On our recent test weekend in Perisher Australia, we took three brand new helmets from the three most popular produces and put them through their paces. Our goal – to find out what helmets worked best for us, and hopefully give you some incite into your helmet purchase for the upcoming season. We are not pros, we are not reps, just three guys who fall over a lot… and really, when you’re testing helmets, isn’t that what you need?
Here’s what we came up with;
The Anon Blitz
- Endura-Shell Construction
- Active Ventilation
- Standard Fit System
- Expedition Fleece on Liner and Ear Pads
The Blitz is an entry level helmet and is reasonably priced. The fit in store was good and was recommended to us by the store clerk as a helmet for a medium to large head. Burton say the Blitz offers brimmed style in our Endura-Shell construction for long-lasting durability and strength. The consensus of our test team was that the Blitz definitely had the best styling, but lacked in other areas and performed the worst overall in this test.
We found that although the helmet fit well, when riding it would loosen and ultimately not fit as well. The expedition fleece liner, ear pads and chin strap were the most comfortable and moisture-wicking. But as a feature of the Anon “Simple Fit” the ear pads are easily removable so the rider can wear a beanie under and rock the “skate-inspired, ultra-low-profile look”. The problem was that the pads were too easy to remove and came loose from casual riding, making the helmet fit loose.
The Blitz also offers “Active Ventilation”. A “one-handed convenience” to allow “maximum airflow”. We found that with no venting on the exterior of the helmet, it provided the least venting of this test. Only two small vents along the forehead under the helmet brim are available, and don’t offer much in terms of air flow.
The Anon Blitz was just OK. We would recommend it for casual riders, full time park riders or the fashion conscious going for that particular look. If you’re looking for an entry level priced helmet, you may be better off having a look at the Salomon Bridge, Smith Holt or K2 Thrive.
The Smith Gage
- 12 vents
- AirEvac 2 ventilation
- Removable Bombshell earpads
- Removable goggle lock
We found the Gage to be a very good helmet. It was light, great fitting and well ventilated. For just a few dollars more then the Anon Blitz, it’s well worth the investment.
The self-adjusting “Lifestyle Fit” system was the best fitting we tested. We all have different head shapes and found it fit us all, beanie or no beanie. It was a snug comfortable fit. The look of the helmet is a contemporary, park style with a brim and a defined feature line keeping it as low-profile as any we’ve seen on the market. Ventilation was adequate, with in and out venting flow. The goggle fit was the best tested, and if you pair the helmet with Smith goggles, the vents actually line up to increase air flow. The only way we could fault it was that the chin strap was not as comfortable and padded as the earpieces (first world probs).
The Gage won this test for all three riders unanimously. We would recommend it for all riders. It’s well priced, looks great, comes in cool matte colourways and fits well. Wear it with confidence through winter and summer, Smith are a leader in helmet design.
The Oakley Mod 3
- MBS – Modular Brim System
- Boa® fit system
- Fidlock® magnetic buckle closure
- Fixed Ventilation
- Removable Ear Pads
- Removable Comfort Liner
The Mod 3 is the penultimate of the super tech Mod 5. This helmet might not have as much going on as it’s big brother, but it’s still feature heavy. It was by far the most tech of our test helmets.
We will start with the BOA fit system. The helmet has a dialed custom fit wheel at the base of the back of the skull that works great. It makes sure the fit is perfect. The Mod 3 was also the lightest helmet. The light weight paired with the inner mesh venting system made it feel as though the helmet wasn’t even there. It had the best venting system also, with vents on the brow, along the top and on the sides.
But, with all these pluses and superior technology, we still didn’t feel it to be the best helmet on the day. The helmet styling is a bit dated. It’s a larger, rounder style helmet, with a space aged look akin to a jet fighter helmet. It is about the size of moped helmet. This may be due to the lining being separated from the helmet, which does offer a very comfortable feel. So… each to their own? The lines are cleaner than the even more crazy Mod 5, and although not the cheapest, it’s still reasonable priced (the Mod 5 is one of the most expensive helmets on the market). To customize it a little, the brim can be exchanged for three different lengths.
When tech goes rogue
As an example of tech gone bad, the venting on the the side of the helmet has a removable piece. Presumably this is to open it up and let in more air. The problem being, when you crash, the vent cover can come off and is easy to lose in the snow. Also, one of our testers had a problem with the back of the vent cover being in line with the goggle strap clip. When the rider put his goggles on the top of his helmet then back down, the goggle strap gets caught in the vent causing problems.
With all that being said, this is now the helmet that I wear. If you have a big head, like me, the rounded look is actually flattering and the fit is amazing. The venting is perfect for riders who get very hot as well. We would recommend this helmet for all-mountain riders who want a helmet that’s safe, will last for seasons and is super lightweight. This one is for the tech-heads more so than the trendies.