By James Vincent
Back in 2006, Fox launched the revolutionary Flux, and ten years later they are once again hoping to redefine how a trail helmet should look, feel and perform, with the introduction of the very smart looking Metah.
Taking its design cues from the full face Fox Rampage, this is no repurposed xc lid with a peak slapped on it and an Enduro paint job. Indeed, the trail market has become that much more sophisticated that I doubt any manufacturer would be able to get away with such a thing these days. As it is, we have a brand new helmet designed to meet all the needs of the aggressive trail rider – there’s a non-removable fixed peak that’s integral to the design of the helmet, 14 huge, strategically placed vents and extended coverage towards the base of your skull for increased protection. Unlike their full face helmets, the Metah does not feature MIPS, but the liner is manufactured with different density cone shaped layers of EPS that Fox is calling Varizorb, which is designed to help disperse energy during impact.
Included in the box are a spare set of pads (one size) to keep you running fresher for longer, and is available in a range of colour ways to perfectly match the Fox Attack apparel range for the full pro look, or more subtle solid colours to fit in with whatever else you have in your wardrobe.
Playing a key part in both the looks and the functionality of the helmet, there is no getting away from the fact that the peak is massive and polarizes opinion – some people love it while others have suggested it looks like Daffy Duck’s bill. I reckon they’re just jealous though, and I’m definitely in the love it camp. It’s not there just for its looks either – channeling the airflow into three huge vents at the very front and over the deep channels on top of the helmet, the peak serves a purpose and in spite of its size is no more obtrusive to your vision than that on a Bell Super 2. There is also a welcome degree of flex within the plastic and mounting, so the peak shouldn’t snap off at the slightest blow.
If you’re that way inclined, the Metah plays nicely with goggles (when you’re wearing them), and there’s a little flat section at the back of the helmet for the strap to rest on, although the fixed peak design means that they have to go around your neck or back in your bag when not wearing them. In my opinion this is no bad thing – how many times have you forgotten to drop your visor for your race run, and thus looked more than a bit special in photos with it pointing up in the air? No one? That’ll just be me then… Ahem…
The rear of the helmet is equally well thought out and extends very low on your head – in fact, the Metah is possibly the most secure helmet I’ve ever worn, sitting snugly in place before I’ve even done the straps up. The four-position retention system does a great job of keeping the helmet in place on the trail, and is easy to use with just a single dial to tighten singlehanded as required. The only thing I would mention with regards to the fit, is that it is on the small side – my head measures just over 57cm, and this S/M helmet is supposedly a perfect fit, but I don’t have much wiggle room. There is certainly no space for a buff or anything else under the helmet.
In spite of this secure fit, and taking into account that I don’t have a particularly sweaty head (now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d have to write), the Metah is not a hot helmet. Admittedly, long hot summer days have been in relatively short supply recently, but on the warmer rides when I have worn this helmet, I haven’t noticed any excess build up of heat which is impressive given how snugly the helmet fits, and how much coverage it has.
One final thing I really like about the Metah, is the fixed Y-straps. Anything that makes life easier and let’s me focus on the riding is a bonus, and these are in just the right place to do that.
Overall: This is a really well designed helmet, to meet all the needs of a modern aggressive trail rider, that is light weight, extremely well ventilated, secure and above all fits my head very well, with no uncomfortable pressure points forming after long days in the saddle. After being used and abused for two months, it is still looking as fresh as when it first arrived, so I have no qualms about recommending this helmet.
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