The Enduro "Craze" and Safety

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4/1/2016 2:47 PM

Let me start out by stating this is not a bash on the enduro scene. I ride in an area that contains what a lot of individuals would consider DH territory. One thing I have noticed with the growth in enduro racing, along with the capabilities of modern bikes is that a lot of these trails are being ridden with open faced helmets. Riders who previously rode DH with full faced helmets are now riding enduro bikes and open faced helmets on the exact same trails. I can't for the life of me figure out how riding an enduro bike suddenly makes these trails safer, so the only reasoning I can come up with is that it's a result of it being the "in" thing to do. Anyone else have input or explanations for this change or feel like this is a major step back in safety?

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4/1/2016 4:22 PM

I've thought about this before as well. It likely occurs because more people are now pedaling to the top (instead of shuttling), and don't want to haul two helmets.

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4/1/2016 4:31 PM

I can understand the pedaling aspect, but it's just crazy to me that a person can go from thinking full face on one bike, open face on another bike (same trail) and risk facial injuries or worse.

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4/1/2016 5:58 PM

I saw a dude riding with a half shell at Whistler. Like honestly just because you are on a 6 in. bike doesn't mean you cant wear a full face. Plus he was wearing goggles, full Enduro.

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4/1/2016 6:13 PM

I hate to say that it appears to be a fad, but it appears to be a fad. Whatever it is, I simply can't imagine waking up one morning and deciding it is safe to wear an open face helmet just because I decreased travel by two inches while riding the same trails. If it is a fad, personally I think it is setting a dangerous example.

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4/3/2016 9:39 PM

I've thought about this a lot. I want to wear a full-face but I only want to wear one helmet. I've never tried pedaling for long stretches in a full-face but my guess is that it would be less comfy.

It would be cool to have a "hybrid" helmet with a full-face segment that slid up under the visor or something. You could slide it up for open-face use and then snap it down for DH. Kind of like these for motorcycles:

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4/3/2016 9:52 PM

Falcon wrote:

I've thought about this a lot. I want to wear a full-face but I only want to wear one helmet. I've never tried pedaling for long stretches in a full-face but my guess is that it would be less comfy.

It would be cool to have a "hybrid" helmet with a full-face segment that slid up under the visor or something. You could slide it up for open-face use and then snap it down for DH. Kind of like these for motorcycles:

it's more the fact a full face helmet would be way to hot to pedal in compared to a half shell. I agree this is a trend although new "enduro" style half shell helmets do offer quite a lot more coverage then previous ones and with new technology like M.I.P.S they are a lot safer.

Also those helmets already exist it's called the bell super 2R - http://www.bellhelmets.com/en_ca/cycling/helmets/super-2r-mips-equipped

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4/4/2016 9:09 AM

I used to have a 20min car ride to the top on my DH bike...now I have a 1.5hr climb...Honestly I'm surprised all the guys in the EWS are riding the whole weekend in a full face...not very fun on a 3000ft climb

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4/4/2016 9:35 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/4/2016 10:23 AM

I completely understand the climbing aspect. It's the descent that I can't understand. Again, same trails formally considered DH worthy are now being ridden with open face. To each their own I guess.

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4/4/2016 10:23 AM

Brian_Still wrote:

I completely understand the climbing aspect. It's the descent that I can't understand. Again, same trails formally considered DH worthy are now being ridden with open face. To each their own I guess.

Aston Hill is my local DH spot, having a trail bike means that I always pedal the uphill, even though I'd never dream of riding those trails flatout without my full face and goggles on. Having a jaw is far more important to me than how hot my head gets on a climb...

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4/4/2016 10:31 AM

Brian_Still wrote:

I completely understand the climbing aspect. It's the descent that I can't understand. Again, same trails formally considered DH worthy are now being ridden with open face. To each their own I guess.

It could be less about the trail and more about how one rides the trail. The Enduro bikes nowadays are super capable but I generally dont attack a downhill as aggressively as I would on a full DH bike. But of course having said that its still just as possible to jack yourself up while not attacking at full speed. Im sure XC dudes ride "enduro downhills" in a half shell and lycra, though =)

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4/4/2016 10:33 AM

Personally I'm just a much better rider, so most the trails I used to ride with a full face is overkill now that I'm not a complete noob

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4/4/2016 10:36 AM

Maybe the main difference is the way you ride the same DH trail on an enduro bike. On a lighter bike, that is more agile... you don't smash the bike against everything full speed... its a safer way to ride the same course?

