Ridden & Rated: 5 of the Best Convertible MTB Helmets for 2021

Jul 6, 2021
by Nikki Rohan  




About This Review

It’s a fairly logical progression when you think about it: bike weight and geometry have evolved enough that long travel mountain bikes can now easily be pedaled to the top. Then mix in the speeds and technical gnar a skilled and aggressive rider can handle while descending. Plus, now there are e-bikes (love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here to stay). Alongside this progression, there’s been a similar growth in helmets with a removable chin bar—think of them as kind of like a mullet: half shell business on the up when you’re sweating that climb, and downhill full face party on the downhill when you’re hitting warp speed. And while we’re all about the party, this review of five removable chin bars is all business.

Helmet cert quick facts:
• Helmet certifications include CPSC (USA, Canada, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Brazil), CE-EN 1078/EN-1078 (Europe), AS/NZL 2063:2008 (Australian/New Zealand), and ASTM F1952.

• Helmets are certified based on the amount of force from which they offer protection and the amount of protective material, with EN-1078 as the thinnest and highest up on the head, and ASTM F1952 as the burliest, encasing the entirety of the skull.

• These are tested by dropping a head form that’s wired up with accelerometers and various measuring devices encased inside a helmet onto a variety of anvils from various heights. Medieval, maybe, but straightforward and reliable.

• Helmets that meet the ASTM F1952 downhill standards are tested with higher drop velocities and can protect against a greater range of impacts—say, to the face—than helmets that just sit up top.
Full face helmets must clearly meet a much higher safety standards than half shells do. So if a full-face lid is that much more protective, why not always wear one? Simple: that protective casing doesn’t breathe or ventilate as well as a half shell lid. And they’re designed as more of a full tilt boogie kind of thing. So we have evolved the removable chin bar helmet to bridge that gap for this “enduro “ type of riding: they breathe better than a dedicated full face for the “cruise control” of the ups with the chin bar off, and offer that additional level of protection for singletrack plowing on the descents with the extra security of having full facial protection in place. But take note: while that chin bar will definitely help in the event of an impact—it uses EPS or EPP foam—it’s primarily designed to deflect, so it’s mostly just there to keep your face pretty.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning the advent of rotational energy management systems, too, like MIPS or Leatt’s 360° Turbine. While there is currently no standard of certification for these systems, having these types of slip plane technologies in a helmet can help it deal with rotational impacts, by allowing the outer shell to move in response to an impact, rather than remaining in place and taking the full force of a blow.





Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Giro Switchblade MIPS

• Actual Weight: 903g w/ chin bar; 613g no chin bar (size S)
• Tested Color: Matte Warm Black
• Sizes: S (51-55cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (59-63cm)
• MSRP: $270 USD
giro.com/


Giro pioneered the original Switchblade in the early 2000s. That design pales in comparison to the re-released Switchblade of 2016. The Switchblade MIPS is touted as all about the down, and it does carry that ASTM F1952 certification as well as MIPS, but it’s also very much about the up, with hydrophilic padding and enough ventilation to let in some airflow.

Features:
• ASTM F1952, EU CE EN1078, CPSC certified
• MIPS
• Climbing-friendly padding and ventilation
• 3-position adjustable visor
• Giro's Roc Loc Air DH adjustment system
• Moto-style D-ring closure
• Tool-free chin bar on/off
• Replaceable cheek pads to tune fit

Fit: I tested the Switchblade in size small. The fit was spot on my 55cm head with the smaller cheek pads attached. The dial of the Roc Lock easily allowed me to adjust the helmet to a tight but comfortable fit (with and without the chin bar). The D ring closure system is known to be a safe choice and is a straightforward buckle system that is easy to adjust with gloves on or off. There is a snap on the strap to keep the extra material from flapping. The visor easily adjusts to fit desired google positions. The Switchblade does hug the face (and cheeks) fairly tight, but there are ample vents and cutout ear holes so I could hear people around me relatively well.

Ride Impressions: Like all the convertible helmets in this review, I tested the Switchblade both with and without the chin bar, climbing and descending, and in a range of spring and summer temperatures. The helmet offers some of the best coverage with the chin bar off and offered such a solid and snug fit that it moved very little when descending technical trails (or with my shaking the head around as a test). I had decent peripheral vision, and the chin bar was easy to remove when the helmet was on.

Snapping the chin bar back into place takes a little practice and I noticed that sometimes I thought it was locked in when it wasn't, so it's always important to give it a little tug to make sure everything is in place before dropping in. While this helmet is well ventilated, I will note that it runs on the warm side—even with the chin bar off, on any climbs in the heat the Switchblade had me looking like a Red Hot at the top. If you are looking for a convertible helmet that provides excellent coverage both with and without the chin bar the Switchblade is a great option, although I would lean towards choosing it for shorter climbing days in cooler weather.


Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Giro Switchblade MIPS.


Pros

+ Best half shell coverage
+ Very stylish design
Cons

- Hot when climbing





Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Bell Super 3R MIPS

• Actual Weight: 738g w/ chin bar; 547g no chin bar (size S/M)
• Tested Color: MatteDark Gray/Gunmetal
• Sizes: S (52-56cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (58-62cm)
• MSRP: $225 USD
bellhelmets.com/


The Bell Super 3R MIPS is aimed at trail riders wanting the security of a full face helmet in a lighter weight, well-ventilated package. It's crafted by bonding the outer shell of the helmet to the EPS liner in a process Bell pioneered called fusion in-mold polycarbonate. This creates a sturdier helmet with reduced weight. This helmet is CPSC certified; but take note: it does not have the ASTM F1952 certification found on the slightly heavier Bell Super DH Spherical helmet or the other helmets in this review. However, with the chin bar locked in place, it will still function to deflect impact forces away from the face in the event of a crash (although like all chin bars, it has limits).

Features:
• MIPS
• Lightweight
• Tool-free, two-chip chin bar
• Adjustable visor accommodates both goggles and glasses
• A plethora of vents
• Bell's Float Fit
• Breakaway camera mount

Fit: I tested this helmet in size small. The overall fit was perfect out of the box and the Float Fit system dial allowed me to easily fine-tune as needed. The helmet is the lightest of the bunch tested here. With the chin bar removed, it feels as if it is perched higher on my head, but the fit system does a good job of keeping it snug on one's head. I would note that with the chin bar on, I needed to pull the chin bar down to ensure that my chin was covered adequately, which was unusual. I'm uncertain as to why, because my head (in general) is on the smaller side making me think that the chin bar fit would be more natural.

Ride Impressions: This is the lightest helmet of the review and also offered the least coverage, but it's not a DH-rated helmet, so that was to be expected. The light weight and venting did make this by far the most comfortable helmet for climbing. Peripheral vision was good. While you can easily take the chin bar off the helmet without removing it from your head, stashing it for the ups isn't as easy as some of the others in this review because it's a completely circular frame with a release in the back—i.e. you can't just tuck it into a waist strap.

Attaching the chin bar back on is fairly easy, although it is not the easiest of the group; you have to make sure the back latch is hooked before you put it on, and then line things up before latching it down—and then give it a little tug to verify you didn't mess it up. I see this helmet out on the trails very often, whether it's on kids or adults, and it appears to be a top pick (probably due to the cost and light weight). If you are looking for a little extra face and head protection this helmet is a good entry point into the convertible helmet world: it doesn't break the bank and won't weigh you down on epic backcountry missions.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Bell Super 3R MIPS.

