tomac1
Beggars Would Ride

Peak Advisory

Words Mike Ferrentino
Date Nov 3, 2022
Reading time

Fashion, when it comes to mountain biking, is the kind of thing that would be easily chalked up to some sort of “form follows function” ethos. Except it doesn’t. Form does not really logically follow function when it comes to how we, as mountain bikers, dress to ride. And it probably never really has.

I mean, maybe, way back in that late-1970’s haze of summery yellow grass, sepia-tinted dust and marijuana smoke, there might have been some sort of exploratory consensus that cutoff Levi’s and Hi-Tec hiking boots and terrycloth headbands were the right kind of thing to wear when riding them newfangled knobby tired things. Fingerless gloves with crocheted backs. Vuarnet sunglasses. But it could have been argued even then that the commonly accepted ride uniform was a nod to regional fashion more than sensibly functional riding garb. We then, as a sport, fell headlong into a decade and a half long experiment with spandex riding gear that was basically just the same shit that road riders wore, but with more questionable color choices. And then, emerging from that cultural myopia, the pendulum swung completely in the opposite direction (as pendulums do) and many of us spent the following decade dressing like some cross between colorblind motocross racers and unemployed rodeo clowns.

repack2

Naturally, our founding fathers (and mothers, like Wende Cragg who shot this originally) didn't really have to think much about whether their helmets had visors or not, or whether they should be called peaks or visors, because, ummm, they didn't really wear helmets...


Palmer departed the DH scene relatively early, but his sartorial legacy echoed on.

There was some arguable function to be found in those DH racer pajama suits of the mid 2000s, but really, no. They didn’t breathe very well, didn’t shed heat very well, didn’t blend in with anything, and didn’t really do a whole lot to protect the wearer from abrasion or injury. But at least they didn’t make everyone with a bodyfat percentage of greater than about 4% look like so many kilograms of nylon cased sausage. Somewhere in there, at the tail end of the spandex era and ushering in the pajama suit years, our helmets sprouted mandatory visors.

I got a new helmet last week. I intend to ride off-road with it. It has no visor. I feel weird. How the hell did we end up here, where I have been habituated to feel naked without some kind of plastic thing of very questionable function stuck on the front of my helmet?

Shaun Palmer, Steve Peat and Troy Lee. It’s their fault.

Huh? Bear with me here... Palmer was Palmer, and everyone wanted to capture some of his swagger, even if they only managed to grab just a sliver of it. He had swagger for miles. Peaty, well, hard to say exactly where he really sat in there, but he was friends with Palmer, and the two of them wielded so much image influence, and were so vocal about what was happening with helmets and clothing in DH racing, that they exerted an almost planetary pull on the fashion of the time. And what they said, loudly and often, was that Spandex was for roadies, and roadies are not cool. And if mountain biking is ever going to hope to be cool, then we need to stop looking like roadies and instead lean into the motocross gestalt, get baggy, wear helmets with visors. Aaaand it just so happened that they were both sponsored by Troy Lee, who had carved out a business in moto-land.

Palmer departed the DH scene relatively early, but his sartorial legacy echoed on. A few years later, citing that the skinsuit look was detrimental to the evolution of the sport, and backed by apparel sponsors who sensed a whole lot of money to be made by controlling the look of things, the anti-skinsuit/pro-helmet visor cabal managed to pressure the UCI into banning skinsuits and visorless helmets by the end of the 2008 season.

athertonian

4 seconds and a whole bunch of sour grapes. Rachel Atherton did not respond well to Tracy Moseley spanking her, and blamed it on Tracy's skinsuit. The rest, as they say, is history...

Here, now, we all ride helmets with little bills on the front of them, because “mountain bikers need to have visors on the fronts of their helmets,” and nobody really gives it a second thought. The POC Tectal that I have been wearing for the past couple years is an awesome helmet. It has a teeny little visor on it. That little visor, even in the lowest position, doesn’t really do much to shield my eyes from glare or protect me from being roosted by the motorcycle in front of me (oops, wrong sport, sorry). It does mesh well with the lines of the helmet, and is aesthetically pleasing, but as far as function goes, it is useless. It also sometimes gets tweaked and then sits at a jaunty crooked angle, signaling to anyone who encounters me that I am a hopeless loser. Maybe that’s the functionality of a visor – it serves to advise other, more hip mountain bikers as to just how out of touch you are, or how bad a rider you may be. Most helmets with visors on the front of them offer some version of this potential function. If the visor is adjustable between four positions, one will look “decent”, one will look “a bit dorky but passable” and the other two will look like “a bucket of smashed assholes.” But none of them will really keep the sun out of your eyes or the roost from smashing your goggles (damn, wrong sport AGAIN. I just can’t shake it…).


Wait’ll I start riding in a kilt. A plaid kilt in the same colors as mossyoak camo!

