Review: 100% Aircraft 2 Full Face Helmet

Jul 6, 2021
by Matt Beer  

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
www.100percent.com

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.



Pros

+ Comfortable, customizable fit
+ Maximum ventilation, moisture wicking
Cons

- Short chin strap padding
- Lacks rubber trim on bottom edge




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe second generation of the Aircraft maintains the high level of performance that the original delivered while adding improved ventilation and new safety features. It's comfortable, relatively light, and handles hot temperatures very well, traits that make it worthy of consideration for riders on the hunt for a new high-end full face helmet. Matt Beer



73 Comments

  • 45 0
 not quite 100%
  • 3 9
flag FoesKnows (Jul 6, 2021 at 13:39) (Below Threshold)
 Now its give away at 100 per cent (US$0.01 ?) its no suprise.
  • 33 1
 That is 100% not an aircraft! Aerodynamically it's clearly not going to generate sufficient lift!
  • 14 0
 I don't know why, but I like the font on the helmet...
  • 17 2
 interesting. that's the part I really don't like.
  • 3 0
 @riddenagenda: yeah stylistically that's been the one thing I haven't liked on POC's helmets as well. It's like the product specs were erroneously inked on the outside of them. They'd be beautifully clean without.
  • 2 0
 @lncorgnito: sorry I actually misread the OP comment haha. I thought the commentor wrote "I like the front of the helmet". but I do like the font… my mistake.
  • 4 0
 It looks like Helvetica Neue with the kerning (spacing between each letter) brought down so they sit closer together.

Same font used in NYC for subway and street signs. I believe its also used country-wide for road/freeway signs.
  • 3 0
 might look better in comic sans
  • 9 0
 This one hundred percent helmet is one hundred percent not an aircraft because an aircraft one hundred percent has wings, and this one hundred percent helmet one hundred percent does not have wings.
  • 6 0
 So then a Red bull helmet...
  • 1 0
 You're one hundred percent right
  • 8 0
 Why do helmet designers feel the need to put sharp pointy bits on the lids, which are going to catch the ground and make rotational impacts worse - Troy Lee love that car aerial fin on the top, and this has the ridge round the back, plus sharp edges under the chin bar. Seems Poc are the only ones who get this. Though it does make their helmets kinda boring! Also, vents that are blocked by the googles strap - duh...
  • 3 0
 I would like to mention Kali's lids that don't have sharp edges either. If I remember correctly, they explained rounded design choice with similar conception in mind.
  • 5 0
 Because mountain bikers are superficial and the round bowling ball Kali helmets look awful.
  • 1 0
 @el-nombre: Sorry to break the bad news but ain't none of our helmets winning any fashion contests. Especially full faces. So I'll take rounder and safer over pointier and more brain-injury-prone.
  • 1 0
 @Phillyenduro: I've got a 3 year old Met Parachute, and I can confirm that does not win any beauty contests!
  • 1 0
 @Phillyenduro: all power to you then. Most mtbers are not so strong of will.
  • 7 1
 broke my visor on the old aircraft, not possible to get replacement in same color or even black in germany. price for replacement is absolutely rediculous.
  • 3 0
 I have the exact same problem! Not gonna buy another 100% for that reason...
  • 6 0
 Busted my visor off and had a matching replacement is 3 days. I do live in the same state, however. The cost may have sucked but I have stored that in memory I can only access with the help of a therapist.
  • 1 0
 same s*it with @troyleedesigns ! Bought a new D4 carbon (600 f*cking euros) and no spare visor on the bag, as in the old D3s (bought 3 of them in the last few years). Troy lee is not seeing another cent from my pocket!

P.s: I contact them via instagram and they act like nothing, disgusting.
  • 1 0
 Same Problem with my Fox Rampage Pro Carbon, Helmet was £200 on sale at the time as it was the colours from a year before (Bought about 5 years ago, it's the original style rampage pro carbon) and didn't get a spare visor. Smashed mine in a crash and it was actually impossible to even find one for sale. I ended up glueing it back together.
  • 4 0
 I wish full-face helmets were more common at the LBS. Being able to try on different helmets prior to purchase would be nice. Especially for those of us who have trouble with helmet sizes and shapes. I have been using an Aircraft for about 6 years now and while it's been good for me, I need to start looking for a replacement. I'll consider this one, but I wish I could try it on first. I wonder when the new version will be on the website and show the color options.
  • 7 0
 Is anyone gonna say anything about the Helvetica logo?
  • 13 2
 It’s amazing. I think you mean the only acceptable font. All other fonts need to be retired. My wife is a teacher and I have nightmares about comic sans and it’s use in classrooms. Think of the children!!!
  • 6 0
 It's been very nicely kerned.
  • 6 1
 @riddenagenda: the keming is excellent.

