First released back in 2015, the Evo AM took the top spot in the SixSixOne (661) helmet range from its now-younger (and cheaper) sibling, the Recon. Since then, this broad-coverage trail helmet has split into two main models; the Evo AM MIPS that we have on test here, as well as a non-MIPS version that costs about £25 less.
Sitting at the very top of its open-face helmet lineup, the Evo AM MIPS is described by 661 as ‘the ultimate All-Mountain open face helmet‘. Bold claims, but as it turns out, there is quite a bit of tech going on underneath that shiny, colourful exterior.
The 661 Evo AM MIPS Helmet
Delving into the helmet, 661 offer the Evo AM MIPS in four colour ways. There’s Matador Red (tested), Metallic Black, Orange/Blue, or Tundra – which is basically white. You can get each option in three sizes: S/M, M/L, and XL/XXL.
Unlike many other helmets on the market, 661 doesn’t use regular EPS foam to construct the Evo AM helmet. Instead, it uses a foam called ‘Contego’, which places a softer layer of foam on the inside of the helmet, and a firmer density layer on the outside. The idea is that in the event of a high-speed whack or a slow speed crunch, that softer foam density will deform faster, hopefully absorbing more energy from the impact in the process.
661 employs a micro-adjustable BOA FS360 retention system to ensure a finely-tuned fit. BOA also offers a lifetime warranty, meaning even if you do smash up the dial in a crash, or your dog chews it off, you’re covered.
15 vents providing plenty of air flow, coupled with a lightweight sub-400g design means the Evo AM MIPS is an all-day riding helmet, set to keep your head cool, as well as protected.
Looking at more tech, the Evo AM utilises the popular MIPS technology. Although there are plenty of brands creating similar protection systems, MIPS has been around for a while and is something we’re used to seeing on plenty of helmets nowadays.
For those unaware, MIPS technology features small elastomers that sit between the outer shell and a yellow inner lining inside the helmet. In the event of an angular-type crash, the elastomers allow the outside of the helmet to rotate around your head slightly. The goal is to absorb some of that rotational force, and reduce the acceleration of your brain inside your skull. This, along with the extra coverage and protection from a dropped rear shell on this helmet should make it one safe place to put your head.
Fidlock Magnetic Buckle
A really neat solution to the clasp system from Fidlock is a favourite feature of mine. Small, yet strong magnets in both parts of the clasp snap together when places near each other, to achieve a super secure clasp. On cold days, and when wearing thicker gloves, a system like this makes life so much easier.
A plush interior made up of antimicrobial fabric is set to make the helmet comfortable as possible, even on the longer rides. The padding is removable for cleaning though, and replacements can be sourced via 661.
On The Trail
Early impressions riding with the Evo AM were really positive. The lightweight nature of the lid felt apparent from the get go, and in direct comparison with other lids of a similar nature, the 661 felt compact and fit well. On the head, the helmet sits deep, giving you the reassurance your noggin’ is all enclosed and safe.
Although it sits deep, I’ve felt the top half of the lid is quite proud and looks high when it’s on your head. Where other helmets have quite a low-profile shape, the Evo does feel larger, which is partially down to the thicker Contego foam construction. From a styling point of view, the clean lines add a streamline quality to the helmet, while the angular peak and ridges across the back of the helmet add a level of aggression to keep the enduro folk happy.
The Evo AM has many features, but one thing to note is the fixed peak. I’ve been testing goggles with this helmet, and have found the fixed peak means there is no stowage for goggles when they’re not being used. Helmets with adjustable peaks means there is a space to stow goggles when climbing or on shuttles, but the lack of this on the Evo AM is a bit of a bummer for what is an enduro-focussed design.
When running goggles, I have found the Evo AM to work pretty well across the board, being compatible with a range of shapes and frame sizes. It’s only when you get to the larger more MX styled goggles that the helmet starts to fight back a touch, with compromised positioning.
Smaller framed goggles have worked really well with the Evo AM, feeling secure and well positioned. On the back of the lid, there is a small ridge in which a goggle strap butts up to really well, to keep them in place.
Fit & Ventilation
I’ve been testing the M/L size, which aims to fit heads between 57-59cm and weighs in at 378g. The BOA retention system feels solid in use, and the very audible clicks give you confidence it’s going to stay secure when riding. The softly padded lining has been incredibly comfortable throughout testing, and even after quite a few super sweaty rides, the lid has remained stink-free.
With 15 vents strategically placed across the design it’s a decently airy helmet, which has impressed me given this lid is aimed at more aggressive riding. The air is directed through the helmet in an efficient way, and it’s easy to feel it physically cooling your head down as you ride. As a sign that its ventilation qualities are more middle-of-the-road though, I haven’t found it overly cold when riding in winter. On more chilly rides over this winter, the soft and comfortable lining has done well to add a little bit of welcome insulation.
For an open face helmet, the Evo AM MIPS ticks a lot of boxes. It’s lightweight, and very comfortable. Neat styling and high-tech features, like the excellent Fidlock buckle and BOA adjuster, make it worth the cash, but for a helmet aimed at enduro riders it really should have better goggle compatibility.
If goggles aren’t a necessity to you though, and you’re after a high quality, every-day riding helmet, the 661 Evo AM MIPS could very well be the protective lid you’re looking for.
|Product:||EVO AM MIPS|
|Tested:||by Rob Mitchell for 3 months|
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