If John Tomac was just a couple years younger, or if Palmer and Peaty had come along a couple years sooner, I hypothesize that none of this may have happened. It was pretty easy for Peaty and Palmer to look for any fraction of a second’s excuse they could when it came to trying to rein Nicolas Vouilloz in from relentlessly schooling them on the World Cup circuit. He was French, small, and didn’t party; an easy target. Tomac, on the other hand, was a colossal badass. An icon. An institution. If he wanted to, say, wear a jet black rubberized skinsuit and a visorless motocross helmet painted with an eagle, he could go right ahead and do that and nobody, NOBODY, would dare point the finger at him and talk shit on his choice of attire. But if Nico was doing it, well, then, doesn’t that just smack of some sneaky little Frenchy trying to swindle our baggy clad brethren out of precious fractions of precious seconds? In the case of the women, that’s EXACTLY what Rachel Atherton implied about Tracy Moseley in 2008. Thus, in the interest of “leveling the playing field”, in a sport where hundredths of a second actually matter and one would think aerodynamic advantage would be something every rider should rightfully seek out, skinsuits and visorless helmets instead got hit with the ban-hammer.

tomaceagle

Even Rachel Atherton would have to admit that this is just straight up badass. Tomac, being Tomac.

And now here we are. A decade and a half after that ban, we now have the trickle down results of those decisions. One of which is that “mountain bike” helmets are identified by the not-very-functional visors mounted to them, and this is how they can be differentiated from “road helmets.”

I get the flat versus clipped thing, and that there is room for both types of pedal and a massive range of footwear in mountain biking. I understand that this can have actual implications on how and where and even why we ride. Both flat and clipped pedals serve a purpose and have a place in mountain biking. I absolutely honor the notion of not wanting to wear a skinsuit on a Saturday rip through the local trails that may end at a café or brewery. Hell, I am even thankful that a knock-on effect of those hideous pajama suits is that we get to wear functional, quietly effective long riding pants that work real well in terms of keeping the poison oak at bay without anyone getting all side-eyed at the trailhead. But I don’t really understand why we have so completely, across all aspects of mountain biking, defaulted to visors as helmet necessities. Especially when most of those visors seem to serve little purpose other than to act as a sort of shelf for goggles.

Admittedly, even Tomac looked a bit dodgy wearing a full-face helmet with goggles and no visor. There is something unbalanced and off about that look, in a Feng Shui sense. But it wasn’t very long ago that any attempt at wearing goggles with any open face helmet – visor or no – was a sartorial choice viewed by most with great suspicion. If we follow the thread of begats all the way back to when Torsten Hallman upended the entire world of motocross and ushered in visors for everyone, there were solid functional reasons for helmets to sprout them. Anyone who has ever been showered with roost from the motorcycle in front of them can attest to the effectiveness of a quick head duck in terms of keeping goggles clean, eyes intact. Visors are good like that. I just do not really see how this translates in any functional sense to mountain biking.

backasswards

It occurred to me while writing this that maybe, just maybe, helmet visors came around as a way to ensure that people could easily identify which end of the helmet was the front. Back in the bike shop days of the 90s, I spent a legitimate amount of time tactfully helping customers get their helmets to face the way Jim Gentes intended. But then again, I was down on the Yucatan peninsula last winter and I noticed that all the scooter riding guys wore their helmets intentionally backward, while all the scooter riding girls, except for the tough looking ones with tattoos, wore theirs the right way around. So now I just don't know...

So I got a new helmet. Without a visor. It’s a Bell XR Spherical. There was not an analogous visored helmet in the Bell lineup that offered the same features – Spherical MIPS, my alien head able to fit into a medium, lightweight, well vented, and available in camo. My first ride wearing it, I ran into one of the more garrulous locals. He stared at my head for several pointed seconds as he said hi, then immediately followed his greeting with; “Dude. What happened? Did you wreck? Where’s your visor?” Then he launched into an extended riff about not being able to see my head, because camo, and how everybody knows that camo and plaid don't mix.

Fine. I’m a dork, and proud. Wait’ll I start riding in a kilt. A plaid kilt in the same colors as mossyoak camo! It’s gonna blow his mind.

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB

Comments

fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months ago
+7 grcgrc Vik Banerjee Todd Hellinga roil BadNudes Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson krka73 Dan Perron

Mike - 

Another great example and something that was touched on yesterday in Andrew's piece about high rise bars is the rear mudguard or fender for those over the other side of the pond.  (and yes I am going to bring it up again*, and yes i'm following Vik's lead on trying to desensitise viewer by showing lots of photos of rear mudguards to the point where it becomes the norm...)

For those of us riding in wetter climes it is nice not to have a soggy ass 10 minutes into a 2-3 hour ride.  Yeah they look dorky as hell but they do really work (and no i'm not an employee of Mudhugger or sponsored by them).  Once you have tried one you'll gladly show your "swear finger" (as my kids call it) to the fashion police.

My front mudguard stays on all year - if I can save myself from eating dog poo just once it's worth the extra few grams.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
3 months ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Kent Tse

Yeah, but... would Rachel Atherton use them?

