Hands-on Gear Review

Fox Rampage Review

Low price and low weight, this is a capable model that helps save cash to put toward your next mountain bike.
Fox Rampage in Grey Yellow.
By: Luke Lydiard ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 31, 2014
Price:  $130 List  |  $103.96 at Competitive Cyclist - 20% Off
Pros:  Inexpensive, lightest and least expensive helmet to meet the ASTM-F1952 standard
Cons:  Lacks in durability, liner material is like a sponge, not as comfortable as more expensive lids
Manufacturer:   Fox Racing
52
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 20% 5
  • Visor - 10% 4
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Ventilation - 10% 6
  • Protection - 20% 5
  • Extras - 20% 4
  • Durability - 10% 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Best Buy Award

Our Verdict

The Rampage is the bargain full-face offering from Fox. The first thing you should consider about this helmet is that it retails for just $130, making it the second least expensive helmet in our review. It is priced well below the average of the six helmets in our test, which is about $200. It is the lightest and least expensive helmet in our test to meet the ASTM-F1952 standard, which we consider a good benchmark for lift-assisted riding. The next cheapest options that meet this standard are the Bell Transfer-9 and the Giro Cipher, which cost roughly 50% more than the Rampage. These qualities combine to earn this helmet our Best Buy Award.

It's lighter, cheaper, and meets the same standards as heavier more expensive lids. The only drawback is durability: it didn't stand up to everyday use very well. Also the ventilation within the helmet is not as good as on pricier lids. Still, we think this helmet offers the best bang for the buck of all the helmets we evaluated and is a good option for those pinching pennies to save for a new 650b DH rig. If you want a burlier version of this helmet, the Fox Rampage Pro Carbon is a more substantial version with a carbon shell. However, it is also much more expensive and actually weighs more despite the carbon.

This helmet is available in four sizes and at least four different colorways.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Fox Rampage is an inexpensive and lightweight full-face downhill mountain bike helmet. It is constructed from fiberglass and polystyrene foam, which is lined with a comfortable velvety liner.

Performance Comparison


Luke Lydiard spots his landing in the Fox Rampage.
Luke Lydiard spots his landing in the Fox Rampage.

Comfort


The Rampage's interior foam is lined with a velvety material that feels very comfortable against the skin when you first put the helmet on. The chin strap is also lined with this material and keeps the chin strap comfortable as well. Unfortunately, this material is not the most wicking, and it quickly becomes soaked in sweat. The interior padding that the velvety material covers is not as dense as other open-cell foam and results in a much less plush feel to the helmet overall.


We found the Bell Transfer-9 to be the plushest, most comfortable helmet in our test because of its thick, dense interior padding, and we awarded it a Top Pick for being the most comfortable helmet. The Transfer-9 just outscored the Troy Lee D3, which our testers also found to be very comfortable.

Visor


This helmet has the second smallest visor in our test. The visor suffers more in the width department than in the length department, and the length is average. It does an adequate job of blocking the sun when riding head-on into it, but not as good of a job when the sun is off to one side or when riding through corners. Our testers also felt that the visor's narrowness made the helmet less cool looking than helmets with bigger brims.


The visor is locked in place with a plastic thumbscrew beneath the center of the visor. The thumbscrew passes though a slider tab attached to the visor, similar in design to most of the competition. This thumb screw is very close to the visor itself and is a little hard to manipulate with gloves on. The screw is not as bad as the very flat thumbscrew found on the Bell Sanction, but not nearly as easy to use as the thumbscrew found on the POC Cortex Flow, which features one of our favorites.

The Rampage's visor is secured with a plastic thumbscrew beneath the visor. We found this screw slightly harder to manipulate than others.
The Rampage's visor is secured with a plastic thumbscrew beneath the visor. We found this screw slightly harder to manipulate than others.

The best visors are found on the Giro Cipher and the Troy Lee D3, both of which have long and wide visors to shield the eyes from sun, rain, mud, or roost while giving these helmets a pro look.

Profile view of the Fox Rampage with the visor in the fully up and fully down positions.
Profile view of the Fox Rampage with the visor in the fully up and fully down positions.

Weight


The Rampage is the third lightest helmet included in our review. At 36.8 ounces it is the lightest helmet that is certified by the ASTM-F1952 standard. The two lightest helmets in our test are the Bell Sanction at 34 ounces and the POC Cortex Flow at 35.8 ounces, neither of which carry the ASTM-F1952 label. The heaviest helmet we tested is the Bell Transfer-9 at 45.1 ounces. The average of the six helmets in our field is 39.1 ounces, putting the Rampage below average in weight.


The fiberglass-shelled Rampage actually weighs less than its much more expensive big brother, the Fox Rampage Pro Carbon. The difference in the two helmets is a lot more than just the different shell materials. The Pro is a whole lot more helmet than the regular version, but it also costs over three times more.

Ventilation


After our first ride in this helmet, our initial impression was that it does not have very good airflow through the helmet, though the chin guard does allow for better than average respiration. The velvety covering which lines the interior padding is very comfortable when you first put the helmet on, but it does not wick sweat away as well as other materials. After just a few lift-assisted laps in this helmet, the lining became soaked in sweat. Another thing we noticed is that the front vents and vents below the ears are blocked on the inside by the interior padding, which prevents airflow. It's as if the polystyrene and the interior padding were designed by separate people.


