SixSixOne EVO AM Helmet

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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2018 SixSixOne EVO AM Helmet-Orange Blue_three quarter front
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Tested: 661 EVO AM Helmet

Rating: Vital Review

Protecting your head seems like an obvious thing to do, and having gone through a fall that should have killed me but instead resulted in just a plain old-fashioned traumatic brain injury thanks to my helmet, I’ll never ride a bike without one. I'll go for rides all the time without gloves or elbow pads, or even sleeves for that matter, but you won't catch me without a melon bucket. You spend a lot of money on gimmicky bike parts that frankly never make a difference so you shouldn'tblink at spending good money to protect those juicy brains of yours. Anyway, when the chance came along to put my head into the latest and greatest offering from 661, I was excited to test it out (but not full on test it if you know what I mean).

SixSixOne EVO AM Helmet Highlights

  • Number of vents:15
  • Contigo

Protecting your head seems like an obvious thing to do, and having gone through a fall that should have killed me but instead resulted in just a plain old-fashioned traumatic brain injury thanks to my helmet, I’ll never ride a bike without one. I'll go for rides all the time without gloves or elbow pads, or even sleeves for that matter, but you won't catch me without a melon bucket. You spend a lot of money on gimmicky bike parts that frankly never make a difference so you shouldn'tblink at spending good money to protect those juicy brains of yours. Anyway, when the chance came along to put my head into the latest and greatest offering from 661, I was excited to test it out (but not full on test it if you know what I mean).

SixSixOne EVO AM Helmet Highlights

  • Number of vents:15
  • Contigo foam liner
  • MIPS option (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) liner between shell and comfort liner
  • BOA FS360 360° adjustment system
  • Adjustable visor with two mounting positions
  • Fidlock magnetic closure
  • Adjustable, anti-microbial padding
  • Colors:Black, four other color options coming later
  • Weight:0 lb 12.7 oz (359 g)
  • MSRP: $200.00 USD ($150 for the non-MIPS version)

Initial Impressions

Out of the box the feel of the helmet in my hands was solid. The visor wasn’t too floppy nor fragile feeling and the straps and anchors felt sturdy. The weight of the helmet didn’t stick out one way or the other, which to me is a good thing. Crazy lightweight helmets scream either “concussions!” or “overpriced!” while heavy helmets scream “ sore neck!” so to have this in the middle was just right. I tested the non-MIPS version of this helmet, but you can also get it with that extra layer of protection meant to reduce the potential for injury as a result of rotational forces - more information on MIPS can be found here, should you be tempted.

The initial parking lot set up of the helmet went about as smooth as I could possibly imagine. The chin strap took very little time to get properly dialed in and the Boa retention system is incredibly fast and comfortable providing a secure feeling fit in seconds. The Boa straps go almost entirely around the head, meaning that this helmet should prove a comfortable fit for most riders.

I was skeptical of the magnetic chin strap clasp but I wasn’t about to question it like the ICP. At the end of the day, tiny magnets seem just as up to the task as tiny plastic clips, and with that observation, I was ready to hit the trail.

On The Trail

The first ride in the helmet felt great. Maybe it was that I was coming from a clapped out old helmet with a compressed padset but this new lid from 661 fit like a cozy dream. No wiggling, no shifting around, and no bouncing to speak of as of the first few rides. Ventilation is good when the speed picks up. There was also no interference or clearance issue with sunglasses.

I can't comment on the fitment of goggles with this half shell helmet as I already feel like I look stupid enough on a bike and don't need that style making things worse. That being said, if you must, the back of the helmet is not too pointy so your goggle strap should have some flat real estate to rest on for your local enduro race. All that flat-ish goggle strap territory not only keeps you looking super-enduro-pro with your half shell and goggles, but it provides plenty of protection down the backside of your head and regardless of where you stand on fashion rules in our sport, it's hard to knock more coverage.

Things That Could Be Improved

This is very picky but right out of the box, one of the first things I noticed was the mismatched yellow-green colors from the visor to the body of the helmet. I can only assume that this was due to my helmet being a pre-production sample and that they sorted this out for the main run of things; purely aesthetic but a detail that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Another issue that I ran into after more ride time was that the Boa dial can snag on the handle/hang strap at the top of some bags, especially when craning your head back to keep your eyes down the trail on steep stuff. The snag was an unpleasant surprise to feel and never came at a good time. I ended up fixing this by taping off the strap on those hydration packs so they wouldn’t catch on the Boa dial. This may not affect you at all depending on your bag but changing the shape of the dial on future updates could help this. Then again, maybe I’m the only one having this issue. The final issue I had with the helmet was adjusting the visor position; it proved to be quite a headache (pun, get it?). This may be a pre-production issue as well but the second set of holes for the visor pins in the shell were filled in from the foam layer underneath meaning they had to be dug out before the visor could be switched to this alternate position. If that's the case with production versions then that's an inconvenience that I'd like to see addressed.

Long Term Durability

Helmets for me tend to last until I use them for their intended purpose and I smash them into the ground. I don’t expect this helmet to deteriorate during normal use until the time comes for it to sacrifice itself for my noodle. The magnetic clasp has shown no signs of weakening and all other parts of the helmet seem to be holding up great as well. The graphics and finish of the helmet still look fresh, and the stickers have stayed put without peeling up at edges. The gloss finish does pick up smudges and splashes but cleans easily too. There are a few scratches on my helmet now after a couple of months though I haven't been the most careful with packing and transporting it, so it's resisting as well as I would expect it to. The interior is holding up too, the pad set is just as fluffy and comfy as on day one thus far and it's easy to wash out the sweat crust every now and then.

What's The Bottom Line?

Your helmet’s job is to save your life in a crash and I have no doubt that the EVO AM from 661 will do as good of a job as other serious helmets in that department. For extra peace of mind, you can also splash out an extra $50 and get the MIPS version (it's good to see companies pushing forward with innovative approaches that break the EPS foam status quo in an attempt to make our hobbies safer). The graphics on the EVO AM are clean but not boring. The fit system is great and the comfort is above average. I don't think this helmet is 100% perfect but if I crashed on it today, I’d have no second thoughts about buying another one tomorrow and that’s what I’m looking for in a helmet.

For more information, head over to: sixsixone.com


About The Reviewer

Kevin Shiramizu has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years. During that time he accumulated multiple state championships in Colorado for XC and trials riding, a junior national champ title in trials, and went to Worlds to get his ass kicked by euros in 2003. His riding favors flat corners and sneaky lines. After a doozy of a head injury, he hung up the downhill bike for good in early 2010 and now foolishly rides a very capable trail bike with less protection and crashes just as hard as ever. He likes rough, technical trails at high elevation, but usually settles for dry, dusty, and blown out. He spent five good years of his youth working in bike shops and pitched in efforts over the years with Decline, LitterMag, Dirt, and Vital MTB. He also helped develop frames and tires during his time as a guy who occasionally gets paid to ride his bike in a fancy way in front of big crowds of people.

Specifications

Product SixSixOne EVO AM Helmet
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Number of Vents 15
Construction Contigo foam liner, MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) liner between shell and comfort liner, BOA FS360 360° adjustment system, adjustable visor with two mounting positions, and Fidlock magnetic closure
Adjustable Padding Anti-microbial padding
Certification
Bag
Size XS-S, M-L, XL-XXL
Colors Orange/Blue, Metallic Black, , Black/Gray, Army (non-MIPS only), White/Red (non-MIPS only)
Weight 0 lb 12.7 oz (359 g)
Miscellaneous Available with MIPS in some colorways
Price
  • $179.99
  • $149.99
More Info

SixSixOne Website

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