While Fox has been a longtime player in the gear market, some of their safety equipment hasn't always been as top-of-the-line as their gear. In the past few years however, Fox has taken a new approach to their product line and have committed to relaunching the safety side of the brand, which of course includes their helmet line. Part of this relaunch included taking some of the already popular existing products, such as the V3 helmet, and bumping them up a notch.
Fox V3 Helmet Features:
- Contains Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS).
- Designed with a composite shell utilizing carbon fiber, kevlar, and fiberglass.
- Dual-density EPS liner.
- Utilizes 14 intake and 4 exhaust vents for airflow.
- Available in three different shell sizes and four EPS liners to cover a range of head sizes.
- MSRP: $449.95.
In the past, Fox's V3 helmet was the premium model until the arrival of the V4. After this, Fox went back to the drawing board and brought some of their knowledge from the V4 down to the newest V3. From the front, the new V3 looks quite a bit like its predecessor but from the rear, it resembles its older brother, the V4, with most notably the exhaust vents. As for the overall shape of the helmet, nothing too out of the ordinary stands out with the V3's design, outside of the larger air vents found along the shell.
When first sliding the helmet on, I found it was much more comfortable than Fox's previous V3. The first time I put the older model on, I had an instant feeling that I was in a decent helmet but not a top-level helmet. The new V3, however, has a much more comfortable liner, plus a snugger fit across the dome of the head and along the chin bar/cheek pads. Underneath the new dual-density EPS liner, there's something yellow and interesting, the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, or MIPS for short. While this isn't new to helmets or even the moto market, it's new to Fox's range. For an explanation on MIPS, jump to their website here.
With goggles getting larger, their fit can be a concern for those who are worried that their favorite set won't fit inside their newest helmet purchase. The V3 was made after Fox produced their own larger frame goggle, so this was in mind during its creation. While the V3 has plenty of room for the largest of goggles (Dragon, Oakley Airbrake, and 100%) it doesn't have much room for goggles with noseguards. The mouthpiece of the V3 may not be as close as say a V4 or Arai, but the built-in noseguard on the helmet does come back quite a ways, requiring the noseguard on any goggles I tried to be removed.
On the Track
Personally, I tend to prefer helmets with a very snug fit, especially around the cheeks to help hold my head back in the helmet where it belongs. I found that from side-to-side the V3 stays in place quite wellm but from front-to-back, I noticed that my face can slip forward a tad bit easier than I'd like with a decent jolt. Once underway, I can honestly say I can feel the MIPS at work. There's a tad bit of movement in any direction and a noticeable squeak of it sliding through its motions. It drove me slightly insane going through the pits but once you're out and up to speed, it's nearly impossible to hear. Interestingly enough, I've been spending a lot of time in different helmets that feature carbon fiber shells, and this is the first all composite shell I've worn consistently in quite a while. The slight weight increase in the V3 was noticeable compared to the helmets I've been wearing recently (including Fox's own V4), and it made me miss the light weight which is becoming more common on the market, even in this price range.
Thanks to the lack of a real winter in Southern California, testing the ventilation has been an easy task. Overall, the V3 does a decent job of keeping my head cool, as I haven't found myself in a downpour of sweat yet, but I've tested helmets that have better ventilation. A big plus with the V3 is the liner quality, which I thought soaked up any sweat quite well and without irritating my face.
As much as we try to be thorough, a crash test isn't exactly planned when it comes to a helmet test. As for the V3, I didn't have the honors of going headfirst into anything, but a small smack on the side of the helmet from a front-end washout will have to do. Fox's current liners are great, both in comfort and durability, even after multiple washes. Also, the overall fit of the helmet has stayed fairly snug over the past three months, without much loss in cushion and tightness from the padding.
The Last Word
While Fox Racing's V3 is most definitely an improvement over its predecessor, I'd have a bit of a hard time pulling the trigger on purchasing one. At $450, I feel like the V3 has over-shot the mid-range spot that the previous model held on the market. At this point, I feel like spotting the extra money to jump to their V4 model or another true top-of-the-line helmet isn't that big of a deal, while the price-conscious can get into a carbon or carbon composite shell at a similar or cheaper price than the V3. Of course the V3 does feature MIPS, but this is a technology that other helmet companies are also licensing, which in turn adds to the price. Overall, the helmet is not a bad buy, but there are arguably some other options on the market that could make more sense.
Vital MX Rating
Check out FoxHead.com for more information on Fox's wide range of motocross and lifestyle products.
About the Test Rider
Review by Michael Lindsay // Photos by Michael Lindsay and Todd Guitierez