My experiences with full-face, helmets usually equate the added protection and confidence they provide for riding bike parks and bigger terrain, with a sweaty head, red ears and a very bad case of helmet hair. There’s a reason that most riders pull them off pretty quickly after their race run – it’s because they’re hot, with minimal ventilation and often weighing in at well over a kilogram.
Driven in part by a desire for lighter weight and comfort and no doubt by the requirement for a full-face helmet by the EWS, the trend of late has been toward an all-day wearable full-face product – and the Endura MT 500 is right at the leading edge of this movement.
In size M/L, the MT 500 weighs in at just 640 grams, which Endura claim makes this the lightest DH certified full-face helmet currently available, exceeding ASTM, CSPC and CE EN standards.
This ethereal number has been achieved by using a full Koroyd core and a unique chin bar which features an internal skeleton for strength. The Koroyd construction is not only far lighter than EPS, but allows for greater air flow and breathability when compared with other more moto inspired helmets.
Continuing the light weight theme, padding inside the helmet is minimal and much more akin to a regular trail helmet than many full-face offerings – there are comfortable cheek pads (2 sets are provided in different thicknesses for fit), but the MT 500 uses a micro adjustable cradle to deliver a close fit rather than more of the thick (and consequently warm) traditional foam pads. The chin strap closes with a magnetic Fidlock buckle which is quick and easy to use instead of the classic motorcycle style ‘D’ rings.
Slipping the MT 500 on and off requires you to loosen the dial in order to comfortably pull the helmet over your head, but once tightened, the helmet feels perfectly secure and yet remarkably airy. Large vents across the entire structure, combined with the Koroyd core mean you can really feel the breeze through this helmet and it’s cool and comfortable in a way a traditional full-face just can’t compete with. Your hearing isn’t compromised and nor is your speech muffled. Consequently I rarely felt the need to take it off or push it up on top of my head on the lift or whilst waiting to board. The Koroyd and vents in the chin piece certainly didn’t hinder breathing and on one really rather cool day in December when the temperatures dropped into the low single figures, the helmet felt so well ventilated I even experienced a little “ice cream head”.
The peak is fairly large and isn’t adjustable. From a vision point of view it worked fine for me from a vision point of view, but I found it a little frustrating that I couldn’t push my goggles up underneath it when I wanted them out of the way.
In order to put the helmet’s “all-day wear ability” to the test, I’ve also used it on a number of my regular rides through my local trail network. I set off feeling pretty self-conscious about wearing a full-face for a spin in the local woods, but out on the trail, it’s so light and breathable, you quickly forget it’s there, only your breath whistling slightly through the Koroyd tubes in the chin piece reminds you that you’re wearing a DH certified lid. It’s quite a different feel from a traditional full face, but if you’re looking for something that’s going to be more versatile and better suited to enduro racing, and pedaling into alpine terrain and rock-strewn gnar than a moto style option, this helmet could be a great choice.