O’NEAL PIKE IPX HELMET REVIEW
Review by Alex Sardella | Photos by Vinnie Zacha Herthel
O’NEAL has a solid offering of lids that will cover any mountain bikers needs, from budget half shell options through to carbon fiber shelled downhill brain boxes. I have been able to stack some trail miles in O’NEAL’s Pike IPX Helmet this Spring and have been happy with their flagship half shell helmet so far.
The Pike IPX has a slew of features you would come to expect in a brand’s top-shelf offering. At first glance the helmet is modern and has a stealth aesthetic with the matte black finish. The trail helmet features a 2-shell polycarbonate construction that looks good out in the wild and fits super well. The long visor has a 3-position adjust to help block the sun or mount the enduro goggles backwards for the climb up. A whopping 19 vents surround the helmet to help with breathability, which O’NEAL’s calls their Dual-Flow System to maximize constant air circulation throughout the helmet. A Fidlock buckle uses a magnet to bring the strap together under the chin.
O’NEAL uses a technology called IPX ACELL Technology for a further internal rotational protection system. The star shaped green eva foam pads move in all directions to help with rotational impacts at both fast and slow speeds. There are ten pads total in the Pike helmet, all working together to provide a safe and protective helmet that passes EN1078 standards for bicycle helmets. The IPX ACELL’s are surrounded by a EVA foam liner that is divided into 4 separate pieces and adheres to the lid with a bit of Velcro. It’s a touch thicker than most which helps add to the comfort.
All this together brings the Pike to a 390g helmet for all your trail ripping needs. O’NEAL’s highest end half shell helmet is available in sizes S/M and L/XL to fit 55cm-61cm head sizes, with a choice of 3 colors and a respectable $149.99 price tag.
All around, I dig the look of the helmet. From the stylish rounded shape to the black-on-black branding, I’m a fan of the subdued – but not boring – external design. The Pike breathes well thanks to its 19 vents placed strategically around the helmet; I think this helps offset the helmets weight because it does come in on the heavier side of the spectrum.
When throwing the helmet on there are two little ridges on the front that you can feel initially, although they disappear as you hunker it down. As you tighten the lid, it conforms nicely to the back of the head, and the tension is evenly distributed with O’Neal’s ratchet system. It cinches down in a way that feels secure and safe. The size L/XL runs true to size, I have found the sweet spot right in the middle of the adjustment system. Traditionally we would like to see more of a size range here, but for those that are a true size Large, the helmet should fit nicely.
The foam liner is comfy, and slightly thicker than most. It does absorb sweat well yet is removable for the occasional wash. I have never washed a helmet liner, but it’s maybe something I should consider doing in the heat of summer. The IPX Acells star-shaped pads feel a little fragile inside the shell, seemingly vulnerable to damage, but we’ve had no issues so far and it’s safe to assume O’Neal has done their testing to ensure they’re up to the task. Another small note is the visor doesn’t lock into place solidly. It has 3 different points of adjustment, but there is a small wiggle that is noticeable in the fully down position. There are two little screws that hold the visor into place, these can easily come loose as well so need a quick tighten every now and then. It’s not a deal breaker for me, but it’s certainly worth pointing out.
The Wolf’s Last Word
I am a bit particular when it comes to helmets. There are lots of shapes and styles out there, and we only wear gear that looks good. The matte black finish on the Pike combined with black-on-black branding is something I will always be a sucker for, and thankfully the performance is adequate to make wearing it a positive experience. Aside from a few minor details, the Pike IPX is a a stylish trail-ready lid that will meet the needs of most mountain bikers looking for a nice blend of performance and comfort.
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