Pros

+ Affordable
+ Lightweight
+ Good venting
Cons

- Coverage feels minimalistic
- Only convertible without ASTM F1952, and EU CE EN1078 certs



Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon

Sweet Protection Arbitrator

• Actual Weight: 984g w/ chin bar; 547g no chin bar (size S/M)
• Tested Color: Nardo Gray / Natural Carbon
• Sizes: S/M (53-56cm)/ M/L (56-59cm)
• MSRP: $349.95 USD
sweetprotection.com/


This Norwegian brand has been making full face and half shell mountain bike lids for a decade now, and the Arbitrator is their removable chin bar design. This helmet is designed with a four-piece in-mold shell and an EPS liner with MIPS. It also utilizes Zytel (a type of nylon resin) internal framing for additional structural support.

Features:
• CPSC, SGS EN1078, and ASTM F1952 certified
• MIPS
• Two different retention systems for use with or without chin bar
• Well-ventilated
• Sturdy construction
• Single snap closure to join helmet and chin bar
• Replaceable cheek pads to tune fit

Fit: I tested this helmet in size S/M. The helmet fit well with the chin bar on and the boa dialed all the way down. With the chin bar off the helmet felt a tad bit loose on my head (much like the Leatt). The helmet has a double strap retention system, meaning the half shell has a standard buckle and the chin bar has a separate buckle. While I found this unique, I didn't have any issues buckling the thing up once it was on my head and it didn't feel as bulky as I thought it would. Not sure what the purpose is, but maybe the doubling up prevents helmet ejection in case of buckle failure? Peripheral vision with goggles on was good.

Ride Impressions: This is the heaviest and bulkiest helmet of the review, but also felt the most like an actual full face. The chin bar system was unique: you have to take the helmet off to get the chin bar off as it's a solid circular lower shell that snaps to the upper half shell. To buckle it in place, one aligns some v's, slides guides into slots, and then levers a single snap closure that locks everything into place. The snap takes a little bit of muscle power, but as a result I definitely knew that the chin bar was securely on. With the chin bar in place, this helmet definitely gave me the confidence to just pin it—knowing I had such a solid fit and excellent coverage around my head definitely gave me a boost of confidence heading into root and rock filled chaos. Kind of like powering down a pothole-filled road in a classic soft top Cadillac: looks sweet but it's as solid as it comes.

Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon
Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon

Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon
Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon

Sweet Protection Arbitrator

Pros

+ Solid fit
+ Confidence inspiring design

Cons

- Expensive
- Heavy



Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon

MET Parachute MCR MIPS

• Actual Weight: 826g w/ chin bar; 440g no chin bar (size S)
• Tested Color: Petrol Blue/Matte Glossy
• Sizes: S (52-56cm)/ M (56-58cm)/ L (58-61cm)
• MSRP: €330
met-helmets.com/


The MET Parachute MCR utilizes a magnetic chin bar release (M-C-R) that was developed in partnership with Fidlock to convert the helmet from full face to half shell and back.

Features:
• AS/NZS, CPSC, CE 1078, ASTM F2032, and ASTM F1952 certified
• MIPS
• Magnetic chin bar release (MCR)
• 21 vents
• Flexible and adjustable visor
• Fidlock magnetic buckle and BOA adjustment system
• Replaceable cheek pads to tune fit

Fit: The size small MCR with the standard cheek pads offered a great fit. This helmet is super comfortable both with and without the chin bar. I had zero issues with peripheral vision. Removing the chin bar with the helmet on is very straightforward, and the MCR system makes it almost impossible to incorrectly put the chin bar back on—there is a fairly loud pop when the dials press into place correctly. The Fidlock magnetic buckle is easy to use with or without gloves and the visor adjusts to handle googles as desired. The coverage and fit without the chin bar gave me the confidence to ride hard knowing the helmet fit tightly in all the right places.

Ride Impressions: This was my favorite convertible helmet of the review. The half shell really stands out—not only does it look like a regular helmet, but it's quite stylish and it didn't make me feel like I had a modified bunker perched atop my head when the chin bar was off. Many of the other half shells are bulky or look like you're wearing a ski helmet. Not the case with the MCR!

This helmet is on the lighter side and the chin bar is just svelte enough when removed that it easily fits in a smaller riding pack. Testing, this helmet was on par with most the other full-face helmets as far as having enough venting to keep things cool while having the certifications and rotational impact protection that keep your brain as safe as a helmet can. While this helmet is on the pricey side, it checks all the boxes as far as comfort, protection, style, and weight.

Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon
Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon

Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon
Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon

MET Parachute MCR.


Pros

+ Super comfortable
+ Half shell checks all the boxes
+ Chin bar system is dialed
Cons

- Expensive



Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon

Leatt Helmet MTB 4.0 Enduro V21

• Actual Weight: 805g w/ chin bar; 455g no chin bar (size S)
• Tested Color: Sand
• Sizes: S (51-55cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (59-63cm)
• MSRP: $299.99 USD
leatt.com/


The Leatt entry into this removable chin bar round up features a polymer construction with both EPS and EPP (Expanded Polypropylene) foams for high and low speed impacts, as well as Leatt’s proprietary 360° Turbine Technology (a rotational energy management system) to reduce rotational and concussive forces to the rider in the event of a crash. Rather than a flexible visor like the MET Parachute MCR to reduce rotational leverage, their adjustable visor has a breakaway function.

Features:
• AS/NZS 2063/2008, ASTM F1952, EN1078, and CPSC certified
• Combination of foams for high and low-speed impact absorption
• Leatt's 360° Turbine Technology
• Adjustable breakaway visor
• Chin bar attached with stainless steel hardware activated by lever on either side of helmet
• Ratchet dial to adjust fit
• Fidlock magnetic closure
• 18 vents
• Moisture-wicking, washable inner liner

Fit: I tested this helmet in size S. While the size chart on the website states the size small is 51 - 55cm (my head circumference is about 55cm), the helmet felt fairly loose and big on me both with and without the chin bar. I could dial down the boa to tighten it up enough for testing, but do note that if you have a small head, the Leatt small runs on the larger end of the sizing spectrum. Sizing aside, once this helmet was on it was super comfortable. Like the MET, the chin bar system is dialed and it's hard to mess it up: you know without a doubt when the chin bar's locked into place, and removal when wearing it is fairly simple. The Fidlock buckle and fit retention system work seamlessly while the glasses retention system is a cool feature that I used with chin bar off while climbing. Peripheral vision was great.

Ride Impressions: This helmet is rad! It's lightweight, well-vented, easy to use, and offers top-notch comfort. If the fit was a little more snug I would consider it as my go-to daily driver for big days with long climbs and fast, technical descents. While I can't speak to the difference between MIPS and 360° Turbine Technology and whether one is better than the other (as of yet there are no standards for rotational impact systems), it holds all the certifications that make me feel confident to ride hard. In fact both my 13-year-old son (pictured in the photo above) and my testing co-partner absolutely loved this helmet. And since the fit was a little better on them, the helmet had many hours of testing, some small crashes and scuff marks, but is holding up phenomenally well (i.e. no wear and tear on the chin bar system). If you are looking for a convertible helmet that runs a little cooler than the Switchblade and just a little heavier than the Bell, I highly suggest you take a look at this one.

Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon
Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon

Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon
Nikki and Hudson Hollatz in Post Canyon

Leatt Helmet MTB 4.0 Enduro V21.

Pros

+ Comfort and fit is stellar
+ Stylish look
+ Chin bar system is easy to use
Cons

- Sizing runs big-- not the best for small heads









About the Tester:

Nikki Rohan stands 5'5" and weighs 135 lbs with a 28-inch waist, 37-inch hips, and 35-inch chest and wears a size small helmet, size large gloves, and EU-41 shoes. She typically falls between a size small and medium, a US size 6, and a US 8.5 shoe. She resides in Hood River OR with her husband, Colin Meagher, her two kids, a dog, and a grumpy cat.



