My solution for a AM Fullface Helmet- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    My solution for a AM Fullface Helmet

    I personally enjoy riding very technical trails and noticed that I was crashing alot more than I used to. I have a Bell Xray helmet which I love, but wanted something with some face protection for those seriously steep trails. Well I ended up buying a Bell Bellistic helmet but couldn't stand how hot it was.

    I've looked at various threads discussing the dilemma aggressive trail riders face regarding helmets. It seems like many of us would like the face protection of a fullface helmet while also having the comfort of a traditional cross country helmet. I have seen many ways people have solved this problem. Some have modified helmet padding to make the helmets cooler, some opt for helmets such as the Met parachute or discontinued Giro Switchblade. Others just wear more full coverage conventional lids such as the Giro Zen.

    I decided to go off the beaten path and come up with my own way to make a Full Face helmet bearable for trail riding.

    With the help of an electrical engineering friend, I have mounted a 40mm PC fan in the mouthpiece of my helmet and am powering it using two 7.2 volt RC batteries wired together to produce roughly 14 volts. Works great! The fan produces enough breeze to blow away my hot breath and the the whole system will literally run weeks without a charge. I have ridden in 90 degree weather at my local trails ( Santiago Oaks) without having to take the helmet off for most uphills. So far I am loving my set up.

    Hope this is helpful to everybody.
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  2. #2
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    Dude, that's a sweet setup!

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    I gotta give you props for a really GOOD idea....

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. : )

  5. #5
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    I hope you don't have a long, bushy beard.
    功夫大师喜欢骑着他的自行车在山上。

  6. #6
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    Good idea, just needs a small, light, rechargable battery pack mounted to the helmet, maybe made out of 8 AAAs...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by davec113
    Good idea, just needs a small, light, rechargable battery pack mounted to the helmet, maybe made out of 8 AAAs...
    I did think about mounting a smaller battery pack to the helmet. However, I wanted to minimize actual weight on the helmet as much as possible. Furthermore, my friend who helped me was concerned about me possibly shorting the system if I crashed. Since they would be in such close proximity to my face...

    Oh yeah... I'm really loving the 20+ hour run time as well. : )

  8. #8
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    all good until you accidently stick your tounge out when riding down something technical

  9. #9
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    Great idea. I've seen a few F1 motor-racing helmets and driver overalls with liquid cooling pipes running through them, but never a cooling fan! When I'm climbing in a FF helmet, the biggest problem is not really the heat, but breathing back in your own CO2. So your fan idea sounds spot on.
    Remember, there is no black magic or witchcraft, it's only a machine

  10. #10
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    Nice work! I was just thinking about this very same idea a few weeks ago.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  11. #11
    TNC
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    Nice work, but how does the air get around all that fabric padding at the cheek, jaw, ear, and neck area? I can see how it would help the face, but it still looks like little to no air would be pushed around your head in the helmet, and this is where the real heat is generated. If this helmet is intended to be used for trail/AM type use and not true DH/FR, then do some fabric padding modification to get some air flow, and you might have a real airconditioned helmet. Neat idea.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    Nice work, but how does the air get around all that fabric padding at the cheek, jaw, ear, and neck area? I can see how it would help the face, but it still looks like little to no air would be pushed around your head in the helmet, and this is where the real heat is generated. If this helmet is intended to be used for trail/AM type use and not true DH/FR, then do some fabric padding modification to get some air flow, and you might have a real airconditioned helmet. Neat idea.
    I think the purpose of the fan is to stop the "back wash" of CO2 when you're really sucking wind. A almost passed out after sprinting up a short climb in my FF. I felt like I was suffocating because I was breathing in my own stale air.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  13. #13
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    Nice idea, but in a bad crash, couldnt the fan and its mounting hardware cut up your face?

    Just dont pair with Ryders sunglasses!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    I think the purpose of the fan is to stop the "back wash" of CO2 when you're really sucking wind. A almost passed out after sprinting up a short climb in my FF. I felt like I was suffocating because I was breathing in my own stale air.
    Poor man's version of high altitude training. . .

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by croatiansensation
    Poor man's version of high altitude training. . .
    haha ..... but I was already at about 11,000 feet.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reposado Man
    Just dont pair with Ryders sunglasses!
    Huh? Care to elaborate?

  17. #17
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    Hey I wonder if it does cool things to your voice, like when you talk into a desk fan (or was I the only kid who did that?). That alone would make it worthwhile!! Calling out a pass would get people out of your way ASAP.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reposado Man
    Nice idea, but in a bad crash, couldnt the fan and its mounting hardware cut up your face?

