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Review: Five Lightweight Full Face Helmets

Sep 26, 2023
by Henry Quinney  



Over the last few years, lightweight full face helmets have gone in the right direction. They still offer better ventilation and a lighter weight than a dedicated downhill full face, but they've actually become a little heavier, which I'd say is for the best. The pursuit of the lowest weight possible was probably taken to the extreme with some of the earlier versions of the style that became more commonplace around 2014 or 15. I was also never a particular fan of the removeable chinguard. For me, if I'm riding something that's enough to warrant a full face, I don't want a chinguard that's attached by a magnet.

Of course, the level of protection we feel is right for us is very personal, and I would encourage any reader to wear as much protection as possible to make themselves comfortable (I'm a big believer in wearing more protection than required rather than less). That said, what has worried me in the past is that people who would wear those very light full face helmets as a precaution for pedal-accessed trails would also wear those same helmets in the bike park. To me, that just doesn't make sense. Monetary considerations to one side, I don't understand the reasoning.


MIPS headquarters


Helmet Standards

All of the helmets profiled here are certified to the ASTM F1952 DH standard. In order to achieve that certification, helmets must withstand a higher impact level than what's necessary to achieve CPSC or EN-1078 certification, due to the fact that downhill riding typically involves higher speeds, and thus, bigger crashes.

For instance, in order to achieve ASTM F1952 certification a helmet can't transmit more than 300 G's to the headform when dropped onto a curbstone-shaped anvil from a height of 1.6 meters. In comparison, that drop is 1.2 meters high for the CPSC standard, and 1.1 meters high for EN-1078. It's worth noting that a chin bar isn't required for a helmet to be DH-certified, but that if a chin bar is present it needs to pass an impact test as well.

The purpose of this review is to evaluate the helmets based on their fit and design, not their impact resistance. There weren't any lab coats or complicated test rigs used for this article; instead, it was multiple rides out in the real world that delivered the necessary data. I would add the caveate though that I believe a downhill helmet will offer more protection than an enduro full-face, and the very fact there is a distinction is self-evident of that. While there will be a drop-off, one of the reasons is that a downhill helmet is often heavier. The lightest on test came in around 300 grams lighter than the heavier ones, and I can't help but take that into consideration when putting it on. For your reference, the Bluegrass and the Lazer helmet have both been tested by Virginia Tech.




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Abus Airdrop

The Abus Airdrop is a strange mix of old meets new. In some ways, it's cutting edge and in one or two other instances it feels like the dull-blade of yesterday's ideas.

It's the burliest feeling helmet, with surprisingly good ventilation. The chin bar sits far away from the face, the pads sit further back around the cheeks. This makes a huge difference in ventilation, and for a helmet that feels so substantial it does make for a very cool-running one. For those, like myself, who tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to weight and find the marriage of weight and protection an irresistible prospect the MIPs equipped Abus could be a good option.



Details

• Rotational impact protection: MIPS
• Buckle type: double d-ring buckle
• Additional features: adjustable visor, quick release cheek pads
• 4 color options
• Sizes: S/M & L/XL
• Weight: 933 grams (size L/XL)
• MSRP: $300 USD
www.abus.com

The Airdrop also is ready to have the Abus Quin System installed. The crash detection system, which can notify contacts via a rider's smartphone if a crash is detected, is available to buy aftermarket for around $100,

It's not all good though. The Mips is very noisy Mips. The system, which often can creak and groan as you ride, is particularly noisy on the Airdrop. The ratchet at the back also digs in, especially when taking it on and off. The pads are comfortable though, and the ventilation around the back of the helmet is good, even if not quite as impressive as something like the Leatt. The "Ambient Sound Channels" system contributes to this. That said, it's not like it has a massively noticeable benefit compared to the other helmets on the test. Furthermore, I quite like the hush-quiet feel of a true downhill full-face helmet. Systems such as this mean they kill the wind noise but not the bike noise and trail chatter. I personally prefer the quieter, more muted option.

As for looks, I like the modern take on a conventional full face. That said, there is something about the chin bar being so far away from your face and the large visor that does make it appear somewhat bulbous. There is also a decent gap between the edge of the goggles and the helmet. This does help airflow, but doesn't look so hot.

This helmet is best suited to those who will happily forgo something a little better ventilated for something a bit more reinforced. The chin bar is more solid than some others on the test, for example. This would also make a great all-day enduro helmet for big, lift-accessed pedaling rides in the mountains or multi-stage enduro races. Of all the helmets, it is one of two that I would consider racing in. That said, if you're looking for a trail lid with bonus protection, rather than a full downhill helmet with better ventilation there are simply better options.


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Pros

+ Breathes relatively well
+ Reassuringly solid
+ Well ventilated for the weight
Cons

- Noisey
- Ratchet is uncomfortable



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Leatt Gravity 4.0

The Leatt Gravity 4.0 is possibly the closest in terms of design, fit, and dimensions to a standard full-face helmet. In fact, although lots of brands do make lightweight helmets, it's not all that often that their sponsored pros actually wear them in between the tape. However, the Leatt is sometimes spotted being raced at the top level of enduro.

The Leatt does offer reasonable ventilation compared to a downhill helmet, but it was also the hottest on test, at least at lower speeds. When moving quicker, the air runs through well, and the ventilation past the ears towards the rear of the helmet is its strong point.




Details

• Rotational impact protection: 360° Turbine Technology
• Buckle type: Fidlock magnetic closure
• Additional features: removable mouth vent, quick release cheek pads
• 5 color options
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 941 grams (size XL)
• MSRP: $270 USD
www.leatt.com

It's got other strengths too. Most notably, by using their own 360 Turbine impact absorption system, the Gravity 4.0 can go without Mips, meaning it's very quiet. It also has a removable mouthpiece for more ventilation (which is what I preferred), and is one of two helmets on test alongside the Lazer that has no retention buckle at the back of the helmet. This makes it more comfortable to take on and off over the course of a day in the bike park. The pads are also very soft. All in all, it feels like a well finished helmet.

The chin bar feels sits closer to your face than the other helmets, and the cheek pads also sit quite far forward. This means that pedaling at slower speeds can get very warm. While this is a good helmet for gravity riding, I wouldn't recommend it for pedaling. This would be good for multi-stage racing if you could put up with the heat, but even in cooler climates the helmet does feel close and stuffy.

