Leatt DBX 6.0 Helmet
Size: Medium (57-58 cm)
Color: Carbon / White / Red
Blister’s Measured Weight: 1048 g
- 360° Turbine Technology
- Reduced Outer Shell Volume
- 3D In-Molded V-Foam
- Optimal Neck Brace Compatibility
- Maximized Ventilation
Reviewer: 5’9” 155 lbs, Head circumference: 57 cm
Test Locations: Various locations in BC, MT, and ID
Days Tested: ~3 Months
Leatt has been making protective gear for quite a while, so it was only a matter of time before they released the centerpiece of any rider’s protection, the helmet. Some might recall that news of Leatt helmets came out quite some time ago, but various delays (including a fire at their helmet factory) set that timetable back a bit.
But Leatt’s helmet lineup has finally become available, and I’ve spent the last two months spinning DH laps in the DBX 6.0. Here’s how it’s performed.
Fit is pretty much the most important factor when buying a helmet. The whole point of a helmet is to keep you from vegetablizing yourself, and a good fit is key to a helmet working properly. Helmet fit is obviously specific to everyone’s individual head. Some people have wider heads, or longer heads, etc. So if possible, try before you buy.
In terms of the stated size, the Medium I rode in fit true to size. My head measures 57 cm in circumference, which is at the small end of the Leatt’s recommended range (57 – 58cm) for a Medium DBX 6.0. I’d say that’s spot on – my head fit well, and I think someone with a 58cm head would fit a Medium well too.
The DBX 6.0 has a slightly more rounded shape than Giro or Troy Lee helmets I’ve ridden, and a more oval shape than Bell helmets I’ve ridden. In terms of fit around my skull, it feels roughly similar to the Smith Forefront half shell and the Kali Avatar X full face.
As far as fit around my cheeks, it’s comparable to the Kali Avatar X. It’s not as snug as the Troy Lee D3 or the POC Cortex with thick pads installed, but it’s tighter than the POC Cortex with thin pads.
Construction and Safety
The DBX 6.0 has a laundry list of features, some of which are safety oriented, and some of which are comfort oriented.
Starting with the safety features, the DBX has what Leatt calls “360° Turbine Technology.” Basically, those are little round rubber discs that can wiggle in any direction. The idea here is very similar to MIPS — to reduce rotational impacts. Basically, when your head hits the ground, pretty often it’ll be a glancing blow. This means that as your head bounces off the dirt, part of the force is a direct blunt force (like if someone punched you straight in the side of the head), and part of the force is rotational (like if someone twisted your head really fast). The blunt force impact is bad because, essentially, it causes your brain to slosh against the inside of your skull. The rotation is also bad because your brain essentially twists inside your skull.
The 360° Turbines are intended to deal with the rotational force – they allow the helmet to rotate a little bit without rotating your head, thus slowing down that rotational impact. Along the same lines, Leatt also worked to make the physical size of the helmet as small as possible. In rotational impacts, your helmet acts as a lever – the larger the helmet, the more rotational force it can exert on your head. By keeping the helmet shape smaller, Leatt minimizes that effect.
Now, of course, any full face helmet has two significant levers built into it – the visor and the chin bar. There’s not a whole lot that can be done to minimize the potential for snagging the chin bar in a crash, but for the visor, Leatt built in break-away bolts so the visor will release in a crash before it begins to work against you.
All of those features deal with rotational impacts, but the DBX 6.0 has what they call “V-Foam” to address direct forces as well. The vast majority of bike helmets rely on an expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam to handle an impact – basically, your heads hits the ground, the EPS deforms or breaks, and in so doing, dissipates some of the force of the impact and (hopefully) slows the deceleration of your brain enough that you live to ride another day. Leatt’s V-Foam is similar to Kali’s “Fusion Plus” foam in that there’s two different densities of EPS that are molded together with the helmet’s shell in a sort of pyramid shape. Those pyramids help dissipate force sideways, rather than directly towards your head.
Leatt also worked to make the helmet as light as possible – at 1048 grams, the DBX 6.0 is decently light for having a lot of features, but there are lighter helmets out there. For reference, the Kali Avatar X weighed in at 876 g, a POC Cortex Flow is around 1000 g, and a Troy Lee D3 is around 1125 g. Aside from just being more comfortable, a lighter helmet can reduce whiplash in a crash.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the DBX 6.0 also works well with a neck brace. I tried the helmet with a Leatt DBX 6.5 carbon, an older Leatt brace, as well as an Alpinestars Pro Bionic brace and it worked well with all of them. Notably, when using the DBX 6.5 neck brace, I had quite a bit more range of motion with the DBX 6.0 than when I used the Kali Avatar X with the same brace. That held true with all of the neck braces I tried. It was a lot more comfortable to ride with, but still seemed like it’d serve it’s intended purpose and limit my neck from bending too far in a crash.
There are also some fairly minor features that are nevertheless well thought out. For example – the cheek pads can be removed without undoing the chin strap. If you’ve had a bad crash and the helmet needs to be removed while keeping your neck stabilized, this makes things a lot easier.
The skeptical among us will undoubtedly be saying, Sure, there’s all of these slick features that are presented to us as being “better,” but do they really make any difference? I can’t definitively answer that question. They all make sense to me, and they’re all in line with what some other helmet manufacturers are doing. But I don’t have any independent way to test the helmet’s safety. Fortunately, Leatt has published the results of all of their certification testing. This is something that we at Blister have been asking for for years, and we give Leatt a lot of credit for putting those numbers out there for anyone to see.
Speaking of certifications, the DBX 6.0 passes EN1078, US CPSC, and ASTM F1952–10. That’s more or less the standard array of certifications for a top of the line DH helmet, and the reason the helmet is submitted to different standards is largely just because different countries have different testing requirements.
Generally speaking, those helmet tests consist of putting the helmet on a weighted “head” and dropping it onto anvils of various shapes. Notably, the ASTM F1952 certification is specifically designed for downhill bike helmets, and it’s testing criteria are more rigorous in that the helmets are dropped from higher, and it tests the chinbar, which most other certifications don’t.
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