Reply

LAT
LAT
3 months ago
0

she might if she was paid to…

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months ago
+4 Pete Roggeman Timer Mammal DadStillRides

Rach A rode Fort Bill after popping her shoulder back in....  She is not going to be bothered by a soggy ass.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months ago
+2 Mammal Derek Baker

Still one of the most bad ass pieces of POV footage in MTB.

Reply

vantanclub
vantanclub
3 months ago
0

The mud guards have been slowly gaining traction here as well.

Reply

bikesarerad
bikesarerad
3 months ago
+6 Andy Eunson Karl Fitzpatrick Pete Roggeman Mike Ferrentino taprider krka73

I remove visors for myself because I don't like any loss in my visual field they create and because they force (in many people) your upper cervical vertebrae to adopt a more end-range extension posture. Remaining closer to neutral upper cervical position allows for far greater shock absorption and, as we know from research, the deeper more efficient cervical stabilizing muscles will be active (versus the external, very powerful, muscles which create a compressive load on your neck and skull). I wish more riders who have neck pain would consider trialing a ride or two w/out their beloved visors. I am an old ex-racer w several WC events and National Championships in my distant past. I am also a Physiotherapist (or Physical Therapist for our American pals). Try it, looking less cool might just not matter in the end...

Reply

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
3 months ago
+4 Velocipedestrian Hbar Tjaard Breeuwer capnron

Ah, so it is intended that my new Fox Speedframe has a visor that is completely useless?

All my helmets before the Fox had visors, that I could lower far enough to shade the setting sun. At this time of the year the sun is a real problem when riding trails. The Speedframe is useless, and I have to take the old Smith Session to protect my eyes and still be able to see the trail.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months ago
0

The main (maybe only) complaint I have with the Ambush 2 is that the visor can't be adjusted. It's a weird miss from Specialized. Not an issue for many in the PNW but if it's sunny where you ride and you rely on the visor for low lying sun, it may or may not be an issue.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months ago
+3 Tjaard Breeuwer Mike Ferrentino Ondřej Váňa

It's not a miss, it's 100% on purpose. Everyone is making useless fixed visors, with just enough room to push goggles up. So enduro. So stupid.

Reply

vincentaedwards
Vincent Edwards
3 months ago
0

Agreed- I tried one on in shop recently and really disliked it. 

For reference, I usually wear a POC Octal X with no peak. It’s light, has excellent airflow, and has actually saved me from injury on a few occasions. 

I don’t mind a somewhat low profile adjustable visor, and have found them useful for evening rides… but a big fixed spatula on my head that’s purely for style - no thanks.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
3 months ago
+4 kcy4130 Mike Ferrentino Dogl0rd capnron

A few years ago I nose-landed a drop on Boogieman and went over the bars pretty hard. I would have face-planted if it wasn't for my POC Trabec's visor hitting the ground first. The flexible material kind of folded and absorbed the impact and my face never touched the ground. I don't know if POC designed the visor to work like that but I thought it was a pretty neat effect. Maybe I was just lucky but I see my helmet visor in a new light since then. I did break my hand in that crash.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months ago
+11 kcy4130 Mike Ferrentino Todd Hellinga TomM Joseph Crabtree Sandy James Oates Hbar Pete Roggeman ElBrendo Dan Perron Ondřej Váňa

I'm also going to defend the humble helmet peak...

Our local riding has a lot of low hanging branches, saplings and holly.  The peak helps deflect them out of your face and over the helmet.

Also when its pissy wet (which it has been for the last few weeks) it stops the water from running down the helmet onto your face.  And when it's really torrentially pissy wet you can tilt your head forward to keep the rain out of you face and still see.

I get if you ride in SoCal where it's dry and there are no low hangers then the peak is of no use at all.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
3 months ago
+5 Todd Hellinga cxfahrer BarryW NealWood dhr999

Rain? You ride in... rain? Californians south of San Francisco fear dissolving if they get caught in the rain.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

...and mud - lots and lots of lovely clayey mud.

Reply

Squint
Squint
3 months ago
0

Totally agree. Especially when the wet or snow weighs down the branches so they hang further over the trail, a quick head dip pushes them out of the way and the visor does help with this. 

My road helmet also has a visor, and one even smaller and less useful than the ones on my off-road helmets.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months ago
+1 capnron

Branches and really rainy conditions are legit conditions for visors.

For what it's worth, Ferrentino lives in NorCal, however conditions where he lives are decidedly SoCal. All the same as far as we drenched peoples are concerned.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
3 months ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Hbar Ondřej Váňa

I agree, they have a function. Sun from eyes too is a big one for me. I think part of why Mike says they're useless is that in the last ~5 or 10 years helmet manufacturers have become increasingly aware of how rotational forces increase likely hood of a concussion. A long overly sturdy visor can impart rotation if you hit the ground in certain ways. So visors became shorter and designed to break away with little force to reduce this potential mostly on open face helmets. Also seems like fewer are adjustable now than they used to be. So the shorter, weaker, less or non adjustable visors that come on a lot of open face helmets now are less effective as keeping the sun or rain from one's eyes. But still better than nothing. Visors also keep some mud out of one's eyes. Mud/water drops being flung up/forward by the front tire (especially with no fender) fall back down as you ride thru it, hence a visor will reduce the amount of drops that make it to eyes/goggles. I'd say make visors longer and adjustable and thus more useful like they used to be while keeping the breakaway mounts that are easy to snap the visor back in place.

