Cranium Command Central: Helmets and Goggles Combine Forces
By Susan Schnier
Eons beyond basic protection, helmets and goggles are now highly customized for the riding experience. They collaborate to circulate air and eliminate fog while delivering warmth and security, not to mention music to your ears. Slip on a combo and you’re operating your winter world from a high-tech command center. With quick swap lenses, built-in volume control, custom artwork and widescreen vision, the vibrant, integrated systems reflect personal style, whether male or female, steezy jibber, big-mountain rider or technical racer.
This year, Smith’s releases three new helmets, the Hustle skate-performance hybrid, women’s-specific Intrigue and kids Upstart. The Hustle blends big mountain and park style with eight top vents and an odor-reducing, temperature-regulating liner. The Intrigue, available in a vibrant Raspberry South Beach style, is a hard/soft hyrbrid for a low-volume “90% less testosterone” look and feel. Smith’s new wide-lens Heiress goggle, also available in Raspberry, is designed to slip into the Intrigue. SkullCandy Bluetooth and Wired audio come in the Variant, Variant Brim, Hustle, Intrigue and Holt helmets.
K2 introduces a simplified, unisex sizing system (S, M, L) and “Dialed” adjustable fit system that’s operated with a gloved hand, using a twistable dial. Baseline Audio with ear pad volume control comes standard on five helmets – the Crossfire, Moxie, Edge, Clutch and Indy – and is compatible with most others. The new, unisex Indy helmet is a full hard shell which includes all these innovations plus argyle ear pads for touch of sophistication.
Giro reintroduces its Manifest goggle with a lens change system to switch lenses quickly without stressing or damaging them. Sold with two spherical lenses, the Manifest also has articulating outriggers for a helmet-compatible fit. The Root goggle returns with a new, limited-edition, ghostly style by Seattle poster and album cover artist, Jeff Kleinsmith.
Marker’s Kamaleon goggle has an Interchangeable Lens Concept and comes with three anti-fog NXT lenses – amber, mirror and light-pink. Three clipped hinges on the frame hold the lens in place. The Kamaleon is compatible with Marker’s helmet line which includes the Cheetah race helmet, the light and slim M4, the M2 half helmet with removable liners and Ripper full-face mask helmet.
Salomon’s new Brigade helmet offers targeted park protection at a low price point with a removable visor and convertible liner that adjusts for beanies. The Impact helmet has Bluetooth ear pads and the Venom Audio combines Bluetooth with a convertible liner and Pimp my Helmet program – pins that let you customize your lid.
Dragon unleashes the Rogue goggle with true Toric lens technology for an ultra-clean view. Underscoring just how pimp these new goggles are, the frame is plastered with Benjamins and the strap has gold accents.
Electric’s equates the increased peripheral vision from the EG.2 goggle’s oversized lens and thinner frame to widescreen HDTV for the mountains. The flat panels are also equipped with the standard cable package – 100% UV protection, anti-fog, scratch-resistant coating and dual polycarbonate lens. EG.2 styles like the Grey Goose pinstripe and the EG.K kids’ model are new this year.
Scott struts in to SIA with street materials like metal and leather in its new Celebutante Alibi goggle. An oversized gold “S” is riveted to the strap and the white, curvy frame is accented in gold.
Zeal maintains its focus on technology in the new Spherical PPX goggles. They have photochromatic, polarized lenses with a no-fog treatment and Technothane frames that are lightweight, strong and pliable.
Spy boosts its snow cred with the new Zed goggle. Vivid strap graphics use custom patches and appliqués. Bluury Martini, 80’s Hip Hop, Laser Rock and Mint Sensation are a few of the styles. Along with anti-fog ventilation, anti-scratch lens treatment, dual-adjustment strap and wicking face foam, the Zed comes with a replacement lens. The Bias returns in a smaller frame size and new design details like pinstripes and metallic accents. The Solider marches in with new styles like Beeeeweeeird, Cherry Cola, Club Alcatraz and I’m Rich.
Swans’ new fog-free fan goggle, the Dread TBR Optex, has a large frame designed to wear over glasses. The fan runs for 12 hours off one AAA battery. The FZ/HR goggle/helmet system returns. HR-60 helmets have adjustable air vents, wicking liners and customizable fit pads and FZ Coupe goggles have polarized lenses, flexible frames, waterproof vent fabric and APA altitude control system.
Uvex turns its attention to style to complement technical performance. Available in classy solid colors, the new lightweight Apache helmet has 11 vents for a “cool” look. The new Fun Ride helmet has attention-grabbing eagle graphics, a soft liner and fuzzy ear pads for warmth, comfort and flair. Both accept Uvex’s X-Factor Bluetooth ear pads and integrate with the new women’s Ultra and Snowfire goggles.
Bolle’s also steps up its looks with new goggles that have all of the technical features for performance combined with bold-attention getting styles like candy-colored pinstripes. The Fathom has a medium fit while the Quasar accommodates larger faces.