You may have seen the new 100% Aircraft 2 helmet worn by select riders at the last few Enduro World Series and Downhill World Cups. The styling closely resembles 100%'s Trajecta enduro helmet, a departure from the original Aircraft look, but is fully equipped for downhill racing. Immediately, the amount of vents and their shapes catch your eye and gives it that distinct 100% look.
Two size-specific molds are used for the carbon fiber shell's construction, each with 2 customizable suede liners to fine-tune the fit. Holding the liner in place is 100%'s proprietary 14 point Smartshock Rotational Protective System, which uses multiple elastomers that sit between the rider's head and the helmet shell. The elastomers can compress to absorb direct impacts, and they can also move independently from the helmet's shell, which 100% claim helps reduce energy transfer to the brain during an impact.
100% Aircraft 2 Details
• Carbon fiber shell with injection molded chin bar integration
• 14 point Smartshock Rotational Protective System
• Dual Density EPS injection molded with polycarbonate in two size-specific molds
• 20 oversized ventilation ports
• Multi-point adjustable visor
• D-Ring buckle
• Colors: black, black/white, red/white, black/light yellow
• Weight: 1045 grams (size M)
• Certified ASTM (F1952-15), CPSC (16 CFR 1203), CE (EN 1078:2012+A1:2012)
• MSRP: $400 USD
There are 4 colors on offer; 3 of which are black or raw carbon with subtle highlights, and the other option a white base with red accents. The claimed weight is 1045g for a size medium, and the price is $400 USD.FIT
Historically, I've always worn a medium size helmet from most major brands, including Troy Lee Designs, Bell, and POC, and that held true with the Aircraft 2. The fit was snug and comfortable, free of any pressure points, and I was able to ride all day without any headaches or unsightly red makes once the helmet was removed. The shell felt like it sat deeper on my head with a more secure and well rounded ball and socket feel than others. The helmet had great coverage at the rear and didn't rise as far as the previous generation did.
One thing riders will immediately notice compared to the first generation Aircraft is how much closer the chin bar is. It's not as close as what you'll find with the Bell Full-9, which can feel a bit claustrophobic. This worked well with the goggles supplied and also various other brands. The chin bar was hardly in sight and the goggles never rattled against the forehead shell trim.
I gave the stock 28mm cheek pads a chance to pack in, but felt more comfortable in the 24mm set. I kept the fitted 10mm brow and crown liner and the 20mm neck roll, since the pads seemed to keep their original shape well. There are plenty of options to mix and match the pads to fine tune the fit and 100% has a size guide to help you decide the correct shell size. VENTILATION
The Aircraft 2 could easily be mistake for the look-a-like Trajecta enduro helmet due to the sheer number of intake vents. Even the chin bar has two vents on each side. Across the forehead region is where things really take off. The volume of air that flows through here keeps you cooler and drier than any DH full face helmet I've tried before.
At the front and center of the chin bar is a molded plastic series of fins to draw in tons of fresh air. There is no mesh in this area for maximum ventilation, but the spacing is tight enough that I never experienced any mud or debris finding its way into my mouth.
The padding deals well with heat management well, even after the hottest laps of the summer. The liner has a number of gaps across the top of the head and I never had any moisture build up or that feeling of your eyes being inside a goggle oven. SAFETY
100%'s Smartshock system was quiet and unobtrusive throughout the test period, free of the scratchy, poppy sounds that sometimes occur with helmets that use MIPS liners. I found the liner and Smartshock combo to be totally still, and the shell didn't rotate on my head compared to other sliding safety features. The helmet also says in place well under big compressions, a sign of good weight balance. A safe and proper fit surely encourages this too.
The chin strap is secured by a D-ring closure with an extra snap to keep the trailing end of the strap from flapping against your neck. I luckily avoided testing it out, but the dual EPS foam should aid in absorbing both high and low speed impacts. I would feel confident to wear this helmet all day for enduro racing and would sacrifice an increase in weight over a lighter weight enduro helmet for its safety.
The certifications cover downhill racing (ASTM F1952-15), as well as the more traditional CPSC (16 CFR 1203) and CE (EN 1078:2012+A1:2012).COMPARISON
How does the Aircraft compare to Troy Lee Designs' D4 helmet? Starting with the basics, the D4 is around 70 grams lighter than the Aircraft 2, although it's also more expensive at $550 vs $400. Both are well ventilated, although the D4 does have mesh over the sides of the chinbar vents, which provides a little extra protection against bugs and flying mud. The D4 is available in 6 sizes ranging from XS - XXL, with three different shells, while the Aircraft is available in 4 sizes, from S - XL. The Aircraft 2 does earn points for how quiet the rotational impact system is - it's quieter than the MIPS used on the D4. ISSUES
It could be a cause of multiple sizes built into one shell, but I found the chin strap padding wasn't quite long enough when clinched securely.
The Smartshock rubber arms sometimes grabbed my skin when pulling the helmet on, dislodging them slightly from the liner. This might not be as common with thicker liners (I was using the thinnest - 10mm), but going up to 12mm padding made the helmet too tight for me to test this theory. Neither the Smartshock bits or chin strap issues distracted me while riding, but it's a trait worth mentioning.
Another thing to note is the lack of rubber around the lower edge of the helmet. The small fins on the sides, towards the back of the helmet, can become scuffed if the helmet is laid on a rough surface.
Comfortable, customizable fit +
Maximum ventilation, moisture wicking
Short chin strap padding-
Lacks rubber trim on bottom edge