Enduro-style full-face helmet vs proper DH full-face helmet

dhp

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2. November 2020
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I'm currently in the market for a new full-face helmet and I'm trying to pick a direction for the purchase.

For some context, I live in the Alps, I ride an enduro bike, and although I'm not the hardest-charging rider out there (nor do I have such ambitions), I had a nasty crash in the local bike park recently that shook me up. I was wearing my Bell Super 3R (a convertible helmet) and quickly learned its limitations. Despite the chin guard, I got a good knock to my jaw and was left with a gash in the chin. Fortunately nothing worse came out of it, but it made me doubt my assumption that a convertible full-face helmet was sufficient for my riding.

Honestly, I just don't trust it anymore, and I can't imagine feeling confident on the bike again anytime soon - not without upgrading my protective gear. So now I'm looking at proper full-face helmets. Having read a bunch of reviews in the past couple of days, I'm trying to figure out whether to get a proper DH full-face helmet, or if a light DH-certified but enduro-oriented lid would be sufficient.

My first step was to look at the lighter full-face helmets, but I'm left with an impression that they may be too much of a compromise, and perhaps too little of a step up from what I already have. I imagine myself using the new helmet for all my riding at least for the foreseeable future. Given that I only have one head, and happen to be quite fond of keeping it serving me well, especially the mushy parts inside, I feel extremely risk-averse right now and suffering the extra heat feels like an acceptable tradeoff for extra safety of a DH full-face helmet.

I see that the TLD D4 is touted in all reviews as a great, relatively light DH helmet and the composite version can be found from around €350, which is acceptable. The home trails in my region are already harsher than what I used to think of as home trails when my local mountain peaked at 1000 m. So perhaps it's not the end of the world to haul the D4 on the ascents and put it on for the descents?

Of course, there is also something to be said for the lightweight enduro helmets such as TLD Stage or Fox Proframe, but from my current (chickened-out) perspective I'm having a hard time justifying that route with anything but reduced cost compared to D4 or similar.

You'll probably notice that I already sound biased, and I guess I am. But this is a hefty investment and I don't want to rush it. So I wanted to get some first-hand experience if possible. Has anyone ridden both types? Which one do you favour, and do you trust both to protect you fully in the event of a crash? Does it make sense to get a lightweight full-face and call it a day, or is the best approach really in getting the lightest and comfiest full DH helmet? Am I underestimating how hot and unpleasant to wear the DH helmets such as D4 get, compared to the more lightweight variants?

It's funny because my apprehension probably lies in my long-standing belief that I wasn't that fast/serious/dedicated/skilled of a rider to warrant a proper DH helmet, but this crash was a potentially expensive mistake that could have happened on most trails I frequent, and now I just don't care about what's "appropriate" anymore all that much :)
 
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10. August 2011
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Get the proper DH Helmet then. Proper
Fullface helmets are always really warm when pedaling uphill. And after all I don't think the difference between an Enduro Style FF (unless you are talking about a really lightweight one) and a proper DH Fullface Helmet in terms of temperature is really all that much.

Just stay away from MX FF helmets. Those are heavy af and do really suck when pedaling.
 
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1. März 2004
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You can't protect yourself against everything, but you better don't fool yourself that any protection will protect you if shit happens.
I mean, if you are riding with a normal helmet without chinbar and without goggles, you will automatically take more care not to crash.
Friend of mine had a Super3 and it cost him his front teeth in a stupid slow bikepark crash.

A FF DH helmet on a normal trail when not riding super fast will fool you into a safety that does not exist.
When you want to race blind and really fast (race, bikepark) , a DH FF helmet is the only option.
 
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18. September 2019
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You can't protect yourself against everything, but you better don't fool yourself that any protection will protect you if shit happens.
I mean, if you are riding with a normal helmet without chinbar and without goggles, you will automatically take more care not to crash.
Friend of mine had a Super3 and it cost him his front teeth in a stupid slow bikepark crash.

A FF DH helmet on a normal trail when not riding super fast will fool you into a safety that does not exist.
When you want to race blind and really fast (race, bikepark) , a DH FF helmet is the only option.
That's an old myth t that needs to die. The same risky behavior argument is haunting moto, kayak and and ski communities. It has been proven false over and over.

Example:

 
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14. August 2008
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That's an old myth t that needs to die. The same risky behavior argument is haunting moto, kayak and and ski communities. It has been proven false over and over.

Example:

As far as I can see (read) there's more children and adolescents not wearing helmets than adults. This means that there's not a direct correlation between helmet use and recklessness (or the lack thereof). Older people don't take risks as much as younger ones do and if they do, they try to be protected the best possible.

For me it's not a myth that people who wear full protection take more risks, it's just that those who don't protect themselves, are of an age group that doesn't care that much about safety in the first place.
 
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11. Mai 2021
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As far as I can see (read) there's more children and adolescents not wearing helmets than adults. This means that there's not a direct correlation between helmet use and recklessness (or the lack thereof). Older people don't take risks as much as younger ones do and if they do, they try to be protected the best possible.

