With an actual weight of 785g (size 56-58cm), the Proframe sits neatly between the open face Metah (actual weight 415g, size S/M) and proper full face Rampage. Unlike the Bell Super 2R, the Proframe's chinbar cannot be removed as Fox felt it was not necessary to add the complexity to the design, thanks to the weight and breathability of the helmet.
The helmet is made of EPS foam and lined with Fox’s own ‘Varizorb’ shock-absorbing technology and features MIPS to minimize rotational forces. What does that all mean? Varizorb is an EPS foam with softer, cone-shaped foam sandwiched between strategically designed layers of denser foam. This allows the foam to slow impact and provide better cushioning for your head during a crash.
MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, which is a leading slip-plane technology inside the helmet designed to reduce rotational forces that can result from certain impacts. This, together with Varizorb, results in one very protective helmet.
24 big bore vents have been added to the design to ensure maximum airflow to keep your head cool while climbing or when it is really hot out. The inside padding is fairly thin, but still very comfortable for extended use. Padding on the cheeks is a bit wider to aid with the overall comfort. There is no cushioning on the front part of the chin guard and unlike some DH lids the mouthpiece does not have a mesh cover. The visor is fixed in position and can’t be adjusted. This is done to ensure that it sits in the best possible position to drive air into the helmet. The helmet strap has a magnetic closure which can be done up with one hand.
Along with four helmet sizes, each lid comes with three different sets of pads (brow, chin, crown and neck) that you can mix and match to adjust the fit in order to find what is most comfortable for you.
- Fox’s lightest DH approved full frame helmet at 750 grams for a size medium.
- Integrated chinbar is secured to the main helmet structure with a patent pending system.
- Highly breathable liner system is moisture wicking and has anti-microbial properties.
- 24 Big Bore vents make Proframe one of the lightest and most breathable DH approved helmets.
- Fixed visor is positioned perfectly to ram maximum air flow into the Big Bore vents.
- Fidlock SNAP helmet buckle provides quick entry and exit with maximum security.
- Proven MIPS multiple impact protection system reduces rotation forces in a crash.
- Dual density Varizorb EPS liner provides improved protection
- Seven colour options.
- Sizes: S(52-56cm), M(56-58), L(58-61), XL(61-64)
- Price: R 5,399.00
On the Trail
Before I headed out for the first time, I took some time to play around with different pad combinations. I'm glad I did as the fit and feel was great once I hit the trail. There seems to be just the right amount of padding to keep the fit snug, but not too much to block airflow around the face and to the back of the helmet. Climbing with the Proframe was more comfortable than expected, even in warm conditions. As with any helmet, cooling is down to airflow which means you need to be moving along to keep things cool. Do that and the Proframe is quite pleasant on climbs and much, much, much better than any other full face helmet I've tried. Airflow is of such a nature that on a really cold morning you may even want or need to consider a buff to add some warmth to your head.
An open face helmet will always be more pleasant, but the trade-off between the added protection and breathability is on a good level with the Proframe. No longer did I feel the need to climb with the helmet strapped to my hydration pack or that I wanted to get it off my head the moment I stopped for some air at the top of a trail. It is worth stressing the fact that the difference between the Proframe and a traditional full face helmet is breathability and overall comfort is huge. It is not a marginal gain you will have to go looking for.
I tried the helmet with three different sets of goggles (Fox, Oakley, and Spy) and all three fitted perfectly with a slightly better fit around the top of the goggles when pairing the Proframe with one of Fox's own goggles which is understandable. Regardless of trail conditions the goggles stayed put. If you'd like to use your normal riding glasses then you should be okay as provision has been made for that as well. I only tried my trusty Oakley Jawbreakers and it worked well, even though I prefer goggles for full face riding.
Another benefit of the helmet is that you can still hear what is going on around you. Some full face helmets block your hearing quite a bit, not so with the Proframe. In terms of fit, the overall comfort is very good with no high-pressure areas or discomfort experienced due to funny shapes or hard materials. For reference, I wear a S/M Fox Metah as well: it is on the tight side of the size spectrum and the 56-58cm Proframe as tested falls into the same category for me. A comfortable, snug fit. The adjustable chin strap goes unnoticed once on the move.
I really like the Fox Proframe for the fine balance it manages between full face and all-day comfort. The only real stumbling block is the asking price, but if you're looking for a helmet that will make the hottest conditions bearable and not sacrifice on protection then the Proframe deserves a look. The fit is great, it looks the part and with Fox's usual attention to detail and excellent build quality it will be a long-term investment. Unless you are good at crashing.