid face first down the opening rock feature. The result was his nose almost being fully degloved (5mm more, and apparently he would have needed a fake nose installed). It was graphic as f*ck, and just having some kind of face protection would have meant he would have rolled away laughing.

Having the North Shore mountains as our local hills, I'm always surprised by the lack of full faces. Even mellow rides on the shore can lead to any serious face injury at one small mistake (no matter how slow or chill you are taking it). Enduro full faces DEFINITELY have their place in the helmet world, even if you aren't full sending or riding a bike park. I personally don't see the point of 3/4 helmets, because why would you want the most of the extra heat of a full face, without the added face protection? Just wear a good half shell at that point...
  • 54 4
 I’m surprised too by the lack of full face on NS mountains. But I think it must be a macho thing? Too cool to wear a full face to go with the bad attitude when saying hi and not getting a response while they only look at your bike…
  • 33 0
 I agree with you 100%. The other thing is is that every disastrous crash I have been in, I wasn’t in control anymore and the crash came out of nowhere so that’s why I always wear a full face even if I’m on a milder ride.
  • 12 4
 My good buddy went OTB once and somehow got his thumbs stuck and face planted wearing a D2. The whole chin piece broke where it joins the main part of the helmet. After that crash I vowed to never wear a Full face with a removable chin guard. Seems crazy to wear a helmet that's actually designed to come apart.
  • 36 1
 I consider myself a pretty good rider. I'll do decently in regional level Enduros in the "expert" category and I'm comfortable on large gap jumps. I had a 2.5 hour plastic surgery operation to put my face back together after falling off a teeter totter and landing face first. It's always the dumb stuff that gets you. I do tend to wear my lightweight fullface more often these days
  • 17 0
 im fine with the tld stage. has none of the problems that henry said
  • 33 0
 @Tmackstab: did he hurt his face though? I don’t really care if the helmet breaks on impact as long as it protects my face.
  • 10 0
 @Tmackstab:

That's an interesting point. I rarely removed the chin bar on my bell super 3r and when it came time to retire it I went with a TLD stage and don't miss the removable feature.
  • 13 0
 @mior:

TLD Stage. Perfect. I wear it for almost all my riding except flat XC loops.
  • 20 1
 @FunctionalMayhem: I look the coolest when wearing my FOX Rampage, FOX motocross shin+knee protectors and upper body Defend jacket. My friends make fun of me... but I tell that I promised my mom I will be careful. The back plate of the jacket saved me from broken rib this year
  • 12 0
 This is the kind of crash that the Bell super air R with removable chin bar seems like it could really protect your face on. It’s not real heavy impact (25 mph headfirst into a tree ) - that a heavy duty full face protects, but it is lower impact face + rock. If you have some plastic between your face and the rock you’re going to come out much better. I have had a few of these sort of slow speed OTB where my arms can’t fully brace and keep my face from going into stuff and the removable chin bar has protected my teeth. Most of the kind of riding I do is long XC rides with some spice mixed in, and long climbs with a few steep technical descents. A high end FF would be brutal but putting the chin bar on for a couple trails is NBD.
  • 23 0
 This winter, I took my buddy to the hospital with an open skull fracture after he crashed on a legal trail on the North shore. He was the only one in the group wearing a half shell. The helmet took some of the force but I believe the force of the impact forced the helmet up which is why he fractured his skull near his hairline. I fully believe that the chin bar on a full face would have forced more impact backwards and helped resist the forces pushing the helmet up. I am full time lightweight full face convert and don't even keep anything less as an option. The slight weight and comfort disadvantages are simply too small compared to the risks in my opinion.
  • 59 0
 I wear a lightweight full face not because the trails demand it but because my riding ability demands it...
  • 10 0
 Agreed. Everything might not require a burly DH helmet, but a lightweight full face will save your face in a very normal kind of crash
  • 1 0
 @enduroNZ: yeah cut the end of his nose if I remember correctly, helmet did its job %100. Just can't help but wonder if a removable chin guard helmet would have offered the same protection or totally exploded
  • 5 0
 I have a related experience that's not as graphic. Crashed on the local jumps last week. All I really remember is the bar end somehow punching me directly below the nose. It boxed me pretty hard - got a split lip and couldn't see straight when I got up - but had no visible damage to the helmet. The rest of me was fine. Some kind of face protection would have made life a lot easier.
  • 20 0
 It's your seeing, drinking, eating, breathing, tasting and smelling holes. What could be more important?
  • 12 1
 I wear a Mando helmet made of Beskar. Tunnel vision and sniping trails all day and night!! No pain no gain....
  • 15 0
 @hevi: I skimmed through the statement and determined that a full face will allow me to continue to smell holes. I’m sold
  • 4 0
 I would also agree. Unfortunately the price tag increases with more protection but when you consider time off work reconstructing your facial features and never looking the same, I would perhaps at least consider it. Even high speed x-country is a gamble. A mechanical mishap or a loose burm on a dry summer day can send you in the trees with pretty good velocity
  • 5 1
 @leon-fortar Thank you for that comment - it saved me some writing Wink

Light and well ventilated FF is the best solution even when the chin protector is not DH certified. I really like www.endurorider.pl/cratoni-c-maniac becouse it's so light and still protects (somewhat) your teeth form beeing knonced out during some stupid, low speed, crash. It's not the best solution but it's still better than nothing.

3/4 without chin protector are pointless in my opinion but since PB has new owners things have changed significally, but you need to be lont time reader to feel that.

Fot today my next FF is Leatt Enduro V3/V4 with removable chin, despite f*ckedup price. Those type of helmets are really good now.
  • 2 0
 HI, I’m really thankful for your comment because I agree with a lot of what you said with exception to one key point you made — ‘why wouldn’t you want the added face protection?’

The way I look at it is this — if I want to take a 120mm 29er ‘downcountry’ bike out to get rid of my COVID belly I keep telling my partner I’m going to get rid of but keep eating pizza, because pizza, I’m reaching for a classic ‘mountain bike helmet’ like the Fox Speedframe. Great helmet with excellent rear protection for that good ‘ol occipital lobe. But if I’m riding a 140mm 27.5” bike where I’m going to be ‘earning my turns’ with some fireroad climbing but there’s a few features I plan to boost on the way down, a 3/4 helmet (i.e., the Fox Dropframe) is a ‘step-up’ in terms of protection. One way to think of it is, I’m not doing timed runs from a start-gate and I’m not doing anything I wouldn’t do on my BMX with a similar open-face helmet.

So when do I I reach for a lightweight fullface like the Fox Proframe? When I’m thinking about my time. Do I think it’s overkill for anyone doing fireroad laps and stopping 1/2 way down to admire some sweet sphagnum moss? Absolutely not. Those helmets offer face protection and excellent breathability. For me however, I think 3/4 helmet is the way to go.
  • 5 0
 @DutchmanPhotos: "XC Loop" has a lot of different meanings depending on where you are at in the world. Which I think can lead to confusion in discussion. In some places it's a pedal loop with descending double black consequential trails. In other places it's smooth, flat single track and lycra is involved. @pinkbike needs to do a poll that officially puts a universal definition on "XC".
  • 1 1
 @FunctionalMayhem: that sounds like a good chunk of mtb riders these days?? Regardless of the helmet type. There’s mostly the xc douche, and the enduro-bro douche floating around here. If they’re on a carbon bike, definitely raises the stakes of them being a douche.
  • 1 1
 @JDFF: You are 100% right. That’s why I said “flat” XC loops… :-)
  • 1 0
 Totally agree. I've been riding the shore more than half my life. When I started it seemed everyone wore a full face. It was just expected, and everyone here knows someone who could have been spared untold misery if they had worn one. When I came back to the sport summer 2020, I couldn't believe how few people I saw wearing them, and I can't fathom why. Ya know what really doesn't look cool? Completely destroying your face. I think this year I'll be looking for an Enduro full face.
  • 2 0
 I couldn't agree with you more. Let's be honest, with the speeds that we are traveling on these enduro bikes a crash into a tree/rock could easily cause serious injury or death. I had a very serious concussion and facial lacerations from a STUPID crash on a trail that I've ridden thousands of times about 10 years ago. Lucky that I walked away with only a serious concussion and stitches. Since then I only wear light full face helmets and wouldn't consider not wearing a light full face.

We aren't descending at the speeds that were common in the 80's and 90's on hard tails. 160mm travel bikes will get you to DH bike speed very quickly and the risk that comes with higher speeds are real.

