3.0 All Mountain helmet is a latecomer to the full coverage half-shell party, which means they had to work extra hard to make an impression. The South African firm comes to the show as the king of neck protection, so their designers couldn't get away with a "better than brand X helmet." Leatt's half shell had to move the needle in the areas of innovation, protection and construction, and it had to look great too. PB editor AJ Barlas gave us an informative first look
of the DBX All Mountain helmet at the Sea Otter Classic this year, which indicated that Leatt had risen to the occasion.
DBX 3.0 All Mountain details:
• Use: trail riding and all-mountain
• Polycarbonate shell, in-molded EPS liner, 18 vents
• 360° Armourgel Turbine Technology
• Reduces up to 30% of head impact at concussion level
• Reduces up to 40% of rotational acceleration
• Dri-Lex moisture-wicking, anti-odor, washable liner
• Breakaway visor
• Fidlock magnetic closure system
• Certified to EN1078; CPSC 1203
• Weight: from 360g (0.79 lbs)
• Three sizes: Small (51 to 55cm), Medium (55 to 59cm) Large (59 to 63cm)
• Colors: Orange, blue, black, gray and green
• MSRP: $169.99 USD
• Contact: Leatt
The 2017 DBX 3.0 All Mountain manages to check all of those boxes. Its good-looking polycarbonate shell is integrally molded with its EPS liner to protect the head at the moment of impact. Inside, rotational trauma is minimized by ten circular "Turbines" molded from "Armourgel" and strategically placed inside the shell to caress the skull and help isolate it from lateral movement. Further protection from rotational trauma is afforded by a break-away visor, and on the comfort side, three shell sizes are offered, with 18 vents and a plush, antimicrobial liner that is both removable and machine washable. Retention is via a conventional ratchet dial in the rear and chin-strap webbing, secured by an easy-to-use magnetic Fidlock buckle. DBX All Mountain helmets are certified and tested to EN1078 and CPSC 1203 standards. Colors available are blue, orange, green, gray and black, and Leatt's three shell sizes fit heads from 51 through 63 centimeters. Weight is pegged at 360 grams, and the MSRP is $169.99 USD
Ventilation channel design keeps eyewear sweat free.
Molded inserts reinforce large vent ports.
Goggle-friendly profile and large exit ports.
Head-band angle adjustment is easy to use.
360° Armourgel Turbine Technology
Armourgel is a shock absorbing plastic material that was designed primarily for military and police body protection, but Leatt uses it because of its shock damping ability and molds it into a round shape that resembles a spoked turbine wheel. The "hub" of the wheels is fixed to the EPS foam liner, while the rider's skull is supported by the outer rim of the turbines. The intention is that, if there is an off-angle impact, the flexible spokes will allow the helmet to freely rotate around the skull for a millisecond or two — reportedly, enough to isolate up to 40-percent of the impact energy.
Turbines, turbines everywhere: The wagon-wheel shape of Leatt's Armourgell Turbines allows the helmet to move around the skull in any direction in the event of an angular impact.
Leatt's designers gave their DBX 3.0 helmet a decidedly European profile, with angular lines, contrasting plastic inserts and large vents. I'm not a huge fan of that style, but it works well in this case. The low back gave me concern that it would contact my neck and rock the helmet forward on my head while I was descending, however, that was not an issue. There is a four-position angle adjustment above the dial adjustment to address that issue.
My head is just right for small/medium sizes from Kali, Giro, and Troy Lee, and the medium Leatt popped onto my head like it was used as a form for the mold. Some of that good fit, however, can be attributed to the way the DBX 3.0's adjustable band pushes the head forward into a comfortable pocket created by the shape of the padding and shell. I assume that most wearers will have some free space behind their skull where the slack is taken up. How that affects impact protection is anyone's guess - the bottom line is that Leatt's trail bike lid feels snug, comfortable and well ventilated.
- Laurence Crossman-Emms photo
I have become a fan of the magnetic Fidlock buckle because I can cinch it up with one hand when I'm feeling lucky, and it's literally a snap with gloved hands. Those who have big ears may find the helmet's webbing configuration to be a little close for comfort. Two of the three riders who had worn the DBX mentioned that the triangle formed by the web cramped their ears when the helmet's fit was otherwise perfect. I managed to find harmony, with just enough clearance to avoid the issue.
Fidlock magnetic buckle closed...
...And opened, exposing its sliding latch.
Get going and the DBX 3.0 stays put with the chin strap set comfortably around the jaw. The adjustable visor ("peak" for the Brits) sits low enough to bock out the late afternoon sun, and adjusts high enough to earn DH style points and to get a full range of vision. I had the opportunity to wear the helmet for extended climbing during the heat of the day and found its ventilation to be better than the new Troy Lee A2, and on par with the Kali Maya (two of my favorites). Where both the Kali and TLD helmets tend to channel sweat towards the center of the brow, the Leatt helmet remained much drier and did not tend to foul my glasses after the climbs ended and the fun began. I attribute that to the split channel vents in the forward section of the DBX 3.0 shell.