leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face

Review: The Leatt DBX 3.0 Enduro V2 Is a Transformer Helmet

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The convertible helmet market continues to heat up, with Leatt throwing its hat in the ring with the DBX 3.0 Enduro V2, which converts between a half shell and a full face helmet with the click of two bindings. Is it the best, or the worst of both worlds? James Vincent has been converting his lid to find out. 


Leatt is a brand with an exceptionally strong history in motocross and downhill racing – the company owes a lot of its success to the Leatt-Brace, which was invented by Dr Leatt back in 2003 and is designed to protect a rider’s neck from excess forces.

If you look at the product range, it’s full of kit designed to keep you safe on the trail, and includes body armour, helmets, and riding packs with built in back protection. Along with the aforementioned neck brace, it’s only natural that the brand would make a convertible helmet to cover all bases.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face
And for my next trick…

Convertible helmets are designed to give you more choice and flexibility – are you off on a regular XC ride around trails you’re familiar with? Leave the removable chin bar at home and you’ve got a regular half shell helmet. Riding hard on unfamiliar trails or racing an Enduro? Strap that chin bar to your pack and enjoy climbing with no restrictions but get some extra security and protection on the descents.

Personally, I’ve never felt the need for full face levels of protection when out riding my home trails in the northern Lake District, so I was intrigued to try this out, see how it compared to my other (half shell) helmets, and whether I was any safer with the chin bar in place.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face
…it transforms into a half shell trail helmet!

Not MIPS

The Leatt DBX 3.0 Enduro V2 (catchy name huh!) is the only convertible helmet in the Leatt range, which is otherwise split roughly 50/50 between full face and half shell helmets.

Unlike a lot of current high end helmets, it doesn’t feature MIPS – none of the Leatt range does – but instead uses a proprietary system of 10 blue squishy discs known as 360° Turbine Technology.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face mips
These blue discs aim to reduce rotational forces and direct impact forces.

This system is designed to work in a similar way to MIPS and reduce rotational forces from being transmitted to your head (Leatt claims up to a 40% reduction). One other benefit of these Turbines, is that they can be compressed and reduce direct forces from being transmitted to your head by up to 30%. So two for the price of one.

In addition to these Turbines, there is plenty of foam padding elsewhere inside the helmet and the chin bar, and you also get spare pads in the box.

Size-wise, Leatt offers the DBX 3.0 Enduro V2 helmet in Small (51-55cm), Medium (55-59cm) and Large (59-63cm). For 2019, there are four colour options available, including the brushed silver one I’ve been using for the past six months.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face
Rubber jog wheel is a nice touch.

Chin Bar Begone!

The removable chin bar attaches via a couple of clips to the side, but doesn’t wrap completely around the back of the helmet (as per the Bell Super series). Compared to a regular full face helmet this does leave the base of your head feeling a touch exposed, but it does mean that the helmet is pretty unobtrusive when descending steeper trails.

While we’re comparing it to a full face helmet, it’s worth noting that the DBX 3.0 is not ASTM certified like the Giro Switchblade or Bell Super DH. If the track or uplift centre you’re riding at specifically requires that level of DH-certification, then you’ll need to look elsewhere.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face
There’s a clasp on either side of the helmet to lock the chin bar onto the main helmet.

In half shell mode, the DBX 3.0 doesn’t extend down as far as some other convertible helmets – it’s particularly airy around the ears, but this isn’t a bad thing and aids ventilation. It also looks normal with the chin bar off – some convertible helmets can look incomplete or awkward when in half shell mode, but the DBX 3.0 suffers from none of these problems and even drew some admiring glances while out on the trail. First time I’ve ever had someone comment on my helmet.

The retention cradle is easily adjustable thanks to a grippy rubber dial, and doesn’t slip about as some other manufacturers’ do. Although helmet fit is a highly personal thing, I found the Leatt DBX 3.0 to be one of the most comfortable helmets I’ve ever worn, both with and without the chin bar.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face james vincent
The DBX 3.0 Enduro V2 helmet is easy to adjust in either half shell or full face mode.

On The Trail

Getting the helmet on without the chin bar is super easy, and doing up the Fidlock magnetic buckle is a doddle, even with gloves and cold fingers. Getting the helmet on with the chin bar in place, is a different story though – the aperture is pretty narrow, and I kept on getting the retention cradle tangled up and out of shape. Fortunately, the chin bar is incredibly easy to put on with the helmet in place, so I just resorted to doing it that way.

Once on, I don’t really have a great deal to say about the DBX 3.0, other than the fit was near perfect, it stayed in place, didn’t bounce around and I didn’t overheat. I’ve got to admit that I don’t have the sweatiest head or live in the hottest part of the world, but the 23 vents did a great job of keeping me cool. Leatt has done a commendable job with keeping the DBX 3.0 nice and breathable.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face james vincent cotic bfe manitou mattoc
It’s a good looking lid in half shell mode, which isn’t always the case with these convertible helmets.

Part of the comfort and breathability surely comes down to the low weight too. Our Medium test sample weighed in at just 765g with the chin bar, which compared to the Super DH (891g) and the Switchblade (985g), is considerably lighter.

One slight niggle, is that although Leatt claim the helmet is goggle friendly and the visor moves up out of the way a little bit to accomodate them, it’s not as good as a Bell Super 2R. The space left for your goggles isn’t quite enough, and they can occasionally slip down, smacking you in the face in the process, which isn’t pleasant.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face goggle
Charlie Sheen rides mountain bikes now?

Am I Converted?

As a typical half shell helmet wearer, do I feel any safer or more secure when wearing it with the chin bar in place? Well, yes and no.

I’ve worn the chin bar a couple of times in the Lakes, but it doesn’t change the way I ride or make me any more daring – I’ll still attempt technical sections without the chin bar, and I’ll still baulk at certain features with it in place.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face goggle
With the chin bar in place, the DBX 3.0 feels like a full face helmet.

This is probably due to the fact that it’s my knees and shoulders that bear the brunt of my crashes, as well as a large dose of peer pressure – none of my riding buddies wear a full face for regular trail riding, so from a self-conscious perspective, it can make me feel a bit out of place when I’m in full face mode.

Then again, I never had a tumble during the test period that saw the chin bar make contact with the ground. The chin bar is ultimately there to save your face, jaw and teeth from getting smashed up in the event of a forward-facing crash, and for anyone out there who’s experienced such an event, you’ll do doubt appreciate the value of this added protection.

leatt dbx 3.0 enduro helmet convertible full face goggle
For a convertible full face helmet, the Leatt DBX 3.0 Enduro is lightweight, breathable, and very comfortable.

Overall

The Leatt DBX 3.0 Enduro V2 is a well made and extremely comfortable, convertible helmet that comes with some neat technology under the hood. It’s quite a bit lighter and more breathable than its competitors, and it’s also cheaper too.

Unlike the Bell Super DH and Giro Switchblade, it’s not a certified DH helmet, so you can’t economise by getting one instead of a regular half shell for general riding and a full face for racing. If serious competition isn’t on your radar though and you’re simply in the market for a convertible helmet that doesn’t weigh a tonne, the DBX 3.0 is a great option.

Review Info

Brand: Leatt
Product: DBX 3.0 V2 Helmet
From: Hotlines, hotlines-uk.com
Price: £189.99
Tested: by James Vincent for 6 months
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