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4/4/2016 10:57 AM

I'm sure those that have chosen to ride open face have weighed the risks, but the ones I see are charging just as hard. I guess it's the sudden shift in rationale that puzzles me.

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4/4/2016 11:12 AM

This is some thing I have pondered about before, I'm a DH rider and wear a full face.

But I know people that have gone from riding DH with a full face, to owning an AM/Enduro/bike, riding at pretty much the same speed on the same trails but now with a half lid.

I can see the argument for the people that actually ride up, but most of the ' enduro ' type riders I see still push to the top or get uplifts.

Up to who ever to wear what they feel they need of course but trees and the floor don't give two shits what bike you are riding !

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4/4/2016 3:01 PM

I pretty much always prefer a full-face... my backpack has a helmet carrier, so I just strap it on there for long climbs as I am not worried about crashing on my head while climbing. DH casings + Full Face is the only way to "enduro"

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4/4/2016 4:05 PM

wydopen wrote:

I used to have a 20min car ride to the top on my DH bike...now I have a 1.5hr climb...Honestly I'm surprised all the guys in the EWS are riding the whole weekend in a full face...not very fun on a 3000ft climb

some EWS races a full face is mandatory depending on the race organizer/location. i couldn't imagine going as fast as they do without a full face.

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4/4/2016 5:13 PM

yup a full face is mandatory at the CA enduro series race at china peak. but i agree it's probably a fad just like the DH guys who wear only t-shirts and no gloves or elbow pads... but with knee pads and a full face.

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4/4/2016 5:36 PM

cuban B wrote:

yup a full face is mandatory at the CA enduro series race at china peak. but i agree it's probably a fad just like the DH guys who wear only t-shirts and no gloves or elbow pads... but with knee pads and a full face.

Yesterday, I may have worn a tshirt. I don't remember the last time I wore elbow pads. Always knee pads and my neck brace though.

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4/4/2016 5:37 PM

sspomer wrote:

some EWS races a full face is mandatory depending on the race organizer/location. i couldn't imagine going as fast as they do without a full face.

I feel naked at that speed without my full face and neck brace.

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4/4/2016 5:42 PM

I feel there are a few layers to this conversation
+How many times has the person ridden the trail? 100 times on a dh bike and f/f without crashing? might feel inclined to back off the protection after climbing for an hour to get there
+What does the person typically ride? one man's xc trail is another's dh trail. and another's unridable sketch factory might be a warm up lap on a trail bike and half shell.
+geography matters. where i used to live had steeper gnarlier xc rides than what the DH rides are here. and the dh rides there terrified riders that ride DH here.
+rider ability to crash. if you were wheelie dropping 8 feet to flat on trials bikes or giant lips on a bmx bike, riding on "gnarly" trail is not only less hectic and stressful, you also know how to bail without destroying yourself.
+rider background. if you honed your bike skills charging through rock gardens on a rigid bike, well... riding rock gardens on a modern trail bike its way less hectic.

I also see tons of folks riding full faces and mini-dh bikes on mellow xc trails, so YMMV!

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4/4/2016 5:43 PM

i'll admit i don't wear elbow pads all the time, but i do at least wear a long sleeve for those scrapes with trees and the occasional tip over.

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4/4/2016 6:18 PM

Trail bikes are longer, more stabile and the cross over between DH and enduro parts are pretty similar. Everything about the bike has gotten significantly better in the last 5 years.

So in general, people feel more confident in their equipment and can now ride farther plus more difficult trails on one bike.

If the trail has a road to the top and doesn't involve much traversing or trail climbing, I prefer carrying a full face on my bars or pack.

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4/4/2016 6:24 PM

marshalolson wrote:

I feel there are a few layers to this conversation
+How many times has the person ridden the trail? 100 times on a dh bike and f/f without crashing? might feel inclined to back off the protection after climbing for an hour to get there
+What does the person typically ride? one man's xc trail is another's dh trail. and another's unridable sketch factory might be a warm up lap on a trail bike and half shell.
+geography matters. where i used to live had steeper gnarlier xc rides than what the DH rides are here. and the dh rides there terrified riders that ride DH here.
+rider ability to crash. if you were wheelie dropping 8 feet to flat on trials bikes or giant lips on a bmx bike, riding on "gnarly" trail is not only less hectic and stressful, you also know how to bail without destroying yourself.
+rider background. if you honed your bike skills charging through rock gardens on a rigid bike, well... riding rock gardens on a modern trail bike its way less hectic.

