As safety rules for top-level races become increasingly strict, and full-face helmets are made mandatory for an increasing number of enduro races, helmet manufacturers have had to work out how to make them comfortable to pedal around in for eight hours at a time.
There seems to be two schools of thought on how best to do that: some manufacturers have focused on making them lighter and more breathable than ever, while others have opted for a removable chinbar.
The iXS Trigger FF is a top example of the former. The lid’s main pitch is that it’s extremely lightweight but still provides downhill-level protection, with all the certifications to prove it. iXS claims it’s the lightest production full-face helmet on the market, with a claimed weight of 660 grams for the M/L size (dropping to about 600g for the S/M).
The helmet is very comfortable to wear, both because of that low weight and its secure, adjustable fit (more on that soon). I was concerned it would be roasting to climb in, but was pleasantly surprised at how cool it kept on long, hot grovels to the top of a trail. No doubt due to the 22 vents help, but I found it comfortable and breathable enough for everyday use.
I can’t say how it would hold up in a serious crash as I’ve managed to avoid driving my head into the ground over the past few months, but there’s nothing to make me think it wouldn’t do a great job. I’ve felt comfortable in it while shuttling grade five downhill trails.
The helmet is made of an EPS foam that’s seamlessly joined to the shell using an in-mould process. It also features an internal frame through the chinguard area for extra strength.
The magnetic buckle took a bit of getting used to, but held firmly and proved less fiddly than a traditional buckle once I got the hang of it.
I would’ve liked to have seen a system included to counter rotational force (especially given MIPS says that incorporating its system adds only 45 grams max), so hopefully that will come in future iterations.
My head is about 58 centimetres diameter, which falls between sizes. I opted for the large and I’m happy with how it fits, but I wouldn’t want it any bigger. Go and try one on instore if you’re like me and fall somewhere in the middle. Although there are only two sizes, the adjustment system is excellent: the dial at the back ratchets firmly and the whole system can be moved both vertically and backwards-forwards within the shell to dial in the fit. The helmet also comes with a spare set of thicker cheekpads.
Overall I really liked this helmet and appreciated being able to take the extra full-face protection with me without suffering to do so. I’ve owned convertible helmets before, and found that on some rides, I would leave the chinbar behind because it was inconvenient (such as when I’m riding without a backpack), but later wanted the protection when the trail got chunky. With the Trigger, knowing I have downhill-spec protection with me on every ride means I have one less thing to think about when dropping in.
Reviewer: Sam Baker