Full Face Chin Bar NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG
EDITORIAL

Where Have All The Chin Bars Gone?

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (Unless Noted)
Date Jan 12, 2022
Reading time

Head & Boulders, Teeth & Nose.

The majority of my regular riding companions don't ever wear a full-face helmet. Of those that do, most of the regular users of them only wear one when shuttling or in the bike park. I know that on its face that information qualifies for a hearty "Not Interesting" but I bring it up because it's not just a factoid, it's an unexpected trend. The number of them that routinely wear a chin bar when trail riding has been decreasing every year since some of them purchased a Bell Super 2R some five-to-seven years ago and full-face curiosity has been on a downward curve with the folks I ride with. I think it's fair to say that's the overall trend on local trails as well.

The Super didn't, and doesn't, fit every head or use case but since it relaunched the category of removable chin bar full-face helmets, a plethora of options have come on the market - including three different options for Bell. Some are lighter and more breathable. Others are DH rated. All of the chin bars take seconds to remove and instal. Between all the brands on the market, it's hard to accept that fit or convenience is the deciding factor. They aren't cheap - but I'll argue they offer a lot of value. So why the regression in use or, if that's just down to my experience, at least the reluctance to adopt them more universally?

I'm coming at this from a place of curiosity. I've looked at, and discarded, the most common reasons I hear from friends for sticking with open lids. These aside, I‘m curious to know what keeps riders from wearing a chin bar and why others regularly wear one.

Full Face Chin Bar NSMB AndrewM (9).JPG

I ride up hill regularly in this sub-1000 gram 7iDP Project 23 lid. I remove the chin pads in all but the coolest months - which is a very quick snap-in/snap-out procedure and avoid it entirely during July and August but in general it's a comfortable helmet even for longer pedal-to-plunge rides.

Leatt DBX 3 Full Face NSMB AndrewM.JPG

It's not showing any damage but just based on time and usage I'm admittedly due to replace my beloved Leatt DBX 3.0 lid. There simply weren't any available this year. It's a great option for janky lines at trail speed where crashing comes with a certain degree of inevitability.

"I'm Not Convinced They Prevent Concussions"

Why wear a helmet at all? There are plenty of different head injuries that are possible. Heck, I have a friend Mark who all but ripped his ear off crashing his mountain bike wearing an open lid. Frankly, whether you're running MIPS, 360° Turbines, LDL, or any other system on the market there's a lot of debate out there about how much bicycle helmets do to prevent concussions in general. If anything, it may be easier to prove that the addition of a chin bar prevents certain types of concussions - from hitting one's chin or jaw. I'm not even going there. NSMB has published quite a bit of interesting stuff about helmet tech so if you're curious here are some rabbit holes:

This past summer I had a crash where the chin bar of my full-face saved me, without any doubt. No, not from a concussion. I'll let folks much more knowledgeable about helmet engineering and the human brain field those arguments. What my full-face helmet saved me from was grinding the whole side of my face across a boulder with momentum. Instead of the very light kiss of plastic on rock followed by my head smoothly gliding across the surface, it would have been my cheek engaging granite. Maybe I would have been fine, maybe I would have smashed out a few teeth, maybe worse.

But let's say I saved myself from paying to replace a couple of teeth. Never mind the pain and suffering and inconvenience, I can buy a heck of a lot of fresh bike parts and gear for the price of an implant or two. And this isn't some boogeyman I'm raising, I've met a couple of North Shore riders who've left a tooth on the trail. I know, I could prevent plenty of other potential pains with a full bodysuit of D3O armour but there's something about losing teeth or f***ing up my face that is on a different level than cracking a couple of ribs.

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I rarely endo these days thanks to the bikes we ride. Bigger wheels, slacker head tube angles, longer reaches, longer wheelbases, and lower bottom brackets all contribute. But, it still happens! Photo: JacAttack

Full Face Helmets Chin Bar NSMB AndrewM (5).jpg

Usually by the time I'm on the teeter totter it's all good. But I've lost the front wheel more than once on my way up to it trying to 'save' an awkward effort. Sometimes "Commit Or Eat Shit" is actually "Commit And Eat Shit." Photo: JacAttack

Full Face Helmets Chin Bar NSMB AndrewM (3).jpg

Good rubber, low pressure, inserts. The downhill traction now available to anyone willing to pedal it uphill is amazing. But we've all come into something just a bit too hot and not been able to get control at the bottom. Photo: JacAttack

"But I Don't Wear A Pack!"

So you ditched your backpack for a hip pack? You can still strap a removable chin bar to the outside of most of them. It's a bit more complicated for the myriad of riders I know who've stopped riding with a pack, period. A chin bar is an awkward shape to try and accommodate in a frame bag and you certainly aren't tucking it into your stash-bibs or SWAT-Box. Anyone who's ridden on the Shore for a long time will remember the days of riders climbing the mountain with their full-face helmets strapped to their handlebars and certainly, that's still an option. In fact, it's even simpler when we're talking about just strapping on a chin bar.

Not clean enough? There are oodles of outfits making mounting options for bike-packing that could be easily adapted to transporting a helmet. Check out drj0n bagworks, for example. I've played with some cool ideas using brackets and clips from light mounts, and there are a number of bike-packing solutions. On the Chameleon, I've been playing with the steerer-mounted HAF-CLIP, which works well and has a time-honoured background story when it comes to mountain bike products.

The proprietor, Hafez, is one of the many folks who discovered mountain biking some 18-months ago. The government closed down his previously-preferred form of exercise, hitting the gym, as part of their response to Covid-19. And of course, mountain biking is awesome so he's become rather obsessed with it. But, there's also a fair amount of crashing involved in progressing through the local trail network and, thus, a full-face helmet makes a lot of sense. But, how best to carry a DH lid when climbing up gravel fireroads or a removable chin bar when climbing in general if you aren't wearing a pack?

His clip takes the place of a headset spacer and I'm sure it would be handy for strapping on other stuff as well. I've just used it for full-face helmets and chin bars and I think it works great.

Haf Clip Leatt DBX 3 NSMB AndrewM.JPG

It takes a few seconds to attach and remove my chin bar and it rests in place nicely. I've had no issues with visibility on tight climbs, like No Quarter, but I could see where some folks may be skeptical of that.

Haf Clip Leatt DBX 3 NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

When it's not in use the strap tucks between my stem and the HAF-CLIP. It's silent. I don't notice it at all when I'm riding. It's not as aesthetically appealing as nothing but neither are frame bags or water bottles.

Full Face Chin Bar NSMB AndrewM (8).JPG

I can't avocate ever riding your bicycle without wearing a helmet. But I'll admit I often remove mine on long, hot, slow fireroad climbs where I'm unlikely to see any automobile traffic. Historically that's meant strapping it to my pack, but this is better.

"I Don't Trust The Removable Chin Bar"

At first, my rebuttal to this was that any chin bar design I've seen offers more protection than no chin bar - even the very lightweight two-point mounting system of my Leatt DBX 3. For those in doubt, systems like the Super DH are very robust. However, I like to simplify mountain biking as much as the next person. If someone isn't happy with the convertible systems on the market there are numerous choices for proper full-face helmets that can work as well.

I wear a 7iDP Project 23 lid a lot. It's light enough and has good venting and for sustained single track climbs it's a snap to pull out the chin pads. For sustained fireroad climbs, I simply remove it but I've done some long road climbs and if there are cars around I always leave it on my noggin. I have a regular riding friend who loves the Smith Mainline as an all-day fixed chin bar helmet.* It would be very high on my list of all-day full-faces to try. I've yet to see a Kali Invader in person but it's another interesting trail-weight helmet with a fixed chin bar.

*I also know a couple of shop folks who recommend it as a comfortable and breathable full-face option but every time I see them riding they're in open shells

Full Face Helmets Chin Bar NSMB AndrewM (8).jpg

The roller coaster on Lower Crippler isn't that high until you and your bike are coming off the top of one of the whoops. I attack more confidently with the extra 300-400 grams of chin bar. Photo: JacAttack

Full Face Helmets Chin Bar NSMB AndrewM (4).jpg

To me, wearing a lid with a chin bar is a way to mitigate some of the risks of random traction events. Like slipping a wheel on a log ride, or finding that icy rock just below the snow at exactly the wrong moment. Photo: JacAttack

Full Face Helmets Chin Bar NSMB AndrewM (7).jpg

Sh*t happens sometimes when you're past the go-no-go commitment point on a feature. I'm a very cautious rider, but I still have a few good stacks a season and friends have commented I'm riding more confidently in the past year. Photo: JacAttack

Chin Bar Courage

It's only been in the last year or so that I've been exclusively riding technical trails wearing a full face. It was originally out of a pact with my grom but since then I've had riding friends comment that I've been trying more things and riding more confidently. I appreciate that most folks I ride with don't need any 'chin bar courage' to make North Shore riding happen, but as I've become more and more used to wearing one, particularly when I'm headed to the ground, it surprises me how few people I see wearing one. Even on some really janky trails that folks hit a lot faster than I do.

It's not just old Shore XC folks. I regularly see new riders crashing their way down the hill; progressing riders tangled up with their rig when they didn't have quite enough speed or advanced riders shooting their 7" bikes into the air, and they all make me wonder why I don't see more full-face helmets on the trail.

I'm not trying to tell anyone what kind of helmet - make, manufacturer, or model - they should wear. If the helmet fits your head and your risk assessment then have at it. But if you're riding hard and heavy, with a real possibility of crashing on any given ride, and choosing to stick with an open face, I'd love to hear the thought process. Likewise, if you've switched to riding with a chin bar - removable or otherwise - what was your motivation? Finally, if you were one of those early adopters of the Bell Super and you have stopped using a chin bar, what changed your mind?

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Comments

GOrtho
GOrtho
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+9 khai Andrew Major Ripbro Metacomet Mammal Pete Roggeman LewisQC Endurimil Tjaard Breeuwer

Great article for discussion. I'm an orthopedic spine surgeon and so thought I might comment on some common misconceptions about Full Face Helmets. I can't find any data that shows they are better or worse at preventing spinal injuries and certainly in my practice I have found most patients with a spinal injury were wearing half shells (granted their are a lot more riders wearing half shells). In the US NICA doesn't allow racing for kids with a full face, but in our league we give exemptions regularly. This rule is in place due to a fear that in the setting of a spinal injury a full face helmet is more dangerous to remove than a half shell. First if you suspect a spinal injury only EMS should be removing the helmet and there are safe ways to do so (including cutting the chin bar off). Second, there is no data on this for mountain biking I can find most people are using old football helmet data. I do see a lot of facial injuries in mountain bikers wearing half shells. I'm not sure full faces prevent concussions better (I've had concussions in both). As far as not looking cool that appears to be regional, we have a lot more folks I see on the trail starting to wearing FF and we all wear glasses. If you are going to wear goggles you better have some serious steeze. What do I do? I wear a TLD stage most of the year and if I am going on anything gnarly. July and August I tend to wear a half shell. Coaching I tend to wear a half shell. I've never had a patient that regretted wearing a FF helmet though, so I should probably just wear one all the time. 

PS: I also see a lot of elbow injuries, and I hate scrubbing for surgery with road rash forearm (our trails are cheese graters) so I wear pads (I have sets of Leatt, TLD). Operative elbow fractures tend to have inferior functional outcomes compared to knee fractures.

Reply

khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 Andrew Major 4Runner1 Mammal Pete Roggeman LewisQC Tjaard Breeuwer

>> Operative elbow fractures tend to have inferior functional outcomes compared to knee fractures.

If THIS wasn't a strong endorsement for elbow pads there isn't one!  Thank you for sharing your experience and opinion from the other side of the gurney!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 PowellRiviera khai Mammal LewisQC

Yeah, my takeaway from this conversation about chin bars is definitely that I need to get back on trying to find the right elbow pads for me.

Reply

DancingWithMyself
DancingWithMyself
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Would also add to grit your teeth and find a lightweight 3\4 sleeve jersey for warmer temps.  IXS makes a good one that doesn't scream "bro.". Think it's the carve. Sure there are others.  Looking a little less dorky is important in that it encourages you to wear the damn things.

Given the INCREDIBLE traction this article garnered, I'd wager an exploration of elbow pads that don't suck would be well received.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

It may, I need to find some elbow pads that don't suck for me first though!

Reply

DancingWithMyself
DancingWithMyself
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Have recently found some degree of happiness with the Ions. Curved shape makes them far less noticeable to me. However, still more annoying than a nice, lightweight "enduro" full face and worn more selectively.

Reply

DancingWithMyself
DancingWithMyself
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yes. Also, I don’t pedal with my arms, so there is far less potential discomfort from rubbing on the inside of the elbow vs back of knee.

The only reason I would leave them off was heat, so I got some perforated Dainese ones and now wear them 99% time.

Reply

syncro
Mark
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

Of course the exception to not removing the helmet is if the rider isn't breathing and requires CPR. That's one of the advantages of doing a CPR course, is that you learn how to stabilize the head neck. At the end of the day, if it's a choice between risking some sort of paralysis or not providing CPR the choice is obviously to do what you can to keep the person alive. I think it's a good idea that in every group there are at least two people that have some sort of First Aid training. I know you (GOrtho) know all this, just making the point for everyone else reading who doesn't or most likely has never even thought about having to be the person who might need to  save the life of your riding partner.

Reply

mhaager2
Moritz Haager
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Its really interesting. I have also not been able to find scientific data specific to mountain biking on this topic. The closest I could find was a meta-analysis (a study that combines the data from multiple other studies to end up with a bigger data set to try and get answers from) of full face vs open face helmets on motorcycles.  That study found that FF had lower risks of both head injury as well as neck injury, the latter of which surprised me actually. I'm not sure if the studies were all on street motorbikes or if they included moto as well (I only had time to skim the article), but I think the mechanisms are going to be different so its hard to know how this translates to MTB.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Certainly, the average impact speed is going to be lower on the mountain bike. 

Very interesting either way re. neck v. protection as I've heard that repeated many times from folks choosing not to wear full-face helmets.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+8 Michael Klein Tjaard Breeuwer taprider Ryan Walters Zak Brown Jerry Willows BenHD Nologo Tremeer023 brente

1) Look good
2) Feel good

Safety third.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 taprider Tim Coleman brente

3) Monies

Safety fourth?!

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GiveitsomeWelly
Karl Fitzpatrick
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Zing!

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

My buddies and I have a slight modification:

1) Don't Die

2) Look Cool

3) If you're going to break rule 1, never ever break rule 2

Seems like a chin bar helps maintain rule 2 if rule 1 is broken

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

bux-bux
Bux Bux
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

1) Going fast

2) looking good.

Have the Bell super air R one. Have to say the protection isn't as high as my DH helmet but it has saved me a couple times from smashing my face on the ground. Problem is I don't always use it, depends on the ride I am doing. Which ya I know is a silly way to roll. 

A wet janky ride on the menu? The chinbar is strapped on my fanny pack for sure. Loamer day? not so much.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Bux Bux

I knew quite a few people who initially wore a chin bar for some rides (pre-ride risk assessment) but then less and less rides going forward. Has your usage changed since you started wearing the Super Air?

Reply

bux-bux
Bux Bux
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

I wore it all the time in the beginning. Less now for sure but like I said, I def use it when doing a Ladies or Boundary Lap where I know the risk is higher. Quick ride up Breamar usually not. Upon reading your piece I think I will wear it more. Weighs nothing on the fanny pack and takes 30 seconds to put on.  I really don't even notice it while decending so not wearing it is kinda silly. Did a Cypress ride up BLT with a new group before the snows a while back, and I was pretty much the only one without my chinbar. Think out of 8 of us 2 didn't have one. So maybe the usage is going up among riders?... will take more notice when the snow melts.

Three of my front teeth are crowns from sport injuries. Have had a few concussions which have affected me in later life. Keeping those injuries in the past is the best way to go forward in this stage of my life.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Bux Bux

Cypress has always been its own animal for full-face usage (much higher) but I am starting to wonder how much my anecdotal evidence is informed by when I ride (weekdays, early morning weekends, night) or really only specific to my friend group. Certainly, among NSMB commenters I'd say the trend folks are noticing is more, not less usage (even accounting for how hard it's been to find one the last year).

