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  1. #1
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    GIRO Switchblade Failure

    Ended up going OTB today after hitting a soft spot on a berm and the chin bar of the switchblade broke off, leaving me with gnarly rock rash across my lower face.

    In the photos, you can see the red retaining clip on the left side of the helmet completely broke off, allowing the chin guard to fold down and expose my face to the earth. The helmet is three rides/four weeks old.

    Just an FYI for those looking at removable chin bar helmets - I'm not sure I'd recommend them.

    GIRO Switchblade Failure-img_1396.jpgGIRO Switchblade Failure-img_1394.jpgGIRO Switchblade Failure-img_1395.jpgGIRO Switchblade Failure-img_1390.jpg

  2. #2
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    And this is precisely why I didn't get one of those. Much better to get a ventilated permanent full face like the MET Parachute or the Fox Proframe.

    You make it out ok?

  3. #3
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    For the most part, yeah.

    OTB-casued injuries include a bloody left wrist & knee and an angled series of slashes on my chest.

    Giro-failure-caused injury includes a gash in my upper lip and rock rash on lower lip/chin (see below).

    But hey, its better than it would've been had I still been riding with my Fox Flux and it stopped the rock from breaking my jaw.

    GIRO Switchblade Failure-img_1397.jpg

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gckless View Post
    And this is precisely why I didn't get one of those. Much better to get a ventilated permanent full face like the MET Parachute or the Fox Proframe.

    You make it out ok?
    Hey but you keep reading how their internal tests indicate they'd meet 1952.

    Just like you I went for a Parachute over the Super2r
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  5. #5
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    Wow......it's like 1998 all over again.

  6. #6
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    Damn, that sucks. Like others have posted, I'm favoring the new Fox or the Parachute instead of getting something with a removable chin guard.

  7. #7
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    Not really sure I'm willing to extrapolate the performance of the Giro include 2R's. I certainly wouldn't replace a normal full face with a 2R, but I'm pretty confident my 2R will leave me in better shape than a Fox Flux.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    Not really sure I'm willing to extrapolate the performance of the Giro include 2R's. I certainly wouldn't replace a normal full face with a 2R, but I'm pretty confident my 2R will leave me in better shape than a Fox Flux.
    Why not? 2R isn't certified and the new switchblade, which it looks like, is 1952 certified.

    The MET is well enough ventilated that you'd gain nothing from removing the chin bar other than making it weaker. The Fox looks like it might be close, but again the Chin bar doesn't look like that part that would make it a warm helmet.
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    It's an entirely different helmet. That's like saying if something broke on your Toyota, that it'll also break on your Honda. The attachment system for the 2R looks quite a bit more substantial.

    Also, the MET is a two piece helmet. It isn't a single piece shell like a Fox Rampage, the chin bar is entirely separate and attached with 2 rivets on each side. I'd put just as much faith in the MET as a 2R, which is to say plenty, but neither are a true full face helmet.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    It's an entirely different helmet. That's like saying if something broke on your Toyota, that it'll also break on your Honda. The attachment system for the 2R looks quite a bit more substantial.

    Also, the MET is a two piece helmet. It isn't a single piece shell like a Fox Rampage, the chin bar is entirely separate and attached with 2 rivets on each side. I'd put just as much faith in the MET as a 2R, which is to say plenty, but neither are a true full face helmet.
    That's your prerogative, I disagree.
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  11. #11
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    I just snapped the chin bar on my super 3r. Their definitely not made for abuse. But I think they have a place in the market if your doing long climbs and need the extra airflow.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rossy View Post
    I just snapped the chin bar on my super 3r. Their definitely not made for abuse. But I think they have a place in the market if your doing long climbs and need the extra airflow.
    What extra air flow? Have you even tried a Parachute?
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    Well mate when you remove the chin bar to climb you get extra airflow.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rossy View Post
    Well mate when you remove the chin bar to climb you get extra airflow.
    My MET doesn't restrict airflow is the point. I actually find it better ventilated than many of the expensive 1/2 domes I've had over the years.
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    I ordered the MET - it seemed to be a pretty solid thing and the crash tests in a German magazine werde really good. It just didn't fit me - the chin bar was way too high for my longish face. It's a pity - nice helmet otherwise.

