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There are few things that can identify someone as a mountain biker as opposed to a run-of-the-mill cyclist; shorn of the obvious signifier (a mountain bike, duh) the two most obvious cues are baggy shorts, and the helmet. If we’re being honest, it’s the peak more than anything, but being mountain bikers, the type of helmet we choose also says a lot about the sub-clique we cleave to.

Calling something a trail helmet is a pretty broad umbrella term – essentially you could be referring to something which is a pure cross-country lid, or something that goes the full enduro. But full enduro is almost a full-face lid, and essentially a cross-country helmet is pretty much a road lid with a lolly stick for a peak. So for the purposes of this test, I’ve just chosen to define it as a helmet you’d ride trails on. Not a full-face helmet, and not – necessarily – something that you’d use with goggles (seriously, does anyone ride regular trails with goggles anyhow, unless they’re racing?). But I’ve chosen helmets which perhaps have some of the features of the enduro – coverage as a priority over light weight, for example. More of an emphasis on protection over venting. But these helmets all have to be comfortable to ride in all day, rain or shine, fair weather or foul. And there’s plenty to choose from…



Price: £59.99 // From: Decade, www.decade-europe.com

Weight: 363g

The M2 is the open-face offering from 7 Protection (the iDP stands for Intelligent Design Protection). It’s a relatively lightweight affair in what should be immediately obvious is a quite fantastically lurid orange, with blue highlights. It’s also available in other colours, if your retinas can’t take the heat.

The M2 purports to have what 7iDP refers to as ‘Conehead’ technology that uses dual density foams which ‘act as an impact absorbency zone around the head’. There’s a custom liner, and an adjustable peak. It doesn’t quite have the same finished feel as some of the pricier helmets on test, but it looks very appealing all the same. It’s also obvious that it’s from the same factory as the O’Neal also in test; the two are from the same mould, with the same retention strap, although the finish, the liner and the peak are different.

In use, it’s very comfy. The retention wheel, although generic, is very easy to use – even with gloves on – and the helmet sits fairly deep, offering quite a lot of coverage. It’s well vented, but bug mesh at the front makes the forehead a little more insulated than it’d otherwise be. It’s an easy job to cut this out with some scissors if you don’t get on with it though. The visor adjustment only serves to move it out of the way if you’re a head-down rider though.

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About Singletrack

Hans Rey – No Way? Yes Way! 30 years as a sponsored bike rider. Hans must be doing something right. We chat over burgers and beer. Bike Test: Hardcore Hardtails – We test three examples of that very British of bike categories: the long forked hardtail, with bikes from Ritchey, Onza and Chromag. Classic Calderdale – Sim ponders our need to name trails and places on a guided tour of Singletrack’s own home trails. Trail helmets – 12 (count them!) trail helmets ridden and rated. Early Rider – a profile of a company that’s making kids’ bikes cool again Nepal – Spectacular views and bikepacking courtesy of Miranda Murphy, Todd Weselake and Steve Shannon. Joe Barnes – A profile of enduro racer, former downhill racer and Dude of Hazzard Joe Barnes. Shimano: behind the blue veil – Chipps goes to Japan (and Singapore) to see what makes this very private company tick. Retro Bikes – Were the good old days better, or just different? Warning: may contain pictures of alarming outfits.