Times have changed for Trail Helmets, and as with most things bike related we now have it better than ever…
From Dirt Issue 123 – May 2012
Words by Ed H. Photos by Ed H.There was a time when a lump of polystyrene complete with a basic lycra cover was deemed cutting edge in the helmet world, but thankfully times have changed and as with most things bike related we now have it better than ever.
The relatively recent surge in ‘trail’ lids was a definite step forward, previously it was pretty much a case of a full–on XC lid, a piss pot, or a full face. The number of trail riders that were wearing piss pots (for a combination of added style and protection) was possibly what brought about the kinds of designs that we see today, but whatever it was it’s great to now have a load of lids that blend the ventilation and low weight of an XC lid with better styling and increased protection in terms of greater head coverage.
So, the next few pages contain our favourite trail lids, but which one should you choose? Well I must have said it a million times before, but with helmets I reckon the number one decider has to be fit, and for that reason I’d personally never buy one without being able to try it on first, and it’s even better if you can try several on side by side. Prepare yourself for a possible hard decision though because it might well turn out that the one you love the look of isn’t the one that fits best. It shouldn’t be a hard decision though because at the end of the day you can’t even see your lid when it’s on your head, but you can feel if it’s comfortable or not, and a better fit will mean it’s more likely to stay put in a crash.
If after trying a few on you’re genuinely left with a couple that are hard to separate in terms of fit, then you can go on to consider the other things that make one lid better than another. Weight and venting probably make the biggest difference when riding, but seeing as we’re mountain bikers I am sure style will probably be the next consideration after fit for many riders. As far as fancy retention systems go, yes these undoubtedly help in making a particular lid fit more people well, but don’t necessarily rule out a lid that doesn’t have some all singing and dancing system. Why? Because the reality is that once you’ve got a lid to fit well then you’ll probably never fiddle with it much, and if you can get a basic design to fit well then where’s the need for anything more? Now all you need to do is get trying some on, and then decide on colour!