REVIEW: Fox Racing Mainframe MTB Helmet
There once was a time when buying a bike helmet that included MIPS technology meant shelling out a lot of extra cash. MIPS, which stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, uses slip-plane technology to redirect potentially dangerous blows to the head. It is proven to reduce the potential for injury, keeping riders safer as a result. But when it was first introduced, MIPS added to significantly to the cost of a helmet, putting it out of reach for more casual riders.
That isn’t the case any longer however and a good example of this is the Fox Racing Mainframe, a mountain-biking helmet that is both stylish and comfortable. But above all else, it is an affordable MIPS helmet that brings this potentially life-saving technology to a broader audience. What’s not to like about that?
Comfort (5) ★★★★★
The Mainframe is one of the more comfortable helmets that we’ve tested in quite some time. That is due in part to its relatively light weight and excellent padding, but also because it provides a high level of ventilation too. The excellent airflow helps riders to stay as cool as possible, even when riding uphill in warm conditions. A removable moisture-wicking liner plays a role in this too, drawing perspiration away from the head when you do start to work up a sweat. That same liner is machine washable too, which is convenient after a particularly demanding ride.
Fit (5) ★★★★★
As you might expect, the Mainframe wasn’t a great fit straight out of the box. When I first put it on, it felt a little out of place on my head, which raised some concerns about comfort. Thankfully, Fox has outfitted the helmet with a wide range of adjustments levels and after some tinkering, it was soon dialed in for my noggin. Once that was completed, the helmet sat snugly—and comfortably— in place, without bouncing or sliding about, even on rough terrain. For any helmet to perform optimally, a proper fit is crucial and I feel confident that this one will provide outstanding protection should it ever be called upon to do so.
Design (4) ★★★★
The Mainframe looks great and is available in a variety of colors—including black, yellow, red, white, and blue. The Fox logo on the sides of the back of the helmet adds a dash of color and a distinctive look that further sets it apart from the crowd. An integrated sun visor is always a welcome addition on any mountain bike helmet too, and this one is suitably large and useful. The Mainframe does look a bit oversized on smaller riders, however, which may deter some potential customers.
Overall (5) ★★★★★
For the price, it is difficult to find anything to complain about with the Fox Mainframe helmet. It looks great, feels good on your head, and has all of the features that riders would expect. The fact that it also comes equipped with MIPS technology takes its value to a new level. This is one of the most affordable helmets with that system that is currently on the market, which means it is safer on the trail too. There are plenty of chunkier, less-comfortable helmets on the market that share the same $89.95 price point that don’t have MIPS, making this an excellent bargain.
If you’re in the market for a new helmet and don’t already have one that uses MIPS tech, you owe it to yourself to add this model to your collection. You won’t be disappointed.
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