With the Proframe, Fox claims to have created a helmet that boasts “open-face breathability and downhill-certified protection.” It’s designed with the modern enduro racer and harder-charging trail rider in mind, and to be comfortable and cool on the climbs while offering full-face confidence on the descents.
When you first put the Proframe on, you’re struck by a number of things. First of all, it definitely feels like you’re wearing an open rather than full-face lid — the minimal padding and large vents mean you don’t feel like you’re cocooned, like you can in a downhill helmet.
The second thing to note is the weight, or lack of it — my medium lid weighed just 725g.
Fit can be adjusted with the different pads included in the box, making the helmet tunable for different head shapes. I found that after a couple of rides the pads compressed as they adjusted to the shape of my head. While this made the Proframe more comfortable, it also made it less secure, so I swapped them out for thicker pads to compensate. It’s worth bearing this in mind when trying the helmet on for size.
As soon as you start climbing, you understand what this lid is all about. You don’t get the steamy, claustrophobic feeling normally associated with winching uphill in a full-face. Breathing feels freer and easier, and I found that, thanks to the heavily-vented chinguard, goggles were less prone to misting up, even on damp days.
On the way down the trail, those large vents really come into play, creating plenty of airflow across the top of the head.
The only major gripe I had was with the brow padding, which I’d argue isn’t big enough, because it allows the plastic edge of the MIPS liner to rub your forehead on long rides.
This became quite annoying over the test period, and got worse as the pads wore in. A little trimming of the liner with some scissors improved things but a wider pad would be better.
While the Fox lid feels stable on your head when worn with goggles, the lack of a cradle means that when it’s worn without goggles, it doesn’t feel quite as snug as a regular full-face or well-fitting open-face helmet.
Although it meets the ASTM downhill standard, British Downhill Series organiser Si Paton says you wouldn’t be allowed to race in the Proframe at one of his events. For enduro duties, though, it’s a solid option for hot weather pedalling and full-commitment descending.