When you look at the huge range of modern mountain bike helmets on the market it's very easy to get confused. Bright colours, dark colours, extra vents, deep cut, shallow cut, there's just so many different options out there. We take a look at the latest helmet trends that are making a real difference for rider safety and comfort as helmets evolve, no marketing gimmicks in this list!
Helmets traditionally have been relatively high on the back of your head to allow for optimal ventilation. But, as riders are progressively taking on more advanced, dangerous trails with the popularity of Enduro riding taking off a greater importance is being placed on safety. One of the adaptations modern mountain bike helmets has is a lower cut across the back of the head for greater coverage. This has been a welcome advancement in protection and gives riders added security to the fit of their helmet as well. The Giro Chronicle is a great example of a modern low cut helmet that has superb protection for riders.
Mountain biking in Australia is hot, there's no doubt about it. Your head also releases large amounts of heat, having this trapped under your helmet makes things pretty uncomfortable pretty quickly! As a result manufacturers are searching for the right balance of ventilation and protection with their helmets. As a general rule of thumb more aggressive trail helmets / Enduro helmets will be slightly heavier with a little less ventilation while trail / XC helmets have many vents and are lighter in weight. The new Fox Speedframe has really impressed us with it's wide and effective intake vent below the helmet visor while still being strong and suitable for Enduro MTB use. We wouldn't be surprised to see more MTB helmets better utilise vents here in the future!
Dual Density Foam
Now we're getting a bit fancy and techy! Not all crashes are the same. Some are slow, awkward and often embarrassing while others you're going flat out down the track when it all goes wrong. As a a result your helmet has to protect your head against many different impact speeds. Introducing dual density foam. With two types of foam densities riders are better protected against impacts of varied speeds. Utilising dual density foam can add significant costs to manufacturing and therefore only found on a few top of the line helmet models. The Troy Lee Designs A2 helmet is one such model that uses this technology very well to look after riders, increasing safety across many impact speeds.
Once a new, strange technology Mips is almost expected for all MTB helmets over $150 as it has been rapidly embraced by MTB helmet manufacturers. So what is Mips and do you want it? Mips is a thin layer on the inside of the helmet that allows about 10mm - 15mm of movement of the helmet in all directions, redirecting rotational forces in the instance of a crash. Despite this movement the helmets still fit snugly and don't jiggle around when riding. The lab results speak for themselves with immense protection gains hence why Fox, Troy Lee Designs, Giro, Bell, Met, etc. all have Mips helmets in their line-up.
As much as safety should be our primary focus when selecting a new helmet it doesn't hurt if there are a few cool features thrown in there for comfort, ease of use or that clean look. For example many high end helmets are now coming with magnetic buckles for easy use on the trails while still having a secure hold. Another neat feature we're seeing more of is the adjustable visor to accommodate Enduro riders putting goggles on their helmet when climbing, as seen on the Fox Speedframe helmet below.
To checkout our range of mountain bike helmets click here. If you still have questions about what helmet is right for your mountain biking needs don't be afraid to send us a message of drop by our Brisbane MTB store.