190 Comments

  • 101 5
 Testing Bell super 3R instead of Superair or Dh, odd
  • 67 4
 Limited stock - I picked up the only Bell helmet that was available. And to be fair, I see way more Super 3R’s on the trail than the Super DH or Super Air. Maybe I’ll see if I can get some numbers on which one is the most popular.
  • 8 0
 I agree, see way more 3r helmets. Would love a comparison of the different Bell helmets.@nkrohan:
  • 10 1
 @nkrohan: Super air R is most fitting for this test...when you can get your hands on one Smile
  • 1 0
 I agree. The bell super air is the more comparable to the others but I think we understand as to why you couldnt review one.
  • 8 1
 @nkrohan: it’s in stock because it is the worst out of the 3. Others are sold out
  • 2 0
 @vanillarice19: Only in america, in europe there is plenty
  • 5 0
 I have the super air r and I face planted hardcore with it once. Walked away smiling with all my teeth unscathed (knock on wood)
  • 2 0
 My Bell Super DH ratchet mechanism broke pretty quickly. No warranty, but offered $350 crash replacement option. Yay....

Bought a TLD Stage
  • 1 1
 3R is discontinued, Air is the replacement
  • 1 0
 @mrtoodles: you had to do something wrong.
Few helmets at home, all work fine.
Anyway@Noeserd - you are right and I've made the same comment on Instagram.
Super Air fits here way better, but we know how it works Wink
  • 2 0
 @mariomtblt: so you didn’t knock them on wood ay Wink
  • 2 0
 @deviz: Yeah it was my third Bell and second Super DH and the only one I had a problem with. Literally put it on one day and POP and it went loose. I wasn't running it tight or anything crazy. If that's all it takes to break then maybe getting stiffed on warranty is a good thing.
  • 1 0
 @mrtoodles: same for me, ratchet broke (besides that nasty sticky rubber melting….whatever….on the dial) and liners tattered quickly with no spares available at all. Pretty much disappointing!

I finally took the same choice going for the Stage and really like it even on climbs.
  • 1 0
 @mrtoodles: wow, so I have to be careful.
Strange, as I was putting my one in strange situations.
In that case, they should replace it, as definitely something was wrong with this one!
  • 1 0
 Bell Super DH is a stellar helmet. Between my son and myself we’ve broken 2 of them in massive DH/Enduro crashes. The helmet floating within a helmet extreme MIPS system they use is unbelievable. Both crashes resulted in us needing orthopedic surgery but neither one resulted in even the mildest of concussions. My son couldn’t believe the condition of his helmet when he took it off. He said “wow! I felt my shoulder hit and crumple but my head felt like nothing. Like hitting a pillow.” Absolutely amazing helmets. Bell Super DH FTW.
  • 47 9
 I will never purchase a convertible helmet like this. I witnessed a crash where the chin bar of a Bell Super took the full force of an impact. The chin bar broke away from the upper helmet & the metal clip stabbed the rider in the head, just behind his ear. It was grim. If you feel that you need a full face, get a one-piece helmet like a TLD Stage.
  • 13 1
 Yea, agreed. However, if this is as far as someone will go, I'd say overall still a win for the healthcare system. And maybe it's the gateway, like with me. Start with the convertible, quickly realize you always leave the bar installed, then go full enduro.
  • 23 0
 I used to use a Bell Super 3R. It was so well vented, I started just leaving the chinbar on. I had a pretty good crash and the chin bar took the hit like a champ. Have witnessed multiple crashed from 2R's and 3R's and they all held up well.
Wonder if it wasn't attached properly? Really depends on the helmet... I witnessed a Fox Proframe chin bar break off relatively easily. If you take a good look at those helmets, even though the chin bar is not detachable, the way it's connected looks quite fragile.

From using the Bell Super 3R and eventually evolving to just keeping the chin bar on all the time because it's so well vented and trying to stay away from 2-piece helmets, I bought the Kali Invader which is a super lightweight extremely vented but one-piece full face helmet. Use it on every ride, and really like it.
  • 9 0
 Which Super? The 3R is marginal while the DH is a great design imo. And what metal clip? Are you sure you're not thinking of the Switchblade? IMO that helmet is not acceptable due to the chinbar attachment being weak, and I believe that does have a clip. In any case not all of these helmets are identical and I'd take my Super DH over a regular lower-end FF anyday.
  • 1 0
 @Chuckolicious: Can't agree more. Once I got used to a full face I wore it the whole ride. And xc/trail rides I kept the bar off the whole time. Got the the point where I realized I might as well have 2 helmets.
  • 5 0
 I took a face first, super steep, high speed crash with my Super DH and the chin bar made first impact with a tree stump. A-ok.

I still prefer to ride with my Full 9, but I’m confident in the Super DH
  • 1 0
 @Chuckolicious: I agree, but remember: never go full enduro
  • 4 2
 I also had a Bell Super3 and broke the chin bar in a minor crash (no injuries). After that I got a Fox Proframe and will never go back. It is so breathable I won’t ever bother with a convertible helmet again.
  • 3 0
 That's why I wish MET didn't cave, go with the trends and make the chinbar removable. I love my non-removable MET. Not sure what I'm going to replace it with once it's time
  • 2 3
 This is exactly why I will NEVER buy one of these style helmets. It doesn’t matter what technology they use, nothing will be stronger than a single piece.
  • 1 1
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: IIRC, Met Prachute was actually the very first removebale chinbar helmet, maybe 7-8 years ago?
  • 2 0
 @hellanorcal: 2015ish The funny part was I remember people doubting me when I said it was cool enough to ride all the time. But no, everyone wanted a removable chin guard. Now all I read is how so many people don't bother removing it. The helmet can be lighter if you don't need to make the chinbar removable.
I still use a POC carbon MIPS FF for park days.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: Same impressions re the Invader, great lid. However keep a half shell for general (non double black) trail riding and a full DH lid for the park.
  • 1 0
 I'm super glad to see more talk about helmets here on Pinkbike. There's a lot of innovation happening, and still so much behind the curtain ( see Virginia Tech bike helmets tests). I'm also really stoked to see more Carbon Fiber used for open, convertible and Full Face helmets-- it's a great and needed solution for those of us who ride in rocky or sharp trail conditions. Much better puncture protection than the light-duty in-molded options that persist. I for one use an open face for light trails, and a full carbon full-face for any downhill, racing, freeride or jump lines.
  • 2 0
 @hellanorcal: Negative. The first modular full-face helmet with a removable chin bar was the original Giro Switchblade in 1998. Although, MET did lead the market on the modern application of that idea.
  • 3 0
 @jmc361: That switchblade was scary.
  • 1 0
 @AZRyder: Problem is, lots of the lightweight full face helmets are two piece designs with arguably more fragile connections than convertible helmets, like the Fox Proframe.

Anything crash the breaks a convertible chin bar off would most likely have broken the chin bar off of a comparable two-piece light weight full face anyway. And probably still saved that person's face and teeth.

But, I do agree to an extend... I crashed my Bell Super 3R and the chinbar held up great. But when it was time for a new helmet I went with a one-piece lightweight helmet, the Kali Invader.
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Hell yes it was!
  • 2 6
flag nurseben (Jul 6, 2021 at 19:57) (Below Threshold)
 99% of trail riders use a half lid, the convertible helmet is for them.

If you need a full face, then you’re not riding trail, you’re riding park or downhill.

I tried riding trail with a full face, it’s way to hot, so I used s boony cap for climbing… which led to me using the boony cap for slight downhills; you get the picture?

