Rudy Project provided protective gear at this year’s Impact media camp in Sun Valley, Idaho, so I took the chance try out their new 2018 Protera MTB helmet and Tralyx photochromic sunglasses.
I came away impressed with the weight and comfort of the Protera helmet, and I really liked how the photochromic lenses on the Tralyx sunglasses allow you to toss them on and leave them there all day long.
Protera MTB Helmet:
The first thing I noticed about the Protera MTB helmet was its weight- It’s quite light at 320g with the visor (size S/M). It should be noted that the Protera does not include MIPS, or any similar system.
I found the fit was good- the shell is just large enough front-to-back for my head, and with the retention system cinched down the sides snug up evenly. The Protera stays comfortably clamped to your head throughout a ride, but the shell did create a compatibility issue with the Tralyx sunglasses…more on that below.
The RSR 9 retention system cannot be adjusted vertically, but it fit me perfectly. The retention straps and buckle are streamlined, and the dial’s sawtooth shape made it easy to adjust with gloves on. The side adjusters are simple, lightweight units that include a lower slot for clipping in earbud wires. The chin buckle also isn’t anything fancy or magnetic, but does the job just fine.
I ran the Protera’s visor in almost the lowest position and while visible, it didn’t interrupt my view enough to bother me in any riding situation. It can be adjusted much higher up for those who want to keep their field of vision wide open.
Rudy Project put some nice finishing touches on this lid- The visor screws have raised center tabs that make it easy for gloved fingers to adjust on the fly. The meshed padding will help keep bugs or dirt off your head, and didn’t sacrifice ventilation at all. They’ve also added new quick-change removable straps on the Protera so you can clean, replace or swap them out for another color anytime.
The Protera’s 18 vents kept my head pretty cool. It was hot in Sun Valley and I brought my own helmet (a Bell Sixer), but was happy to ride this one instead as it is lighter and much more vented. Across the forehead you’ll find Rudy Project’s airframe, which spaces the padding away from the shell so air can flow through and help the pads stay dry.
The Protera helmet is available in sizes S/M and L, and sells for $249 USD. Color options include Blue/Orange, Black/White, White/Black and Pink/Blue.
Rudy Project’s Tralyx sunglasses fit a bit wide on my narrow head, but as of 2018 there is a new ‘Slim’ version available. With a helmet on they don’t look bad, but I wouldn’t wear this pair in casual settings due to the width.
The ImpactX 2 Black Photochromic lenses were awesome. They respond quickly to changing light conditions and provide a wide range of light transmission (9% to 74%). The transitions are smooth enough to go unnoticed, meaning you can toss these on and leave them there all day. Rudy Project’s photochromic lenses will still self-tint through windows or a windshield, which is a nice bonus for driving or casual wear (not all photochromic sunglasses do this).
The lens provided crystal clear visibility, and despite me sweating buckets they never fogged up one bit. There are small vents at the outer bottom edges and open sections at the top on each side of the lens, which kept things perfectly clear.
As the name suggests, the Impact X lenses are billed as ‘unbreakable’ (and guaranteed for life), so in a crash they won’t shatter into your eyes. The Tralyx’s lenses are a quick-change type which can be swapped out or replaced very easily.
There are plenty of cut-outs on the frames and arms to keep the Tralyx’s airy and light, and they hit my scale at a paltry 28g. Rudy Project’s nose pads are adjustable with a simple squeeze or tug, and the arms are flexible and comfortable. They would probably do a great job of staying put if your helmet doesn’t interfere…
On my head, the Tralyx sunglasses didn’t jive well with the Protera helmet. When riding rough terrain, the helmet’s shell would contact the sunglasses at the temples, but more problematically push the back of the arms forward. I found myself having to shove the glasses up on my nose a few times each ride. Since they’re the same brand, I assumed they would fit together better, but perhaps if I had the slim version (which as a consumer I would have opted for) this wouldn’t have been an issue.
The Tralyx sunglasses come in many different colorways, with options for RP Optic (prescription), polarized and photochromic lenses. MSRP starts at $224.99.