  16. #16
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    To the OP, what if you were NOT wearing any type of chin protection? Do you think the injuries would have been worse? I've been wondering about this lately. Yes, the chin guards aren't going to be the replacement to a full DH helmet but maybe you saved yourself from breaking your jaw? It had to help in some sort, right?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNKER View Post
    To the OP, what if you were NOT wearing any type of chin protection? Do you think the injuries would have been worse? I've been wondering about this lately. Yes, the chin guards aren't going to be the replacement to a full DH helmet but maybe you saved yourself from breaking your jaw? It had to help in some sort, right?
    I definitely agree. As I said in the last paragraph of my second post, it's a lot better than it wouldve been, had I not had any chin protection.

    However, I've found other reports matching my issue and don't agree with the DH rating that the helmet received and is marketed as having. The chin bar tends to fold down in an impact on the Switchblade helmets. It can be like mine where I rashed my chin, or another user, where it hit him in the throat during the crash.

  18. #18
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    Yeah. I was wondering if they'd fold back on people's throats. Interesting.

  19. #19
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    Another failure to report. I had a crash in my switchblade on Saturday, the chinguard broke off and exposed my face to the ground giving me some abrasions on my face. It appears that the layer of the helmet where the retaining clips insert separated from the rest of the helmet (looks to be glued together) and allowed the chinguard to come off. I spoke to Giro about the problem and was told it was totally possible for the chinguard to break off in a crash and they didn't sound surprised. Seems pretty questionable that a "downhill worthy" convertible full face is known to its manufacturer to have the possibility of the chinguard breaking off. I for one will not recommend this helmet to anyone in the future.

  20. #20
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    So basically the Switchblade did its job...

    How fast were you and how would you look like not wearing any kind of chinbar?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy87 View Post
    So basically the Switchblade did its job...

    How fast were you and how would you look like not wearing any kind of chinbar?
    I always felt the purpose of a chin guard was to stay attached and keep my face from hitting anything.

    Interesting take you have on working properly.
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  22. #22
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    Ok, so a helmet, that breaks after a hard crash and you suffer from concussion didnt do its job because it should not break and prevent you from any injuries... right.

    of course would be the purpose for the chinbar to stay on, but at some point it has to crack somewhere... yes, a full on DH helmet would be safer and anybody that thinks a convertable helmet is as safe as a non convertable helmet is pretty naive. ASTM is just a norm that a helmet has to pass. It doesnt say if two helmet pass these norm that they are equally safe.

    hybrid helemts are always a compromise.

  23. #23
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    Conclusion:

    - Probably would have gone away without any injuries wearing a full on DH helmet.
    - probably would have lost all his teeth and brake his jaw wearing an open face helmet
    - suffered from (minor) rashes on lip/chin with Convertable helmet

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy87 View Post
    Ok, so a helmet, that breaks after a hard crash and you suffer from concussion didnt do its job because it should not break and prevent you from any injuries... right.

    of course would be the purpose for the chinbar to stay on, but at some point it has to crack somewhere... yes, a full on DH helmet would be safer and anybody that thinks a convertable helmet is as safe as a non convertable helmet is pretty naive. ASTM is just a norm that a helmet has to pass. It doesnt say if two helmet pass these norm that they are equally safe.

    hybrid helemts are always a compromise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy87 View Post
    Conclusion:

    - Probably would have gone away without any injuries wearing a full on DH helmet.
    - probably would have lost all his teeth and brake his jaw wearing an open face helmet
    - suffered from (minor) rashes on lip/chin with Convertable helmet
    Thanks for summing it up again, but if you had read the previous comments, you'd see that these conclusions have already been come to.

  25. #25
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    Right, thats why I summing it up. Sorry if you feel annoyed by that...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy87 View Post
    Right, thats why I summing it up. Sorry if you feel annoyed by that...
    Sorry for snapping. I woke up with a broken coffee machine...

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    No worries

  28. #28
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    My .02, I would not expect the helmet to break. Of course it's not as strong as a single piece helmet, but to snap during a crash isn't acceptable. But hey, what do I know?
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  29. #29
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    A helmet is a consumable designed to be 'used up' by a crash as it absorbs energy from the impact. They're not forever equipment that you can bash on rocks over and over again and still expect them to function as normal.