So yeah, I retired my 2R, set aside my full face, and picked up a Bell Super Air, great helmet, the chin bar only comes off for climbing in hot days.
  • 2 0
 @nurseben: just got back from my trail ride and glad I wore my 3r as front wheel got caught in a rut at 23 mph. Dumb of me was going fast to get a KOM. After a fall on my nose onto a rock on a remote trail, I always wear full face. I ride 5-9 times a week on trails and once or twice a year I go down. Today was one of them.
  • 5 0
 @nurseben: Nonsense.
You can crash in a way that puts in face first in the ground trail riding
Don't need that FF til you need it.
  • 5 0
 @dude-brah wait so the rider smashed his face so hard that the chin bar exploded and all he ended up with was a gash behind his ear? Sounds like the dude would have been going for full facial reconstruction otherwise. I think I'm going to call that a win.
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe: this is half the problem with these helmets. If the chin bar breaks on impact is it doing it’s job as designed, or is it a flaw? And, as you say, would the outcome with a chin bar be better or worse? Makes buying one pretty hard
  • 3 0
 @mashrv1: If you smash your face hard enough to blow up the bar and your face is undamaged that seems like a clear win to me. Same with people who complain their knee pads slid down resulting in some small scratches after falling onto a pile of rocks. Running my Bell super DH is a clear and easy decision when riding rocky terrain
  • 1 0
 @jmc361: The TLD Daytona had a removable chin bar in 1996.

It was awful though.
  • 1 1
 @friendlyfoe: @dude-brah: Small gash or not, I see good potential for a class-action lawsuit. Watch the blog of @DoubleCrownAddict for further updates.
  • 1 0
 @mi-bike: again that will come down to design though. Takes impact and breaks in order to dissipate force - ok. Takes impact and then impales rider’s face - not ok
  • 1 0
 @AZRyder: unless you are comparing to Fox Proframe, all of those are better Wink
  • 1 0
 I have a Super 3R, and it’s great, but unless I’m riding on the road or a gravel path, I rarely ride without the chin guard. I’m seeing the need for these convertible helmets less and less. Next time around, I’ll probably just buy a lightweight full face like Fox or Troy Lee.
  • 7 0
 @dude-brah That's a relatively minor injury compared to my buddy who wore a half-shell, just riding along a trail he's done a thousand times, went OTB and broke his lower jaw and lost 7 teeth. I'll take getting stabbed by a clip any day over eating soup and smoothies for 45 plus days and $33K in dental surgery and implants.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: None of my full face bells or Troy lees have had a two piece design. Two piece designs suck and will never will be as strong as a comparable one piece
  • 1 0
 @deviz: it doesn’t matter what I’m comparing it to. A one piece helmet, given the same weight, material, etc will always be stronger than a two piece.
  • 2 1
 @AZRyder: When it comes to helmets, stronger doesn't always translate to safer.
  • 1 2
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: False. A perfect scenario is a helmet that dissipates all energy, without transferring energy to the wearer as well as not compromising its own integrity. However, that is how some systems in helmets work, the integrity is compromised in order to accomplish the other two goals. A helmet that does all three would be perfect, but most likely impossible. A single piece design, given all other equal factors, will always perform better. Whether it be stronger, lighter, or whatever the metric. It’s possible to make a two piece just as safe, but it comes at the cost of weight. A single piece is, and will always be, the best option. A two piece in all scenarios is a compromise.
  • 3 1
 @AZRyder: Not false. DOT helmets are stronger than a bike helmet, but we know they aren't safer for riding bikes.
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: If the bike is traveling over 45mph for the most of time, a DOT helmet absolutely would be safer. Bike helmets are designed for lower intensity impacts in relationships to DOT’s due to environment. Regardless of environment, a one piece helmet will always be stronger. Same with DOT’s. Those flip up DOT’s will never be as strong as their one piece counterparts and the same goes for mountain bike helmets. Thank you for bringing that up as that is a perfect example of what I mean.
  • 2 0
 @AZRyder: Forget get it,you win they should be made as strong as our science knows how to make them.
There ya go, safest helmets in the world.
  • 1 1
 @AZRyder: so tell me, why safest cars in the World are not made from CNC aluminium? Wink
Sometimes those connectors are improving safety- a lot!
You can see it with MIPS that makes a huge difference- and adds another connection between helmet parts Wink
And please, do not talk about which helmet is stronger- but which is safer.
I remember- a few years ago there was a CNC helmet done on 5 axles machine for some anniversary (with Redbull)- it will be the strongest one on the market, but will you use it to protect your brain?? Wink
  • 1 0
 @deviz: the safest cars are not made from CNC aluminum because they would cost a fortune. Replacing a fixed chin guard with a two piece removable design will never have equal strength without a sacrifice somewhere else (comfort, weight, etc.) A helmet with a chinguard that doesn’t break will always be safer than one that does, and to get a two piece as strong as a one piece would mean sacrifices somewhere else in the design. I feel like I’ve said this multiple times lol. That’s why a monocoque carbon chassis is so much stronger than one that has multiple pieces fastened together, or the one that is fastened together is just as strong but is insanely heavier. CNC aluminum doesn’t dissipate energy well and wouldn’t be a good material to make a helmet out of, regardless of one or two piece. I can tell the vast majority of riders have a less than ideal understanding of engineering and physics and that is ultimately creating a misunderstanding of how their gear does and doesn’t work.
  • 2 0
 @AZRyder: The entire point is going over your head. Your own post proves my point.
Your simplistic statement stronger = safer is not true. Why did you have to say a DOT helmet would be safer IF a bike was going 45 MPH most of the time.
If stronger = safer then it wouldn't matter. Helmet safety can't be boiled down to that simple of a statement.
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: the point is in the engineering of the design which I can tell is going over your heard. I will never wear a two piece helmet because they do not physically perform as well as a one piece. It doesn’t matter how it is made, a one piece will always be better given the same metrics.
  • 2 0
 @AZRyder: It's not going over my head at all.
You flat out said a stronger helmet is safer and that is not true, otherwise DOT helmets would be safer for riding bikes, but as you admitted, they aren't.
Pretty straight forward.
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: It sounds like it’s been going over your head this entire time. I never said that. Not even once. I said “ it doesn’t matter what I’m comparing it to. A one piece helmet, given the same weight, material, etc will always be stronger than a two piece.” This statement will remain forever true as long as the physics on our planet remain what they are.
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Helmets seem to mainly be rated for certain speeds. Your pedestrian bike helmet is tested at 4 meters per second... which is what 9 miles per hour? (mph = x2.2 roughly). Not very fast. The newest DOT, Snell and ECE helmets are way better than they were 5-10 years ago, and are tested at 6 meters per second at their slowest. So, not your dad's DOT/Snell that were too stiff/ unforgiving. What was it, 13% of PB poll respondents use DOT/Snell helmets. And for good reason: jumping, freeride, and serious downhill. If you watch some of the recent big jump videos, here on PB, you can pick out all the guys in moto helmets, not the mtb versions (different vent placement, 10% larger size). But regarding this article... carbon and dual density and rotational tech are really really great.
  • 2 0
 @AZRyder: And to that very statement I said stronger doesn't always equate to safer and you said false.
  • 1 0
 @AZRyder: and still, you are repeating only for part which is fitting to your idea.
But...
You are wrong!
especially here:
A helmet with a chin guard that doesn’t break will always be safer than one that does
because, it has to take impact and decrease force- not look good.
I have nice examples from my life and my friends.
My friend can walk, thanks to not-fixed connections (DBX 4 helmet with MIPS similar technology took a lot of force and thans to that, only part of his back was broken).
My 661 chin broke in pieces few years ago, thanks to what force that hit my head was way lower and I am alive (but have to take some pills till I die)...
So please, it is all about taking impact and decreasing force- not being unbreakable...
And here once again- FOX Proframe is way worse than for example Bell Super DH (ok, super DH is 100g heavier, but have also MIPS which is increasing its weight).
And had a nice comparison last year, that even Super Air (which is way lighter) had not broke totally, and Proframe was destroyed after falling out from a bike at the parking below the lift.
And there is more examples of poor design helmets which are far behind those 2in1 helmets when material and weight is similar...
Take a look, that Super DH has DH certificate, where a lot of other full-face helmets are not certified...
So please, staph!
It is all about the design. Always...
  • 1 0
 @deviz: it is all about the design, and any design that increases complexity will have drawbacks over a simpler one. I didn’t make these laws up. It’s engineering 101. A one piece will always be better than two given the same metrics. That statement will remain forever true regardless of your anecdotes.
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: when talking about chin guards getting knocked off due to two piece designs, yes, stronger is safer. Context is key.
  • 2 0
 @AZRyder: Umm, no. As an engineer there is a balance that must be drawn, too simple OR too complex both have issues. Also, Bell Super DH is better as a FF than a majority of "trail" type FF 1-pc helmets, as well as quite a few DH type FF helmets because of the 2-layer foam mips design.
  • 1 1
 @davec113: wrong Stronger = better.
  • 1 0
 @AZRyder: You want context, most people riding these FF for trails aren't wearing neck braces, so yes the chin guard absorbing some energy and breaking off may save that persons neck and a spinal injury.
So we're still back to stronger > safer.
But keep going.
  • 1 0
 @AZRyder: wondering which type of engineer you are...
Really, we are talking about the final effect.
Nobody cares about complexity etc.
That's why your assumption is wrong...
  • 27 0
 Why did they test the worst of the 3 Bell convertible helmets? IMO the Super DH is or has been the best on the market with DH cert, and others should be compared to it. I have an old Super DH I plan on replacing soon, would have been nice to have this info.
  • 7 0
 Agreed, been riding Super DH for years with no issues. One even saved my life!
  • 3 0
 agreed. the Bell 2r, 3r, and Super dh have all been excellent helmets for my son and I for a long time. The Super DH is my go to helmet though for every day trails and bike park. Such an awesome helmet for everything.
  • 1 1
 @jason475: I've had mine for about a year and the half-shell padding liners are all shredded. only hand washed them. Replacements are not available at all, not even from Bell their customer service said they do not sell them.
  • 3 0
 The author mentioned above in the comments that it was they only one they could get and figured since they feel its the most popular of the bells, that they might as well include it.
  • 4 0
 No one wants the 3r anymore since the advent of the super dh/air. So they have loads in stock they want to get rid of, there was a chance of coverage, Bell took it and PB probably had the options a) no Bell and shitstorm why no Bell or b) Bell 3r and shitstorm why no super dh/air.
  • 1 3
 Bell Super DH is stupid heavy and probably not something most riders would be willing to wear. I have one and love it for the protection but the half shell is really heavy compared to a normal helmet.
  • 2 0
 @friendlyfoe: I don't personally notice the weight difference unless I'm actively swapping between the two back to back. Even then, 5 minutes into the ride it's kinda forgotten about. Maybe I'm different though.
  • 16 0
 I want to suggest that one alternative hypothesis be explored in a conversation like this, if only to get some data that sets it aside and then focus on the stuff in the article. What's the evidence that the chin bar really makes the helmet ventilate less well, at the slower speeds being discussed (the cliche winch up and descend fast kind of ride)? My first informed guess would be not that we're solving a technical problem (ventilation vs protection trade-off), but a social problem: some riders don't want to look like the kind of rider who wears a full-face on a trail ride. Either root problem would probably have different solutions.
  • 8 1
 Yeah, on the rides I wear my Bell Super Air, I almost never detach the bar at all. The gains in breathability are barely noticeable, if at all.
  • 4 0
 Yep, I used to use a Bell Super 3R. It was so well vented, I started just leaving the chinbar on. From that experience, when it was time for a new helmet, I bought a Kali Invader which is a super lightweight extremely vented but one-piece full face helmet. Use it on every ride.