Reply

Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
3 months ago
0

Same I have been saved by my visor in a crash as well. It slowed the deceleration of my face going into the ground.

Aso like the extra sun protection. Would never ride without it.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months ago
+1 capnron

The sun thing - I'm reminded this time of year when the sun hangs so low that visors are useful for that. Riding on the Shore (SSC, Squamish, etc) it's easy to forget because we're so often under a forested canopy. Last time I remembered the visor works for sun, it was like a revelation, and yes that was slightly embarrassing.

Reply

taprider
taprider
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

I had a visorless MET where the foam over my forehead extended 4 to 5 centimetres ahead of my eyebrows. Just the right amount to dip my head for low sun, but the really big benefit was that for 90% of impacts to helmets that compress the foam (a real hit in other words) occur to the forehead or sides of the forehead.

My new Lazer extends 4 cm ahead and looks pretty common on World Cup XC racers.

The only problem with protecting your forehead with foam and MIPS (or other rotation protection) is that it doesn't leave room to wear goggles.

As a teen I crashed an MX while wearing an open-face moto helmet with one of those very rigid bolted on anti roost visors and remember seeing the ground scrape along 1 cm from my goggles, and the visor didn't even budge from its mounting bolts. Sucker was heavy though and likely not good for the neck

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

We used to pop-rivet extra snaps into our helmet brims, so we could upgrade from 3 big snap buttons holding our peaks on to 5 big snap buttons. Then a strip of duct tape 'tween peak and helmet as well, covering the snaps. Sano. Good enough for Guennady Moseeiv...

Reply

taprider
taprider
2 months ago
0

thanks for reviving my memory

yes the peak was pop riveted and I was surprised how it didn't get knocked off

Reply

Konda
Konda
3 months ago
+4 Hbar Cr4w JVP NealWood

I'm curious your thoughts on the tendency for roadies to wear a peaked cap under their peakless helmets?

I'm with the above comment where the visor stops rain hitting the top half of my face. As somebody who rides in prescription glasses (as opposed to "trendy" clear sunglasses) this is an absolutely vital feature to have.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
3 months ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I haven't done many group road rides in a few years, so need to update my stats. Doing the bike path straw poll method is less accurate due to the higher number of casual riders, but I wonder if people are wearing cycling caps under their helmets as much as they used to. Nowadays, I try to find helmets that fit well on my bald head. Maybe because I am bald, and have a head shaped sort of like a football laying on the ground, I'm super critical of how helmets fit on my head before cranking down on the ratchet thingies. So, anyway, a decade or two ago it was often necessary for me to stuff a cycling cap under the helmet just to get the damn thing to sort of fit. These days, I opt for a helmet that fits close enough that I can't wear a cycling cap under it without incurring a headache.

Reply

Bikes
Bikes
3 months ago
+4 shenzhe NealWood Andy Eunson Mike Ferrentino

I use a cap to manage my profuse sweating…and yeah, hair is long gone

Reply

shenzhe
shenzhe
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

I'm the same way. On the mountain bike I have a handkerchief tied over my head (like the Harley kind of biker) and under my helmet to keep sunscreen infused sweat out of my eyes, and on my road bike I replace it with a cycling cap for the same sting avoidance reasons.

Reply

Konda
Konda
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Fair point regarding helmet fit and sweat absorption. Thankfully, I'm blessed with a full head of hair. And a head that's round enough to fit into most lids.

Neither her of those uses call for the inclusion of a peak though. Roadie caps that were the defacto before helmets always had a peak, so I'll reiterate that peaks (cap or otherwise) have a function for bicycling, road or otherwise.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Bike tourers or others that spend long hours riding riding into sunrise or sunset sometimes wear a baseball cap underneath so they can turn the brim left/right and down to block a low sun. With a visor you can't twist it, so have to hold your whole head left or right and down to block a low sun, which can become uncomfortable and is probably a bit less safe.

Reply

olaa
olaa
3 months ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

As a part-time roadie from a rather rainy part of the world: i never go out on a ride without a peaked cap (either wearing it, or in the back pocket). It works great for keeping muck out of the eyes and off the glasses when the weather turns bad.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 months ago
+4 Mike Ferrentino BadNudes Ondřej Váňa taprider

Maybe Palmer and Peaty knew mountain biking was going to be MOTO-rized, but just got too optimistic on how long that would take for people to install motors on their machines? Folks wearing moto gear and hopping on their motorized rigs in the trailhead kind of makes aesthetic sense now. They were just ahead of their time.

