At A Glance
With a rich history steeped in the world of motocross, it’s no surprise to find that O’Neal’s range of mountain bike helmets have more than just a smattering of MX blended into their mix. Strong graphics combine with in-your-face colours and big peaks to ensure wearers are in no doubt as to the pedigree of this legendary brand.Buy Helmets on
The Pike is a helmet aimed at the broad spectrum of enduro/trail/freeride, and as such has to satisfy the needs of each camp equally well by offering up a blend of lightweight design and high impact protection. As a result, the Pike exceeds the EN1078 safety standard for bicycle helmets.
An EPS inner is shrouded in a durable, high impact polycarbonate shell to aid longevity, and in lieu of a standard triclip, there’s O’Neal’s own curious Fidlock® magnetic buckle to secure the lid to your head.
In pursuit of sturdiness, O’Neal has opted for a handful of larger vents, which gives the helmet a robust look and feel. The in-mould construction of the Pike, as so often found on mid to high-end helmets, also allows for a lower overall weight.
The Pike’s contact pads feature Coolmax® to aid breathability, while the cradle features heaps of up/down, fore/aft adjustability to ensure a secure fit.
On The Trail
Out of the box I must admit to raising an eyebrow at the Fidlock® buckle initially, as it feels almost too easy to open and close - even one-handed. Yet a few dry runs in the safe confines of home assured me that this was a solid, neat solution to a problem I didn’t really know existed. I can see it coming into its own on those occasions when super thick winter gloves are required and after a few uses, it felt completely normal and effortlessly convenient.
Sitting right on the border between a S/M and L/XL at 68cm put me in dangerous territory when it came to getting the size right and reasoning that a helmet that’s way too large is never going to be right, I plumped for the S/M. The Pike’s excellent 3D Multi-Positioning System meant that the fit was as close to tailor-made as it can get; the low-cut extended coverage at the back of the helmet feeling reassuring and comfortable.
Getting the helmet on and off each time required a slacking off of the twist-to-tighten dial at the rear, this in itself is reassuring of the close and secure fit and in my eyes is seen as confirmation of a well-thought-out product, and not one that is going to flop around on your head.
Put through its paces during predominantly autumnal months the Pike never felt overly hot or cold, and once on your head has been a fit-and-forget item; testament to its comfort and functionality.
The one slight issue with the Pike came when one of the two side chin strap buckles (not the locking buckle mechanism) inexplicably snapped in transit whilst on the way back from a ride, but this was easily replaced and did not present a safety issue.
As with footwear, helmet buying can be very subjective, dependent on the shape of one’s loaf, but having tried on dozens of helmets it’s safe to say that this is amongst the best fitting and most secure around, and it feels reassuringly solid and well put together.
If you want to be certain of safety, look rad, and have a helmet that feels great then the Pike is a winner.
By James SwannOriginally from Sheffield, James lives and works in the mountain bike mecca that is the Lake District and has been falling off bikes since he was six. In between working on bike events, riding bikes, racing bikes and writing about bikes he enjoys talking about bikes with anyone who will listen. He really likes bikes.