Is a Full Face Helmet Safer for Mountain Biking: Find Out Here

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Imagine yourself cruising down a mountain trail, adrenaline pumping, wind in your face, and the thrill of adventure in your heart.

Are you confident that your helmet offers the best possible protection? Is a full face helmet safer for mountain biking?

In this blog post, we will explore the safety benefits and comparisons between full face and open-face MTB helmets.

We will also discuss convertible helmet options and tips for selecting the fitting mountain bike helmet for your riding style and discipline.

Lets dive in!

Key Highlights

Full face mountain bike helmets provide superior protection for mountain bikers.
They come with advanced features such as NFC chips and crash sensors.
Convertible mountain bike helmets offer bikers the flexibility to adjust their gear for varying levels of protection and ventilation.
When selecting MTB helmet, it is essential to consider size & fit, certification standards & regular maintenance/inspection for continued safety effectiveness.

Safety Benefits of Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets

A Full Face Mountain Bike Helmet
A Full Face Mountain Bike Helmet

Full face mountain bike helmets are the ultimate choice for mountain bikers seeking maximum protection.

Particularly for downhill riding and enduro riding.

With their enhanced head and facial coverage, these helmets offer unparalleled protection compared to their open face counterparts.

But what exactly sets full face MTB helmets apart from open face helmets in terms of safety?

Let’s delve deeper into the specific advantages of full face MTB helmets.

Enhanced Head Protection

When it comes to head protection, full face MTB helmets have a clear advantage over open face helmets.

Their more giant shell provides increased protection to the back and sides of the head, as well as the chin area.

Furthermore, full face helmets often incorporate advanced rotational crash protection technologies like MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), POC SPIN, and Leatt’s Turbine technology.

These systems are designed to diminish abrupt rotational forces to the head during a crash.

Thereby reducing the risk of concussions and other brain traumas by allowing the helmet to move independently of the head.

In addition to rotational crash protection, some full face mountain bike helmets also feature dual-density foam, which consists of two layers of foam with different densities.

The outer layer is designed to be more resistant to sharp objects and absorb more energy in the case of a high-speed impact.

While the inner foam layer is softer, providing a more cushioned experience for the biker, thus reducing the risk of concussion.

In summary, full face mountain bike helmets provide superior head protection due to their enhanced coverage, advanced rotational crash protection technologies, and innovative foam designs.

By choosing a full face helmet, you are investing in the best possible protection for your most valuable asset – your brain.

Facial Protection

While head protection is crucial, let us not forget about the importance of protecting your face.

Full face MTB helmets offer a significant advantage in this area.

Full face MTB helmets come with chin bars and goggles providing superior coverage and protection compared to open face MTB helmets.

The chin bar not only protects your jaw and teeth but also ensures a secure fit for increased overall protection.

Mountain bike goggles are also recommended for use with full face helmets, as they provide enhanced coverage and protection for your eyes.

By opting for a full face mountain bike helmet, you are safeguarding your face from potential injuries during a crash.

Using full face helmets will ensure that you can continue enjoying your favorite trails with confidence.

Advanced Safety Features

Modern full face MTB helmets are equipped with a range of advanced safety features that further enhance their protective capabilities.

These features include Near Field Communication (NFC) chips, crash sensors, and compatibility with neck braces for extreme mountain biking.

Neck braces are essential components of the head-and-neck safety system for extreme technical mountain biking.

Compatibility with your helmet is crucial for optimal protection.

Some popular full face helmets, like the Fox Racing Rampage Carbon, come with additional safety features such as liquid-filled Fluid Inside pods, a dual-density EPS liner, and an injection-molded chin bar.

These features work together to provide protection against linear and rotational impact forces.

Because of these advanced safety features in full face MTB helmets you can be rest assured that you are well-protected on even the most challenging bike trails.

Comparing Full Face and Open Face Mountain Bike Helmets

Comparing Full Face and Open Face Mountain Bike Helmets
Full Face vs. Open Face Mountain Bike Helmets

While full face helmets offer undeniable safety benefits, they might not be the best choice for every rider or situation.

To determine which type of helmet is right for you, it is essential to consider factors such as ventilation, comfort, weight, and suitability for your preferred riding style and discipline.

Let us take a closer look at how full face and open face helmets compare in these aspects.

Ventilation and Comfort

One potential drawback of full face helmets is that they generally offer less ventilation and comfort compared to open face helmets.

This can be an issue for mountain bike riders in hot weather, especially for those riders who prioritize breathability.

However, newer models of full face helmets have made significant improvements in airflow and cooling features, making them more comfortable for a wider range of riders.

For example, the Bell Super Air R MIPS features 18 primary structural vents for ventilation, as well as four additional ventilation ports in the detachable chin bar.

These advanced ventilation systems help keep you cool and comfortable even on the most demanding rides.

While full face helmets may not offer the same level of ventilation and comfort as open face helmets, the trade-off in protection is worth considering.

With the ongoing advancements in helmet design and technology, the gap in ventilation and comfort is narrowing.

Thus making full face helmets an increasingly attractive option for many mountain bikers.

Weight and Bulkiness

It is no secret that full face helmets tend to be heavier and bulkier than open face helmets.

