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WARPed1701D last won the day on July 21

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About WARPed1701D

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  1. Conclusion Again, this is not meant to be a review. Just observations, thoughts, ramblings but I wanted to share my final opinion. You can’t go wrong with either of these helmets. They are both high quality and well made. They look almost identical but they are very different below the surface. The Bell 3R is a lighter, cooler helmet that offers the greatest versatility between chin bar / no chin bar configuration. Versatility though comes at a price, I feel, with a clunky over complex mount system for the chin bar but I think you would learn to align and secure all the components required to fit the bar quickly with experience. I’m also not a fan of the strap system, especially in open face mode, but it may work for your head shape. The helmet is EN/CPSC certified so you know it will offer at least a typical level of protection and I think it is safe to assume that the protection offered at that level will be exceptional with the chin bar fitted. The Giro Switchblade is heavier and hotter but I think short of putting a motorbike helmet on your head it offers the best protection you could hope to get. If you like pushing you KS18S or 84v mSuper to the limit then this is the helmet for you, no question (or a motorbike helmet, I’m serious, consider a motorbike helmet if you really push it). I think the Switchblade edges above the 3R in terms of build quality, finish, and potential longevity and you have more options with the 4 swappable pads to get just the right fit. The solid construction does mean you may need to fit/remove the chin bar to be able to comfortably place it on your head though. Both helmets have the MIPS protection system for increased protection in certain types of impact. For me the winner is the Giro Switchblade. Giro’s in general are a good fit for my head shape which gives me a nudge in the Switchblade’s direction over the Super 3R but despite this even with the increased heat potential (and this is a huge factor for me) I feel the combination of a high level of proven/certified protection and what feels like better quality/finish/durability (in my opinion…which is all this thread is based on remember) is worth the additional sweat and $20 over the 3R. Your mileage may vary, and probably will. Go check them out! THE END
  2. Visors and Camera Attachments Both helmets have visors than can be adjusted up or down. The 3R is a smooth adjustment and it can be removed by turning the locking bolts with your fingers and unscrewing them. A GoPro mount is attached to the top of the helmet (not on the visor) but can be removed if desired and will break away in an impact so as not to compromise the helmet. The visor in the up position may block the camera. I’m not sure as I don’t have a GoPro. ☹ The Giro actually comes with two visors and both appear to be longer (protrude further forward) than visor on the 3R. I guess this offers better shade from the sun and maybe some increased protection from foreign objects. The standard visor is factory fitted and adjusts to three different angles. Push past the resistance and it will seat in the next position along. A second visor is also supplied. This one is fixed in a single position (the middle position I think) and has a GoPro mount molded onto the underside of it. This is likely to provide the best POV image of the two helmets and this position ensures it will not get smacked by a low hanging branch but you lose the use of your visor in the low position for maximum sun shade and the camera position may result in a challenge fitting helmet lights and the camera together. If you want to swap between camera use and adjustable visor you need to carry the extra visor around which is a pain. I understand that no tools are needed to swap the visors. I don’t understand why the GoPro attachment wasn’t just placed on the adjustable visor. They mention image stability but I think the resistance between visor positions is more than enough to support a camera. I’ve no real strong opinion here as to which I prefer. I’ve no mountable camera and a visor is just a visor for the most part. I think I’d prefer the camera be below the visor rather than on top of the helmet if only to provide some protection to the camera and a more accurate POV. I guess I also prefer the longer visor for more shade form the FL sun…so maybe the Switchblade…but, meh.