I come from the MX world so wearing a full face on the MTB never really bothered me, the extra safety vastly outweigh whatever mild discomfort/heat that the full face added. Stop being a baby about the discomfort of a full face, your significant other will thank you when you inevitably take that hard spill and walk away with bruises and stitches on your knees instead of facial reconstruction.
  • 1 0
 When I moved to the North Shore, I was like “wtf, I need a full face here! Is there something I can find that also breaths for the climbs?”

If breathability is no different than a regular helmet or a 3/4, why wouldn’t you protect your face? The extra protection doesn’t hurt so sign me up.

And yes, I acknowledge have a much heavier one for Whistler but that’s because I don’t have to climb! It’s not because the NS trails are easier.
  • 1 0
 @cwatt: So you want your face to look like a pizza or a hamburger...
  • 1 0
 @PlinyTheElder: So you wear a mouth guard and cup as well?
  • 1 0
 @curendero: it’ll match the rest of my body, so at least I’m being consistent. Besides, I don’t choose a helmet based on how my face will look.
  • 120 7
 Choose a helmet and be a dick about it
  • 13 0
 @bashhard...I've got a mullet and a giro tyrant, I'm confused which side of the fence to be a dick on.
  • 25 0
 Choose a dick and the a helmet comes with it.
  • 2 0
 @bigtim: once you choose helmet you can't go back.
  • 1 0
 @Andykmn: If the dick is stuck in the helmet, remove the inspiration for excitement and it will loosen up. Don't force it.

@haydos: Same there. There may be two sides of the fence but there is only one safe exit.
  • 12 2
 Pinkbikers are ridiculous. They’re so obsessed with how their helmet looks and if they look cool or not. Every time a bmx article is posted every comment is about helmets meanwhile if you actually go ride bmx, people are wearing everything from no helmets to full faces and nobody ever comments on it. Mtb needs to be more like bmx. Let people wear what they want and shut the f*ck up about it.
  • 2 3
 @thenotoriousmic: So your point is that because BMXers don't care if people should wear helmets that MTBers shouldn't comment on BMX'ers not wearing helmets BECAUSE MTBers care too much about what helmets look like?


Hmmmm....?
  • 3 0
 @stiingya: No I didn’t say that. Haha. I years of riding bmx never once has someone ever said anything about someone ether not wearing a helmet or what type of helmet they wearing. Most people wear helmets these days. Mtb helmets are quite common as are full faces. Nobody ever says anything. Mtb it’s a different thing all together. Pinkbike especially. It weird how concerned people are about how they look to others.
  • 53 0
 Personally I don't find the highly ventilated chinbar on most enduro full face helmets problematic, or even increasing my heat/sweat levels. Conversely, I notice the extra coverage around the back of the head and ears much more, in the sense that those are the areas I find hot when I'm climbing.

Which makes it seem to me like a 3/4 shell is would be nearly as hot as an enduro full face helmet, but without the actual front of face protection. With the caveat that I haven't actually ridden with one of the 3/4 shells yet.
  • 12 0
 I agree, but the chinbar on my proframe does funnel bugs into my face and helmet. I thought it was funny the first time, then I realized its a feature.
  • 6 0
 @RonSauce: glue a little mosquito net in there
  • 6 0
 @RonSauce open your mouth for more protein, filly casual! Clearly you're not a true Enduro Brah.
  • 18 0
 @WE-NEED-MORE-ROOST: if you can't appreciate the occasional sky raisin why bother going outside.
  • 2 0
 This is what I found with my old Proframe too. I now have a Sweet Protection Arbitrator which is much hotter, but I think I'd rather crash in...
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan I came here to say the same thing. I would also add that the chinbar has saved me numerous times.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: insect protein is a future
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: it's the Jalapeno sky raisins that really suck.
  • 36 0
 I think the problem with these helmets is there is very little information on how much extra protection they provide. It's hard then to make an assessment on whether the extra weight/heat/looks (if you care about such things) is worth it
  • 14 12
 They protect your ears and make it harder for the whole helmet to glide around your head. The question is whether your ears are worth more to you than potential increase in brain damage due to rotational force. Working against MIPS for no reason. At least FF protects your chin and teeth so fair play. But I agree with Henry on helmets with removable chin guards and many lightweight non removable options.
  • 12 0
 @calmWAKI: it's not a perfect measure, but Virginia Tech still rates the Dropframe as one of the best helmets for concussion reduction, ahead of a lot of helmets that have been released more recently.
  • 4 1
 @jcc0042: love my Dropframe, BUT it is picky with which glasses it will play nicely with. Since I don't wear goggles, I actually wear my Dropframe the least of my 3 helmets (A3/Stage round out the trio).
  • 2 0
 @SprSonik: I have the Giro Tyrant. No issues so far with glasses, but I haven't tried any with large frames. I wear it the most of any helmet I own.
  • 2 0
 You can look into the astm ratings. Interestingly, the giro switchblade 3/4 is DH certified, while the Giro Tyrant only meets the ASTM bike helmet standards. The fox dropframe did extremely well in the Virginia tech testing, whereas the Tyrant only did ok. So, independent testing and what standards the helmet meet are the only way to objectively know.
  • 8 0
 I agree, they all meet dh certification, but how can @henryquinney know if his feelings about lightweight ff helmets vs "real" dh helmets matches with reality? I'd argue that some of the thicker light ff models with dual layer foam and MIPS may be more effective at preventing concussions vs a very basic "real" ff, which is my main concern. Maybe your main concern is protection from punctures, in which case a carbon shell "real" ff is going to come out on top. There's so many different kinds of crashes which make the issues truly difficult to understand, then combine that with belief based on bias, traumas, etc. and we often form preferences based on emotion and feelings rather than reality.
  • 2 0
 My Switchblade has a huge dent just behind and below the ear. For sure would smack this stone in my head if not that little extra coverage. So it's not ears which are protected, but the skull around them.
  • 8 3
 @jcc0042: far better meaure than mine or any dickhead who never worked with testing of things like this. I don't know why I wrote this stuff taken right out of my ass... I need help
  • 4 2
 @calmWAKI: You have any actual evidence to back up what you're saying? What testing have you done to validate your statements?
  • 12 1
 @nickfranko: no I don’t. As I wrote I took it right out of my ass. World would be a better place if people asked the same question as you did more often.
  • 4 0
 @calmWAKI: the depth of your zen is a bit unnerving to be honest. Nevertheless, I'm happy for you.
  • 3 0
 @HankDamage: I believe people should take back stuff they said when they feel it was shitty or untrue. It’s a privilege not something to be ashamed of. I felt sorry for myself for saying something that made sense for whole 3 minutes.
  • 2 0
 @calmWAKI: Now that you have apologized already, feel free to dump whatever you still have up your ass. Sometimes it is just about the relief.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: It’s a very short lived relief.
  • 36 1
 I heard someone say that any riding that would justify one of these helmets would also justify a full face, so I dont see the real use for these. But hey, as long as you wear a helmet.... I think we shouldnt judge people by their looks anyways... wear lycra with a full face, wear elbow pads, wear a normal thsirt and shorts... nobody cares, have fun, ride your bike
  • 31 0
 I have the convertible Bell Super DH. Where I live in NM, most rides are 1-5k up and then the same back down. Although anecdotal, I had a pretty hard fall last year (broke some ribs and elbow), and my head got knocked hard, but no broken face due to the chin guard. Thus, I highly disagree that you either use a full or a half and that enduros with chin guards are no good. That's just silly.
  • 2 4
 I appreciate your resolve but I expect people will take varying levels of risk depending on their activities and their mentality. I have a super DH as well and really like it and have worn it half on climbs then full on the way down many times. When cross-country riding though with lots of up and downs, you might carry the half on your back then put it on for the downhill, then take it off for the uphill, back and forth as you go through the ride. If you choose to wear it full time, it makes using a camelback or water bottle difficult to use. If you ride in hot weather, temporary cross country can get hot. There's lots of difficulties with this being the perfect solution for all people. Granted having a bad crash without one may be a huge problem but many will probably choose to take the risk anyway. Perhaps your positivity about safety will persuade some of those around you to wear more protective gear. If so, props to you
  • 3 0
 @mdinger: I agree. My decision to buy the super dh was that most of my rides are long climb up followed by long decent. Only having one, maybe two, chin bar transactions per ride. Anything flatter/xc oriented I don't even think about bringing the chin bar.
  • 2 0
 @mdinger: I haven't tried the Super DH but i had a Super 2 with the chinbar and that thing was hot all the time. Now i have a Proframe (granted not a full DH helmet) and i can just stick the camelback hose right in through the front. Very few issues with heat too. Snot rockets...okay, those are still a problem.