However, there are lightweight options available for riders seeking a balance between protection and comfort.

For instance, the Bell Super Air R MIPS is a lightweight full face helmet weighing approximately 800g.

While a typical half-shell helmet weighs around 350g, a typical full-face helmet weighs about 800g.

The extra weight and bulk of a full face helmet may initially feel uncomfortable for some mountain bikers.

But the benefits in terms of protection can outweigh these drawbacks, especially for those engaging in more aggressive riding styles or tackling challenging trails.

Riding Style and Discipline

Choosing a reliable mountain bike helmet largely depends on your preferred riding style and discipline.

Full face MTB helmets are most suitable for downhill and enduro riding, where the risk of high-speed crashes and facial impacts is greater.

On the other hand, open-face helmets are more appropriate for casual riding, cross-country, and trail riding, where the risk of such impacts is generally lower.

Ultimately, the decision between a full face and an open-face MTB helmet comes down to personal preference and the type of mountain biking you engage in.

Consider factors like your riding style, discipline, and the specific advantages and drawbacks of each helmet type.

By doing this you will be better equipped to choose the helmet that best meets your needs.

Ultimately choose the MTB helmet which provides the right balance of optimal protection, comfort, and style.

Convertible Mountain Bike Helmets

Convertible mountain bike helmet
Convertible mountain bike helmet

For mountain bikers who desire the flexibility to switch between full face and open-face modes, convertible mountain bike helmets offer an appealing solution.

These adaptable MTB helmets cater to trail and enduro riders who want to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Let’s explore the advantages of convertible helmets and highlight some popular models on the market.

Advantages of Convertible MTB Helmets

Convertible mountain bike helmets provide the versatility of both full face and open face helmets.

These helmets allow the riders to adapt to different riding situations and conditions..

For example, you can easily switch to full face mode for increased protection during a challenging downhill section and then revert to open-face mode for better ventilation on a leisurely trail ride.

By offering the benefits of both helmet styles in a single package, convertible MTB helmets give riders the flexibility to adjust their gear according to their needs and preferences.

This adaptability makes convertible mountain bike helmets a popular choice among trail and enduro riders who require varying levels of protection and ventilation throughout their rides.

Popular Convertible Helmet Models

Some popular convertible helmet models include the Giro Switchblade, Bell Super DH, and POC Tectal Race SPIN.

These models offer varying levels of protection, weight, and ventilation, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of mountain bikers at the bike park.

When selecting a convertible helmet, it is important to consider factors such as sizing and fit, certification and standards, ventilation and comfort, weight and bulkiness, and your riding style and discipline.

By taking these factors into account, you can find a convertible helmet that provides the perfect balance of protection, comfort, and versatility for your mountain biking adventures.

MTB Helmet Selection Tips

Mountain Biker Wearing A Full Face Helmet
Mountain Biker Wearing A Full Face Helmet

Choosing the right mountain bike helmet can seem overwhelming.

But by prioritizing a few key factors, you can ensure that you choose the best helmet for your needs.

In this section, we will provide some tips for selecting the right mountain bike helmet, including sizing, fit, and certification standards.

Sizing and Fit

Proper sizing and fit are crucial for MTB helmet effectiveness and comfort.

To find the right size, start by measuring your head circumference just above your eyebrows and ears using a flexible measuring tape or a piece of string and a ruler.

Once you have your measurement, refer to a standard helmet sizing chart to determine the appropriate MTB helmet size for you.

An accurately fitting MTB helmet should sit level on your head.

The helmet’s front edge should be no more than one inch above your eyebrows, and should slightly squeeze your cheeks.

To test the fit, shake your head from side to side and up and down while wearing the helmet.

It should remain securely in place and not move more than an inch in any direction.

If the helmet moves, adjust the straps or try a different size.

Helmet Certification and Standards

Safety should always be a top priority when selecting a mountain bike helmet.

To ensure that your mountain bike helmet provides adequate protection, look for helmets that meet safety certification standards.

Common helmet safety standards to look for are: CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission), ASTM F1952-15 (American Society for Testing and Materials), or CE EN1078 (mandatory European standard).

By choosing a helmet that meets these certification standards, you can have peace of mind knowing that your helmet has been rigorously tested and approved for safety.

Do remember that a helmet is only as effective as its ability to protect you during a crash.

So do not compromise on safety when selecting your mountain bike helmet.

MTB Helmet Care and Replacement

Clean Full Face Mountain Bike Helmet
A Biker Holding Full Face MTB Helmet

To ensure that your MTB helmet continues to provide optimal protection and comfort, it is essential to properly care for and replace it as needed.

In this section, we will discuss how to maintain your mountain bike helmet and when to replace it to maintain its safety and effectiveness.

Helmet maintenance is relatively simple and includes cleaning the exterior and interior of the helmet and inspecting the helmet.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular schedule of cleaning and maintenance can prolong the life of your MTB helmet.

But stay away from using harsh chemicals or solvents that may damage the helmet’s materials.

Instead, hand-wash the helmet pads with mild soap and cold water.

Clean the helmet’s outer shell, inner part, and straps with a brush and soapy water.