Reply

BenHD
BenHD
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

BenHD
BenHD
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

maximum-radness
Maximum Radness
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+8 Rick M Andrew Major Karl Fitzpatrick Mammal Velocipedestrian Pete Roggeman Martin DadStillRides

I had a terrible crash this summer at mACH speed deep deep in the mountains smashed my helmet and my face into a downed tree wear off the side of the trail… For Christmas my partner got me a TLD stage and I plan to wear it any time I am expecting to go MACH speed, or when trees are around- which is almost all our rides. I’m fully embracing the full face trail mode. On my moto I wear that big stupid road moto helmet to go the gas station for m&m’s. It’s just a proper vibe. When riding wear a proper helmet. Period. We are dads and teachers and people really rely on us to be ALIVe. 

One thing to note: I watched a great friend fully head trauma //blood everywhere// majorly damaged with vocal and convulsive expressions once: it changed my experience forever with helmets. And we were just cruising around not really doing any actual riding…. It caught me off guard emotionally to have this man I respect who was very large and smart and strong just turn into a vegetable in front of me. Because helmets. Or in his case, JRA on a spring day.

You can’t pass that experience along very effectively. But I have riding buds that I hope will never know how that feels because I’m not opening that box: I just wear it.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 khai Velocipedestrian

Speed is a real injury multiplier. Have yet to see a Stage in person, any fit comparisons to other lids you’ve worn?

———

We wear helmets anytime we’re riding bikes*. Actually one of the first challenging conversations I remember having with my daughter was about how it’s none of our business that other people don’t.

*Another challenging conversation was the time she brought me a coffee to the shop I was working at and busted me doing a quick test ride in the parking lot without a lid on… oh boy.

Reply

khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

They'll bust ya for sure.  Perhaps not every time, but they'll get you and will never let it go!

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

This.

I'm trying really hard to not give them the chance. Two knockout concussions plus a life of smaller knocks is more than enough.

Reply

mikeclausing@gmail.com
Mike Clausing
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 Andrew Major Metacomet Carlos Matutes BenHD DadStillRides Tjaard Breeuwer

I work in the Emergency Department, I ride with a full-face pretty much all of the time. I'll spare you the details of why that is but I'm sure you can use your imagination. My helmet does not have a chinbar, it is a proper DH carbon specialized helmet, but I am chinbar curious. I'm going to get myself one of those HAF-CLIPs right now!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Cheers Mike. Appreciate your discretion, and the gravity of your experiences.

Reply

metacomet
Metacomet
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 delta5 Andrew Major Rick M Pete Roggeman Martin Cr4w

I bought a Leatt 4.0 Enduro convertible fullface helmet last year after a big crash at the bottom of a big roller, where two key rocks in the transition shifted out as I began braking for the following exposed corner.  They shifted out and stuffed my front wheel.  From near vertical from about 15 feet up to face plant onto some very sharp rocks.  Broke and displaced my whole zygomatic arch aka cheekbone, blew out the orbital floor of my right eye socket, fractured down my right sinus, stitches in a few spots on my face along with a glue job on my chin.   UGLY with a capital UGLY.  My right cheekbone is not as prominent now cause it got pushed in, and I have a dent under my eye that I can feel with my finger but nothing you can see.  But all in all I was extremely lucky.  No teeth damage other than some nerves along my top teeth and the right side of my upper lip that are still not entirely 100%, and no damage to my eye or anything else.  Could have been a WHOLE lot worse.  I think if I was wearing a fullface, I´m fairly confident that I would have had no major injuries/breaks.  I both like and dislike riding with the fullface.  I bring it out for rowdier rides and terrain,  like where that crash happened, but I still primarily ride in one of my halfshells.  Perhaps half due to the Leatt just not fitting as well as my other helmets, and being noticeably heavier if its a long ride.  But I LOVE having the chinbar on when I´m using it.  Much safer feeling, and undoubtedly will do a better job protecting my face from another big crash.  I usually remove the chinbar and stick it between my back and hip pack, and it essentially goes unnoticed.  Quick and easy on/off.  I am however worried about having a simple tumble with it back there and very expensively breaking the chinbar.   I would like to try a TLD Stage as a leave-it-on option, as I believe it is lighter and more vented than the leatt as a fullface, but I am happy to have a convertible option.

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metacomet
Metacomet
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

In response to the topic at hand and leaning on my personal experience and general observation... Maybe people are moving back away from fullfaces because there is no perfect-enough option out there yet for people to commit to and then never look back, after having tried one or two and still been left wanting.  And if there is, these lids are too expensive and too uncommon to be able to try them all until you arrive at your own personal goldilocks.  I tried out the enduro IXS fullface and it was lightweight but the fit and general feel/construction wasn´t as great as I was hoping so I returned it and kept looking until I arrived at the Leatt 4.0 Enduro.  The Fox Proframe and the TLD Stage look great, and the Stage fit my head really well and comfortably when I tried one on in the store, but you dont know until you´ve lived with them, and then you are still left with a full face only, for better or worse.  Worse if you stop using it.  

Popping the chinbar off my Leatt is Awesome for the climbs and rolling terrain in hot/warm/whatever weather, and putting it back on is equally as Awesome for the descents.  Climbing and general riding in rolling terrain with the chinbar on is not terrible, but it is undeniably cooler and more comfortable with it off.  That has proved to me enough that I value the option, and may influence whether or not I would commit to using a dedicated lighter weight fullface like a TLD Stage.  

I think my Ideal helmet would be a convertible Fox Dropframe.  I have the Dropframe and it´s one of my favorite helmets ever, even if its got some minor room for improvement.  It extends low in the back, utilizes a pad fit, is completely stable on my head which is crucial for mounting a light, runs cool and is not at all heavy feeling, and has no over-the-ear echo/muffle/hot/claustrophobic effect.  It disappears on my head, with no adjustment necessary.  If the drop-ear pieces were made sturdier so it could support a removable chinbar it would be damn close to perfect for me, and could probably stand as my only helmet for all trail riding.  That design would also make the chinbar small enough that storing it would be substantially easier than the longer one on the Leatt and many of the other options, and could probably go somewhere on the bike without issue or interference.  I know the Giro switchblade is close to that, but they don´t fit my head well enough, and they rely on a dial to squeeze your head to hold it in place.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Metacomet

I wonder if the Switchblade had sold better initially if we would have seen more lids in that style. I liked the fit but could never commit without some trail rides. 

The 2R/3R, Leatt, while, as you note with the convertible it’s much easier to make the commitment with the option to remove the bar.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Metacomet

F*** that is gnarly. Thanks for sharing. Hope it’s a 100% recovery long term.

Fixed v. Convertible is a debate I have regularly. I’d like to try the Stage on and the Kali Invader too.

Reply

metacomet
Metacomet
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Definitely not something I would recommend trying to replicate. lol. Was like a comedy horror movie riding home mangled and bleeding everywhere, showering, and then trying to have my daughter butterfly stitch my mangled face back together cause I thought I only Maybe needed some stitches. Obviously did not work at all. Off to the hospital. The cuts were not so wide but they were deeep and flowing, especially when touched.  Was not expecting to see so many broken and shattered and displaced bones when they did the CT Scans and I´m grateful my wife did not see the results. I consider myself to be 100% recovered now, and really I felt pretty much 100% very shortly after the crash and after the swelling went down. Very little visible from the crash now save for some minor scars that are growing ever fainter, and a less pronounced cheekbone that isn´t soo obvious unless I told you to look for it. The nerve stuff is just a subtle numb reminder, and that´s also still healing so may go away completely. 

So yeah, would have been nice to be wearing a fullface, convertible or not, for that one! I cracked the front/right rim of the halfshell I was wearing, so it definitely did its job to the fullest degree it was capable of. A 661 EVO AM. No concussion, no neck injury, no nausea, barely a headache later that day.  

I think if a convertible helmet can be as comfortable and stable as your own familiar and favorite all-mountain halfshell, and really easy to store the chinbar, it would make it a lot harder to choose and eventually fall back on a regular halfshell for pretty much any occasion. And if you are using the convertible helmet, you will have the chinbar with you, and you´ll put it on for the descents or the jumps or the more spicy whatevers. Having it with you is what counts. My worry with the lightweight fullfaces is that they will inevitably be left at home occasionally, and possibly always, where they are only protecting your shelf. The better option is always the one you are going to wear. 

The best option I guess would be to have both a convertible, and a lightweight fullface that you are equally happy with wearing. That way whenever you head out you are either always covered, or at least have the option.    

If you are doing DH, just put on your damn DH lid and pads.

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PowellRiviera
PowellRiviera
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 Andrew Major 4Runner1 Pete Roggeman hairymountainbeast Tjaard Breeuwer

Man, been telling myself that I need to get a full face for riding the riskier trails here in Powell River. I have a moto full face that I use at the bike park but it would be insane to mountain bike with it. For some reason I struggle with spending 300 bucks on a helmet despite the fact that I broke some ribs, speared my stomach with handlebars and landed on my head at least twice in the last year. I hit my face as well. Sigh. 

This article is helping me pull the trigger, two little kids at home and I am really needed. Okay okay, I'll do it.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

That wasn’t the intention at all, but certainly I feel the same way about some of the stories here, and I already wear one!

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Rick M Andrew Major yardrec Endurimil

If people were really worried about the safety of their brain they would wear helmets while driving their cars, drive less and drive slower/more carefully. Nobody does of course...not because it wouldn't improve car safety a lot, but because it's not fashionable/cool/convenient. And yes helmets would help a lot in addition to air bags and seat belts. If you wear a FF helmet MTBing do you wear a helmet when you drive? It's undoubtedly the most dangerous thing most people do in their lives...especially for their brains.

In my personal life the three people I know have suffered serious facial/head injuries were #1) walking in a store with a concrete floor and face planted #2) were riding on the road in a group and clipped bars then OTB and #3) was in a car crash. I've been on hundreds [thousands?] of rides where almost nobody ever wore a chin bar/FF and I'm trying hard to recall if there was a crash where we thought if only they had a FF on it would have been better. Nothing comes to mind.

Having been riding ~34 years now I have never damaged a helmet riding and had to retire it. They wear out from general wear/tear or they get too stinky and I get another. I rarely crash hard. Something like once a year or less. Other than a leg cut from pedal pin I've never needed to see an ER after a ride. I've never crashed and hit my head or face. I do put a lot of energy into avoiding crashes from happening [well maintained, spec'd bike, ride at a speed and tech level within my abilities, don't let my ego drive the bike/make decisions, walk/take ride arounds if I am not feeling great on a given day, etc...]

As I look at all this ^^ I just don't see the need for a FF when I ride.

And while I am not fashion immune I don't let it rule my life. For example I wear very uncool elbow pads every ride. I see lots of damaged elbows in my ride groups and at the trailhead and I've banged up my elbows so it seems sensible to protect them. I know people will say but your elbows are not as important as you face/brain. Okay no argument, but elbows are pretty useful if you want to wipe your ass, feed yourself, get dressed, go to work, etc... So it would make sense to avoid those common and potentially serious injuries.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Just focussed on riding, and hopefully I can make this point without pissing anyone off, being called elitist, anyone assuming I’m insulting their local trails, or being told that “gravity is gravity” but the terrain, structures, and sport surface here (North Shore) is very different than a lot of places and certainly this was written with my regular local riding in mind. 

Risk assessment: I wouldn’t have brought a full face to Cumberland/Island if my daughter wasn’t with me, and if we lived there, her riding in a full face would be much less of a priority. Shit just happens more I  janky terrain.

——

I do know some folks who’ve had random head injuries standing up into things (and some of them should probably wear helmets all day) but every major face/head injury I can think of has been riding.

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I will frequently compare the risks of other activities to driving since it's something almost everyone does without a second thought to the potential for serious life changing injuries...so it's a good baseline to see if a risk assessment in another area is rational. 

I get your point that different areas are...different! I've ridden MTBs all over North America including the North Shore a few times. I haven't felt like I should wear FF in any of those spots although I do think some of those spots are clearly higher injury risk environments than others.

My MTB risk assessment could be boiled down to: risk of coming off + terrain I'll land in + speed. 

Moving from Victoria to Comox the trails trade steeper slower speed janky tech for easier tech + double the average speed. I feel at more risk for injury up here due to the higher riding speeds than I did in Victoria. Once you come off your bike at high speeds some part of your body has to decelerate you by interacting with the terrain. That body part is going to be damaged.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

No doubt speed is a technical trail feature especially when the sports surface is unpredictable. 

It’s just the risk assessment in terms of how likely I am to crash v. what I’’m crashing on v. speed has me wearing a full face here for trail riding but I wanted to point out most places I’ve ridden I would not unless it was a bike park /shuttle DH situation.

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Losifer
Carlos Matutes
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Rick M Cr4w Tjaard Breeuwer brente

I’ve chimed in here before about full face helmets. I was struck by a hit-and-run driver 5 years ago. Destroyed my face- 9 surgeries (including the facial reconstruction) and tens of thousands of USD out of pocket later, I’m still going to have to pay $20kUS this year for permanent teeth. That’s with good insurance through my wife’s job.

Here in the States, dental isn’t covered under the same insurance as medical- dental insurance is usually (always?) terrible, with high deductibles and low max coverage. 

So yeah, my Leatt 4.0 convertible wasn’t cheap, but it’s (literally) the cheapest insurance I have.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Metacomet Carlos Matutes

So gnarly. Thanks for sharing & hopefully all goes well with the permanent fix this year.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Carlos Matutes

Damn, that is rough. Nine surgeries. Hope your recovery is going well. 

It's the same up here with dental - even many corporate med/dental plans don't have great dental coverage.

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ShawMac
ShawMac
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Martin hairymountainbeast

Happy to see this article. A few months ago I got my first full face on a budget: IXS Xact. It fits well, and is comfortable, but certainly is not going to be known for its ventilation. But as someone who rode motorcycles from a young age, it has a very familiar fit. The primary reason I got it is telling myself I am going to ride more bike park, however I have since committed to trying it for more trail riding. When it comes time for a new trail helmet, I'll be looking at lighter weight trail full face.

As for reasons why I never considered it before:

1. This is going to sound stupid, but the perceived expectations of others you see out riding. I feel like there is a lot of judgment in this sport based on image. I felt like that if I was wearing a full face helmet outside the park, the first impression of others would be that I must be awesome and going to send it hard and that I couldn't live up to that. Related to the reason that I don't wear any sort of fashionable gear (and almost try to look as fashionably terrible as possible out on the trail). Yes, this is reporting live from crazy town

2. More recently: Price but this has been covered.

3. Availability - there is less demand so shops don't stock a lot of full face options to try on.

A reason from a good friend who wears no protection save for glasses and an open helmet:

4. He will ride harder and hurt himself if he has any protection on (I don't subscribe to this theory)

Now being older, with responsibilities and kids to look after, I am much more keen on self preservation. I will NOT ride anywhere off pavement without elbow pads and my shin guards and the full face is looking much more appealing. I am even thinking about additional light armour; I could play hockey in full gear exerting myself at 100%, why not ride like that (albeit with better gear).

I am older and I think I have moved past any care of what others think, or at least it is easier for others to recognize it for what it is: an old man trying to protect himself from himself.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Martin ShawMac

Doesn't sound stupid at all re. image. I know tons of people who've felt pressure to wear certain gear (brands etc.) as part of mountain biking - whether that was internal or external pressure. I've actually seen it cited multiple times in discussions about how expensive mountain biking is to participate in when beyond good shoes and a good helmet the rest of 'the gear' is pretty optional in most places. 

Actually, I've ridden plenty of places that aren't steep where folks are out in their trail runners, hiking boots, etc. I think good footwear (talking flat pedals) seems really important here on the Shore because of the moisture and steepness of trails but other footwear provides enough grip for recreational riding other places - even if it's not ideal that best value gear is what folks already own. 

My response to peer pressure when it came to clothing was to start wearing a Tilley Hat in high school (folks are too busy making fun of your hate to give a f*ck what else you have on) and if you can survive not wearing the right thing in that environment then being the only person on a ride in a full-face is nothing.

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ShawMac
ShawMac
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I really hope you still have that Tilley. I have two. But now I just fit into my old dad crowd with them.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

My first one died years ago. Too much sun and then when some kids I was coaching were using it to make sandcastles the brim fully separated from the hat. The replacement had a longer life but my wife bought me a freshie maybe ten years ago to get ride of #2 because it was disgusting. 

