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iXS Trigger AM Review

The Trigger AM is a no-nonsense helmet that covers all the basics
iXS Trigger AM
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $149 List | $149.00 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Refined, comfortable, durable
Cons:  No rotational impact protection, fairly basic
Manufacturer:   iXS
By Zach Wick ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 21, 2019
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#20 of 23
  • Protection - 25% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Ventilation - 20% 8
  • Features - 15% 6
  • Weight - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The IXS Trigger AM is a well put together helmet with clear attention to detail. It isn't the most feature-packed model we tested, but we found that it's a comfortable and durable option that provides good value for the price. Unlike all of the other models in this review, the Trigger AM doesn't include a rotational impact protection system. Despite this, we liked its coverage and secure fit. Its harness system is comfortable and adjustable enough to fit a wide range of head shapes and sizes, and the magnetic chin clasp is easy to operate when wearing thick gloves. The large vents are well placed and work well enough to keep you from overheating on hot days. We feel that this helmet is refined enough to be worth a look from anyone in the helmet market despite the lack of a rotational impact protection system.

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iXS Trigger AM
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iXS Trigger AM
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $149.00 at Competitive Cyclist
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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90
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87
Star Rating
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Pros Refined, comfortable, durableAmazing ventilation, comfortable, dual-shell protection, good head coverage, feature-packedCrash detection system, lightweight, good ventilation, comfortable, adjustable visor, MIPS, good coverageLots of safety certifications, enhanced protective features, well ventilated, deep fit with lots of coverageComfortable, secure, airy, feature-rich
Cons No rotational impact protection, fairly basicAverage weight, expensiveExpensiveExpensive, moderate weight, visor design doesn't block low sun angles that well, helmet shell may conflict with some sunglass armsOn the heavier side, non-adjustable strap splitters
Bottom Line The Trigger AM avoids frills and adeptly executes the basicsIf you don't mind the price tag you'll be rewarded with top-of-the-line comfort, protection, and versatilityThe Specialized Ambush is one of the best helmets in this test, and it comes with a unique crash detection systemFully-featured and high coverage, this is a protective new helmet from POCThis new model took us by surprise and was one of our top rated favorites
Rating Categories iXS Trigger AM Giro Manifest Spherical Specialized Ambush with ANGi POC Kortal Race MIPS Fox Racing Speedframe Pro
Protection (25%)
7
9
9
10
9
Comfort (20%)
8
9
9
8
9
Ventilation (20%)
8
10
9
9
9
Features (15%)
6
9
9
9
8
Weight (10%)
7
7
9
7
7
Durability (10%)
9
9
8
9
9
Specs iXS Trigger AM Giro Manifest... Specialized Ambush... POC Kortal Race MIPS Fox Racing...
Rotational Impact Protection System? None Spherical MIPS SL MIPS Integra MIPS
Adjustable Visor? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of vents 19 19 20 17 19
Goggle or Sunglasses Integration? No Integrated eyewear grippers Yes, sunglass & goggle integration Yes Yes
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 14.38 oz, 407g, size M/L 14.1 oz, 401g size L 12.35 oz, 350g, size Large 14.14 oz, 401g size M/L 14.4 oz, 407g size L
Sizes S/M, L/XL S-L S - L XS/SM, M/L L/XL S - L
Certifications CPSC, CE EN1078 CPSC Bicycle for ages 5+, CE EN1078 CPSC, CE EN1078, AS/NZS2063 CPSC Bicycle for ages 5+, EN1078, Dutch NTA 8776 e-bike, AS/NZS 2063 CPSC, CE EN1078, AS/NZS2063

Our Analysis and Test Results

IXS just announced that they now make the Trigger AM with MIPS. The MIPS-equipped Trigger AM MIPS retails for $189. April 2021

IXS has been making high-quality protective mountain bike equipment for decades, and their commitment to sponsoring high profile athletes and events has made them one of the most visible and popular brands in the industry. Consequently, the recently released Trigger AM generated a lot of buzz when it hit the market. We were excited to get our hands on it and see how it stacks up against the competition. We quickly found a lot to like, but we also have reservations about certain aspects.

Performance Comparison


The Trigger AM provides solid coverage and a comfortable fit.
The Trigger AM provides solid coverage and a comfortable fit.
Photo: Kelby Spore

Protection


The elephant in the room with the Trigger AM is that it doesn't feature any rotational impact protection system. These days, almost every major helmet manufacturer includes a system like MIPS, or a proprietary take on it, with their mid to high-end helmets. We were surprised to see that IXS included nothing of the sort. While the science on rotational systems like MIPS certainly isn't settled, it's generally accepted these days that they can help reduce g-forces on impact and help protect from concussions. We're not in a position to evaluate the effectiveness of these systems or whether or not they're necessary. We are, however, willing to accept any extra head protection we can get, and we think that the theory behind rotational impact protection passes the marketing gimmick smell test. We docked the Trigger AM's protection rating slightly for the omission, but we are still confident in the protection it provides.