I've had the same conversation a few times this summer/fall with riding buddies who took their Mudhuggers off for the "dry season" only to be out on a rainy day and get skunk striped. They looked enviously at my fenders perhaps wondering how I knew to install them just in time. The secret is of course never taking them off. It may not look cool, but at least I can leave my bike unlocked outside the brewery and nobody will take it. 

I keep an old visorless helmet for night riding with a light mounted. It looks a bit weird, but if anyone gives me the stink eye I just blast 2K lumens right into their eyeballs and they can't see how unstylish I am. ;-)

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months ago
+5 kcy4130 Mike Ferrentino cheapondirt Speedster capnron

1998 THE fenders on the front of RM7s were peak moto in MTB.

Reply

speedster
Speedster
3 months ago
+1 capnron

Ahh, the pinnacle of my riding! 2001 RM7 with a Stratos upside down fork, THE fender, double rings with bash guard and Tioga DH tires was my daily driver for everything! 47 lbs of DH/FR/XC goodness!🤣

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
3 months ago
0

i had an rm7 as well, tho i went for a more weight weenie build. x-vert carbon fork, spokes & every bolt was titanium, 24/26 mullet, etc. i believe it was 36lbs (with dodgy, non-dh casing tires). cracked the front triangle in multiple places, bent shock bolts (the leverage ratio was dumb), and was constantly dicking about shimming the shock bushings (or was it needle bearings?) because they wore at a ridiculous rate & the rear was always sloppy.

amazing how shitty bikes were, back in the day...

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

I think we have to be nicer to old bikes. They weren't shitty so much as just not as good as now. It's been 20 years! Everything was relatively shitty two decades ago, especially things made to a price-point.

It's a little crazy how fast we can switch between complaining that new shit is so expensive and complaining that old shit was junk.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

While I can totally appreciate the sentiment that everyone was really trying hard to improve things on all directions, there was also SO MUCH SHITTY STUFF that happened along the way. And some of it was so obviously, so blatantly, so poorly thought out. There was also a lot of really fucking good old stuff. But I am absolutely going to slag on the shitty stuff that I experienced. It's part of my therapy...

danithemechanic
danithemechanic
3 months ago
+3 Zero-cool Mike Ferrentino fartymarty

Who cares whatever you wear? Who cares whatever you ride? 

Take a look at the latest skateboarding fashions, it's a mixed bag of crazyness! so cool!

Personally i really like to see people riding with "outside the box" style, but i guess here's the issue, sometimes style is difficult to have, usually it's easier to copy someone's else.

I see your point on visors and i can't but agree. Then i check your new helmet and the first thought is: "That's so roadie"

But this is a reaction to a fashion in biking that needs to put a label on things at all costs.

I wish we could just choose the "nicely designed" option without having to choose a label.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
3 months ago
+4 Andy Eunson Adrian Bostock doodersonmcbroseph taprider

I miss the days when most riders were thinking outside the box in most ways. We were united in just doing the thing. Now we seem to be bonded mainly by conformity.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
3 months ago
+1 doodersonmcbroseph

Yep. Though there is a variety of mountain bike sub categories with differing styles, uniforms within each niche are generally rigorously defined.

Reply

Bikes
Bikes
3 months ago
+3 Andy Eunson Kos Mike Ferrentino

Ha!  The helmet.  Totally me.  Ride with my kids and grab my roadie helmet because my mtb one is still soak in sweat…im on my FS trail bike riding around with kids…I feel weird/dorky.  Hopefully they don’t get that stupid human trait.

As for skin suits and Lycra.  As a roadie and off-roadie, Lycra padded shorts are just plain better/more functional cycling apparel with the caveat it isn’t too protective but can’t see it being less protective than my thin baggy mtb shorts.  Do I wear them in my mtb?  No.  I’d look like a tool on my 150mm travel rig even if I’d actually be more comfy

And modern DH…might as well be in skin suits and basically getting as tight as possible without flagging a rule violation if that is still a thing.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 months ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino taprider

Ski cross used to have a rule about baggy clothes. They were only allowed to be so tight. It was hard to enforce though. Presently they wear two piece downhill suits basically.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months ago
0 Ondřej Váňa tashi

Skin suits / lycra for racing makes sense but am sick and tired of seeing middle aged men squashed into lycra pedalling around the roads is just not necessary - nobody needs to see that.  If you think mtb is dorky then roadies are another level... 

Lycra as an under garment makes a ton of sense tho.

Reply

Bikes
Bikes
3 months ago
+4 Pete Roggeman Justin White Ondřej Váňa tashi

I’d argue to just not worry what they look like, or stop staring/caring.