There's a lot of variation between different brands (i also have a TLD DH and a Fox Speedframe). If you want the protection don't be afraid to try something different, i really enjoy having the Proframe for the big climb/big descent days.
  • 31 1
 Boring stats on motorcycle crashes place chin bar area to 15-20% of all impacts: riders.drivemag.com/news/helmet-crash-statistics-why-an-open-face-can-be-fatal
Had a chance to test this myself in a light, slowish otb: knockout, small chin laceration, ambulance called by bystanders. Not fun. Wearing light full face ever since.
Henry's argument that slow steep tech does not call for a full face for him, reminds me of an opinion of drivers resisting seatbelts in slow speed city limits: "I'll just use my arms to push against the steering wheel".
  • 4 0
 I like stats! They would have been useful to put in the article even though it is in an opinion piece.
  • 1 0
 @DKlassen8: Agreed. Facts are important to consider when formulating opinions; or at least they used to be.
  • 20 0
 The ear protection argument makes little sense as all decent half shells stick out further than your ears on each side. The only major advantage of a full face other than just a general safety increase is Chin-Mouth-Nose protection which 3/4 shells don’t provide. Seems like a “look-safe, feel-safe” fashionista thing to me promoted by protection companies.
  • 1 1
 I went over the bars on a rocky section and had ear protection save my ears. I caught a pointed rock straight to the ear and the helmet took all the impact. On a smooth flow trail, there is little need.
  • 22 4
 I simply don't understand how the "pick a helmet and be a dick about it" comment isn't the #1 comment.

This editorial is a hot judgemental mess. Yes, I'm sure those of us rocking some helmets are just fashion divas too concerned with looking cool to be safe. Nailed it.
  • 15 0
 I suspect how "safe" you feel in an enduro full face comes down to your riding history. I'm curious what Henry's background as a rider is, 'cause I feel the opposite about enduro full-face helmets. I'm definitely a convert. After a couple decades of riding mostly cross country with a typical light-weight cross country race helmet, and upgrading to a FS trailbike for exploring more of the gnarlier side of riding, I feel way more protected in an enduro style full-face.

Were I a more free-ride/park/DH oriented rider prior, then maybe I'd agree with Henry and a lightweight enduro ff might not feel substantial enough to offer the protection I wanted.

But, If I'm going to ride gnarlier trails with more airtime, and higher speeds than a typical blue XC trail, but still pedal up as opposed to shuttling or lift-access, why wouldn't I want to protect my *whole* head, with a helmet that feels like it offers substantially more protection for a minimal comfort/weight penalty? If I had a d/h helmet on those trails I'd probably just end up leaving it home and wearing my XC helmet, 'cause it'd be too hot/heavy to pedal in, whereas a 3/4 shell barely offers more protection than my XC helmet for nearly the same weight/ventilation drawbacks (especially considering everyone seems to wear goggles with them) that I'd have with a lightweight full face.

Frankly, I don't see the point in 3/4 helmets with so many well ventilated, light-weight full face helmets available. I'll be over here in my TLD stage, keeping my teeth in my mouth.
  • 2 0
 Absolutely agree (and by coincidence, I also have a TLD stage for my FF). I literally cannot tell while I'm riding whether I'm wearing my usual open face POC or my TLD Stage. It is that light and comfortable.

Well, at least until I try to drink some water...THEN, I remember. D'oh! ; )
  • 1 0
 @eric32-20: to me drinking and eating is where the Stage shines. I open the bottle and spray the water directly into mouth. I do have a huge mouth, though. Not Mick Jagger huge, but still pretty wide. Same with Cereal bars, unwrap, stick through hole in the chin bar. Perfect!
  • 17 3
 Why wouldn't you want a lightweight full face? As long as it doesn't break on impact, a helmet should be as light as possible to reduce the load/momentum on your neck and head.

You want a helmet to dissipate an impact, not be so heavy and strong that it just transfers all the load to your skull.

I feel truly safer in my Fox Proframe than some super heavy DH helmet, even if it's a one time crash kind of product.
  • 14 5
 Uh, every helmet is a one time crash kind of product, independent of it's weight or cost. Go buy a $700 Shoei MX helmet and it's still only good for one good head hit.
  • 8 0
 @gilby82: Hockey helmets are re-useable. Probably why they suck.
  • 8 0
 @gilby82: A few brands, like POC, have multi-crash helmets.
  • 7 0
 I agree. Also tests on motorcycle helmets show that the lighter the helmet the less likely you are to hit your head because you have the strength in your neck to keep your head off the ground. There are some pale who use this to advocate no helmets which I strongly disagree with but it does show the benefit of a lighter helmet
  • 1 0
 I just got a Proframe, compared to Rampage ( only DH riding obviously ) I want to use Proframe exclusively Big Grin
  • 3 0
 @CM999: that’s why I do neck squats. Gotta support that helmet weight!
  • 12 0
 How is a lightweight chin bar worst than nothing? If I'm face planting, anything is welcomed.
I only have a trail helmet, considering a lightweight FF not as a dh-FF replacement, but as a regular helmet upgrade (I don't dh race)
  • 2 0
 I’ve landed directly on the chinbar of a lightweight enduro helmet before (TLD stage) and didn’t damage it at all, it just dug itself a nice little hole in the ground and compacted dirt into the vent, it also does feel lightweight and non-substantial. I don’t question whether chinbars will protect me, I trust them, but they’re also the most uncomfortable and poorly ventilated piece of a helmet by far, ear coverage isn’t as bad, I’d totally prefer 3/4 over a half shell, but full face is better for a reason, and they’re starting to get comfortable enough for a good chunk of temperatures of trail riding
  • 6 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: I literally fell off a sketchy wooden drop face first into the landing pile of dirt. My head traveled about 3m vertical distance I guess. All my mistake. During the impact I felt my neck stretch and my face being pushed into the helmet. After I got up, the TLD Stage was a convertible helmet with removable chin bar. I had scratches on my nose and a thick lip. No concussion (not that I was aware of), all teeth were still in place. The helmet took alot of the force and gave way before my neck did. A job well done I'd say! If I wore such princess Leia helmet I would have been off way worse.
  • 13 2
 Great writing as usual by Henry. Also like him on the podcast. So funny. Having smashed my face into the ground trail riding a couple of times I'm pretty happy having bought a Bell Super DH a couple years ago. The riding I do is generally the sort where you climb for an hour and then descend. We stop and chat at the top of the climb so there is lots of time to mount a chin bar. I get what Henry's saying about 3/4 shell helmets and how the old ones that sat on top of your head were less than ideal for much of the riding we do.
  • 10 11
 Funny, I actually thought the opposite as I was reading the article - shite writing / reasoning. Example - the noting by Henry of various certifications etc that many of these helmets have, but HEY he's a skeptic! the certifications are sketchy! - stupid positing of opinions completely unsupported by any evidence. It's just dumb writing. A scattershot of garbage like the Pinkbike podcasts, haha. Anyhoo... just seems like a clickbait article anyway. It worked. I clicked. Though the recent discussion of half vs full enduro helmet does make me think I should be wearing my Stage more than my A3.....
  • 10 5
 @eljefespeaks: It's an opinion piece you goon.
  • 2 0
 I also enjoy his writing style, but I think this article is a little irresponsible. I know he tried really hard to be nuanced, but I think it still came off as dismissing light FF helmets. When it comes to protection levels I really think people should keep their opinions to themselves unless they're promoting more. Personally I'm looking to get a FF this season and I'm planning on wearing it on xc rides. I'm not racing. I'm out to enjoy nature. I really don't mind stopping half way up a climb to cool off if it means better head protection. I think a lot of people are starting to feel the same way. Every discipline of MTB is very dangerous. Saying you can't compare light FF to half shell isn't really true when people like me are considering FF for every type of riding
  • 2 0
 @WE-NEED-MORE-ROOST: I know it's an opinion piece. And it's my opinion that it's done poorly - it is not a 'rant piece' - he seems to be trying to use some form of reason to support his opinion and I think it's quite unsuccessful. I still say it comes off as clickbait and not that well written.
  • 3 0
 @mechatronicjf: that's what I thought. (the little bit irresponsible part) No issue with him promoting his choice for protection or talking up why he made his choice. It is more protection then most regular Mtbike helmets so there is merit in that. But when you have a big platform to speak from you do have to consider the consequences of what you say. Hate for someone to come back this summer with the story of how they chose a 3/4 or stopped wearing their chin bar helmet based on this article and had to get facial reconstruction...?

