by Nick Zuzelski
With today's all-capable, aggressive trail bikes, it is becoming more common to leave the DH bike back at home while getting our adrenaline fix on similar terrain at high speeds with these shorter travel steeds and open face helmets. For your head, this means you should probably be looking to maximize the amount of protection offered by your trail lid, as a simple XC helmet may easily be overwhelmed in case of a big crash. Fly Racing has recently entered the MTB game and have now brought the Freestone helmet to the table. Lightweight and breathable, with a long list of features like extended rear profile cranial protection and patented ConeHead Foam Technology to save your dome in case things go bad, the Freestone is set to be a contender as your next favorite trail helmet.
Freestone Helmet Highlights
- ConeHead Technology crumple foam for impact absorption and energy dissipation featuring dual density foam
- Deep rear EPS profile for extended crash protection
- Adjustable moto inspired visor
- One handed dial fit adjustment
- 19 vents
- Ventilated comfort liner with built in bug screen
- 5 colors, 3 sizes
- Cushy EVA impact foam on sides and back for comfort and protection.
- 6 piece shell construction for a unique style and bold look
- Safety compliance: EN1078-1997 + A1-2005 standards
- Weight: 317g (Med/Large)
- MSRP: $109.95 USD
Pulling the Blue/Hi-Viz version of the Freestone out of the box, the design, finish and overall looks were solid - this helmet is poppin' fresh. After throwing it on my head, the medium size fit nicely and seemed true to size compared to other brands. I reached for the rear adjustable dial fit knob and gave it a few clicks to perfectly snug the helmet around my head. After testing a pre-production version of this helmet last fall, the fit and padding on the production unit was more refined and very comfortable. It was also nice to have the adjustable visor to get that perfect angle for max trail swagger.
On The Trail
The Freestone has proven to be comfortable from the very first test fitting to the back-end of 5 hour trail epics. Through many rides with the Freestone, the venting and liner kept my head cool and comfortable, even in the heat of southern Utah and the muggy East Coast. As a good proof point of this I often found myself just keeping the helmet on my head during breaks as it doesn't make me feel I am going to overheat or sweat to death.
The extended rear profile that protects the lower rear part of your skull and the ConeHead Technology of the Freestone both add an element of peace of mind; you know that you are wearing something that has been engineered to protect you that little bit extra if you should take that bad tumble. Fortunately, I have not had the chance to test the crashworthiness of this helmet, but on the evidence of the finish and the amount of R&D put into it, I feel it would surely do its job as well as could be expected of an open face piece of head protection.
While riding with a hydration pack, I do notice occasional contact between the extended rear profile of the helmet and top of the pack, especially while standing during rough sections of trail since your head is tilted back more during this position. While no major interference was caused, there did seem to be the occasional need to push back the helmet as it tips forward over time. This slight contact seems to also sometimes bump the helmet's dial fit adjustment and cause it to loosen, and I sometimes find myself re-adjusting the dial on climbs or during breaks to get that proper secure fit back. This only occurs while riding with a pack, and will of course depend on your riding position and the profile of your pack.
Things That Could Be Improved
As mentioned above, the Freestone's dial fit adjustment knob could probably use more resistance to keep the fit more secure in the event that it makes contact with your hydration pack.
Long Term Durability
So far, the Freestone has stood up to all the riding, traveling and abuse I can throw at it. The liner is removable and washable and seems to be holding up well. I would suggest hand washing the liner as sometimes the washing machine can be a little rough on these. In all, this helmet should be in it for the long haul.
What's The Bottom Line?
Fly has come out swinging with their new Freestone. Packed full of features and style, the Freestone keeps you cool on the trail and protected when things go bad - and the price is right too. If you are in the market for a new trail helmet that raises the bar on the standard open face protection, the Freestone should be on your short list.
Visit www.flyracing.com for more details.
About The Reviewer
Nick Zuzelski began riding motocross at a young age, a sport that would eventually lead him to the world of downhill. As a Colorado native, racing downhill, dual slalom, or a chill dirt jump session was never far away, and he eventually worked his way up the ranks to the Pro level. Now residing in Eastern Pennsylvania, he recently changed it up from the Rocky Mountain dust to East Coast loam, world class dirt jumps, and rocks... lots of rocks. If a trail has fast flow and some fun gaps, he is grinning ear to ear and getting after it. Living by the assumption that basically everything feels better with a short stem and wide bars, you can count on him keeping it real with a laid back attitude and flat pedals most of the time. Mechanical Engineer by trade, rider by heart, he enjoys riding it, finding out how it works, and making it better.