So, I finally got the chance to test ride my new Back on Track EQ3 helmet. My verdict? Two thumbs up. I wore the helmet for an hour and a half ride and there were no pressure points, my head stayed cool, and it didn’t move at all.
What I like:
Although initially I was concerned that it felt a bit “shallow” in the fit, when I tried it on alongside my Charles Owen jockey cap, the fit was very similar. I wear a size 59 (7 1/4) in both. The helmet comes with two liners — a thicker one and a thinner one — so you can adjust the fit. Mine fit with the installed liner just fine. It doesn’t move on my head and it’s not too tight (haven’t we all had one of those helmets that left a line across your forehead?) The liners are made of a Coolmax® material and are machine washable on the delicate cycle. There will also be replacement liners available for sale separately.
MIPS technology works by installing a thin (0.5–0.7 mm), ventilated, custom cut low-friction layer inside the helmet liner. The layer is held in place by an assemblage of composite anchors
that flex in all directions. These anchors hold the layer in place, around the head, but provide a small movement in response to angled impact. MIPS’ small movement (10-15 mm) relative to the helmet at the brief moment of an angled impact (3–10 milliseconds) allows the head to continue in the direction in which it was originally traveling. This means that some portion of the rotational forces and energies acting on the head at impact are redirected and spread out thanks to the large low-friction layer, rather than being transferred to the brain. If all that was going on in my helmet, it was completely transparent to me. There was no feeling of motion during my ride.
The helmet weighs about the same as my existing helmet. Amanda from the $900 Facebook Pony included a weight comparison in her review. Certainly, it didn’t feel heavy to me.
Does that MIPS layer make the helmet weigh more than most helmets? The MIPS website says that the layer is very thin and weighs between 25-45 grams (so 0.0551156 to 0.099208 pounds). Not significant. Maria went a step farther and weighed an EQ3 helmet in each size for me so I could compare it to something more “known” to us on the market. The EQ3 helmet weighed in at 1.25-1.5lbs, from smallest size to largest size. I weighed all the helmets I could get my hands on (for science!), all in sizes 7 1/8 to 7 1/4, and they came in like this: GPA Speed Air weighs 1lb, Charles Owen JR8 weighs 1.2, Samshield ShadowMatte weighs 1.2, and Charles Owen 4 Star weighs 1.4. So based on that, there is little to no difference between a “regular” helmet and the EQ3. It may even weigh a bit less than a skull cap.
I chose not to buy another jockey cap because I actually like a helmet with a brim. The one on the EQ3 is more flexible than the one on my Charles Owen Wellington (my foxhunting helmet). This will allow the brim to bend and flex on impact, making it less likely to shift on your head if you do fall.
My head stayed cool. I’ve been using my jockey helmet while deciding what to buy and it’s definitely not cool! The EQ3 has two vents in the front and two in the back. My head appreciated it.
Replacement policy: If you register your helmet, you can receive a new helmet for 50% off during the first year and 25% off in the second year. This is a good deal given that the helmet lists for $249 (although I bought mine on Helmet Awareness Day). It makes it a bit less painful to replace a helmet that might be damaged by a fall.