  3. The Chin Bar This is perhaps where the most radical difference is between the two and again I think it is the result of the downhill certification requirements. When the chin bar is removed form the 3R you are left with a helmet that you could happily use on a regular bike. The value of two helmets in one is not lost on the author who loves devices with multiple uses. It is open an airy. Similar to a regular helmet except protection extends down the back of the head. Literally the entire bottom of the helmet comes away with the opening of just three clips. Removing the chin bar is a fairly simple affair. Open one clasp on each side next to the eyes and then one on the back. Unfasten the now opened rear bar/hook clasp and then literally flex the entire base of the helmet open at the back of the head into two halves. Various protrusions between bar and helmet come apart and the bar is removed. As a result, the chin bar component is pretty huge and, in some respects, feels a little vulnerable to me without the strength of the helmet to support it. I’m sure it would be fine however if stuffed in a back pack. Reattaching is a pain though. I’m sure you get used to it but I could not reattach the chin bar without a mirror and even then it took several attempts. With protrusions and clips it is a lot to get aligned and I didn’t like it. Bell must be aware of this as their website has the Chin Bar challenge for people to show how quick they can fit the bar to the helmet. I feel they would only do this if people (like me) needed convincing that you will, eventually, get it. One big thing I disliked about the remaining helmet was the distance the chin strap is from my face where it attaches to the helmet. On my regular bike helmet the strap runs up in contact with my face to the helmet’s attachment point. The 3R strap stops touching my face at the cheek and is probably ½ to ¾ of an inch away from my skin where it enters the helmet foam. I played with the straps a little but without the chin bar to add support I felt the 3R was not as well attached to my head and moved around a little. See my final note in this section about this. For the Switchblade the chin bar, and just the chin bar, comes away. The remaining helmet resembles an open-faced motorcycle helmet. I’m sure this is due to the coverage requirements for the downhill certification. This means the helmet, sans chin bar, is not as practical for everyday bicycle use in hot climates. I’m in FL and there is no way I’d wear the Switchblade on my bike which is a huge bummer. Two push buttons at the base of the check area release the retaining clips for the bar. You then rotate it up about 30 degrees before pulling the bar forward. This forward pull must be decisive to get the bar to disconnect but it is a clean removal system. Re-attachement is just the reverse process requiring you to align a metal connector with the attachment point on each side of the helmet. Two brail dots on the helmet help you feel where they should align. Again, a decisive shove is required to engaged the rod and you then rotate the bar down until it locks. The alignment is a bit fiddly but the whole process is smoother that the 3R, but with such great differences between execution of the removable chin bar it is hard to compare the two. The chin bar, when removed has some flex when squeezed but it otherwise very solid. Like the 3R is it has some cheek pads and the entire inner is lined with rubber. The mouth vent also has a grill. This may or may not actually help catch big bugs, unlikely I think, but aesthetically it looks good. With the chin bar removed the open attachment slots on the front of the remaining helmet apparently channel extra air into the helmet like a wind tunnel. I’ve not tested this but it would be welcome and a good design feature if it works. Most importantly regarding fit…each manufacturer has a different idea of the ideal head shape. For some people a Bell fits well and comfortable, for others a Giro, or a Bontrager, etc. Proper fit for your head is vitally important and only extreme Amazon ordering will allow you to try them all. If you have a local bike store then absolutely pay them a visit to try some on. Plus, if you try in the store, buy in the store if they have what you want. Don’t go home and then buy on Amazon for $30 less. The store did you a huge service just by being there. They deserved that $30 so they are there for the next guy, or for your next helmet purchase (rant over). I really like the way the 3R reduces down to a usable helmet for regular bike riding or slower EUC riding in hot weather but the inability to get a good strap adjustment, in part I think, due to the large gap between the strap and my face means I wouldn’t use it as such. The Switchblade leaves a lot more helmet behind and will be hotter sans chin bar. The Switchblade wins again here too if only because I feel it is still secure on my head without the chin bar even though I think I’ll have limited usage from it in the open face form.