I actually have two now. The one my wife bought me and also one that was Grandpas. I actually got asked once, by a stranger - in a less than pleasant way, if I "was wearing my Grandfather's hat." And the look on their face when I said "yes, it was my inheritance" was pretty priceless.

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mammal
Mammal
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Vik Banerjee PowellRiviera Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

I've always been on team DH helmet for DH and full shuttle riding, but always team half-shell for everything else. A couple close calls this past year have gotten me rethinking that.

Fall is usually time for me to reacclimatize to riding the hard tail. I like riding it anytime, but fall/winter is when it gets exclusive attention, and getting back into "the mode" is always a 2 or 3 ride affair. One of the first ones this past season was a super slick and muddy ride down 7th, which is usually one of my my go-to for recalibrating on the half-squish. On a particularly slick down-left rock roll, there was a brand-new hole as my wheel transitioned to level ground, and I went OTB faster than I could think. My face/lip was the first point of contact, not to the point of blood, but a fat lip, and I could feel that my front tooth really wanted to start pushing through the skin. Pretty close call.

Then again, probably 4 rides later (still hard tail), I was doing some lower laps and found myself on Expresso. Normally, except for the top weird tight bits, Expresso is a full-boar affair on that bike, because it's not very tech, can just pump and rail everything. I guess they had taken a few trees/stumps out from the previous time I'd been down, and the pace was running noticeably faster than I've ever experienced. One cheeky line up close to a tree, and a clipped bar sent me absolutely flying... About 10m into a stump... with my face. Auto pilot turned my head to the right before impact, and my jaw made contact with the stump, right below my ear. I popped up, thinking broken jaw, concussion, maimed face, no way around it. To my amazement, I was 100% other than a sore jaw the next day. That's just pure luck, no kidding myself here.

So all that to say that I'm now seriously rethinking things. Unfortunately, cost is always an issue for me, and supply is poor right now for most helmets. I also have a full DH helmet, and am a bit hesitant to buy a third. But this article finds me at a bit of a cross-roads, and all these stories is helping to nudge me over to the other side of the fence. So thanks for that.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Mammal

F***. That’s doubly rough as they’re both trails you’d know super well (high confidence). Sounds so lucky with the Expresso crash.

Have to say I was already fairly on team full-face (with a solid appreciation of why folks choose not too - and it’s a personal choice for sure), but some of the stories in this thread have me even more certain. 

I don’t know if the convertible options will come down in price, but trail-rated full face helmets with fixed bars will hopefully come down a bit if the adoption picks up.

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IslandLife
IslandLife
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Andrew Major solar_evolution DancingWithMyself moraucf

Kali invader... cheek pads in my pocket on really hot days... you can do that on most enduro full face or convertible helmets... and it makes those helmets feel truly like a half shell... very surprising the first time you do it.

I used a Bell Super 2R previously, crashed it, chin bar held up admirably... got a crash replacement and sold it because I found I was just riding it with the chin bar attached almost all the time anyway, so I thought, why not get one of those new one-piece enduro full faces without the design sacrifices of a convertible version?

Maybe it's just me... but I seem to be seeing more and more people wearing them all the time... even more of the pros.  And I think more of the pros (Remy, Yoan, Steve etc) should be wearing them more often... which honestly seems to be happening.  Because I think that's the biggest reason we don't see more people wearing them.  Mountain biking is rife with the super-cool-dude-bro-Pffft-full-faces-are-for-losers-I'm-too-awesome-for-a-full-face-don't-touch-my-taco culture and the influencers have a responsibility to do more of the right thing more of the time.  Not only will it influence my 11 year olds to keep wearing their full faces, but protect their own future as well.  With the number of people getting into riding and how capable bikes are now a days and how easy it is to go just stupid fast... full faces need to becomes accepted as the norm for our local enduro style riding.

A secondary reason I wear a full face and elbow pads is because it's mandatory for my sons to wear the same gear.  And I think it's total bullshit while contributing to the whole mtb culture problem when parents tell their kids to wear full gear and pedal away in a half-shell, sans gloves and elbow pads... wtf?

At least my 11 year olds think my Kali Invader is "super cool" and asked for cooler (than their Bell Super 2R's) full face helmets for Christmas... maybe I'm doing something right?  They got the new IXS Trigger and were super excited.  It's also one of very few proper full face helmets that comes in a size (XS) that actually fits a youths/kids head properly.  Yes all your kids wearing small bell super 2R/3R/Air's are wearing helmets way to big for them... I know... my kids did it as well... there was no other choice!

3rd... my kids needed braces so our ortho plans are tapped = until they can pay for their own cosmetic dental surgery... full face it is!

Anyway... viva la revolution... I just wish the revolution came with a better dental plan!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I’ve had great experiences with fit on Kali helmets and I love their rational (which also comes with helmets like Leatt that Brad Waldron has done design work for) so the Invader has been high on my list as a FF trail lid to complement my 7iDP. They’ve been selling out quick and don’t have a local stockist address far as I know but they available now.

I’m definitely hypocritical with the elbow pads and the “I don’t crash as much as you” excuse is both true and also undercut by the fact both my elbows are well scared. Going to renew my quest to find elbow pads I’ll actually wear. Nothing worse than expensive protective gear in a bag at home.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

>> the Invader has been high on my list as a FF trail lid to complement my 7iDP. They’ve been selling out quick  and don’t have a local stockist address far as I know but they available now.

I got mine from Spoke Haven in Squamish.

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IslandLife
IslandLife
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 khai

Ya they can be difficult to find.  When I bought mine, I knew it was the helmet I wanted... bought directly from the US website and swallowed the shipping cost.  Think I actually called them and chatted about lack of Canadian availability and I believe they gave me a 10 or 15% discount code?

As for elbows... haha, ya, if my kids catch me not wearing mine, theirs are off before I can say "season ending injury".

Elbows are tough.. after years of trying multiple brands... I've found elbow pads are a very personal fit. Finding the right pad for you that is tight enough that it doesn't slide down on rowdy descents yet is flexible enough that it doesn't cause additional arm pump on those same descents is tough.  And has to be cool and breathable enough to not cause overheating.

For me, my personal holy grail has been Raceface Indy Elbows, size large with the strap as loose as possible. Ticks all the boxes... I can put them on in the lot and not even think about them again.  YMMV.

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lacykemp
Lacy Kemp
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Andrew Major Karl Fitzpatrick Tjaard Breeuwer brente

I've used the Bell Super 2R, The Giro Switchblade, and finally the Met Parachute. I chose the Parachute for a few reasons: It's super lightweight, doesn't look like shit, and when I'm not wearing the chin bar it looks like a regular trail helmet. I do struggle with figuring out how to climb with the chin bar. I've tried threading it into the straps on my fanny pack, but then it gets stuck on my saddle. I haven't tried ski strapping it to the bar though, so perhaps that'll be my next move. 

My mom never told me life was like a box of chocolates, but she did tell me if I knocked out my teeth after wearing braces for 5 years as a teenager that she'd kick my ass, and I totally believe her. So I guess fear is my factor.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

My mom told me the same! (I've mostly been successful).

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman wizardB

I watched an acquaintance faceplant hard enough to need 18 stitches around one eye socket. He had severe nausea for a week and memory loss for a couple months, and longer at a reduced level. That was all the motivation I needed to go full-face, full-time.

When I was shopping, the Kali Invader was one of the more affordable (it's relative) lightweight / highly vented options. My favourite local shop had it, so it was an easy choice. It's not stylish... at all. It's the icing on the dorky cake of how I look geared up to ride in mismatched everything. But it's tolerable to wear climbing in most weather. Being light makes a big difference too; there's no bobblehead effect at speed.

It's worth noting Kali sells this model specifically as a trail helmet, not intended for DH. I confess I've chosen it over my old Giro Remedy for WBP on a hot day. A nice invisible helmet will really spoil you on the ones that weigh twice as much.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+10 cheapondirt Karl Fitzpatrick yardrec doodersonmcbroseph Martin Spencer Nelson Nologo Timer wizardB Tjaard Breeuwer

It's the icing on the dorky cake of how I look geared up to ride in mismatched everything.

Only mountain bikers think mountain bikers EVER look “cool.” To non-mountain bikers all the riding pants and matched kit doesn’t make you any less dorky than buddy with the soccer shin pads, full Lycra, and helmet-minus-visor.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman wizardB

You're right, and the more I think about it, nobody dressed in full garb for ANY recreational activity looks cool.

Exception examples welcomed

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 cheapondirt canterbury Marc Rossi wizardB

I mean, Water Polo! Speedo + Wrestling Headgear is pretty sweet.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

A surfer with the right phisique looks like a superhero... The rest of us don't.

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SteveR
SteveR
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

The truth right there!

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AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major Dude@

Not to be that guy; but what about neck braces? I've had a root canal and a crown, and sport a face scar or two but if I feel the need to suit up with a full face the leatt goes on too. 

I hate dental work as much as the next guy and it's not cheap but it's your neck here. Where have all the neck braces gone? Granted, it may not be the most beneficial in some slower speed stuff but bike park and high speed is huge. 

Also, Eyewear! Most riding glasses are impact rated and some goggles are. But I bounced my eyeball off a pointy rock embedded in the ground and got a black eye instead of permanent damage/loss. If you're wearing a helmet you should have something for your eyes.

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major 4Runner1

Eye wear is key. I've had some close calls so I got $$ photochromatic glasses so I could leave them on when I ride deep in the forest where it's always dark.

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4Runner1
4Runner1
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Vik Banerjee AverageAdventurer

Agreed. Eye wear is mandatory. I have prescription riding glasses so they are always on. The fogging can get annoying at slow speeds, especially on those muggy 10 degree days. However, my riding buddies never wear eye protection and they’re frequently complaining about watering eyes or dirt or whatever. So take your pick, I guess.

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ufodone
ufodone
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major AverageAdventurer

I am fast approaching the age where I'll likely need to wear prescription glasses to ride.  Any tips for someone who sweats a ridiculous amount when riding and lives where it rains for what seems like 10 months of the year?  I've tried non-prescriptions glasses a few times before but the combo of sweat and rain has made me give them up - even when I would really like to wear something.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 khai

Hi ufodone, in a wet climate like ours (where it also matters that average speeds are lower than average) I'm sorry to report there isn't one magic bullet, but I've had really good luck with Ryders AntiFOG products (glasses or goggles) and some Smith glasses, as well as one pair of Julbo photochromics, but what most people don't realize is that FIT is critical in keeping glasses ventilated. Many people wear riding glasses that fit in their ocular cavities too tightly, which restricts that vital airflow. You need the glasses to stay in place and you need coverage, but you're not trying to create a tight seal. So that's part one.

Part two is that there are always going to be some rides where even the best-ventilated and anti-fog-treated glasses could let you down. Anti-fog treatments are like coatings, and those coatings can become saturated, which renders them ineffective until they dry out. That obviously sucks because you're often using them on days where rain is falling on you from every direction but there's really nothing you can do about it.

On those days, I keep my glasses tucked away on the climb(s) or take them off whenever I stop moving, and on wet days that doesn't mean perched on my helmet but actually inside a bag or dry pocket, and then they come out when needed, plus I'll try to keep a dry (and clean) cloth handy and hit 'em once or twice to preserve their anti-fog as long as possible.

And if you're talking prescription glasses so you can't ride without (and can't do contacts, which I love) then you're probably going to need two pairs so you can either swap between them or have one set as a spare in case of incident.

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4Runner1
4Runner1
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

It can be frustrating for sure. Having a soft dry cloth handy works ok. That said, I’m going to try anti fog wipes or spray.

I tend to remove my glasses when stopped for a Safety Meeting, etc.

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hairymountainbeast
hairymountainbeast
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I definitely love my Julbo's  for PNW jungle riding. They usually stay mostly fog free. As far as prescription glasses go, I only wear them for short after work rides. Otherwise, it's contacts under my Julbos and I keep an extra pair, just in case. I've had contacts fall out before and it sucks if I don't have a back up. Wouldn't be comfortable depending on one pair of glasses for longer rides.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 AverageAdventurer

I need to renew my quest to find eyewear that works for me.

Have no comment on braces. Know some folks who still wear them in the bike park. Have spoken to a few people who use them for moto but never for MTB. Have seen some very impassioned and well reasoned pro and anti writings. I rarely shuttle or bike park and don’t own a big (fast) bike so it’s not something I’ve put any thought into myself.

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Dude@
Dude@
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Vik Banerjee AverageAdventurer

This is the fundamental aspect of the discussion...and the same argument for the full face 

If you wear a big, bulbous helmet - ie full face that has a long protruding element off of your chin, you increase the leverage on breaking your neck. I spent a lot of time exploring this many moons ago. This is why downhill skiers wear smaller helmets these days, even though they are going faster.

If you wear full face, you should wear a neck brace. I have chatted about this with my physical therapists amongst doctors in sports.

Especially kids, those helmets are significantly large for their bodies. There are more dangerous.

One aspect that came up with neck braces, and alternatives is building your supporting muscles around neck.

Half-lid reduce the potential neck injury associated with the helmet. The facial injuries increase. 

It is calculated risk - neck versus face, and how much gear to wear before it potentials is the reason for the injury.  Visual aperture narrows with full face, and you become less acute to sensory information associated with the bike and environment. Having 100% of all of your senses, helps in making quick decisions to avoid injury.

Of course, this is why it is called an accident. No plans for it. You can mitigate as much as possible.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 AverageAdventurer

It’s interesting, like concussions… how many different opinions you can find and as you note it’s all a calculated risk.

One advantage of the removable chin bar should, in theory, be that the could be designed to sit much closer to the face (since they come off for climbing) but they don’t.

At the speed my daughter travels, and what she weighs, and the angle of crashes, we’ve decided a lightweight full face has the potential to do more good than harm. Very aware that’s not everyone’s calculation and I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer for trail riding.

If we were in the bike park regularly and she was going bigger/faster I think we’d have a neck brace added to that calculation.

I am hoping we see some lighter / shorter chin bar kid-specific full faces soon. The market is there I think.

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Dude@
Dude@
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

It is good to discuss (thanks!), nothing is exact when it comes to safety as humans differ and every accident differs. Logical discussion of facts/likelihoods tries to provide rational approaches to keep irrational fears at bay. Most mountain bikers are very calculated especially when it comes to pushing the limits, and if you feel mentally confident in your safety set-up this goes a long away as well in executing the feature. I think this is why people chose half lids or full face, regardless if one if better. If they feel more confident, this goes a long way to being successful. Most accidents occur after the feature when you let your guard down. 

I have a hypothesis with respect to the guys that go really big. They don't break like most humans. You see them crash and get up like nothing happened, whereas most people will break and stop. They are like rubber bands in many ways, and most of us are like potato chips.

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AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Nice! I totally agree that sensory inputs are a super important aspect of things as well. I finally got my setup dialed in with some squad xls and a coron. Poc talks about designing the ear cutouts to specifically not hinder inner ear function. Which may be bs but it's a crazy comfy lid and they say is multi impact. Those xls if they fit your face are almost 180 degrees.

I have the luck of strengthing my neck on my commute at 100km/h with no fairing and a lid that's a pound and a half heavier than my mtb lid. 

Most of the time if I'm suiting up in the full face/brace for mtb it's primarily high speed endeavors. We don't seem to have a ton of shore style crux moves.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 AverageAdventurer

How do you find the Coron for climbing in? I know they claim that low-speed venting was a design consideration but it doesn't look the part to me. I would LOVE to see POC's take on a lighter full-face trail lid. Their fit and aesthetics work for me.

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AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

It's really not ideal at all. I would not recommend it as a pedal friendly option but that's not what i need it for. 

I should have mentioned, as it is pertinent to the article the vast majority of our gnarly down tracks are accessed by a straight up gravel climb or a shuttle truck. If i'm pedalling trail it is a different mindset and the half shell comes out. 

