The Return of the Full-Face Mask? - Dirt

Mountain Biking Magazine



The Return of the Full-Face Mask?

Enduro racers have been loving the 'open face lid with goggles' look for some time, but should the full-face mask make a come back...

With the current enduro trend of open face helmets and goggles is it not time that the full-face mask made a comeback? Those of a ‘certain age’ will remember that back in the 1980’s any self respecting BMX racer wouldn’t be seen dead without an Oakley (other companies made them too, Scott being one of the main ones) full mask attached to their goggles. These were the times where the full-face helmet wasn’t really on the scene, it was all JT or Jofa mouth guards or Oakley’s mask. Of course it came from Motocross, back then riders would wear these mainly for protection against roost rather than from crashing, full-face helmets were yet to really appear on the scene.

BMX Action magazine cover with Greg Hill. Back in the 1980’s the Oakley full-mask was the ‘must have’ (off bike) piece of equipment.
Classic Oakley advert.

The full-face helmet did eventually come in and full masks became a thing of the past. Having said that they have been commonplace in the paintballing world for many years, with the design morphing and changing over the years. They also pop up in some snow sports, used by snowmobile riders.

So why not now in the MTB enduro world? OK they don’t offer as much protection as a full face lid (there will be times when only a full-face will do), but I’m guessing that they will help you keep your teeth and cut down on scrapes and facial grazes. And it may save you having to carry both a full face and open (Enduro/shell) lid.

Another advert for the classic Oakley full-mask.

Of course the problem is that companies don’t seem to make them anymore. Brands like Oakley and Spy do make half-masks to protect your nose (again mainly for MX), and Scott do make their 83X Safari snowmobile set-up, but what about an enduro specific brand or design? Surely a company with plastic extrusion capabilities like… errr… say Mudhugger, could design these pretty quick, bang them out, market them and ride the crest of the ‘open face lid with goggles and full mask’ wave? Cool design, great colours, cheap price! If I could do it, I would!

Scott’s 83X Safari is aimed at the snowmobile market, but surely could be easily crossed over to MTB?

Of course not all goggles are made the same, there are different hole placements, different shapes, etc. but it can’t be that hard can it? It’s only a bit of plastic. Couldn’t someone just copy an old one… with a tweak or two.

Oakley’s Half mask is to protect your nose and is meant to be used with a full face lid.

Maybe the whole ‘open face enduro thing’ is just a fad, a trend, a bit of ‘fashion’… whatever. If ever there was a time for the full-mask to make a comeback then surely it has to be now.

Old, used masks like this still pop up on eBay and go for a good price to vintage collectors.
Back on the cover of Dirt #42 Ian Osborne sported the mask.
And then again on #101, this time with Olly Wilkins.
Greg Callaghan loving the look! EWS action photos by Seb Schieck.


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