Coverage-wise the Trigger comes in roughly average among helmets we tested. Like most modern trail and enduro helmets, it has a little bit of extra protection for the back of the head and the temples. The fit is relatively deep and confidence-inspiring, and the harness system provides a secure fit that keeps the shell in place.

The IXS harness has enough adjustability to find a good fit.
The IXS harness has enough adjustability to find a good fit.
Photo: Kelby Spore

Comfort


The Trigger AM is a comfortable helmet that will help you conquer long rides without discomfort. IXS has clearly devoted time to refining the shape of their EPS shell, and everyone that tried this helmet on immediately liked the fit. The shell doesn't create any uncomfortable pressure points on the skull, and the interior of the helmet has minimal but sufficient padding to keep things nice and comfy. That said, they only offer two shell sizes, S/M and M/L, so some riders with outlier head sizes may not be able to find the perfect fit.

The harness system has a good amount of adjustability, and the gaps between indexed settings are small enough to dial in the fit accurately. The EPS shell also has an insert with three different height setting adjustments for the harness molded in. We initially had issues with the adjustment dial at the back of the head sitting uncomfortably on top of the bump at the back of the skull, but once we adjusted the harness' height we were pleased with the fit.

The helmet straps are quick and easy to adjust. Just a minute or two of fiddling the first time we put the helmet on had everything dialed in and comfortable. The chin strap also comes with a soft foam pad for a little bit of extra comfort if you need it.

We appreciated the ventilation on long climbs.
We appreciated the ventilation on long climbs.
Photo: Kelby Spore

Ventilation


With 19 well-sized and well-placed vents, the Trigger AM was one of the airiest models we tested. The large front-facing vents do a good job of channeling air into a series of shallow grooves on the interior of the EPS shell. The shallow channels don't seem to keep air moving as well as some of the top performers in this metric, but we had no complaints when wearing the Trigger AM, even on balmy days.

While it isn't feature-rich, the Trigger AM fulfills the basics.
While it isn't feature-rich, the Trigger AM fulfills the basics.
Photo: Zach Wick

Features


It seems that IXS chose to focus on executing the fundamentals with the Trigger AM. When compared to some of the more gadget-filled helmets in our test, this model comes across as fairly basic. We've already covered the three-position adjustable harness, indexed fit adjustment dial, and ventilation system, and beyond those, everything is fairly standard.

The visor is relatively short and doesn't offer much protection from sun or rain, but it is adjustable across three positions with the highest leaving room to stow goggles on the front of the helmet. The visor fasteners are metal and can be tensioned if the visor starts to loosen up over time.

The Trigger AM's final notable feature is the magnetic chin strap buckle. It took some getting used to, but eventually, we came around to it. By the end of testing, we preferred the magnetic attachment to the traditional plastic buckle.

The interior is comfortable despite minimal padding.
The interior is comfortable despite minimal padding.
Photo: Zach Wick

Weight


At 407 grams, our M/L Trigger AM sits toward the high end of the weight spectrum. The lightest helmets in our test came in at well under 400 grams. Given the lack of features, we hoped that this model might be a little bit easier on the scale. That said, the quality of fit makes this helmet feel super light on your head, and it doesn't feel like a burden at all out on the trail.

Durability


We were very impressed with the Trigger's construction once we got our hands on it. IXS executed the basics extremely well, and we have no concerns about this helmet's longevity. It's clear that they sacrificed weight in favor of durability in a few areas to ensure that they provided a quality product. The polycarbonate shell covers the entire exterior of the helmet with no EPS foam exposed on the lower edge, the harness anchor points are well attached to the EPS inserts, and the low-friction magnetic buckle is rock solid.

Throughout our testing process, we weren't the most responsible helmet owners, but in the end, our Trigger AM still looks good as new. The outer shell held up well against scratching and scuffs, and the visor is flexible enough that it survived many questionable storage and transportation scenarios.

We grew to appreciate the magnetic buckle as testing progressed.
We grew to appreciate the magnetic buckle as testing progressed.
Photo: Kelby Spore

Value


The Trigger AM isn't the cheapest model we tested, but it's not far off. While it doesn't offer the same number of features as many models we tested, IXS poured a lot into the helmet's construction and functionality. It's comfortable, airy, and durable, and we think it's a good value for the price. Traditionalists or rotational impact protection non-believers looking for a helmet that won't fall apart halfway through the season should give this model a look.

Conclusion


We love the attention that IXS paid to the Trigger AM's basic features. While it isn't a feature-packed super helmet like some of its competitors, it's well-thought-out and durably constructed. IXS is able to offer it at a price point that makes it a viable option, but if you're looking for one of the top helmets on the market, you might want to look at some of the other models in our review.

Photo: Kelby Spore

Zach Wick