I have been trying to find a lightweight full face that works for me but have yet to find one. Leatt was close but not quite. Once poc drops theirs i'll hop on it. I'm surprised you don't have one in for review yet! I'd watch this space.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 AverageAdventurer

No, haven't heard anything about a new POC lightweight full-face. Stoked to see their take on it. If there's one coming we could certainly have a sample for review. If there's something new that's under embargo and I'm not reviewing it then I wouldn't know about it.

khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Remy Metallier made a comment that I found really interesting where he said that the full face makes it harder to judge speed/wind, as that "sense" is removed.  Hence why he drops some of the gnarliest lines in a half shell.  My own senses aren't quite so refined, nor are the lines I ride as committing - but it struck me as really interesting.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 4Runner1

I feel the same way about goggles - really don't like that closed-in feeling.

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Barelli never wears a FF either

Squint
Squint
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major wizardB AverageAdventurer

> If you wear a big, bulbous helmet - ie full face that has a long protruding element off of your chin, you increase the leverage on breaking your neck. I spent a lot of time exploring this many moons ago. This is why downhill skiers wear smaller helmets these days, even though they are going faster.

Wondering what you came across in your exploring... the neck injury issue has long been an argument against helmets in motorcycling, but there's never been any actual data to support the argument.

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syncro
Mark
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 wizardB

@ Dude@ the fault there tho is that DH skiers travel MUCH faster than mtb'ers and don't fall on jagged surfaces. The amount of leverage increase of a FF is not going to produce enough force on it's own to break a rider's neck even if they are traveling at high speeds. I'd agree that there would be risk of strained neck muscles for sure, but not a break. Consider that you'd need not only enough extra force but also an increase in range of movement to result in breaking a facet or cracking a vertebrae. Then consider the range on movement of your neck. Finally, consider the fact that a FF helmet does move on a rider's head, so it does not create a fixed leverage point. I'm not saying the choice of a FF could lead to a broken neck is impossible, but it is highly unlikely. The safety benefits of wearing a FF far outweigh the negatives, and that opinion is based on my knowledge of human anatomy and biomechanics. There is a higher risk of a break from a compression type fracture where you do a lawn dart impression and land on your head or something like riding face first into a tree a high speed. In either of those cases, the type of helmet worn won't matter enough to increase the likelihood of a broken neck.

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yardrec
yardrec
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I've had pretty good luck with Tifosi Optics Swick Sunglasses with clear lens. They do fog a bit when you stop in and chat in a wet night ride, but they're decent compared to other options.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

On neck braces, I have one that I (sometimes) wear in the park.  I like the idea and trust the science - but the (intended) limit on range of motion means that I actually lose visibility when dropping super steep chutes/rock lines.  I don't like that.  So I'm torn...

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AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I too have run into these things, never riding chutes but i think that's more my body position than anything. But some bikepark corners with tight/tall/fast berms looking out of the corner depending on the angles i'll find the "stop" at the back or my lid. It hasn't exactly caused me issues thus far but it's a trade I'd take. Though, if it caused me issues on steeps i don't know that i'd feel the same. I'm curious as to whether you find your stop front or back in chutes and why i don't get the same.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

It's definitely extension - aka "looking up".  I have noticed this a bit in some corners (particularly downhill sweeping berms) but when dropping into a line that approaches vertical, the back of the helmet hits the "stop" behind the head preventing the ability to look further ahead.  I can see the ground where it transitions back to flat, but I can't look  much further down the trail, which is not a good feeling.  I might be more inclined to wear it if I was just going to be hitting jumps and drops on flow trails all day, but I tend to mix up the tech and flow, and the lack of ability to look far down the trail when it gets steep has caused me to park the brace most of the time.

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AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

That's definitely what i thought; but i wasn't sure. I'm not sure if I just land in less of an attack position than you do or if we have different chest sizes/shapes/neck lengths etc... Funny enough, most of the chutes and steeps i find myself riding are generally mid trail and are not on our "DH" circuit. I find myself rocking the half shell for those rides. The Full face primarily comes out for bike park/shuttle days and includes knee pads, pants, neck brace and an attitude adjustment. I have enough TI in me to know i'm not invincible but hey, proper gear gets to you.

khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I may have a short neck - I'm a short guy.  I'm also not exactly skinny.  It could even be the specific combination of my DH lid (Leatt) and neck brace (Atlas).  Whatever the cause, I've stopped wearing it for the most part.  That reminds me, my lid will be timing out pretty soon.  It might be worth trying with a different one to see if that changes at all.

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AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Hmm, see I land at 6 feet and 160 pounds, and I rock a coron/leatt brace. And yeah ota 3 years old to race now in my association anyways.

khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

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Jotegir
Lu Kz
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major AverageAdventurer Pete Roggeman

Side note, we (and many other Canadian retailers to my understanding) got about 10% our shipment of Super Rs, Super DHs, Super chinbars, and Switchblades. So if you're asking where they've gone in my town in the interior, the answer is COVID supply chain tomfoolery ensured they never arrived.

More related to the article, I like busting out the various full faces. It puts me in DH mode mentally and I'm sure I end up riding faster. I've never found a convertible full face that fits nice, so I run the Fox Proframe on days when I'd reach for the (non-existent) convertible full face.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Lu Kz

Yeah, certainly the effects of a market dominated by two brands / one company with a concentrated manufacturing. Not that any other convertible full faces were available anyways.

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mtbman99
mtbman99
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major 4Runner1

I stopped wearing ff when I stopped shuttling and spent more time climbing because they where hot, restricted breathing a bit(at least it felt that way) and they where a pain if you tried to hang them somewhere. I have been contemplating getting a ff again as I have recently been pushing boundaries and sending larger drops and jumps but local availability has been an issue. 

I would also argue that high speed flow trails are more dangerous than relatively low speed tech trails due to the increased speeds you are crashing at if things do go wrong.

That being said I signed myself up for Canadian National Enduro Series race and they require a ff so I will need to track one down this year.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Speed is absolutely a technical trail feature especially with unpredictable sport surfaces but I find, just my experience, that washing out I’m less likely to do my head than screwing up rolling something steep or trying to huck off something (not that I huck off anything even medium height - I’m lame about getting my wheels off the ground). That said, certainly my crash where I absolutely used my chin bar this summer was a combination of speed and janky terrain.

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mhaager2
Moritz Haager
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Karl Fitzpatrick Pete Roggeman

As an ER doc the thing I would say is that wearing an approved helmet in the first place is much more important than what kind of helmet. Helmets save lives, full stop. Happily the vast majority of the riders I see out on the trails are wearing one.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

It’s funny to me but mountain biking is the one activity I’ve been involved in where helmets have been the accepted norm since I started. 

I’m just old enough to remember (some) hockey players being mad about mandatory helmet rules and I know some local skiers who are still whiny about being pressured by their kids to wear one (whilst careening down sheets of ice surrounded by other users without brakes).

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

My first proper conclusion was from catching an edge on the snowboard. Ice is hard, wear a lid.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I was staying with a friend who's an ED doc while I was in Colorado for a moto roadrace school and noticed that it's a no helmet law state.  I asked her about it and she just said "Y_eah, we don't really see those guys_"...  Not exactly the same for cyclists, but wearing a good lid skews the odds that if I do ever meet you or one of your colleagues at work, I'll be more likely referred to an Ortho than critical care/"true emergency" surgery.

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Ripbro
Ripbro
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major 4Runner1 moraucf

I’m buying a full face this season. My chin has stopped inches away from a tree on several crashes. The crashes took me by total surprise and I was just lucky. 

With the weight of the ixs trigger and tld stage, I’m going full face all the time and not faffing around with a removable chin bar. 

I tracked down a trigger to try on and didn’t love the fit. Trying to find a tld stage locally to give it a go. I don’t mind spending money on safety stuff.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I need to try on a Stage as well. Interesting how many folks are referencing it and I have yet to see one in person.

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DancingWithMyself
DancingWithMyself
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Another fan of the Stage.  Like the lightweight and simplicity.  Pop the chin pads out for long gravel road climbs and it really doesn't bother me on those climbs.  However, definitely in a half shell for rolling terrain.

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kekoa
kekoa
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I find the stage to be very comfy, but I’ve had good luck with TLD helmets. Went from D3 to the switchblade as I was tired of carting the D3 on my back for the road climb and wearing a different helmet. Found the switchblade to be very hot and eventually the chin bar didn’t work well. Switched to the stage and it was love. Even wore it for most of a hot and humid Hawaiian summer and it wasn’t too bad. Tried the bell family of helmets and none of them fit me well.

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nzstormer
Michael Stormer
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Tim Coleman DanL

I think it's all changed as bikes and trails have changed. When I first started riding on the shore (2007), trails were a lot slower with a lot more debris and bikes seemed like they didn't really want you to stay on them, so crashes were frequent (like every other ride), and full face was pretty much essential. 

As trails got more more predictable, bikes got better, and I got better crashes became rare, so I shifted to the half lid. 

The nice thing about the half lid is that you just don't think about it. I put it on at the start of the ride, take it off at the end and it doesn't even cross my mind for the duration of the ride . . . until it goes bad.

Now I think we're at another point where bikes let us go so damn fast (even difficult trails are fast now) that the consequences of a crash have gone up. I bought a TLD stage last year (It was a toss up between that and the fox proframe) and wear it for most rides. If I pedaling up a fireroad, I'll just hang it off my bars.  If I'm pedaling up singletrack, I'll wear it.

I do think about it more on the climbs, it's annoying swinging on my bars, or a bit hot wearing it. But it feels great on the downs having that extra layer of safety assurance, and these new enduro focused full faces are so light that they don't have that restrictive feeling the old DH helmets had.

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chupacabro
chupacabro
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Mammal hairymountainbeast

Being concerned about fashion has got to be one of the dumbest things going in mtb'ing. If your confidence is so low that you're worried about looking goofy in a FF helmet it might be worth scheduling a few sessions with a counselor to work on your self esteem.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

HAHAHA. I LOVE THIS.

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Squint
Squint
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Right there with you. In addition to the FF and the elbow pads, my last two helmets have been orange and red respectively. Bike is yellow. Jacket is green. Don't care about fashion but do want to be easy to spot if I'm unconscious in the bush.

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Endurimil
Endurimil
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Mark Mammal

Andrew, got the Bell Super DH end of summer 2020. After getting taken out and left to die by a driver in 2019 noticed in 2020 in certain riding areas was overthinking everything due to PTSI and everything else with it. Kinda concerning when you realize those things are going to get you hurt despite you knowing how to ride terrain. Decided to pick up a Super DH with the removable chin bar you know to try a way to work around the PTSI caused overthinking. If it didn't help well hey have a helmet covered by insurance for destroyed property. End result this year is that those places where had issues because of PTSI and overthinking volume as I call it helped get the volume down from 9 to a 2-3. And riding improved just by trying a different method to manage the mess in my head.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Mark Mammal

I get so pissed off hearing stories like this... even if they catch the driver it's distracted driving and fleeing the scene of an accident. No jail time, $1500 fine, and the powerful message to the community of losing their license for a year. I've accidentally, sort of, started a series (it's two pieces so far) over on my Blog called "Your Death Is Not A Crime" (part 1 / part 2) which I plan to add to every time someone tries to manslaughter me in their automobile. If you're at all interested in sharing your story fire me an e-mail. 

------

I know a couple people who've had chin bars really help with 'overthinking' while riding. They'd say the safety boost comes from the added confidence as much as anything the helmet is actually doing in a crash. Really happy it's working for you. Glad you made it out the other side still alive & able to ride - too many cyclists (and pedestrians) don't.

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JakeRedrum
JakeRedrum
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major IslandLife Pete Roggeman

Ten years ago, I had a nasty crash at Cecilia Ravine in Victoria...ruptured spleen. I've been a 'belt and suspenders' rider since then. Have used Super 2R, Switchblade, and now Super Air R. I use a kayak paddle leash to carry the chin piece above my hip back for long climbs in Cumby. Then tend to just keep it snapped on for the rest of my ride (except on hot summer days). Recently got my wife a Specialized Gambit...perfect for her (light, well ventilated, and no chin latching hassle). Also found the Ryders Fyre lenses almost never fog. TLD padded under shorts, G Form knees and RF elbows. For DH, its TLD D2, Atlas neck brace (most of the time), Oakley goggles, D30 Dakine knees, and TLD padded shirt. I had a couple of nasty rolling crashes with the Super Air R last summer...to say I am glad I had my chin guard and other pieces on is an understatement. I always want to ride another day and still be able to work.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Ugh. Glad you recovered from that and got back on the horse I've heard it's painful AF.

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JakeRedrum
JakeRedrum
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Thanks, Andrew...yes, another understatement!

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GiveitsomeWelly
Karl Fitzpatrick
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Cr4w

As uncool as my wife (and most of friends) would say I am anyway, I just don't think they look cooool maaan.

They're also very expensive and if the helmet meets legal safety standards, I'll buy that thank you. $100‐150 is my limit even if I do agree with the whole keeping-your-teeth argument though...

May I end by saying cripes! The moves your hitting on that rigid fork look hairy af. Nice work. 

I'm looking forward to putting a -2 degree angleset into mine and a Rimpact insert to the front tyre.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Carlos Matutes Karl Fitzpatrick

So, price aside would you wear one? I like simple math, so I justify the cost v. replacing a tooth but I understand that will vary from rider to rider based on their dental coverage. 

Thanks but it's optics really. With the long-wheelbase/slack HTA on my bike, 2.8" Vigilantes, and inserts they're both pretty tame in all weather conditions.

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GiveitsomeWelly
Karl Fitzpatrick
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Put as simply as that, price isn't the only barrier. 

I know faffing is part and parcel of an activity that is so reliant on the gear that's needed but a chin bar might be one faff too far.

I wouldn't take any convincing at all to wear a lighter weight 'enduro' fullface but my god $400 no matter the brand‽ 

That's not what I would call min-maxing unless you're including the cost of dental/skull reconstruction...

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Ha. You know all the tropes about dentist-bikes come from somewhere? BCDA pricing guide has a single crown at $889 + Labour. An implant starts somewhere in the 4-5k range.

Again, I talked to quite a few folks who don’t know anyone whose lost a tooth or otherwise smooshed their face, so I totally understand it doesn’t come into some folks risk assessment (or at least presents a poor $$$ investment v. risk assessment).

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GiveitsomeWelly
Karl Fitzpatrick
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I agree that having a helmet for every eventuality should be best case but then I get on my old-man high horse and start ranting about bubble wrap and nanny states etc etc...

I think at the heart of it, I take the risk into account and use it to remain focused. 

I have had big park crashes (in full face) which weren't necessarily because of speed but more inattention due to over confidence and turning it on ferdabois.

I'm pretty slow generally speaking which is another reason I still ride the rigid single speed a lot. I can see the crash coming so can generally prepare for impact better haha.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Karl Fitzpatrick

Very much appreciate the bubble wrap comment. That’s why I tried to really highlight that a little more than a year ago I never wore knee pads (never mind a full face) despite riding ~ the same terrain. 

For me it was a big change that I chose to make for various reasons. Certainly it would be full-hypocrite (never go full-hypocrite) to turn around and demand other people make the same change in behaviour.

Very much appreciate you (and everyone) sharing their thoughts. Many good comments to wake up to!

Poz
Poz
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

20 years ago I had to run my friend to the emergency when he went OTB on a discombobulator with wire mesh. His face caught the mesh and it tore his lip open up to his nose. 

Seeing that hamburger was enough for me to always consider a full face. I have a removable one these days that I bring along about 50% of the time, trails depending.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I've had a couple of friends open themselves up on wire mesh. But never their faces. That's, just, wow.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

Poz
Poz
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

20 years ago I had to run my friend to the emergency when he went OTB on a discombobulator with wire mesh. His face caught the mesh and it tore his lip open up to his nose. 

Seeing that hamburger was enough for me to always consider a full face. I have a removable one these days that I bring along about 50% of the time, trails depending.

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mikeynets
mikeynets
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

There's a dentist in my riding group and we often calculate the cost of his gear in dental procedures. Not coincidentally, he's the only one out of all of us wearing a lid with a removable chin bar. It's already saved his grill 2X! 

BTW out of curiosity because I'm in the US and don't know the intricacies of the mythical and coveted Canadian healthcare system — would the costs you quoted for implants etc be out of pocket or covered in any way without supplemental insurance?