I get that those helmets might better protect the back of your head, and the part of your head around your ears. But why you'd think ear protection was a good idea but not nose and mouth protection is odd to me?

For sure I get that chin bars are hotter then no chin bars... but that's why removable chin bar helmets are a thing!! Smile
  • 11 0
 Is there any data 3/4 helmets are safer? My old full face had deep gouges on the front chin bar from sliding down a mountain face first. Thats plenty of justification for lightweight FF, but I struggle to see real world benefits for 3/4
  • 1 3
 It would help prevent breaking/dislocating your jaw because the joint is supported.
  • 7 0
 @Sethsg: Is there any evidence for that though?
  • 10 0
 Isn't it strange that moto riders wear full face helmets, boots, chest protection, and yet the average mountain biker wears a at most a half lid?

I wear a full face all the time, mouth guard when descending chunk, and knee/shin pads most of the time.

When I kayaked steep creeks I also wore a full face. A buddy lost part of his lower jaw and teeth to a rock on the Green Narrows; started wearing a full face after that doh!
  • 1 0
 @nurseben Any recs on mouthguards? I have been thinking this would be a good addition.
  • 9 4
 @nurseben: have you ridden a MX bike lately? Notice anything different from a MTB? Like, near-instantaneous speed everywhere, or the weight of the bike? Or the likelihood of being run over in a race? By all means wear protection as you see fit, but comparing MTB with Moto as far as protection goes; chalk and cheese.
  • 2 1
 @Tambo: OMG: "chalk and cheese"? That is AWESOME...!
  • 3 0
 I think it's because MX riders aren't pedalling uphill in the heat. On uplift days or hitting jumps first time I'll pad up, but all that gear is just too damn hot for climbing.
  • 1 0
 @MikeBikerson: true, they've ways got good air flow, but they're always working damn hard! I'd say it's more that any crash will be at 20+mph, with a 100kg/220# bike landing on top of you plus the next 3 riders running you over
  • 1 0
 @eric32-20: can't tell if sarcasm or not...
  • 1 0
 most of the time I see people wearing some sort of helmet and maybe knee pads even in DH parks that are flowy... then about half-day in I see them with full face, knee pads and elbow pads. Often because their elbows or faces are already all in burns from sliding on the ground or hugging trees. Part the gives the most laughs they weare them AFTER accident Big Grin
  • 8 0
 I don't typically ride stuff that's terribly gnarly (yet - working up to it), but I wear a full-face almost all the time. I've talked to too many people who've had facial reconstructive surgery, and it's never from bombing down some double-black downhill slamfest, it's usually from just tooting around on some green or blue trail and their face hit a rock the wrong way.

But as to the specific topic of 3/4 shells, I got no problem with them. The more coverage the better, as far as I'm concerned, and if someone thinks I look funny, screw 'em.
  • 1 0
 exactly, serious trials do lead to serious accidents. But from what I hear it is usually pretty mellow trails that cause people the most serious traumas.
  • 7 0
 I know several people myself included that have facial scars from 'easy' trails nobody needs a FF on.
All it takes is a bad day, little inattention and you're going down and it doesn't need to be a 40mph to do a number on your face in a 1/2 dome.

Love my Met Parachute, see no reason for a 1/2 dome.
  • 1 0
 My old Met Parachute is my daily go to helmet. Cut out the front chin bar mesh, an it breaths much better. My new fox proframe gets left at home, unless racing. As its much hotter. Ive been trying to get a Kali Invader for ages, but cant get them here in Oz.
  • 10 1
 Might as well leave your dork disc on if you're gonna ride with one of those helmets.
  • 6 0
 New bike, stronger brakes, familiar trail, riding a chill section of trail without 100% focus... down I went with a front end washout, face-first into the ground. Ended up with a broken jaw, and a whole lot of face stitches, among other injuries. Wouldn't wish a broken jaw on anyone. Now I ride with a light full-face for everything outside of XC racing.

Looking ridiculous is a given, like pedaling a single-speed in a FF, but fair trade in my mind...
  • 5 0
 Guys wear baggy shorts, 3/4 jerseys, but don’t want to wear a full face because they think it looks silly. Hahahaha.
  • 5 0
 @Afterschoolsports: After wearing FF almost exclusively for a year I'm beginning to think that regular helmets look ridiculous. Kind of like the way you might look at someone flying down the trail without a helmet at all (still see it sometimes). Anything will look cool eventually... except perhaps MTB sunglasses .
  • 3 0
 @gomeeker: nothing looks quite as silly as missing a front tooth. Haha.
Also one benefit of needing rx glasses is never ever buying cycling glasses.
  • 5 0
 If I am going to wear something that covers my ears (even ventilated) I am going to grab my FF. The reason I grab my half shell is because its much cooler (temp wise).. and the reason its cooler is because it doesn't cover my ears.
  • 13 5
 I can't say 3/4 helmets are that dumb-looking, if not cool looking.
  • 12 4
 Yeah I honestly think they look pretty normal.
  • 3 3
 Definitely trendy at the moment
  • 2 5
 Yeah maybe it's because most of my group wears them, I think they look totally normal. And for the trails we ride, which tend to be aggressive-ish, but not gravity or anything a half-shell seems insufficient while a full-face is way overkill.
  • 2 1
 @honda50r: If you remember JD Swanguen, he used to wear the Troy Lee 3/4 like, 10 years ago? Maybe more? I thought they were pretty sick back then too.
  • 5 1
 When I was young my dad rode a trial motorbike with his friends. These helmets are cool AF if you are used to them.
  • 1 1
 @faul: those moto helmets had a really rigid visor that helped a bit in a face plant. If these 3/4 helmets had that it would make more sense
  • 2 1
 Can't say if they are cool-looking or dumb-looking. Eye of the beholder, and all that. BUT: what they do look like is a batting helmet.

So, what I really want to now: can they take a 99 mph fast ball impact whilst riding? Wink
  • 4 0
 Lots of people say the don’t like ff because got to breath through and the prob with these is they don’t protect you from getting your nose ripped off. This would look even sillier but how about 3/4 helmets with football masks? You could breath east and have your face protected! Xc helmets could be like the quarterback helmets and the dh helmets could be like the lineman ones.
Just a silly thought.
  • 8 2
 Luke skywalker. Someone should make a three-quarter shell called the”skywalker”

Mkay?
  • 6 3
 Most of my crashes have happened at low speed (literally slow jogging pace) when I have not been concentrating and I have hit the deck way faster than expected. As a result I just wear a lightweight Full Face and chest/back protection everywhere nowadays. It sucks a bit in summer, but that's now the price of admission for me.
  • 1 0
 What are you using for chest/back and would you recommend it.
  • 1 0
 @unusual-bread: currently have a Leatt 3.5 Hard-Shell Chest Protector. It's saved my ribs twice now. That said it is little bulky and fairly ugly as I wear it over your clothes, but it definitely does the job well.
  • 3 0
 @unusual-bread: I can recommend the Leatt AirFlex Stealth Body Tee. I forget I'm wearing it in the winter. Less so in the summer but still not bad. I generally wear a hip pack, not a backpack, though. The chest protection is sort of minimal, but the back and shoulders are legit.
  • 1 0
 @tdel010: love the leatt air flex stealth tee. It’s non restrictive and can’t even tell I’m wearing it
  • 1 0
 @unusual-bread: I'm using the Leatt Body Tee Airflex Stealth and find it surprisingly comfortable and a nice added layer of protection. It doesn't really have much rib coverage but the back and chest protection are worth it for me. So +1 for Leatt!
  • 1 0
 @soaklord: and those shoulder pads are what’s up. Last season got a bad puncture wound on shoulder from overhanging branch that my air flex would’ve saved me from. Never again lol time to start rocking body armor on everyday rides
  • 4 0
 I think it'd be handy if a removeable chin bar could somehow clip onto the back of a helmet for climbing so you don't have to strap it to your pack or hang off your FaNnY pack or whatever.
  • 2 0
 There have to be some smart industrial designers who can make this happen. It would be amazing.
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: Like a motorcycle system helmet? There are several brands that have been selling those with a chin-piece that flips backwards for years. They're even rated as a jet helmet when flipped back and as a full face when worn like that. It can be done if there is demand.
  • 2 0
 @Oli4k: yeah precisely, they’re called modular helmets in my corner of the world. They’re the next logical step for mixed use helmets.
  • 3 0
 Let’s talk about the real problem: light full face helmets for people with prescriptions. Contacts suck almost as much as prescription goggle inserts (they don’t work tbh).