For me it's not a myth that people who wear full protection take more risks, it's just that those who don't protect themselves, are of an age group that doesn't care that much about safety in the first place.
I always find it pretty funny when people dismiss results of scientific research that very likely involved a lot of thought and time with a wave of the hand. I am not saying that one shouldn‘t be critical and it is totally worth looking at some details here since the research was based mainly on road cycling and we are mainly discussing mountain biking but it‘s rather bold to draw conclusions on a potential fail of the study based on that short news in that media. Could very well be that they respected what you said in their statistics and still came to their conclusion.
 
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I always find it pretty funny when people dismiss results of scientific research that very likely involved a lot of thought and time with a wave of the hand. I am not saying that one shouldn‘t be critical and it is totally worth looking at some details here since the research was based mainly on road cycling and we are mainly discussing mountain biking but it‘s rather bold to draw conclusions on a potential fail of the study based on that short news in that media. Could very well be that they respected what you said in their statistics and still came to their conclusion.
Then they should state it which they don’t. What makes you think that my conclusion is wrong having more prove to it from this article’s findings than not.
 
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11. Mai 2021
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Then they should state it which they don’t. What makes you think that my conclusion is wrong having more prove to it from this article’s findings than not.
I guess you don‘t even know the study and only read the press news about it, right? So you have all the right to articulate your question and you might even address it to cyclingtips and ask them for deeper research and further information. But you STATED that obviously the conclusion of the study was wrong.

I don‘t know anything about the study beside what was written in the Weblink. But I don‘t make any claims. I am also not saying that your assumption is wrong. Could be right. But what prove do you have? Might be the study has more prove for their claim. Just saying. Go there and check the study. You are welcome to report back on your findings.
 
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I guess you don‘t even know the study and only read the press news about it, right? So you have all the right to articulate your question and you might even address it to cyclingtips and ask them for deeper research and further information. But you STATED that obviously the conclusion of the study was wrong.

I don‘t know anything about the study beside what was written in the Weblink. But I don‘t make any claims. I am also not saying that your assumption is wrong. Could be right. But what prove do you have? Might be the study has more prove for their claim. Just saying. Go there and check the study. You are welcome to report back on your findings.
You seem to have a problem with people not being off your opinion basing your arguments on some far fetched theory of yours without no proof whatsoever. I’m not gonna argue with you anymore. Your right and I won’t be bothered anymore.
 
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18. September 2019
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As far as I can see (read) there's more children and adolescents not wearing helmets than adults. This means that there's not a direct correlation between helmet use and recklessness (or the lack thereof). Older people don't take risks as much as younger ones do and if they do, they try to be protected the best possible.

For me it's not a myth that people who wear full protection take more risks, it's just that those who don't protect themselves, are of an age group that doesn't care that much about safety in the first place.
It's not just cycling. With the advent of helmets in skiing, the same arguments were made. In the end, it is very difficult to isolate parameters, even to identify the direction of possible casual connections.

For example, skiers who were more likely to engage in riskier behavior were also more likely to be early adopters in helmet use. This can be (and has been) misinterpreted.

The debate gets further muddied because use of protectors enables behavior that would otherwise be too risky (in other words, it reduces the consequences part of a risk calculation). Looking at it this way, yes it can make people ride in ways that make them more likely to crash. However, humans are rarely good at intuitive risk analysis, so for most of us this doesn't really have any effect.
 

dhp

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@cxfahrer and @Elhabash et al.
I'm not the autority to declare merit or lack thereof to this debate, but even if there is something to @cxfahrer's argument, at the age of 34 I feel like my daredevil days are pretty much over and I can't imagine a new helmet resuscitating them. I imagine it only potentially having an opposite, positive effect, where it may make me overcome the mental block caused by the crash sooner.

@Dominik19xx
Thanks for the input. I am just looking for a new helmet that is as sure to protect me as a bike helmet can be in the event of having a nasty crash, while not making me absolutely miserable for wearing it. Moto helmets are definitely overkill and I find them inappropriate for MTB use of any kind in this day and age.

As the first step towards settling this matter for myself, I decided to order the TLD D4 composite and see how it fits me - and how it feels to wear it. If I can conclude my search here, I'll consider it a small success.
 
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edit: what about this one? It addresses my thoughts about feeling disconnected. Very light, well vented, and not too expensive.

 
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There are also more nuances in the matter than just lightweight enduro vs heavy DH helmet. The Smith Mainline comes to my mind, for example. I had some helmets at home to check the fit and regarding that I loved the Mainline and the iXS Trigger FF MIPS. The Smith had to go because the MIPS implementation was noisy in my model and it was a tad too much helmet for me. I guess in the alps I would have gone towards the Smith! Anyhow, I already have my second Trigger FF MIPS. The first one broke with some ribs in a crash. It really did its job so well that I directly went for a new one. I had a hard impact to the head, the shell broke and I basically had nothing at all. It's super-light, airy and safety seems on par, too.
 