Listening to Tippie's podcast from time to time and hearing the litany of serious injuries from him and all his guests, I've made a wildly specious armchair conclusion that socialized medicine is at least a tiny part of the reason so many all-time senders are from Canada.

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khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

Canada's much lauded healthcare system - while quite good, has some major holes.  Mouth bones (teeth)/gums?  Not covered.  Physical therapy/chiropractic?  Not covered.  Mental health practitioners?  Not covered.  Drugs/medicines?  Not covered.  All of the above (and more) require some sort of private health insurance - either provided through an employer or personally purchased if any coverage is to be had.  I've had the fortune of paying a lot for dental work that was either only partially or not at all covered by what's supposed to be a "good" (private) medical plan.  None of it from smashing my mouth while out recreating, but expensive nonetheless.  Again, we do have good healthcare coverage.  But it's not quite the  "universal"/completely free healthcare that's often claimed.

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Poz
Poz
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 mikeynets Tjaard Breeuwer

Interesting fact. A lot of extended medical plans have greater coverage for accident/emergency dental than regular dental. 

In that case an accident could work in your benefit.

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mikeynets
mikeynets
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks for the primer! Down here, it's a total crapshoot and very different from person to person. I'm fortunate to have good coverage (but it ain't cheap!)  Prescriptions generally are covered or heavily offset — which could be the jumping off point for a conversation about the outsized influence of big pharma.

Dental is a whole other thing, but generally not as comprehensive as health insurance at least in my experience.

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realtortechguy
realtortechguy
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer

Excellect article. I ride with many newer riders and we are all full faced. What is interesting is the long term riders are much better and even if they are not wheels off the ground riders what they can do is actually more risky due to their skill level. Yet everyone one of them where a half-lid. Makes me wonder sometimes

That Haf-Clip looks like a very cool solution that should let riders use a full face or a chinbar more often who don't because of the extra heat/swear.

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skooks
Skooks
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer

A timely article Mr Major. I have recently been pondering the same question. I bought a Bell super2R when they first came out, and wore it on most rides. Replaced it with as TLD Stage a couple of years ago since I prefer not faffing about with the chin guard. I wear the stage ~95% of the time.  I sometimes hang it off the bars for quiet road climbs and mellow climb trails, but otherwise it's on my head. My motivation for face protection is that I'm getting older (wiser?) and more cautious, but haven't really backed off the gnar. It may not look cool, but neither does a broken face. 

I am not trying to tell people what type of helmet to wear, just providing a data point. 4 of my group ride with a FF or chin guard and I expect at least one more will be soon. Not all old guys, but all experienced and skilled riders. I would really like to see the hard-charging Grom we ride with wear one too.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Thanks for boosting that point. I'm not trying to tell anyone what armour they should/shouldn't wear. I still see folks wearing full-on upper body armour and I've actually been noticing more and more elbow pads but I don't do either. 

I truly approach the chin bar from a point curiosity.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Andrew Major Karl Fitzpatrick lewis collins solar_evolution

I've never worn a full-face or convertible helmet (though sometimes I wonder). But have recently started wearing elbow pads. They're hot, dorky, and I have to remember to put them on at the top of the first climb... But after possibly chipping (a very small, extremely tender spot) my elbow recently I may just make them as regular as the knee pads. 

Crashing sucks, mitigate as you can.

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Cheez1ts
Garrett Thibault
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

What elbow pads did you get? I think I left mine on the roof of my car and can’t get the same model anymore. I’m looking for recommendations. 

Regarding the full-face, I wear a proper DH helmet for every ride and I hang it on my bar to climb. I started doing this regularly when i was pedalling up cypress, and now I like the full face everywhere. If any of my gear was new I would probably not be happy about my helmet occasionally banging into my fork, but it’s not.

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agleck7
Agleck7
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Garrett Thibault

I like the G Form ones fwiw

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IslandLife
IslandLife
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Agleck7 Carmel

After years of trying multiple brands... I've found elbow pads are quite a personal fit.  Finding the right pad for you that is tight enough that it doesn't slide down on rowdy descents yet is flexible enough that it doesn't cause additional arm pump on those same descents is tough.

For me, my personal holy grail has been Raceface Indy Elbows, size large with the strap as loose as possible.  YMMV.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Got given some POC ones by a friend they didn't fit right. No further labels, sorry.

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eriksg
eriksg
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I've been slowly upping my armour amounts as I hurt myself in new ways. I've been a full face wearer for a while--first an old Giro thing with a wimpy chin bar that definitely didn't pass DH standards, now a Leatt DBX--and I'm convinced the practice has saved me some knocks my jaw did not need. Haven't had a big crash in the Leatt so it is still going, but I face planted from very low speed once and mostly caught myself, but the chin bar did keep my face safely off the ground. Two years ago I got elbow and knee pads after a bad crash had me limping around and only sleeping on my left side for a bit. Last year was some shin guards for mucking about in my back yard learning to jump, after tearing my shin open with a pedal. They're too uncomfortable to wear normally, but I'll put them on to practice new skills.

99% of the time I wear the FF, and 90% the elbow and knee pads (essentially, unless I'm just going for a leisurely fire road/bike path pedal). They're hot and do start to get annoying somewhere in hour 2, but are worth it for the peace of mind if I'm planning to push it at all or learn new things.

I've noticed my friends getting curious about the pads. Nobody else in my riding group wears a FF, and no one seems to want to, but I've now got 3 people interested in knee pads and another in elbow pads. And these people aren't hardcore.

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agleck7
Agleck7
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major DadStillRides

As dumb as it is, a big barrier for me is eyewear. Glasses with a fullface feels wrong (and I admit it’s largely vanity). Wearing googles for my regular riding isn’t feasible and I think eye protection is more important than a chin bar. But as someone who had a dental implant (non riding reasons) and a buddy who broke lots of teeth dirt jumping I’m very much with you on the protecting teeth front. So my compromise with myself is a Fox Dropframe which has more protection around the templs/cheeks than a half shell and I wear a mouthguard. Not sure how a mouthguard compares to a chin bar in terms of protecting teeth but it’s better than nothing and not much faff.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Agleck7

I wore a mouth guard for years. Not sure if I benefited by the faff factor was low and I think they are more comfortable now. 

I wish I could wear eye protection year round but many months I just sweat them out instantly, so they’re on/off/in my pack. Full-face would definitely make that worse.

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grimwood
grimwood
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Agleck7 Andrew Major DanL

I'm with Agleck7; eye protection on pretty much every ride. I know my riding buddies get annoyed that I will faff around with my glasses, but I got tired digging dirt out of my eyes and missing rides due to scratched eye balls. Plus, I've seen a few eye/eye socket injuries that would have been prevented with glasses/goggles. My go to pairing is Smith ForeFront2 and WildCat glasses. Glasses are stored on the lid on the way up, and the helmet pins them in place on the way down.

I've tried the WildCats with my Smith Mainline, but the glasses aren't held in place by the helmet, so the bounce around and slide down. The alternative is goggles, but I find those are only good on dry days that aren't too hot (7 degrees C and rain and the goggles turn into a style piece versus functional).

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 DanL Cr4w

That seems like an oversight on the Wildcat/Mainline? Smith’s assumption is full face = goggles?

I agree eye protection is ideal. But I haven’t found glasses that work for me for much of the year even before switching to a full face. 

Had some Ryders that were okay but when I really needed them they were always fogged or saturated and then into my pack.

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DanL
DanL
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Oakley/Smith etc riding glasses are definitely very nice and not a knock on the tech and material quality, but I cannot spring for glasses when excellent goggles are available for much cheaper. Melon optics do a great modular setup which works for me.
 I think any fogging issues are in the same domain as wanting waterproof gear that wicks sweat whilst exerting in a humid environment - there's no magic bullet.

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grimwood
grimwood
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yeah. I think so. I would have been really nice if I could mount the glasses to the Mainline; I'd probably use it a lot more often even if the glasses move around more.

I seem to get more crap in my eyes than others I ride with, so eye protection is a must. I also had to learn how to keep them fog free; keep the group moving, quick spray with water then on the face and drop in, etc. I know this sounds a bit dumb, but I need to see the trail well to ride well. I know others who seem to be able to ride fast just on feel.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

>> I've tried the WildCats with my Smith Mainline, but the glasses aren't held in place by the helmet

That's my only real complaint with Korroyd - can't stuff the arms of my shades in the holes! (also harder to scratch an itch...)

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agleck7
Agleck7
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Cr4w

I used the 3d scan of my mouth when I got my dental implant to have a custom mouthguard made ($80).  I hardly notice it when it's in.

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realtortechguy
realtortechguy
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I use a Tld Stage FF and wear Oakley Sutro glasses works great. Love the combo. I have goggles too but tend not use as much only in the park.

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wizardB
wizardB
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Mouthguards are for concussion, not tooth protection.

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enduroExpert78
Rick M
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer

Over the years my protective gear use has ebbed and flowed for various reasons. Temperature, terrain, and risk assessment all play into my progear use, but most often, I just want to be careless. Damned the threat of being scratched, bloodied, broken, or maimed, I just want to ride free! Ah, it's just so liberating to ride minus all the kit.

I've amassed enough D30 to cover my body from the neck down, but I don't own a FF. I borrow one from my buddy if I head to a lift park. Guess maybe 2022 is the year to complete the ensemble. Looks like your article was influential.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Having lost 6 months on the bike to a high ankle sprain I'm considering getting some ankle support.  Emil wears one so I'd be in distinguished company, right?

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Post in the forum if you find something good?

I'm nursing a medium-severity ankle sprain ATM and considering a brace. 

There's a Thread on ridemonkey with good suggestions, but more data is always welcome.

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khai
khai
5 months, 1 week ago
0

For the short term, while my ankle is still less than 100% I've ordered a Swede-O Tarsal Lok - chosen because it appears to be the lowest profile brace that also provides pretty good support.  Assuming you're American (but great info even if you aren't) this website has a lot more detail than most about a lot of different options, and they carry a pretty wide variety.

Once I'm all healed up I'll likely get a pair of Aryse iFAST braces.  Reviews seem to be really good as long as you aren't presently injured and in need of range restriction within what should be "normal".  They allow full range of motion and only step in when you're about to exceed that.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

It’s been very interesting to read folks’ different why/why nots for chin bars. Certainly it’s a personal decision.

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ben.rogers
Ben Rogers
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Martin

I whole heartedly agree, most of the time I wear goggles as well. Getting that bug or piece of dirt in you eye at just the wrong time is one of the easiest ways for an unavoidable wreck, and they protect more of your face in a crash, as you said "there's something about losing teeth or f***ing up my face that is on a different level than cracking a couple of ribs"

After converting over to a full face however, I did find it harder to judge speed before I acclimatized to the lack of wind on my face, and I started overshooting more then undershooting.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I experienced a transition as well. For me, it was very similar to when I was testing a silent hub v. the King or I-9 buzz I was used to. Now it doesn't seem to make a difference though I do occasionally not hear my friends when they're making fun of me (on the fence about the +/- on that one).

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flattire2
Brian Tuulos
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Vik Banerjee

After 25 years of riding I only had one instance (at a bike park) where the chin bar made a difference in a crash.  Willing to roll the dice with a half lid for all riding except bike park days.  Seems like a reasonable risk to me.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

That same risk calculation and price seem to be the two most common reasons folks don't wear chin bars. Makes sense to me.

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Andeh
Andeh
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

Shortly after I started riding (several years ago), I grabbed one of the first convertible helmets (Bell Super 2R) for all the reasons you listed.  I then upgraded to the Leatt because it fit my head better.  But I got sick of dealing with the removable chinbar, and when the TLD Stage came out, I got that to replace them.  The Stage is lighter than the convertibles, and breathes well.  I only wear a pack (and even then, just a Camelbak Chase vest) for very long rides, so stashing a chinbar is just an awkward chore.  If I've brought the Stage and am climbing, I just hang it off the handlebar since 98% of climbing I do is on fire roads.

But I also own a Fox Speedframe Pro and now a TLD A3.  I wear them for most of my rides.  Like many have said, it's about risk assessment.  If I'm riding flow trails that I've ridden hundreds of times before, I judge the A3 to be plenty protective.  If I'm riding rocky chunk, progressing on jumps, or doing anything shuttled, I wear the Stage.  Hell, even riding pumptrack I take the Stage.  When I'm regaining confidence after having a rough crash, I wear the Stage more.  The risk assessment of which helmet to wear does seem to have a little bit of an affect on my riding:  I might focus more on doing lots of laps and goofing around with the half shell, and more inclined to go as fast as possible or try newer jumps with the full face.  But on the flip side, I can also wear down mental blocks on certain features by consciously choosing the half shell - I know it's really safe enough to ride with it, so just commit and ride!

FWIW, I also bought my son a Fox Proframe XS at age 4 (the swappable pads allow it to grow with the kid) as his only helmet.  I'll probably make him wear light full faces until he gets much older and I feel confident in his own risk assessment.

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wildgeese
Benjamin Brinson
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Martin Andrew Major

I have a "trail" full face, IXS trigger ff.  When I got it it felt like other friends did around the same time.  I used to wear it a lot but over time less and less.  

It felt like whenever in a given riding group the full faces came out it was like everyone had chugged a red bull and you could hear imaginary beeps at the starting gate.  I tend to opt out of that kind of vibe.  

I still wear mine for some difficult trails that are either new to me, i'm doing solo, or want to work on advancing skills.  If I'm out for a general fun ride then its half shell.  Cool to read all the experiences and introspection on this topic in the comments.

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Ride.DMC
Ride.DMC
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major DancingWithMyself

I wear a full face helmet probably 60% - 75% of the time.  I have an IXS Trigger FF which is super light, breathable, and comfortable.  The times that I am not wearing it are if I'm just cruising around in the Watershed.  If I'm riding the North Shore or Off-shore mountains I usually have my FF on.

The only thing I don't like about it is having to take my helmet off to get a drink of water, but I consider that a small price to pay (and it's a problem I could probably solve if I used a water bottle with a straw or something).

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I just clicked here to say I love your username!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I had not considered how much people going away from hydration bladders may influence full-face wearing. I wear a pack but use bottles, but using a bladder I would probably stay better hydrated because I don’t drink as much with the chin bar on.

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leon-forfar
leon-forfar
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 khai Mammal

I too am always surprised at how few full face helmets you see while riding on the shore. I work at one of the local shops here, and I have heard too many situations that could have been avoided by just wearing a full face.

One story that really comes to mind was one of our staff members. Great rider. He was dropping into a trail, and his pedal was hooked on a root. He basically OTB-ed from a standstill and ended up sliding on his face on a rock, and literally almost ripped his nose off (5mm from needing a new nose put on). 100 stitches later, he luckily kept his nose. Another one of the shop's friends was riding while feeling tired and went too fast into that rock roll on Espresso (which she has hit a bunch of times in the past successfully). Knocked out 4 teeth and broke her jaw. $25k to put it back together.

Convertible helmets are an awesome idea and value. I understand that proper DH helmets are hot and stuff. These convertible helmets are light and well ventilated (even the DH certified options like the Super DH etc). From a value side, I think they're amazing. They may be $400ish, but you are getting two helmets in one.

**My only word of caution is to stay away from Giro Switchblades. They had one job to not make the Switchblade live up to its terrible past, and IMO, failed. The way the chin bar attaches to the helmet is the issue. The way it hooks in is a major flaw. When you remove the chin bar, you pull it up towards the visor and out. We had a customer face plant on The Gangler on 7th, and the impact caused the chin bar to just move up towards the visor and basically fall off. He ended up breaking his eye socket and needing a bunch of stitches. I have heard some similar stories from other shop people.

The Bell removable chin bar helmets, along with the other options have the chin bar hooks go INTO the helmet towards the back. If you were to Face plant, this gives the chin bar something to brace against, and really makes sure the chin bar hooks are in the slots they are supposed to be in.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 leon-forfar

Gnarly stories. Thanks for sharing. It's stuff like 25K for teeth that make any full-face seem cheap.

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Squint
Squint
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I went OTB as a teenager (back when nobody wore any helmets) and broke a bunch of teeth. Cost aside, that's an injury you will be dealing with the rest of your life; crowns, bridges and implants are not forever and require periodic attention. I'd rather have broken a bone.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, would definitely rather have a broken bone. I have to get the plaster face on one of my front teeth done every couple years. Has never made sense to get a 'permanent' solution as our family's dental plan covers the temporary surface and I know as soon as I dumped a bunch of money into the replacement I'd smash it out doing something.

