O’Neal 9 Series
|Weight:||1640 grams size XL 61-62cm|
|Materials:||Hybrid Carbon Fiber and Kevlar construction shell, EPS liner|
|Safety Ratings:||Snell, DOT, ECE 22/04 and AS|
|Vents:||Yes – Only 4 small vents in EPS liner|
|Goggle||No trouble with large goggles|
|Strap Style||D-Ring with grab tab and plastic snap|
|Extra Padding for Custom Fit:||No|
|Fully Removable Liner:||Yes – genuine Savoir SuedeR- Easy to remove and re-insert|
|Liner Held In Place How:||Metal buttons and hard plastic tucked between EPS liners and shell|
(Click on Thumbnails to Enlarge)
The O’Neal 9 Series helmet is definitely a DH Darth Vader helmet. Not in the big bobble head way, or I can’t breath except through a machine way and definitely not in the nice Vader helmet, the comic-con is over there type of way. This helmet is for when the trail is about to get absolutely nutty and you must crush it. At least that is the impression I get from wearing it, touching it, and feeling like I could take a bat to the head and still come out just fine.
The 9 Series helmet is made out of a composite carbon fiber and Kevlar shell with a Snell/DOT certified rating. The construction quality is top shelf. Everything worked as it should, snapped into place, didn’t come loose or feel cheap. It is a three hundred dollar helmet that looks and feels like a three hundred dollar helmet.
The profile is larger than the TLD D2, SixSixOne Evolution and other similar helmets because it is both DOT and Snell safety certified. It isn’t so large though that you feel like a Jack-in-the-Box. Something about the lines and the fact it rides a little higher up the back of the head just don’t give it a Jack-in-the-Box look.
The helmet has three screen and mesh covered vents in the chin guard. Two shell vents just above the eyes actually have open and shut tabs. Not sure why, I’d think you’d always want them open, unless in a dust storm maybe, but still, it has got them. The EPS liner itself has six vents; two just above the eyes that align with the shell vents and four smaller ones on the top. The chin guard has two side vents that feed air into the cheek section of the helmet. It is actually a well-vented helmet for being so thick, big and tough, but the EPS sheel does not have grooves to help vent heat, compare it to the Aatma EPS shell.
The visor is adjusted by a notch on the exterior of the helmet and with thumb screws on the side. The visor has about average movement and was never in the way while riding. The position adjust screw for this visor is cumbersome to fully tighten down because the visor itself is in the way of getting your fingers fully around the screw. But, it isn’t impossible to tighten. The thumb screws on the side of the visor work fine but they do stick out a bit and could maybe get snagged on something in a crash, or at least, wont skid as easily. They should in theory pull out of the helmet if they do snag on something.
One thing different I noticed on this helmet is that the chin bar is super beef. It gives the impression that you could take a Mac truck to the chin and be OK. The padding on the chin bar isn’t soft or squishy, it feels like a hard EPS liner that is meant for taking a high speed impact. Maybe even a bat to the face. Sorry, no, even thought the wife asked, I didn’t let her test that.
With Helmet On:
The O’Neal helmet fits normally, like the TLD and others, though it is a little tight. A Snell Certified helmet should be a bit tighter than other helmets, but these O’Neal 9 Series might run a size smaller than advertised. For this size, large 61-62cm, my cheeks are squeezed a bit more than I’d personally prefer and the overall fit is just a slight too tight. But otherwise the helmet feels great.
There is enough room for the ears and earphones were not a problem to get in, but not adjustable once inside.
The padded liner seem to make contact with everywhere around the head except for the ears. This is similar to the TLD, whereas with the Kali, Mace, there was some space between the pads and the head. Really this is a fitting issue, so for me the Series 9 fits like the TLD D2 and feel good. The helmet feels less round than oval, though there is a tad bit of left to right play above the ears.
The cheek pads make constant contact with the face, running from about even with the middle of the eyes down to the center of the cheeks. The pads are not as large as the Dainese, more in line with the TLD pads, ending about an inch from your lips (about center of the cheeks.) The cheek pads themselves feel thicker than they do in other helmets.
The helmet meets and/or exceeds the 105 degrees of peripheral vision standard laid out in the CSPC standard and the helmet handles large goggles just fine.
Being 1,640 grams, the helmet is heavier than others and on a person with a weak neck it could cause pain. A riding friend of mine, who had a different but about equal DOT/Snell similar to the 9 Series helmet, mentioned that he always felt that he could never get the helmet moved around fast enough in a crash. He is a strong guy, but does ride a small. It seems the weight vs. safety ratings is the major compromise for this helmet.
The space between the chin and chin bar seems about normal though the chin bar does have a distinct downward spike to it, almost like a bird beak. I could see this maybe causing some damage to a riders body around the collar bone or upper chest. Although I’ve known riders who had helmets without this feature who have had their collar bones broken from being smashed against the helmet in a crash, so maybe it doesn’t matter.
The helmet does cover a bit more of the back of the neck but not as much as the Kali Aatma or Mace Gurka. The shell and padding does come below the jaw line. Your going to have to work to hurt yourself in this thing.
The vents in this helmet do actually work, even if they look a bit small and the EPS liner isn’t grooved like other helmets. It is not the coolest helmet, but it does get air flow, when moving that is. It seems to me that the visor for the 9 Series is actually very well designed to get air flow into the helmet. When moving the helmet definitely cools down.
The pads for this helmet are held in place by metal snaps and hard plastic. Getting the padded liner in and out was very easy. Cleaning this helmet is super simple.
Fits Similar To:
Helmet fits similar to the TLD, you can feel constant contact of the pads all the way around the head with no gaps in the space, especially around the ears.
I had no problems with the bigger Blur B-1 goggles on this helmet. There appears to be enough space for large goggles with out smashing the nose.
This helmet is a very good value. It is well made and can obviously take a beating. The parts, paint, thick padded liner, ability to wick sweet all shine like they should. It is pretty well vented and it gives you the feeling that you can challenge the world. For $299 the build quality, fit, and everything else is quite worth it.
Overall there are a couple things I would change on this helmet if I could. First I would get the sizing inline with reality. I would switch out the visor side thumb screws with some of lower profile ones. I would move the snaps for the back of the padded liner to a different position, so if you are wearing a bit undersized you wont feel the difference in pressure. Finally I would find a way to meet the DOT/Snell certification with the grooves in the EPS liner to help with heat release and venting. Otherwise, the helmet is awesome!