Being no stranger to THE products, I was stoked to give the T2 Carbon helmet and the new Cosmo short a go. Both products are intended for people who are into gravity riding–from folks who ride long travel, aggressive bikes to all out DH shredders.
T2 Carbon Helmet Specs
With no less that ten different color / pattern choices, the T2 Carbon has something for everyone. At just a few hairs over 1,000 grams (my size medium came in at 965 grams), the T2 is one of the lighter helmets out on the market today. Interestingly enough, the T2 composite I reviewed last year also came in under weight as well.
The T2 Carbon exceeds CPSC and CE certification standards, as does the composite version. Both tests involve impact testing and strap retention testing with multiple impacts. CE testing requires impact tests on the side as well as the back, all done on the same helmet, and a final penetration test with a cone-shaped weight.
The T2′s design is a pleasing silhouette made from hand-laid carbon fiber. Design elements both enhance the look and integrity of the helmet, with a slight channel which guides the goggle strap while adding a bit of stiffness to the helmet. The same 17-vent design as the T2 Composite (reviewed previously) directs air in and out of the helmet via the 4 internal cooling channels for maximum cooling benefit.
A removable helmet liner is easy to clean once it gets too nasty to put back on. Speaking of the liner, you still get the awesomely-supple interior liner with a mix of custom-stitched foam-backed leatherette and faux suede, as well as the padded double “D” ring strap for added security. The overall fit is the tapered Euro style that I raved about before, with the opening smaller than the head cavity to prevent helmet roll. To finish off the T2 Carbon, there is the added custom hardware that fixes the visor and chin strap in place.
Along with the T2 you get a durable Cordura helmet bag and an extra visor (in case you eat it).
Cosmo Short Specs
The Cosmo short is an all-new design for THE this year, and is intended more for the racer or weekend warrior. Suitable for downhill, slalom, four-cross, and Enduro, the new Cosmo is a balance of protection and durability. Made from 600D Cordura Nylon where it matters the most, the short offers high abrasion resistance. The addition of flex-ribbing at articulation zones (inner thigh and just above the knees) lets you move freely. Silk-screened graphics add to the appeal of the Cosmo. A single, waterproof zippered pocket keeps your keys or other similarly small items dry. An adjustable ratchet waist, embroidered closure, and heavy-duty zipper tie it all together. Available in black/red, black/blue and black/white in even waist sizes 30-38.
THE gear always impresses me: they really think things through before releasing their products. The T2 Carbon and the Cosmo short are two examples of that forethought.
The T2 has the sort of fit that I am looking for: a tapered fit which, yes, requires you to grab the sides and pull out a bit while inserting your head. It takes a bit more work than some other lids which just slip on, but the T2 does not shift around once you’re in. The chin strap ensures things stay put.
Once in, the pad layout is comfortable with no hot spots or rings of pressure. The cheek pads are not overly large, so I don’t get that chipmunk feel. One thing that I really appreciate is the clearance around the ear, ensuring you can hear well–there is even some room there if you insist on wearing ear buds.
The opening is big enough to accommodate all of my goggles with ease. The straps follow the contours of the helmet well and don’t slip off, even at speed (I say that is a 50% helmet design and 50% strap design thing).
All full face helmets suffer from heat issues, and the T2 is no different. When waiting around, it does start to get warm, but once you’re moving there is no issue as it cools down pretty quickly.
I chose the Vampire graphic, and up close the helmet looks sharp. So I was pissed at myself when I face planted and banged up the helmet. To my surprise, nothing happened to the lid (or myself), other than a small scuff on the crown of the head, which a polishing compound easily removed.
The Cosmo shorts are the second pair of shorts I have tested from THE, and these are less padded that the previous F-1 short. The F-1 has a thin liner which functions much like a chamois, while these do not.
Other than that, the Cosmo has a more pleasing cut and is designed more for racing. With no expanding pocket or other items to snag on passing underbrush, the Cosmo is designed more for all-out ruggedness.
As far as fit, these run a bit on the tight side, so I would say try before you buy, or at least get one size up if you plan on running under armor. The shorts are cut so that they feel best when in a riding position. The fabric panels themselves don’t move or stretch much, but the flex-ribbing zones do a good job at providing the amount of stretch needed.
Other than that, the Cosmo feels great as far as shorts go. I personally like the ratchet strap that holds the shorts up, and the oversized zipper does not look fragile at all. Even after a few crashes and close calls with trees, the Cosmos are holding up great: not so much as one stitch out of place.
For a reasonable MSRP of $329 for the T2 and $100 for the Cosmo short, you’ll get some great-fitting and great-functioning gear for your money!
I would like to thank the folks at THE Industries for sending down the T2 and Cosmo short down for a review.