Fox introduced their new ProFrame helmet under the slogan Ride. Wide Open., and looking at the new full-face shell from the side it isn’t hard to see why. The new helmet looks worlds more open than the previous Rampage line of helmets that went from the affordable to the super light and expensive. At 750g, it’s the lightest and most breathable full face mountain bike helmet that Fox Racing has ever developed. With such an open chin bar it’s almost hard to believe that it is a downhill helmet, but the ProFrame has an ASTM DH certification and is ready to shred at a price almost half that of the previous top end helmet…
The ProFrame is all about the vents. The numbers are there – 15 front facing, and 9 exhaust vents – but it is really their size and layout that tell the story. First, the chin bar is effectively just an entire vent with just a small frontal area of its structure that is still enough to protect against high-speed, face-first impacts into the dirt. The chin bar works with a series of other low placed vents and internal channels to keep air moving around the base of your neck.
Then, the bulk of the helmet is solid, made up of Fox’s Varizorb, dual-density EPS structural foam in something of a stacked egg crate layout that maximizes protection by distributing impact forces over a wider area of the helmet. But back on top of the helmet, there are a bunch more openings fore & aft that are all about moving air across the top of your head where the most heat usually gets trapped.
Saying the helmet has 24 large vents, underestimates what looks to be one of the better thought-out, real-world ventilation designs in gravity helmets. Fox obviously understands that every DH rider is going to wear goggles, so the helmet takes that as a given and works on allowing as much air movement as possible around where goggles will be blocking airflow.
Looking at the ProFrame from the front, back, and top it’s also pretty clear how open the helmet really is.
MIPS protection is all the rage these days, and while it is useful on the road and cross country trails in open faced helmets, it is an even bigger benefit for the full-face. With a lot more leverage in impacts that hit the chin bar of a full face helmet, the ability of the MIPS liner to let the helmet rock back and forth front-to-back without transferring that rotational energy into you head and neck is a big deal, whether you race with a secondary device like a Leat brace or not.
While it looks much more open than its predecessor, a lot of the DH protection of the ProFrame is a direct result of the integrated chain bar. Fox says that they have developed a new patent pending system that creates a stronger frame that is more integrated into the overall structure of the helmet to provide the impact absorption needed to meets ASTM’s DH testing standards.
Securing the ProFrame onto your head, a wide snap on Fidlock buckle makes in easy to get in and out of the helmet whether or not you have gloves on.
The ProFrame sells for $250 and comes in seven different colors: the blue, black & red Libra versions with more subtle graphics; and the white, teal & black Moth versions with the bigger Fox branding; plus the stealth matte black on black version above.
The new ProFrame is available now in four sizes from S-XL, either form Fox directly or through their regular retail partners. It satisfies certification testing criteria from ASTM chin bar rigidity, EN, AS/NZ & CPSC, so you are likely to find it bombing down trails around the world soon.