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Larrabee
Larrabee
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Mark Andrew Major

Andrew, shortly after reading your review of the 7iDP Project 23 helmet, I ordered one. While I wear it on every trail ride, I’m not sufficiently over the dork effect yet to wear it on the road. The fit is excellent. (Measure head 6 times, order once.). Mine has the fibreglass shell. The Gloworm Alpha lamp w/ smaller (25Wh) battery straps on nicely. 

Further, after reading your discussion, I changed from Renthal Kevlar (glued & wired) to Renthal Ultra-Tacky (accurately named) grips. Also a win in every way.  

Last item: after reading your Squidworx pedals review, I bought a pair and find them to be superb.  Richard Bedford (proprietor in Pemberton) is a pleasure to deal with  

I’m paying attention and thank you for your advice.

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xchngd
xchngd
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Couldn't agree more. I'm usually one of the only people riding with one - I am using a Giro switchblade and love it. I just use a heli strap to attach the chin bar to my bars on the climbs.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Cheers. How long have been using it? Would you buy the Switchblade again or something where the chin bar more fully removes?

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xchngd
xchngd
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Been using it for about 4 years now. I would probably get it again, I appreciate the extra coverage when being used without the chin bar (which I appreciate is against the entire premise of the article and my previous comment)

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DanL
DanL
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major xchngd

I had a switchblade for 3 years and loved it - it was a little hot but the coverage really was fantastic and the chinbar strapped to my waistpack. I also really appreciated the D ring as motorcycle helmet muscle memory just took over there. 

Then it started to inhabit a bit of a grey area for usage. I was always wearing it as fullface when I rode as it seemed silly not to use the full helmet protection when I always had it to hand. Unless it was really cold or wet, I'd often have the helmet on my bars or hanging off something so then when it was time to retire it, I just went for a fullface - a project23 as well - and with the cheekpad trick I haven't looked back. It's also a lot lighter and the padfit works well.

I do miss the fully enclosed plush Arai helmet feeling of the switchblade but I figure if I really wanted that I'd just pick up a Disciple and hang it off my bars like I would the Switchblade. I only wear a halflid if I'm riding anywhere other than a trail.

btw - the kneepads but not elbow pads position many adopt is also fascinating.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 DanL Andrew Major Tim Coleman Zero-cool

I'm with Andrew here - have yet to find elbow pads that stay on and don't also cut off circulation, resulting in arm pump.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Fwiw I've learned that for me at least, elbow pads won't ever stay up if they're on top of a base layer.  They have to be against my skin, and then if I'm wearing a longsleeve that goes on top.  Even then some will slip but I've had good luck with the POC VPD 2.0s as well as the Fabios.

Ripbro
Ripbro
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

The latest season of pink bike academy was eye opening. One rider kept crashing and reinjuring her arms/elbows but every week no one wore elbow pads.

khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 DanL Jerry Willows Andrew Major Doug M.

_>> I also really appreciated the D ring as motorcycle helmet muscle memory just took over there. _

It never ceases to amaze me how many reviewers will bitch about DD rings in a helmet review...  I get that Fidlock buckles are awesome, but it's really not that hard.  Then again, I've been sat next to someone on a chairlift on multiple occasions where I noticed that they simply passed the strap through the rings and did up the snap.  That's a significant failure on the rental shop, IMO.

If you want to nerd out on the history and relative strength of different buckle designs, Ryan from F9 did a nice video here: https://youtu.be/3KUdmwmhyxM  (for a mtb I don't actually think that the difference in overall pull strength is a factor at all, but I did find it interesting nonetheless)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 khai

I love Fidlock buckles. But, I can't say they influence my purchasing decisions. D-Ring is fine, clip is fine.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Zero-cool

Re. knees v. elbows (as one of those people) I've tried a lot of elbow pads and just can't find anything that's comfortable in a riding position. Even, for example, the Pearl Izumi D30 ones where the similarly structured knees fit me awesomely that arms are either too tight or slide down (sizing) and either way give me arm pump when I'm climbing out of the saddle. 

I would think knees would be harder to design because of the range of motion for pedaling? But I guess I'm wrong. I think the answer may lay in much shorter pads that just cover the elbows but maybe they wouldn't stay in place.

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DanL
DanL
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I've been through iterations of elbow pads and I just figure that they're going to suck but not as much as smashing my elbow up or filling my skin with gravel/loam/fungus.

I had to pick up a set of TLD speeds to fit under the tight sleeves of a Leatt DBX and they actually felt greaterer than most other pads I have but there's a lot of lycra so the MAMIL factor comes in haha when it's not raining.

Ironically, nothing I have in my armory would have stopped me horribly dislocating my ring finger when my front wheel slipped off a root. But the pads and helmet stopped me getting smashed on impact.

Mb3
Kelly Kim
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I used a set of ancient Roach elbow / forearm pads that I must have bought way back in the early nineties.  While a tad warm, they don’t move around at all, and fit relatively loose.  They basically can’t move down, as they go all the way to my wrists.  No fancy tech in them, though.  Just basic foam / rubber padding.  But they have still taken the edge off many crashes, even back when I decided to “try out” downhill racing for a time.

They have now been handed down to my 13 year old son, who loves them.  I then tried to find another set, but the closest thing I could find was a pair made for paintball.  They’re okay, but the material isn’t as robust (no cordura on the outward side), as they are designed to go under a jersey, not as standalone units.

taprider
taprider
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Michael Klein

Because XC is cool again

No but seriously,

riders are either getting older or are less into traditional downhill oriented freeride, so are not feeling like they are pushing the envelope as much. The chin bar won't save me from the types of crashes the rest of my body can't cash.

or similarly, more riders are getting into more non-stop backcountry-ish rides where uphill is as important as downhill and the time it takes to fiddle with and carry extra gear is not worth the effort or time (as as single-speeder you can probably understand less is more)

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craw
Cr4w
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Timer Tremeer023

A lot of us have been at this a long time and probably way underestimate the danger we're in regularly because of our comfort level at speed, riding gnar, on incredibly capable bikes, and not having crashed badly quite often enough. 

Maybe a sports mouth guard is the answer. Protect the teeth, still breath easily, keep cool.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

As a single-speeder, who has worn a full-face helmet for every janky North Shore trail ride for over a year? Hahahaha.

I have to say that I've seen the opposite happening in terms of the terrain riders are hitting. Plenty of new riders crashing a lot, riders progressing onto double-blacks these days, and, as noted, plenty of folks I know who were wearing removable chin bar full faces but have stopped despite riding the same trails.

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taprider
taprider
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yeah "less is more" doesn't always explain things
As dropper posts illustrate, riders can choose more or less tech to increase the flow/uninterrupted movement of their ride with less time spent messing with equipment

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Your dropper post comment is a good summation. I think maybe what you’re saying largely comes down to continuous momentum v. my more ‘stop and smell the roses’ riding style? 

It’s like the manual Grannie setup I used much of last Spring. The chin bar on/off doesn’t bother me because I’m stopping for a break anyways.

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doodersonmcbroseph
doodersonmcbroseph
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

It's interesting, everyone I ride with has a dropper but we stop enough times to easily be able to raise/lower a seat. The only real climbing I do is at the end of a downhill section and fairly short lived or a location where you can't shuttle so you grind to the top (or push lol) and then bomb down. Do we need droppers? probably not.

That being said we are all still wearing full face helmets on the shore. When we visit other trail systems that are more mellow the open face comes out for a visit.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 doodersonmcbroseph

It's actually ridiculous how much I like my dropper post (and how it always returns my saddle - straight - to example the right spot after a descent. But yeah, I'm happy to take the necessary break to raise/lower my seat and most of the riding I do is UP/DOWN (not rolling terrain), and half the time I ride with my seat down anyway because I'm riding a hardtail (who wants to sit down punching across chundery single track) and it's a single-speed (so I'm standing for punchy climbs anyways). 

'Going Without The Game Changer' is something I'm talking about in a future piece. They've become so 'essential' that folks choose a dropper post over better brakes, tires, suspension, etc when buying a bike within a price point.

Masacrejoe
Michael Klein
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Karl Fitzpatrick

Taprider is right. Detachable chinbars came in fashion alongside Enduro racing. Now the hype is on Downcountry, and where's the sense in upscaling you're helmet if you're scaling down your bike? 

I like to scare myself a little when I'm riding, and there are more ways of doing that. One is going faster another is wearing less protection. I used to wear the Specialized Deviant Full Face for trailriding from way back in '05 untill the Super 2 came out, but in recent years my focus has changed from going the fastest to going the funnest. For me this means slow tech steep stuff where crashspeeds aren't much higher than falling a couple meters when hiking/climbing. At the same time trail helmets have evolved to better cover your head/neck, and they have the same large peak, as the full face helmets, that you can push up to look even cooler.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Michael Klein

The one thing I’d say is that the newer-geo short travel bikes can haul such that they can get you into a lot of travel but lack the tires/brakes/suspension that a lot of us rely on to boost our skills when it comes to getting out. Admittedly I generally do pedal-and-plunge riding with this sort of bike too.

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mtmc99
mtmc99
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Im yet to find one that fits my giant head/face. I have a pretty tough time finding half shells big enough (if its marketed as a large/XL I dont even have to waste my time, it wont fit). Hopefully I'll find a full face that fits someday.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 khai Timer

Brett Tippie wears Leatt, so that’s wear I’d start looking! He’s probably got 600x jokes about his big head.

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mtmc99
mtmc99
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Thanks for the suggestion! Now to actually find a local shop with it in stock

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

That wasn’t easy per-Covid and they were sold out for months, but your distributor (NRG if you’re in Canada) should be able to point you to a stockist.

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bux-bux
Bux Bux
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Also the Divinci rep is rep'n Leatt also. Check with Cove they may have.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Tim Coleman

I am "gifted" in the cranium size department, and am currently testing an XL Fox Proframe helmet. The fit is great - highly recommend trying one out.

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NealWood
NealWood
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Many in my group wear convertible helmets or lighter weight full face helmets.  More and more all the time, although for the trend followers I would agree that when everybody fancied themselves an EWS racer they were fashion for a while. Speaking for myself, normally I do the first big climb with the chin guard off and then put it on for the first big decent.  Unless it's super hot I tend to leave the bar on after that. It's a Super DH that I have and if it fits your head I'd recommend it as a good choice.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

It’s interesting, I’m wondering if more people are wearing them I think and my anecdotal evidence is skewed based on when I normally ride (weekdays / early mornings on weekends) or something. Seems a lot of folks are still wearing full faces.

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delta5
delta5
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I run a Leatt Enduro 4.0 v21, and only remove the chinbar if I'm riding with the kids so they can hear me a little better. It's light, it's very well ventilated, it's very comfortable. I'm aggressive enough even on my xc rides that I eat it pretty badly. Saw mentions above about by the time the face needs protection, the body takes too long to heal to ride like that. I have to respectfully disagree with that sentiment. I've whacked my face off a tree just goofing off in the backyard at low speed. Rang my bell hard enough that I'd rather sacrifice any other part of my body than my head/face/eyes/jaw.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 delta5

That’s my exact calculation of head v. other injuries. I do wish there was more reliable protection against concussions (and less pseudoscience / marketing) but as I said, I think a chin bar is more cut and dry in terms of the type of concussions it could potentially prevent in addition to whatever protection a regular lid offers.

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bailey100
william bailey
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I run the ISX Trigger Mips. 

At 660 grams for a medium/large the weight is a non issue. 

My problem comes with packing it when riding long uphill sections in warm weather. I've really wanted to ditch any kind of pack , few snacks in pant pockets and water bottle is enough for a lot of my rides. I wear the backpack almost exclusively to strap the helmet to when I'm going up.

The bar mount looks ok I guess...

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ufodone
ufodone
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I went back to wearing a FF pretty regularly a few years ago.  I started with a Fox ProFrame which is surprisingly breathable and what I wear on most rides in the winter.  I use a convertible in the Summer - but honestly it's more of a struggle to convince myself to use in the hot months.  I sweat.  A lot.  So climbing with a FF in the summer is pretty tough for me but I'm still one of those weird people who (usually) wears a pack so it's easy enough to put on.

I don't have many riding partners left anymore so more often than not I find myself on a solo ride and I still want to ride more technical trails (my few riding buddies don't like them anyway) and so if I'm out alone on a tougher trail I want as much protection as I can get.

I tend not to wear it on rides where I'm riding less technical trails but I've often wondered if it's those trails that I need it the most.  I've had many time when I've been ripping down something like Espresso and thought it would be a pretty awful time to crash at the given speed.  While maybe it's easier to tuck-and-roll and avoid hitting the face, everything happens pretty fast.  On a janky trail, the speed is generally much slower so it feels like there's more opportunity to protect the face.  I should probably just wear it all the time.

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4Runner1
4Runner1
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I’ll be using my new iXS Trigger ff this weekend for the first time. It’s been years since I’ve used a ff on the trails. 

I don’t really do resolutions but this is the year I’ve committed to using more protective gear. So the knee pads will also be making more frequent appearances.

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craw
Cr4w
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major hairymountainbeast

I've got one of these. It's the only one of the new lightweight FF that fit me. It's very light and breathable. But despite knowing it's better to wear this thing more I rarely do. TBH I'm hoping for something even lighter and less protective. It's not a DH helmet for park use. It's a trail helmet with a little extra. It's only got to work once at trail speed.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

No mention of the Fox Proframe? It's light, very comfortable, reasonably priced and looks great. I hear there might be an imminent review.....

;)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Not a lid that’s really on my radar (haven’t even seen one in person?!) but will certainly check out the review!

*Edit: saw your other comment. Good to know it fits proper melons!

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

At this point, the only real deterrent for me wearing a light, comfortable full-face like the Proframe, 100% of the time is the inability to drink from my water bottle while climbing or traversing on singletrack. I don't wear a pack, and I loathe carrying helmets on the bike. Unless you want to risk squirting water all over your face, you really need to pull the helmet off. You can kinda shift the helmet up or down on your face, and sneak the bottle around the chin bar, but it's easier said than done with one hand while still riding.

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chacou
chacou
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I have a Bell Super DH (mips) and my 1/2 shell is a Bontrager Rally (wavecel). I alternate between the two depending on the ride and the temperatures that day. I've definitely been considering the Super DH on more rides, especially when I ride alone and your piece has me thinking of it as well. I like to push my limits and really get the most out of the bike I can, and when I'm wearing the chin bar there's that little bit of added reassurance for when things don't go as planned. When I put the 1/2 shell on for a ride there's definitely a mental switch to not push as hard.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 chacou

I found the same when I was still going back and forth. I ride better, in aggressive terrain, wearing the full-face which factors into my choice to wear it.

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Useless
Guy Elliott
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

My income is based on my brain and communicating, so FF for most rides:

- Leatt 4.0 fixed for the steep & deep or new moves

- older Leatt 3.0 enduro convertible for the Biblical rain days or XC epics

- open face for night rides.  Don’t know why but haven’t figured out a light set up that I like with the FFs

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

This guy (no affiliation) makes 3D printed chinbar GoPro mounts for a bunch of different full face lids.  Seth from Berm Peak got one to review and it looked to be a great option.  I haven't tested it yet but an additional benefit to the placement is that the weight is down much lower, making it much easier on your neck.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Very cool. Be interesting to see if any of my lights fit. Maybe only upside down in which case I’d need to build a little shroud.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

NB - I tried to attach a pic a couple of times but it nuked my post both times...

Combined with a Smith Mainline and an Outbound Hangover there's a tonne of room for angle adjustment - and even more if you invert the light, which in the case of the Hangover doesn't appear to change the beam pattern.  I'll have to test it outside a bit more but while they have a cutoff for their road lights I think their mtb lights do not and can be run either way to the same effect.  When I bought my mount he didn't have one for the Kali Invader - but he appears to have one now, so it looks like I'll be supporting a tiny cottage business once more.  :)

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syncro
Mark
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Hey! That's my idea/invention. Well not the product, but I'm pretty sure I was the first person to start doing the chin-mount dealio for Go-Pros when they first came out.