  4. Feel, Fit, and Finish As someone who has ridden both bicycles and motorbike I’ve experienced and owned helmets for both activities. If I could draw similarities the I would say the 3R feels like a bike helmet with a chin bar (no surprise there…that’s what it is). When fitted I can feel my head wrapped in the usual plastic wire cage that higher end helmets with fit adjustment dials possess. I can feel the light weight foam construction and hear the usual taps and creaks bike helmet construction seems to produce. It feels lightweight, almost hollow, just like my road bike helmet (a Giro Synthe). The Switchblade, on the other hand, feels much more like putting on my old full face motorbike helmet. Weight is by far an influence here but the helmet also has much less give/flex in it. In fact to put the helmet on with the thick face pads fitted I have to remove the chin bar to get enough flex to pull it over my head. Internally my head feels surrounded by foam padding even though it isn’t. As you can see from the images the foam is not solid but in strips to allow ventilation but there is clearly more impact absorbing materials in the Giro. This has a direct effect on heat retention. Other reviewers have stated that the 3R is a much cooler and airy helmet circulating and venting heat better. One of the biggest complaints online about the Giro is how hot it gets. These reviewers are mainly bikers working hard turning the cranks up a mountain ready for the downhill run rather than us who enjoy the effortless glide of the EUC but none the less the Giro is hotter even when just standing still. It isn’t to say the Giro is a poorly vented helmet. As one reviewer put it, it is a excellently vented DOWNHILL helmet vs the 3R which is an excellently vented TRAIL helmet. The downhill rating means more materials but Giro has done their best to get the heat out, there is just no way it can compete with the 3R and retain its DH cert. Both helmets are finished very nicely. Rubberized padding is on the inside of the chin bar. Nice padding can be found in the cheek area. The Giro has more options when it comes to padding having 4 pads in total (2 each side, 1 in the helmet portion and one in the chin bar) and offering thinner versions of each included in the package. The 3R has just 2 pads in the chin bar which can be thinned out by removing a shim of dense foam from behind the permanent lower density foam in the fixed pad. Again the Giro feels more resilient to rough usage. The fit adjustment dial is larger and more tucked under the lower rear lip of the helmet leaving it protected from knocks (apparently to prevent changes to the adjustment if it bangs against a neck brace). Some have said that this position can cause it to dig in the back of the neck when looking sharply upwards though. The 3R’s is a more delicate system that protrudes below the lower rim of the helmet. This makes adjustment easier but is prone to damage when just laying around. My Giro Synth adjustment dial has had to be repaired because it hangs below the helmet body like the 3R. This protrusion of the dial is why the 3R could not be photographed upright as the helmet was resting on it. The Giro also has a nice rubberized finish to the lower rim of the helmet and the rear vents. The reason for this on the vents is to grip the elastic strap of goggles/action cams/head lamps. The chin strap of the 3R is a standard bike helmet strap with a plastic clip. Each side of the head, below the ear, the strap splits fore and aft of the ear. There is the usual adjuster allowing you can take up and play out slack to ensure the helmet doesn’t rotate forward or back when fitted. See below (Chin Bar section) for my other feelings about the execution of this design on the 3R. Excess strap can be retained by a rubber like band but significant excess must be trimmed. The Switchblade uses double metal D rings similar to motorbike helmets. The strap wide and lined throughout with padding so it doesn’t chafe the skin. Where the strap splits fore and aft of the ear there is no adjuster. It is a fixed design but even without the adjustment the helmet felt secure on my head. My complaint here is that the double D rings can poke you in the Adams apple when you look down. Careful adjustment of the padding can alleviate this for the most part but this is a bulky clasp system. Excess strap clips back on itself. I saw some reviews where people complained of diminished hearing on one or both of these helmets. Personally, I found that neither helmet blocked my ears as far as I could tell. In fact there are vents on both helmets next to the ears. I could put my fingers through the vents and block my ears. As such I wouldn’t worry about decreased situational awareness with either helmet. In summary, both helmets ooze quality in build and construction. The Giro feels more solid and makes you head feel like it is in a cocoon…a hot cocoon. It also feels like the componentry will last a while longer in standard use, but the 3R is not far behind. The Switchblade wins here again, but it is close.
