As the enduro scene continues to grow, we mountain bikers are getting spoiled with tons of new options for protective gear that’s not too hot, heavy or cumbersome to pedal in. Fox just announced a few new protective items geared towards enduro or trail riders, most notably their new Dropframe helmet.
The Dropframe open faced helmet offers as much protection for your head as possible without adding a chin bar. Its lower frame structure covers the ears, jaw and the back of your head with its airy, open construction.
Fox has also jumped on the flexible protection bandwagon with their new F3 Armor. Made of an advanced polymer with a highly structured shape, F3 stands for Flexible, Form-Fitting. This new technology is featured in Fox’s Enduro Pro and Launch pad sets, plus three new protective base layer shirts.
Dropframe open faced helmet:
Has Fox just created (or revived) a niche category of Enduro helmets? Looking like the little brother to their heavily vented Proframe full-face DH helmets, Fox’s new Dropframe adds extra protection to the traditional open face design. Aimed at trail and enduro riders who like to push their limits on rough terrain, the Dropframe’s obvious standout feature is the lower frame that extends around the ears and back of the head.
Fox is calling this design ‘MORE guard technology’, which stands for Mandibular Occipital REinforcement. This new design offers more coverage for your lower head, jaws and ears than any of their previous open faced helmets. The shell of the Dropframe features a Dual-Density Varizorb EPS liner, which distributes impact forces over a wide area.
The Dropframe has eight Big Bore intake vents and seven exhaust vents to keep air flowing over your noggin. The Dropframe’s visor is fixed in position, but that’s because its shape matches the helmet’s contours to direct air through the front vents.
Other details include a magnetic Fidlock SNAP chin buckle, and moisture wicking, antibacterial liner pads. Two sets of thicker/thinner pads are included so you can fine-tune the helmet’s fit. Fox claims the Dropframe is super light (but doesn’t list its actual weight).
The new Dropframe open faced helmet sells for $169.95 and comes in Black, White/Black, Rio Red and Black Iridium colorways. With four sizes (S-XL) covering 2cm increments each, any rider should be able to get a shell that fits their head well.
Enduro Pro Knee and Elbow Guards:
The new Enduro Pro knee guards (above left) use Fox’s F3 armor to provide a high level of impact protection in a flexible, pedal-friendly guard. The F3 padding slips into an inside pocket, and is easily removable for washing the pads. The guards follow a simple slip-on design with a moisture wicking, open stretch mesh panel behind the knee. Cordura fabric and a skid plate on the knee/shin area adds abrasion resistance where needed.
The matching Enduro Pro elbow guards (above right) are identical to the knees in construction, but made for your arms! The Enduro Pro Knee Guards sell for $74.95, and the Elbows retail at $69.95. Both are available in Black or Grey Vintage. Sizes range from S-XL.
Launch Pro Knee, Knee/Shin and Elbow Guards:
Fox must be stoked on the new F3 armor, as they’ve decided to redesign their existing Launch Pro knee guards and equip them with F3 padding for 2019. In addition to the F3 armor up front, the Launch Pro’s have additional padding on the sides to fend off frame or saddle impacts.
The pre-curved Launch Pro knees are a slip-on design, but do have top and bottom Velcro straps to ensure a tight, secure fit. Perforated neoprene allows the pads to breathe, and they’ve left the back of the knee wide open for comfortable pedaling.
The Launch Pro Elbow guards have also been redesigned with the same F3 armor, side padding and open back panel as the knees, the only difference being the single top adjustment strap instead of two.
If you’d like to keep your shins protected, the 2019 Launch Pro series also includes a Knee/Shin guard. The knee portion of the pad is pretty much the Launch Pro knee, but the extended version adds asymmetrical, anatomically shaped shin guards. This longer guard relies on three straps for a solid fit, and the remainder of their back side is left wide open.
MSRP for the Launch Pro knees is $64.95, the Elbow Guards cost $54.95, and the Knee/Shin combo sells for $74.95. All come in Black only, with sizes S/M/L available.
One great application for thin, flexible padding is adding it to a protective undershirt. Fox decided to apply their new F3 armor to three new Baseframe shirts, providing some lightweight upper body protection for rowdy riders.
The Baseframe shirt offers elbow and shoulder protection with its removable F3 armor pads. This thin, low-profile shirt is designed to hide under a jersey, and work with other protective pieces (such as a neck or spine protector). The shirt is made of a breathable, moisture wicking main fabric with open mesh panels to further aid cooling. High-wear areas are reinforced with Cordura for durability.
The Baseframe Pro is the most protective option, with F3 armor covering your elbows, shoulders, spine and chest. There’s even some thin padding atop the collarbones, which would probably feel nice under a neck protector. The Baseframe Pro’s F3 back protector features large perforations and grooves so it freely flexes as you ride, while the chest is covered by a light foam pad. The shirt itself is the same as the Baseframe, except it has removable sleeves and more pockets for the additional padding. All the pads can be removed for washing.
Finally, Fox is offering a Sleeveless version of the Baseframe Pro. The Sleeveless model provides padding for your spine and chest, but its long torso also includes pads for your hips. The main body is made from stretchy open mesh fabric, and the removable spine protector is the same perforated, grooved type found in the Baseframe Pro. This model forgoes the collarbone padding in favor of keeping things thin and light under your jersey.
The Baseframe shirt retails for $99, the Baseframe Pro jumps to $179.95, and the Baseframe Pro Sleeveless sells for $159.95. All are sold in Black only, in sizes S-2XL.