Few products on the market are tested in the hands of consumers the way BRP’s advanced OXYGEN Snowmobile Helmet has been. Even fewer are tested with what Mike Pye put his OXYGEN Helmet through just a couple weeks ago. One of snowmobiling’s ultimate tests of durability – Cain’s Quest endurance race!
Just 17 of the 41 teams that entered the 2018 Cain’s Quest race completed the grueling 3200km. Mike Pye – a Cain’s Quest rookie– and his partner Randy Winter were one of them, finishing 10th place aboard their 2018 Ski-Doo Renegade Backcountry X sleds.
“3200km is pretty good little ride,” Pye said when asked about what he and his Team 19 Farrell’s Excavating Ltd. partner put their prototype OXYGEN snowmobile helmets through in early March 2018. The race was run at record pace and was the ultimate proving ground for BRP’s newest helmet offering. A 3200-km, 5-day trek through eastern Canada’s most rugged terrain along the Atlantic coast, where weather and race conditions can change in an instant. Equipment that not only stands up to those changing elements, but also is adaptable to match rider comfort preferences is a must, and according to Pye, the OXYGEN snowmobile helmet delivered exceptional results.
The following questions and answers were taken directly from a conversation Pye had with BRP engineering teams gathering feedback documenting his experience with the OXYGEN snowmobile helmet.
BRP PRODUCT SPECIALIST: How would you describe the overall comfort of the OXYGEN snowmobile helmet?
PYE: Honestly, I found the helmet very comfortable. We had done a lot of scouting rides for the race earlier in the winter with other helmets we really didn’t think were uncomfortable. But the OXYGEN is lighter, and it didn’t catch the wind like a helmet with a peak on it would. In fact, I used to go to massage and physical therapy for neck strain that I believe may have been at least partially caused by wearing a helmet. Since I started wearing the OXYGEN helmet, I haven’t had any neck discomfort or required any therapy for my neck. Pretty amazing! And actually my race partner typically doesn’t ride with a helmet (no helmet laws in Labrador and not something BRP endorses) because he finds them uncomfortable, but even he said it was the most comfortable helmet he’s ever put on.
BRP: Did you have any issues with the visor fogging with or without the breath box?
PYE: It was a lot warmer than it typically is in Newfoundland and Labrador at this time of the year, so I didn’t use the breath box in my helmet. Still, we had some temps close to -20c (-8f), but we didn’t experience any issues with the visor fogging. And if there was even a hint of haze on the retractable sun visor, I just flipped it up in the heated garage for just a minute and it cleared up instantly.
BRP: How did you find the warmth the snowmobile helmet provided?
PYE: I thought the warmth was excellent. Again, it wasn’t all that cold during the race, but all I wore under my snowmobile helmet was one of the thinnest balaclavas BRP makes. The neck/chin curtain on the OXYGEN snowmobile helmet also works much better than others I’ve worn. Some aren’t long enough, or are a hassle when taking the helmet on and off. I didn’t experience any difficulty with the OXYGEN snowmobile helmet neck curtain, and the wind protection was much better. I could tell spots I might have been worried about getting frost bitten with other snowmobile helmets weren’t going to be a problem with this setup.
BRP: How did you find the ability to eat and drink with the snowmobile helmet on?
PYE: No problem whatsoever – especially with the breath box removed. It was very easy to just flip up the visor and take a drink or eat a bar without taking the helmet off. It really saves time, especially when you’re in a race like we were.
BRP: Did you have any issues with the electrical connection? Did connecting to the back of the helmet work better or worse?
PYE: If I’m being totally honest, we did have one electrical cord break on us, but believe that happened when I was actually thrown off my sled. I could immediately tell the cord seemed more durable than previous helmets I’ve worn, it just felt a little heavier duty. Having the magnetic connection at the back of the helmet was just awesome. It was so quick and easy to connect – as long as you reached behind your head and got the magnetic connector close, it snapped right into place. It was secure – we never had to worry about it falling off like you do with other electric visor helmets that plug on the side of your head. Similarly, running the cord through my jacket and clipping it to the d-ring was so convenient. I never had to fumble around looking for the cord to plug into the sled – it was always right there ready to go. Having the control indicator right there was perfect as well. The problem with other helmets is you always had to ask your buddy if your indicator light is on when you plug in to make sure you’ve got power to the helmet. With the OXYGEN snowmobile helmet, that’s a non-issue because you can just look down at the light on that controller and see that you’ve got power and you’re good to go.
BRP: Any other thoughts you’d like to share about your experience with the OXYGEN snowmobile helmet?
PYE: I would add that the operation of the helmet is much easier and more comfortable than a helmet with the adjustable breath box like the BV2S. I’ve worn the BV2S, but I’m a person that always felt a little claustrophobic when I wear something that close and tight to my face. I never had that feeling with the OXYGEN helmet. The overall convenience of the helmet is just so much better, and the vision is great!