Can a helmet make you ride faster?
My Strava times seem to indicate this is the case. On the very first ride wearing Fox Racing’s Speedframe Pro, I recorded my second-fastest time on a popular trail. One might argue there could be many other reasons for this performance, but the numbers themselves don’t lie, and I felt a distinct sense of helmet-powered speed.
But let’s get real. It’s a helmet. It goes on your head, and it’s meant to protect you. By some measures, the Speedframe Pro could be one of the safest helmets on the market. The current “Pro” iteration of the Speedframe has received the coveted “five-star” safety rating from Virginia Tech, an institution that has been performing independent bicycle helmet testing for 11 years. Their testing methods are considered by many in the bicycle industry to be the most reliable, so this five-star rating carries some real weight.
It would appear that, when it comes to safety, the folks at Fox Racing have something figured out. Interestingly though, this helmet uses 27-year-old technology: The dual-density Varizorb EPS liner is a multi-layer foam lining based on the work of Australian physicist Don Morgan, who discovered in 1993 that a layer of small, pointy cones is efficient at diffusing impacts. Morgan had this technology trademarked as “Conehead,” and, oddly enough, a film about aliens with cone-shaped heads was released that same year.
I must admit, though, that I have never chosen a helmet based on science alone. Mostly, I just want to look cool. Lucky for me, this helmet offers exceptional proof of concept as well as sharp style. From the angular lines to the broad range of available colors, the team at Fox Racing has outdone itself in elevating their offerings above the average. And this is coming from someone who has steered clear of Fox Racing’s moto-inspired aesthetic in the past. Though a white helmet with white straps at first seemed silly for mountain biking, I got a ton of compliments on it, and after a few sloppy rides I started to like the dirty patina is was developing.
Beyond the Speedframe Pro’s rugged good looks and high safety standards are several thoughtful features. Attached to a tidy strap system, the magnetic Fidlock buckle is a pleasure to use. In the back, a light but sturdy dial allows for a highly adjustable, 360-degree fit. Add to this the excellent ventilation system and you have a well-designed product.
In fact, there’s nothing I would want to change about this helmet. After overcoming my aversion to wearing a white helmet with a logo of a fox’s head on it, I have been rewarded with the perfect companion for my head. What’s more, the Speedframe Pro does a remarkable job of holding my sunglasses while I’m not wearing them. On many occasions, I made it to the bottom of a bumpy trail, only to realize that I’d left my shades on top of the helmet.
That being said, I did tend to leave my Smith Wildcat sunglasses on top of the helmet because they were not very compatible with the Speedframe Pro’s low, flat brow. So, if you have sunglasses that you can’t live without, it’s a good idea to check compatibility. When it comes to goggles, however, this helmet was designed with them in mind. In the back, there is a ridge that cradles a goggle strap in place, and the three-position visor makes room to put your goggles up when not in use.
In a market flooded with quality helmets, there are a lot of good choices out there. But for its safety, style and affordable price tag, the Speedframe Pro really stands apart. And if you’re looking for an even more affordable option, Fox Racing offers a number of worthy budget versions, as well as models with more coverage and protection.
FOX Speedframe Pro
See more at www.foxracing.com