7iDP Project 23 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG
REVIEW | EDITORIAL

In the Dark with the 7iDP Project 23 Helmet

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Jul 27, 2020
Reading time

Climbing. In A Full Face

It's about an hour until dusk. I'm riding my rigid-forked hardtail up my favourite, intense, local singletrack climb. I mention the bike specifically because it clashes terribly with my accoutrements. Specifically, the sub-1000 gram SEVENiDP full face I'm wearing. A fact that I do not miss in the faces of other riders passing me in the other direction where the trail isn't twinned, as they stare at me incredulously.

The why is perhaps more interesting than the how, but I'll begin with the latter as it's easier to explain. How does a self-proclaimed sweat machine survive an hour riding a single speed uphill in a full face? First, I remove the cheek pads and strap them onto my hip pack. That makes breathing a lot more pleasant. Second, the Project 23 lid has an impressive array of large vents. Twenty-three actually, hence the name. Also in the breathability column, the helmet has a magnetic Fidlock clasp so it only takes seconds to take it off and put it back on when I take a quick break.

Comfort is another big component of the how-factor. The 7iDP is sold in six sizes (XS-XXL) and the medium fits me like it's custom made. The carbon version of the Project 23 lid is also surprisingly light for a full-bore hard shell helmet. This medium was 961 grams on my scale before I stuck a GoPro adhesive mount on it.

7iDP Project 23 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

Remember if you can't ride from home, ride from somewhere. And yes, I do get endless stares from drivers and other cyclists riding up the road in my full face.

7iDP Project 23 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

Somewhere on the No Quarter climb as the light dims. I'll pedal all the way to the top with the cheek pads strapped to my hip pack. On subsequent climbs I leave them in place.

Thankfully, I haven't tested the other key features of the Project 23 helmet. That would be their falling-friendly Crash Release Visor (CRV), which thankfully doesn't float around or rattle, and Seven Energy Reduction Technology (SERT) slip-plane. SERT's "smart foam" is the same concept as Kali's viscoelastic Low Density Layer and Leatt's 360° Turbines which absorb low-G energy from impacts that don't necessarily engage the EPS foam, thus reducing rotational forces.

The Project 23 also passes the CE, CPSC, AS, and ASTM F1952-15 standards. The ASTM F1952-15 standard is for downhill racing, and I think it is worth noting that it sets criteria for the performance of the helmet's chin bar. Thus far all the chin bar has done for me is make drinking water from a bottle more difficult or messy, but if I'm going to go through all this full-faced climbing I'd like to be suffering for a reason.

7iDP Project 23 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (11).JPG

The SERT "smart foam" inserts sit under the easily removed helmet liner. It's both anti-microbial and very easy to snap out for a quick rinse after a sweaty night of climbing.

7iDP Project 23 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (6).JPG

The chin bar sits quite proud which helps with breathing, but not so much that it's any kind of visual distraction when negotiating slower techy twist-and-jank trails.

Down to the why. The Project 23 combines my preference for wearing a full face when night riding on aggressive, rooted & greasy trails on the North Shore with the headache-free fit of a pad-fit helmet. I went into it in greater detail with my review of the Quarter MIPS, but suffice it to say that my experience with pad-fit lids is significantly better than anything I've tried with a ratchet or dial to cinch a helmet harness around my skull.

At the same time, I was regularly wearing a Leatt DBX 3.0 without a helmet visor after dark so that I could add a bit of facial protection without porting around two helmets. It goes without saying that if Giro did a removable chinbar version of the Quarter lineup I'd be very happy. In the meantime, the 7iDP breathes very well and it doesn't require any more effort to snap in the two cheek pads than it does to install the chin bar on a Bell Super DH.

7iDP Project 23 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG

I started off playing around with a Bontrager helmet mount, with an adjustable GoPro assembly. This fits my Bontrager Ion Pro as well as other lights like this Blackburn Dayblazer 1100 that use the same mounting standard.

7iDP Project 23 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (9).JPG

Once I dialed in the angles and was sure the chin bar mounting worked for me I used an adhesive GoPro mount. I'm sold on ditching the battery extension cable and running self-contained lights up top.