    Just dont pair with Ryders sunglasses!
    I'm pretty sure I could stop a PC fan with my tongue ( ) Although it would probably hurt a bit lol. They are very high RPM but are very easy to stall with a finger. The zip ties on the inside of the mouth guard look to be rather sharp though.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardtails Are Better
    Huh? Care to elaborate?
    Wow, that's weird. He must've missed the thread.

    Awesome idea, by the way. Are there any problems with the system at all? Any issues you need to work out? You should sell the idea to Bell or something
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    Hey I wonder if it does cool things to your voice, like when you talk into a desk fan (or was I the only kid who did that?). That alone would make it worthwhile!! Calling out a pass would get people out of your way ASAP.
    That would be so awesome. I know a guy who got one of those cheap crappy voice changer thingies from Wally World, and rigged it up to go into his full face so that whenever he talked, it sounded like Darth Vader. It was pretty funny.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd97
    Wow, that's weird. He must've missed the thread.
    OK, I ran a search and got it. That's one misguided lawsuit. I'm particularly pissy about this kind of stuff right now because the NYSDEC is tearing down a bunch of ladders and bridges at my favorite local riding spot for liability reasons.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardtails Are Better
    That would be so awesome. I know a guy who got one of those cheap crappy voice changer thingies from Wally World, and rigged it up to go into his full face so that whenever he talked, it sounded like Darth Vader. It was pretty funny.
    I may be 34 years old, but I can really appreciate the pure genius there.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    haha ..... but I was already at about 11,000 feet.
    Makes you even more hardcore. . .

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    I may be 34 years old, but I can really appreciate the pure genius there.
    The guy who did that is in his 40's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardtails Are Better
    The guy who did that is in his 40's.
    Fourty!! Wow, that guy needs to GROW UP!!!!
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    I think the purpose of the fan is to stop the "back wash" of CO2 when you're really sucking wind. A almost passed out after sprinting up a short climb in my FF. I felt like I was suffocating because I was breathing in my own stale air.
    Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I've had that feeling too, where you stop at the top and just have to wrench the thing off your head to catch some fresh air. Oxygen tank next!
    Remember, there is no black magic or witchcraft, it's only a machine

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    I think the purpose of the fan is to stop the "back wash" of CO2 when you're really sucking wind. A almost passed out after sprinting up a short climb in my FF. I felt like I was suffocating because I was breathing in my own stale air.
    Exactly. I noticed that the biggest problem with full face helmets is that you keep breathing your own hot breath. The fan doesn't cool the rest of the helmet- it mainly allows you to breath fresh air.

    However, I have other ideas in the works for cooling the helmet. Definately something that can be improved upon.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    Fourty!! Wow, that guy needs to GROW UP!!!!

  29. #29
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    Breathing

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    I think the purpose of the fan is to stop the "back wash" of CO2 when you're really sucking wind. A almost passed out after sprinting up a short climb in my FF. I felt like I was suffocating because I was breathing in my own stale air.
    Now this is one issue I've never experienced...a negative effect on breathing efficiency. Maybe it depends on what full coverage helmet is being used. All off road helmets I've ever used had the chin guard far enough away and vented to allow fresh air in. As to getting my exhaled breath out, the distance of the guard from my mouth and the vent have always been more than sufficient to allow good respiration. Now I can see a very clear psychological connection of hearing and perhaps feeling one's exhaled air in your full coverage helmet while exteme effort was occuring, and this playing on one's mind in a very real way to affect your physical state. I could see how many road motorcycle style helmets that are very closed in construction could result in real oxygen deficit, but most off road helmets have a great deal of open space above and below the guard along with the vent. The lack of breathable air is an interesting thought, but I'm not sure this really applies to most off road helmets...though psychologically it might seem that way when you're gasping for breath due to exteme effort.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    Now this is one issue I've never experienced...a negative effect on breathing efficiency. Maybe it depends on what full coverage helmet is being used. All off road helmets I've ever used had the chin guard far enough away and vented to allow fresh air in. As to getting my exhaled breath out, the distance of the guard from my mouth and the vent have always been more than sufficient to allow good respiration. Now I can see a very clear psychological connection of hearing and perhaps feeling one's exhaled air in your full coverage helmet while exteme effort was occuring, and this playing on one's mind in a very real way to affect your physical state. I could see how many road motorcycle style helmets that are very closed in construction could result in real oxygen deficit, but most off road helmets have a great deal of open space above and below the guard along with the vent. The lack of breathable air is an interesting thought, but I'm not sure this really applies to most off road helmets...though psychologically it might seem that way when you're gasping for breath due to exteme effort.
    Your right- its not as though wearing a full face helmet actually impairs your breathing ability. But for me at least, it was uncomfortable breathing hot air all the time - really the most bothersome aspect of the full face for me. I think its similar to drinking warm water versus cold water. Both will help keep you hydrated, but most people find it much easier to continue a hot activity when they have cold water to drink, rather than warm water. I can deal with the extra padding and stuff which makes a FF helmet hotter if my face is kept cooler and I can at least breath fresh air. It lessens the 'suffocating' sensation. : )

