Why are there no full face XC helmets?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Why are there no full face XC helmets?

    I know this has been debated again and again, but I figure its time I throw my 2 cents in.

    I had a pretty severe head injury several years ago and have been forced to ride in a full face helmet whenever I mountain bike. Its fine when its cold or when I am doing freeride or downhill stuff but for XC, even the lightest full face is punishingly hot.

    I have an old Giro Switchblade and a Specialized Deviant. Why have no helmets like the Giro Switchblade been released in the US? I can name dozens of people that would jump at the chance to own an XC helmet with some extra protection. I don't mean helmets that can take DH-style impacts, I mean ones that will protect your teeth if you take a header on your average aggressive XC ride.

    Anyone know if anything is in the works at Giro, Specialized, Bell, etc?

  2. #2
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    I think the simple answer is that these companies do not perceive enough demand.

    Typically if I am going to explore a new trail I have never ridden alone, I take my fullface. Well, unless its a 90+ degree day. So, same as you, I wish I had a lighter option than what I currently am riding.

  3. #3
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    I have the MET Parachute

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=17687

    It has a removable face guard and it's light but ... I pretty much never use the full face part, it still gets hot when you breathe in it. It doesn't seem like it will protect your teeth much if you get a straight on hit in it. If you slide sideways it would work great.

    I'm pretty sure the Cratoni Ramp has a removable face guard and seems a lot beefier but it doesn't look like it has much cooling.

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...x?ModelID=9574

    So if you want full face protection wear a full face helmet. If you want something that will make you feel 'safer' because it has something other than nothing your choices are limited.

  4. #4
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    I still have my Giro switchblade too. Usually use it with the chinbar off, but when it gets more dicey its a nice added layer of protection. I figure if I ever crashed wearing it the chinbar would be a self-destructing item and the helmet would be done, but still its an added bit of confidence without huge weight penalties and it looks good to boot.

    Jeff

    Had to edit, that Met Parachute is a nice looking helmet! Thanks for that link!

  5. #5
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    The parachute looks like it would be really good for jaw impacts from the side.

    interested...

  6. #6
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    A little extra protection

    What I am really looking for is the side of the head protection. During the aforementioned head injury, I cut my ear severally. So I need to where something that covers my ears. I have seen that some companies have come out with helmets that are essentially a full face helmet without the face guard part. They look as hot as a full face helmet!

    Maybe the MET and the Switchblade have only the illusion of more protection but its certainly better than eating a rock with your front teeth. That said, for any real freeriding or DH, I use the Specialized Deviant. I just want a full face XC helmet, is that too much to ask?


  7. #7

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    I have owned one of these for years:

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=10718

    Very light and the chin slides out of really deep grooves and sits right in to the helmet and feels really solid unlike the met parachute. The chin guard slides out easilly with 2 clips holding it in place. The helmet is actually better at protecting you in a big crash than a normal full face as it deforms on impact. Ive had several big crashes and expected it to break, but it came out untouched. Also comes with a life time warranty! I love it and cant understand why its not more popular? Actually yes I can, its as ugly as sin without the ching guard in place. But it truly is an amazing helmet!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by whittm
    I have owned one of these for years:

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=10718
    I've always wanted to try that one but decided to get the Parachute a year+ back because it did look cooler. Doesn't look like they have any in stock though.

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Myself and a number of riding buddies previously had the switchblade when we were starting to get into more aggresive riding. The helmets were not too bad, but were not that great.

    Venting was okay for the XC use, having the chin bar on limited airflow as well. The helmet fastening system on the switchblade was pretty much useless.

    Several people I met riding on the shore had stories to tell about smashing the face open with a switchblade. The helmet does not fasten well enough and the chin bar breaks on impact. Take a look at most DH type helmets the straps are riveted into the side of the helmet, not just attached with a little velco.

    I too might be interested in a good XC/AM lid that has a good chin/teeth protection bar. Not certain on how strong they are but the ski races have a bar on most of their helmets to deflect gates away from the face. Something like that but with better ventillation might work.