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I believe that it is very hard to get some good advice on this question from people that have helmet A or helmet B. Some people might tell you that they crashed with their helmet and the helmet took a good beating and it saved their lives etc. But it is not possible to extract from these stories how big the forces on the helmet were / the angle in which they hit the helmet / the area of the surface that was affected by the hit etc. Therefore, my guess is that it is not possible to summarize the different stories about crashes and come up with an "overall" result like: helmet A is superior to helmet B.
It might be much better to check if a helmet was tested according to some standard such as ASTM F1952. All helmets that pass this test and get the approval have gone through the exact same testing procedure and it is fair to say that they all fulfil at least what is required to pass the test - some might fulfil even much more. I am currently using a helmet with a chin bar that can be removed. It is a Leatt DBX and as far as I know it was only tested according to a procedure that does not include any tests on the chin bar. Therefore I guess it is hard to make claims about how much protection this chin bar would give me (or anybody else) in the case of a crash. The next helmet I buy will definitely be one that has got the ASTM F1952 approval.
 
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31. Oktober 2017
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@cxfahrer and @Elhabash et al.
I'm not the autority to declare merit or lack thereof to this debate, but even if there is something to @cxfahrer's argument, at the age of 34 I feel like my daredevil days are pretty much over and I can't imagine a new helmet resuscitating them. I imagine it only potentially having an opposite, positive effect, where it may make me overcome the mental block caused by the crash sooner.

@Dominik19xx
Thanks for the input. I am just looking for a new helmet that is as sure to protect me as a bike helmet can be in the event of having a nasty crash, while not making me absolutely miserable for wearing it. Moto helmets are definitely overkill and I find them inappropriate for MTB use of any kind in this day and age.

As the first step towards settling this matter for myself, I decided to order the TLD D4 composite and see how it fits me - and how it feels to wear it. If I can conclude my search here, I'll consider it a small success.
My first "full face" helmet was the convertible Uvex Jakkyll HDE 2.0. It took a beating and held up good in a couple of crashes, but I have since switched to a Fox Proframe. It suits my riding and it feels sturdy, but I am in no way a fast charging bike park rat. I rather pick my lines than just send it. I have seen a guy take a nasty crash and the coupling mechanism of the Jakkyll chin guard gashed his eyebrow completely open. On the other hand, I saw a woman crash in a rock garden in Winterberg and hit her head on a stone directly through the front opening, she was wearing an IXS DH full face helmet. There are limitations to which extent any full face helmet will protect you. I think the most important thing is that a helmet fits you good and snug.

If you do some shuttling where there is some pedalling involved or in a really warm climate, a Proframe style helmet is definitely really good and offers good protection. I like it because it doesn't isolate my senses from the surroundings so much and I can hear what is happening around me quite good. On the downside I got stung in the head by a wasp 3 times this season, which probably wouldn't happen with a less ventilated helmet.
On the topic of correlation between wearing a helmet and taking risks; I am only able to speak for myself but I wouldn't say I take more risks when wearing more protection, I may take a line with a bit more confidence, but that is by no mean with more risk... I tend to know my "daily" limits and have also lived out my competitive ambitions in my track and field career, so I don't feel the need I have to prove anything to anyone or myself. I have read some Australian studies that other traffic members subconsciously take less care of cyclists that wear a helmet in traffic and there seemed to be also some data to back this up.

Anyway, I think the choice you made to go with the D4 is a good one. Just take the helmet as a piece of protective gear that minimises the head injuries in the event of a bad crash not something that completely prevents them.

Cheers, Luka
 
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@dhp : Have you considered getting both a full on DH and a light Enduro Helmet? It sounds like you alternate between pedaling up and bikepark riding? Maybe use the DH helmet on lift/shuttle days and the lighter one when pedaling.


I mean, if you are riding with a normal helmet without chinbar and without goggles, you will automatically take more care not to crash.

A FF DH helmet on a normal trail when not riding super fast will fool you into a safety that does not exist.
No matter if this is actually true or not, one huge argument in favour of a good helmet is the fact that many (serious) injuries occur in relatively easy riding situations. Not just when taking risks or racing blind. Often due to bad luck, random chance, or tiny instances of inattention, which no one can avoid all the time.

Even the pros are susceptible to this. E.g. Remy Metallier broke his back while looking at a trail feature (and falling of a bridge) and Yoann Barelli broke his knee while hopping over a log.
 

dhp

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2. November 2020
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@dhp : Have you considered getting both a full on DH and a light Enduro Helmet? It sounds like you alternate between pedaling up and bikepark riding? Maybe use the DH helmet on lift/shuttle days and the lighter one when pedaling.

Yep, that's about right, and I've been thinking about getting both in due time. I ordered a couple other helmets to try, both DH and enduro, so I guess I'll just keep what fits me best in the end. Then I can purchase the other one for next season.

Sidenote - Maciag currently has a 15% discount on everything with the code #SENDIT15, it can even be combined with other discounts.
 
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