Similar to the Abus, this helmet really mutes all wind noise, which may be to your liking. It also benefits from the ease of a magnetic Fidlock clip and a large breakaway visor. That said, the visor isn't adjustable, even though I never found it to be an intrusion into my vision. All in all, it is a good helmet, and I would only really fault it for its ventilation and heat management, particularly at lower speeds.


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Pros

+ Quiet and comfortable padding
+ Removable mouthpiece
+ Secure fit without ratchet
Cons

- Warm and stuffier at slower speeds





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IXS Trigger FF

The IXS Trigger FF is a full face for those that might otherwise be wearing an open face helmet, and I think it does an admirable job of offering a good compromise of comfort, breathability and coverage.

Most brands do offer a true downhill full face, so why not offset that by offering something really different? I feel that's what IXS has done here. It's similar to the Lazer in its high level of breathability. However, I would say it's a better execution in terms of fit.

The Trigger isn't a replacement for a downhill helmet, and I don't believe it's meant to be. Instead, it's just an extra layer of protection for trail riding. Of all the helmets here, this would be the one I'd most likely wear on a daily basis for pedaling.




Details

• Rotational impact protection: Mips
• Buckle type: magnetic
• Additional features: adjustable visor
• 9 color options
• Sizes: XS, SM, ML
• Weight: 664 grams (large)
• MSRP: $299 USD
www.ixs.com
At 664 grams, this helmet is very light and it reaps a lot of benefits from that. Personally, though, I wouldn't be particularly excited to wear this in a bike park on high-speed trails. It is however very well-ventilated and I rode in it over the long hot BC summer and really enjoyed bringing an extra layer of protection where previously I would not have. The helmet doesn't feel as deep at the back, and the dial is felt when you take it on and off a lot, but it's more comfortable than the Abus in this regard and offers a similar level of comfort as the Bluegrass Vanguard. The fit with goggles is good, and it does without the gap between the edge of the goggles and helmet. The visor is stated as adjustable, but really you can only get a few degrees of difference between its most extreme positions

The main strength of the IXS is definitely its ventilation, and there seems to have been a deliberate effort to just reduce the size of the pads, especially around the face. This really comes back to the rider in terms of comfort and heat management.


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Pros

+ Light
+ Adjustable visor
+ Very breathable
Cons

- Doesn't feel as substantial compared to others





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Bluegrass Vanguard Core

Bluegrass is the gravity wing of Met helmets that was founded fifteen years ago. Although it can get slightly confusing having two brands that make the same thing, all you need to know is that Bluegrass just does gravity protection, including body armor and pads.

The Vanguard is probably the most well-rounded helmet on test when it comes to striking a balance between breathability, comfort and robustness. I haven't tested these helmets by crashing, so my observations are just that - observations - but I think this strikes a good balance. Like the Leatt it includes a removable mouthpiece. Stylistically, it holds similar lines to Bluegrass' Legit downhill helmet.



Details
• Rotational impact protection: MIPS
• Buckle type: Fidlock magnetic
• Additional features: c-shaped cheek pads, removable mouth piece
• 4 color choices
• Sizes: S, M, L
• Weight: 776 grams (large)
• MSRP: $350 USD
www.met-helmets.com

The helmet has a Fidlock buckle and a flexible even if non-adjustable visor. There is a ratchet at the back of the helmet. Again, when it comes to comfort when removing the helmet I prefer Leatt and Lazer's style, which provides a secure fit through padding. However, it probably isn't a coincidence that the helmets with a ratchet system can forgo more padding in the first place and therefore be better ventilated. The padding in the Vanguard itself is very minimalist and the design makes use of novel c-shaped cheek pads to maximise venting.

Bluegrass has done a great job of integrating goggles in one regard, and a sub-par execution in another. When putting goggles on the back of the helmet for climbing, there are divots and contours to hold them securely, which I really like. However, when wearing the goggles normally there is a huge gap between the side of the goggles and the helmet. It's not a big deal, but it is a noticeable blemish on what else is quite a good-looking helmet in my opinion.

The Vanguard is only behind the Trigger when it comes to breathability, but it also does feel stronger and considerable in your hands. The ventilation is good if not fantastic, but it also manages to incorporate that airflow with a good deal of comfort and compromise.


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Pros

+ Good venting around face
+ Comfortable and without ratchet
+ Removable mouthpiece & flexible visor
Cons

- Large gap between goggle and helmet looks strange






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Lazer Cage Kineticore

The Lazer Cage Kineticore brings their impressive crumple zone technology to a full-face helmet. While thankfully I haven't impact-tested this technology, I have enjoyed the way that the system manages to pull air through a Lazer open-face helmet in the past, and I've been similarly impressed with the Cage. While it's not the best at slower speeds or without foibles in terms of fit, it is impressive when it comes to airflow when on trail and descending.



Details
• Rotational impact protection: Kineticore
• Buckle type: magnetic
• Additional features: novel ventilation
• 3 color options
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 898 grams
• MSRP: $300 USD
www.lazersport.us
Like the Leatt, it does without a ratchet and relies solely on padding to provide a secure fit. Largley, the fit is good without any noted discomfort save for the cheek pads. They're shaped like a Z, and while it's not a massive issue, I did find that they weren't cut low enough to fit underneath my ear. It wasn't a big issue, but on big climbs that would take several hours into the alpine I would often just unclip them at their lower point and rotate them down. It should be said that I haven't tried on the extra large, but the helmet does fit in all other regards and I don't necessarily want anything bigger.

Ventilation on this helmet is good but it mainly shines when the speed is higher. On slow speeds it's okay but to my mind not as good as the Bluegrass or the IXS. The visor is particularly flexible even if not adjustable. Save for the fit, it's a good all-around helmet.


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Pros

+ Good ventilation when descending
+ Does without ratchet
Cons

- Visor isn't adjustable
- Uncomfortable around the ear



Top Picks

All of the helmets featured here are worthy options if you're in the market for a lightweight full-face, but choosing the best one will depend on what type of riding you're planning on using it for.


