The new Dux Helm helmet takes a cue from time trial lids, with a visor neatly integrated into its forward edge. Unlike with typical aero lids, though, the visor is cleverly attached to a sliding cradle that can tuck it up into the EPS liner when it isn't needed, all with the Dux Helm looking like a standard helmet.
We were skeptical at first – as were many of our riding partners – but Dux Helm has managed to pull off the novel concept pretty well. The slider is easy to access while you're riding or wearing full-fingered gloves, and there's something to be said for being able to ditch the lens quickly when tackling a slow, arduous climb that might leave your vision hazy (hopefully due to the fog on the lens, not a lack of oxygen).
True, few folks have complained about having to tuck conventional sunglasses into their helmet vents or behind their head, but it isn't until you've experienced the convenience of Dux Helm's design that you realize how much quicker it is. Riders who wear prescription glasses will find many frame styles to fit behind the visor, too.
Swapping out lens tints is refreshingly simple, too. Just extend the lens, pop out the slider grip, exchange the lens, and pop the slider grip back on – easier done than said, as we demonstrate in the video below:
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So, Dux Helm's integrated, retractable visor concept is compelling. But we also found numerous flaws in the execution. Most critically, the visor's optical quality is sub-par, with lots of noticeable distortion.
And because the lens is positioned so much further away from your face than conventional sunglasses there's a lot of wind hitting your face, plus a big gap in coverage around the lower edge. This can be annoying when it's very bright outside – particularly when there's snow on the ground reflecting light upwards.
The slider system could use a dose of robustness as well. If you accidentally nudge the lower edge of the visor outward, the upper, outer edges pop out of the EPS liner – just slightly, mind you, but enough that the lens jams in place until you tuck those corners back in.
The helmet itself is just so-so, too. Weight is fairly impressive, at 309g with the visor attached, and it's very comfortable, with ample padding and a simple but effective dial-type retention system. However, ventilation is adequate at best, with lots of open ports but no interior channels to give incoming air somewhere to go.
Making matters worse is the fact that the lens blocks the forward vents when retracted. Although, in fairness, the slow climbs where you're most likely to retract the lens usually prioritize the exhaust vents, given the lower speeds.
When retracted, the visor partially obscures the forward-facing vents
Dux Helm also betrays its status as a newcomer to the helmet world with two fundamental oversights. Firstly, the strap sliders don't lock in place – a basic feature found on many entry level lids these days.
Secondly, there are only two sizes available, which we could forgive were it not for the fact that our smaller size is still pretty big. One tester who normally wears a large-sized Bell had no trouble squeezing his melon into our medium Dux Helm sample.