For the 2019 season, Fox has once again come up with a new kind of helmet: Dropframe. Fox sells it as an enduro helmet, accordingly it’s somewhere between your usual MTB helmet and a full face solution. Has Fox succeeded in creating an alternative for trail-oriented riders who also have to cope with uphill passages? Marcel was so nice and tested it for us!
Check: Dropframe – a full-face helmet without chin protection?
“Having tested the Proframe recently, it was time again for a helmet without chin bar. As I already stated in my last test, I don’t really need a helmet with a chin protection for most of my tours. But I would definitely like more protection for my head than with a standard helmet. So I was pleased to meet the new Fox Dropframe, hoping that it would prove to be the ideal intermediate solution. That’s what I wanted to test.
My first impression? It looks like the Proframe – only without the chin bar. Fox calls the concept behind all this ‘M.O.RE.’. This refers to the mandibular occipital reinforcement provided by the helmet. But there’s much more to the Dropframe: attractive design, a fixed visor and large openings that allow for sufficient ventilation, and of course exchangeable helmet pads to adjust the fitting. The fidlock buckle is really very easy to use – with or without gloves, with one or two hands. There’s no need to fiddle around. However, there are no other safety features. Unlike this year’s Rampage Pro Carbon, the Dropframe does neither offer MIPS nor the new Fluid Inside.
Fox relies on specially processed EPS foam for shock absorption. Differently dense layers are joined together to distribute the forces generated by an impact over a larger surface. Fox calls this the Varizorb technology.
The most important features of the Dropframe at a glance
- Dual-density Varizorb™ EPS liner provides ideal protection by spreading forces of impact across a wider area
- M.O.RE. guard provides maximum coverage for the ear, jaw and back of the head
- Ventilation: 8 Big Bore intake vents and 7 exhaust vents keep you cool and aid in moisture management
- Visor: fixed visor → positioned perfectly to channel air through the helmet
- Closure: magnetic SNAP closure from Fidlock for fast and secure opening and closing
- Weight: 500 g (250 g less compared to the Proframe with chin bar)
- Size: 4 sizes from S to XL – covering head circumferences from 52 to 60 cm! The exchangeable pads, which are delivered with the helmet, allow for perfect adjustment.
On the trail
After work: quickly get the bike out of the basement, put the helmet on and meet your mates on the trails. Yes, the Dropframe fits great, the ventilation is sufficient and it gives me a pleasant feeling of security. This is probably due to the fact that it sits far back on the neck and reaches into the face on the sides. However, the ears are free because of the large openings – a point worth mentioning in my opinion, as it allows you not to lose anything around you and your friends to talk to you without having to shout. Putting on the helmet is no problem despite the fact that you have to pull it over your ears. You can stretch the sides a bit in order not to get stuck with the ears, which is always unpleasant and a problem most users of full-face helmets will know.
I also tested the helmet during this year‘s Dirt Master Festival in Winterberg for one day. Of course not on the downhill track ;), but on a few simple descents with moderate speed and a few tabletop. Even after several hours with the helmet on my head I didn’t feel any pain or pressure. Since the Dropframe’s cut is similar to that of a full-face helmet, you can easily wear goggles. However, the visor is not adjustable, making it impossible to push the goggles under the visor. If you want to get rid of the goggles, you will have to carry them around the neck.
Drop or top? My verdict
What has Fox achieved with the Dropframe? Have they invented a new category of helmets? The answer is simple: YES! All in all, the new Dropframe is a helmet that is really comfortable to wear and provides a sufficient feeling of safety. Fox has developed a stylish and above all functional MTB helmet which impresses with its small features such as the fidlock closure and the large openings for the ears. Its protection level is close to that of a full-face helmet while being less heavy and considerably less expensive with a weight of 500 g and a price of 149 € – more or less halfway between a standard mountain bike helmet and a full-face solution. The lower weight is particularly noticeable when pedalling uphill, but it‘s also noticeable in terms of comfort if you wear the helmet for a longer period. When it comes to ventilation, the Dropframe is just as good as the Proframe. So if you are looking for a solid MTB helmet which protects the back of your head as well as the sides, the Dropframe is a good choice. Drop or top? Definitely top!“