Who is going to find a prescription lenses solution that works with a full face that doesn’t look horrible?
  • 3 0
 I’m sitting in the docs chair this be try moment about to get LASIK because I’m sick of spending $1k a year on prescription google inserts and special prescription mtb sunglasses.
  • 3 0
 @Pinemtn: Only $1k a year? I feel you. I have never gotten goggle inserts to work and just ride in a full face and prescription sunglasses. The dorky welder look.
  • 2 0
 @Mtmw: I went with sportrx inserts and they fit most of my goggles but not perfect. Just sick of not being able to wear the shades I want! Being limited to prescription sucks! Without them I can only ride like half speed!
  • 1 0
 @Pinemtn: I got those goggle inserts. Spherical distortion was so high I couldn’t judge speed or distance at all. Crashed into a berm I thought was 6 feet away. Back to glasses. Sigh.
  • 2 0
 I haven’t been able to find a lightweight full face big enough to fit me but with my tld d3 and mx helmet, I use a smaller pair of glasses and then have Leatt goggles that go over the top.
  • 3 0
 I haven't had a problem wearing Oakley Crosslink eyeglasses with Oakley O2 MX goggles (made to go over glasses). My FF is a 7idp Project 23...no issues.

Also wear them with my Fox Speedframe...don't care if I look like an EnduroBro, keeps my glasses from getting scratched/broke/knocked off my face.
  • 1 0
 @scitrainer: That is a very expensive, very interesting option. Two sets of optics - what about the fog?? Also... Crosslink .5 or Zero?
  • 1 0
 @Mtmw: The eyeglasses are my everyday drivers so no more expense than I would pay without MTB there. Crosslink Sweep. They are a few years old, just replace the lenses when needed. They come with spare arms and I have bought extras in different colors. The goggles I got from an online Moto shop for $40 (great deal with Iridium lenses and a clear set).

Usually uphill I have the goggles off. The only downhill fogging issues I have had is in pouring summer rain in Mammoth wearing my FF, with a 30+ degree temperature drop. Wasn't seeing shit with goggles on or off, lol.
  • 1 0
 What is it that's so bad about contacts? I like having sight like I did as a teenager, glasses only give me a strip of focus.
  • 1 0
 @korev: nothing really, I just prefer not to use them. I find when I’m doing sports or anything active that I will throw one at the most inconvenient moment.

I also personally haven’t found any of the many many different contacts that I’ve tried, correct my vision as well as spectacles do.
  • 1 0
 @Mtmw: I have these on my old mx helmet and they make a massive difference when I’m spending long days on the bike for ventilation and comfort. I had forgot all about them but have just ordered a couple of sets for my d3 and new mx helmet. They’re not cheap but they’re worth it on hot days.

www.airflaps.com/airflaps-product
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: Had never seen or heard of these. Going to try out.
  • 3 0
 I now wear a full face 80% of the time. Around 3 years ago, I went down on my face and did a lot of damage. Around 40 stitches, silicon, had my nose reattached, I don't look the same. this summer I went down on my face again, but was wearing a full face (leatt enduro 5.0) and was absolutely fine. I wouldn't have been if I wasn't wearing that helmet. Later this summer, I went down on my face again in a half shell. I really messed up my bottom lip, and had to deal with some nasty wounds while I recovered from my broken neck and back.
  • 3 0
 What will it take for the last 20%!? Gnarly!
  • 1 0
 @Darwin66 how are you doing these days!? I didn't get chance to say 'good bye' at the shop as you weren't in / around when I left in early Nov. Man - thats a rough deal re the face plant with all that damage... phew... was that resultant of that *sshole car driver that hit you and fled?
Anyways - try the Kali Invader 2.0 if you get a chance.. its MUCH lighter / more ventilated than the leatt 5.0 and does the job really well. Anyways - hope your well... take care - and hopefully someday see you again.
  • 1 0
 @CDT77: I'm great! Back on the bike now, at long last.

Separate accident than the car. Thanfully the accident with the car didn't leave any real damage. The first face plant was years ago, in an xc race, but the latest one was mid august. Cased a large jump and scorpioned, breaking my neck, my back and my skull. Looooong recovery but I'm through it now.

I've currently got the leatt, but next time I crash on my head I'll be looking for a new helmet lol.
  • 3 0
 I would like a helmet with proper, long side chins, like an urban motorbike helmet, which would protect my jaw much better, but would allow me to use my bottle or phone without bending over backwards, or just have more of an open feeling than a regular shell.
Now that would be something I'd call a 3/4 helmet.
  • 2 0
 Yes! This is what I came back to post about. Modern open face motorcycle helmets protect a LOT more of the face and head than these so called 3/4 helmets do.

I have these acerbis helmets on my farm for visitors to use when they ride on quad bikes or sxs. The protection they offer is nearer to full face mtb levels than 1/2 shell bike helmet.
www.acerbis.com/motorsport/en/product/dual-road/helmets/0022569
  • 3 0
 The honest truth about 3/4 shell helmets and lightweight Enduro helmet is that after a crash, when you rub your hand against your face and you don’t feel blood or broken teeth or disjointed nose, that’s where the true value truly kicks in…
I really don’t get the value of these helmets when enduro full face are well ventilated almost as light… and better looking!
Lightweight full face for the win, 100% of the time !
  • 4 0
 I want Boba Fett's helmet. Holes for the important bits AND internal HUD for telemetry, optimal line choice overlays, and tunes.
  • 2 0
 I wear a Bell Super DH, and on the climbs I can slide the chin bar into the side straps of my Dakine 5L hip pack. It's so quick and easy, and provides so much more confidence. I don't even notice the chin bar hanging off the side on climbs, and its secure enough in there for small descents during climbs. I can't see a reason for not doing this method for Sea to Sky riding. The trails we're riding around here are equally as gnarly or more than the bike park trails, but I don't see many half helmets in the park. I made the switch when I was riding Green Monster in Whistler and a half helmet rider was walking out with their nose hanging off of their face.
  • 2 0
 I recently had to decide on a helmet and considered both 3/4 type and removable chinbar type. I chose the removable chin bar (Bell Super Air R) because the type of riding I like most is big all-mountain rides with hours of climbing and hours of descending. A full face for all that climbing is too much. And because of my location most of the riding I do is on pretty tame trails, so most of the time I wouldn't really want the extra weight or need the extra protection. On the few occasions that I go to a bike park I will rent a full on DH helmet.
  • 2 0
 No half measures....it saturday sends or Friday fails....I do like the larger coverage of MTB specific helmets but can't say I have ever wished for more ear protection....I am just an old duffer so if it needs a full face I am taking a hard pass anyways.
  • 2 0
 I almost never crash bad on the stuff that looks like something you'd likely crash on. When it's scary looking I'm already half ready for it. Most of my bad crashes are on the dumb fast pretty buff but fast stuff where all the sand has washed into a hard to see gully (as an example) or flow trails where you wash off the edge. I started wearing a full face most of the time because of that.

