Italian protection brand Dainese has been out of the mountain bike helmet game for ten years, but it now has the new Linea range that has been developed with leading motorbike helmet manufacturer and sister brand AGV.
This 03 is the open-face model and it shares some design attributes with Dainese’s Linea 01 – currently the world’s lightest DH-certified full-face helmet. Available with or without MIPS, it hides a nylon exoskeleton within the expanded polystyrene (EPS) absorption layer for extra penetration resistance.
This uses a design similar to the lattice you might have seen on Dainese’s body armour, where specially shaped segments are linked in an ‘auxetic’ layout. Auxetic structures exhibit properties called ‘Negative Poisson’s Ratios’ (a new one for us, too) that, when stretched, expand in the perpendicular direction. In other words, if an impact squishes the material in a vertical direction, the lattice strengthens across the horizontal plane.
Dainese also dulls any pointy profiles on the helmet’s polycarbonate exterior that can accelerate impact forces through to the skull, and then tunes the EPS inside to best absorb impacts from different zones and angles. The flexible (adjustable) visor also bends easily to avoid accelerating forces or twisting loads in an impact.
On this MIPS+ model there are two types of technology from snow sports embedded inside to help rescue services potentially find you and also access personal data like your blood group or next of kin information. This tech is excluded from the two cheaper Liner 03 models in the Dainese helmet range.
On top of all the hidden safety features, the Linea 03 exterior looks similar to most extended coverage MTB lids, although the more angular vents and unique-looking visor have a more of a futuristic edge than most.
When riding, thanks to a three-way height adjustment to the cradle, comfy absorbent padding – in three thicknesses to tune perfect fit – and a Fidlock chinstrap, the Linea lid sits nice and stable with deep dished coverage that feels very protective.
In hotter weather it remains light and airy and dumps heat well thanks to effective air channels across the top of the skull and the ears. I found it slightly less effective for cooling the brow than some lids that have bigger dedicated ports on the forehead. Perhaps because of that lack of cooling air flow, the forehead sweat pads occasionally got overloaded when working hard.
This is a decent lid that’s loaded with safety tech and sits nice and stable no matter how hard you ride, but it’s not among my favourite options at the asking price of £180. However, Dainese is now selling it half price on its website, which makes it a much more compelling choice given the overall quality, finish and function.