Helmet: Giro Switchblade

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A few notes on the Giro Switchblade downhill MTB helmet, which I now use most of the time when out on the e-boards. In summary, I really like it, have no issues with it and very happy to recommend it.

I looked at the Switchblade, the Bell Super 3r and DH, some of the Fox Racing ones and the Met Parachute; in the end, I chose the Switchblade primarily for the:
  • Graphics/colors scheme (my Red and White).
  • Detachable chin guard (the Parachute does not detach).
  • Half-shell having more coverage (over some of the others).
  • Reasonable cost.

They all fitted well, which surprised me, and they all had the MIPS safety system, so my choice was really about just color, style, and cost. The cost new, after a bit of hunting around, was £160; which I was pleased with. I could not find discounted deals on the Foxes or the Bell DH, but the 3r Super and Met Parachute were available with deals at roughly the same price.

The Switchblade with chin-guard weighs 985g, which is a bit heavier than the very-light Met Parachute at 700g (but it has no metal chin lock mechanism, as the guard is not removable), but not an issue for me – I am used to much heavier motorcycle helmets. The foam padding is excellent and really comfortable. It has the RocLoc® Air DH system, where you just twist the wheel at the back of the head, to tighten or loosen the fit.

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The detachable chin guard is nice, but given I bought this primarily for the extra protection over my normal skate helmet, I could have lived easily with it being none-removable, like with the Met Parachute. Removing and fitting the chin-guard is easy, needing two hands. The fitting is snug and secure.
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What, however, does differentiate some of the helmets with removable chin-guards is what kind of half-shell is left when the chin-guard is removed. This is very noticeable between the Bell Super 3r and the Switchblade, with the Giro having more jaw-side cover/protection when used without the chin-guard. Not that one is better than the other, it is really just a preference thing.

 

I went with the downhill MTB style of helmet, over a full-cover motorcycle style, like the popular TSG Pass, for the extra ventilation and, being honest, it felt less conspicuous – a kind of a dumb rationale in some ways, but that is vanity for you.

It comes with alternative foam inserts, a nice carry/storage bag, and a spare visor.

Some review videos:

Body protection for riding

http://skateszone.com/skateboard-protective-gear/
Skatezone protective gear article

I am a big supporter of always wearing helmets when out on the e-board, and most of the time on my conventional boards, always wearing mine (a standard skate helmet by Bullet). For once, I will leave out my usual diatribe on reckless fuckwit social-celebrities promoting helmet-less city traffic riding and just cover some options for protective gear.

I have considered a full-face skate helmet, with greater protection but lighter than a motorcycle helmet, and may get one depending on my riding.

 

 

 

UPDATE: I got a full-face Giro Switchblade MTB helmet, sadly one accident too late – I involuntarily came off and kissed a tree. That will teach me! Now I have the switchblade to save my pretty smile. I went with the MTB helmet as it was cooler than a full-face TSG and, for pure vanity, less conspicuous for me.

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The other things I consider essential are my gloves, where I use normal cycling gloves as they offer decent friction protection without limiting remote-control movement.

In addition, when going fast (and not nice and friendly with my youngest son) I use my armored motorbike jeans made by Force Riders, with armor in the knees and, importantly, hips. Previously I have had a bad pelvic injury, so protection of my hips is important for me. Interestingly, pelvic protection is not normally worn by skateboarders, but as I have learned it can be a fragile body part if you fall in a specific way.

I am not sure if Force Riders jeans still exist (I could not find any links to them – mine were bought on Amazon), but there are other makes, including AlpinestarsRicha, Bull-it, UglyBrosRoadskin, and Draggin, who are well established and with a solid reputation. My Force Riders were relatively inexpensive, but I replaced the basic foam protection that came with them (same with many of them) with much better and more flexible sorbothane and shock foam CE rate armor. They work really well, especially when out just cruising around the local cafes (looking less kiddie-like than external knee pads), and I would highly recommend wearing them.

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Following the motorcycle theme, if I want to go full protection for conventional downhill, or fast on the e-board, I use my British Knox under-armour under whatever I am wearing at the time and is not going to shred easily. Again it is light, very comfortable and works really well allowing good movement on the board.

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