(but honestly as much as Helvetica is uninspired, I like it a lot in this context)
  • 1 0
 @renin: ONLY acceptable font. how dare you disrespect the glorious legacy that is Futura
  • 1 0
 @riddenagenda: It is a classic and Futura got a nice update last year! There are plenty of fun fonts. Something about Helvetica still makes it pop despite its simplicity unlike other fonts. Helvetica is minimalist perfection.
  • 1 0
 @riddenagenda: I do love a good kern.
  • 3 0
 Have an Aircraft, I have a very large and unusually shaped head and it’s one of the best I’ve found… perfect comfort shape/padding wise, really light and breathable/airy. Only a tiny tad too small for me but would highly recommend to any more-normally-sized-head person.
  • 9 0
 What an unusual way to talk about an airplane
  • 2 0
 @le-freerider: Even more unusual: I wouldn’t hesitate to pedal around all day in it. DaVinci ‘copter time!?
  • 1 0
 Still not as cool as the original model in "Bi-Turbo Red" (most badass colour scheme name too!). I imagine that's the helmet Tony Stark would wear if he rode downhill: cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0177/6500/7432/products/fa-15-aircraft-bi-turbo-red_681x665.png?v=1567594622
  • 1 0
 If they have moisture wicking fabric why not give the helmet a tail if the fabric is moisture wicking. The tail end will dry suck the sweat off your head. Or do small pads that get soaked and drip sweat mean moisture wicking. Hey guys give the sweat a place to wick to
  • 1 0
 Had an Aircraft 1. I experienced similar issues with spare parts. New visor was a pain to source and expensive (some brands used to give you a spare) and then the cheek pads softened and degraded over time and a year after buying I couldnt source them anywhere.

In the end I tried a POC full face. The difference in comfort was night and day. It so comfortable its ridiculous, doesnt have the stupid annoying d ring closure which becomes a pain when riding park or uplifts and feels much more protective. And it was cheaper!

Aircraft is a good helmet, dont get me wrong but there are more comfy options out there with better design features.

I wish that more manufacturers would employ the fidlock clasp system.
  • 6 0
 However d-ring closures are still proven to be by far the most secure option
  • 2 0
 My Aircraft 1 in medium fit me weird. It had pressure spots that kinda sorta went away. I hope the medium fits better this time.
  • 14 2
 Sounds like you have a weird head
  • 2 0
 Any comments on the non-MIPS linear. I am suspect when they don't just kick down for the MIPS and call some random stuff better
  • 2 0
 Best helmet I have owned, fits my nugget and just feels right. Tried THE, TLD, Giro through the years - 100% is a winner for me.
  • 2 0
 It better have 10X the ventilation of the first Aircraft I can’t use my Aircraft if its over 60F my head cooks in it the thing has zero airflow
  • 4 3
 Best looking and most comfortable full-face helmet on the market. Hands down.
  • 2 0
 I'd wear this at the airport.
  • 2 0
 Who makes this? I can't seem to find any branding or logos... Bummer.
  • 3 4
 I wonder which helmet Reece Wilson was wearing during les gets? Seemed like 100% riders seemed more susceptible to concussions… Either way hopefully Reece is ok.
  • 2 0
 No yellow dot
  • 1 2
 Always a plus in my book.
  • 1 2
 Love seeing more carbon fiber used in helmets. The durability and puncture resistance of Carbon helmets for sharp/rocky trails is unmatched by the in-molded plastic stuff.
  • 7 0
 How hard do you have to hit your head to punch thru a plastic helmet?
  • 2 0
 @zyoungson: I often wonder this same thing.
  • 1 1
 @zyoungson: Well, a helmet with an in-molded shell is pretty thin plastic (but light). Not too much different than a roadie helmet... which isn't good enough for rocky trails in my opinion.
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson: it's pretty easy actually
I punched trough my trajecta pretty hard when I went over the bars after a landing
  • 3 2
 The best looking helmet, but the most uncomfortable for me....
  • 1 1
 100 per cent agreed. Sucks I don't have the right head for this one...
Good thing the second best looking helmet on the market (D3) fits me like a glove.
  • 3 6
 You can get a troy lee stage for $300, the fit is super customizable (similar to this helmet) but 3/4 of a pound lighter, under 700 grams. This might be more protective, but the whiplash will be that much worse. Idk... im in the market for a full face, but this doesn't spike my interest %100
  • 1 2
 Fan boys will cry
  • 4 0
 100 makes a lighter helmet too. This one is more protective. Seems like a more accurate comparison would be the d4 which definitely isn't 3/4 of a pound lighter.
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: thanks for the info, I'll check it out. So many helmets, so little money
  • 1 0
 Nice lookin bucket
  • 1 2
 after buying a helmet with FIDLOCK I think D rings should be made illegal.
  • 2 3
 Cons...$400.00!
  • 6 1
 Welcome to the High End my friend.
  • 7 1
 400 for a high end helmet is pretty spot on. Similar to others with carbon and good rotational tech. Heck, a moto helmet is 650-700 now.
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