It is recommended to clean your MTB helmet every three months to keep it in good condition.

Proper storage is also crucial for maintaining your helmet’s quality.

Store your mountain bike helmet in a cool and dry atmosphere.

Keep it away from direct sunlight and heat sources, which can cause the materials to degrade over time.

By taking good care of your MTB helmet, you can be sure that it continues to provide the protection and comfort you need on the trails.

When to Replace a MTB Helmet

Mountain bike helmets, like any other piece of gear, have a limited lifespan.

They should be replaced periodically to ensure optimal protection.

It is recommended to replace your mountain bike helmet after a significant impact or crash or every 3-5 years.

With time your MTB helmet’s materials can degrade and it can compromise the helmet’s protective capabilities.

Regularly check for visible signs of wear and tear on your MTB helmet.

Look out for cracks, dents, or fraying straps, which may indicate that it’s time for your MTB helmet to be replaced.

Remember, your helmet is your first line of defense in a crash, so don’t hesitate to invest in a new one when necessary to keep yourself protected on the trails.

9 Common FAQs About Full Face Mountain Biking Helmets

1. Should I wear a full-face helmet for trail riding?


A full-face MTB helmet provides optimal protection for trail riding, especially on technical and challenging terrain.

They offer additional coverage for your face and chin, shielding you from potential impacts.

Using them will reduce the risk of serious injuries for you.

2. How tight should a full-face MTB helmet be?

A full-face MTB helmet should fit snugly but not overly tight.

It is important to find a balance where it feels secure on your head without causing discomfort or restricting your movement.

Remember, a properly fitting MTB helmet ensures optimal protection and stability during your rides.

3. How much does a 100% full-face helmet weigh?

The weight of a 100% full-face MTB helmet can vary depending on the specific model and features.

On average, they usually weigh between 1.5 to 2.5 kilograms (3.3 to 5.5 pounds).

However, it is always a good idea to check the product specifications for the exact weight of the mountain bike helmet you are interested in.

4. What is the average weight of a high-quality full-face mountain biking helmet?

High-quality full-face mountain biking helmets generally weigh between 1.2 to 1.8 kilograms (2.6 to 4 pounds).

These helmets are designed with lightweight materials without compromising on safety and protection.

Using them ensures a comfortable and secure riding experience for the mountain bikers.

5. What is the lightest weight full-face helmet for mountain biking?

When it comes to the lightest weight full-face helmet for mountain biking, there are several options available.

However, it is crucial to prioritize safety and protection over weight alone.

Some popular lightweight options include MTB helmets made with carbon fiber shells.

Carbon fiber shells significantly reduce weight of the MTB helmets without compromising their structural integrity.

6. Is it better to size up or down in MTB helmets?

When selecting a mountain bike helmet, it is generally recommended to choose the size that offers a snug and secure fit.

It is essential to follow the standard sizing guide and try on the helmet to ensure a proper fit.

Sizing up or down may compromise the MTB helmet’s effectiveness and comfort.

It is best to find the size that suits your head circumference and shape.

7. What is the best color helmet for mountain biking?

The best color for a mountain biking helmet is one that enhances your visibility on the trails.

Bright and vibrant colors, such as neon yellow, orange, or lime green, are often preferred as they stand out against natural backgrounds.

This helps increase your visibility to other riders, hikers, and potentially even wildlife, reducing the risk of accidents.

8. What color mountain bike helmet is best for visibility?

When it comes to visibility, high-contrast colors tend to be the most effective.

Opting for a mountain bike helmet in bright colors like yellow, orange, red, or white can significantly improve your visibility on the road or trails, making it easier for others to spot you from a distance.

9. Are full-face mountain biking helmets suitable for other extreme sports like downhill skateboarding or BMX?

Yes! Full-face mountain biking helmets are often suitable for other extreme sports such as downhill skateboarding or BMX.

These helmets provide comprehensive head protection and are designed to withstand high impacts.

However, it is essential to check the helmet’s specific certifications and features to ensure it meets the safety requirements of the sport you’re participating in.

Final Words

In conclusion, full face mountain bike helmets offer superior protection and safety features for mountain bikers, especially in downhill and enduro riding.

However, the choice between full face and open face MTB helmets largely depends on your preferred riding style and discipline.

Convertible MTB helmets provide a flexible option that caters to different riding situations and conditions.

By considering factors such as sizing, fit, certification standards, and helmet care and replacement, you can choose the right mountain bike helmet.

Make sure to choose an MTB helmet that provides the best protection, comfort, and style for your adventures on the trails.

Remember, your safety is worth the investment, so choose wisely and ride with confidence.

P.S. Hopefully you found our post to be resourceful. If so, then consider reviewing our similar dee-dives about about why a mountain bike helmet has visors and chin guards.

Also check out our comparisons about mountain bike helmets vs motocross helmets and mountain bike helmets vs. road bike helmets.

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Rohan runs Biking KnowHow along with his team. Rohan has been a mountain biker since 2005. His mission is to simplify mountain biking for everyone. All Biking KnowHow content piece is thoroughly fact-checked. Our content is backed up with leading research and inputs from expert cyclists.