HN’s resident cowgirl takes Troxel’s newly-redesigned Sierra helmet for a spin.
My sister-in-law (who is the one who gets to slop out to the pasture to take photos for all of my product reviews) has some brilliant one-liners. The other day, in relevant conversation, she said “It’s not like you’ve ever heard someone say, ‘Man, I wish I hadn’t been wearing my helmet today!’ It’s always the other way around.”
Preach. And yet, the list of excuses for riders not wearing helmet still amuses and mystifies me: “It throws me off-balance.” “They’re uncomfortable.” “They’re ugly.” “They don’t look ‘western.'” “Helmets make you take unnecessary risks.” “I trust my horse.” (OK, to those last couple I only have two responses: does wearing a seatbelt make you think you can drive like a race car driver? And yeah, I trust my car not to suddenly veer off the road, but I’m still gonna wear my seatbelt. End of discussion.)
To the former list of complaints who seemingly love to give western riders a bad reputation when it comes to safety, I present to you the helmet that will blow these arguments right out of the water: Troxel’s newly-redesigned Sierra helmet.
Boom. The Sierra has been in Troxel’s stable of helmets for a long time and has been a perpetual favorite of trail riders for years, but the redesign has really slicked up the look without compromising on the safety and fitting features that have made it the company’s best-selling western helmet. All Troxel helmets, regardless of discipline, are ASTM/SEI certified. To illustrate the helmet’s various features, I took a video to show how the Sierra works:
Troxel specifies that the chin strap and self-locking buckle are part of the “retention system” that keeps the helmet on the head, while the SureFit cradle is part of the “fit system” that allows for a comfortable, custom wear. The SureFit system lets the helmet really hug the back of my head, keeping the helmet snug and fitted without feeling like I’m getting squeezed. The Flip Fold padding allows for a nearly-custom range of adjustments depending on individual head shape and helmet fit: for me, the helmet fit snugly without any adjustments to the padding at all so I simply wore it right out of the box.
Troxel helmets come in small, medium or large as opposed to numbered sizes, so I took a large: initially the helmet felt almost too tight but as the padding adjusted to my head the helmet felt comfortable. (For comparison, I wear a 7 3/8 in hats and helmets.) Your best bet if you too have a large head like me is to find a local dealer and try one one (Troxel suggests that different models of helmet have different fits, so you may need to try a few on.) The company has also responded to customer feedback that larger sizes especially for men are coming soon.
Once I had the straps adjusted to fit and had clicked the buckle into place, I forgot that I was wearing it–which is basically the point of a well-fitting helmet. The Sierra is lightweight and well-ventilated, perfect for riding the trails all year round. I particularly liked the look of the visor, which is built into the helmet to complement the overall design. The leather/Cordura surface on the outside of the helmet gives it a rugged look that’s also subtle and conservative, which I like: the helmet simply looked like it had been designed to match the rest of my working tack and apparel for a day riding in the cow pasture. The new lower-profile design eliminates the “bobble-head” look of older helmets and feels much more streamlined on my head.
So I think that’s basically shot down any argument from the anti-helmet camp: the Sierra is low-profile and lightweight, so there’s no way it would ever “throw you off balance;” the custom fitting options through the SureFit and Flip Fold padding mean that the helmet actually conforms to your head for maximum comfort and stability; the rugged leather finish and attractive color makes this helmet a complement to any outfit whether it’s for show or recreation. Yep — you really can’t go wrong here.
Troxel continues to blaze trails with its line of western helmets: check out the Dakota, Cheyenne Rowdy, Venture and new Rebel designs for a full range of western looks that still hold safety first and foremost. All of the western helmets are priced competitively, with the Sierra available online for $119.95.
Go riding! (And wear a helmet!)