I will say, that on very hot days there are still some differences between even a super vented light weight full face and a half shell... and it's because of the cheek pads. On really hot days your face (cheeks) can get a bit hot. What I've done on those days is just pop off the cheek pads for the climb and pop them back in for the descent. When you do that, even on super hot days, it truly does feel like a half shell. Only need to do it for 1 to 3 days a year.
  • 3 0
 This is 100% accurate. I can reach some pretty gnarly trails directly from my house but I don't want to do the 1 mile road/paved path ride in my full face.

I recently replaced my Giro switchblade with a Fox Proframe and immediately put the proframe to the test with a pretty serious crash and direct impact to boulder with my face. The proframe cracked but my head was perfectly fine. My collarbone however.... My son also used to have a switchblade and he had a crash where the chinbar blew up off the helmet and he ended up with a concussion. I don't trust removable chin bars.

Fyi Fox is givinng me a 20% discount o a crash replacement. Not that great compared to some companies but better than nothing I gusss.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: second this - on hot enduro races where you're DQ'd if you're seen on the bike without the lid fitted and fastened I've pulled the cheek pads for the climbs and it's little different to my current full face, and maybe better than my old Troy Lee A1. Just don't lose them like I think Katy Winton did a few years back...
  • 1 1
 I wonder that also. I have been wearing the Bell 2r since its inception, along with the 3r and Super dh. I have never removed the chin bar on any of them, nor has my son, and we never have any issues not getting enough air. And we ride locally in nasty, hot and humid sticky ass FL. IMO, limited air flow through the chinbar is a mental thing. I dont think it limits sucking wind at all.
  • 1 1
 Anecdotal evidence work?

I've tried slow speed mountain fire road climbing in a standard fullface helmet, a half shell, and an enduro-full face (proframe).

- Airflow with the fullface was worse, by far. In particular, I think it's harder to clear co2 as you breath out and look for your next breath.

- Airflow with the proframe is extremely good, with no breathing issues. It's cooler than the fullface, as well.

- Airflow with the halfshell is pretty much the same as the proframe, but runs cooler, for obvious reasons. That said, the proframe wasn't THAT much hotter.

I'm going to state the obvious here, but I really think it comes down to how ventilated the chinbar is. The Bell Super DH, for example, is not going to clear out-breaths nearly as well as the proframe. There just isn't the same ventilation.
  • 1 0
 @Mattwendling: better than the nothing Fox offer in the UK!
  • 2 0
 @Mattwendling: Giving the customer a 20% discount while being in no-way responsible or negligent in their end of the bargain seems pretty darned generous.
  • 1 0
 @jayacheess: For me, as long as the chin-bar is fairly well vented, just even moving slowly easily clears breaths and allows for cool breathing... but it's more about the area from the cheeks straight back and around the ears. If that isn't well vented like on the Bell's (except DH) and my Kali Invader. Found the proframe holds a ton of heat around that area and needs more venting there.
  • 3 0
 @sonuvagun: Most companies offer 30%. Part of the reason I bought my Kali Invader is because they offer a free crash replacement (one time only) for the life of the helmet... pretty damn good!
  • 2 0
 I think another part of it may be that goggles steam up more than sunglasses, but people don't like wearing sunglasses with a full face?
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: Fair enough, it still seems really generous.
But nonetheless, point taken.
  • 2 0
 @jayacheess: Same experience. I ended up with the IXS Trigger after trying several different helmets. Slightly less airflow at low speeds on hot days, but well worth it for aggressive trail riding.
  • 1 0
 My Bell Super DH is noticeably warmer with the chin bar on when I do a loop that has a small pedal up at the end of it (carry the chin bar on the initial bigger climb).
  • 2 0
 Thanks for all the replies. Multiple reviews of the 100percent aircraft 2 that came out yesterday said they removed the dirt screens from the chin bar in favor of open spaces and the new helmet breathes better. It's not that I don't believe that, it's just that at some point, the helmet getting more and more skeletal (including the ultimate point of the chin bar being detached completely) has to hit diminishing returns. So does the tester really sense the change, or do they imagine it because it's what's supposed to happen?

