Looking for Advanced Trail Protection without Downhill Bulk? Fox Has Got Your Back. Er, Head and Knees

Even if you’ve never participated in an enduro event, you’re enjoying all kinds of benefits from the craze. Besides the trend toward burlier bikes that can still handle a climb, my favorite enduro side effect is the creation of protective gear that’s comfortable and unobtrusive enough to actually wear while pedaling. Here are two shining examples from Fox.

Dropframe helmet

That sweet, sweet camo. Photo: IG @shadymcgrady89

Specs

  • Certifications: EN 1078, AS/NZ 2063, CPSC
  • M.O.RE. Guard (Mandibular Occipital REinforcement Guard) provides extended coverage
  • Dual-density Varizorb™ EPS liner spreads impacts across a wider area
  • 8 Big Bore intake vents and 7 exhaust vents
  • Fixed visor
  • Fidlock SNAP helmet buckle
  • Moisture wicking, antimicrobial helmet liner
  • Includes 2 sets of pads to customize fit
  • MSRP: $169.95. Available at FoxRacing.com.

On the trail

The Dropframe toes the line between enduro and downhill, and it offers about as much protection as your noggin can get without a chin bar. For hard riding sans lift access, the helmet presents a perfect compromise, providing additional coverage around the ears and back of the head without the considerable heat or weight penalty that accompanies a full face lid. Plenty of ventilation holes keep air moving, and an indentation around the back holds a goggle strap firmly in place. This is enduro, after all.

When I first started messing with the magnetic Fidlock closure system, I felt like Fox was attempting to solve a problem that didn’t exist. The closure has grown on me, and while I probably won’t forget how to use the buckle on the rest of my helmets, being able to strap in with one gloved hand is a nice touch. So far, my one complaint with the helmet is that the fixed position of the visor doesn’t allow goggles to sit below when you’re climbing or resting. The easy fix is to spin them around so the goggles are on the back and the strap is in front. Again, enduro.

I’ve been wearing the Dropframe helmet in the winter months, but a few of those rides were above 65 degrees, and I’m pleased to report that I never felt like I was wearing a sweaty jousting helmet. My guess is that the ventilation will make the Dropframe a viable option in any weather.

The price tag is also something to get excited about, as the original $169.95 MSRP has been reduced to $135 at some retailers. That’s a great deal for a quality piece of protective equipment. I haven’t headbutted any trees yet, but I’m planning to wear the Dropframe until I do, and then I might just pick up another one.

The Dropframe plays nicely with goggles. Photo: IG @shadymcgrady89

The Dropframe helmet has made me reconsider the amount of coverage provided by my old trail helmet. The extended protection on the sides and back of the head offers a safety and confidence boost with no real penalty, and I’ll be reaching for the Dropframe for aggressive trail rides year-round.

Enduro Pro knee guards

Shin coverage extends about 3 inches lower than my other enduro/trail pads. It’s nice.

Specs

  • EN1621-1 level 1 knee certified
  • F3 Armor foam padding
  • Slip-on design
  • Mesh material behind knee for breathability
  • Extended shin coverage
  • Removable pads
  • MSRP: $74.95. Available at FoxRacing.com, on sale for $59.96.
A more durable front fabric is combined with a breathable, mesh rear.

On the trail

The Enduro Pro knee guards are about as low profile as they come. The system is designed around a soft, foam pad that’s held in place by a skin-tight sleeve with silicon strips. By skin-tight I mean just that. With all of the others knee pads I’ve worn, a medium has been just the ticket. When I first put the Enduro Pros on, I thought I had gotten a small by mistake. Fortunately, they stretched out after two slightly uncomfortable rides, and I’m glad I stuck with them.

The flexible pad, made of Fox’s proprietary F3 Armor, does a great job conforming over and around your knee, and it also extends about three inches down your shin. Though only time will tell, the front seems durable and Fox claims the reinforced “skid plate” reduces friction while you’re sliding across the ground. I can’t confirm or deny that, but I was actually most impressed with the fabric behind the knee. It’s a mesh design that does a great job venting heat, which means these pads probably won’t turn into stench monsters as fast as some others.

The foam pads themselves are also removable, meaning you can toss the sleeves in the wash when they start getting too gnarly. Lose or damage a pad? You can replace them for just $24.95.

The sleeves are well ventilated, and the pads themselves also have vent holes.

The MSRP sits at $74.95, but I’ve seen these pads on sale for as low as $37. I think that’s an excellent deal for a pair of high performance knee pads that offer solid protection and an unobtrusive fit you’ll hardly notice.

With ample ventilation and an extremely low profile, the Enduro Pro knee pads offer the right amount of protection for aggressive trail riding without making riders feel like a hockey goalie. I’m happy to say you’ll forget all about these pads until you need them.

Thanks to Fox for providing the Dropframe helmet and Enduro Pro knee pads for testing and review.

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