|KLIM ECE F4 Helmet
The best just got better.
by Martin Hackworth
Photos: Martin Hackworth, KLIM, JR Hackworth
A few months ago we were
to secure from
KLIM a newly released version of the ECE
certified F4 helmet. Though the
ECE (European) certified model is not DOT approved, Idaho does have a
helmet law, so certification is of no consequence
fact, however, that the ECE F4 is nearly a pound lighter than the
Snell approved version. As much as we liked the old F4, this one
we said in our F4 review from last year, to
wear one is to want one. The best just got better.
The ventilation afforded by the multiple vents and plenums in the F4 is amazing. The F4 flows rivers of cool air - even at a walking pace. When you sweat inside the F4, it flows so much air that the sweat quickly evaporates and your head cools like it's air-conditioned. It's really your best friend in hot weather. New for 2013 lower-profile vent covers actually increase air flow.
There are a few
drawbacks that come with massive
ventilation. The ECE F4's
generous airflow is accompanied by a small amount of extra
from the outside world. Yet it's far from the
helmet we've used, and we consider the trade-off for
ventilation and light weight to be worth it. For us noise isn't much of
an issue because
we use noise-canceling earplugs. The three vents
span the the top and
back of the helmet have much lower-profile replaceable covers than
before (and have softer edges) so snagging branches isn't quite the
issue it was with older models.
Ventilation aside, an equally impressive feature of the ECE F4 is it's fit. The moisture-wicking, padded liner that KLIM uses inside the EPS foam has far less "squish" than with any other off road helmet we've used. The ECE F4 is also well-shaped for my head (long and narrow). All you have to do is make sure that the F4 fits snugly (not tightly) out of the box and you are good to go. It's a very comfortable fit. Initially I was concerned that I'd need to get a size smaller helmet because it didn't feel tight enough, but KLIM provided us with extra sets of cheek pads that we used to dial up the advised fit, and off we went.
The vented visor has a good range of adjustability and is tough (the helmet comes with a spare). The chin strap and other miscellaneous bits are well-sorted. The ECE F4 also comes with a breath deflector, a really nice carrying bag, spare screws and miscellaneous parts. The Windstopper® liner does wonders in the winter keeping your head both warm and dry in cooler weather. The whole thing just works, in all conditions.
We have experienced just about every type of dinger in imaginable in a year of wearing various F4 helmets and can attest to their sturdy construction and crash worthiness - including the three ECE F4s we have used. Constructed with fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar® and weighing around 2.5 lbs (in XL) the ECE F4 is one of the lightest premium off road helmets available. Like most all KLIM products, the ECE F4 exudes thoughtful design and careful construction.
Now the F4 is not only the best-fitting, most ventilated helmet out there, but the ECE model is also one of the lightest. We feel that this helmet is one of the best and a relative bargain compared to other lids in its class.
ECE F4 Helmet
The Good: Flows air like a roots blower on steroids - even while walking.
The Rad: Good initial fit is permanent.
The Gnarly: One less excuse why I suck.
Our take on the F4 in the 2013 Tour of Idaho. The DOT/SNELL F4.