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syncro
Mark
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

eriksg
eriksg
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I got a similar thing from DineaDesigns for the Leatt DBX 4.0. Seems ok, and holds a GoPro well, though the print quality doesn't look great to me so I'm not sure what the long term durability will be. There's a little bit of vertical play with the zip ties as tight as I could get them, but it doesn't present itself unless you apply some force.

I do like the camera position it provides, and that mounting location is one more thing I really like about wearing a full face.

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khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

When I did the test fit I noted that the smooth hard plastic of the 3D printed part slid very easily on the smooth/hard surface of the Smith Mainline chinbar - so I painted a little silicone on the part of the 3D printed mount where it sits flush against the helmet.  That prevents unwanted movement for the most part.  A little bit of VHB tape would likely do even better.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I’ve had good results running a light off the side of my chinbar on the 7iDP. Leatt DBX 3 it’s on top and okay…

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Timmigrant
Tim Coleman
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I velcro strap my light to a Bell Super DH, that has a well positioned rib for mounting the light as high as possible. Open face and cool for the pedal up. Chin bar on for the descent, and the chin bar hugely reduces the light jiggle. I don't like a lot of weight on the head, so I run a remote battery in a backpack anyway.

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finbarr
finbarr
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I live in Edmonton which is the only reason I don’t wear a full-face on a daily basis- the trails just aren’t that gnarly. But when I was fatbiking last night, I started to reconsider. The snow makes it way easier to slide my way into a visit to the dentist.

I think it’s crazy that people don’t wear more armor on the shore. I got to do some riding in Whistler, Squamish, and North Van this summer, and I had my chin bar on the whole time. I was one of the only people I saw with a full-face going down 7th secret, which I found wild. Seems like an easy trail to smash your teeth on…

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Ripbro
Ripbro
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

In Calgary and crashed on my fat bike more last winter then the past 3 summers combined. Who knew ice is slippery and studs can only do so much?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I've seen some wicked crashes on 7th Secret. There are some places where you can really get a bike moving that are followed immediately by sections where you really need to have the speed under control and riders who haven't ridden the trail a lot or who are progressing rapidly in skills/confidence can really get caught off guard. Generally, I'd say it's one of the more tame trails that's a true Black but yeah, trail speed variance is often the culprit in big crashes.

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FlipFantasia
Todd Hellinga
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

as someone who has had to replace a tooth after an ill timed face meeting with a rotten stump, I still don't wear a fullface for most riding as most of my riding is not all up then all down (incident was on a dh shuttle that for some reason I chose not to wear my fullface), and is regularly constantly up and down and up and down etc. Also a sweaty mouth breather so not really into how constricting and hot full face helmets are, generally speaking. Have definitely chosen a full face for specific rides that may be a bit spicier, but that isn't most of my riding these days.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Todd Hellinga

I'm a sweaty mouth breather too so I commiserate. Breathability has gotten a lot better with some lids but nothing breathes like nothing.

For the pedal-and-plunge riding I'm normally doing - even if there are short climbs in the middle - it's quick and easy to pop and chin bar on and off even if I'm doing a second lap but I've ridden lots of places where the risk v. discomfort calculation would be trickier.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Todd Hellinga

Devil's Night rides strike me as a good time for a FF...

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martin
Martin
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I'm pretty sure I'd have a convertible full-face helmet if one could be found for 100-150$cdn. I use a Bell Nomad Mips for 80$ (retail price) for everything (except DH) and I love it. Probably my favorite helmet ever (I used POC, other Bell and Giro models too). I have a Fox Rampage (fiberglass version) that I bought for 110$ many years ago but have only used it 4-5 times ever. It's a bit too tight at the cheeks and I haven't got used to it. 

An affordable removable-chinbar version of the Nomad would be pretty sweet in that price range and I'd get one right away, but unfortunately, most options are in the 300-400$ range and at that price, I'll either use my Rampage FF or keep using my Nomad. Most of my rides involve climbing up for an hour, then riding mostly down for 20 minutes so it could be useful for those sections of rides. But I won't wear my full-face for those 30km rides that I usually do.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Martin

I think the best chance to see full-face trail helmets that are more affordable will be for them to adopt the Kali Invader style of breathable fixed chin bar v. convertible. That said, I very much respect that cost is a barrier since they're (removable or lightweight fixed options) currently 3x or 4x the price of a quality half-lid.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I'm all but certain you've seen my Kali Invader.  If not you're welcome to check it out - the new V2 with the adjustable head cradle in the back fits WAY better than the original.  It's pretty light, well ventilated, and works well with glasses.  It almost  doesn't feel like a "real" full face (too light & open) and I swap it out for a heavier weight (DH rated) full face when I'm riding fast/really gnarly stuff or bike park.  They have a "lifetime replacement guarantee" as well, which I haven't used (and have no idea if they'd have stock if I had need to use it) - but it's a nice touch.  

A few years back I decided that most of my crashes come on "nothing" - so I decided that I'd commit to wearing elbow and knee protection more regularly.  A lightweight/breathable fullface helps extend that commitment.  (I also have a Hafclip that I've not yet tried - seems an ideal solution for fire road climbs)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 khai

Ah, in my mind we've only ridden together when you were in a half-lid but I could be totally wrong! For me the Invader is an obvious fixed-bar replacement for my Leatt DBX 3 (which is a trail helmet with a trail-rated chin bar added) not a replacement for my Project 23 so I think we're saying the same thing. 

I know I've asked before but... what elbow pads are you running Khai? I want to use them (I get nagged about it by my 7-year-old) but haven't found the ones for me. 

I think the Haf-Clip is sweet. A simple solution to something that a lot of people grumble about when it comes to managing a full-face/chin bar.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

For pedal/hot day friendly elbow pads I haven't found better than the POC VPD Air Fabio Ed.  There is a surprising difference between the various POC offerings and while I like the Joint VPD 2.0 quite well in the park (they're a bit on the warm/heavy side for Summertime pedaling) I didn't get on with the VPD System Lite elbow pads.  I found them to be at the same time kind of tight and yet they slipped down easily.  You may find them different as the System Lites are well loved by many - but for whatever reason they didn't work well on my arms.

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EvanBlackwell
Evan Blackwell
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I wear a full face (Smith Mainline) whenever I am riding my enduro bike or my jump bike at the dirt jumps or pumptrack, but I definitely admit to not wearing one when riding XC or at the skatepark 100% for aesthetic reasons. Sure, I could argue XC is less dangerous (not always, you can send pretty hard on those things), but really I just think it looks dumb riding an XC bike in a full face and anything else is just rationalization, haha!

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

The pump track is an interesting one.  Maybe it's imperfect/exaggerated technique but I've managed to clip my chinbar when pumping on more than one occasion, so I don't wear a FF at the pump track anymore.  Probably should for the dirt jumps though...

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yardrec
yardrec
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I've been quite happy with the Smith Mainline. Got mine with the crash discount. Front wheel slipped out on a drop at speed in the dust last summer and I nicely dented the Smith MIPS Session (saved the brain though). I rotate between the full face and an open shell based on how many rocks and/or speed I'm likely to encounter.

The Mainline is pretty comfortable, but fits a little different than the Smith Forefront 2 I have. I definitely feel like the full face inspires some likely ill-advised confidence.

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Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

First off the sport we love is about challenge/risk.  My knees are destroyed at the tender age of 55. Because I stopped wearing hard shell knee pads.  

Never wear a full face or helmet with chin bar. Because of vanity . Pride, stupidity. 

I heard head trauma is a rather consistent injury in automobiles.  A neck brace and helmet would be good idea. But my God  I would feel like a dork. 

We ride for fun.  The protection is there for the un planned moment s.  

Shame I let vanity and comfort trump safety.  

Everyone I know that rides full face they don't wear it on the climb.  But a light helmet with a chin bar. Why remove the bar in the first place ?  Oh yes . Vanity. Or worse people are suggesting it's too much effort to carry.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Fixed v. convertible will certainly be a future topic. A Kali Invader has a moto-rated chin bar but weighs much less than my Leatt with removable chin bar.

I think the trick is remembering that full-face trail helmets replace an open shell not a true DH Full-Face helmet.

Didn’t wear knee pads for years, but about six months after I started too religiously I drove my knee so hard into a rock at Burke that o had problems riding out while wearing them! It was a moment of affirmation for sure.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

One of the things I dislike about the lighter full face and some removable chin bar helmets is the jagged holes and shapes used on those chin bars that look good for catching the ground and and causing a more severe injury. I look for rounded smooth shapes on all helmets. Trying to drink in a full face is annoying too. I’m going into my 39th season of off road and I’ve never hit my face. I’ve broken the fronts, sides and backs of helmets. That said I do look at those “enduro” style full face helmets and I my get one if it fits me and has more rounded shapes. Years ago in DH skiing racers wore chin bars that were pretty insubstantial. There was concern then that the chin bar could catch snow and break necks at the speeds those skiers went. Plus they may not have been aero enough so they went away.

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Sanchez321
Sanchez321
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Great article, it has got me thinking about something I actually never thought about. I don't ride with a chin bar or full face helmet and honestly have never given it a second thought until this article. It just never occurred to me to get one and as I never felt I needed one. My normal riding is on Seymour or Fromme and have always felt comfortable with my half shell helmet. maybe it has to do with my ability to not ride terrain when I am not feeling it, which kind of prevents the crash before it happens. 

I have had some big crashes including where I have hit my head, but the part of the head that was his was the top part not my face. None the less I am now considering a Chin bar or Full face, as i feel I am now pushing my luck.

On a side note, my most significant crashes while riding that resulted in broken fingers and torn ligaments occurred when I fell over while: at an almost stop going around a corner with slick roots or getting on my bike and failing to clip in properly.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

My intention certainly wasn't to produce the equivalent of an anti-smoking campaign. Most of my riding friends don't ever wear a full-face for trail riding and, as noted, that's the most common setup. I do wonder, reading the comments on this piece, if that will change once inventory issues are less prevalent.

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kos
Kos
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I was halfway through this article before I figured it wasn't about people giving up on their home chin UP bar!

I'll show myself out......

Actually, a great article.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Kos

Pfffffft.

Cheers!

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realtortechguy
realtortechguy
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Few comments on wanting to tey a Tld Stage. Great helmet. Light and comfortable. I actually use the Haf-Clip to carry mine in the climbs. Works well.

I tried a number of convertibles, love the idea but none really fit. Someone asked about who might have the Stage in stock. Kinetic typically has decent supply.

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LewisQC
LewisQC
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I bought an IXS Trigger FF last year, mainly for my son who is getting more and more into riding with me (he's 13 years old). But I'm now riding with his helmet most of the time, except on really hot days. It's incredibly light at 600g, very confortable and with lots of ventilation... On my last three mountain bike falls, I manage to hit my face some way or another so now I feel more confident with more protection...

The only downside beside price is that I have to buy another one for my son...

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Squint
Squint
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I've been using an iXS Trigger FF for about a year, my half shell was due to expire and I just couldn't see the logic in not getting a FF. Figured I'd be pretty stupid to end up with a shattered jaw when I had the opportunity to avoid it, and the new helmets are so light and ventilated. 

My worst crashes have all been on blue or black runs I know well, when speed is a factor. Had a fast crash on Dreamweaver and as I saw a big rock coming closer my only thought was "Full face...". That sealed the decision for me. 

I pad up for every gravity ride (including elbows, I've had some really nasty forearm damage), and steered away from a  convertible helmet to avoid the opportunity to choose. Also couldn't believe a removable chin bar offered as much protection. 

Took a few to rides get used to the FF and now I don't really notice. Drinking is a bit harder (bladder not bottle), but I just end up taking the lid off more at stops. 

As for price... our bikes cost $5-10k. An extra $100 or so for safety seemed like money well spent. Still helluva lot cheaper than motorcycle gear.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 DancingWithMyself

To your point, my understanding is you can get the same protection with a convertible system but it adds a lot of weight to the combined helmet and chin bar so for a lightweight trail full-face with max protection it's best to accept the chin bar is going to be there.

Do the chin pads easily come out of the iXS? I take a helmet off for long gravel climbs with no cars but if it's single track or a road with automobiles I like to just take the chin pads out of my 7iDP to make breathing a little easier.

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mycool
mycool
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Purchased a bell super dh a couple of years back and will definitely be purchasing another similar helmet next time. As a new parent it really made me extra cautious about injuries. I've had a few dental and hospital visits in my grom years that a full face would have avoided! I also think it makes it easier to keep your helmet up to date, they don't last for ever and replacing one helmet vs an open face and a full face.

I also made me think about neck braces again. I was clipping my chin bar to my camel back and thought doing the same for my leatt brace doesn't add too much extra hassle but that extra protection which I'll hopefully never need!

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otagoboy
otagoboy
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I’ve been mountain biking since around 1992 and been a radiologist at a big trauma centre for longer than that. There are a million ways to hurt yourself and a lot of stuff can’t be controlled or predicted, but knowing that I’m bouncing down a mountainside covered in roots, rocks and trees on a bike with its own collection of sharp, dirty, hard components means that protective gear is just an integral part of the sport. I wear a DH certified full-face (POC Coron Spin and TLD D4) for almost all rides and a Leatt neck brace at the same time. Knee and elbow pads are essential companions ( and yes, elbow pads are very hard to get fitted comfortably). I have Bluegrass and Scott back/chest armour which I keep for gnarlier rides or when I’m a long way from home. If you ride alone, as I do 99% of the time, I don’t want to get seriously hurt a long way from home potentially without cellphone coverage. Sure - there are lots of excuses not to wear all of this stuff, but I’ve seen far too many people with life changing or life ending traumatic injuries to recognise that mitigation is worth a shot when the alternative is trusting to dumb luck and a soft landing. I don’t really care if it looks a bit dorky as nobody can tell who I am once the FF goes on, and I’ve never seen sports as a fashion event anyway.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

One thing that I don't hear mentioned ever, really - and judging by the reaction I've had from several shop employees seems to be a less common problem, is the change in fit of half shells over the past several years.  I used to be able to wear a variety of different lids but now a lot have gone to a more oval headform - which doesn't fit my round melon, and the majority of the "round" helmets slip down over my eyes when riding over rough terrain.  That was actually the primary motivating factor in going with the Kali Invader as the cheek pads of a full face help to keep it in place.  The additional protection on "trail rides" is a nice bonus but my main reason for the switch was to enable me to see when the trail gets rough.

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Briain
Briain
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

So many good points here. I've gone from wearing a convertible Uvex Jekyll to an open Face back to a proper Fullface (mostly cause it's cold this time if year). The switch that led to the convertible helmet because I nearly faceplanted a tree moved my head at the last second and slid the side of my helmet along it and hit my shoulder instead. So that was enough of a scare to invest in a better helmet. I did find when I used it there was no point in taking off the chinbar it didn't help ventilation and it was somehow more comfortable if fullface mode. I did find when I got a new open face for commuting,  I started using it a lot on the easier trails and if I was on a group ride it's a lot easier to talk to people and there's no faffing with taking helmets on and off. So objectively using a full face is a no brainer for me particularly as I mostly ride on my own so if I do crash it should leave me in a better state to get myself out or call for help. Also full faces for Enduro are so good right now they have almost no drawbacks on openfaces but way more protection. Finally as far as cost of high end safety gear goes the moment you add in medical bills lost time in work etc a 400 or 500 on a helmet isn't that bad

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Distrakted
Distrakted
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I rode MX bikes before getting into mtb so wearing a full face felt normal. About a year ago I was feeling very confident in my riding and decided to take the chin bar off of my Bell super dh. I really enjoyed the extra peripheral vision and air flow until I clipped a bar in a narrow shoot which catapulted my face into a boulder. I don't know how I didn't knock out my front teeth but I do know that barely being able to eat for a week because of the pain as well as anything I put into my mouth naturally wanting to fall out of the rather large hole my teeth put into my lower lip, really sucked. Never again. I think I will forego the removable chin bar on my next helmet purchase and just go with a lighter weight one piece.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Ugh. I've known a few people who've punched their teeth through their lip (riding, running, surfing) and I suppose it's much better than losing a tooth+. Glad it was 'just' a week of pain-tax. 

Certainly, a non-convertible full-face trail helmet is lighter for the same strength (or more strength) of chin bar.