I also see tons of folks riding full faces and mini-dh bikes on mellow xc trails, so YMMV!

You make very valid points. My primary curiosity stems from seeing a fairly large number of former DH riders/racers who within the last year or so are now riding the exact same trails on enduro bikes and open face helmets. Trust me, these guys rip and are very talented riders/racers. I guess I just can't seem to wrap my head around giving up the protection on the downhill portion of the ride. I'm not paying their insurance, so I don't foot any medical bills for them, just trying to understand the switch in mindset.

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4/4/2016 6:34 PM

I'll chime in and say that a lot of it has to do with climbing, but I'm sure a lot of those riders charging with half shells would feel better with a full face...but it's a trade off. Prob a lot of them aren't hanging it all out (though you never know) and maybe a lot of them haven't knocked a tooth out either.

Some of it does have to do with the bike. Plenty of shredders wear a full face on their v-10 but wear a half-shell and goggles on their nomads all the while hitting plenty of huge gaps, hucks and jumps.

Is it a dh track in the middle of a trail ride, or just sessioning a dh segment and lift accessible?

I think the capable 5- and 6-inch trail or enduro bike has revolutionized the sport....and maybe this is where the super 2r comes in. Problem with that helmet seems to be the joey factor...not sure htough.

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4/4/2016 7:21 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/4/2016 7:24 PM

Falcon wrote:

I've thought about this a lot. I want to wear a full-face but I only want to wear one helmet. I've never tried pedaling for long stretches in a full-face but my guess is that it would be less comfy.

It would be cool to have a "hybrid" helmet with a full-face segment that slid up under the visor or something. You could slide it up for open-face use and then snap it down for DH. Kind of like these for motorcycles:

That would definintely be cool.

Very very

Very

Cool.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaS5iZbSxU8&feature=youtu.be

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4/4/2016 7:41 PM

pancakeflatted wrote:

I'll chime in and say that a lot of it has to do with climbing, but I'm sure a lot of those riders charging with half shells would feel better with a full face...but it's a trade off. Prob a lot of them aren't hanging it all out (though you never know) and maybe a lot of them haven't knocked a tooth out either.

Some of it does have to do with the bike. Plenty of shredders wear a full face on their v-10 but wear a half-shell and goggles on their nomads all the while hitting plenty of huge gaps, hucks and jumps.

Is it a dh track in the middle of a trail ride, or just sessioning a dh segment and lift accessible?

I think the capable 5- and 6-inch trail or enduro bike has revolutionized the sport....and maybe this is where the super 2r comes in. Problem with that helmet seems to be the joey factor...not sure htough.

One things for sure, most could ride circles around me. In terms of the Joey factor, I think that's where the fad issue might come into play. If it's not cool and you see the rippers wearing half shells, or open face, then I think it could potentially end bad. That being said, I'm sure we've all done things on a bike that looked cool and cut out teeth with a face full of trail.

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4/4/2016 8:44 PM

Maybe it's just a personal preference? Sone g
uys at the local dirt jump spots choose full face but most use skate style dirt lids

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4/4/2016 10:15 PM

I was thinking about this recently as well. For me, if it's DH (i.e. - shuttle/chairlift), I am lugging my Remedy. For a while, I just used a Super for trails/freeride. I'd let it hang only on trails I felt dialed on, and would keep myself in check on ones I was so-so with. Having recently acquired a Super 2R, I feel much better about letting it hang more often.

In regards to elbow guards, I used to only wear them for "gnar" DH. After last summer, where I had three solid bails - all of which resulted in my right forearm/elbow leading the charge - I invested in some G Form pads for anything not XC. I'll wear a stouter elbow guard for DH.

Mortality sucks!

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4/5/2016 2:38 AM

last year 2 pro rides from my country smacked and broke their faces while training in their enduro gear...

Any time I'm doing something that could by out of my comfort zone, riding more DH or jumpy trails I strap FF on my back for descent and ride up with no helmet. Ride that has multiple ascents and descent as well as EWS rules doesnt allow this. Speaking of EWS how can they make them wear a helmet for ascend and then let them do whole round (like scotland) in half shell...

Seeing what people (even if they are top WC pros) in the internet edits do in open helmets often makes me cringe.

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