    Sure, from a few pics it appears extreme for it to snap right off where it did, but we don't know the forces involved. It's possible that a crash with a full DH helmet might have saved him the face scrapes, or it could have been worse in another way. Either way, would any of you really expect to get multiple high-speed-face-smashing-on-rocks falls out of any helmet? A helmet should always be replaced after a serous hit, because again, it's a consumable. This fall would have been a serious enough hit to do enough damage to any helmet to warrant a replacement.

    A convertible helmet is already a compromise, and you understand that you're trading off a little sheer strength when you introduce an attachment point/mount in any design. They're weak points, so it will break there first. To me that doesn't necessarily indicate a failure of anything.

    Keeping with the car analogy, just because a car has safety equipment installed, that doesn't mean you're walking away without a scratch. Airbags break hands, wrists, arms, noses, and cause abrasions. They do the job of saving you from serious injury or death, sometimes at the very low cost of superficial injuries. That's what I see here. The helmet did its job entirely - it absorbed the energy of the crash and prevented serious injury.

    Of course the argument that any two-piece helmet design is weaker or more dangerous is a valid one. I can definitely see that. I'm just saying that I don't think this is a brand or model specific weakness.

  30. #30
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    Exactly my point - thank you.

    Some people really think a helmet is a holy grail...

  31. #31
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    My issue is not with the helmet breaking as it did, though that does suck. My issue is that this helmet has been marketed by Giro and all the media outlets as "just as good as a true downhill helmet", with some sites even suggesting the only reason to get a true downhill helmet over this one is the price. I'll be the first to admit that I bought the marketing hype hook, line, and sinker when I bought this helmet. I was willing to sacrifice weight, ventilation, and the practicality of chinbar size over my Bell Super 2R for the switchblade as it was supposed to be more safe when I guess it isn't. I have since bought a solid one piece downhill helmet, I just wanted to make others aware that this helmet may not be as "DH worthy" as it's advertised.

  32. #32
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    How do you determine if something is "downhillworthy" or not?

    It passes ASTM norm - thats it, not more, not less. If it passes the ASTM DH norm, its DH worthy. I suffered from a concussion in 2015 (blacked out) with a full on non convertable downhill helmet that passes the ASTM norm - so does this mean that it is not DH worthy because I got hurt?

    And you are wrong, the switchblade is safer than a Bell 2R. Guess why? Right, because it passes the higher ASTM norm which the Bell doesnt

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy87 View Post
    How do you determine if something is "downhillworthy" or not?

    It passes ASTM norm - thats it, not more, not less. If it passes the ASTM DH norm, its DH worthy. I suffered from a concussion in 2015 (blacked out) with a full on non convertable downhill helmet that passes the ASTM norm - so does this mean that it is not DH worthy because I got hurt?

    And you are wrong, the switchblade is safer than a Bell 2R. Guess why? Right, because it passes the higher ASTM norm which the Bell doesnt
    How are you relating a concussion to a chin bar breaking?

    Keep it apples to apples.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    How are you relating a concussion to a chin bar breaking?

    Keep it apples to apples.
    You need to read properly. I did not relate a concussion to a chin bar breaking (even though a concussion can surely occur due to a hit on the chin bar). If you relate to my first post: With breaking I did not mean the chinbar, but a general breaking of the helmet.

    I am relating a head injury (concussion) to a head injury (rash/scratches on chin), both due to the helmets construction was not able to prevent from both injuries!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpearce1475 View Post
    My issue is not with the helmet breaking as it did, though that does suck. My issue is that this helmet has been marketed by Giro and all the media outlets as "just as good as a true downhill helmet", with some sites even suggesting the only reason to get a true downhill helmet over this one is the price. I'll be the first to admit that I bought the marketing hype hook, line, and sinker when I bought this helmet. I was willing to sacrifice weight, ventilation, and the practicality of chinbar size over my Bell Super 2R for the switchblade as it was supposed to be more safe when I guess it isn't. I have since bought a solid one piece downhill helmet, I just wanted to make others aware that this helmet may not be as "DH worthy" as it's advertised.
    I agree with you on marketing in the sense that it's unfair to the consumer to position a product as "just as good as" without any data to back it up. There's a certain level of trust you put in companies and expect them to be honest, but we all know that every company likes to inflate their own value.