Wearing two layers of clothes just to “hide”….makes zero sense, but I also have no qualms showing up anywhere in full roadie gear.  People wanna look or don’t like it…not my problem

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months ago
+2 Timer Andy Eunson

Agreed. When you ride road a lot, you get used to it and it's comfortable. Part of the appeal of road riding is feeling sleek, tight clothes help that. It's funny to me that people get so hung up on roadies wearing Lycra but then come from places where large parts of the population wear horrible ill-fitting pants, clunky white shoes or birks with socks.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Maybe I need to release my inner MAMIL.

Birks / Crocs and socks are fine inside but I wouldn't wear them in public despite how comfortable they are.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino taprider

You might be underestimating the cooling power of thin, skin-tight, lycra-type stuff. On a road or XC ride where one might be putting up big efforts for a good while, baggier clothes can get pretty stifling. Weighing that against the need for protection and the more intermittent nature of trail rides, and it's not hard to see why people dig the tight fit for other types of riding.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
3 months ago
+3 Justin White Andy Eunson taprider

I was racing the Breck Epic a number of years ago, and feeling self conscious about my lack of fitness and my body trending toward a more round shape than a lifetime earlier, so I slapped on some baggies over my bib shorts. The first climb of the second day was several miles, about half of it under a nice August sun. I started to cook a mile or so in, pulled over, ditched the baggies, and left them off for the duration of the race (until I DNFed due to heatstroking myself myself on day four, regardless of going full Lycra). Skintight Lycra - when going as hard as you can for anywhere more than an hour - is pretty amazing stuff in terms of shedding body heat, for sure.

Reply

taprider
taprider
3 months ago
0

at least the lycra bib/skin suit wearers are not showing a Grand Canyon worth of plumbers crack like the baggy pants'ers and so much of the rest of the non-bike population

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months ago
0

Why do you feel dorky in the road helmet with the kids ? You can't see it once it's on your head. Plus, parents are supposed/allowed to look disheveled/dorky, wearing whatever is clean and ready. And most likely everyone is paying attention to the kids anyway.

"Bike shorts" are definitely less protective than most MTB baggies. It's just the nature of the material and the need to be thin for heat transfer, lycra-type stuff does not hold up the same. Shit, I've ripped holes in my chamois liners through baggies. Granted, the liners are extra thin for cooling while under baggies, and the baggies are very durable Prana "climbing" shorts, but still impressive to put holes only in the underneath layer.

Supposed to be able to "pinch an inch", or maybe two inches, on the pants, according to the current rules, IIRC. IE: you should easily be able to gather and pull material to at least a inch away from the skin by just pinching with finger and thumb. Some of the current pants however, definitely don't seem to be able to pass that test. However, maybe they're stretchier than we imagine (modern materials and weaving is pretty good at making durable stuff that also have 4-way stretch), and actually do pass the test...

Reply

Bikes
Bikes
3 months ago
0

Dorky in the way that I always feel in my road helmet with not on my road bike….do I think anyone actually cares…nope, and neither do I, but I know “the look” I’m giving off which is what Mike so much more eloquently penned.

I thought the rules on DH mtb racing apparel was really driven by marketing and sales driving the rules and not actual performance

Reply

taprider
taprider
3 months ago
0

For a bike packing trip I just did, I did carry some 7Mesh light nylon non-baggy baggies to wear while off the bike and for extra warmth when needed.

I put them on for this biker/country bar, the first place to get a meal in three days, otherwise I might have been put to dance like PeeWee Herman.

I did still get side eye and a snarky comment when the cook asked how I wanted my egg on their Hang Over Burger when I said "scrambled".

Reply

Bikes
Bikes
3 months ago
+1 BarryW

"I did still get side eye and a snarky comment when the cook asked how I wanted my egg on their Hang Over Burger when I said "scrambled"."

100% had nothing to do with your attire rather your incorrect pronunciation of "fried".

Reply

BarryW
BarryW
3 months ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino NealWood

Good stuff Mike, I feel like we have the same thoughts about biking often. 

Although, even in my head mine aren't as well presented as yours. 

In other news, my regular riding buddy recently broke the visor off his Fox FroFrame and I find myself looking at it every time slot the last few weeks and thinking deep thoughts (in this same vein) about the nature of form and function. Personally I really like the thought process of 'form follows function' to be beautiful . . . 

But I still think that helmet looks funny on first glance. 

Strange how powerful conditioning can be huh?

Reply

grcgrc
grcgrc
3 months ago
+2 Vik Banerjee BarryW

Agreed. 

My Mudhuggers stay on my bike year round as well. Too much of a hassle to take them off for the few months it doesn't (usually) rain on Vancouver.

Reply

DaveSmith
Dave Smith
3 months ago
+2 Derek Baker Mike Ferrentino

Reply

taprider
taprider
3 months ago
0

you might like the new MET Trenta

Reply

kos
Kos
3 months ago
+1 Bikes

One of your best, Mike! Right up there with The Never-Ending Gift of Shit.

I wear visors so that fewer people notice that I'm not wearing baggies.

Reply

kavurider
KavuRider
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

This is where being broke is the advantage!  I couldn't afford any "mtb-specific" gear for years (all the money went into the bike) so I just rode with whatever thrift-store shorts and shirts I could find. 