Racing

For racing true-enduro, where the stages are gnarly and you're a mixture of both scared and excited, I would lean towards the Abus or Leatt. Although I have no intention of proving it, they do just feel so much more reassuring in your hands. Without the creaking and fit issues of the Abus it would be a clear leader, but for long days riding the sheer comfort of the Leatt offsets its slightly hotter running, and I would tie them for first. The Bluegrass isn't too far behind. I personally wouldn't be that excited about racing in either the IXS or the Lazer, whatever the certifications say.

All-Purpose

For all-purpose riding when it's about increasing the protection compared to a standard open face for your everyday trail rides, as opposed to replacing a downhill helmet, the IXS Trigger is a really great option. It's the best breathing helmet. Again, the Bluegrass Vanguard is not far behind. For that reason, I would say the Bluegrass is possibly the best all-rounder, even if not the out-and-out best for pedaling or hotter days.

Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
346 articles

160 Comments
  • 119 3
 Lets be honest, most of us are just going to buy the one we think looks the coolest and is on the best sale price (probably a last season heavily discounted Proframe or TLD Stage)
  • 31 0
 I just gotta settle for whichever one fits my giant head
  • 6 0
 I picked up a cool-looking and on-sale Smith Mainline for $217 recently, to replace a Bell Super Air that served its purpose in a crash. I can confirm that it has a noisy Mips interface, but is otherwise very comfy and light. Haven't had a real ride on it yet (see Recent Crash above). I was considering the Specialized Gambit as well, but it seemed that the Mainline was just a half-step more substantial of a helmet.
  • 2 0
 @swansong: Did the same. Actually bought a Med and Lg since I'm in between and wear a Super DH Med. The Med Mainline was WAY more noisy than the Lg, probably because of the tighter fit. The Med did a slightly better job keeping my face from protruding past the chin bar (like on a frontal impact), but the Lg had much quieter MIPs liner, and was still snug. So I'll take it.
  • 3 0
 I got the Lazer through Shimano with factory blemishes for $75. That’s how I made my decision.
  • 1 0
 That’s exactly what I did
  • 3 0
 @mtmc99: this. I read all the reviews and comparisons before going out to buy my new fullface helmet. After 4 different shops in two different countries, there were 2 helmets that actually fitted, with one being extremely expensive and hot and sweaty just standing there in the shop. Did make for an easy choice... (helmets that don't fitt well are inherently unsafe).
  • 1 0
 While probably true. Fit is the key to helmets go with whatever fits best and worry about features afterwards
  • 3 0
 @Mac1987: agreed cheaper but poorly fitting just means its worthless.

Finding shops with different brands and then finding out what is in stock is a bit of a chore but a necessary process at this point.

I fit the Troy Lee A3 perfectly and when I went to try on their "XL" full face it didn't even make it to my ears.
  • 2 0
 @mtmc99: It's much easier to make a half shell fit well but a full face is a different story, i'd hapily buy a half shell without trying just based on the circumferance adjustment range, as long as you're not to close to being between sizes, full face i agree you idelly need to try, although if they come with various thickness pads for different areas within the helmet (i know proframes have 3 cheek pads, 2 brow pads and 2 rear pads) you can usually modify the fit to get it pretty good.
  • 22 0
 “ All of the helmets profiled here are certified to the ASTM F1952 DH standard”. Yet we tend to trust the heavier & ‘more substantial’ helmets more. The IXS fitted me well when I tried it on, so maybe I should rely on test standards rather than my (and @henryquinney ‘s) hunch?
  • 15 0
 Yes thank you for this! I am so sick of reviews being based on what "feels safe." The world is riddled with examples where our intuition is wrong. For all we know the extra mass in some helmets just increases the torque experienced by the head and neck.

Don't get me wrong, I want the safest helmet. I just want to have some way of knowing this objectively. I don't want to hear about what something "thinks" will be safer. One can dream I guess.
  • 4 0
 Especially since relying on the ASTM standard was the whole justification for not doing any destructive testing of their own
  • 2 0
 Double.
  • 9 0
 One thing to note on the ASTM certification is that it doesn't always equal a safer helmet. There is a lot of noise made around ASTM F1952 and it's great that there are new standards introduced to further qualify helmets for specific riding - however people should definitely be better educated around standards.

ASTM F1952, by their own admission in the whitepaper, can result in less effective protection at lower speeds. In order to absorb the energy from a higher anvil drop, the density of the EPS must be increased. In the real world this of course translates to better protection against high-speed impacts, however, because the density is increased, slower-speed impacts are absorbed less effectively and can actually increase the risk of concussion.

The only way in which an F1952 certified helmet will provide better protection for downhill riding is if it utilises a dual-density EPS liner. One with a high density for high-speed crashes and one with a lower density for slower-speeds. Obviously the addition of any impact tech (Turbine etc) will help for lower speed too.

So if you see a helmet that is F1952 certified with a single density EPS, chances are it will actually provide less protection at lower speeds. Helmets you tend to find like this are on the more budget end, where naturally riders will likely be going slower.
  • 2 0
 I was pretty happy with my trigger FF when i landed on my head going warp speed in a bikepark. Had a very sore neck mind
  • 3 0
 Meeting the standard mean it meets the minimum within.... it doesn't mean it can't be better and it certainly doesnt mean two things that meet the same standard are equivalent..... All Walmart helmets are CSA certified but an avid mtb'er is not going to pick that over a Smith, Giro or whatever that is only CSA certified as well.
  • 3 0
 Something like IXS is really good because you'll actually wear it. The old school full faces I almost never wore them and would wear my half shell cause it was too warm or some other stupid excuse
  • 2 1
 @maestroman21: interestingly it used to be the case that cheap motorcycle full face helmets were better in testing than the higher end ones. It was because the cheap ones ONLY met the DOT standard, but the more expensive ones would be designed to meet the SNELL rating which translated into higher forces experienced in a crash.
Since then there have been some changes, but I wouldn't bet against the 'cheap' helmets being just as effective in the real world.
It's the features/style/image that drives us all to get the expensive ones I truly believe.
  • 2 0
 @BarryWalstead: very well said. There’s a temptation to think expensive = safe but honestly I haven’t seen any objective evidence that that is true
  • 1 0
 @BarryWalstead: I'm going to need a strong source showing cheap helmets performing better. I agree that there is not an infinite safety increase with price...but yes A Leatt will perform better than a $40 Aliexpress. That being said....if the helmet is designed higher forces, it likley wont perform as well at lower forces vice versa. Having multi-density shells that some have used will help but these improvement....you guessed it....increase cost.
  • 1 0
 @maestroman21:
smarter-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/10_2005_June_Motorcycle_H.pdf

Now that was a few long years ago, but it very clearly discusses the issues around helmets and certifications. Some things have changed, but certainly worth a look.

