Review: Urge Down-O-Matic Helmet

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After spending a great deal of time riding in one of our favourite helmets of 2011, the Endur-O-Matic, we knew that if Urge’s full face offering was anything like it, we would be in for a treat and just had to get one in for review. The Down-O-Matic is Urge’s most recognizable helmet to date, made famous by former world champion and veteran world cup pinner, Fabien Barel who has catapulted the brand into the consciousness of mountain bikers across the world and for good reason…

Words: Olly Forster

Photos: Alex Tyler

It doesn’t take long on a hot day to realise a light weight (995 grams!) and well vented helmet is exactly what the doctor ordered! On the day we did the shoot it was hot, really hot and after a day on the track smashing runs out, the unique circular vents on the Down-O-Matic worked a treat!

One of the things that aesthetically makes Urge’s helmets appealing, is that they don’t follow trends or follow the more established designs of certain market leading brands and instead do there own thing and in the process have earned themselves countless fans who adhere to the brands unique, but altogether functional design ethos.

The Peak isn’t as flexy as the one fitted to the Enduro, but it is still designed to deform in a crash and reduce any undue effects to the neck when impacting the ground. Spare peaks are available for £15, just in case you need to replace it.

This is a new one to me: grip tape on the peak? That’s exactly what it is, or something very similar and it’s there to reduce the chance of the peak moving around if the bolts come loose over a days heavy riding. This is ‘thinking out of the box’ and is precisely what we have become accustomed to here with Urge products. Yes it’s a little ‘odd’, but sometimes odd is spot on and this is a really neat idea that does a good job!

The model we tested was the gloss white offering with the gold ‘Fred Perry’ esque Laurel on the side, known as the “Palace” and is definitely a looker, but there are 5 options to choose from with several colours and designs to suit all tastes.

All of the unique circular vents are constructed using a metal mesh to keep the dirt and bugs out and surrounded with a logo embossed rubber seal that certainly adds to the level of attention to detail, apparent throughout the helmet. The vents are part of a system that Urge call the “Internal Venturi Effect” which helps air flow across your head.

The Down-O-Matic comes in two sizes, S/M and L/XL and each one comes with a selection of pads to customise the fit to the individual, which will prove useful as many have said the helmet does come up a little small so trying before you buy is always worth while. Once you get the helmet home, playing with the pads to get things just right for you will help get things perfect prior to hitting the trails. You can also purchase spare pads should you want spares or loose the originals and at £13, you can’t go wrong!

The individual pads are all removable and machine washable to keep your helmet nice and fresh, but the main mesh liner is white and fixed in place to the main EPS shell, which could prove problematic after riding through all the UK weather has to offer when keeping your investment looking tip-top.

For goggles we tried Oakley, Fox and Smith and they all worked perfectly with great visibility and no issues.

Conclusion.

All in all the Down-O-Matic has lived up to the expectations left from the Endur-O-Matic and like it’s little brother, gets the job done and in a way that is so unique to Urge and ultimately sets it apart from the competition. With looks and functionality that have already proved a success with riders and racers alike, the Down-O-Matic is becoming a regular sight and tracks and trails across the world.

One of the most surprising things about this helmet is the price. At a crazy £140GBP, the Down-O-Matic is amazing value for money considering what the package includes and when you consider that this helmet has real pedigree to its design and association with some seriously fast and stylish riders, it all stacks up as a pretty amazing helmet.

The features and price alone all add up to a serious contender for anyone, but for those looking for a new helmet and wants something that is not just different, but down right awesome as well, the Urge is definitely worth a closer look. The only niggle for me, is the liner, which I’d prefer to be fully removable from the shell, but at £140 is gets pretty hard to pick faults. If you like your kit to be functional, adhere to unique design concepts and have a tight budget, but don’t want to settle for a ‘budget’ helmet, the Urge Down-O-Matic should be on your radar. Highly recommended!

Urge Bike products are exclusively distributed in the UK by Decade Europe. For Everything Urge and more:

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