I also started riding mountain bikes when Down/Double Down and New World Disorder came out, so the whole mx-inspired look was normalized for me.  I was never into racing, so the whole skinsuit/lycra thing was silly to me. 

To each their own!  I find it funnier to see someone in full matchy-match gear than someone who just threw on some clothes to go for a ride.

Reply

hankthespacecowboy
hankthespacecowboy
3 months ago
+1 Speedster

Maybe it's because I was influenced by O'Mara, Wardy, and Bailey as a youth flicking through moto magazines, but I'm all about having a proper visor on my helmet. The Giro Switchblade, and Tyrant Spherical have been my favorites for echoing that '80's open-face vibe, and the visor is long enough to actually be functional in glare protection. 

From another perspective, I just got into skiing a few years ago, and have been perplexed & disappointed by the lack of visor options for ski helmets. The likelihood of being caught in conditions of flaky precipitation falling from the sky, or ducking a snow-laden branch would seem to champion the pragmatism of visors, but since none of the World Cup pros bombing the Hahnenkamm wear visors, no self-respecting skier would be caught dead with a visor adequate to their local conditions.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 months ago
+3 Pete Roggeman taprider Mike Ferrentino

Visors are slow in a speed sport like skiing. Simple as that. Plus in a tuck you can’t see. Plus if you catch a visor on the snow in a fall, bad things happen unless it is weak enough to break away and if it’s weak enough to break away, it will do so at high speed. And skiers do hit gates with their heads at times. Goggles keep snow out just fine. Dark lenses keep out the sun. At one time skiers wore chin bars but they went away other than some slalom helmets. There was concern about catching a chin bar on snow in a sliding fall  and there may have been an aero issue too. 

So ironic how DH and EWS riders wear pretty tight clothes now. I remember seeing pictures of riders in stiff baggy shorts not that long ago bagging open and catching air. Pretty stupid really. Trying to go as fast as possible but wearing air catching clothes. Even full pants and jerseys, if they’re flapping, they are slowing you down. If races are determined by fractions of seconds, speed suits will make a difference. 

Visors do keep the sun and rain out of your eyes as well as deflect leaves and branches. My understanding is that visors were invented in motocross to keep roost from hitting the goggles. And muddy roost on top of the helmet slides onto goggles. Visors can block your view from low hanging stuff. Like the leaned over tree I broke my helmet on last year. 

Baggy clothes were always about guys uncomfortable with their bodies. Visors were always more about form than function.

Reply

rg-nw
rg-nw
3 months ago
+1 kcy4130 Derek Baker bikesarerad

Those narrow bars are giving me flashbacks, really bad flashbacks.

Reply

syncro
Mark
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

In case anyone else like me was curious about more info on the Mosely/Atherton thing I went digging and found a couple of links to help explain things. I'm sure there are more, possibly better ones too, but these work if you don't know the story well. The complaining came from the DH race in Canberra in 2008

Complaining: http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/mtb.php?id=mtb/2008/aug08/mtbXC8DH6worldcup08/mtbXC8DH6worldcup086

Public sentiment: https://fixed.org.au/t/uci-getting-it-wrong-imo/37657

Reply

speedster
Speedster
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

I call the clean Lexan thing on my road motorcycle helmet a shield.  Same as they do for the eye protection for football players (American).  I call the fashionable chunk of plastic over the top a visor.  Same as it is on a baseball cap.

That said, if you remember that this all started with Shoei/Troy Lee’s very first MTB helmet that was more of a 3/4 coverage thing with a visor.  It was this: https://factoryjackson.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Shoei-RC3-2000x1333.jpg  I think it was almost $200 US back in early 90’s bucks.  That priced me out!

It was so “Moto” at the time and screamed style!  It just looked so much better than the styrofoam-Lycra-panty covered helmets that you had to choose from at the time. 

I got in to MTB from the motocross scene because all the MX guys (Bailey, O’Mara specifically) we’re riding MTB for training.  I wanted to look like a MX guy, not a bike guy.  Still wore Lycra shorts and tight jerseys with 3 pockets on the back because that was what there was, and dammit, that’s what we were supposed to wear!😆

Now get off my lawn!

Reply

deleted_user_19096
[user profile deleted]
3 months ago
0

This comment has been removed.

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
3 months ago
0

Another four-eyes rainforest dweller here. Anything that even might keep rain off my glasses is welcome. Fenders too - though I take the rear mudhugger off for summer. It's loud, and not just visually.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months ago
0

"Admittedly, even Tomac looked a bit dodgy wearing a full-face helmet with goggles and no visor. There is something unbalanced and off about that look, in a Feng Shui sense."

So every full-face road motorcycle helmet out there is unbalanced looking? Pretty much the same look.

Reply

Timer
Timer
3 months ago
+2 cheapondirt Ondřej Váňa

Don't they all have visors though? Vertical, see-through ones, but definitely visors. And yes, they look unbalanced without them.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months ago
0

Those kind of sun visors are not the same as a "peak", obviously. 

