One of the most comfortable helmets I’ve ever worn
Inside the Oakley Drt5 helmet is just one, solitary, emaciated little piece of padding, all that stands in the way between your head and hard MIPS liner.
Surely a recipe for a migraine. It’s hard to believe then, that this is one of the most comfortable helmets I’ve ever worn. And it leads me to question whether the big lid brands have been getting it wrong all these years, and much like a saddle, less is actually more when it comes to padding.
Your head makes contact with every part of the MIPS liner, and it’s this that provides the comfort — instead of half a dozen small pressure points from foam pads, there’s a much greater surface area and thereby less concentrated pressure. The liner isn’t grippy, but the helmet remains snug on your head thanks to a revolutionary new feature from Oakley, a silicone sweat band that sits just on your brow. This sweat gutter is extremely effective at channeling perspiration from your head and dumping about level with your ears. I rode the entire summer with this helmet on, even in Italy when the mercury topped 40, and genuinely didn’t have drips running down my face or stinging eyes. Really, this is no gimmick.
The Drt5 uses BOA’s latest 360 Fit System. Turn the dial at the back of the head and you tighten something Oakley calls a TX1 Lace, basically a thin steel wire made from seven strands that wraps round the circumference of your head. This sounds pretty unpleasant but the Lace feels soft and more like it’s made of fabric, and it lets the fit system lie flush to your head without the need for the usual plastic ribs that can dig in. It’s especially useful if you use eyewear because there’s nothing for the your glasses arms to conflict with. Speaking of eyewear, the signature feature of the Drt5 is its DeLorean door-style mechanical hooks that secure your glasses when not in use. So instead of poking the arms into the vent holes and interfering with air flow you can dump them securely on top. It’s an OK feature, they hold glasses securely enough but personally I keep eyewear on for the whole ride.
Those hooks are removable too (as is the silicone sweat brand that you can swap for traditional foam), leaving space for your goggle strap to sit without budging. The Drt5’s peak has an incredible range of motion so you can stash those goggles underneath when climbing. Then there are a host of little features too that I love about this helmet. The chinstrap is adjustable fore and aft so you can get it to loop perfectly under your ears, and it doesn’t loosen over time like so many do. Finally, the shell wraps round and under the EPS core of the helmet and protects it in transit.
At 440g the Drt5 is on the heavy side, but comparable with favourites like the Bell Super 3, and its secure hold on your head means it’s not really noticeable when riding. It’s also slightly more money than top end lids like the Giro Montaro or Endura MT500.
But it’s a step up in quality from both of those, the finish is brilliant, and the extra features that could be so gimmicky are actually astute and desirable. From now on, I’m wearing this helmet exclusively.