    At the same time, it's the consumer's job to educate themselves on not only the product in question and similar products, but also basic mechanical concepts that allow that consumer to truly understand the products. i.e. - I understand basic manufacturing and construction techniques well enough to know that a two piece widget is usually weaker than a single piece widget due to introducing a failure point with fasteners, possibly dissimilar materials, etc. That means that I'm more skeptical of any claim that a two piece helmet is truly "just as good" as a single piece helmet. There may be specific reasons why that company might be correct, but my initial baseline response is reasonable skepticism because that goes against what I know to be true in most instances with other manufactured products.

    I think your last sentence makes a great point, and it's good to consider that in fact a two piece design might not be what people are looking for, regardless of the marketing of this helmet. I understand that you're saying that it might be good for some lighter crashes, just not full bore DH wreck at 30 mph off a cliff. I just don't think it's fair to dismiss the helmet as junk or claim BS marketing simply because the photos above show a cracked chin piece and scrapes on the guy's face. As I said above, I don't think that indicates a failure of the product. To me it looks like this is a success. "Good job, helmet. Thanks for your service." Helmets are all sacrificial, and once they protect you from severe injury during a crash, they've performed their job and they're all done.

    I've been shopping for my first full-face helmet recently, and I've found a ton of similar posts about helmets after crashes, etc. where people are upset with any result other than "helmet doesn't have a scratch on it, and I feel like a million bucks". It's clear that the general MTB population views helmets as though they're durable goods like frames, wheels, etc. They're absolutely not like any other piece of MTB equipment. You'll see long term reviews and people claiming that one helmet is better than another for ten different reasons. Other than comfort, it's impossible to review a helmet without first crashing. Then the review should only contain these words: "I did not cave in my face, suffer a TBI, or die. FIVE STARS!!!"

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    glad you two guys are OK. I can recommend the Met Parachute. Very wearable when pedaling or in hot weather. Not the most comfortable but a quality helmet for sure. I'm in a Super 2R right now but would love something with a permanent chin bar. I'm leaning toward the new Proframe but would love to hear some owner feedback.

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    I own a Fox Proframe - just used it twice so far. Very decent helmet, light - but quite expensive. I definitely feel safer with it compared to a helmet with a removable chin bar. The inner lining ist quite thin compared to a classic full face helmet though - for rough black lines in a bikepark a classic full face helmet still is the better choice. For me it' a trade off - I' m not doing big jumps so I am feelin o.k with it. It's always a kind of compromise, helmets can also be too stiff (and heavy) - and a broken chinbar doesn't automatically mean that the helmet is a piece of crap - maybe it just did what it was supposed to do.....

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    thanks for the review Rushy. Yeah, it would be nice to find a deal on a proframe. Tough when they're the newest thing out there though.

  39. #39
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    The Proframe is one that I've been looking at specifically because I don't do hardcore downhill riding, so I don't think something made for very high speed falls is really critical. I've only recently been thinking about making a trip to a place with lift served trails. The riding isn't that much different than normal riding that I do on regular trails, it's just that 100% of the day spent riding down rather than occasional short downhill sections means the statistical likelihood of a crash goes up. I think the Proframe is a nice balance, just to give adequate protection in case of a chin-first crash.

  40. #40
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    Hey all, I took a bad crash yesterday. My Switchblade came unclipped. I am ok. Cracked the helmet, but no concussion or broken bones. Just road rash on my side. I was in the process of testing several convertible helmets for a shootout on MTBR. Now, I'm not so sure about the concept...I have reached out to Giro regarding the issue. Have any of you spoken with the company? Anyone had an issue with other convertible helmets? Feel free to PM me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  41. #41
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    I had a pretty good get off in my Super 2R a few weeks ago and the chin bar held up well


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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBR_Saris View Post
    Hey all, I took a bad crash yesterday. My Switchblade came unclipped. I am ok. Cracked the helmet, but no concussion or broken bones. Just road rash on my side. I was in the process of testing several convertible helmets for a shootout on MTBR. Now, I'm not so sure about the concept...I have reached out to Giro regarding the issue. Have any of you spoken with the company? Anyone had an issue with other convertible helmets? Feel free to PM me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The Giro attachment looks suspect to begin with. Granted looks can be deceiving, but Bell's approach of continuing the chin bar around the entire helmet and locking it in with molded knobs certainly appears to be a better approach.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBR_Saris View Post
    Hey all, I took a bad crash yesterday. My Switchblade came unclipped. I am ok. Cracked the helmet, but no concussion or broken bones. Just road rash on my side. I was in the process of testing several convertible helmets for a shootout on MTBR. Now, I'm not so sure about the concept...I have reached out to Giro regarding the issue. Have any of you spoken with the company? Anyone had an issue with other convertible helmets? Feel free to PM me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I did speak with Giro and was told it was possible for the chinguard to come unclipped in a crash depending on the angle of impact, etc.. To the person asking what I expected, I again am totally fine with a helmet being totaled in a crash. I am fine with the chinguard being destroyed and am sure that my face rash is better than what would have happened if I had been wearing a half shell. My issue is that the chinbar came unclipped in the crash due to the, in retrospect inspection, not as strong way in which it appears to be connected to the helmet.

