LEATT ENDURO 4.0 CONVERTIBLE HELMET REVIEW
TWO STELLAR HELMETS IN ONE
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam McGuire
Convertible helmets have been around for some time now, offering versatility and convenience for many riders who don’t want to take two helmets around with them, or despise climbing in a full-face helmet. However, it’s safe to say that many convertible helmets come with a level of compromise, be it the looks, comfort, or ventilation. Leatt hoped to change that with their MTB Enduro 4.0 convertible helmet, a Downhill certified lid that is packed with features to tick both a trail rider and enduro racers boxes. As a big fan of breathable full-faces I was yet to be sold on the benefits of a convertible lid, but I love to be proven wrong when it comes to reviewing products, so was excited to put one to the test in the Scottish Winter.
The MTB Enduro 4.0 convertible helmet was added to the Leatt Lineup last year, taking their popular 4.0 full-face helmet and making it convertible into a half-shell helmet. To make it more “Enduro friendly”, Leatt increased the size of the 18 ventilation ports, reduced the weight to 810-900g depending on the size, and added a dial retention system to keep things securely in place. Leatt didn’t want to skimp on the protection of the Enduro 4.0 however, ensuring it retained the DH certifications with its polymer shell covering an in-molded EPS + EPO foam base. Leatt included their Turbine 360 rotational impact protection system to reduce rotational acceleration and add further protection for low-magnitude impacts. Turbine 360 claims to reduce brain acceleration by up to 30% for concussion-level forces, and rotational brain acceleration by up to 40%, which could make all the difference if the worst happens.
The chin bar is attached with their Easy-Fit system, which uses two magnesium locks and two metal guide tabs to help get them aligned, keeping things safely secured and facilitating easy removal on the fly. The mouth vent has a removable grill to offer either mud and foliage protection or better breathing ventilation as desired. The breakaway peak features a 3-position adjustment, allowing for goggles to be stored below on the climbs and easily snap-down for the descents. The over-brow vents feature a universal sunglasses dock to hold glasses safely when in half-shell mode or going “euro style” with the full-face.
Rounding out the features on the MTB Enduro 4.0 helmet are the Fidlock magnetic chin strap buckle; washable pads with anti-odor and moisture wicking properties; two cheek pad options to dial the fit, and a neck brace-optimized shell shape. The Enduro 4.0 helmet is available in sizes Small through Large to fit 51-63cm heads, with 4 color options from stealthy black through to the green “Ivy” colorway tested. With a price tag of $325/£280/€330 it’s certainly a premium level helmet, but does it pack the performance to justify it?
I’m a huge fan of a breathable full-face helmet for my general aggressive trail through to enduro riding but had yet to find a convertible helmet that I was stoked to wear. I’m pleased to report that Leatt’s MTB Enduro 4.0 convertible helmet is the lid that changes that – it’s really good, though not without some niggles.
Getting the fit dialed in proved to be an easy task as the slightly thicker stock pads worked well for my 56cm head in a medium shell. The dial adjuster in the back has a good range and nice level of sensitivity to the adjustment increments, letting me cinch the helmet down to a comfortable and secure level easily. The band can slide between three positions to fit different shaped heads, which also aids removing the helmet as it can be moved out of the way. With that taking all of 10 seconds, a quick clip of the Fidlock dial and tug to tighten the chin strap had me ready to hit the trails.
I did the obligatory removal and re-fit of the chin bar when new to test how intuitive it was and get some feeling for how to do it out on the trail. Removal couldn’t be simpler – you undo the latch, pop the jaw out directly sideways, then just pull forwards. Fitting it back in is quite tricky when on the head, as you need to align two small tabs into the half-shell, which you can’t see unless you look in a mirror. It occasionally went back together easily, but for the most part I took the helmet off my head to re-fit and prevent any hair trapping incidents. When off the head it’s still a little awkward, but far from unmanageable once you figure out the motion. It has a reassuringly solid “snap” when you close the latches properly, letting you know it’s locked and loaded and ready to drop in.
With the most DH-focused setup, climbing with the chin bar and mouth grill fitted wasn’t as bad as many dedicated downhill helmets thanks to some reasonable airflow, but the claustrophobic “hot breath” sensation presented itself as effort levels began to rise. Popping out the grill made an instant difference, letting air flow through much more freely and putting it into the same realm as Fox’s Proframe. Instantly the Scottish slop began to find its way into my mouth on the descents without it though, so I chose to spend most of the test with it fitted. Popping it back in isn’t the easiest task and led to one of the 4 tabs snapping off after about 8 re-fits, but the sub-zero temperatures may have been to blame for a bit of embrittlement of the plastic.
The full-face setup offers the reassuring feeling of a downhill lid, with that same solid feeling on the head and the burly chin bar appearing ready to take a beating. The helmet looks aggressive and purposeful, conjuring up reassuring notions of safety. Thanks to the retention system, pulling the helmet on and off isn’t as tight and uncomfortable as a full-time full-face can often be, which is always good for the days you’re going in and out of the helmet often. The need to take the helmet off may be reduced compared with some downhill lids, as the ventilation is generally very good, save for a bit of excess heat around the ears. The brow vents do a good job of sucking in air and channeling it over your head, keeping things decently cool. It’s not the most breathable helmet out there, but in the beefed-up enduro helmet realm it does a good job at moving air.
In half-shell mode, the Enduro 4.0 helmet manages to look very normal, only slightly bigger than most dedicated half-shells. In fact, riding buddies were surprised when informed it was part of a convertible system at all, so real kudos to Leatt for making that work. It’s not just the looks that are good either, with the fit remaining solid and secure, the ventilation above average, and all the features remaining unaffected, so you have maximum safety everywhere but your jaw. The glasses storage zone was a little hard to find initially, but after a couple attempts proved to sit nicely with a range of glasses and kept them rattle free. Stowing goggles is as easy as it comes thanks to the adjustable peak, and the shape of the back of the helmet does a good job at keeping the goggle strap in place, allowing you to get away with riding trails with the goggles stored up there if the situation calls for it.
Over the couple months of testing, I’ve worn the helmet for just about every single ride. I sweat a lot, so the pads have had a hefty amount of abuse, sometimes not even drying out fully when stored in the cold van overnight. Yuck, I know. It took the entirety of this test period before I managed to get any sort of smell out of the pads, which is pretty impressive. And thankfully, they pop out easily so you can chuck them in the wash and have them back to smelling fresh in time for the next ride – they do dry out pretty quick when there’s a reasonable temperature and dry environment involved.
In addition to the awkward nature of the locking system at times, my second gripe is the lack of any opening around the ear. I’m sure this was done to retain as much strength and stiffness as possible around this area, but it means that in full-face mode the helmet blocks out a bit more noise than many alternatives. It’s not terrible, but definitely notable. Otherwise, the price is the only other thing that’ll likely put riders off. Its packed feature list will go some way to justify it, sure, but there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a whole lot of money. That said, when you price up a separate high quality full-face and half-shell, the value doesn’t seem all that bad.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Leatt’s MTB Enduro 4.0 convertible helmet manages to offer a serious contender in the convertible helmet game, by offering solid performance as both a breathable full-face and enduro half-shell. The conversion process is not the most intuitive but certainly acceptable, the fit is excellent, and the packed feature list and 2-in-1 nature help to justify the relatively high price tag.
Weight: 846g (medium)
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