Shred Optics started out as a snow sports eyewear and protection company born in 2006, co-founded by Olympic alpine skier Ted Ligety. The company has since expanded to include plenty of mountain biking products, including the Short Stack mountain bike helmet pictured here.
It’s clear that safety is paramount for Shred, and the helmet packs some interesting technology designed to provide extra protection in the event of a crash. The helmet is constructed with a co-molded NoShock 2nd Skin XT, the company’s own special honeycomb foam that offers similar deformable and energy absorption properties to D3O. It’s embedded into key areas of the helmet lining. You can see the NoShock foam integrated into the EPS foam because it is handily colored blue.
The shape of the helmet echoes that of other popular trail helmets - with a lowered rear section to provide extra protection to the back of the skull - but sticking to a well-proven shape is no bad thing. There are 20 vents, with four channels across the top of the head, and some very larger rear vents. The retention system is operated by a small ratcheting dial, and the chin straps emerge directly out of the side of the helmet, placing them away from the skin to increase comfort. There’s a non-adjustable peak, and the helmet is lined with X-Static pads that are removable for washing.
Further highlighting its quest for safety, Shred includes an ICEdot
emergency identification and notification ID with each helmet. You just need to go to the website and register it using the code revealed by peeling back the sticker. The ICEdot website can store emergency contacts and medical details like blood type, medications and allergies, a useful thing especially if you ride solo a lot. The Short Stack is available in two sizes: X-small/medium and medium/X-large (the XS/M tested here covers sizes from 53 to 57cm) and in six colors. MSRP is $159.
• Intended use: trail/enduro
• Co-molded NoShock 2nd Skin XT
• Twenty vents
• Rotary retention system
• X-Static Silver Fiber pads
• CE, CPSC certified
• Sizes: XS/M, M/XL
• Weight: 315 grams (XS/M)
• MSRP: $159 USD,
• Contact: Shred Optics
The ratcheting retention dial provides a wide range of adjustment.
It's a smart looking helmet, with 20 vents and fixed peak.
Shred offers the Short Stack in a choice of two sizes. I went for the medium and it fitted my average shaped head well, and the easy-to-use retention system offers a wide range of adjustment. Despite being my normal size, I found the helmet a closer fit than similar sized helmets from Fox and Poc, but the closeness of the fit never led to any undue pressure. On the flip-side, the helmet was extremely stable on my head, with absolutely no fore or aft movement.
The chin straps come directly out of the side of the helmet, keeping them away from the skin and minimizing irritation, and that also means there’s no interference when wearing sunglasses. The plastic brackets fixing the straps together aren’t adjustable, but they sat just below my ears without causing any discomfort. I usually lament the lack of adjustability in a fixed-position peak, but Shred has got the angle just right, as it never obscured vision and I never felt the need to adjust it.
Blue NoShock 2nd Skin XT material is molded into the EPS liner.
You get an ICEdot ID included in the price of the helmet.
The NoShock foam embedded into the helmet is designed to provide added impact protection, working in unison with the EPS foam that makes up the majority of the helmet's construction. It’s only used in key places inside the helmet, presumably where Shred has tested and decided there are the high-risk areas. While the helmet passes the usual EN 1078 and CSPC safety standards, there’s no available data on how much the technology helps to reduce the severity and force of an impact compared to a helmet without the special foam, and I’m not willing to throw my head at a rock garden to find out if it’s any safer for you. We’ll just have to take the company’s word for it, with a pinch of salt.
The only issue I had with the helmet is that, while it breathes adequately, the brow pad doesn’t manage sweat very well and becomes quickly saturated. It just held onto the sweat and slowly released it down my face, usually just before I dropped into a steep and tricky section of trail. If this was a problem in the barely mild weather of the UK spring, I hesitate to imagine what it might be like in the high heat of summer. I put this sweating issue down to the close fit of the helmet. Luckily, the pads are removable, so you can toss them in the washing machine. Pinkbike's Take:
|Shred might not be a better-known company in this market, but with the Short Stack, it may soon be. It has produced a smart looking and comfortable helmet - one that is keenly focused on safety, with the smart integration of the NoShock foam cells and the addition of an ICEdot ID included in the price. If you don't have issues with sweat, the Short Stack is a worthy alternative to the more common helmet choices. - David Arthur |
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