Think of a football tackle's face guard, and a quarterback's, and a kicker's. There's a big reduction in coverage at each step. But would you really believe that the kicker's helmet is some great innovation in ventilation? Does the offensive tackle complain about breathing in stale breath? (I never played and don't know)
  • 14 0
 Don't most people just buy two helmets? If I feel the need for the extra protection a proper full face gives then I'll wear a full face. Jack of all trades, master of none sort of deal.
  • 5 0
 I have two helmets... one is a full on DH rated one-piece downhill helmet for bike park use that can;t be ridden on normal trails unless you don't mind boiling your brain. The other is a super lightweight very well vented one-piece "enduro" full face (Kali Invader). I don't use a half shell. Not worth the the face and teeth smashy risk in my opinion.
  • 3 0
 I keep 3-4 helmets in my car at all times.
  • 11 0
 @RonSauce: that plus i keep 3-4 cars on my semi at all times. I'm not risking running out of helmets.
  • 1 0
 @wowbagger: im serious though. I have my skate gear and helmet, a full face and a trail helmet and sometimes a second trail helmet as a loaner.
  • 2 0
 @RonSauce: i have an IXS Trigger FF and that's it. My full on dh helmet is by now probably home to all sorts of wildlife (i'd have to remember where i last put it though to check, i rarely ride park anymore, only use it when it's sub 5 degrees outside) and my former trail helmet (mk1 Bell Super) is now retired and my commuting helmet.
  • 1 0
 @wowbagger: id look silly skating a halfpipe in a full face. I also ride with a deaf guy sometimes, so I can't wear a full face with him.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: makes sense
  • 1 0
 Kind of nice when you have a big climb to be able to carry the chin bar to the top.
  • 1 0
 I always carry 3-4 helmets in my backpack and one on my head for each bike ride
  • 11 0
 The Bell super Air R would have been nice to see here...
Apart from that good content Wink
  • 3 0
 She mentioned above in the comments that she couldn't get one to test. No inventory.
  • 4 0
 I really wish there were more available in larger sizes. I would happily pay top dollar for one if I could get one in a 65cm size. Or even just a lightweight and well ventilated full face in that size. My TLD D3 is awesome but isn’t hugely comfortable in the Australian summer for long rides.
  • 3 0
 The stage is great from TLD
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: does it run large? The size guide says it goes to 63cm. I haven’t come across one in a store to try on.
  • 1 0
 tld stage or any enduro vented helmet is what you need tld stage, fox proframe, kali invader, IXS Trigger FF just to name a few tld stage goes up to xxl by the way
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: very roughly measuring my head I am just over 60cm and I have the xl/xxl size. I would say I had a little wiggle room. Might be close (you have a big head!). But I have done plenty of pedal rides in the utah heat with mine.
  • 1 0
 @stephenzkie: the fox, kali, ixs, 100%, giro, bell, 7 all come up short. The fox comes closest to fitting but is still too small. I was hoping it ran big. If only it was like buying a pair of shoes, knowing they will stretch over time lol.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: thanks. I’ll stick my head into a few stores to see if any have one in stock to try.
  • 2 0
 I have a giant 64cm, Xenomorph shaped head. TLD Stage is perfect, and has already either saved my actual life, or at least a massive jaw crushing and life altering injury during an XC ride (crash replaced). I ride with it no matter how hot, and that includes 100F+ SoCal rides. Honestly, I began my XC FF days with a Super 2, and quickly realized I never took the time to futz with the chin bar, always leaving it installed. If I do a long fireroad climb, I just hang it off the bars.
  • 3 0
 In case it's any use to anyone, I tried a number of the fixed chin bar enduro helmets a while back. I have a 60cm head, that's more xenomorph than soccer ball in shape. Findings were:

IXS Trigger L - fitted well front to back, but way too loose on sides - my guess is it would suit a 63cm round head or there abouts
IXS Trigger M - too small front to back, couldn't get head in
TLD Stages XL - similar to the IXS Trigger L
TLD Stages L - perfect side to side, not long enough front to back - suits a rounder head
Endura MT500 Full face XL - this was enormous, biggest by far of all the helmets
Endura MT500 Full face L - this was the only one that fitted my xeno-bonce, so that's the one I went with

@Afterschoolsports depending on your head shape the Endura or possibly the IXS and TLD might be worth a try.
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: the ixs trigger is a big ass helmet. It was the only helmet I tried that I actually HAD to ratchet the boa quite a bit. Fox and IXS were the only 2 helmets that comfortably fit me and the proframe is quite a bit more snug. If you can't fit your melon in the trigger you must be top heavy like none other.
  • 4 0
 "Breakaway camera mount"

This should be way more important! I call it a camera/light mount, since most good modern lights have gopro-style mount options. It's literally one of the biggest reasons I got a Super 3R (I already knew that the Super line fits me well). I couldn't find any other good convertible options with a mount, and not even a good selection of half-shells.

Night-riding is amazing, and here in New England it's basically the only choice for weekday group rides (more people work day jobs than not) between approx Oct and Apr, and even a good choice in the middle of summer to avoid some heat. But no one really wants to be gluing or strapping shit to their helmet that's just going to stick out and grab stuff in a crash.
  • 6 0
 How do the removable jaw protectors hold up in a crash compared to a full face helmet?
  • 2 0
 Certainly interesting that they don’t seem to be good enough for the EWS.
Also saw a nice photo of someone who’s nose had been smashed in by his Switchblade chinbar yesterday - not the best PR
  • 4 0
 Hard to say, but if it has a chin bar, the ASTM F1952-DH cert means it at leased passed the minimum chin bar deflection test. www.helmetfacts.com/standards/astm-f1952

My TLD Stage met that requirement but the chin bar still broke. I don't remember the crash but no injury to my chin so I guess it worked. However, it was a disconcerting seeing the broken chin bar, missing pieces, and the visor did not breakaway as I hoped.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/20906979
  • 2 0
 @herbertmarcusavich:

Disconcerting for sure.

But these helmets are all "single use" only. So if the chin bar has to break off to save the chin/face, then so be it right?
  • 2 0
 @herbertmarcusavich: it looks to me like the helmet did what it was supposed to do. It absorbed as much of the impact as it could.

It does look like the visor broke away, but not in a way that I’d expect. Just from looking at the picture, i don’t see scratches on the visor, but it’s there on the helmet behind it. So it must have ripped off immediately. I wonder what sort of effect that had in protecting or exposing your head in the crash. I’m only an under graduate at YouTube University so I don’t have those answers.
  • 4 0
 @mashrv1: Leigh Johnson has been wearing the Sweet helmet tested above here for two years in the EWS.
  • 1 0
 @trigger: that’s an interesting one. Will need to pay attention at some point but folk not using DH helmets are definitely few and far between.
Could imagine the Sweet being very well thought out. Had a Bushwhacked and Fixer when they first came out and currently have a Dissenter
  • 1 0
 Had 2 bad crashed in my bell super and my head was fine. Rest of me wasn't so good though.
  • 3 0
 My biggest problem with the Switchblade was that it was that I didn't notice the chin bar, so I always left it on. It felt less intrusive than the Smith Mainline I wear now. The mainline does run a little cooler and is more comfortable though.
  • 7 0
 These are only to be worn with zip off pants.
  • 5 2
 "Coverage feels minimalistic"

I think "minimal" is the correct word here. "Minimalistic" or "minimalism" has more to do with simplicity of appearance or construction than the actual amount of a thing.

If you think the helmet has "minimal" (just enough to pass) coverage, then that's a con; but if it has a "minimalistic" (simple) appearance, then that's just taste.
  • 3 0
 Sweet protection arbitrator: ”… Not sure what the purpose is, but maybe the doubling up prevents helmet ejection in case of buckle failure… ”

I believe you are suppose to use only one buckle with chinbar, the other buckles can be hidden inside the earpieces when the chinbar is on.
  • 1 0
 I thought that, but had a heck of a time figuring out how to stash them and get the chin bar reattached. I searched for a YouTube video and then just decided two straps was the easiest solution. Others have come to the same conclusion based off what o found. I’ll have to reach out and see if I can find some decent directions.
  • 1 0
 @nkrohan: I've never had any problems to stash them.