Better alert the motorcycle world they've been doing wrong all these years.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
3 months ago
+4 cheapondirt dhr999 tashi Spencer Nelson

Well, if we are gonna go full pedant, let's go full pedant. But remember, Justin, YOU opened this can of worms!

Visors, in moto terms, are that Lexan or other see-through plastic that comprise the face shields of road moto helmets. Peaks are the sun and roost shadey things found on off-road moto helmets. They get called visors on mountain bike lids because, ummm, I don't know why. Hence the title - Peak Advisory. Sort of a play on words. Probably not a very good one, but I was pressed for time.

Anyway, road moto helmets are almost always designed around a visor, except for maybe those retro throwback things that are popping up lately. Designers take the visor as part of the helmet into account and they look for the most part pretty damn good (check out the current Bell Race Star, damn what a nicely proportioned lid). Off-road moto helmets are designed around a peak, and also look well proportioned by and large. Take the visor off a road helmet, or a peak of a dirt helmet, and they look sorta weird. Always have, always will. Same could be said if you de-peak or de-visor (choose your word, since it doesn't really matter here) your mtb lid that was designed around one of those things.

Meanwhile, there is the unspoken abomination of "Adventure" helmet design. Which is a moto helmet with a sort of dirt-esque peak AND a visor. To be worn by people riding BMW GS1200s with an extra $10k of Touratech bullshit bolted to the poor things. Designed, apparently, by blind people who do not actually ride since they are noisy, ugly, and almost all of them do a masterful job of catching wind right as it comes off the windscreens of said adventure bikes and in some cases literally try to unscrew the rider's head from the buffeting. But hey, another excuse to dump a few hundred more dollars into a bigger windscreen. Maybe they appeal to people who played a lot of Halo.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months ago
-3 Ondřej Váňa dhr999 Mike Ferrentino

A) I didn't go pedantic about "visors". I simply pointed out that the word "visor" is overloaded and only sometimes synonymous with "peak", implying it's not worth getting pedantic about, after Timer tried to go pedantic about "visor".

B) I can easily find examples of off-road moto lids with peaks that are called "visors" by the makers and the sellers.

C) "your mtb lid that was designed around one of those things [a peak]": Prove it. To me, a full-face MTB helmet without a peak looks just fine proportionally, and once you add goggles, it's pretty close to a road moto helmet, as I said before. Do road helmets look weird because they're out of proportion without a peak (that would be weird since you'd think they would be designed with no peak in mind), or do they just look goofy to you simply because they don't have a peak and you're used to seeing one? I think the same applies to most MTB helmets: the proportions are just fine without a peak, you're just not used to seeing them like that.

*(caveat: yes, there are newer trail helmets with very very integrated peaks, but those are not movable nor removable, and those are very obviously designed around the peak. But that's a different class than a helmet with a movable and removable peak)

Reply

Hawkinsdad
Hawkinsdad
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Mike, I agree about adventure helmets. My Shoei is damned frightening at anything over 110 kph. Regarding whatever the hell is on my Bell mtb helmet, it sort of looks okay. However, it has gotten caught up on branches several times, nearly pulling me backwards and off my Yeti. Regarding riding with a kilt, I highly encourage it as it would promote good ventilation and it would certainly catch the attention of the ladies. Or lonely sheep herders.

Reply

taprider
taprider
3 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

you got to wear your peak backwards like the really cool riders!

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Total win.

Reply

WheelNut
WheelNut
3 months ago
0

I abhor the helmet visor. So useless here in the sun-free environment of BC. All it does is block my view while riding.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months ago
+1 Ondřej Váňa

You know they're adjustable, and most are removable? If it's blocking your view of the trail, you're doing something wrong.

Reply

Joe_Dick
Adrian Bostock
3 months ago
0

I used to spend a lot of time riding over grown, back woods type trails and I wore ski socks to save my shins from being scraped raw. and being poor, or cheap, I did not own short socks. I would get some weird looks when I was riding normal mountain bike trails. Then for some unexplained reason tall socks had a moment of popularity about the same time as I was spending less time in the back woods and my socks got shorter. I got to listen to people explain to me the advantages of tall socks. I am a contrarian by nature so it was kind of perfect.

not having a visor on you helmet is kin to not wearing plaid, jeans and blunstones. it’s probably fine, but you are going to stand out in a crowd.

Reply

james_cranston@hotmail.com
0

My visor nicely keeps the glare away on night rides

Reply

Mishtar
Mishtar
3 months ago
0

Visor keeps some water off my glasses so it seems pretty useful to me...

Reply

AndreiV.
AndreiV.
3 months ago
0

I disagree. I used to ride all the time up Seymour Parkway in a dirt jump helmet. They fit well and are well-priced is how I justified them. Then I switched to a helmet with a visor and do not want to go back. Not having the sun blasting down on my eyes during the longest part of a ride is nice.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.