I’ve been looking into a few different helmets over the past few months. There are so many high quality, good looking helmets on the market. I don’t think you can go wrong if you exercise some thought. But, when I got the 509 Tactical helmet I was very pleased with what I saw. Here’s how it arrived.
We’ve told you in the past that if we have a vested interest in any of the products or companies being reviewed that we’d let you know. Full disclosure, 509 sent this product to us to review. Regardless of this connection, we are always in pursuit of the best gear. The following is an unbiased review of the pros and cons of this product from the perspective of true backcountry mountain sledders.
Here is everything that comes in the box. As you would expect from 509, there is plenty of documentation about how to register the product, a description of the warranty, and instructions for proper care of the product.
Cost: $149.95 on the 509 website.
Perceived Quality/Aesthetics: You can really tell right out of the box that this is no Amazon.com special. There is much attention to detail from the vents on the forehead and the rear of the helmet to the visor screws and so on.
Looking over the helmet I couldn’t find any what seemed to be “manufacturer errors.” It seemed extremely well put together.
As far as the aesthetics of this helmet, I really like it. The chin profile looks a little goofy if you stare at it for too long. The paint job and graphic are top notch, although this is very heavily based on personal preference. The white is probably a bad choice for the long run, but I just couldn’t resist.
Weight/Movement: This is my favorite part of the helmet. It feels very light when holding it and the range of movement makes it feel even lighter while riding. Some helmets, due to actual weight or the neck profile, make your neck tired fairly quickly in technical riding (or when I am digging my friends out, or myself :)). I couldn’t believe how weightless this thing feels. If you look at the neck/chin profile on this helmet, 509 seems to have worked hard to take range of motion into consideration.
I’ve heard a few people complain about this making it easier for snow to get in from the under side. I haven’t had any problems with that, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In my opinion, if you go jumping/flying head first into a bunch of snow, I don’t know of any helmet that will keep snow from entering from the under side. It is much more important to me to be able to move my head as naturally as possible than worrying about snow getting on my neck.
Comfort/Feel: This helmet is like placing a pillow on your head. Have a look inside this thing.
I have had a lot of experience with football helmets over the years, so I’d liken it to placing one of the new “concussion preventing” helmets on your head as opposed to the ones we all wore back in the day (yeah, the ones with little waffle looking pieces or even the “air” helmets that felt nothing like “air” on your forehead and temples). But, I digress. Ultimately, this helmet, in my opinion, could not be more comfortable.
The face shield also adds to the comfort-ability of this helmet. It can be pressed downward to cover the chin more or it can stay up to cover more of the nose/face (see photos below). The great thing is that when it gets too warm, it is easily removed. See the video review for more on that.
Clean Up: As I mentioned in “Aesthetics” section above, the color white concerns me as far a maintaining the “sparkle.” After a few rides, I was actually amazed at how easily this bad boy cleans up. There seems to be some surface treatment that keeps grime from sticking very well. I can’t confirm that, but it was very quickly wiped off and returned to that new look.
Durability: We do not rate this category until after one season’s use. Check back next season for an analysis following enough use to give you real insight.
Final Thoughts: I know you are probably tired of me gushing about this helmet, but for $150, I have been more than impressed. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I think this is a great product, especially for the money. You may want to choose a different color, as I cannot verify how the white will hold up. Check out the “Stealth” color or the new “Black Lime” color.
Let us know what you think by commenting below! For other backcountry gear reviews from Rocky Mtn Pursuit, click here.
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