Of personal experience my daughter got a rather significant concussion while wearing a top of the line Giro ski helmet when hit by a' out of control skier and her helmet showed basically no deformation. Not saying it was the fault of the design, but it would have been less of a concussion if it had been 'softer'. Again, only personal experience, not the absolute story for all accidents.
  • 19 0
 I wish this article included data on fit/head shape. Oval? Round? High volume face guard? Low volume face guard? Help me narrow down which one fits.

Also, why is the Smith Mainline not in the mix?
  • 5 1
 Even if they did include that data i'm not sure most of us could tell you if we have an oval or round head anyway, i couldn't, just have to try a helmet and see how it feels.
  • 13 0
 Good review, although was there any reason Fox and TLD options were left out? Feel like the Fox is one the market leaders here, at least based on popularity at my local trails.
I'm in the market to replace my Proframe and would like to know how some of these options compare?
  • 8 0
 We've reviewed both separately. Matt Beer was very impressed with the revised Fox Proframe and you can read his review here - www.pinkbike.com/news/review-the-fox-proframe-rs-helmet-is-packed-with-safety-features-for-enduro-riders.html
  • 3 0
 Was in the same spot and I'm so stoked with the upgrade from Proframe to Proframe RS. The fit with the boa is so much better.
  • 5 0
 Having tested the Fox over a few months, I was impressed by everything - fit, finish, protection, ventilation - except for the MIPS liner making noise. If companies are going to go to all the trouble to build a $300 helmet that you can treat as an all arounder, can we at least get someone to figure out how to make liners that don't pop and squeak constantly?
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: Thanks Henry, can you comment on how any of these options compare to the Fox Proframe/Proframe RS? I'm very happy with Proframe, but the price of them seems to have crept up since my last purchase so looking to compare all options again before handing over more cash.
  • 3 0
 @Jmac888: Sadly I didn't get a chance to ride in it personally so I am unable to directly compare. Just too much stuff to test and what seems like a very busy time of year.
  • 5 0
 @zhendo: Hey, you got it backwards - the noise is a feature, not a bug. They're going to a lot of trouble to make the pop/squeak harmonize with the pop/creak from fork CSU, PF BB, and of course frame pivots/bearings/bushings for the fully engineered surround sound experience.
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney: And you couldn't just wear like 3 or 4 helmets at once to cut down on testing time? C'mon... you need to start thinking outside the box Quinster.
  • 1 3
 @henryquinney: I thought dh helmets had to have d buckles?

Also, if a helmet is rated for a harder impact it may not protect you as well in a small crash as a regular helmet due to not enough energy in a small crash to compress the stiffer foam of the dh rated helmet.

Lastly I would like to point out how little impact protection these are.

They protect you from 1.8 meters fall. That is your head height when standing on your pedals. Add a jump height to that and brain splat.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: kind of. You’re rarely going to kit your head first and directly. Most crashes will see other parts of the body take the initial impact and deceleration.
  • 3 0
 @pmhobson: not to make too much fun of a serious issue. But have you watched Friday fails. How many face to tree crashes we see.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: Are the faces exactly the first thing that hits the tree? or does the front tire, handle bar, arm, etc make contact first?
  • 2 0
 The new fit system doesn't work for me with Fox helmets I land between medium and large. The old system I was squarely in the large size
  • 12 1
 I took a hard slam wearing a Leatt 8.0 lid a month ago. Separated my shoulder and actually cracked the helmet. However, I did not get a concussion or any head injuries. Anyhow, I’m a believer in the Leatt full face helmets. For the record, I personally wouldn’t ride bike parks with an enduro spec helmet. Had I been wearing a lighter spec helmet, I have no doubt I wouldn’t have faired as well. I have no earthly clue why bike parks don’t mandate a full face at a minimum. Either dh spec or enduro. So many injuries involving open face helmets at bike parks that could be avoided. They should mandate and rent them for free. Would save so much for the medics. Lastly the double black trail stampede at Nekos new park rock creek is rowdy Af. Ask me how I know.
  • 11 0
 How do you know?
  • 2 3
 @bigtim: ask my helmet sitting in the bottom of the rubbish bin.
  • 27 0
 @Struggleteam: safe it from the bin, please and make use of our helmet replacement program:
www.pinkbike.com/news/leatt-introduces-helmet-replacement-program.html
because it was an expensive, top of the line helmet.
  • 1 0
 I’ve personally seen 2 people rack their dome on stampede. Had a couple moments myself too. Shoutout to helmets.
  • 2 1
 @Struggleteam: So why did you say to ask you when apparently it's actually your old helmet that has the answers? This sounds suspicious.
  • 13 1
 That abus looks like what a 5 year old draws when they try sketching a picture of a motocross racer (speaking from past experience)
  • 1 0
 I've seen that look on the 125 Nervous class start line
  • 1 0
 If that visor was any higher it would be fully vertical
  • 9 0
 Also a family owned company that won’t allow women in management because it is gods will.
  • 1 0
 Thanks. Good one.
  • 3 0
 @pisgahgnar: I find it odd that PB makes a lot of effort to promote women's cycling and yet provides exposure to a company with values like that.
  • 9 1
 and the winner is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
7iDP Project 23 Carbon

I have one and I love it.
Mine is a large, and it weighs exactly 1000 grams, which is pretty good considering.
It is one of the best looking helmets ever made IMO.
I wear mine pedaling and at the mountain, I never feel like my head is over heating, and I can breath well in it too.
I wouldn't trade this helmet for anything and would 100% recommend this helmet to anyone.