  11. #11
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    What about tapping some maxi pads to your ears? Giro use to make the switch blade, maybe you could find someone who has some.

  12. #12
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    OK...I might be giving up my great idea here, but why aren't there any XC helmets with face guards designed like a hockey or football helmet, with thin metal bars instead of this thick moto-looking face shield? I've seen ski helmets like this too. I was thinking of marketing one, but wouldn't want the liability of being a helmet maker.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by @dam
    liability
    From previous discussions, I gathered that this is the key word.

    People would assume that a little something in front of the jaw would give a lot of protection. Then one would have a serious crash and sue the manufacturer because the FF helmet did not protect him like a FF helmet should.

  14. #14
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    To protect your teeth it is a good idea to wear a mouth guard. I broke my teeth when I went OTB. Your bottom and top teeth smash together on a hard impact.

  15. #15
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    I noticed the word "insurance" hasn't been mentioned.

    I'm guessing that someone will wear a XC helmet with a face guard for true dh'ing, then sue when it doesn't protect like a real full-face.

    The primary reason why Met does not sell helmets in America is they are unwilling to go through the testing and insurance hassles. It doesn't mean their helmets are unsafe, but the fact than none of the American manufacturers make a light-use full-face should say something.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by icy
    To protect your teeth it is a good idea to wear a mouth guard. I broke my teeth when I went OTB. Your bottom and top teeth smash together on a hard impact.
    I agree 100%. It is insanely expensive to get teeth repaired here in the US. A simple crown on a molar costs >$1000 and insurance only covers half of it. A single broken front tooth would be worse, and if you lost a few of them....

    Like most things regarding bikes, unfortunately it comes down to one thing: aesthetics. If it doesn't look like the pros, then it is not worth doing.

  17. #17

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    if a helmet meets standards, who are you going to sue? its not a liability thing, theres very clear, defined standards to protect the manufacturers.

    they sell TONS of brain bucket xc helmets to average riders who might wear them a few times a year.. thats their big money. theres just no demand for what you're asking.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomsmoto
    if a helmet meets standards, who are you going to sue? its not a liability thing, theres very clear, defined standards to protect the manufacturers.

    Just because there are standards does not mean that someone can't or won't sue a Mfgr. It actually is a liability and a high one at that (they are making, marketing and selling an item that is designed to and supposed to protect) . People see a full face helmet regardless what is is supposed to be used for and use it in any way they decide even if it is out of the use spectrum of its design and when they get hurt they sue! even when they are in the wrong they sue. Yes it is ridiculous but that is the society that we live in now, people doen't wnat to take responsibility for them selves.

  19. #19
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    Sadly, people in the US will sue for just about anything. Standards go out the window with personal injury attorneys. Unfortunately, even liability waivers are not bulletproof.

    On a helmet like the MET Parachute, say at impact the facegaurd pops off inadvertantly and gashes your cheek - A sane person sees that you saved your teeth and didn't get a concussion. Personal injury attorneys and people that want something for nothing only see that the gash on their cheek will leave them permanently disfigured, making for a big payday. Which is my guess as to why the helmet is hard to find in the US.

    It wouldn't be that hard for Giro or Bell to produce something light and effective in the $100 range, but the demand and increased liability by adding protection don't warrant them making it. Sucks, because I had a spill a few days ago that nearly took off the side of my face.

  20. #20

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    I respect all the viewers who share views with a charm. I already knowledge about your helmet and I am sure you will be protected by this awesome peace of helmet.

  21. #21
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    I have a Casco Vipe MX

    It works great. though, I think the parechute is really good looking too.

  22. #22
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    hehe reminds me of my brother whom back in the 70's enjoyed jumping his early homemade bmx. with his football helmet on. lol them were the days
    Quote Originally Posted by a stoned guy with a beer in his hand eyeballing your sisters bike
    "i fit my bike to fit me;not for looks...nice did you buy that bike from jc whitney?" Stoner Island 1984

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tones23
    Sadly, people in the US will sue for just about anything. Standards go out the window with personal injury attorneys. Unfortunately, even liability waivers are not bulletproof.

