what helmet to wear at Whistler MTB park?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    what helmet to wear at Whistler MTB park?

    I have a Giro Switchblade... the one which goes from a no-face to full-face with an attachment. Will this helmet be good enough for 2 days at the park? It will be my first time there, and I'm new to freeride. Should I upgrade to a carbon full-face? My head is waaay more important than my money, so I'm willing to upgrade if its a better idea than using just the Switchblade...

  2. #2
    Gear Whore
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    While the I think that the switchblade is allright for light freeriding, I would go with a full face at whistler. I have heard many a stories of the little jaw piece of the switchblade breaking and causing injury to the face of the rider. From what I hear whistler is VERY fast and you really grow as a rider up there, sometimes ride harder than your skill level, but if something goes wrong....I would rather have a fully on...also leg and arm armour at least. Have fun man, hope to be hitting it up later this summer....well see.

  3. #3

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    Dedicated Full Face Lid

    Quote Originally Posted by coiler_casey
    I have a Giro Switchblade...
    My buds and I only spent 3 days in Whistler last summer, but we saw 3 major accidents while there. Common mech of injury was dropping off a ledge w/ weight too far forward, causing endo, causing face plant w/ head & neck injury.

    One involved a rider wearing a Switchblade, and the lower face guard essentially shattered on impact. That rider suffered at least 4 displaced teeth (maybe more), and likely had nasal +/or facial fractures, among other injuries.

    Another accident involved a rider wearing a full face helmet, but despite the increased protection he was still seriously injured (ie closed head injury, probable neck injury, definite compromised airway)

    Coincidentally 3 of my riding partners on that trip are physicians (2 are E.R. docs), while the 4th is a dentist and we had pretty lengthy discussions about the injuries we witnessed, yada, yada, yada....

    Bottom line is that a dedicated full face lid will provide more protection than the Switchblade.

    Ride On, Dave

  4. #4
    BJ-
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    if u get a new full face then...seems as u ride a giro just get a mad max 2 the new ones look real nice and heaps of people i know have stacked extremly bad and walked away with nothing more than headaches there really good (and not that much either)...i dont think a carbon will make much differce...except for weight...

  5. #5
    Pro Crastinator
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    i reccommend this for ultimate protection.......
    Last edited by .WestCoastHucker.; 01-23-2007 at 10:03 AM.


  6. #6
    Tear it all out! SuperModerator
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    Get a real full face helmet.

    Last summer, up at Whistler one of the women I ride with took a stump in the face while wearing a Swithblade. The opening on the Switchblade is quite a bit bigger than a real full face, so if she had been wearing a full face, the nose guard would probably prevented some of the injury.

    She rides a Mace FF helmet now.

    A couple of years ago, the Switchblade was the helmet of choice on the NS, now it is rare to see them. Most of the bike stores up here won't sell them.

  7. #7

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    Full Face

    I brought my Giro Mad Max to Diablo FR Park in NJ...Glad I did or typing would be my only means of communication right now. I wiped big time and landed right side jaw on a rock.
    Better safe than sorry...Bring the real deal full face.

  8. #8
    the bomb
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    curious about switchblade failure

    I have heard many a stories of the little jaw piece of the switchblade breaking and causing injury to the face of the rider.

    First, I agree, real full face for whistler.

    I am curious about these switchblade failure stories. I wear one on most trail rides, because I don't like the idea of smashing up my face. Anyhoo, I've heard some of these stories and I have to wonder are these people using the stabalizing pads for the face guard?

    There are pads you're supposed to wear inside the face guard, between your jaw and the helmet. I bought mine from someone on ebay, and it arrived withouth those pads. My husband also has one, so I knew to look for them. The seller told me he never got them. Had to special order them. I wonder how many people wear that helmet without them, and whether that contributes to the failure.
    Womanhood ain't for sissies.- oldbroad

  9. #9
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    as a guy who has been to whistler and crashed with both a cheap/light helmet and a good helmet, i can tell you that it is no fun at all with the cheap/light. go big when you buy a full face for that kind of riding. i like the specialized hucker. i was wearing a vigor vamose (or some such thing - not very sturdy for a full face, but nice and light). i crashed. many stitches, lots of blood, concussion. went again a year later with the specialized and put my head through a tree. it was hard enough to give me a compression fracture in one vertebrae. while that did suck, i had no blood, no stitches, no conscussion. helmets are good.

  10. #10

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    Thanks... just the answers I was looking for... this forum kicks ass.

  11. #11
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    You can rent full face helmets in Whistler too

    Many of the shops (i.e. Fanatico and the rental facility in the GLC) rent proper full face helments. you definitely don't want to use the switchblade if you can get something better. Yes, it's bettery than an XC helment, but 95% of the riders will be using a proper full face.

    Renting might allow you to not have to buy a new one, but still have proper protection for Whistler. You want the right protection: the riding is awesome, but there are a lot of injuries. We sponsor one of the patrollers in Whistler, so I have spent some time hanging around the CLC (Patroller base) and the clinic in the village: there are no shortage of serious injuries that cold have been prevented by proper protection.

    After that being said - have fun!
    Noel Buckley
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  12. #12

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    I am just getting into freeriding and DH on a Stab that I just got. I looked far and wide for a Giro Switchblade but I finally ordered a Pryme AL. They still have lots of vents but it's a full face. I have heard a few people say they dislike the switchblades, but I have never actually talked to anybody that has ever even seen one in real life. One of the misconceptions I see alot is that they must be junk since bike shops won't sell them or whatever. I had such a hard time finding one that I had a bike shop call Giro directly to see what's up with the switchblades. This is going through 3 people, so this may not be exact, but apparently they subcontracted out the switchblade manufacturing for 2003 to a company in Germany. Part of the contract was that they were supposed to crank out X number of switchblade helmets per month. The company was only doing like 1/4 of what was expected, so after awhile, Giro shut them down. Unfortunately the German company refused to ship back their $60K mold and they just kept it. So basically there were very few switchblade helmets available for 2003, and none at all for 2004. Supposedly they are coming back out for 2005 and are beefier.