  5. Overall Design, Build Quality, Size, Weight, and Certifications Both helmets offer full face protection by utilizing a wrap around chin bar and for both of these helmets the chin bar is removable. Compared next to each other they are of very similar dimensions all around and from looks alone you would be hard pushed to see much difference between them. Looks, however, is where the similarities stop. These are in fact two very different helmets. The Switchblade weighs in at 975g, an extra 20% over the more svelte 3R that is only 784g. This is a noticeable difference (although not uncomfortable) and one could assume this to be the result of a lackluster effort on the part of the Giro design team, but devil is in the details and in Giro’s case, in the certifications. The 3R is certified to EN1078/CPSC Bicycle standards. The Giro also meets these but adds the more stringent ASTM-1952-DH to its list. What this means is that the Giro is certified for the additional stresses seen from the fast impacts found in Downhill mountain biking and as a result has passed much more stressful tests. You can look up the details of the test yourself but basically the EN1708 (European) or CPSC (US) standards are the basic recognized bike helmet standard . Any bike helmet you buy should come with one/both of these standards and it suggests nothing above or beyond typical protection. ASTM-1952 raises that bar requiring greater coverage of the head and the ability to absorb greater impacts. In the case of a helmet with a removable chin bar the test must be passed both with and without the bar. The downhill certification of the Giro will impact other areas of this discussion as we come to them but for this section, in short, the Switchblade is a heavier helmet, but that is a trade off for significantly better certified impact protection. I’ve little doubt that if the Bell had been able to meet the test requirements they would have ensured downhill certification themselves so it is safe to assume the 3R offers less protection in heavier impacts. Maybe a little less, maybe a lot. I don’t know. Only you can decide if weight or protection is of greater importance to you. For me the Swichblade wins in the category simply for the increased protection.
  6. Full face helmets have been a topic of discussion here of late and for good reason given the increased risk of a full on face-plant that riding an EUC presents above and beyond that of almost any other mode of transportation. As part of buying protective gear for my new EUC I ordered two different full face MIPS enhanced bicycle helmets made by reputable brands; the Bell Super 3R and the Giro Switchblade. Over the course of a week or so I have been gathering my thoughts on them. I wanted to share what I have learnt and felt over that time in the hope it helps others when making this expensive purchase. To be clear this is not a review or recommendation of either helmet. I am not a specialist in bike helmets nor do I have the resources to test them properly. This is just my stream of consciousness/thoughts/feelings/ramblings. Both helmets came from Amazon. The Bell Super 3R cost $230 and the Giro Switchblade $250 which matched the manufacturer RRP. Both were ordered in medium size and have similar sizing charts. I will break my text into separate posts, each containing their own related material and images. This will help keep everything organized. Please don't post in the next 5 minutes while I add them all. Finally, this was not sponsored in any way. I purchased both these helmets from Amazon and will be keeping just one of them. This is why I could not road test them. P.S. Sorry about the ugly dude in the pics. My head model canceled so I had to drag this sorry creature in off the street in exchange for a six pack and some pocket change.
  7. The view is not that becoming but as someone learning to take corners right now watching the way he twists his torso is very educational. I'm glad you posted that!
  8. Oh and replacing the valve is as easy as turning a screwdriver. Look in Marty's Slime thread and he links to the tool he uses on his mSuper ($6). Schrader valves cost pennies.
  9. I think it might be possible for the Slime to slowly pool at the bottom of the tire over extended periods of time, but doubt it would change state and solidify and after 10-20 rotations would be well on it's way to spreading out again around the tube again. I believe the Slime bottle rates an application as good for 2 years. Even if this was a risk I think the benefit of Slime would be worth the effort of a bi-weekly winter turn on of the wheel to redistribute it. Just pick it up, let it spin out and then turn it off again. Job done. Better than having a ride ruined by a puncture in the summer months you do get to ride.
  10. gotway

    Nice video. Looks like an epic ride covering lots of different places and terrain.
  11. Side note: If your ride starts with a long downhill do not start with a completely full battery or the energy from regenerative braking will have nowhere to go and you may risk a cut out. Ride 5% or so out of the battery first.