    On a helmet like the MET Parachute, say at impact the facegaurd pops off inadvertantly and gashes your cheek - A sane person sees that you saved your teeth and didn't get a concussion. Personal injury attorneys and people that want something for nothing only see that the gash on their cheek will leave them permanently disfigured, making for a big payday. Which is my guess as to why the helmet is hard to find in the US.

    It wouldn't be that hard for Giro or Bell to produce something light and effective in the $100 range, but the demand and increased liability by adding protection don't warrant them making it. Sucks, because I had a spill a few days ago that nearly took off the side of my face.
    BTW liability claims are not just a US thing like you implied.
    Quote Originally Posted by a stoned guy with a beer in his hand eyeballing your sisters bike
    "i fit my bike to fit me;not for looks...nice did you buy that bike from jc whitney?" Stoner Island 1984

  24. #24
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    Do a thirty mile or more ride on some real hilly, technical terrain and you will see why there are no XC full face helmets. Idiot!!

    Mike

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHFreak
    Do a thirty mile or more ride on some real hilly, technical terrain and you will see why there are no XC full face helmets. Idiot!!

    Mike

    whoa calm down no ones making you wear one Freak
    Quote Originally Posted by a stoned guy with a beer in his hand eyeballing your sisters bike
    "i fit my bike to fit me;not for looks...nice did you buy that bike from jc whitney?" Stoner Island 1984

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialK
    Maybe the MET and the Switchblade have only the illusion of more protection but its certainly better than eating a rock with your front teeth.
    But is it? Could you not only be eating a rock but bits of shattered plastic too?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by @dam
    OK...I might be giving up my great idea here, but why aren't there any XC helmets with face guards designed like a hockey or football helmet, with thin metal bars instead of this thick moto-looking face shield? I've seen ski helmets like this too. I was thinking of marketing one, but wouldn't want the liability of being a helmet maker.
    I think this is a good idea, at least it would keep your face off of the dirt. Like has been said, fashion is really king in bike equipment sales, and I doubt the pros would wear something like this unless they have some kind of medical reason.

  28. #28
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    My 9 yr old son crashed on a skinny last week and broke two teeth. He's in mountain bike camp next week and we have ordered up a MET from Wiggle so that he can still do it. I'll report back on it.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  29. #29
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    The biggest problem is that there are no safety standards for full face bicycle helmets. The relevant standards are all for non-full-face helmets. The only applicable standards are for motorbike helmets, but these are overkill for XC riding.

    This matters because let's say Johnny crashes in an ANSI certified helmet, and it breaks in half. The manufacturer can (correctly) defend themselves by saying that the helmet was built to the relevant safety requirements, even though it failed.

    However, if they make a full face helmet, and Johnny does a face plant and hurts himself, there are no safety standards they can use to show they designed the helmet properly. Whereas Johnny's lawyer can pull out the DOT standard and say 'why didn't you build it to pass this test?'

    Worse, if they made an XC full face helmet, it would undoubtedly get used for DH and Freeride because it's way more comfortable, even though it wouldn't provide the level of protection required. It's hard to see how you could word a disclaimer or warning on the packaging that would effectively cover their asses, beyond 'Don't expect this helmet to provide any more protection than a non full-face helmet'. In which case why buy it?

    All of which is a shame because it's a great idea. I'll take a look at my son's MET when it arrives and if I like it I will probably buy one for myself.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  30. #30
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    I believe I read either on the Met website, or maybe they posted here, that due to American litigation craziness, they don't sell the Parachute model here.
    功夫大师喜欢骑着他的自行车在山上。

  31. #31
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    Yeap, from what I understand each size of every model sold here in the US must be tested. Talk about rip off, especially for a one crash helmets.

  32. #32
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    I bought a MET Parachute from wiggle.co.uk for my son, after he broke two teeth on a skinny, and it's great. The chin guard detaches and splits and stows in a backpack until you need it. I rode at the weekend with a Brit who was riding with one with the chinguard removed. Looked good. Will be my next helmet and I am encouraging the distributors I know to carry them.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

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