2:25 on this video:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHwBQGv3pPk

It is also in the manual, but the images are not the best possible...
  • 2 0
 Had a MET parachute MCR for a short time, was a nice helmet with a lot of great features but one massively lacking one , the visor was too short/didn’t rotate down enough to actually block low sun, I ended up selling it for this reason after nearly crashing multiple times when blinded by low sun.
  • 1 0
 Digging the Met, might be my next purchase. I have a Fox Proframe and it is miserable to pedal in here in AZ. I just did a ride yesterday that had a bunch of climbing but some pretty gnarly rocky downs and a convertible would have been perfect. Instead I just suffered in the Proframe the whole ride. I had a Bell 3r but it didn't feel substantial enough to really protect me.
  • 5 1
 Cons: Fugly.

Also if I'm riding where I want a full face, I'll get a proper full face.
  • 1 0
 one of the most important criteria for me in this field is breathability. I have a full face, half shell, and convertible. I have pedalled up with a full face strapped to my backpack, but not since I got a convertible and now I ride way more often with chin bar that before. When I do choose the convertible it is for trails that involve pedalling and no shuttling, in this review I was looking for feedback on huffing and puffing...
  • 1 0
 I have a question about full faces: If you do the chin strap up and then grab the chin bar and lift it does the strap of yours stop the helmet rotating backwards? If I adjust the straps on my half shell properly the helmet won't rotate back enough to expose my forehead, but on every full face I've tried it will. That seems to be because where the straps anchored to the helmet at a single point on a full face, so it seems like it will always happen?
  • 1 0
 That's one of the key reasons the Sweet Protection helmet has dual straps - a traditional buckle style for the half shell and a D-ring for the full face
  • 1 0
 I used a Super DH for some of my higher consequence enduro rides, but find the biggest con is actually that it impacts my line of vision. Would like to see that as a criteria as well, as I’m basically no longer using it because of that.
  • 1 0
 I have a switchblade and it is heavy and hot, but it is so comfortable that I keep using it on the winter. The rear dial is a winner and the small chinbar is small and easy to carry uphill. 100 or 150grs lighter and it would be perfect for me.
One year ago I bought a Proframe, super ventilated and a lot lighter, but on heavy climbs I still need to remove it so I can breath better. It is also a little bit uncomfortable specially on the forehead, and the helmet itself doesn’t feel very “secure” or solid. To be honest I m not sure wich one I like more.
  • 2 0
 Anyone else just use a switchblade (without the chin piece on) because it offers an in-between on protection? I do and I'm on my 2nd one now as feel safer with it compared to a normal helmet.
  • 1 0
 Yes. I would estimate that I ride with my chin piece off for 98% of my rides. Personally, I prefer the thought that the helmet has a DH safety certification (without the chin bar). I own a TLD A2 and I only use it for the most XC conditions and when it's super hot here in Arizona. I have only used the chinbar approximately 7 times in the 2 years that I've owned my Switchblade.
  • 1 0
 @chrisk: nice to know I'm not the only one! I also love that it covers the side of my head properly.
  • 1 0
 A very timely review. I just decided today that I really should wear a Fullface on the hometrails. But I frequently hit them on the way back from work (I commute on a trail bike. 40 km round trip). This seams like the perfect application for a convertible helmet.
  • 1 0
 Have had 2 of the MET Parachutes. No need for the removable chin bar. My riding in the northern front range of CO where the climbs with the rocky descents are closely interspersed. Switching the chin bar on and off is impractical. And I found myself going without the full face in areas where it could be very helpful. When the well ventilated lightweight full face helmets came out my noggin got a little safer.
  • 1 0
 Nice round up.
Now can someone do a similar review but make the tester someone with a massive head so us poor sods with huge noggins can get an idea of which helmets actually fit us. I seem to spend half my time reading reviews, only to try them on and find they don’t fit. As helmets are so expensive nowadays I’m loathe to sand/trim the inside like I used to have to do with pisspots. On that note, can someone make a Clydesdale puss pot please !?
  • 2 0
 Go with the Leatt, they run bigger than most. Great helmet. I use it as a half shell for regular rides and put the chin bar on for side jump and drop options days. Also is really good for shuttle days with the regular bike. Still have a DH FF for the ski resorts.
  • 1 0
 @Saidrick: have you tried on the regular leatt 4.0? Im wondering if that also fits big as well. Ive always been a medium(old bell helmets, tld d3, a1, fox proframe), im about a 58cm and 57/58 is what leatt lists as a medium as well. Small is listed as 55/46. I might get a regular not removeable chin 4.0
  • 1 0
 It these kind of helmets there's one thing thats crucial for me: space between chin bar and face so you can easly use hydration systems. In the early days with Casco Viper there was very tight sqeeze in there and by far that was the helmet biggest problem.
  • 1 0
 I am surprised no one talks about the utility of visors. I have several helmets and they have saved my head plenty of times. I used to wear a half-shell until i went OTB in a remote and infrequent traveled area and hit my nose on a rock. Of all the helmets I tested I still like the 3R the most - in part due to the visor. They initially fit to snug but then fit to form over time. I have three now as I ride daily, sometimes twice a day, so they can dry between rides. I never take the chin part off so I tested some non-removable (ixs trigger, fox, giro, Bell DH etc, and my neighborhood kids get the ones i don't like for free so they are happy and protected) and always go back to 3R, will have to test the R one of these days as everyone I know that tested it thinks its better than the 3R. Several of the fixed helmets had fixed non-movable visors and/or visors that did not block out the sun (i.e. sit too high on the helmet to be useful). What is the purpose of a visor if it does not help to block the sun? It's kind of like a sun visor in a car, it's movable and has to be able to go low enough to block the sun. There are some interesting options in this article I will have to test. I think the 3R works for my type of riding-very fast and aggressive trail riding with good DHs but don't really like jumping, large drops etc. I love flying of 2-3 foot drops and bounching and catching some air off rocks and small features but not 15-20 ft gaps) and thus the 3R seems to be OK and it has a visor that actually functions.
  • 1 0
 No one ever mentions the buckle.I like my R2 but it's very annoying that the strap gets somewhat loose sometimes.Other people I know use other Bell helmets have the same problem. On the other hand my 7IDP half shell has a stopper in the buckle and it's very effective.
  • 1 0
 I have the MET parachute mcr in medium. Very comfortable helmet. A few tracks at home have been upgraded to bike park speed jumps/berms and the consequences are so much higher so I find the chinbar useful and easy to carry I just tuck it in the cables on the handle bar for the climbs. My only gripe would be the peak can't rotate down far enough for night riding so casts a shadow. But looks easy enough to remove so will try that.
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure Bell or a distributor would have supplied an Air R or Super DH for this test, even if it meant holding off on this article for a week or two. Distributors usually have one or two kicking about to share with the media. The 3R is out of date compared to the tech and style of their newer offerings.
  • 1 0
 That’s a negative. I tried for months directly with Bell staff.
  • 1 0
 @nkrohan: I bought one yesterday from a bike shop
  • 1 0
 For long and warm (think 25˚C+, 30km+, 1500vm+) enduro race days where you are not allowed to remove the helmet on the transitions without risking disqualification, convertible helmets are a good solution.

I have a Fox Proframe for casual riding (meaning I unbuckle it and slide it up on my head on the gravel roads up) and I find nothing beats it in fit/comfort/ventilation/ease-of-use (thanks Fidlock).

