Out of the Box
As I mentioned in my review of the Triple Eight Compass helmet, the Invader Full Faced helmet came in a neat and tidy package–not unlike unwrapping an iPhone for the first time. My first thought was, “this helmet reminds me of a Star Wars Imperial Fighter pilot.” Awesome. The Triple Eight logo incorporated as ventilation into the front of the helmet gives it a menacing look. As with the Compass, the matte black finish was silky smooth and ready to slide down the trail on my first digger. Since that really never happened when wearing this lid, I also now consider it my good luck charm.
The S/M full face helmet, designed to fit head circumferences of 55-59 cm, fit my 57 cm head perfectly. If you’ve ever tried on a lot of full face mountain bike helmets, you know that one of the most challenging aspects is finding one that fits, without the cheek padding squeezing last week’s lunch from your parotid glands. In other words, a proper fit should feel snug, but you should be able to move your mouth so you can trash talk your buddies on jumps. Mandatory. No one likes a mumbly one-line zinger… it’s just not funny if you have to repeat it. Thankfully, this helmet fit perfectly, and moreover the chin strap was easy to secure and adjust.
The outer shell is made of fiberglass with an impact-absorbing EPS liner. I was, again, a little surprised to see so few vents on this helmet, as summer runs in the park can get hot, but it was never that much of an issue except for the hottest of afternoons. The smooth outer shell looks like it was designed to withstand impact and slide over, rather than catch on, coarse obstacles. The liner was comfortable and held the helmet in place on my head very well.
The Deets (from Triple Eight)
Perfect for hitting jumps, killing ramps, and bombing hills or trails, the Invader offers Full Face protection with classic Triple Eight style.
- Dual Certified: Complies with U.S. CPSC Bike and ASTM Downhill Mountain Bike Racing safety standards
- Durable Fiberglass Outer Shell with EPS liner
- Vented for great air flow; features an imposing Triple Eight Icon front vent
- XS/S 20-21.75 in (51-55cm)
- S/M 21.75–23.25 in (55–59cm)
- L/XL 23.25-24.75 in (59-63cm)
MSRP: $129.99 (i.e. a steal)
Full face mountain bike helmets are a specialized piece of equipment, and not something you typically see outside of a bike park. I tested the Invader at Colorado bike parks, but also on some burly, local front range trails that require total sphincter-control. The Invader was tested in the summer, with temps in the high 70s to mid 90s, which is when most downhill parks are open, of course. I have no doubt this lid would keep your noggin’ warm in the fall and winter if you fancy a roll in the snow. For our indian summers, however, I found this helmet very comfortable and right at home unless I was in the direct sun.
First and foremost, this is a fairly lightweight, clean-looking helmet that fits really well: snug but comfy. It is also very affordable, especially considering that some carbon full face helmets are upwards of $400 these days (ouch). I think that Triple Eight could have added a few more vents without compromising safety, and I think riding with this helmet in lower latitudes or altitudes like Angel Fire in July may have some drawbacks.
I do love that it is smooth, however, and although DH manufacturers have not yet embraced a MIPS-type technology, this is probably the next best thing. No reason for a sculpted helmet to get hung up on rocks and roots if you faceplant and pass out.
I also like the length, look, and adjustability of the visor: not too long, and easy to shift. The only other thing that I really wish the Invader had was a removable goggle retention strap. More common on ski/snowboard helmets, I think it would help keep the strap from moving up or down in the back, since the majority of the helmet is so smooth. Though it might make it more difficult to get the goggles off instead of removing the entire helmet, I think it would be a nice feature.
Aside from that, this lid is dialed! So if you are in the market for an affordable full face lid, it’s worth checking out the Invader from this emerging NYC-based manufacturer.
Thanks to Triple Eight for providing the Invader for review.
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