The 661 Comp 2014 is a great mid-price range helmet for those who need a little extra protection on the downhill trails. We reviewed Six Six One’s Comp out on the red and black lines at the Forest of Dean. £59.99 from Amazon.
There are some bits of kit that you just keep using for years, they don’t break and you don’t ‘fix’ them. For me my 2009 Bell Bellistic Full Face helmet was just that, it was bought on my first trip to Whistler Bike Park and it served me well that first time, and every time since including numerous trails in the UK and Europe. So when I lost this helmet recently (I think I drove off with it on the roof…) you can imagine how I felt, and settled on getting 661’s newest full face – the Comp 2014. (Side note: It was the only one in my size in the trail centre)
For me the luxury of choice was removed by necessity, an unplanned trip to The Forest of Dean left me questioning my Fox Flux half face helmet and in need of something bigger, and the 661 Comp Helmet seemed to call out to me, for the reason above.
I spent some time in the excellent shop at Forest of Dean’s Trail Centre and settled on a 661 Comp 2014. There were other helmets, more expensive helmets, available from 661, Fox and THE but the comp felt good, it fit right and it felt reassuring but not oppressive. Helmet choice is something subjective, and relies on somewhat on the shape of your head. For example I have often coveted the stylish POC Cortex Flow full face, but trying it on it just didn’t work with my head to my disappointment.
The main factors in choosing element seem, to me to be the safety of the helmet, the breathability and the weight. A helmet needs to be comfortable to ride in all day but there is no point if it is too light to protect you the one time you hit that jagged rock on the other side that double you overstretched on.
I went for a Comp in Large, there is an XL and ordinarily with helmets I’ve been an XL (My faithful Bell Bellistic, my Fox Flux and my 661 Dirt Lid all being XL) but this was a Large, maybe people’s heads are generally getting bigger? The helmet fit very snugly, with plenty of padding all around, and I didn’t feel as though any of the inside of the helmet was pressing on my skull at all.
Judging by the features on the helmet, it feels very much like SixSixOne got the pricing wrong on this helmet, it retails for around £60 in the UK but it certainly has the feel (if not necessarily the look) of some far more expensive helmets. With this on my noggin it felt very much like I wearing a Troy Lee D3 (some £300 more expensive) even if it didn’t look like it.
There are 14 vents with debris shields to take care of keeping you cool, and I have ridden it for 5 hours without taking it off, on a few occasions since purchasing it, very comfortably. Indeed, on one recent trail centre ride it was not necessary at all but I enjoyed its feel and kept on riding with it for hours in 20 C degree (that’s 68 F for your imperialists) heat when i should’ve swapped it out for the lighter Fox Flux. Sidenote : 20C is hot for the UK… alright?
Regarding the heat – if you’re prone to sweating you might be disappointed to know that the inner padding is non-removable. So you won’t be able to stick them in the wash should it start to smell after a few weeks.
I recently weighed the helmet out of curiosity whilst baking a lovely cake, and coming at 938g it [the helmet] is lighter than a POC Cortex Flow, which for many is a ‘gold standard’ in helmets. Now I am no weight weenie, and if I put down the sandwiches those extra grams might come into play more, but it’s great to see a sub £100 full face helmet achieving weights lower than considerably pricier alternatives.
When it comes to protection, it is less easy to pick out just how well this will do when I inevitably smash it against a tree or a rock, but SixSixOne have a long pedigree in the USA and further afield, developed through Motocross and Mountain Biking simultaneously. It is likely that some of that experience with motorbikes will have rubbed off in the development of the Comp 2014. Needless to say the helmet meets the required standards, and whilst it doesn’t go beyond that it certainly feels substantial to me so far and I really hope not to find out just how well it protects my skull.
If you are looking for a full face for regular Downhill duties but can’t justify splashing out on the plus £300 benchmark set by the likes of Troy Lee, POC and Giro then this a helmet to consider. It lacks something in the looks department but it fits my Oakley O-Frame goggles easily with a wide window and you can’t get away from its light weight. This is a great helmet to have in your kit bag, though perhaps I wont keep it for 6 years this time!