These ATV Crashes Will Make You Rethink Helmet Safety
Helmets like this Bell can have their chin bars removed and offer a lot of safety and comfort (Photo: Bell)
- Seeing the pros get it wrong rekindles the debate on mountain biking safety.
- When you lack skills, your PPE has to make a living.
- And the full face helmet remains the best head protection for advanced mountain biking.
Mountain biking is dangerous. Forget all those curated Instagram images of happy people looking into the distance, enjoying the splendid isolation on a ridge line.
The truth is that what has gone up must be come down. The trails are getting steeper and more technical. What about bicycles? They go faster.
Ten years ago, ATV geometry, tire technology, and suspension components were good, but not great. You would usually get a flat tire, feel instability through the frame, or lower your suspension as an early warning sign to calm yourself down, on the descent.
The 2021 model year average track or enduro bike is light enough to pedal over very steep terrain and can descend the most dangerous rocky trails with a confidence that flatters most rider skills.
That’s why you buy the best helmet
Mountain biking technology now far exceeds the skills of cyclists. And with the rise of bicycle technology, more difficult trails are explored.
Overcoming your fear and riding the technical features of the trails can be rewarding. But risk analysis should always be part of your driving awareness.
Helmets are an oft-overlooked mountain bike kit. We only realize their value when they serve their purpose.
Two recent terrifying mountain biking accidents show the value of modern helmet technology. Most new high end mountain bike helmets can reduce soft tissue brain trauma with flat linings and other energy dispersing features.
When to get a full face helmet is worth it
The recent crash of an enduro race in Latin America, above, illustrates how a rider can go from control to laying on rocks, in an instant – without any bracing reaction.
We all feel invincible as we ride this downhill and assume we’ll avoid a direct facial impact with rocks, if things go wrong. But the forces involved mean that most reactions from amateur cyclists are ineffective.
With full-face mountain bike helmets getting lighter and providing better airflow, even amateur riders can benefit from an upgrade for comfortable all-day riding.
If you feel a little shy about wearing a full face helmet when attempting a very technical trail, there is convertible options
with a removable chin bar.
These helmets function like a typical cycling half-shell for most of your ride, with the chin bar only attaching when you need it, to prevent serious facial injuries if the odds are stacked against you on those daring descents.