This month's Star Letter is worried about guys and girls riding serious terrain at speed thinking a trail lid will be enough if it goes pear shaped.
This month’s Star Letter is worried about guys and girls riding serious terrain at speed thinking a trail lid will be enough if it goes pear shaped.
I’ve been riding mountain bikes since the early 90s and have seen so many trends come and go. But there is one trend I have noticed at bike parks recently that has me worried. I’ve noticed a real decline in the number of riders using a full face helmet.
I’m sure this has to do with the fact that modern bikes are so good at crossing disciplines. You can now buy a bike that will climb well enough for an all day epic and shred super tech descents with ease. This means you no longer need a stable of bikes that are designed for different types of riding. You can go for a fast XC loop in the morning and an uplift in the afternoon on the same bike. I’m all for this and I think modern bikes have opened up different types of riding to people that previously would have struggled.
BUT, and it’s a big ‘but’. Most riders only have the one helmet, usually a trail lid. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good trail lid and helmet design is in a very different place compared to when I first started, but they really, really are no replacement for a full face lid if you’re nailing a black run and have an off. Obviously you have the likes of the Giro switchblade etc that do a brilliant job of bridging the gap.
I’m worried about the guys and girls that are riding serious terrain at speed thinking a trail lid will be enough if it goes pear shaped. Trust me it won’t. I’ve seen far too many really serious injuries over the past thirty years to know that if you’re opening the taps you need a full face because sooner or later you will have a big off and hit hard.
I helped two riders who crashed at the weekend. Both would have walked away with bruises and a couple scrapes if they wore a full face. Instead both got a trip to A&E to have their faces stitched back together and teeth fixed.
So please, if you’re going to ride bike parks and push the envelope get yourself a full face. They are cheaper than you think, it’s easy to pick up a decent lid for under £100. So saying they are too expensive while sitting on a 3k rig doesn’t wash I’m afraid.
What’s the point of buying an expensive bike that can tear it up or down anything if you’re stuck at home with a face looking like you just did ten rounds with Anthony Joshua while chewing on a brick?
Oh, and it also means a lot less hassle for the people who run these wonderful bike parks.
– Jim Brealy
mbr – You make a good point – bike parks do come with increased risks, both in the natiure of some of the features, and the fact that the controlled environment can mean riders tend to let down their guard. Equally, you always want to pack in as much riding as you can, so when fatigue sets in, common sense can often be overruled by the urge to get your money’s worth. As you point out, convertible helmets now offer the best of both worlds and make a sensible investment. Alternatively, lightweight, well-ventilated enduro-style full-faces let you pedal uphill without struggling for air or overheating.
There’s even an argument for wearing one all the time, I myself having recently broken my nose in a high-speed embrace with a tree on one of my local trails that I’ve ridden countless times.