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The 6 Best Full Face Mountain Bikes of 2020

Mountain bikers looking for a little extra protection have long reached for full face helmets. Originally, we just used repurposed dirt bike helmets, with the chinbar and extra padding helping keep your head safe at higher speeds, and in gnarlier terrain. But since those early days, full face mountain bike helmets have evolved a lot. They’ve gotten lighter, new safety technologies have been developed, and companies have worked to create helmets that serve our specific needs, as opposed to rebranding motorcycle helmets.

But, with those developments, we’ve gotten more options as well. The market is awash with helmets, but every model is designed with different design parameters to help it excel in specific areas. So we’ve put together this guide to a range of the best full face mountain bike helmets we’ve used, and broken down why we’ve chosen each one, as well as what sort of riders will like about each helmet. So, whether you’re an enduro rider looking for something that offers a little more protection on the down, but is still light and vented enough to pedal long days in, or you’re a dedicated downhiller looking for maximum protection as you bash bike park laps, we’ve got a helmet that will keep you safe and happy on every ride.


TLD Stage MIPS

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2020
 
 

The Stage is part of this crop of new helmets that aims to bring DH-level safety and protection to enduro racing in a package that’s light and breathable enough to wear over long, human-powered days. The Stage MIPS is one of the lightest helmets on this list, and it also is one of the least obtrusive-feeling on your head. The 11 intake vents, and 14 outflow vents allow more air to move over your head than a typical DH helmet. This helps keep you cool, and also helps keep the helmet from getting stuffy, and your goggles from fogging.

However, the Stage doesn’t sacrifice much protection to achieve that barely-there feel. It’s still ASTM certified for DH use, and has a dual-density foam layer, as well as MIPS to help mute the harsh impacts of any crashes. Riders who never climb while wearing a full face helmet can save some money by going with something heavier and less vented, but for anyone who wants to earn their turns, but still have the safety net of a full DH helmet on the down, the Stage is one of the best full face enduro helmets available.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 Enduro, DH690 g25 $295

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Bell Super DH MIPS

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2020
 

Despite the “DH” in its name, the Bell Super DH MIPS is Bell’s take on an adaptable enduro helmet. Bell has been pushing convertible helmets for years, and the Super DH is their latest incarnation. The Super is made of two distinct parts, a traditional half-shell helmet, with attachment points, and a lower chinbar and back-wrap assembly that you can lock onto the upper shell to create a full face helmet.

In theory this gives you two helmets for the price of one. Stay cool riding up in the half shell, and at the top, just lock the chin guard on, and descend with confidence in a full face helmet. In half-shell mode, the Super isn’t the most vented or lightest helmet around, but it’s much more comfortable than a full face. And, while the chin guard is too bulky to fit in most packs, it’s easy to strap to the outside of one, and adds a lot of protection to the helmet, although in full-face mode it is heavier than dedicated options like the Stage. So, if you’re looking for the ultimate in adaptability, the Super DH should be high on your list. However, if you don’t need that level of flexibility, or don’t want the hassle, you can save some money, and weight by going for a dedicated full face.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 Enduro850 g25 $325

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Fox Proframe

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2020
 
 

Fox’s Proframe falls under the same umbrella as the TLD Stage, they’re both dedicated full face mtb helmets aimed at enduro riders. The Proframe weighs a little more, but for some head shapes, it allows more airflow and keeps you cooler. Like the Stage, it stays comfortable on long climbs, and doesn’t feel like an uncomfortable traditional full face at all. It’s a great option for anyone who wants protection of a full face without the “my head is stuck in a bowl” feeling most deliver.

If you’re trying to choose between the Stage and Proframe, your biggest focus should be fit. Both helmets will perform very similarly, so go with the one that is most comfortable on your head. However, it is worth noting that the Proframe doesn’t have an adjustable visor, so if you like to stash your goggles under your visor while climbing, you’re out of luck.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 Enduro750 g24 $259

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Giro Disciple MIPS

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2020
 
 

Sure, “enduro” might be the hot new thing, but what about folks that are just concerned about the down, that don’t want to sacrifice protection for lighter weight? Don’t worry, brands are still making full face helmets for the DH racers and freeride purists, and Giro’s Disciple MIPS is a great option for a wide range of riders.

With helmets, it’s nearly impossible to remove weight without reducing the efficacy of the helmet’s protection. Less material on your head making you sweat, is also less material between your head and the ground when you crash. If you’re shuttling or riding chairlifts, and just want to protect your head, the Disciple is a great option. It’s got enough venting to keep your goggles from fogging, and your head from getting too hot, but its main focus is on protection. So yes, it weighs a little more, but if safety is your main requirement from a full face helmet, the Disciple MIPS is a great choice, plus its one of the best full face mtb helmets for the money, coming in at a price much lower than many competitors.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 DH1247 g14 $249

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TLD D3 Fiberlite

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2020
 
 

Like the Disciple, the D3 is designed for DH racers and freeriders who aren’t pedaling up the hill. Instead, the goal is protection. TLD is one of the most storied helmet brands, their D series has been worn atop countless podiums in gravity disciplines throughout the years. The D3 is their latest foray. Its fiberglass construction keeps the price down (there’s also a lighter, much more expensive carbon version available) and it’s got all the features gravity riders need.

Plenty of vents, with mesh screens to keep bugs and sticks out? Check. Adjustable visor, washable liner, dual-density foam, and room for headphones? Check, check, and check. Just like the Disciple, this is the helmet for folks who know there’s a good chance they’re going to crash, and want to have as much insurance on their heads as possible. Overall, the D3 is one of the best full face mountain bike helmets for DH riding.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 DH1150 g20 $239

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Giro Switchblade MIPS

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2020
 
 

Giro’s Switchblade was the original adaptable helmet, but it’s come a long way from its original iteration. This new version is optimized for enduro racers and aggressive jibbers. The Switchblade takes a different approach than the Bell Super though. Instead of trying to merge a traditional half shell and a full face, the Switchblade emulates motocross helmets of old, with full back of the head, and ear coverage with its chinbar removed.

That means that the Switchblade offers more protection, even without the chinbar than the Super, but also is heavier, and hotter. However, the chin guard is smaller, and fits in packs easily, and can be put back on the helmet without taking the helmet off. Ultimately the Super and Switchblade serve two different riders. Looking for something that offers more protection than your trail helmet, even without the chin guard? Go with the Switchblade. Want as much breathability as possible on the way up, the Super may be a better choice for you. With it’s improvements over the years, the Switchblade remains one of the best enduro mountain bike helmets.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 Enduro980 g20 $270

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