I just wish that some company would make a well built water bottle with a 4inch extension to the valve tube so I can drink more easily while rolling.
  • 1 0
 Look for a hockey water bottle!
  • 2 0
 Full time full face for this north shore rider. I face planted a slimy green bridge on a transition trail between 2 actual trails on Cypress a while back. If I wasn't wearing a full face it would have ruined my life with dental bills.
  • 3 0
 Most of the benefit of the lower ear component on a helmet is to attach a chin bar, on its own, not much value and potentially alot more heat. That full motorcycle strap looks ridiculous as well.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney I can't help but think without a chin bar, its like your chin is the chinbar. I feel disturbed.
  • 2 0
 After concussing myself, breaking my nose and being within a couple mm of losing my left eye while riding in angry mode in a half shell, I bought myself an IXS trigger full face and haven't looked back. I take that thing with me anytime I'm shuttling or planning to ride grade 5s, or I just dial it back and ride within myself. Only got one brain and one pair of eyes.
  • 2 0
 I started wearing a full face enduro lid full-time last year, due to the pandemic, but I'll continue wearing it due to all of the attention from the ladies. Every cute granny hiker I pass pipes up, "It's good to see a young man wearing a real helmet out here." Thanks for noticing, @Expedition_MeMaw
  • 2 0
 I know this is silly, but the main reason I don't wear a full face lid on my local trails, is the perception of hikers/dog walkers and others I meet. If you arrive with a hint of speed, wearing a full face and goggles will make it look like you're going 5x the speed you actually are, and that you're a mad ejit racing on their trails who should be banned/put in jail. Even dark glasses can have this effect.

I wear a FF at parks or enduro races, even enduro specific rides, where a bike coming down the hill is more accepted.

The other is heat. Local trails are slow, longest DH run takes 2 minutes, so no cooling help whatsoever no matter what wizardry they deploy designing vents.

So in the sense of not scaring hikers, the 3/4 would improve safety for me a tad, but that would be void because I'd sweat so much I would'nt be able to see that root/stump/rock/drop anyway.
  • 2 0
 This is also the main reason for me that I am still not wearing a ff lid. I see a lot of angry faces just with my normal helmet. But I keep telling myself to not give a fuck about others, so eventually I will wear a ff...
  • 1 0
 I get this.
And on my local trails I'm generally not riding blind & fast - and I know all the best lines.
  • 2 0
 I don't understand why people say "I had X enduro lid and the chinbar cracked" as if that's a negative. If you lead with your face when approaching the ground, having to replace only the helmet is something to be grateful for.
  • 2 0
 Some people are dissing the 3/4 shells, and not realizing the extra protection they provide over a regular half shell. I live in a wonderful place, with 50 miles of trails or so, and they vary from XC, to some pretty gnarly tracks. But it was a blue jump line that absolutely demolished my friend. I was wearing a half shell, and wasn’t doing any of the jumps, just filming. I’m doing a line down, following my friend on his DJ, and 20 seconds down, he smacks his pedal on a low rock, and completely flung himself over the Bars. Wouldn’t have been a bad crash had there not been square edge rocks on the right side of the trail to help with drainage.

He was luckily wearing a full face, and still got absolutely demolished, but the full face, quite literally saved him from breaking his neck. The back of his helmet, pretty low, was dented in like nothing else. He was hospitalized that day, along with another friend who was allergic to bees sadly. I went out the VERY NEXT DAY to get a Proframe, that saved his life, now about 5 or 6 people in my group will always ride with a FF. Including me, it’s the only helmet I will wear.

Anyways, my point I’m making, is the neck/base of the head protection is invaluable, and I’ve considered getting a drop frame from fox. Just for the days I don’t feel like overheating my cheeks, and whole face. Will still terrify me not to have the chin protection. So, get a full face if you want teeth, get a 3/4 for neck protection, and get a half shell if your a roadie
  • 1 0
 I ride a Giro Switchblade which has a removable chin guard, it is DH certified and works extremely well for me as an amateur rider. Without the chin guard it provides extra protection and warmth during the winter months over a basic helmet and for enduro racing you can remove the chin guard for climbing on warm days. It may not be the best 3/4 or best full face but ticks a lot of boxes and meets the highest safety spec including MIPS and in my opinion definitely worth a look.
  • 1 0
 A few years back I clipped a pedal on a rock that was obscured by underbrush on the side of the trail and it sent me flying into a tree on the other side of the trail. I tore my ear pretty good on the tree and I've always seen these and thought how that would have prevented needing those stitches to put my ear back in place.
  • 1 0
 If I ride anything that I think would require more than my trail riding helmet, then I feel it would be irresponsible to not wear a full face. If I'm at a bike park going 35 mph, I don't want to tempt fate. I like all the skin on my face and the teeth in my mouth.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney

If only there was a place that independently tested and ranked helmets to compare them to one another for how well they would protect you in a crash....


helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html
  • 1 0
 When it comes time to replace my half shell, i will probably go open face. rode most of last year with a Stage helmet. Then in late august i went and rode some trails where i knew id be taking it slower and there werent many rough sections. Plus i expected higher temps than what im used to. Decided to wear my half shell that day. On the next ride after that trip i was back in my stage helmet and definitely noticed a difference on ability to take in air on a climb. Mainly because i dont climb fast and i dont think air gets cleared out as a result. I found that tipping the helmet forward allowed me to get more air. So on the surface it seems like i can better airflow with an open face and more protection than a regular half shell. I dont do too many long pedally xc days so i think it would work out fine.
  • 1 0
 interesting analysis from the perpective of comfort and confidence... but an analysis based on data is lacking, or at least considering what type of helmet protects us from what type of impacts. Then we can decide which helmet is better for the kind of riding we aim
  • 1 0
 You may not have time to get a hand up in some crashes but often have time to turn your head. having the cheek/ear protected seems like a reasonable upgrade from a typical open face. Not to say I will be replacing my full face but I am seriously considering switching out my open face for a 3/4.
  • 1 0
 I now have my 2nd MET Parachute. The first version wasn't pretty but it was effective. And both of them have been effective and comfortable. My riding is CO front range stuff. So not many trees but plenty of rocks. And most of my crashes are relatively slow speed due my riding ability. The chin bar is scuffed up but my face is only as ugly as my non-riding adventures have made it.
  • 1 0
 Yeah nah mate. I'll take a slightly warmer face in order to keep it if/when I make a mistake. I can't see that a helmet with ear warmers really offers significantly more protection than a good open face, but...it definitely has ear warmers. Put it another way; if I'm wearing an open face in a stack and smash my ear off something, I'm going to be stoked that it was my ear that took it instead of my face; I'd sooner protect my face than my ears. Therefore open face with ear protection holds no place for me.
  • 1 0
 My fox Proframe was strong enough to save my face when I crashed this summer face first into a boulder. The same impact was strong enough to break my collar bone with a direct blow. The chinbar on the proframe did crack but I had zero face or head injuries. I used to have a Giro switchblade and while probably as strong as the proframe it was way less comfortable even with the chinbar removed.
  • 3 0
 If I'm not wearing a full face, I consider it a "token helmet" - its purpose is mostly to set an example of helmet wearing to my son and other kids.
  • 1 0
 I own a dropframe. It's the ugliest helmet I've ever owned. But here is oz it's so hot most of the time I just can't face wearing the fullface apart from when shuttling. The dropframe gives me as much protection as i can get without having a chin bar.
  • 1 0
 Have been wearing a Fox dropframe for a year or two. It's not that much hotter than my old half lid, but I can't say it offers more protection than a half lid. And I get a lot of flak for it because I am embracing my inner Gimli.

Have a full DH (fox rampage) helmet for the park, and had the 100% trajecta enduro helmet for a good while for dirt jumps and sketchier trail rides. Even as a lightweight enduro helmet with a ton of vents, it is *considerably* hotter than a half lid and my 3/4 Dropframe. Am considering getting one with the removable chinbar to replace the Trajecta (as it's now got a good dent in it, and it's definitely saved my head and face), because no matter how lightweight, having that chinbar in my face on a climb definitely makes a temp difference.
  • 1 0
 According to my memory, the 3/4 shell helmet was created for trials moto, and BMX/freestyle MTB in recent years. Disciplines that invoke spinning, bailing, etc on the bike. I think additional protection is never a bad thing, and these helmets definitely provide that over an open face/ half shell.

For normal ass folks, I can’t help but think that if you really feel a need for extra protection, a full face of any sort isn’t a bad idea. Whether it’s a removable chin bar/enduro of DH lid, something protecting your face isn’t bad.