  31. #31
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    Before I commited to modifying my Giro Mad Max (prompted by a nasty faceplant and inspired by TNC's helmet mod), I experimented with a variety of PC fans. I tested a variety of configuations in the visor, on the top and in the back, blowing down/up through vents and in the mouthguard. The best configuration was a 3" fan sealed with cardboard and tape mounted in the front of the visor visor that forced air in through the vent channels over the top of my head and out the back. Although it seemed to help with ventilation I couldn't deal with the fan noise resonating within the helmet so I went with the low tech approach of putting more vents and strategically modifying the padding. The modifications resulted in more cooling than with the noisy fan.

    One thing I did notice was that it could be very dangerous putting the fan in the chinguard section. When I pushed hard on the chinguard my face slid past the chin padding and hit the chinguard. In a faceplant your face might slide past the chin padding and smash into the fan with some potentially ugly results.

    I've found that the only time my fullface is actually (not perceived to be) impairing my breathing is at the top of a tough hill when I'm really huffing and puffing and have to stop to catch my breath, or worse; having to walk the hill. If there isn't a breeze the confined hot air really is suffocating. The solution is to keep moving to keep the air flowing and not ride as hard.
    Last edited by jkish; 07-25-2006 at 05:11 PM.
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    Nice....

  33. #33
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    Yeah, I've thought about the possibility of hitting my mouth into the pc fan if I faceplanted really bad. Its a possibility, I suppose. However, the face guard of the helmet is pretty far away from my face and the fan is very low profile. I can just barely touch the fan casing with my tongue if I really try. Also, by using a fan, I didn't have to modify any of the helmet's existing padding or cut holes in the shell. So while hitting the fan is a possible concern, at least the helmet's overall protective ability hasn't been compromised. Also, I make sure that I have the helmet straps well-adjusted when I ride.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    Now this is one issue I've never experienced...a negative effect on breathing efficiency. Maybe it depends on what full coverage helmet is being used. All off road helmets I've ever used had the chin guard far enough away and vented to allow fresh air in. As to getting my exhaled breath out, the distance of the guard from my mouth and the vent have always been more than sufficient to allow good respiration. Now I can see a very clear psychological connection of hearing and perhaps feeling one's exhaled air in your full coverage helmet while exteme effort was occuring, and this playing on one's mind in a very real way to affect your physical state. I could see how many road motorcycle style helmets that are very closed in construction could result in real oxygen deficit, but most off road helmets have a great deal of open space above and below the guard along with the vent. The lack of breathable air is an interesting thought, but I'm not sure this really applies to most off road helmets...though psychologically it might seem that way when you're gasping for breath due to exteme effort.
    I guess it could be psychologically..... the only time it's a problem is when I do an all out 100% effort, then stop. I ended up blowing the air out the bottom and sucking it in from the top. That kept the stars at bay My FF is also some old cheep Vigor so I'm sure that dosen't help.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  35. #35
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    Great idea. I`m searching for a ff for my rides, but my country is really hot (Portugal-Europe), so ventilation it`s a concern to me.Although, i think you`re compromising a little bit on your safety, cause in a bad or fast crash you could hit it with your mouth.One thing is to check how the helmet fits you, but the other is to hit hard on the ground, I mean crashes are really fast moments as some of you know, and with a bit of bad luck, well as you americans say sh1t happens.I think you should go on with the idea wich i find really interesting and try to improve it.If i may suggest you could start by covering all the plastic, leaving a space for the fan to flow the air. Send some pics to Bell, who knows ?

  36. #36
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    see if one of those roll-up solar panels for recharging cell phones will run that fan. you might be able to glue it to the top of the helmet and skip the battery pack.
    nice helmet mod by the way.

  37. #37
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    with $40 you can install a flexible solar cell on the back of the helmet and power directly the fan (I bet it does not consume more than 100milliAmps). The hotter the sun, the faster the fan .