7idp.com/products/project-23-carbon
  • 2 0
 I am about to buy this helmet. How is the size, does it match the head measurement according to the official website? And what about the visor, does it seem to be flimsy?
  • 3 0
 @ChuchoM:
sizing is pretty much spot on according to their website.
I usually wear a XL but according to their site a Large was correct for my head. I called them to ask about sizing and they said the website sizing is very accurate, I went with the Large and it fit like a glove.

The visor itself is not flimsy at all, however the little tab that protrudes out to click and engage on the various setting is a little weak. Mine broke on a fall (the tab NOT the visor) I just used some velcro on the underside back of visor, and stuck it to the helmet. I never adjust it anyways and its better than new this way.
  • 3 1
 @ChuchoM:

here is my visor and you can see how I used the velcro.
It really is better this way IMO
hope this helps, and for the record, I broke my visor on just about every helmet I ever owned at one time or another.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/25618610
  • 2 0
 @ChuchoM:
I see you have a 100% Trajecta by reading the comments.I also have a Trajecta and for what its worth the 7iDP Project 23 Carbon is in a league of it's own, compared to the Trajecta in terms of quality, protection, just a better helmet by far. It only weighs like 50 grams more than the trajecta but feels like i'm wearing my TLD D3 carbon as far as protection.
I'd NEVER wear the Trajecta for an all day at the mountain, but I would wear the 7iDP.
It feels like a real DH but its lighter and vented a lot better. I also love the fidlock after using it a couple times. I used to swear by D rings..
  • 1 0
 @redman733: thats a great use ov velcro. I'll do that on mine.

I also think its an awesom helmet!
  • 2 0
 Thanks man,I bought the helmet and it looks very good, it is very comfortable and does not squeeze the head anywhere. It has an excellent weight and feels very safe! I haven't used it on the trails yet but I'm sure it will be perfect!
  • 6 0
 Ive loved my ixs trigger ff mips (know that they have a mips and non mips version) mainly because its one of the few i could find that is good for a narrow/long head shape with a goofy overhang on the lower back of my skull (the retention dial can be positioned very low). Its also super light which does remind me that its not meant for DH...
  • 1 0
 Confirmed on narrow head shape. I have rounder face/cheeks and it is very tight on my jawline even with the smaller pads despite otherwise fitting my head.
  • 5 0
 Which ones have light/camera mounts? Lots of us ride in places where night-riding becomes a necessity if you want to keep on riding all year round. Buying a fancy new helmet and then gluing or strapping on a mount for your lights is just silly. Especially when the ones that do include, or at least offer, built-in mounts (Bell & Kali are the only ones I can think of) often make them breakaway, like visors, for some added safety over the typical glue-on or strap-on mounts.
  • 2 0
 Many of us are ok with being silly
  • 4 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: the real word I should have, and actually wanted to is "stupid".

You shouldn't have to glue on a mount almost 2 decades into the action cam era, that's stupid. And night riding has been around as long as riding itself, pretty much. Now that most lights on the market have GoPro-fingers mounting options, usually along with their own handlebar mounts, helmets need to get with the times and offer custom fit breakaway mounts with GoPro or round-bar-style fitments.

Especially ones that tout fancy rotational force dispersion systems and/breakaway visors. A light or camera sticking up off a glued or strapped on mount pretty much nullifies a lot of that fancy shit by giving the ground a big lever with which to yank your head around. Not even to mention how wobbly most straps are despite not being breakaway.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: I would think the manufacturers would just flat out say no to attaching pieces of plastic to your helmet, I could understand why helmets are made with no “expansion slots” and maybe attaching GoPros should void helmet protection claims… But then you’d still be right, in that they should’ve had “GoPro-ready helmets” for sale by now if that was the case…
I just don’t think that little sticky mount is a big hassle, they’re basically free and they’re permanently on my helmets now
  • 3 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: if they would say no to using sticky or strappy ones, that's exactly why they need to make them part of the design. I've been buying Bell and Bontrager for a while now because they both fit me well and have light mounts. The Bell ones use mechanical/friction breakaway, and the Bontrager system is magnetic: not going to add much, of anything, to impact forces, but more stable than a strappy, and is better placed than a sticky pad. The Bontrager mount is even in a hole, no sticky pad will work in that position, and other helmets have even more/bigger holes which makes a sticky pad even harder to mount on a good spot, if it's possible at all.
  • 4 0
 I've been using the Leatt Gravity 4.0 for over a year on rowdier rides. Most my rides are in the morning, so I don't often get bothered by the warmth. Has helped protect my noggin once or twice and I appreciate the added security over a lighter weight/convertible full face. I agree with @henryquinney in that I think these are compromised solutions.
  • 4 0
 I've had my TLD Stage for two seasons now and I love it. Very well ventilated, super comfy. Only time I wear half shell now is biking in town / along pathways and its purely so I don't look like an idiot.

Fidlock buckles seem like a sale gimmick, but are they ever nice. I don't hesitate pulling it off on a chairlift or even to take a quick breather.
  • 3 0
 This article came at the perfect time!!
4 days ago, I clipped a tree and went OTB and cracked my head on the dirt. It was my worst crash I have ever had (just got home from hand surgery, from my hand the smashed the tree and broke). This morning I was looking at my TLD Stages helmet, and I convinced it saved my life.. I didn't know it at the time, but there are huge dents in it, and the foam inside is cracked straight through the entire frame. yikes. probably getting a stages again, loved it, but fun to see other options.
  • 2 0
 Just picked up a Vanguard Core to replace my Proframe. The gap I have between the goggles and helmet is there, but nowhere near as big as what is shown. I use Scott goggles that are normal size and a sz L helmet. Odd. As a chronic goggle fogger, I was happy to have a gap that may aid airflow. Verdict is not in yet, but I'm not sure I love how the cheek pads come up to my ears.
  • 2 1
 Do you spray anti-fogger on before every ride? Seems a bit tedious, but when you wipe it off, it cleans your goggles and solved the issue for me. And I ride with glasses under my goggles.
  • 1 0
 @birdsandtrees: I don't only because I'm incredibly fussy with keeping them clean. Anti-fog tends to streak or just not work very well in my experience. What brand do you use? I'll give it a try.
  • 2 0
 @flattoflat: Zeiss Fog Defender. It was $7. Maybe use multiple microfiber towels to wipe? I haven’t experienced streaming, but I don’t use clear lenses, mine have a slight tint to them.
  • 1 0
 Didn’t know that the dreaded gapper gap applies to bike helmets.
  • 5 0
 Personally I love my Specialized Gambit for comfort, enough so I no longer use my open face helmet.
  • 1 0
 I've always been a full face full time rider so the Gambit has been a real godsend for me. Just wish the finish didn't suck so bad. A helmet that expensive that's seen zero impacts should not have so much chipped paint.
  • 2 0
 Is the Leatt helmet not a dedicated downhill helmet? I own the enduro version with the removable chin bar and was always under the assumption the gravity line was not meant as an enduro focused option because they already had that.