All this being said, I own both a Bell Super Air and a Tyrant, and have to say the Super gets used 99% sans chin bar, and the Tyrant is really nice when it’s colder and feels more secure than a half shell, but is missing a big piece of protection if anything really goes wrong.
  • 1 0
 As somebody who has spent a fortune on dental work as a result of a bike crash into stationary object, please wear a full face helmet as often as practical. Dental work is many times over more expensive and inconvenient than a full face is.
  • 1 0
 Looks aside I don't see the point of protecting your ears or lower back of your head. I've crashed a lot of times in a lot of ways and never had an impact there. As far as the 'extra protection without extra heat' I don't need a helmet to pedal up a hill. I just prop my fullface helmet on top of my head or hang it off the end of my handlebar when pedaling and pull it down onto my face to go downhill. It doesn't get much more Enduro than that.
  • 2 0
 I'd consider a 3/4 shell for my next DJ/play bike lid if they weren't so damn expensive.. sometimes same price as a full face. Shop around an I can pick up a skate lid for £20-40
Add £100 to that for a 3/4 shell.. naahh
  • 1 0
 I would love to see a true hybrid removable jaw piece that clips onto the handlebars or somewhere so we can climb and still wear a helmet. If the Tectal had a full face removable jaw piece I'd go all-in. It has to look good too.
  • 1 0
 The one thing I will say about a convertible chin bar is that it is really good for travel riding. Fits below the down tube and the fork inside the bike bag, and you have a helmet for all types of riding, which can be good if you aren't familiar with the area you are planning to go/unsure which helmet is best.
  • 1 0
 I had probably my worst crash ever when I face planted like the only rock in a field,had a brand new Foxx rampage DH lid and when I hit the rock face first I cracked the Chinbar,But it saved my life for sure,if I had been in my trail lid my face would have been smashed to a pulp,I still smashed my cheekbone and eye socket with DH lid on but would have been in a bad way if not for wearing the Full facer
  • 1 0
 I still don't understand the scenario where a person has made a decision that they need a bit more protection than a standard lightweight open-face helmet and yet feel that they don't need a chin bar- like you are aware of a perceived higher crash risk yet feel that the only place requiring that extra protection is the rear part of your head and not the front. In every crash I have had, I don't really feel like I had the presence of mind to ensure I landed face up, not down! I really thought that the lightweight enduro style full-face options had solved this. I wear mine almost all the time now and don't notice any drawbacks.
  • 1 0
 I've almost always crashed from low speed front-end wash-out on slippery enduro/dh trails. Love my Giro switchblade. Great for areas with many different trail types.

3/4 shell is fine for XC on most days. Looks naff but it covers the entire head and actually doesn't heat up that much. Can quickly stick the chinbar on for higher speed/lower grip/steeper DH and Enduro.

Seen a lot of bad facial Injuries particularly from Enduro riders. I use full face on even some more tamer/flow trails.
  • 1 0
 If it weren't for my vanity --not wanting to be the only dork in a full-face hemet --and maybe the heat/humidity, I could have spared myself the loss of 3 teeth, broken jaw and stitches in brow, lip and chin over the last 5 years. Oh yeah, I forgot the two concussions, but that's what concussions do.
  • 1 0
 My issue with 3/4 shell lids, is the weight. If I wear something over 450 grams, my pencil neck notices it and on the trail bike when riding more than hour on average, the 3/4's currently on the market wear my neck out, but the industry will get there and serve this market demand with lighter lids that protect the ears.
  • 1 0
 Guess I dont understand the thesis of this article. A helmet is a personal choice as when an accident/injury does occur, then one is left alone to only their devices to deal with it. No amount of cool factor or how it looked to other people matters then.
  • 1 0
 Counter-point about weight-weenie helmets: if a lighter helmet can absorb as much an impact as a heavier one can, then it could actually safer for the user because the reduced weight also means less momentum for your head in a crash, especially for whiplash crashes. Not to mention that your neck muscles are working harder to stabilize your head mid-run with a heavier helmet.

If the average head weighs about 5 kgs (thx Google), and a half shell is about 350 g, that's adding 7% extra weight.

A lightweight full face (with ASTM 1952) is about 750 g so that's about 15% extra weight

A full downhill helmet is in the ballpark of 1100 g, so that's 22% extra weight
  • 1 0
 I have an older Met Parachute- lightest DH approved full face at some point in time.
I found the chin guard to have no effect on ventilation.
I DH at speeds close to an MX bike. It’s my only helmet. Why do I want less protection again?
  • 1 0
 But when I ride my scooter at 50mph in heavy traffic, I don’t wear a helmet.
I mean come on, it’s a scooter not a motorcycle!
  • 1 0
 I completely agree with Henry's take on this. I have been riding santa barbara's rocky trails in less than a full-face helmet since the late 80s. With crashes at less than 10 mph I have always been able to get my face out of the way. On the other hand, I ride whistler about 10 days per summer and feel very uncomfortable with anything less than a full DH helmet. if something were to go wrong on Dirt Merchant or Crab Apple, I don't trust myself to save my face at those speeds. Where I struggle is during Enduro races where full-face helmets are required. I hate climbing in the full DH helmet but my 'light' full-face feels like the same protection as my half shelf with less ability to see clearly.
  • 1 0
 Helmets are all about probability - you wear one to reduce risk of damage to your noggin/kisser area - in my experience, whenever your body meets an immovable object, the object wins 100% of the time and while 3/4 shells sure do look pretty cool, I don't think they are worth a broken face - I don't always wear a helmet, but when I do - it's a full face helmet with a few scratches where the bottom of my face would be... my beautiful face...
  • 2 0
 I'm all for them. Ear tissue is not the most durable and the half shells actually provide quite a bit of additional skull protection as a by product of the ear covers.
  • 5 2
 Couldn’t give a toss what people think.. love my fox dropframe and the extra safety I feel in it is all that matters
  • 2 0
 Surely what matters is that it *is* more safe?
  • 1 0
 @Tambo: indeed
  • 2 0
 @dagzin: you're riding a Hardtail.
You could wear wharever you want on your head and still look cool AF.
  • 1 0
 @Bitelio: hahahaha
  • 2 0
 @Bitelio: originally I wanted a d2 half face, but good luck getting one.. the drop frame will do. Great for riding to and from work, and local trails.. any BP duty’s them the ful face comes out
  • 2 0
 I have benefited from chin protection more than ear protection even with a rather light removable jaw protector. Currently using MET Parachute MCR and can't be happier.
  • 1 0
 I wear an enduro removable chin helmet (bell super air r) cuz if I eat it on some of my trails then I'd lose my teeth. Once my friend made fun of me only to smash his cheek in,
  • 3 3
 @henryquinney, 3/4 shell helmets and goggles go hand in hand with emtbs!! They are perfect for those long days in the motor-assisted-saddle when you aren't breathing all that hard but are taking some risks during the extra downhill time that you get on an emtb.

For regular riding, they are very uncomfortable for me unless I'm just doddling along with my kids. I hate hearing my breath and heartbeat up in my ears when in 3/4 and full faced helmets.
  • 1 0
 Yep. Perfect for ebike Gumby’s.

Not so good for actual cycling.
  • 2 2
 Why they aren’t that silly-they’re paying Pinkbike’s bills to say so.

Like all other journalistic outlets, legitimate criticism doesn’t show up until the products are long out of date.

That’s why car magazines said good things about the absolute garbage cars Detroit put out in the Malaise era, but now clearly state how bad they were/are.

That’s why a cycling publication will happily skewer dual control MTB shifters, or BioPace, or the first few generations of Avid/SRAM hydraulic brakes but didn’t when those products were new.

So yeah-I’ll say it. A third (fourth if you have a road lid) helmet that sucks uphill and still doesn’t have a chin bar is a dumb product.

