Editor’s Note: This article is courtesy of the team at Art’s Cyclery. The original post can be found here.
One of Art’s Cyclery’s best-selling helmets is the Bell Super 3R, which blurs the line between trail and downhill helmets. Because of the Super’s success, the removable chinbar helmet segment has grown to include offerings from many major helmet manufacturers.
Are removable chinbar helmets a viable choice for both trail and downhill riding? Some models, such as the Giro Switchblade, are downhill certified (ASTM F1952), while others are not. The choice ultimately comes down to what level of risk you are willing to accept and what kind of riding you plan to do. Do you need just a little extra protection as you push your limits on trails that pro downhill racers might not even wear knee pads on? Or are you racing enduro stages that could double as tracks on the World Cup DH circuit?
Here’s a look at three of the top removable chinbar helmets.
The most DH of the convertible lids, the Switchblade is ASTM DH-certified with and without the chinbar attached. Taking design cues from Troy Lee’s hallowed D2 Open Face, the Switchblade has much more coverage than a traditional cycling helmet when in climbing mode. For many riders, that’s part of the appeal. Others will find it too hot.
Bell Super 3R
The Super 3R, the helmet that sparked the revival, is not ASTM DH certified. Its chinbar provides protection for low- to medium-impact crashes, but a true, DH-level face plant is going to exceed the Super’s capabilities. However, its light weight and high vent count makes it one of the best-ventilated helmets in the class.
MET HES Parachute
Okay, this helmet’s chinbar doesnt actually come off. But it’s so light and well ventilated that we decided it belonged on this list. Meeting ASTM F1952-2032 U.S. downhill helmet certification, the Parachute is great insurance when the time comes to introduce your face to the ground. You’ll be glad that the chinbar is structurally sound, and made of MET’s Homothetic Embedded Skeleton.
Go here for more beta on current MTB helmet offerings.