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Distrakted
Distrakted
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

I rode MX bikes before getting into mtb so wearing a full face felt normal. About a year ago I was feeling very confident in my riding and decided to take the chin bar off of my Bell super dh. I really enjoyed the extra peripheral vision and air flow until I clipped a bar in a narrow shoot which catapulted my face into a boulder. I don't know how I didn't know out my front teeth but I do know that barely being able to eat for a week because of the pain as well as anything I put into my mouth naturally wanting to fall out of the rather large hole my teeth put into my lower lip, really sucked. Never again. I think I will forego the removable chin bar on my next helmet purchase and just go with a lighter weight one piece.

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Rowdy
Rowdy
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I recently went OTB wearing a halfshell and hit my face on the hardpack. I was lucky not to break a tooth or more. 

So I’ve been taking my POC fullface since then. Carrying it is weird because sometimes you’re not wearing it when you probably should. 

On long backcountry routes I find it hard to take a fullface even though some of the trails certainly justify the protection. 

I’ve used removable chinbars in the past but fixed feels a lot more solid to me.

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Reuben.Sandwich
Reuben.Sandwich
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

So I'm going the opposite way back to a full face.

Just after Christmas I slipped the front wheel over the top of a timber berm, slapping my head down hard. I don't remember how I got home. I think I must have blacked out upside down for a short while also as I have dried blood dripped inside the visor of my Bell Sixer from a 20mm by 10mm flap of skin my teeth cut inside my lower lip. I also suffered a mild concussion. 

Eating anything not in liquid form was difficult the first few days as scabs on my left cheek that extended to my lips dried out. Whatever I did manage to get in my mouth then stung the cut and would need to be washed out. I went hungry a few meals. 

Worst part is that I have a lightweight FF in the form of a Leatt dbx 4.0. It's a poor fit compared to the Sixers glove like fit. It's not uncomfortable but it's not like the open face or the TLD D3 it replaced. To be honest, I'm contemplating flipping it (it's barely used...) in favour of something that sits nicely on my scone. It's an expensive proposition but given I was lucky to not lose teeth, its still cheap!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Uhhhhh. That sounds uncomfortable AF. How long did it take to eat normally again? 

Fit is everything. I know as well as most about the challenges of inventory dollars, space, etc, but I wish more shops stocked a more extensive range of lids from different manufacturers. I mean, if you fit Bell helmets great then it's handy that every shop in town has the full line, but being able to try 3-4 different fits in the same shop would be a nice convenience.

Some of the stories in the comments on this piece have me rethinking all the years I didn't wear a full face.

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primoz-resman
Primož Resman
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Having two titanium plates in my cheekbone from summer 2020, I'm still not putting a fullface on. They are way too hot to use them on the road and uphill, which is often done in traffic, so you need a helmet in either case. Having a half shell all the time is better than having a full face 20 % of the time (the descent).

As for the removable chinbars, I hate the feeling of the fullface as well, it closes off the field of vision, it blocks off the wind and the sound, etc. It's something you get used to, for sure, but as an ex-XC I'm comfortable with a half shell and don't see myself riding drastically different with a full face (if anything, on the trails that I know, I'm faster with my half-shell because I'm familiar with the wind and the sounds, so I know what the bike is doing).

The local regulators enforcing a full face helmet is also the reason I don't do local enduro races.

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Tim_Clayton
Tim_Clayton
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Thanks for the article Andrew. A couple of years ago (Sept 2019) when more ‘three-quarter’ helmets (eg Fox Dropframe) were coming on to the market, I was caused to post on another site’s forum. I’ve posted the same below because I think it’s relevant here, and edited it very slightly to take account of subsequent helmet and other safety purchases. I’m based in Adelaide, Australia, for context. 

I think the open face versus full face debate is more complex than full face is (all other things being equal like the helmets being compared are both MIPS or not etc) always safer. Two issues here I’ve been thinking through lately. 1 - There’s an argument (made by a medical friend of mine in ICU) that you can reconstruct a face but not a brain. He sees some (not all of course) head trauma victims wearing a full face with untouched faces but brain injuries, and some wearing a half lid with smashed up faces but untouched brain. In simple terms the face is a natural and effective crumple zone, take that away by wearing a full face and you transmit more force to the brain. (I know it’s more complex than this, but brighter people than me think the argument has merit and, as a Dad of a 15 year old shredder, it makes me think about what helmet he rides and when). So maybe a 3/4 lid keeps the ‘crumple zone’ and gives extra protection to the side and back of the skull. Or maybe we need to be talking about how well chin bars ‘crumple’ on our better DH helmets. 2 - a mate of mine recently injured his neck badly going OTB and face planting hard. He was wearing a half lid. Two independent neuro surgeons first asked, on seeing his X-ray, what helmet he was wearing - full or half. Both said if he was wearing a full face he would be dead as the chinbar would have further extended his neck. The take home message from them both was that if you want to wear a full face then also wear a neck brace (I know, that’s another debate).

Now a large(r) range of high quality three-quarter helmets are available, my teenage son and I use them as our daily driver even in warm weather. If my son is doing shuttles or otherwise wants to or should run his full face, then he wears it with a high quality neck brace (and if I had time to do shuttles I’d do the same, but I’m normally the one behind the wheel!). 

Thanks.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

ok, "facial crumple zone" is a fairly ick concept, but those are some interesting points. 

don't know if i'm rolling dice, of making calculated risks, but i haven't dusted off the ff for a few years. because i ride downcountry exclusively, of course.

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primoz-resman
Primož Resman
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tim_Clayton

See my comment above. The one with two titanium plates holding together my cheekbone and stuff. Food for thought, I had no concussion symptoms after than. I walked from the crash site (with the help of my friends as a precaution where it was slippery and to take my bike down to the road, where I was picked up with a car) and didn't know I had anything broken until I was told about that in the ER. My eye got saved by standard riding glasses, that did cause some additional stitches and I was VERY lucky to keep all my teeth, but yeah, no concussion.

As for the impact, it was a faceplant into a ditch that was running half a meter under the ground I was riding on (got out of balance on wet roots) without taking account the vertical I lost by moving forwards on a descent as well.

As for the neck injuries Tim is mentioning, funny story, I faceplanted about a year earlier (just a slight sprain on my neck) as well and had an OTB and a head-on crash onto a rock with the top of my head in 06 (oh, the glory of XC days). THAT caused a severely sprained neck, but luckily no damage to any of the vertebrae. A full face wouldn't make a difference in the 06 crash, but it might in the lighter (the first) of the two faceplants. And it definitely would in the cheekbone destroying one, but in what way (net gain or net loss) is something I don't intend thinking about too much.

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realtortechguy
realtortechguy
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Glad to hear you are ok Andrew.

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GeoMurph
GeoMurph
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I started wearing a convertible lid back in 2010ish when the only option was the Met Parachute. My dad got it for me as a birthday present, it had to be imported as it could not be sold in the US.  At the time I was living in San Luis Obispo, and most of the trails I was riding consisted of long fireroad climbs followed by fast, rocky descents on the network of old mining roads and improvised singletrack. The chin bar on the Parachute attached with two captive screws, so it was kind of a pain, but I used it regularly and liked the feeling of a little bit more protection. Next I upgraded to a Bell Super R, then my current helmet, a Leatt DBX 3.0. I kept the habit of using the chinbar on descents, and the other day it paid off for the first time in  years ( other than the gains in confidence). Riding down one of the California Bay Area's few truly rocky trails in Santa Teresa Park I went otb at a little bit above walking pace on a steep, tricky downhill switchback. The chinbar likely saved my teeth and definitely abrasion and bruising. Thanks to the helmet and my knee/elbow pads (also Leatt), I continued riding literally without a scratch and only wounded pride. Plus a helmet that now needs to be replaced (also impacted the temple), although unfortunately the DBX 3.0 is impossible to find as you mentioned Andrew. I suspect many of them are sitting in garages with seldom-ridden, pandemic-purchased bikes. I've got a Kali invader for the meantime, which I like but really enjoy the convertible aspect of the DBX and similar lids.

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hairymountainbeast
hairymountainbeast
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

This is a great article and comment thread! Been kicking around the idea of a full face since I started teaching a few years ago. Even though I've been riding for over two decades in a half shell, full coverage seems like a good idea with modern trail speeds. If can't talk, I can't work, and I've definitely crashed face first a handful of times. No significant damage, but close calls in my book. Mostly what's been keeping me from taking the leap is that I had no idea where to start. This has given me some superb ideas! Hopefully availability will get better soon! 

Thanks!

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skooks
Skooks
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Not specific to bike riding or head injury, but this is an interesting discussion on risk tolerance.

https://thepowdercloud.com/learn/avalanche-education/managing-avalanche-risk-part-2-acceptable-risk/

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Good article. I have spent a lot of time thinking about risk and safety for my various outdoor pursuits. There is definitely no one size fits all answer other than to say anyone participating in an activity with life altering potential outcomes should put some energy into evaluating those risks and responding appropriately for their situation.

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Where's the Meat!?!

Given recent developments perhaps now is a good time to discuss footwear with an eye to safety? Given the risks of MTBing we do ride with some fairly unprotective/unsupportive footwear. Is it time to consider above the ankle light hiker style MTB boots? Full face helmets for the feet if you will.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 1 week ago
0

Certainly whenever it is that I can ride again (I’m hearing for some folks it’s a year or more but I’m staying positive until I see a specialist) I will be looking into supports for both my Achilles. I know there are worse and more painful ways to F yourself up, but I still wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.

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BlinkTooFast
Clive Norton
5 months, 1 week ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

Agree totally about the need for full face helmets.

When I took my first motorbike lesson in 1995, which would've been before most of us bought gear, I remember the instructor asking "Why do you think they're called open face helmets...?"

I bought my first FF MTB helmet when the 1st gen MET Parachute launched, probably circa 2009, and have only worn FF helmets on MTBs since. I broke one with a face plant. I've seen two friends break them, too. Also face plants. Much better breaking helmets than faces.

To be fair, I also use open face (shudder) helmets on my gravel bike unless I'm taking it to trails. I rode 7,200km /120km elevation last year, so a FF would be a burden. I've broken 2-3 open face helmets on roads over the last 20 years, too, but never face-planted. Falling off road bikes seems to be a different style - usually low-side or high-side, and not usually face-plant (unless there's a head-on with a car, I suppose). Watching the TdF crashes supports this, too. Skinned thighs and broken collar bones, but relatively few face injuries.

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SomeBikeGuy
SomeBikeGuy
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Half shell helmets, for my partner and I, do bring up some issues. They typically tend to:

  • Be hotter to wear while pedalling up, which may not matter much if you're riding up the road on Fromme but sure does if you're on any singletrack climbs. Riding up any terrain, no matter how mellow, without my helmet properly on my head isn't an option for me so a full face while climbing is a bit problematic for us.
  • Compromise your hearing a bit. Again, not a huge deal as you can adapt to it but it's annoying.
  • Be heavier than half shell helmets, which can be noticeable in terms of how your neck feels after a ride. Don't believe me? Go for a ride with your regular helmet and then the same ride with a helmet that's significantly lighter.
  • Lead to eyewear issues. I don't ride without eye protection of some sort and looking like an idiot who wears glasses with a full face is a pretty awful look. Goggles would be better but for the fact that unless you're constantly taking them on and off they're all but useless anywhere other than in the bike park. This problem could be solvable with extra large sunglasses but it's very much both glasses to face and glasses to helmet fit dependent.

So why not go to a convertible full/half shell helmet?

  • They're generally a pain to convert back and forth. The mechanisms are so/so at best, they take forever, some leave you no choice but to take the helmet off to convert (Sweet Protection), most other convertible helmets are such a faff to convert back and forth that it's faster and easier to take the helmet off. Remember when we used to stop at the top of a climb to flip open a seat post quick release and drop our saddles? We fixed that annoyance with dropper posts for a reason.
  • Bulkiness. Every time you add a complication to a product, you're making it bulkier and heavier than it would ideally be. 
  • Cost. Most convertible helmets that aren't awful seem to cost about as much as a decent half shell + a decent full face. Given that, we've historically owned both and decided on which one to use based on what we're riding that day.

Given that we're starting to hit that point where our bodies are unhappy with 15+ years of abuse through mountain sports and we aren't healing as quickly as we used to, the fact that we both work in fields that require the ability to think, our incomes are creeping up, and we rather enjoy living without the kind of impairment a traumatic brain injury would entail, moving to using a full face on every ride makes sense. After checking out a few helmets and trying even more on, the Specialized Gambit is at the top of my list for a "ride all day, every day" full face. It's isn't an inexpensive helmet but it's a whole lot cheaper than dental surgery or a TBI so it's a cheap insurance policy. Now I've just got to find two of them.

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khai
khai
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I'm all but certain you've seen my Kali Invader.  If not you're welcome to check it out - the new V2 with the adjustable head cradle in the back fits WAY better than the original.  It's pretty light, well ventilated, and works well with glasses.  It almost  doesn't feel like a "real" full face (too light & open) and I swap it out for a heavier weight (DH rated) full face when I'm riding fast/really gnarly stuff or bike park.  They have a "lifetime replacement guarantee" as well, which I haven't used (and have no idea if they'd have stock if I had need to use it) - but it's a nice touch.  

A few years back I decided that most of my crashes come on "nothing" - so I decided that I'd commit to wearing elbow and knee protection more regularly.  A lightweight/breathable fullface helps extend that commitment.  (I also have a Hafclip that I've not yet tried - seems an ideal solution for fire road climbs)

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yardrec
yardrec
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

PowellRiviera
PowellRiviera
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

Squint
Squint
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

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syncro
Mark
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I pretty much always climb with the helmet off - even in winter. Climbing up you're never really going fast enough or doing anything dangerous enough to warrant a helmet anyways. Unless of course you're this guy - "look at the penalty for failure dude". At least they got it on video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVAF9QFcHME

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otagoboy
otagoboy
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Apparently, I didn't do enough to push the cause of full-face helmets this week so I ate shit today on a section of trail I've ridden more times than I can count. I'm okay, thanks. There were some equipment/performance issues - that I'm leaving aside for the moment - but suffice it to say I couldn't save it and didn't have time to react so I embraced the ground with a decent thud. Made it through the first verse or two of The Piano Has Been Drinking before my self-assessment was that I was okay. Some impressively raw scratches on my chin bar and my arm is throbbing from the impact (yeah I know). 

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mhaager2
Moritz Haager
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Damn! Glad you're OK.  Crashing sucks, and only gets worse with every passing birthday.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Cheers! Doesn’t happen that often because I’m pretty conservative with my riding but when it does…

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mnihiser
mnihiser
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major
AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Nice. Didn't know that one!

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major hairymountainbeast

There's a lot of great newer Waits tunes you're missing if you haven't moved beyond the drunken troubadour phase. 'Dirt' is from his least accessible album Bone Machine (1992) and anything from then on gets good weird.

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I like the idea of singing something you're confident in the lyrics of as a concussion self-check. Chocolate Jesus has a nice slow tempo for calming down to.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Thanks! 

I've never been much of a music-nerd, but I definitely need to pursue more Waits music than the stuff I know I like.

khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Damn dude, glad you're not badly hurt!

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Briain
Briain
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That sucks, it's almost as if your proving the hypothesis of your article though😜. Any chance you'd upload pictures of the chin bar to show what it saved your face from.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, should have snapped a photo in the moment probably but it's just some boring scuff marks on a black chin bar, on a helmet that's definitely due for replacement.

My "it was almost bad" stories can't touch a lot of the comments attached to this article. Scroll down and read Reuben's story below. UGH.

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Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I have a Bell Super DH.

I rarely use the chinbar for non bike park use,

(Poor) reasons not to:

  • Heat/breathability 
  • Most of our trails here in the Midwest go up and down all the time, no big climbs or descents. Long descents are measured in a minute or two, most are seconds.
  • Skipping the hassle of attaching it.
  • Best one of all: peer pressure! Very few people ride with a full face here (except in the bikepark)

This article was a good reason to reconsider this bad habit.

On 80F, 90% humidity days, I will still skip it. But on cool days? Wear it most of the time. And on slightly warmer days? I will commit to at least bringing the chinbar and wearing it for longer/gnarlier descents. I take plenty of breaks anyway.

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