Fly Racing F2 Carbon Forge Helmet Review 2018
We are one well-protected bunch here at the Mountain Sledder offices. Thankfully we have a handful of lightweight helmets to choose from when we head out for the day. Here are our thoughts on the Fly Racing F2 Carbon Forge Cold Weather Helmet!
Fly Racing F2 Carbon Forge Helmet Review 2018
Pros – Looks great, very safe, fit is good, can be customized for different temperatures
Cons – Not quite as light as some more expensive helmets, no quick strap release
The F2 Carbon Forge Helmet looks pretty sharp right out of the box. Straight away, this put the helmet in our good books. The bright colours really stand out. The paint job is finished with a thick, gloss clear coat which looks tough and will surely last. Don’t like Hi-Vis and Orange? No problem. The F2 Carbon comes in no less than 22 different variations of the same model. If you can’t find a style you like, then there is simply no pleasing you.
The shell shape looks fantastic, with a compact and aggressive aesthetic. Fine details like a slightly curved visor add to the overall appeal of the design.
With the helmet comes a soft fleece helmet bag which will help keep your new lid looking fresh when you’re not out riding.
Fly Racing started out some 20 years ago making helmets and handlebars for moto. So they kind of know what they’re doing. The beauty of the F2 Carbon Forge helmet is that it can work for snow, moto, off-road, on-highway and even track days if you really wanted it to. That’s because it ticks all the certification boxes, regardless of country. Want to wear it on-highway in the US? Sure, it’s got DOT certification. Take it to the track for some reason? (We’re not sure why you would, but bear with us here.) It’s got SNELL cert. Riding anywhere else in the world, and want to know that your helmet passes the most rigorous international testing standard? Yep, it’s got ECE as well.
And while there is no mention of it in the documentation, rest assured—the F2 Carbon Forge helmet is neck-brace compatible. Just ask Trey Canard, who races in the F2. And if it’s good enough for a guy with a Red Bull painted on his helmet, trust us, it’s good enough for you.
The F2 Carbon Forge is constructed of a fibreglass, kevlar and carbon fibre composite. All that sounds tough as hell on paper, and we’re not about to intentionally pile into a tree head-first to try and prove otherwise. Like most helmets these days, it has a dual-density EPS (expanded polystyrene) liner. What our helmet doesn’t have (but a few of the F2 Carbon variations do) is MIPS, aka Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, which is the latest in helmet protection technology.
Now MIPS may have more implications for safety in a dirt/street application than snow, but that’s not for us to say. In any case, we’re happy with the protection the F2 Carbon Forge provides.
One thing we would love to see in a premium helmet such as this is a quick release strap system. I guess we’re kind of spoiled with Fidlock and some ratchet-style systems we’ve tried, but it’s hard to go back to fumbling around with a D-ring style securement with gloves on. In the real-world, that means recreationalists like us are not actually undo-ing the strap on our helmet to take it off—just loosing the strap and pulling it past our chin every time we want it off. That makes for a lot of loosening and tightening in a day. That said, a D-ring style securement is the most safe option, and Fly Racing no doubt purposely had this in mind when designing the helmet.
Fit and Shape
The helmet fits our test rider very nicely. Now everyone’s head is different. (Look at Ernie and Bert for example—which one are you?) So it’s important to try on a helmet for yourself before buying whenever possible. The cheek pads are snug without feeling oppressive. And the removable, washable liner is comfy. Everything snaps in and out easily for adjustment, vent plugins and washing. No complaints at all about fit or comfort here.
Outside, the helmet has a nice, compact shell. The mouth/nose piece doesn’t extend out in front excessively like some other helmets we’ve tried. That’s beneficial for looking down at your console or to adjust packs straps, open zips and so forth. It feels like there’s less helmet to get in the way there.
The F2 Carbon Forge weighs in at 1472g on our scale—without the breath box installed, since we typically don’t use one. That’s pretty light, but not quite as light as some other top-of-the-line “carbon” helmets out there. But those don’t all pass SNELL either, so it’s a fair tradeoff.
Venting and Temperature
The full name of this helmet is actually F2 Carbon Forge Cold Weather Helmet. And they mean it. The helmet comes out of the box with a neoprene breath box neatly installed. The fit is great and it comes securely installed with plugs which insert into vent gaps in the mouth area. This thing isn’t an afterthought, dangling loose like we’ve seen in some other helmets. The breath box can be custom shaped to your nose, thanks to a thin metal insert within. The neoprene material is nice and thin, and it forms a tight seal with goggles in place.
Too bad we never use these, so the first thing we did was remove it. For heavy exertion—when pushing it in the mountains—we need as much ventilation up front as possible. If we did spend a little more time on the trail though, we can see this well-designed breath box being a big plus.
The helmet also comes with three sets of plug inserts which stop up the 13 interior vents (three plugged and two not visible in the image below). But these will also never be installed in our helmet. It’s easy to imagine how these plugs would be handy for die-hards, ripping high-kilometer days on the trail in sub-zero temperatures. But for our purposes, the helmet is plenty warm enough as is. The venting that is there works decently, but not as well as some other helmets we’ve tested. Like we said, they don’t call this the “Forge Cold Weather Helmet” for nothing!
The F2 Carbon Forge Cold Weather Helmet is priced at $479 CDN. That price point is inline with—or slightly cheaper than—premium helmet offerings from other manufacturers. For that you’ll get a helmet which can be used year-round, for any motorized recreational activity you might enjoy. It’s versatile enough to be used when it gets very cold out, and the venting should be adequate for all but the hottest days.
The helmet looks great, and with it’s UV clear coat, should stay that way. The fit is comfortable and snug, but try it on your oddly-shaped melon first if you can. The F2 Carbon is about a safe as a helmet can be, passing all three major certification standards. And it’s available with MIPS protection as well for a small increase in price, if ultimate safety is on your checklist.
There only two real downsides that we can see. For one, it’s not quite a light as some of the other “carbon fibre” helmets out there, likely due to the composite Kevlar, fibreglass and carbon fibre construction. The heavier-duty combination Fly Racing uses might provide a little more protection than a helmet with a higher percentage of carbon-fibre in the mix, but we can’t really say with any certainty. We do know that it passes SNELL, and not many off-road helmets carry that certification.
The other catch is a lack of quick release chin-strap. It’s kind of like having a key fob for your truck. You don’t strictly need one. But once you’ve enjoyed the convenience of one, it’s hard to go back to sticking your key in the lock every time you want to get in. If you’re into racing, you’ll probably enjoy the security of the D-ring closure. But for recreationalists who pop their helmet on and off regularly, it’s a toss up for convenience.
All in, the pros far outweigh the cons, making the Fly Racing F2 Carbon Forge Helmet a great choice. We’ve had many questions and compliments about the F2 out on the mountain already. That has a lot to do with what’s on the outside. But we feel that the helmet’s features and safety benefits on the inside are just as appealing.