22
Dec
2010

2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

12/22/2010 : sicklines

Urge Bike Products based out of Cogolin, France has recently popped on to the U.S.A. scene with a range of mountain bike helmet offerings.  With legendary mountain bike racer Fabien Barel assisting with product development, Urge has set out to make a bold statement with their helmet line up.  We got our hands on Urge’s downhill oriented full face helmet, the Down-O-Matic to take a closer look.

The very first thing that I noticed when I pulled this helmet out of the box is that it is visually striking.  Bold graphics, large vents, and unusual raised edges in the rear 3/4 of the helmet make it stand apart from the competition.  I’m not sure I’d qualify it as polarizing but it certainly stands out in a line up.  Down at our ever fashion conscious dirt jumps the helmet got the thumbs up on look from several riders.  Personally, I appreciate the unique shape and loud graphics.

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

(click to enlarge)

The next thing I noticed about this helmet was that Urge went to great lengths in a somewhat different direction than normal with the ventilation system.  The Down-O-Matic employs 2 large round vents on the chin guard and 6 more large round vents on the top and back of the helmet.  While the count of these vents is low, the size and shape of these vents is exceptional.  I wonder if they might perform better at speed with some sort of a scoop on each vent to direct airflow but overall I found the airflow to be quite good on my local DH trails.

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

(click to enlarge)

The view from the rear shows the raised sides on the main helmet body, massive vents, and the highly cut-out visor.

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

(click to enlarge)

So, what about the visor and how it contributes as a safety mechanism on this helmet?  According to Urge, the visor is designed to easily flex when it hits a stationary object.  The idea here is that rather than having the visor grab something and twist the rider’s neck, it just gives.  This design also has the potential to save the visor as well which is a nice touch.  As you can see in the picture below, I was able to bend the visor to the point where it touches against the helmet with very little effort.  The Down-O-Matic also carries the European CE1078 Certification as well as CPSC certification.

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

(click to enlarge)

Easily the next most noticeable feature of this helmet is the weight.  Riding all day in a heavy lid can be a drag.  They are more uncomfortable, can tire the neck muscles, and generally makes a helmet much less appealing to wear.  This is a composite helmet that weighs in as light as most “carbon” branded units.  Urge claims under 1 KG and while our helmet weighed in at just over 1 KG it is still quite light.  On our scale it was lighter than the TLD D3 and only marginally heavier than a Carbon T.H.E or TLD D2. Additionally, you also don’t have the high carbon msrp price tag.

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

(click to enlarge)

Keeping with the theme of large vents and light weight for rider comfort, the liner is constructed to be highly breathable and rider adjustable.  The liner is constructed in an open mesh style and is removable and washable.  Overall I was happy with the materials used for the liner but I did have issues with some of the padding moving around slightly.  In this photo, you can see the red padding in the back is bunched up at the bottom.  I found this to be an issue with both of the large velcro-in pads and they needed to be re-adjusted after each ride.  Another quibble I had with the fit system is the chin strap.  Having a moto background, I tend to prefer the dual D-ring closure system over a plastic clip.  While Urge does employ a D-ring closure system, they omitted the use of a pull tab on the D-rings to make removal quick.  It’s certainly something that a crafty rider could add but is a bit frustrating when you’re trying to remove your helmet with gloves on.

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

(click to enlarge)

The Down-O-Matic comes in just 2 sizes, Small/Medium and Large/X-Large.  The replaceable pads are used to help adjust the sizing of the helmet.  Typically, I wear a size medium helmet in T.H.E., Troy Lee, or Giro but the Down-O-Matic seems to run a bit on the small side.  For this test I was using the L/XL and the helmet fit snug without the employment of the thicker padding.  Keep this in mind if you should decide to order without trying on, as those who typically wear a size Large helmet might not be able to squeeze into the Down-O-Matic.  A full set of pads to adjust fit and a nice helmet bag to keep your lid protected during transport are included.

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

(click to enlarge)

I really like this helmet and it has become the one that I grab for most rides.  The styling, weight, and breath-ability all add up to a top notch product.  I would like to see Urge revisit their velcro-in pads and add a pull tab to release the chin strap but those items won’t keep me from using this helmet.  All in all the Down-O-Matic is a top notch product worth checking out if you’re in the market for a new helmet.

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

(click to enlarge)

Price:

  • MSRP is 179.95

Sizes:

  • Small/Medium
  • Large/X-Large

Colors:

  • Black/white – Impact II (pictured above in article)
  • Grey Blue/White – Frisco
  • Orange/Yellow/Black – Monaco
  • White/Gold/Black – Palace
  • Black/Green/Gold – Veggie Lin
, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

Frisco (click to enlarge)

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

Monaco (click to enlarge)

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

Monaco (click to enlarge)

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

Palace (click to enlarge)

, 2011 Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

Veggie Lin (click to enlarge)

If you’re looking to purchase a Down-O-Matic helmet for yourself:

South Shore Bicycles USA
2340 S. Kalamath St. Unit A
Denver CO 80223
(720) 524-7085

Find out more information on this helmet and more in the 2011 Urge Catalog


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