How comfortable could “the world’s lightest full face helmet” really be? When iXS debuted their Trigger FF in 2019, swarms of riders were keen to answer that question. Would it feel better than convertible helmets that can be opened up on long climbs?
Given my thriving desire to descend faster and play around on the trail, I don’t hop on a squishy bike without a helmet, kneepads, and often a back protector these days. Why not add a full-face lid to the list of smart protection choices? Tipping the scale only half-again as much as some half-shell helmets, the Trigger FF is laughably light, making the full-face addition an obvious one.
I have to admit that before testing out the Trigger FF, other full face helmets could generally be found dangling from my handlebar any time I planned to climb for more than a few minutes. The attention that iXS poured into cutting weight and moving air through this helmet makes it far more comfortable to keep on throughout longer rides and extended climbs. It breathes so well that I have had to wear a hat underneath it to keep warm on frosty rides, and the integrated retention system is easily adjusted around an extra layer of fabric.
In addition to its industry-leading weight characteristics and blustery breathability, the Trigger FF was clearly designed with comfort in mind. The primary set of internal padding is similar to those found in the brand’s half-shell helmets, while a pair of cheek pads keep the lower portion of the Trigger from wiggling around. The shell opens up to a broad field of view, and the frame is largely unseen from inside.
On rides below 13°C (55°F) I have been happy to keep the Trigger on while waiting with friends or stopping for a snack, where any other full face would be peeled off as soon as the tires stopped rolling. The helmet’s coverage and warmth while stationary are similar to wearing a thin merino-wool hat, which is exactly the amount of warmth I want on a brisk winter afternoon. For summer shreds it will undoubtedly be my go-to lid.
The Trigger FF shell is finished off with twenty-seven ventilation openings that provide the aforementioned air blast, with two vents directly over the rider’s ears so you can hear your traction just as well as you would in a half shell. iXS calls the Trigger FF an “all-mountain, trail, enduro (all purpose / all day) full face helmet” and given its smart design I’m inclined to agree.
With all of that talk of glove-like fit, breathability, and gaseous weight, what holds the Trigger FF together? Its one-piece shell incorporates a unique “Imould” technique that allows the internal foam to be made as a single jointless unit. This seamless construction method is paired with a structural reinforcement framework across the chin bar that iXS calls the X-Frame, creating a protective lid with DH race safety ratings and trail comfort.
iXS says that while they do have sponsored DH racers wearing in the Trigger FF at events, the large number of vent holes is not ideal for some DH tracks. “These same openings provide an opportunity for a stick or other objects to go through. Compare the Trigger FF to [our] XACT EVO DH helmet for example — each of the ventilation openings uses a mesh to provide additional protection.”
There is no exposed foam at the lower edge of the shell, and the construction seems as sturdy and ready-for-impact as nearly any full face. There are a lot of gravity-oriented helmets that give the impression they were designed for moto racing, and we happen to use them on mountain bikes. The Trigger FF is designed as a true and unabashed mountain bike helmet.
Inside this sharp looking shell, the “Ergofit Ultra” fit system does away with traditional full face fit requirements. With various internal adjustments, the old retention method of “squeeze your skull to the point that you almost have a headache at the end of a six-minute descent” is no longer necessary. The company has designed a retention system similar to that of their half-shell offerings, where the angle of the helmet can be shifted, and the height of the rear rotary wheel can be adjusted between three different positions. If you’re someone who’s skull shape doesn’t get along with full-coverage helmets, this one is worth trying on.
My 61cm (or 62cm depending on the haircut schedule) battering-ram-skull barely fits in most XL shells, but this one slides on with space to spare.
|Price||€239 / $259 MSRP. Available from JensonUSA, Performance Bike, and other retailers.|
|Actual weight||657g (size 58-62cm tested)|
|Sizes||SM 54-58, ML 58-62 (ratchet adjustable)|
|Colors||graphite (tested), white, black, dark red, lime|
|Safety certifications||EN1078, CPSC, KC, ASTM|
Finally, the whole thing is strapped on with a Fidlock magnetic buckle that’s easily operated by one gloved hand. The Trigger FF visor can be positioned in three different spots to accommodate goggles or let in additional light as desired.
If you like to get loose and protect your precious grill in the process, the Trigger FF will help you do so with a combined decrease in sweat and neck pain compared to the competition. It fits well with the gravity-oriented direction a lot of riders are taking their day-long adventures in, resting comfortably between your chill half-shell trail protection and a full-on DH park lap bucket. At the somewhat steep price point of €239, a featherweight full face helmet is not something every rider may need to own. However, it’s a fantastic piece of gear for those who do. Given its minimal weight, I now have fewer excuses to leave the full face at home.