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Fox Proframe helmet

Is this the 'no compromise' enduro lid we've been waiting for?

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.

The Proframe is not a replacement to the Rampage full face helmet in Fox’s line up, that remains as their best DH lid and yet again is a pick of ours in the 2017 Dirt 100. The Proframe is however Fox’s lightest DH approved full frame helmet (tested to ASTM 1952-15 standard) giving you a no-compromise approach to safety when it comes to descending. There’s plenty of tech gone into the structure of this helmet, with a dual density Varizorb EPS liner providing improved protection (by spreading forces of impact across a wider area) and additional MIPS safety technology as standard too. Fox list a medium helmet at 750g and our size large test sample weighed in at 852g. A chunk lighter than most DH lids – the Fox Rampage carbon hits the scales in the 1100–1200g zone.

Although at first sight the Proframe has the look of one of the new wave of convertible helmets, the integrated chin bar is secured to the main structure with Fox’s patent pending system. There are venting ports everywhere – Fifteen ‘Big bore’ intake vents and nine exhaust vents. The front ducts on the chin bar and under the visor force air in and around the inside of the helmet, with five upper and six lower exhaust vents at the rear allowing air to escape. Careful positioning of the inner pads and yellow MIPS liner mean ventilation and airflow is not compromised.

Four sizes are available (from 52cm to 64cm head sizes) and a comprehensive selection of brow, chin, crown and neck pads included with the helmet, so getting a finely tuned fit is no problem. With the weight mid way between an open face trail helmet (around 300-450g usually), and a full on DH lid and with plenty of coverage all round, this is piece of kit that has an instantly pleasing fit. The highly vented chin bar has a smooth, pliable rubber lining and adds enough flex to make fitting and removal easy. Details such as an easy to use magnetic buckle to fasten the chin strap help too.

So how does the Proframe perform? Here are some words from two of Dirt’s test riders:

‘Light, comfy and full of protection. The lack of mesh on the face guard gives a great cooling feeling. Downhill capability with the comfort of a trail lid – there’s no need to have a collection of headwear. The Proframe is one tool for every job’ – Ieuan Williams

‘The Proframe was pretty well vented for a full face helmet and felt really light! Went down some aggressive DH tracks and it felt really secure and didn’t move about on my head much – the pads are very well placed. All in all a good lid’ – Callum Philpott

With a price of £215 we feel this is a realistic option for many riders, especially for those who currently own just a open face trail lid and are looking for more protection for a spot of enduro racing, uplifting or the black runs at bike parks. If you’re fully equipped as a DH rider with both a full face lid and a lighter trail option you may feel a third helmet unnecessary or an expensive extravagance. For the dedicated enduro racer however, looking for a valuable and uncompromising addition to their kit bag, this Proframe helmet is without question worth considering.

SPEC AND DETAILS:

  • Fox’s lightest DH approved full frame helmet at 750 grams for a size medium.
  • Integrated chinbar is secured to the main helmet structure with our patent pending system.
  • Highly breathable liner system is moisture wicking and has anti-microbial properties.
  • 24 Big Bore vents make Proframe one of the lightest and most breathable DH approved helmets.
  • Fixed visor is positioned perfectly to ram maximum air flow into the Big Bore vents.
  • Fidlock® SNAP helmet buckle provides quick entry and exit with maximum security.
  • Proven MIPS™ multiple impact protection system reduces rotation forces in a crash.
  • Dual density Varizorb™ EPS liner provides improved protection
  • Seven colour options.
  • Sizes: S(52-56cm), M(56-58), L(58-61), XL(61-64)
  • Price: £215

uk.foxracing.com

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