Oakley Drt5 Helmet
Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Chili Dog
Last year we first laid eyes on the new Oakley DRT5 helmet and were anxious to spend some time in the new lid to see how it would compare. Since that first helmet, Oakley made some small refinements and before production and shipped us their production-ready DRT5 a few months ago. We did an unboxing video on our Patreon channel announcing that we’d be giving one away to a Patron and using the other two for testing. Let’s learn a bit about Oakley’s tech before moving onto the performance and comfort of the DRT5.
Oakley worked closely with Greg Minnar to help design the DRT5. Being that Oakley is an eyewear brand, they obviously looked to incorporate clever eyewear storage, sweat management, and eyewear integration for the wearer. The eyewear Landing Zone is a unique glasses storage clip that puts the glasses on the back of the helmet. It allows for increased airflow through the front of the helmet and keeps your glasses sweat free while also ensuring they don’t get run over by you or that guy breathing down your neck trying to pass you on the climb.
Oakley utilizes a BOA system with a high tensile string to offer an easy fit adjustment system. The thin strand allows for comfortable glasses integration but also proved to be the source of discomfort on longer rides, but we’ll get into that later. Despite comfort issues, the BOA system is easy to use and worked without any issues during out test period.
One of the most unique features about this MIPS-equipped helmet is the silicone sweat strip. Reminiscent of a set of windshield wiper blades, the small channels in the silicone traps sweat and moves it out to the temple area. We were skeptical at first but are happy to say it is comfortable and works very well.
At 450g, this helmet is no lightweight, but coverage is very deep, and the eyewear clips are removable if you want to shed a few grams, although not many. The visor offers 60 degrees of ratcheted movement if you want to run goggles.
The first thing I thought when looking at the helmet was how uncomfortable the sweat band system looked, but I was very wrong. Oakley sourced a very soft medical grade silicone that easily conforms to your forehead, making it much more comfortable than expected. Other than the lines that remain on your forehead post ride, you’d be hard pressed to tell a difference. The system works flawlessly, moving sweat away from the front of the face and out to your temples. It was a weird feeling to have sweat running down near the ears, but was much better than splattered lenses! If you’re just not into the silicone strip, Oakley ships the DRT5 with their standard X-Static sweat band.
The eyewear Landing Pad system works well and secures almost any pair of glasses very well. I rode a few sections of rough trail with my glasses stowed without any issues. It’s nice to have your glasses out of the way when you don’t need them, like climbs, or mechanical repairs on the trail. It is not however easy to use on the move, so unless you’re on a smooth climb, you’ll probably be stopping to dock your glasses.
The BOA system allows infinite micro-adjustments to the fit and just the right amount of pressure for the sweat system to work. It’s a nice system however the high tensile strand being the only thing that keeps the helmet tight, led to headaches on longer rides. Perhaps with longer hair a person may not have this issue but our testers have shorter hair and the tight line drawn in the scalp (see picture above) became uncomfortable on rides over 2 hours. We were able to tolerate the helmet on longer rides by loosening the BOA significantly on climbs and snugging it up just for the descents, but this is far from ideal as it could lead to a loose or floppy helmet on unexpected downhills where you don’t know what’s coming.
Airflow in the DRT5 is on par with other all mountain with an aggressive rider in mind. It’s certainly not designed to be an XC racers dream helmet but does a fine job of channeling cool air in and warm air out.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Out of the large stack of helmets we have, the Oakley DRT5 will stick around. It will not be coming out with us on any rides over 1.5 hours but for shorter rides, especially on hot days, we’ll continue to use it, primarily because of the great sweat management capabilities. The weight and headaches caused by the high tensile strand BOA string hold an otherwise nice helmet back from being something we wholeheartedly recommend based on the experience of our short haired test riders. It’s certainly worth trying one on however as it has a lot of great features and looks nice. Just make sure you cinch the BOA down tight at your local shop to make sure you can live with it on long rides.
Weight: 450 grams (medium);