FOX PROFRAME RS FULL FACE HELMET REVIEW
RACE SPEC, EVERY DAY
Review by Robert Johnston
Photos by Max Rhulen & Dusten Ryen
The Proframe RS is the “Race Spec” version of Fox Racing’s breathable full face helmet, the Proframe. Since the Proframe was launched a few years back, Fox has been taking on feedback and developing new tech with MIPS to improve the protection, fit and breathability. Their aim was to provide the ultimate helmet for enduro racers and riders looking to maximize their safety on their typical all mountain rides. The whole crew has been testing the Proframe RS since it was launched, and now it’s time to share our thoughts over the long term.
We covered the main features of the Proframe RS extensively and learnt all about the development of the helmet from Fox in our Dissected feature, so we’ll keep this relatively brief.
There are a few big upgrades on the Proframe RS compared to the existing Proframe, which all contribute to making a better performing helmet all round. The MIPS rotational impact protection system has been updated to their latest and greatest version, called MIPS Integra. Rather than adding the slip plane to the inside of an otherwise standard helmet, the MIPS integra builds the slip plane into the helmet through the use of two separate shells that are connected by elastomer woofers. These elastomers keep the two shells connected but allow for the 10-15mm of rotational translation that reduces the peak rotational impact forces in a crash, keeping your brain better protected. The inner shell is made of a softer EPP material that’s optimized to absorb low speed impacts, whereas the outer shell is made of the more typical EPS that’s best for dealing with higher velocities. Between these shells and the MIPS slip plane, the Proframe RS should cushion a wide range of crash impacts effectively.
The next big talking point is the total redesign of the fit system, which now makes use of an integrated BOA dial in the back to tailor the fit around the head between micro adjustable positions. This was done not only to improve the security of the fit on the head, but to reduce the surface area of the liner in contact with the head, allowing for improved airflow that increases the ventilation and keeps the head cooler. There are three shell sizes on offer to fit heads from 52 to 61cm, giving what Fox claims to be 624 different fits available in the helmet. Combining this with cheek pads that can be swapped out for different thicknesses, most riders should be able to get a comfortable and secure setup. That said, it’s worth trying on the Proframe RS to be sure before you buy, which we’ll get onto in The Dirt.
Rounding out the new features is the visor, which is now adjustable between three positions. This allows you to easily stow your goggles underneath for the climbs, as well as pointing it down to block out a low hanging sun and was something we really appreciated. Below this visor you can run a gopro easily thanks to the removable mount that fox includes. The last of the Proframe RS features are the Ionic+ anti-microbial pads, helping to prevent the helmet from smelling after use, and the Fidlock magnetic buckle that we all love here at the site. The Proframe RS is currently offered in 7 colorways from a stealthy matt black through to some brighter choices, with a MSRP of $360 or £310.
The overall form factor of the Proframe RS has grown slightly compared with the standard Proframe, but there’s no doubt that it’s the bigger brother, with similar styling all round. The chin bar is more substantial, with thicker padding on the inside that gives reassuring notions of a cushioned impact should it all go wrong. The way the BOA dial is integrated into the back of the shell is super neat and gives a real premium appearance along with the minimal exposed EPS foam and a tidy finish all round.
Immediately we discovered some quirks with the fit of the Proframe RS. Thanks to the BOA fit system, the philosophy of how the Proframe RS fits on the head is more akin to the Speedframe open face helmet than the standard Proframe or Rampage helmets. We all went for our usual sizes, but Robert with his 56cm head in a size Medium was left on the last notches of the BOA system. It’s still comfortable and secure thankfully, but we’d definitely recommend trying it on before you commit to the Proframe RS, to determine the best size for you. This is good practice for purchasing any gear though, especially protective wear that you need to fit spot on. Sean had issues with pressure hot spots that led him to getting a headache after prolonged use, but the rest of the team was okay – it’s possible the candy and Rockstar diet has deformed his head.
The Proframe RS feels reassuringly secure like a full face should once you’ve got that BOA dial cranked up tight, but definitely has an airier sensation around the head than the standard Proframe. It has grown slightly in terms of the overall silhouette and gained just under 100g of weight compared with the standard Proframe, but almost feels like less of a helmet on your head at times. In terms of ventilation, the Proframe RS feels notably cooler on top of the head than the standard Proframe, but otherwise ranks pretty similar. It’s going to be hotter than an open face helmet on the most sweltering days, but for rides up to the 80 Fahrenheit/25 degree mark it’s acceptably cool. There’s no hint of the hot breath sensation that can arise in a downhill focused full face, meaning you don’t feel nearly as hot when you’re breathing hard.
The BOA system can be a little fiddly to get on until you get the technique nailed down, with the tendency for the loose portion to hang down into the middle of the helmet and get in the way unless you hold onto it. Thankfully though it’s easy to get the knack for it, even with long hair like Robert. The Fidlock buckle is a treat to use as always, though it sat quite far back on Robert’s chin, almost feeling a bit suffocating when set up very tight. The rest of the team shared no such issues. The adjustable visor is quite stiff, so it’ll sometimes shift the helmet slightly on your head before it changes position. The adjustment range is good, letting you get goggles stowed away easily, though we’d like to see an even lower down tilt for the sunny evenings.
Some of the team complained of a squeak coming from the MIPS liner initially, though this stopped after the first couple of rides. Otherwise, the Proframe RS has been trouble-free for the duration of the test period across our whole team, with the padding fending off any smells and the finish standing up to the abuse well. The Proframe RS is a lot of money, but if it fits you well then, it’s a seriously good bit of kit that suggests some serious protection without being a hindrance for pedaling in the heat. We’d still stick with a full-on dedicated Downhill helmet for gnarly park days or downhill racing but feel comfortable with the Proframe RS on our head for slightly mellower shuttles or the days pedaling outside the park.
The Wolf’s Last Word
We had a few quirks with the fit on the Proframe RS, with a different sizing system to the standard Proframe, but aside from the possible need to downsize, there’s no denying that the performance on offer when you have the correct fit is excellent. $360 is a lot of money, but with a premium finish and great protection on offer, it may just be worth it.
Price: $359.95 /£310
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