Now, for the aforementioned races I've tried 2 of the convertibles in this test (56cm head circumference, shaved head):

- Sweet Arbitrator in size S/M:
---- - uncomfortable at back of the head right behind the ears where my head would contact the plastic (again, no hair to cushion and for some reason the outer plastic shell wraps around from the outside into the inside of the helmet at that spot where other helmets would only have EPS on the inside facing the riders skull),
---- - the double retention buckles are a real faff to stash away when switching at the top and bottom of every stage (think 6 stages means 12 times faffing around with that, it's only a few seconds but becomes annoying quite fast, plus one ends up stashing the half shell buckle correctly half the time...)
---- - the locking mechanism at the back is not super smooth and may require some force/faffing
---- - feels heavier and less ventilated than a Proframe
---- - chinbar does not flex and feels stout (dunno if it's a plus though)
---- - chinbar once removed is a "full circle" which it convenient for "locking" it around your backpack but something to keep in mind space-wise
---- - padding is comfortable, especially on the plastic head adjuster (there's some padding on the plastic bit that one tightens at the back of the head)
---- - there is no possibility to put the chinbar back on the helmet without removing it from the head
Re-sold it after 2 rides.

- Leatt MTB 4.0 Enduro V21 in size M:
---- - lacks padding at the back of the head: the plastic head adjuster has sharp edges directly in contact with the skull (shaved head, again...) and feels like it could lacerate the skin in the event of a crash; feels much better once you cover these up with a silicone lining or some extra padding
---- - sizing runs big, I could probably have gone for a S; this feels especially true when in half-lid mode where there's a big gap at the back between the EPS shell and the head, though it does not wiggle if the head adjuster is properly tightened
---- - chinbar can be put back on the helmet without removing it
---- - padding inside the chinbar feels cheap compared to the Proframe
---- - chinbar is quite flexy which worries me, a bit like on the Bell (seen a guy faceplant a Bell super, break the chinguard and cut his face open reaaally bad, requiring a lot of stitching and lifelong scarring)
---- - fidlock buckle system is definitely the most convenient
---- - well ventilated
---- - does not feel heavy on the head / feels well balanced
---- - nice with the grid on the chinguard to avoid eating dirt and insects (which happens on the Proframe)
I'll keep this one for now.

I can only wish Fox came with a convertible Proframe. That would be a killer of a helmet.
  • 1 0
 Re. Sweet Arbitrator. You mentioned a double retention system. Thats wrong. If you look inside the chinbar you will find a flap. Stuff the regular straps in the cavity covered by the flap and use the retention on the chinbar alone.
  • 1 0
 @nkrohan : On the Sweet Arbitrator you do not have to have both buckles on when in full-face mode: the buckle for the half-lid is supposed to be tucked inside the helmet behind some foam flaps next to the ears (this is what I refered to as "some faffing" in my other comment)
  • 1 0
 Thank you for such a wonderful article and comment stream. I have been riding a bell super 3r for five years and was in need of an upgrade. I went to try some helmets on yesterday afternoon and came away with a TLD Stage. I went for a ride with it and it was amazingly breathable and had excellent airflow. This was with some pretty climbing involved.
My head measures 59cm and I think it's oval shaped.
I tried the following:
Bell super air - size large, felt like I was wearing even less helmet than my super 3r.
Fox proframe - size XL. Pretty good fit but had some pressure points and ventilation was not as good as TLD Stage.
Kali invader (unsure 1.0 or 2.0) - size L/XXL, nice and breathable but the rear ratcheting retention systems has parts that either sat between my skull and top of my ear or just clapped the to of my ears to my head. The strap had a little pad on it but it was pretty annoying in the store.
TLD Stage - XL/XXL. I could not fit my head into the M/L size. I could good air movement space around my ears and nothing came close to touching my ears. On the trail, it felt like way more air moved through it than my super 3r. The front of the chin bar is open so you can squirt in water from a bottle, which will take a little getting used to. Overall, it felt good enough to leave on while waiting for my buddies at the top of some hard climbs.
  • 1 0
 I've got an older version of the Leatt and enjoy it; however I've got a bald/shaved head and after wearing the helmet for any amount of time, I get red marks where the 360deg Turbine bits contact my scalp and looks like I've had a cupping session on my head! They don't last very long, though.
  • 6 2
 Spoiler...It's none of them!
  • 1 0
 I have the bell super air r and it's been great. Definitely a little extra peace of mind for enduro riding or gnarly trail riding. It breathes and has line of vision basically identical to a half-shell.
  • 2 0
 The Switchblade chinbar is rather janky. Just a push on it, distorts it and makes the connection to the upper portion questionable.
  • 1 1
 I'm confused on the need for this. While I understand in general the idea, I just am lost how it applies.

My confusion comes from my climbing on public trails, which means descending on public trails meaning no warp speed. So why do I need this full face? When I go to the bile park, I want a well built full face.

So while I'm sort of interested, I'm more likely to just have 2 helmets.
  • 2 0
 "meaning no warp speed"

Why can't you go Warp speed on public MTB trails? Many are marked as downhill traffic only...

I want to climb without a chin bar and descend with one.
  • 6 0
 So you think it takes warp speed to crash in a way to hit your face?
I dare say you're very mistaken.
  • 1 0
 I actually wear a full face when the trails are crowded, more chances of going head on at any speed.
  • 1 0
 You could easily crash in a parking lot and smash the fuck out of your face. Going warp speed and needing your face protected are not the same thing. Plus there's tons of trails where I ride where you will never see anybody coming up and probably not see a soul going down. Public doesn't mean you are running into people.
  • 3 0
 I always wear a one piece full face. Idc if it’s hot, uncomfortable, whatever. I like my teeth more.
  • 3 0
 Leatt’s Helmets are very comfortable
  • 1 0
 I use a Leatt full face for moto right now and I do like it, though the Klim F5 have always been my favorite. Wish they would make a mtb helmet. I wear a Fox Proframe all the time in MN. Flat trails. Humid as hell. It's so light and so well vented it has never bothered me.
  • 2 0
 I'm a huge fan of my GIRO switchblade. Not too heavy or hot and very comfortable.
  • 1 0
 I ride with a Kali Invader and it breathes so well and is perfectly suited to trail riding that there is no reason to remove the chin. For me that’s the the real win.
  • 2 0
 I hadn't seen the Kali before. I am starting to question the logic of only using the chin bar on my Super 3R when I'm riding DH, especially as my 'daily' trails are rock and root filled NH singletrack.
  • 1 0
 @ChiefSilverback: I ride in toronto and my fave trails are filled with rocks and roots. The Kali is not trying to be a downhill helmet, its a trail helmet and as a result it’s light and really breathes well.
  • 1 0
 I have the Leatt, what the reviewer might have missed is that you can also pop out the plastic mesh in the center of the mouth area. It pops back in again.
  • 2 0
 leatt’s helmet are the only one to fit my big head
  • 2 0
 Why the 3R and not Bell's Air R?
  • 2 0
 Yeah kinna wondered the same I’ve been looking into the Bell Air R looks good enough
  • 1 0
 @caisaac00: It just kind of makes sense. The Super 3R is a few seasons older than the R at this point. Makes sense to review their most recent offerings.
  • 1 0
 Isn’t the 3r rated higher than the Air R, thought the Air R was just a trail helmet with a light chin bar ?
  • 3 0
 @mrfish: they’re both trail helmers. It’s the dh-r that’s dh rated
  • 2 0
 Would like to see grumpy cat modeling helmets
  • 1 0
 the MET is quite delicate, I bought 3, but in one case it saved me a lot of head injuries and in another it saved my life,
  • 2 0
 Don't half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.
  • 1 0
 All look hideous in the open face mode. Strictly a hot weather long climb switch, not a ‘1 helmet to do everything’
  • 1 0
 Other than the Giro they all look like regular old half shells bro.
  • 2 2
 meh....gimmick product. I'll keep my normal helmet and my full face for the lift / shuttle days
  • 1 0
 Too bad Leatt has been out of stock of that helmet for months now.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2021. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.022869
Mobile Version of Website