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Gear Review: 2010 Specialized Deviant II Full Face Helmet

I know it’s late in the season; fall’s graced the PNW in swirling wind gusts and falling leaves. But there’s still plenty of riding to be had before the snow flies. So go get some. But first, if you’re curious about the 2010 Specialized Deviant II full face helmet, read this!

Having crashed on my old full face at Whistler, I recently picked up the Specialized Deviant II (not the carbon one), before heading to Mount Washington and the Cumberland valley trails out on Vancouver Island for a week of riding. Trails consisted of freeride bike park lines, and technical and loamy singletrack. The weather was actually warm for late-season riding, perfect for testing a helmet that boasts breathability.

This review is most applicable for lady riders—as well-fitting full faces are harder for us to come by:

Sizing: I have a tiny noggin so I picked up a Small. It fits well, a tiny bit of wiggle room, but not enough to be unsafe. For petite ladies, here’s a helmet that will fit properly without the need to insert extra padding. My head doesn’t get lost inside and the viewing area is so ample that I don’t feel my vision is restricted at all.

Comfort: Very comfortable! Initially, the extra thick padding throughout creates a snug but soft-on-the-skin fit around the head and especially the cheeks. The neck roll and cheek pads do create great stability. All that padding comes out for cleaning. The chinstrap has something akin to a soft-brushed liner which saves from irritating scratching. The Deviant II is also wonderfully lightweight. There were times where I wouldn’t bother taking it off while pushing up.

Ventilation: This helmet has 18 (!) ventilation holes (two of them, smaller cheek slots) to allow maximum airflow throughout and to the head. It’s noticeable, not so much in that you’re feeling the breeze, but that you’re not feeling the heat build up. The visor also has two large slits to usher air in right above the forehead.

Protection: Dun, dun, dun. I crashed. Big time. On toothy rocks. On the side of my face. No, I wasn’t hauling as fast as an aggro dude, but I had some speed and fell from some height in a steep section. I expected it to be painful, dramatic. The interior EPS foam of the Deviant II withstood the crash, and that extra cheek padding made for a soft cushion so that I didn’t feel the blunt force to my face. EPS foam, “Expanded Polystyrene foam,” is designed to cushion or crush on impact, ultimately protecting save the skull. I didn’t hit hard enough to crush it, and have hardly a scratch on the durable exterior. Had I not had a full face, I’d have a messed up jaw. The Deviant made the experience anti-climatic. Which is a good thing.

Design and Aesthetics: The Deviant II has a sleek, low-profile design. Some full faces can be extremely bulky. There’s no vision impairment here, and the goggle compatibility has been improved via the contours designed into the helmet’s shape. The visor is adjustable. Graphically, I got the Techno, which was plenty girly for me, with hints of purple and yellow.

Final thoughts: The Deviant II is a big upgrade from the original Deviant, which doesn’t have a stellar past. And it won’t cost you what the carbon Deviant models will. I don’t know that I’d recommend this helmet for the most aggressive guy out there. But for all-mountain/dh gals, even hard-charging ladies, I would recommend this helmet—because the fit is appropriate; the comfort and ventilation are superior and it proved protective.

Fine print: Complies with one or more of the following safety standards for bicycle helmets: CPSC, SNELL B-95, CE and ASTM 1952 (standard for downhill mountain bike racing helmets).

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