    I share the concern about safety issues related to the hardware inside the helmet.
    To me the reduced padding solution seems to be the way to go. I'm very happy with my Pryme AL.
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  38. #38
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    Zen I forgot that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zen_Turtle
    with $40 you can install a flexible solar cell on the back of the helmet and power directly the fan (I bet it does not consume more than 100milliAmps). The hotter the sun, the faster the fan .

    I share the concern about safety issues related to the hardware inside the helmet.
    To me the reduced padding solution seems to be the way to go. I'm very happy with my Pryme AL.
    Yeah, there were a couple of motorcycle helmets that had this solar powered fan deal designed into the helmet...though not in jaw guard. The fan fit into a molded spot in the helmet, and the helmet had internal vents through the shell and padding. In bright sun when you needed it, they worked quite well. You could also turn them off. The fact that the helmet had channels designed in for the air flow is what really made this work.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    Yeah, there were a couple of motorcycle helmets that had this solar powered fan deal designed into the helmet...though not in jaw guard. The fan fit into a molded spot in the helmet, and the helmet had internal vents through the shell and padding. In bright sun when you needed it, they worked quite well. You could also turn them off. The fact that the helmet had channels designed in for the air flow is what really made this work.
    Hey Thad! How's your summer been? PM me.

    I did some load calculations and determined that to get enough power during cloudy conditions, the top of the helmet would have to be completely covered in solar cells to power a small efficient fan. (The stated power outpout on solar cells is usually maximum values in full sunlight) The problem is what to do about riding in the woods. The only effective solution would be to charge batteries which puts you back at square one.
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  40. #40

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    I am some what of a computer case modder and have seen alot of strange stuff. I must say that this, even though it is a little messy, is one of the coolest things I have seen in a wile. Very nice idea, mabey a few more on the sides for exhaust??


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    Quote Originally Posted by Reposado Man
    Nice idea, but in a bad crash, couldnt the fan and its mounting hardware cut up your face?

    Just dont pair with Ryders sunglasses!
    Fans like that are not running any faster than 3000 rpms at most and don't cut skin on contact. Worst possible scenario is that it you lip/tongue hits it and scares the **** out of you. Which could cause a crash due to the obvious distraction....

    Mount a 40mm fan guard inside, problem solved..

    Ryders sunglasses, isn't someone trying to sue them for some bs? People are crazy; itís like suing Budweiser for a hangover...

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by uktrailmonster
    Oxygen tank next!
    Combine that with the fan and we have the birth of forced induction for MTB
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greebler
    I am some what of a computer case modder and have seen alot of strange stuff. I must say that this, even though it is a little messy, is one of the coolest things I have seen in a wile. Very nice idea, mabey a few more on the sides for exhaust??

    : ) Yeah, I'm thinking about various intake/exhaust fan ideas. Possibly mount two fans on opposing sides of the 'face' of the helmet- one helmet mounted to 'blow' and the other mounted backwards to 'pull' air.

  44. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanmtb87
    : ) Yeah, I'm thinking about various intake/exhaust fan ideas. Possibly mount two fans on opposing sides of the 'face' of the helmet- one helmet mounted to 'blow' and the other mounted backwards to 'pull' air.

    My question is this:

    How much air flow are you expecting out of this? A 40mm fan doesn't push that much air, given it is only like 2" from your skin. I would also consider the sweat factor, will that affect it? All things considered, just make sure you arn't jepordizing the structural integrity of the helmet.

    Also, I would drop that external batt. pack and just mound it on the back of the helmet. Sure it won't look the best but at least you don't have all these wires going every where. Don't get me wrong, its still a phat setup!


  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greebler
    My question is this:

    How much air flow are you expecting out of this? A 40mm fan doesn't push that much air, given it is only like 2" from your skin. I would also consider the sweat factor, will that affect it? All things considered, just make sure you arn't jepordizing the structural integrity of the helmet.

    Also, I would drop that external batt. pack and just mound it on the back of the helmet. Sure it won't look the best but at least you don't have all these wires going every where. Don't get me wrong, its still a phat setup!

    Naw, it doesn't push a ton- but its enough to help quite noticeably. I'm sure that the fan's life expectancy will be much shorter w/the sweat factor, not to mention the camelback mouthpiece factor. lol. Oh well, those things are pretty tough. I also put a drop of light oil to lube the fan occasionally.

    Oh yes, definately not helmet cutting or anything. Thats a big reason for the fans in the first place- didn't want not drill out the helmet.

    Definatly thought about the battery pack on helmet thing, but I'd rather not have any extra weight on there.

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