It helps that it's generally cooler at night when I'm riding in the 7iDP lid but when I hit some shuttles or if I make it to the bike park this summer I'll certainly take it out in the daytime. The Project 23 bleeds heat exceptionally for a full-dome. The carbon version looks quite spectacular, but with all the same features, venting, and same level of protection I would be very tempted to take the 100-gram hit and keep 100 CAD (110 USD) in my pocket by going to the fiberglass version of the same model.

I'm a very poor candidate for the title of NSMB Weight Weenie (Cam may own it in perpetuity anyway) but I have often wondered in these weeks if I would notice the weight difference between Leatt's two top full-face lids with the amount of climbing I've been doing.

I've been wearing this carbon Project 23 a lot as I balance mountain biking and the rest of life and I'm enamoured with it. I'm using it while testing a few light systems as part of a project looking at min-maxing the cost of nighttime efforts on aggressive trails.

SEVENiDP sells the Project 23 Carbon in six sizes, two colour options, and at an it-still-costs-way-less-than-replacing-a-single-tooth investment of 399 CAD / 350 USD. There's lots of tech here to help me get back up when I inevitably eat sh*t, but it's also comfortable for the rest of the ride.

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Comments

craw
+3 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman mike
Cr4w  - July 27, 2020, 8:32 a.m.

Mounting self contained lights using gopro mounts is genius. Who sells that helmet in Vancouver?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Cr4w Andrew Major
Pete Roggeman  - July 27, 2020, 8:40 a.m.

Here's a Canadian dealer list with BC highlighted: 

https://7protection.com/us/dealers/#canada

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 27, 2020, 9:35 a.m.

Works great up top on a skid lid too. 

With the side mount the only thing to remember is that most self contained lights have some kind of side visibility cut-out or LED for traffic safety. In the case of the Blackburn it’s a subtle side extension of the lens. In every case some electrical tape is your friend to avoid being blinded by your own light.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major
Pete Roggeman  - July 27, 2020, 12:59 p.m.

On many of them, you can disable that side light function - including on some L&M lights (sometimes that corresponds with race mode, even though race mode is primarily to do with fewer brightness settings for faster setting selection).

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - July 27, 2020, 1:06 p.m.

Many of the ones with separate LEDs you can but it’s all or nothing... by taping one side I still get the LED on the other :-). #ridefromsomewhere

It seems more and more lights are using the slight lens wrap/window a la Blackburn to create some side visibility without the added expense/design that L&M went to. This is truly blinding and not super obvious until it’s dark (I found out the hard way after setting my light up in the daytime).

Reply

fartymarty
+3 Andrew Major mike Timer
fartymarty  - July 27, 2020, 11:35 p.m.

On the subject of lights on lids - why can't helmet makers put a clip / loop / something / anything on the back so you can mount a rear light up top? 

I've got a rear light semi-permanently zip tied to my lid and it stays there for day rides as well.  A clip would make life a bit easier tho.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 28, 2020, 12:18 a.m.

Can’t argue with this. The number of riders I see with no rear light...

Reply

Timer
+1 Andrew Major
Timer  - July 31, 2020, 7:06 a.m.

That would indeed be great. Some commuter helmets have semi-permanently mounted rear lights, but those are generally cheap, weak, don't last and run on tiny, non-rechargeable lithium cells.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 31, 2020, 7:20 a.m.

I think just the two prongs of a GoPro mount would be money. Mount a rear facing camera or a rear flashing light and it would be much more universal than trying to have a clip that multiple lights could slide into.

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - July 31, 2020, 7:35 a.m.

I would happily take a GoPro mount on the rear of the helmet.

Reply

Greg_M
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Greg_M  - July 27, 2020, 8:57 a.m.

I'm a fan of the new breed of lightweight vented full faces for aggressive trail riding.
I picked up an IXS Trigger FF and have been riding all my rides in it, from short lunch laps to 50km+ big days and it's great, sure it might be a touch hotter than a half-shell but the protection and confidence it gives when moving fast in the trees is excellent!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 Cr4w TucsonMike Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - July 27, 2020, 9:40 a.m.

The P-23 is as light and vented a full face as I’ve worn. It’s been great at night and I’d take it on shuttle pedals too.

There have been a few truly greasy/raining days I thought about wearing it but have stuck with my half-lid. In addition to better breathability and better visibility on the road the janky local trails I ride tend to have a lot of hikers and the half-shell doesn’t hide my friendly smile.

