Hey guys, Drew here!
It may be colder than the arctic tundra here in Boston, but that hasn’t stopped me for a second when it comes to eskating. Based on community feedback, this week’s article will be a review of a particular gear piece that might be the most important part of any eskater’s arsenal.
(Just some proof that I do indeed leave my house every once in a while and don’t spend the entire day on /r/electricskateboarding as some have alleged)
“Wear a helmet!”
“My best friend/mom/uncle/neighbor/cat died from a fall when he wasn’t wearing a helmet.”
“You look like an idiot skating without a helmet!”
These are just some of the phrases that will greet you when posting a helmet-less picture on a popular eskate forum. As with most hobbies in their infancy, eskating is primarily only done by the most technologically literate (read: nerds) among us, and as a community of nerds, it is only natural that there is a fetishization of safety that comes with the territory.
I expect that these more aggressive tactics of “helmet-less hate” will begin to lessen as eskating attracts more of a mainstream audience, but until then, I will be engaging in a continual search to find the best in safety gear specific to the unique requirements presented by eskaters.
That brings me to today’s review item, the Triple 8 Downhill Racer.
(If I didn’t know any better, I would assume this picture took place on a back-country snowboarding expedition)
When trying to decide on a helmet to purchase for my eskating needs, I had a few factors in mind:
- I wanted the helmet to be full-face with a visor to protect my eyes and face from the wind (because let’s be honest, no one likes skating around blind due to teary-eyes)
- I wanted the helmet to be light and streamlined for ease-of-use and transport
- It needed to be comfortable to maximize the time I would want to spend wearing it
- I wanted something that looked DOPE
- Affordability was a must, but I would have to balance cost vs quality closely, as protecting my head was NOT an area where corners should be cut.
This reminded me of an old favorite helmet used by myself and others during my DH (downhill) days, the Predator DH, but upon looking at the price ($450 for the newest version!) I noped out real quick.
It was then that I remembered that Triple 8 actually makes a more budget helmet specifically for downhill skating, the Triple 8 Downhill Racer. A quick trip to Amazon and $150 later, I had the helmet on it’s way with free 2 day shipping.
(The side profile on this helmet sure is sexy.)
The first thing I noticed when unboxing this bad boy is how gorgeous the lines on this helmet are. Contrary to traditional, bulky mountain biking helmets, the Downhill Racer looks sleek, refined, and has a great finish. This is partially due to its fabrication process, which starts on a mold made originally for paragliding helmets. This gives the helmet a much smaller profile and a much larger field of view in front of you, perfect for seeing cars coming from the side, or looking up out of a speed tuck.
I opted for the black version with red and white pinstripes. These graphics, combined with the tinted visor, make for one badass looking helmet.
I have a pretty large head, I typically wear a large or XL motorcycle helmet, so I opted for the Large/XL option for the Downhill Racer. I can report after getting a few rides under my belt that this helmet feels very small on my face. My chin is constantly in contact with the bottom of the helmet, and it makes me question the effectiveness of the full-face protection that it is said to offer. If I reach up and push down on the helmet, compacting the soft padding at the top, I can get a pretty good fit, but this quickly reverts when my hand is removed. I am hoping that this is a problem that goes away as the helmet “wears in” a little more.
Besides the issue with the chin, the rest of the helmet fits comfortably, with no pressure on the crown, sides, or back of the head.
One thing that this helmet is NOT designed to do is provide adequate ventilation when stationary. At stops I find the visor fogging up immediately, and even when putting up the visor, I still fog up my glasses easily. This appears to be mostly due to the tight fit at the bottom of the helmet, which allows no air from exhaling to escape, forcing it to go up and into the visor-area of the helmet. Additionally, the helmet appears to be a closed system with no ventilation ANYWHERE, something that is very rare to see on a full-face. It is also worth noting that these data points come from some cold-morning commutes during Boston winter. It is entirely possible that this issue disappears once the weather improves.
At-speed, this helmet does a great job of staying fog-free, if you keep the visor cracked a little bit in order to let a breeze in.
(The sleek, no-vent look has great visual appeal, but really backfires from an airflow perspective)
Constructed out of a hand-laid fiberglass shell, this helmet is also EXTREMELY light. Tipping the scale at 2 pounds, it almost feels like you are wearing nothing at all on your head. The full-face coverage also gave me the confidence to hit higher speeds than I would have ever felt comfortable attempting without a helmet.
As mentioned before, the helmet does not have any points of tightness or discomfort, save the pressure on the chin from my abnormally large head. Airflow is poor when stationary, but improves at speeds of around 10-15 mph. Where this helmet excels is in eliminating wind-noise. It is here that the streamlined nature of the Downhill Racer really hits its stride, providing a quite ride up to my maximum testing speed, 22 mph.
(The inside of the helmet is the very picture of comfort. The EPS foam and velvet lining makes for a luxury experience)
At $150, this helmet is a steal. Similar helmets like the Sector 9 Cannonball and TSG Pass, come in well over the $200 mark and offer many of the same features as the Downhill Racer while weighing more. It is worth noting that this helmet meets CPSC 1203 bike and ASTM F1952 downhill mountain bike racing standards, but is a one-time-use EPS foam helmet. This means that you WILL have to replace this helmet after taking a hard spill or dropping it from a decent height, as the inner foam will crack, compromising the safety of the helmet.
Price: Great, Comfort: OK, Protection: Great, Quality: Great, Ventilation: Poor
I hope you liked this gear review. If you have any thoughts on what I have written or have a specific piece of gear that you would like to see reviewed, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at [email protected].
Until next time, let the good times roll!