Always choose your mask for MTB the best quality. As soon as one approaches the gravity disciplines of the MTB, the use of the mask becomes indispensable for your best bike us, for a question of comfort, but also and especially of protection.
Long thought of as a consumable product, the mask is an accessory that receives more and more attention: we are not yet at the level of what we find in skiing, but brands offer more mature products. There is a real effort in improving the quality of screens, frames and foams in particular. With a panel of products more and wider, so a range of prices to the tune, how much does it take today to have a good mask and what are the pitfalls to avoid before buying?
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Treatments and screen tints
At Smith’s only. Starting from the fact that the primary colors are not apprehended by the eye on its peripheral field of vision, Smith integrates a filter in the screen which enhances the natural colors and brings out the contrasts. This helps improve vision and reduce eye fatigue over time.
>> As for the Chromapop screen, we have been conquered: it offers optimal optical quality and enhances the colors very well. Learn more- a beginner- How can start on the mountain bike?
M priority screen (mirror or Irridium at Oakley)
Here, we have a clearly identifiable mirror effect. Depending on its category and color (see box), this type of screen choose your mask for MTB can filter a certain percentage of brightness and bring out the contrasts.
>> As for the mirrored screens, we are a little skeptical: they are generally not versatile enough and, unlike the skier, the lambda mountain biker will not change his screen depending on the weather … They are often acclaimed for their look, everyone his thing. Fortunately, masks mounted with a mirror screen are more expensive and therefore often come with a transparent screen. If you buy a mask that does not come with an extra glass, then choose one that has a clear screen.
Photochromic p screen
Very few masks have this type of screen since it is really expensive. Fortunately, Julbo was able to deliver one. Be aware that this type of processing allows the screen to play on several categories of brightness since it changes color according to the ambient brightness. This makes it possible best bike us to have a super versatile mask, which can help in the variations of light in the undergrowth (do not dream, the reaction time is not yet fast enough to allow a perfect vision in fluctuating light).
>> The photochromic screen works very well too, but in our opinion, it is less relevant in MTB than in skiing, the technology is not yet fast enough to mitigate the changes of light in the undergrowth.
0: Transparent screen: transmits 80 to 100% brightness
1: Clear screen (yellow, orange): transmits 43 to 80% of brightness (bad weather)
2: Intermediate hue screen (blue, red): transmits between 18 and 43% (all times)
3: Dark screen (gray): transmits between 8 and 18% of the light (big sun)
How to choose your mask
Another point to watch regarding screens, their design: the more complex they are, the more it will cost you to replace them. We are thinking here of ski-like double screens (with a wide separation between the two screens) and/or those of spherical shape, which are very effective against fogging. Generally, given the temperatures at which one rolls, the fog is less present in MTB use than in skiing. The anti-fog treatment available to all the masks tested is generally sufficient, if the frame is well thought out. So, between a mask expensive glass (spherical, anti-fog treatment and wide double screen) and a good mask with an anti-fog treatment, there will be a difference, but nothing that will really bother you (except in conditions of particular humidity and heat, like ride in the heart of the Amazon rainforest…).
At the foam level, triple densities are the most comfortable. All high-end masks have them, but are not equal to each other: the foam must be of good quality and well cut. On this point, we note that some brands perform and cut well foams at the nose, a good thing because it improves comfort, but also the ability to breathe (since the nostrils are less compressed). Since we are talking about the nasal appendix, note that there are more and more models with a nose guard. If it’s useful in motocross (most masks are for this purpose in the first place), it’s less useful in MTB. And anyway, these protections are usually removable.
Also pay attention to the mount: the vents, the way the screen is maintained and the general flex (neither too much nor too little, for a comfort/protection at the top). Important detail, the presence of stabilizers, you know these extensions placed on the sides of the screen, on which are attached the two ends of the banner. These stabilizers make it possible to have a mask that retains its initial shape when tightened on the helmet, for increased comfort and support. Most high-end masks have these extensions, a real asset to us. Beware of larger and larger frames, designed under the argument of giving more field of view. This is not always true, and it is sometimes embarrassing to agree with your helmet.
Last point to watch, the banner. Here too, the manufacturers are following the trend of ever wider. Why not more, more material to increase reliability. On the other hand, on some helmets with a very cut rear panel, too much width can affect the installation of the headband. And then question maintenance, it is not so much the width of the band which influences, but that of the silicone bands that are found inside. So check that these are quite substantial …