The only “heavier” option is the 8.0 which is essentially a moto helmet
  • 9 0
 The 4.0 "Gravity" helmet tested, used to be named our "4.0 Enduro" helmet when we introduced them back then, around 5 years ago (also on product development level, back then enduro has been the focus -> fun fact here: we at Leatt were totally pissed, when we found out, Fox had been developing the proframe, parallel, when they came to the market few months earlier, both sharing the a quite eqal concept, more or less -> that were the early times sof deidicated "enduro helmets").
But now all of our "enduro line" of helmets (from 2.0 to 4.0, the lower the number, the lower the price point) are convertible helmets. So we shifted the "first 4.0", up to gravity, but still below the gravity 8.0 helmet, our full on DH dedicated, maximum protection helmet.
Spoiler: we will have some news for you end of the year for a model in between.
  • 2 0
 @leatt:

Ahh that makes sense! Thanks for the clarification!
  • 2 0
 According to bluegrass, there vanguard core is as safe as there full DH Legit helmet ….
I’m not sure How much science this claim was based on?
But I truly love my vanguard (a bad neck accident a couple years back prohibits me from wearing heavy helmet for longer that 2 or 3 DH/Enduro runs in a row, so the vanguard and its Virginia tec 5 star rating convinced me. No proper crash yet. Hopefully, there won’t be any bad surprises)
  • 2 0
 I think that something that gets missed here is that for the average rider, who does not train their neck to be stronger, and who does not wear a full face regularly, a lighter helmet may mean they are less likely to hit their head in the first place.
The more weight, the more momentum in a crash, the higher the head speed of the rider and the greater potential for a high energy impact. I don't have any data to back it up, but I think that a lighter helmet can give you more head control (from your neck) and remains within your physical parameters for longer, before you effectively lose control of where your head is going.
You can see an exaggerated version of this with balance bike racing, like at The Malverns Bike Festival this summer. Quite a few 2-4 year old kids have full faces on as their parents want to keep them safe; understandably. When they crash, their little heads whip forwards with the weight of the helmet and they hit the floor every single time when they probably wouldn't in a 250 gram open face kids helmet.
Just my thoughts, anyway.
@henryquinney ?
  • 2 0
 I am still looking for one that fits my 64.5cm head. Nearly teared my ears off when trying the Endura Mt500. That old Specialized Dissident has to go!
Any suggestions which helmets are true XL?
  • 3 0
 7iDP comes in a XXL and fits my very large head (I think Im right around 64cm but haven't measured in awhile)
  • 2 1
 "That said, what has worried me in the past is that people who would wear those very light full face helmets as a precaution for pedal-accessed trails would also wear those same helmets in the bike park."

My local trails are generally way more dangerous than any nearby bike park LOL
  • 1 0
 Yup, same here
  • 4 0
 Seems like at sun peaks all the people getting fkd up are riding on blue flow trails, so I wouldn’t necessarily link the rowdiness of your local trails to being overall more dangerous. New riders typically dont wreck themselves walking their bike or taking the ride arounds on black tech trails.
  • 3 0
 The biggest difference is speed... while local trails can be super fast... you're unlikely to be doing 10-20 laps a day, increasing the chances of incident. A lightweight quality fullface for local trails is a good choice if it means you'll use it and it offers a bit more than a half shell.
  • 3 0
 @mick06: Speed is the killer.... blue flow carries more speed than double black tech typically. Thats the killer imo. You can get pretty cut up, bruised maybe a broken bone down the rocks of most double black at not pro level speeds... but almost anyone can hit 40kph on a blue flow trail and wail a tree....
  • 4 0
 Really like my Trigger FF. Very comfy, light, and breathes so well for a FF.
  • 1 0
 I just cracked my smith mainline in 2 places a couple weeks ago. Hit the old noggin pretty good, and gotta say i was surprised all i had was a mild headache for a few hours. Was thinking about getting another mainline but that bluegrass is intriguing.
  • 1 0
 I recently had a big slam with my 100% Trajecta and although I had internal injuries to my mouth (I bit myself), my head was unharmed thanks to this helmet.
The visor is very weak, the top bracket broke within a few months of purchase but the helmet itself is very impact resistant.
  • 2 0
 I concur, 100% visors are made of paper mache at best. My son has been through 3 of them this year (none crash related!) Great helmet, just need to have it come with a 6 pack of matching visors. You can only get black with white as a replacement, although they have a dozen color ways!
  • 1 0
 I'm riding the IXS FF trigger at bikeparks.

Year ago i had a crash with IXS FF at a medium speed going otb from a jump,hit my head chin first also dislocating my left shoulder. The helmet took the hit just fine, only a minor bend on the chin part. I ended up replacing the damaged helmet with a new IXS FF trigger.

I also had a similar crash 3 years ago with a heavier O'neill helmet. Going otb from a small jump at medium speed, hit my chin again. That time the helmet deformed from the chin part, the metal ventilation net hit my mouth which resulted in nasty cuts on my lips that were very painfull. I couldn't trust such helmet again due to the deformation on impact...

