At Interbike last year I looked at the new Oakley mountain bike helmet, and was intrigued for a few reasons.
One: It’s a mountain bike helmet made by Oakley, a performance vision brand. Mountain bikers don’t need any introduction to Oakley glasses, however the brand hasn’t released any other MTB products in some time.
Two: The DRT5 has a few features I’ve never seen on a helmet before, like a grooved, rubber sweat guard on the brow, and clips that hold your glasses on your skull when they’re not over your eyes.
And three: It’s a great looking helmet.
Although I was intrigued, I was a little skeptical about some of the features and thus, I needed to try it out.
- Polycarbonate shell
- EPS protective foam
- MIPS equipped
- Boa dial for an exact fit
- “Landing zone” sunglass storage
- Adjustable visor
- Silicone gel sweat guard
- MSRP: $200 (available at Amazon.com)
On the trail
I received the DRT5 helmet just in time to take it to Moab. Although it was springtime, and not sweltering heat and melt-your-face-off Moab, it’s hard not to sweat pedaling up and over slickrock, making Moab a great testing ground for the sweat guard.
The helmet’s fit is adjustable in a few ways: the liner moves up and down for the proper height, and there is a Boa dial at the bottom rear of the helmet. Plus, the buckles on the helmet straps are adjustable too.
I found a snug fit with the Boa turned clockwise. Although it feels like there’s some movement on your head, it actually just seems like the MIPS is more active on the DRT5 than other helmets I’ve worn. It’s a little easier to get the shell to move around, but if you keep an index finger on the brow of the helmet, the internal pieces and liner stay put.
Maybe that’s because there’s minimal padding inside the helmet and the MIPS liner sits against your dome.
The DRT5 has plentiful venting. (Can I call that ventiful?) I count 13 large vents that let a good amount of air inside. There’s also a couple of air channels in the brow that let air slip in between your forehead and the helmet.
Although there is a lot of venting, I didn’t feel like it got any more airflow than other helmets I’ve worn. I wouldn’t say that the comfort is any better than other helmets I’ve experienced either. Previously, I wore a Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS, and though I’d say the DRT5 venting is similar, the TLD helmet is more comfortable.
In contrast, the TLD helmet always left me with red marks on my forehead, signaling to whoever saw me after I took it off, that I just came from a ride at White Ranch or a lobotomist.
Without the foam pads in the DRT5 and just the sweat guard, I don’t get those big ol’ red marks on my forehead, at not least as bad as other helmets, so I guess there’s a trade-off for everything.
I’m happy to report that I like the sunglasses clips, er- Landing Zone, more than I thought I would. When I popped in and out of the bike shop, or shuttled in Moab, I just threw my sunglasses on the clips in the back and grabbed them off when I needed. The clips keep sunglasses from straying and they don’t budge after a good shaking.
My favorite feature on the DRT5, though? The sweat guard. It’s comfortable and it actually works. On all of my rides with the helmet, I’ve felt sweat forming on my forehead, but the sweat never made it past my brow or near my eyes. Again, vision is paramount with this helmet.
Usually, on long rides with other helmets, I stop and push the helmet to my forehead with my palm and watch sweat stream from above onto the ground. I don’t know if that’s best described as satisfying or gross, but it’s one way to get the moisture out of your pads.
Since the DRT5 doesn’t have a bunch of foam pads to collect sweat, the sweat mostly collects in your hair. That’s OK with me, because I always shower after a ride, but I don’t always wash my helmet.
Lastly, I really dig the look of the helmet. Oakley nailed it. The DRT5 has a low profile and a militaristic look to it — at least in the olive drab green one I’ve got, which is enhanced by the camo print under the helmet’s brow.
For me, the Oakley DRT5 isn’t the most comfortable or well-vented helmet I’ve ever worn. But, it’s one of the best looking helmets I’ve seen in a while and the stand-out features like the sweat guard and Landing Zone actually work. For $200, it’s not a cheap buy, but the quality is definitely there.