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The Notch helmet from Mavic is designed with trail and enduro riders in mind, providing additional coverage compared to traditional cross-country helmets while still retaining a lightweight and comfortable design. I’ve been testing the Notch for several months now, and here’s what I’ve found.

Trail riding falls somewhere between cross-country and downhill riding, so the Notch takes its design cues from both vented XC lids and full face DH helmets. Visually it’s not far off from a traditional vented helmet with two exceptions: full rear coverage and smaller vents. Surprisingly, the unit I tested, at 309g, is just as light as my vented XC helmet, which is welcome news for anyone who is used to wearing heavy gravity-oriented helmets.

The Notch features removable velcro pads which help with fit and comfort, but are also great for absorbing small amounts of sweat. Ventilation is decent–clearly not as good as a fully-vented helmet, but way better than a closed DH lid. There’s a surprisingly grippy dial in the back for tightening the retention system, a small touch that’s welcome in wet or sweaty conditions. This helmet fits low on my head, which looks good but also means improved protection over a helmet that rides too high.

The chin straps feel tough and substantial without being rough or scratchy on the face. The strap clips seem solid too, but the plastic retention system that’s clipped into the helmet itself seems a little too thin. In my experience, this is the first part of a helmet to wear out, and once the retention system can’t be tightened anymore, you might as well be wearing a plastic bowl on your head. That’s not to say this helmet is any different from XC lids I’ve tried in the past; in fact, it’s surprising how similar helmet designs, particularly retention systems, are becoming these days.

On top, the Notch features a couple wide, flattish spots in the center that are good for mounting a light or helmet cam. (I cry every time I try to mount something to my XC lid, so this is most welcome.) There’s also an odd little fin on top at the back that I like to think is a wind foil to keep me riding in a straight line when I’m going fast. In reality, it’s probably just a design touch.

The graphics on the Notch are bold without being flashy, and there are three colorways to choose from: white (pictured), black, and Mavic yellow. Mavic claims the helmet features reflective highlights, but the only reflective parts I could find are a few glossy graphics on the sides and back and the two small, yellow Mavic logos (one of which is mounted to the rear fin).

The Notch is available for $109 MSRP, and it’s a solid helmet choice for all but the most dedicated gravity riders. Trail riders will appreciate the nods to more aggressive coverage without a weight penalty over a lightweight XC lid.

Thanks to Mavic for providing the Notch for review.

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