Maybe if you’re a Gumby on an ebike pootling along at 30 watts but FULL TURBO!!!!! it’s bearable to wear a lid that heavy and confining uphill. For actually earning climbs, hard pass.
  • 2 0
 Given the costs involved I think a half shell and a full face is enough. I’m not sure when I would want a 3/4 one to justify the cost
  • 1 0
 Sometimes it's easier to make an objective decision when it's for someone else, so let's phrase the questions this way: would you rather your child send it in one of these? Or a lightweight full face?
  • 1 1
 My dilemma with the lightweight full face is the goggle/glasses look. I have DH helmet which is a no brainer with goggles, as I'm barely pedaling, but I don't like look or the feeling of glasses inside a full face.
The problem is real.
That said Henry looks a bit like Robocop in the 3/4 helmet. Sorry Henry.
  • 1 0
 Username checks out
  • 1 0
 I have a D4 carbon medium, a Stage m/l, and an A3 m/l. I use Oakley sutro glasses for riding and they fit perfectly in all 3. They’re a little to put on with the D4 but once they’re on they look like goggles. Highly recommend.
  • 1 0
 * a little tight
  • 1 0
 Id like to see helmet manufacturers improve forehead/temple coverage on half shell helmets, seems like there's a lot of room they could come down towards the eyebrow, a very vulnerable area.
  • 2 0
 Helmets are a waste of time, even drunk the worst I've done is bump my head on my keyboard, oh, and tripped over the hallway rug.
  • 1 0
 This kind of reads a bit like an opinion piece on why you like enduro helmets with removal chin bar. Repeatedly making the point you want more protection, but not to be so hot as you would in a full DH lid....
  • 1 2
 I use a dropframe and love it! Its a little hot on warm days but I love the high level of protection. I have a POC coron (DH full face) Fox Dropframe (3/4 half shell) and a POC Crane (DJ helmet). I think this is the best line up. I would honestly probably go with the POC Tectal or Kortex but I'm doing fine for now.
  • 1 3
 same, love my dropframe. Hot on hot days, but not brutal. Definitely a lot of protection that a more XC helmet.
  • 1 0
 I like the protection on the dropframe, but the mips liner digs into the back of my head. I put some insulation tape over the tabs and its more comfortable now, but still not great for long rides. I set it up for night riding now. I just got the Specialized Gambit and it actually feels lighter and better ventilated than the dropframe, and it's much more comfortable on my head. A full downhill helmet would be nice, but the only place I'd use it is enduro races, and since you have to climb in your helmet for those I'm going to stick with something lighter and more breathable.
  • 2 0
 "Opinion: Why 3/4 Shells Aren't As Silly as They Look"

Good point. They can't possibly be as silly as they look!
  • 2 0
 Best looking 3/4 is the ol Troylee D2 open face! Wish they’d bring it back!!
  • 2 0
 I’d buy it. But I buy most things Troy Lee makes anyways.
  • 4 1
 Have we now arrived at “choose a helmet type and be a dick about it”?
  • 1 0
 As much as I love riding mellow trails in an open face, I've used up too many full faces in my life to afford riding without one on any high speed descent.
  • 1 0
 They look really dumb, especially with goggles. Double it when someone is pairing it with a fully matching kit. Weekend warrior vibes, not in a good way.
  • 2 1
 Outside Mag probably got a salty email from the Giant. This fugly helmet was ridiculed to no end when Pinkbike posted a photo of it on Instagram. Hence this "article".
  • 1 0
 3/4 shell goggles are great.

Anything missing a chin bar set up with goggles makes you look like someone with a futuristic version of grandma glasses. Looks super goofy.
  • 1 0
 you might call my opinions radical, but there's only one thing that is more stupid than a 3/4 helmet: having your chin wired up.
  • 1 0
 Do you often see any video edit where the pro rider doens't wear his super stylish lazy style open face helmet, charging as hard as he can on his trail bike ?
  • 1 0
 I look at loads of MTB tech and think - "well, that's about as good as things can possibly get". But with helmets I think there is a long way still to go.
  • 1 0
 I think a lot about leaving my Fox Speedframe and buy Fox Dropframe, because the helmet does not stay in one place with those new, heavy, GoPros.
  • 2 1
 Keepin' them ears toasty in the early/late season is the feature I like the most
  • 1 0
 Deeper coverage only seems relevant in the type of crash that would occur when looping out of a manual.
  • 1 0
 Or - speaking from experience here - a 3/4 somersault OTB. Hence perhaps the name 3/4 helmet?
  • 1 0
 Is it the helmet itself that looks silly or wearing goggles with it that makes it look silly?
  • 2 0
 Yes
  • 2 0
 Seeing Ryan Mentakis' most recent crash, I think ill stick to a full face
  • 2 0
 What's silly is when they weigh as much as a full-face helmet.
  • 2 1
 Anyone else thinking of the Ninja Turtles theme song: "Hereos in a half shell" ???
  • 3 0
 Tld stage is great.
  • 1 0
 Jeez I frickin love the way Henry's mind works. Habsburg princes and LotR. Gimme more!
  • 1 0
 So many words to say so little i'm lmost wowed, but it's become all to clear that its just your style @henry quinney
  • 2 0
 I want Henry to write my obituary
  • 1 0
 I can’t help but feel if you wear a half-shell in a lift access / uplift park you’re a moron.
  • 1 0
 I wear a full face not because the trails demand it but because it came free with my e-bike.
  • 1 0
 What’s the point of a “half shell?”
I’ll be over here in my troy Lee stage with all my teeth in my head.
  • 1 0
 I'm sorry but this is awesome: "Gimli-scale" is my new favorite bike thing. Now hand me my axe!
  • 1 0
 Jokes on you guys I'm so uncool I look cooler with the solid plastic trapper hat on!
  • 1 0
 Land on your face and tell me how nice your helf helmet is working out for you.... full face or not at all
  • 2 0
 So what is the deal with British dentistry? Does it exist?
  • 1 0
 sheeesh..so, from reading this it seems like this dude carries a few helmets when he rides. right?
  • 1 0
 so @constantly-broken you're not as silly as you look, however, you must never go full enduro
  • 10 9
 looks wank and even more wank with goggles.
  • 1 0
 Hahaha....my googles are prescription so I have a good excuse!! And my Tirant keeps my ears warm in the cold scottish summer..
  • 4 0
 On the other hand.....I'm a wee bit of a bike wanker, so you may have a point.....
  • 3 0
 @Bitelio: never had an issue with the mud in my eyes/glasses. Clearly I ride so slowly it doesn't splash up high enough lol
  • 2 0
 Think what you will about the helmet/goggle kit, but the Paris Gore t-shirt is a timeless classic @mikekazimer.
  • 2 0
 @mtb-scotland: mud is not the main issue. The problem is that if I don't wear the goggles, I start crying like a baby. Even at superslow pace (which is my normal speed tbh).
  • 1 0
 at least in the winter the full face gets you the warmth and protection.
  • 1 0
 Bring back the Shoei 3/4!!!
  • 1 1
 They look verry silly like someone rocking shoes with velcro straps collecting Magic cards
  • 1 1
 o henry, ofc they dont look silly on you, you are already a silly gal, best loves, Mickael
  • 1 0
 The brain bucket does the trick... someday I might eat my words though.
  • 2 0
 Gimli stamp of approval
  • 1 0
 Well, at least Warren will appreciate his ears not being touched……
  • 1 0
 Hapsburg Prince? You learn something new everyday!
  • 2 0
 FF FTW, FFS.
  • 1 0
 Am I the only thinking Quinney's eyes look a bit dilated?
  • 1 0
 how do the 3 seashells work?
  • 1 0
 Another article that should have been a personal blog post of some sort.
  • 1 2
 3/4 helmets are in the same category as visible elbow pads. Probably safer than the alternative but just not cool.
  • 1 0
 Where can I get invisible elbow pads? And do they also make invisible helmet, gloves? How about invisible underwear?
  • 8 8
 They just look to fucking stupid.
  • 13 5
 But I bet even that helmet could learn which version of "to" or "too" to use after spending 20+ years on this planet.
  • 3 4
 @fullendurbro: y'all spelt Enduro wrong in your username weiner tits.
  • 4 0
 @BoneDog:
Get a f*cking clue m8
  • 2 0
 @BoneDog: Man, good thing I wasn't trying to spell enduro!
  • 1 0
 Everything does but for full face.
  • 1 0
 Is this a joke
  • 9 11
 They are, they look absolutely ridiculous. Either wear a normal helmet or put a full face on and stop pi**ing about!
  • 7 0
 Would you call them the mullets of the helmet world?
  • 1 2
 @nozes: Indeed! They would certainly be filed in the same place in the cabinet.
  • 1 4
 Didn’t Jordie Lunn wear half a helmet when he hit his head and passed away in Mexico?…. FullFace is the way
  • 5 1
 I'm sure Stevie Smith was wearing a full-face when he has his fatal accident. Full face or no, any helmet can't save you 100% of the time. Pick the level of protection you feel is appropriate and roll the dice
  • 3 1
 @Tambo: yeah Steve smith died riding a motorcycle so that’s not the same thing buddy. Half a helmet riding a bike is sketchy unless you’re riding full XC
  • 3 1
 @dh-bomber: different sort of bike, yeah. But it's the same thereafter. Calling out something as insufficient because someone died in one means almost nothing. People die in bed all the time, yet 99.99% of people still consider a bed to be safe
  • 1 2
 D3/A1
  • 1 3
 HOT TAKE
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