Low in weight and with loads of ventilation, the new Proframe full face helmet promises ‘Open-faced breathability with Downhill certified protection’. but Is it comfortable enough to be worn on the ups as well as the downs?
Words: Sean White Photos: Callum Philpott
We’ve never had it as good when it comes to choices in kit, and helmets in particular have had a plenty of design and development teams’ attention over the last few years. In the past it was very much a case of owning a lighter weight open face helmet for trail riding and a proper full-face lid for DH use. For uplifting and bike park trips it would always be a case of weighing up the tracks (and risks) and packing both types in your kit bag to give you options.
With the enduro and stage racing category growing in popularity, we’ve seen plenty of innovation and re-thinks when it comes to helmets for this type of riding. With full face protection being required for the timed descents but overkill for the linked liason climbs, we’ve seen helmet designs with removable chin bars such as the Giro Switchblade and Bell Super 2R/3R arrive in the last few years. Attempting to give full face protection but with the versatility of a lighter weight trail lid when the chin bar is removed, these helmets have been received well by many riders, but also shunned by many who feel that they are a compromise and a touch odd looking. When we saw early images of the new Proframe helmet from Fox we thought it was their take on this type of design, but we were wrong – this is a full face lid, with a lower weight and enough ventilation for you to put on and leave on throughout the ride. Climb, traverse and descend in the same helmet.
There are very few comparable helmet designs – maybe the latest Met Parachute being the only real competitor to the Proframe? The Urge Archi-Enduro RR is heading in the same direction but is heavier and has fewer vents.