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    personally I wouldnt be ok with this either. In fact, I'd be demanding a refund of the product and that they provide a re-engineered replacement. Better than getting sued from their perspective I'm sure. Chin bars that break away like this could, in theory, be more dangerous than wearing an open face. What happens when the bar gets driven up into someone's face??

    My guess is that this product becomes discontinued very quickly

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    Quote Originally Posted by vegasR6 View Post
    I had a pretty good get off in my Super 2R a few weeks ago and the chin bar held up well

    Hey did you take the chin bar off and check both bits for cracks?

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    I did not. where do you suggest looking?

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    Around the two side clips but id give it a good look over.

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    will do

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    Everyone knocks he super 2r due to lack of certification but it's saved my face plenty of times in the last 2 years and still going strong. I'm going to replace it soon just purely out of old age concerns.

  50. #50
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    Coming from someone who broke their jaw in three places 5 weeks ago, along with fracturing the cheekbone/orbital along with several other injuries, even a switchblade would have been an improvement over my now dented up half shell. I actually purchased a switchblade after this incident as I won't be riding a half shell for awhile with a weakened jaw.

    Personally, I would have totally been fine with the switchblade sacrificing itself for me. Compared to the deep gouges and broken bones I received from a direct impact to rocks and the ground, I would have been happy if the helmet had done its job and at least absorbed most of the impacts instead of my facial bones. Eating near water like liquids through a straw for the past month has been awful. So maybe that's where a change in perspective comes in. I've never truly been badly injured from riding my bike, but I could see where I would be frustrated if my like new $250 helmet broke.

    One thing I have also thought about is that the chin guard has to be removed to put on/ take off the switchblade. While I was down on the ground running through all the things I thought could be wrong after wrecking, the last thing I would have wanted to deal with was emergency personnel trying to get tug the helmet off with a chin guard stuck in place that they might not be familiar with if I had had neck/spine issues. Luckily I did not but that could be weird vs a more traditional helmet or one where the chin guard broke off.

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    You don't need to remove the chinbar to remove the Switchblade. At least I haven't had to. Crashed hard on the side of my Switchblade. Chinbar was not attached. Did it's job and will be replaced with another Switchblade. Removable chinbars are definitely a compromise. I liked the helmet without the chinbar. Didn't like the Bell Super 2R without its. It's my regular helmet and that's how I use it. It will not replace my DH helmet. But there is also some trails that I could see using a Fox Proframe or MET Parachute. Everyone must make their own choices about what risk they're willing to take. Overall, good discussion.

  52. #52
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    Anyone used an old school BMX face guard in the 90's? Those things snapped on with a plastic strap and 2 little metal buttons. Super cheesy!

    Saved my face so many times! It's not a full face or anything remotely close. Its an abrasion guard, and it was excellent at that job. It seems to me that these new helmets are the exact same thing with just a touch of impact resistance. More to keep your bare face from dragging on the ground.

  53. #53
    used to be RipRoar
    Reputation: TraxFactory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Anyone used an old school BMX face guard in the 90's? Those things snapped on with a plastic strap and 2 little metal buttons. Super cheesy!

    Saved my face so many times! It's not a full face or anything remotely close. Its an abrasion guard, and it was excellent at that job. It seems to me that these new helmets are the exact same thing with just a touch of impact resistance. More to keep your bare face from dragging on the ground.
    Do you mean like the Scott Face mask attached to your goggles? Those things were around in the 70's and really originated as a moto roost guard. Same with chest protectors, they all started as moto roost protectors not so much impact.
    GIRO Switchblade Failure-scottafcemask.jpg

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