The Rampage does make an attempt at an overbrow vent, which connects to interior air channels. Unfortunately, it is not as well executed as systems found on pricier lids. The intake is covered by fabric mesh that restricts airflow and the shallow channels are partially blocked by the seam that attaches the mesh to the interior padding. We can't say that we noticed this system working while riding, even at high speeds.

We ended up giving the it the same ventilation score as the Troy Lee D3, Bell Transfer-9, and Bell Sanction. The body doesn't vent as well as the D3 or Transfer, but the smaller profile of the chin bar and large front breathing hole allow a rider to breath easier than in the other two lids. The top score in our ventilation test went to the POC Cortex Flow, which has many large vents, a very large breathing hole, and a much airier design than any other helmet we tested.

The large metal mesh covered breathing hole in the Rampage's chin guard provides a good amount of airflow. The Rampage scored as well as most other helmets in our ventilation test.
The large metal mesh covered breathing hole in the Rampage's chin guard provides a good amount of airflow. The Rampage scored as well as most other helmets in our ventilation test.

Protection


The Rampage meets the ASTM-F1952 as well as the usual CPSC 1203 and CE EN 1078 standards. While all bicycle helmets sold in the US and Europe meet the CPSC and EN standards, we think that downhillers should seek helmets which meet the ASTM-F1952 standard, since this certifies a higher level of protection aimed at more aggressive riding. This is by far the least expensive helmet we tested that meets this criteria, and it only costs $130, which is why it wins our Best Buy Award. The next least expensive options are the Bell Transfer-9 or Giro Cipher, which both retail for $200. We don't think that a helmet is the best place to skimp, but if you are seriously counting pennies then this one is worth considering.


This helmet has one of the smallest profiles of the helmets in our test. While we aren't going to say that it has less protection than other ASTM-F1952 certified helmets, we will say there is a lot less to it than other lids. If we were planning on wrecking we'd rather be wearing a more substantial helmet like the Bell Transfer or Troy Lee D3. The whole reason you wear a helmet is because you are planning on crashing at some point right?

The Fox Rampage meets the ASTM 1952 standard for downhill mountain biking helmets. We think that riders who regularly ride lifts should consider helmets which meet this standard.
The Fox Rampage meets the ASTM 1952 standard for downhill mountain biking helmets. We think that riders who regularly ride lifts should consider helmets which meet this standard.

Extras


This model comes with a meshy bag, but that's it. It did not come with any extra hardware, a spare visor, or any camera mounts. Considering this is the second least expensive helmet that we evaluated, we weren't expecting much.


If you need camera mounts check out either the Bell Transfer-9 or Giro Cipher both of which come with mounts for GoPro or Contour cameras.

Durability


Our testers found this helmet to lack in everyday durability. For starters, the paint scuffed very easily. One of our testers theorized that the helmet lacked a clear coat over the paint. Whatever the reason, don't expect this helmet to look new after much use.


This is the only helmet we tested that had this type of failure. We think this is due to the paint chipping rather than the glue failing. The glue actually peeled chips of paint off. Regardless of what failed, we weren't impressed.

The vinyl gasket eventually failed where we would grip the Rampage's chin guard when putting it on and taking it off.
The vinyl gasket eventually failed where we would grip the Rampage's chin guard when putting it on and taking it off.

For a helmet which will stand up to everyday abuse better, we recommend the Bell Transfer-9 or the Troy Lee D3. While the D3 is a lot more expensive than the Rampage, the Transfer-9 is just $70 more.

The Rampage's paint seems to lack the clear coat found on fancier helmets and we found it scuffed very easily.
The Rampage's paint seems to lack the clear coat found on fancier helmets and we found it scuffed very easily.

Best Application


This is is a good helmet to wear when saving money for your next downhill bike.

Brad Scheffler whips it a bit to the right in the Fox Rampage.
Brad Scheffler whips it a bit to the right in the Fox Rampage.

Value


This helmet wins our Best Buy Award for being the least expensive helmet in our test to be ASTM-F1952 certified. The Bell Sanction is a far less expensive helmet but is not certified to the same standard. We've seen the Rampage for close to $100 on our affiliate websites using our price finder tool. If you only have around $100 to spend on a helmet, then we recommend you try to find a deal on this helmet. If you can spend $100 more, we recommend you go for either the Giro Cipher or Bell Transfer-9, both of which scored much higher in our tests. These two helmets only retail for $70 more than the Rampage at $200 each, and can also be found at deep discounts.

Conclusion


We recommend this helmet for those looking to maximize protection while spending the least amount of money. The Rampage is the lightest and least expensive helmet we tested which meets the ASTM-F1952 standard, and we think downhill riders should consider this as a benchmark.

Downhilling is an expensive form of cycling. There are many ways to save money, but sacrificing safety shouldn't be of them. For this reason we only recommend this helmet for those on the tightest of budgets. If you have a bit more to spend on a helmet, we think you should consider a helmet in the $200 range.

Other Versions


The Fox Rampage is the little brother to the Fox Rampage Pro Carbon, which is the helmet Ratboy was wearing when he aired to flat at the 2014 world champs in Norway. The regular model isn't just a fiberglass version of the Pro Carbon, however. The Rampage is a much lower profile helmet and is actually lighter than the Pro Carbon, though we feel that the Pro Carbon may offer a bit more protection. The biggest difference is price. The Pro Carbon version retails for $425 making it more than three times the cost of the regular Rampage. Is it really three times better? We doubt it.

Luke Lydiard

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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