So atleast for me, the heavier helmet was not protecting me any better. Of course each crash is different, and this is just my experience. Have to say though that the o'neill helmet was cheaper, around 120€,
  • 1 0
 If I'm riding with my wife then I wear a half shell, as soon as I get on proper trails then I use my Kali Invader 2.0, and I just upgraded my Bell Super 3R to a Leatt Gravity 1.0 for park riding. I believe Kali have a DH version of the Invader on the way, so it will be interesting to see how that performs.
  • 1 1
 I've given up on Fullface Enduro helmets. Tried 8 different models. None fit.
I guess my head shape must be very strange dunno. Out of the 8 there was 2 from this list. Vanguard Core and Leatt 4.0. Bluegrass sizing is M 56-58cm, L 58-61cm. Leatt sizing M 55-59, L 59-63cm. So with my 59cm circumference head I should be bang on L with Bluegrass and inbetween sizes with Leatt. But with all helmet I've tried in the last 4 years M is so small i can hardly put it on, and size L (even with changing pads) is so big that I can lift and twist the helmet way too much.
My TLD Stage from 2018 fits well. So I thought I just buy the same again. Nope. Doesn't fit. They must have changed something.

So I'm stuck with wearing my trusted Giro Montaro Mips halfshell even for gnarliest of bikepark days
  • 1 0
 You sound like me. I am using the IXS FF size large after trying maybe a half dozen including specialized and giro. Most comfy helmet I've ever worn and well worth the painful trial and error of the other helmets. Good luck
  • 2 0
 I was having similar between size fit issues and the Proframe RS has worked out great. Not sure how available they are for you but maybe worth a shot.
  • 2 0
 @jessemeyers: thanks. but no. also tried the Proframe RS.
  • 1 0
 Have the Leatt Enduro 3.0 and liked it a lot but not able to use it. The ventilation pattern causes the wind to blow up my hearing aides when I hit speed. So I shall keep using the Bell Super Air R for now.
  • 1 0
 I have a fairly small head and am currently using the IXS Trigger. I am a huge fan of the BOA, but I do find the helmet a little hot to climb in, especially during the summer in BC.
  • 1 0
 That Lazer is a great helmet, I have no problems with mine even around the ears! Very light and breaths well. Held up in a crash too, you can see that on my profile haha.
  • 3 0
 And the winner is…the TLD Stage
  • 3 0
 That Bluegrass and the Leatt win my vote for aesthetics.
  • 1 0
 Great reviews thanks. I wasn't aware of the leatt gravity 4. I thought they all had removable chinguards which I didn't want. Ordered from CRC £138 today.
  • 5 7
 It'd be nice to have some of the convertible helmets reviewed as an option for those of us who would have a full face if it was also usable as a half lid. I rode an IXS Trigger for a summer and it was too hot for anything but going downhill, so I ride a Bell Super Air now and the removeable chin guard is a nice trick for mellow rides and climbs ... but it's not as safe as the Trigger, so I'm looking to upgrade to the Bell Super DH.
  • 21 3
 I don't know, a helmet meant to absorb impacts that's designed to come apart just doesn't sit right with me.
  • 2 0
 I have the Bell Super DH and the IXS Trigger. I heard lots of good stuff about the IXS so I thought I would give it a try. And it is the best ventilated full face I have worn. But I agree, it is a bit too hot to pedal in, especially in Phoenix. I do like the Super DH and I use the removable chin guard quite often. Its a bit heavier, but it feels more substantial. Ventilation isn't too bad, I just wish the visor was more adjustable. Oh, and the pads use small sticky velcro patches to stay in place - heat and sweat have caused them all to come off, so I have to keep putting new ones on in order to keep the pads attached. But overall, I do like it and will probably buy another one.
  • 33 3
 @sanchofula This will probably get me some heat, and it is the product of a very speculative view on my part but I don't trust those helmets and wouldn't ride in one on any trail meriting a full face. For that reason, I didn't include any in the review.
  • 5 5
 @henryquinney: I get ya, but for anyone other than a downhill racer, a convertible helmet is the most likely choice other than a half lid.

I suppose removeable chin guards are like using seat belts without air bags; it's not a good, but it's better than no safety at all.

I just bought a Bell Super DH on sale for $225.
  • 5 0
 Another Super DH and IXS Trigger owner here in Phoenix metro. Agree with the above. The Trigger is just a bit too hot for warm season riding. The Super DH with the chinbar off takes just enough of the edge off the climb to justify both.

Where it gets dumb again is the Trigger comes back out right about this time of year before we get to "winter". When it actually gets colder, I just end up riding in a regular DH helmet anyway because it's warmer.
  • 8 2
 @sanchofula: No, see I completely disagree, as I tried to explain in the article but maybe I didn't do a good job. I was interested in seeing if there was an option that could be considered to offer that extra layer of protection without the inherent compromise. I think, if I'm nervous about an open face then a few magnetics or a plastic clip are just a sticking plaster. Only my opinion, mind you.
  • 13 3
 @henryquinney: Do you ever wonder how safe a seat belt is, it just clicks in to a buckle that releases with the push of a button ...
  • 8 1
 @sanchofula: Haha very fair! Either way, whatever works for the individual - and a degree if scepticism is probably healthy.
  • 4 1
 Leatt Enduro 2.0 & 3.0 have removeable chin guards converting to a half shell or half shell + extra ear and jaw protection. They look super easy to remove quickly too, in the market for one at the moment but can't find stock.
  • 3 1
 @Tmackstab: if it tests well, then you’re just gonna have to get over that fallacy.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: lots of Bell convertible helmets breaking on impact. I won't run it. I've got a regular helmet for hot/easy days
  • 2 0
 @nickfranko: I don't have to get over anything, I want my helmets to stay together
  • 4 0
 @henryquinney: Probably a good thing to be wary about, as nobody's actually testing them in the bike world. In the moto world, over 40% of independently tested DOT-only helmets fail that standard. When it comes to flip-up visors (another thing I wouldn't trust) shoei's neotec ii - an $800 helmet that's doubtless one of the best-made out there - had the chin bar come unlocked in 30% of the independent tests performed. SHARP tested plenty of other convertible helmets with failure rates over 50%. Testing barely exists for MTB helmets.

