2019 helmet options for XCM in a hot and humid climate?

Hi everyone,
I’m in the market for a good quality helmet for XCM racing in Australia. I’ve signed on for a race in what we call Far North Queensland during October this year. It’s the part of that state that is the real deal tropics.
I’ve worked up there at that time of year and the heat and humidity can be oppressive to say the least.

I recently competed in a race and was left really confused by the great variety of helmets worn by other competitors.
My question as a newcomer to the sport is what sort of helmet should I be looking at? Do people even were MTB specific helmets?

What I’m after is something suitable for long days in the saddle that will keep my head from overheating while keeping me safe. I’d really like a place to store my glasses as well as I normally have to shove them in a pocket when doing sustained climbs in the heat.

So far I’ve tried on the POC Octal X and the Scott Centric. Both of which were tidy units, but not necessarily available in a colour scheme I liked.
Any advice appreciated.

1 Like

There is a mix between those that wear MTB specific helmets and those that just wear road helmets. The benefit of MTB helmets is generally it has better coverage especially at the back of the head. This is important on the trails as you have more obstacles potentially hitting you at odd angles if you crash. However, most MTB helmets have visors, so you’d want to remove that if you’re trying to maximize your aero profile, though that is a bit of a faux pas (racing with the helmet’s visor removed) as far as looking “pro”. Personally I don’t care about that aspect as the visor screw holes are barely noticeable on my black helmet. I use the Specialized Ambush and just remove the visor for races.

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ambush-with-angi/p/162034?color=251083-162034

Last year I wore and was happy with Smith Forefront helmet. If you buy Smith glasses as well they nicely integrate into the helmet if you chose to take them off. I found them to be very stable when stored on the helmet, though I rarely ever took my glasses off, other then the occasional very foggy and dark day in the woods.

https://www.smithoptics.com/us/Root/Men's/Helmets/Cycle/Forefront-2/p/HB18-FFMDSMMIPS/sizeVariants

Both Specialized and Smith offer similar road versions of these helmets without visors and I’m always on the fence about going this route, but having had several concussions in my life and a mild concussion in September 2018 from a MTB crash that dented my helmet, I’ll probably stick with safety over all other benefits.

2 Likes

Thanks.
I did my workout this morning while watching your Fort Custer race.
Fun stuff. Too much traffic.


I get your point about smashed helmets and concussions. Although, I’m unsure about the difference in 99% of situations compared to the large percentage that could be avoided with a cooler head.
I have crashed lots over the past couple of years.

It’s really hard to get a good go at all the helmets on the market locally.
I’ll do my best to try your recommendations.

1 Like

Nice, thanks! Yeah, I guess that’s the “problem” being the 2nd fastest guy in all of Cat 2/Sport at age 40, you have to pass everyone from 18-39. Ugh, I got 99 problems…

True, there probably isn’t a perfect choice, it’s all about where you want to compromise. Can’t go wrong either way so I’d just pick the helmet that makes you look most badass and matches your kit!

1 Like

Looking forward to watching your race videos already!

I live in Brisbane and for racing I love my S-Works Prevail, Super light and huge numbers of vents. I’ve now had 3 of them and despite the light and open construction, have never had any major damage in a crash.

For general MTB I prefer a visor as the sun is pretty bright at times, my old Giro Xen was fantastic as it really wrapped around the back of the head, so I’m looking at a modern alternative. I like the look at feel of the Giro Chronicle and a few friends that have them like them a lot. I would not expect this to be anywhere near as cool as the Prevail so will always reach or that during longer / hotter races.

1 Like

Currently I’m using a Poc Ventral Air for XC. Lightweight and ventilation is excellent.

The Sworks Prevail is also super light and vents well. It would be my other choice.

1 Like

I won’t be making any videos of my racing. Way too embarrassed for that.
MI-XC’s video illustrates the need for a good helmet. I can’t remember the timestamp, but one of the slower riders gets up close and personal with the trail after they collide during a pass.
The poor guy looked overwhelmed and exhausted. OTB we go.

Awesome! The Prevail is the one that I saw a lot of people wearing during my last race. It’s hard to miss that slot across the brow.
I’ll look into both of them as I’m pretty sure I can find a LBS that stocks them both.

It’s looking like one the stages in October will see an amateur like myself in the saddle for 7 to 8 hrs. Over that timeframe in a tropical climate I’ll be wanting light and breezy.

Hi Steve. I’ve found a place that has the POC Ventral Spin in stock. I was pretty impressed with the build quality in the POC helmets I looked at last week.

Two questions. Are the straps that meet under your ear a problem? Also, what’s the go with the Race Day versions?
Cheers.

I don’t have any issues with the straps. If you want the better ventilated version, make sure you are getting the Ventral “Air” Spin rather than just the Ventral Spin. Raceday just has more noticeable graphics I believe.

Ventral Air (more venting)

Ventral (more aero)

1 Like

I went with the POC when I was looking fro a warm weather MTB helmet with some rear coverage and haven’t regretted it.

Ah yes. It’s very easy to get all the features mixed up when skimming through.

It’s Definately the POC Ventral Air Spin that I was looking at. It doesn’t look too dissimilar to the Octal X I was originally looking at.
Good to know that the Race Day versions are simply a graphics thing. POC should really make that clear in their descriptions.

Thanks for the heads up.

1 Like

Which model did you go with?

Thanks.

I went with the enteral air spin. It’s technically a road helmet but has a fair amount of rear coverage.

2 Likes

Big of Bolle’s The One. Even comes with a visor. Large vents and a nice garage to hold your glasses regardless of the brand. Can even get an aero shell to snap in

1 Like

The POC Ventral Spin and Air are similar and both great helmets and I own both. At high speeds the Spin is supposed to be a little more aero but the Air has more slots and is cooler and is still aero. For hot XC riding I’d lean towards the Ventral Air.

1 Like

I’m reading ’ big fan of. Thanks for the left of field suggestion. I will keep an eye out for them.
It’s interesting how much the different options vary in price and features. A whole lot of money for a pretty basic piece of plastic, but probably one of the most important pieces of plastic really. Aside from the bike.

I’ve found a local supplier for the POC Ventral Air Spin in matt black. I should really go for white gloss if I want minimal heat. Then again, the badass placebo effect should overrule that.

Thanks everyone for the great advice. I have chosen the POC helmet because of the quality of build, massive amounts af ventilation and the reasonable coverage down the back of my head.
I have slammed into sandstone at 35km/hr and come to a dead stop. I don’t take my decision lightly and will report back once my helmet arrives.

Thanks again.

I thought I’d check back in and give an honest breakdown of my experience.
Two races on the weekend in quite cool conditions.
The verdict…The most comfortable helmet I’ve tried thus far. I didn’t test it by smashing my head against a rock at 35 km/hr like my last helmet.
The Spin system makes a noticable difference if you whack the side of the helmet. There is a less sudden impact.
How that all plays out with a big hit is anyones guess.

Thanks so much for all the replies. I love the new helmet and the ventilation is amazing. Just what I was after.

1 Like