Watch the full review video below or check out more MTB related videos at the MTB.guide YouTube Channel. Below this video you find the video transcription.
The more aggressive styling, large rear coverage and goggle support show that the Endura MT500 helmet is aimed towards the trail and enduro rider.
As the sport evolves, helmet safety is one of the aspects that clearly stayed behind. While MIPS is becoming more and more standard, Endura went in a different route to improve safety and tries to reduce the overall impact forces with Koroyd.
The reduction of forces of an impact is achieved with the straw-like structure that you see inside the helmet. These are the Koroyd tubes, that are designed to better absorb the energy of an impact compared your traditional EPS, a foam material which is commonly used in helmets. So Koroyd doesn’t specifically target the reduction of rotational forces like MIPS, Spin and 360 Turbine aim to do. You can however say that a better absorbing material also absorbs rotational forces, but it still won’t be comparable to for example MIPS.
Looking beyond the Koroyd you see a well thought out and well finished helmet, which you would expect for a top of the line Endura helmet that retails for 160 euro’s. You get for that price a lot of features and the choice out of 3 helmet sizes and 4 different colors.
The Endura features an adjustable 4 position and removeable visor. Put the visor in the upper positions and you gain easier access to the eyewear docks. In the top position you can store your goggles under the visor. On the back of the helmet is clip mounted which keeps your goggle strap in place.
On the top of the helmet you find room for the included accessory clip which partially mount in one of the vents, to be able to attach a light or action camera to your helmet. The MT500 has 15 medium to large vents in total to keep your head cool, 12 of these vents have Koroyd behind them.
The MT500 helmet is the only helmet in Endura’s lineup that has Koroyd. At half the price and leaving out other features like eyewear docs, goggle strap clip and Koroyd, you can get Endura’s Singletrack II helmet. If you like the looks of the MT500 but don’t mind the other features and want to stay in Endura’s lineup, then the Singletrack II can, with it visual similarities and weight reduction of more than 100 gram, be an alternative.
Looking for a similar helmet at other brands, you’ll probably end up with the closely matched Smith Session. In return for the Goggle strap clip and accessory clip you’ll get improved safety with integrated Koroyd combined with MIPS. The Smith Session also retails at 160 euro’s.
In case of a crash it’s always good to hear that a crash replacement program can cover some of your expenses for your next Endura helmet. Endura has a crash replacement program which offers a replacement helmet at a reduced price over 3 years after purchase. In case of a crash you can get the same model if possible, at 50% of the MSRP. Note that this crash replacement program is currently only available in Europe.
On the trails
Comfort and fit are very important on the trails. I found the MT500 to be a perfect fit, but this will differ from person to person. It has plenty of adjustability to make a comfortable fit for most. The padding is a bit firm and didn’t noticeably degrade over the last 10 months. As for the chinstrap, it sits reasonably flat and is longer than on most helmets.
Ventilation may seem okay at first, but it noticeably suffers from the implementation of Koroyd. It keeps the temperature well inside in the winter, but riding in temperatures up to 36°C (97°F) here in summer is where you really notice the lack in airflow compared to its open vent counterparts.
Koroyd also collects visibly more dirt and is harder to clean. In return I didn’t get any bees or wasps in my helmet and I didn’t get any tan lines in the shape of the vents.
Clearance with big sunglasses can be a bit tight with the MT500 helmet. Normal sized sunglasses like the Oakley Jawbone oppose no problem. The Jawbreaker fits well, but the 100% Speedcraft nearly hits the helmet and on extremely bumpy terrain it actually does.
Visibility with the Endura MT500 is good, while a slightly higher bottom position of the visor has my preference. You can set the visor in one of the higher positions, but these positions are either too high to be fashionable nor functional while having your sunglasses still on your nose.
The helmet accessory clip is a nice addition for evening rides, keeping a light stable on the helmet without the need of fiddling with straps or sticking it with adhesive tape on to your helmet. And the same counts for using an action camera, for those who like to film other riders. With something relatively heavy mounted on the on your helmet, the MT500 stayed remarkably stable.
Helmet safety innovations
I’d like to touch on a few things regarding the newer innovations in helmet safety, like MIPS, Spin, 360 Turbine, Koroyd and others. The current safety standards (like the EN1078 here in Europe) don’t require these new technologies, as a traditional EPS liner with PC shell would easily suffice to meet the requirements, however, these new technologies claim to be safer than your standard helmets. Take note of the word “claim”.
The current safety standards are old and need to be updated to include more comprehensive testing. There are currently no tests included that address the reduction of rotational forces for technologies like MIPS. This make you purely dependent on what a helmet manufacturer claims and makes it an interesting marketing tool.
The only way to compare the safety of a helmet, is to compare the test reports, right? Well, unfortunately helmet manufacturers aren’t legally required to publish these test reports. I contacted Endura and Koroyd for the reports, as well as other helmet manufacturers, but none was willing to supply them. The only brand that I currently know of that publishes test results is Leatt.
Therefore, I see the newer safety technologies more as a marketing tool, which can sound reasonable to have a positive effect on your safety, than as an actual safety improvement. I fully support the way that certain brands want to push the safety beyond what’s legally necessary, but it also requires some transparency and proof from their side. Having a number to compare safety between helmets and an increase in consumer awareness can give helmet safety the needed push in the right direction.
Endura managed with the MT500 to produce a nicely finished trail/enduro helmet, with lots of features and plenty of adjustability to make a comfortable fit. At 160 euro’s retail it sits at the high end of this segment. Of course, you’ll be paying a premium for being one of the few helmets that feature Koroyd.
The claimed safety improvement of Koroyd also has a slight downside. The straw-like structure is used on the entire inside of the helmet including the vents and this causes a noticeable decrease in airflow. Endura made an interesting choice on safety to exclude MIPS in its flagship helmet, while its competitor Smith does add it to their helmets. Other than that, it’s a great helmet which in my opinion also looks good. With the addition of Koroyd that might reduce the injury of your next crash, it might then also improve its value for money.