@sanchofula D-ring straps and seat belt buckles will quite literally separate your body parts before mechanical failure. The plastic and magnetic latches used on convertible mountain bike helmets are completely laughable. If you're riding terrain or at speeds that's risky enough for you to merit a full face, might as well use the real thing.
  • 3 0
 As someone who had my giro switchblade disassemble itself in a crash, I gotta say it just isn't worth relying on the convertible helmets to perform when you need them to. Especially with the bell super air, which only meets ASTM F1952, not ASTM F1952 DH.
  • 6 0
 @henryquinney: This would make a good follow-up article. Asking the brands how exactly they feel the convertible helmets meet the same standards as permanent full face.
  • 2 0
 @curtiscycles: “ Leatt Enduro 2.0 & 3.0 have removeable chin guards converting to a half shell or half shell + extra ear and jaw protection.” -> please note only the 3.0 enduro has the “open face” option.
I love it, riding mostly in this configuration, TBH.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: what about using one on a trail that most ride a half shell but you want that little extra, while no suffocating on the climb?
  • 1 0
 @ryan77777: fun fact.... you don't even need a chin piece for the full DH certification......
  • 1 0
 @maestroman21: did not know that absolutely insane fact, wow
  • 1 1
 @maestroman21: For astm / DH cetification, a helmet does have to have a chin piece, but it can be removobale.
Please proof me wrong and name me one half-shell-only helmet (no detachable chinbar), that has astm certification.
thank you.
  • 1 0
 @one38: helmets.org/f1952standard.htm

If it has a chin piece it will be tested, but not required.
  • 1 0
 @parkourfan: Hmm, so a Fidlock is not adequate on a convertible helmet, BUT it's okay on a fixed chinbar helmet?

That's really interesting because I just looked at a few downhill helmets and they all run a Fidlock or similar closure.
  • 1 1
 @Tmackstab: You mean like a car door that opens when you want to get out, but stays closed in a side impact?

Gawd, you guys are just not all that smart these days.
  • 2 0
 @sanchofula: it's from all of the concussions I've sustained over the years from wearing helmets designed to come apart
  • 4 2
 Strange that you review Leatt Gravity 4.0 and not Enduro 4.0
  • 11 0
 The Enduro 4.0 has a removable chin bar.
  • 1 0
 The Enduro is a convertable helmet, which is a different category.
  • 5 0
 @henryquinney & @maglor you are both right, thank you, see also comment above (used to be the "4.0 Enduro", but now our coplete "Endiuro line, 2.0 to 4.0s, are convertibles : leatt.com/int/shop/mtb/protection/mtb-protection-helmets?your_sport_mtb_in=Enduro -> so the 4.0 was renamed "gravity")
  • 2 0
 So a heavier helmet must be safer in bike parks ?
  • 2 0
 Nothing to do with weight in grams but yes a dh rated helmet is meant to take a harder impact and dot rated helmet even more so. A glorified half shell lid with a removable chin bar is not on par with a dh or moto spec helmet.
  • 2 2
 Actually worse, more weight means more force applied to your head
  • 7 1
 @wburnes: not really, it is all about construction, so best impact reduction / weight ratio.
Not all heavy helmets are safer, not all light ones are less.
It is all about extensive lab testing, on as many impact scenarios as possible, these based on reall life / crash learnings.
  • 1 4
 @leatt: All else being equal, lighter is safer. Find a helmet impact certification that you like, and then find the lightest helmet that passes that test
  • 1 0
 untill you land to flat and get whiplast lol
  • 1 1
 @wburnes: that’s just not true, the stuff that keeps you safe does have mass, if “all else was equal” then they would have the same amount of the same density of foam, in the same construction, and wouldn’t be lighter in the first place
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: Yes it is true. If you add some lead weights to your helmet, it is less safe. The goal is to absorb/disperse as much energy as necessary with as little weight as possible. I never said anything about construction or materials, only broad design principles, which I'm correct on.
  • 1 1
 @wburnes: “all else being the same” is not possible. Your claim is flawed.
  • 1 1
 @wburnes: go ahead and keep telling Leatt how to buy a helmet lol
  • 1 1
 @fewnofrwgijn: No my claim is objectively correct
  • 1 1
 @leatt: You say not really, then agree with my point lol

Helmets with the same impact reduction at a lighter weight are objectively safer
  • 1 1
 @fewnofrwgijn: Leatt is not infallible, but based on his comment, we actually are in total agreement on ideal helmet design
  • 2 0
 @wburnes: “Helmets with the same impact reduction at a lighter weight are objectively safer” = in general yes, agreed. That’s why we said that impact reduction / weight ratio is key.
  • 1 0
 I just bought the Fox proframe RS and it would have been interesting to see how it tests against the others
  • 1 0
 you left out one of the best and most popular helmets, the smith mainline. I have one and absolutely love it.
  • 1 0
 My dear grandmother would use a term like #Stuffier - may she rest in peace.
  • 1 0
 Need to mention that IXS replacement visors are almost impossible to find. Buy several just in case.
  • 1 0
 Anyone here as experience with POC OTOCON ?
  • 1 0
 I've used the regular and the MIPS versions. They are a pain to get over my head, but feel great once on. Very light and super breathable.
  • 1 0
 @grizzle73: thank you for the feedback
  • 2 0
 Yup! Really love mine. Compared to my previous Trajecta, it's better in every way. As stated further up there's a trick to getting it on, but it's comfortable. My head shape can be described as "narrow/long with a goofy overhang" so some helmets have bad pressure points for me. Not this one. Ventilation is decent at climbing speeds but great downhill. MIPS only gets a little noisy when it's sweaty/dirty. The peak came a little bent on mine, but it doesn't bother me enough to fix it or get a replacement. List of ingredients printed on the helmet is a little weird but doesn't bother me too much. It uses a regular buckle.
  • 1 0
 100% Trajecta
Ekoi Enduro

Both light, breathe well, and look good.
  • 1 0
 7idp has their lightweight carbon full face on sale for 60% off right now
  • 1 0
 I didn’t realise Abus that makes padlocks also makes helmets.
  • 1 3
 Leatt makes a poor quality retention system that fails, rendering the helmet completely unsafe. The other helmets here are better options.
  • 2 1
 Source: trust me bro
  • 1 2
 @maestroman21: You spent all day trying to come up with comment gold and that’s all you got?
  • 1 1
 @Twentysix4life: don't be mad, bro. I trust you bro.







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