  13. #13
    Dax
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    Funny,

    I live in Vancouver, and whal I have skied whistler MANY MANY times I have never taken a bike down it. I am 'new' to the sport of riding, even though I have had a bike since I was 3. After this I don't even want to go to whistler.

    QUESTION: Say you guys are riding from your house to a trail, then you ride up the mountian, and down the other side there are stunts, small drops (1-2') and single track. Would you wear a full face or a XC helmet? I so this ride a few times a week (burnaby mtn. is like a 25 min ride from my house) andI can't decide if I should buy a full face. I like to 'go big' when I ride but I am always affriad of face planting. But a full face is HOT.

    Obviously for shuttle runs and lift runs you need a full face. But what about a XC ride with some downhill thrown in?

  14. #14
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    Hey Dax

    If it's the kind of thing where you are climbing for a while, then hit stunts and/or go down for a while, bring a full face and take it off for the climb. I live in the bay area (nor cal) and many of my rides require a long slog to the top. I strap my full face (and armor) to my camelback, spin up the hill, then gear up at the top. I'm a pretty fast climber but am just not worried about crashing on the way up.

    On the other hand, if you're ride is more of a mix and you know you will want a full face at some point, I'd say wear your full face and just suck it up in the hot spots. For me, wearing less protection that I think I might need is a self-fulfilling prophecy: I feel unprotected and thus get tentative, which makes me crash.

    My $.02

  15. #15

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    I've been using a Switchblade for the past 2-3 years and I love it. It's light yet seems to protect my melon pretty well. I've never REALLY face planted but I DID endo a few times and the chin protector actually saved me from some potentially nasty cosmetic damage. I recently got a Stinky and plan on doing some DH/FR and I'm considering a real full face helmet. Still on the fence about it though...on the other hand, I just ordered a Flak jacket and some AirFrame knee/shin guards so my balls may grow in which case I may need a full face helmet to accompany the rest of my recently purchased courage.

  16. #16
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    Full-face is the way to go...

    As you say, your head is pretty important. As yet another rider who did a face plant up there last year I am glad I had one. Get a good quality helmet that is comfortable. Carbon fiber is not needed unless you want the light weight.
    "Without the ability to make moral distinctions based on motive, consequences, the ethical constructs of various parties, everything is equal, and you end up with people like Woody Allen: a tiny speck of compacted narcissism, revolving around the dead sun in an empty universe." - James Lileks

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by zachdank
    there is no need for a helmet there. wear ear muffs so your ears don't get cold.
    Dont' forget your touk, eh?

  18. #18
    Flyin Canine
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    I've had a switchblade for the last couple of years and it has taken a couple of light impacts to the chinbar area and done a good job of protecting me. No real big face plants yet. I rode with it at whistler last year and it was nice and cool. It is designed to break and absorb the energy of a MAJOR impact so all the stories about them breaking is to be expected.

    I plan on going harder at northstar and whistler this year and a real DH helmet is heavier, stonger, and much hotter but will do a better job of protecting you so I bought one and plan to wear it while doing lift accessed trails. I think it's a 661 full bravo. I still plan to bring the switchblade for the rides in the rest of the whistler valley and probably for places like squamish and downieville. I just get too hot for a dh helmet most of the time.

  19. #19
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    um...

    Dont' forget your touk, eh?
    That's spelled toque eh?

    Noel Buckley
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dax
    Funny,

    QUESTION: Say you guys are riding from your house to a trail, then you ride up the mountian, and down the other side there are stunts, small drops (1-2') and single track. Would you wear a full face or a XC helmet? I so this ride a few times a week (burnaby mtn. is like a 25 min ride from my house) andI can't decide if I should buy a full face. I like to 'go big' when I ride but I am always affriad of face planting. But a full face is HOT.

    Obviously for shuttle runs and lift runs you need a full face. But what about a XC ride with some downhill thrown in?
    I do lots of that. I live in Burnaby and often ride to the North Shore for a ride. It totally depends on the trails I plan on riding on what I will wear. I have no problems wearing my full face riding through traffic in the middle of summer to get to the hills (then I strap it to my bars for the big climbs). Sure it is a bit hot, but it is something that I can deal with. Other people don't like the heat of wearing a full face helmet though. It just depends on the person and their personal limits.

    However, if I'm going to be riding some relatively easy trails (for me that is. For example, I consider Upper Oilcan a relatively easy trail), I'll take my XC helmet (Giro Pneumo of all things). This usually happens if I commute to work over there and want to do a quick ride before heading home. When I started riding on the North shore, XC helmets were all we had so I figure that I can probably wear one occasionally as long as I tone things down (and I definately crashed a LOT more back then than I do now).

    Oh, and I pretty much always wear an XC helmet on Bby mountain. More often than not, it is because I'm riding my XC bike up there anyways. I do see lots of people in full body armour up there though so to each his/her own.

    Dave

  21. #21
    BJ-
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    yeh well when i ride i either wear my full face or my hat...when i ride to my friends houses i wear my hat becuase an 8km ride up a hill with a full face kills u i just carry it untill i get up then use it going down...and use it when jumping etc (so all the time except for riding up hills)...ull rarely see me or my friends without them on...we know how valuable they are...my one my mates wouldnt have any skin on the right side of his face if it wernt for his full bravo...

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