Reply

Greg_M
+1 Andrew Major
Greg_M  - July 27, 2020, 2:41 p.m.

The P-23 looks a bit more towards the DH end of the full face spectrum, I think if I rode bikepark more or raced enduro it'd be on the list to look at for sure, it's good to have options! I have their Sam Hill pads and have nothing but good things to say about the ergonomics of those, some smart designers at 7idp for sure.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 27, 2020, 4:01 p.m.

So, yes the Project 23 is a true hard shell, race a DH/Enduro course full face helmet. But, it’s really just as breathable and pretty damn competitive weight wise to more trail-focused options. If someone’s going to own one bucket and one full face I think this is a strong contender.

Reply

Greg_M
0
Greg_M  - July 27, 2020, 2:41 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

TucsonMike
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
TucsonMike  - July 27, 2020, 12:47 p.m.

Agreed! I am a huge proponent of riding in a full face whenever I'm doing anything aggressive. I've got a TLD Stage and can't believe how well it breathes. It gets really hot down here in the summer (Arizona) but aside from taking it off for hike a bike or strapping it to my back for a dirt road climb that isn't open to cars I have no complaints and the extra confidence I get riding harder trails on it is great. I use my Bontrager Rally MIPS half shell for more pedally mellow rides (best helmet ever and the magnetic mounts for lights are a game changer) but for anything gnarly or gravity oriented more protection at a slight heat cost is a no brainer. I've had a Fox ProFrame and a Bell Super 3R and the stage is on another level when it comes to staying cool. I've never broken a chin guard on a helmet but if that day ever comes I will be glad its there. 

Any particular reason why you mount your light on the side of your helmet like that? I feel like that would drive me crazy. Also as far as lights go if you ever want a great self contained light I got a Hangover light and its a perfect self contained helmet light to go along with my ion mounted to my handlebar.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - July 27, 2020, 1:13 p.m.

So, I normally ride in a skid lid (no visor) and when I started night riding in a full face the amount of light my visor blocked drove me nuts. So I took the visor off. That looked stupid but worked really well.

With the 7iDP having the fixed chin bar I decided to play with mounting the light on the side (you’ll see in some of the photos it’s a strap on helmet mount not a stick-on GoPro base) so I wouldn’t be constantly taking the visor on and off. What started an an exercise in vanity was love at first ride: reduction in weird shadows, better visibility on foggy/cloudy/steamy nights, and for whatever reason it feels lighter than having the light up top. Recommend trying it!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 27, 2020, 1:21 p.m.

The Hangover is interesting. Strange they don’t seem list a lumen output for high. 

I get that a lot of companies  bullshit these ratings (it’s like the bad old days of bike weights) but reputable light brands like L&M and Niterider back up their numbers.

Reply

TucsonMike
+1 Andrew Major
TucsonMike  - July 27, 2020, 6:06 p.m.

Yeah.... just from experience down here in Arizona where we do a ton of night riding the hangover is significantly better than all of my niteriders (including a big one with a battery pack), Bontrager (which are awesome), and all the other lights my friends have used.  Worth checking out If you know someone who has one kicking around. Always fun to get out and ride trails at night, such a different experience.

Reply

DemonMike
+1 Andrew Major
mike  - July 27, 2020, 6:05 p.m.

So no Mips or similar?? If so I gotta try one on . I don,t like the retention designs as of late. One of the reasons I still use my URGE. It,s a slip fit design and is very comfy.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 mike
Andrew Major  - July 28, 2020, 12:21 a.m.

It’s a pad fit helmet so no retention ratchet. The Sert ‘smart foam’ inserts are intended for dispersing rotational loads a la MIPS.

Reply

DemonMike
+1 Andrew Major
mike  - July 28, 2020, 9:49 a.m.

Cool will have to check one out. Relocating in a month or two. So looks like it will be out of Loops for a dealer. Hope they have stock. If not I can order direct thru URGE .

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - July 31, 2020, 10:17 a.m.

https://www.pinkbike.com/news/video-urge-bp-releases-a-new-full-face-helmet-for-enduro-racing.html

This just went to the top of my list. Long time user of this brand

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