Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Full Face Downhill Helmets

By Pat Donahue ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Monday November 9, 2020
Some of our full face helmet test models.
Some of our full face helmet test models.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

We rode these helmets as much as possible in as many settings as possible. From dry and dusty Northern California bike park laps, to wet and humid days in Whistler, We wore them chattering down rooty trails, and we wore them gapping big jumps, heck, we even wore them while climbing. All of this in the name of finding the right lid for you, your wallet, and your budget.

Proper fit is an important element of a comfortable helmet, but...
Proper fit is an important element of a comfortable helmet, but there are a variety of other factors we evaluated for each model.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Comfort


Comfort is a bit of a subjective metric. What is comfortable for one noggin may not be comfortable on the next head. That said, we can always find certain elements of a helmet's comfort that are true for every head.

To test the comfort of each model, we had our team of testers with various head shapes try them on and provide feedback. We assessed each model based on the shape of the helmet, lining material, placement of padding, and comfort of the chin straps. We often wore the helmets back to back for a direct comparison. We rode in each model for an extended period and kept note of each helmet's comfort during real-world riding conditions.

When evaluating protection we consider a number of things including...
When evaluating protection we consider a number of things including rotational impact protection systems like the "turbines" inside of a Leatt helmet.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Protection


Our assessment of protection involves a combination of factors. We did not perform any scientific tests of our own, nor did we go out of our way to crash in any of these helmets. We took each helmet's materials, construction, protective features like MIPS or similar, certifications, and the overall feel of each model into account in this rating.

Weight is easily measured using our digital scale. Enduro helmets...
Weight is easily measured using our digital scale. Enduro helmets like the Troy Lee Stage MIPS represent a breed of lightweight and well ventilated full-face helmets.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Weight


Each helmet was weighed on our digital scale in ounces. All helmets are medium in size. Weighed while dry and clean with no dirt or excess water weight.

Ventilation


Our testers wore each of these helmets in a range of weather and temperature conditions which helped us assess their ventilation or lack thereof. On short pedals in hot temperatures, it quickly became apparent which models prioritize ventilation and which do not. The number, size, and placement of the vents on each helmet were taken into consideration.

We did real world testing of each helmet's ventilation and visor...
We did real world testing of each helmet's ventilation and visor while out on trail rides.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Visor


Visors are an important feature that virtually every full-face helmet has. We assessed each helmet's visor in terms of its shape and adjustability. We also considered the attachment method of each visor, and special features like break-away capability.

We tested these helmets so you don't have to. We hope you find the...
We tested these helmets so you don't have to. We hope you find the model that best suits your needs, riding style, and budget.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


Durability is a tough metric to rate without crashing in each helmet. Our durability rating is based on the condition of each helmet after months of use. This includes the exterior finish, padding, stitching, trim, chin strap, and visor attachments. Some helmets are more durable than others, and we did our best to determine that based on our experience.