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Old 02-23-2013, 08:24 PM   #157
BlueLghtning
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Joined: Feb 2004
Location: Newnan, GA
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So my wife and I went to check out these today and yes they are on sale for $69 for the Discovery and $99 for the Explorer. They had both the Explorer and the Discovery helmets at our local CG, although a lot more choice in the Discovery model. In fact, I had to ask where the Explorer ones were and they had them hid in a corner in the back of the store.

Anyway, I started with the Discovery model and was immediately impressed how good it felt on my head. I was in between the XL & L, but in the end decided the L would fit better once broken in. The smallest size they had was a S for my wife and it was too big for her.

Then we went back to the Explorer models. I really like the sun visor, but right away when I tried on the Explorer, it felt like my ears were getting stuck in between the two different pads near the ear. I didn't have that issue with the Discovery. The L was way too tight, so tried on the XL, but was still tight and giving me pressure points right above and behind my ears. I was kind of bummed because it just wasn't as comfy as the Discovery. Once again, the SM was too big for my wife. She was bummed. No XS in stock.

Back to the Discovery model and kept trying on the L and it just fit and felt good. I was ready to purchase and was up at the cash register and my wife mentioned about the optical distortion. I took off the visor thing and there it was. There is a very noticeable optical distortion just off center on either side and I knew there was no way I could live with that. I went and looked at a few others and each one was the same. No deal :(

I went back to the Explorer model seeing if I could figure out something with my ears and just for grins seeing if they had an XXL model. I've never worn an XXL model in any helmet, but the way the XL was creating pressure points, maybe I needed to. The XXL fit better and the more I wore it, the more it seemed I could get along, but I still wasn't sure. We went next door for lunch to think it over and came back and I killed some more time trying on the Explorer and wearing it around the store. In the end, I decided that the fit of the Bilt Explorer was better than my MSR one (AFX-39 clone) and I really liked the sun visor so I was going to give it a shot.

I haven't worn it on the bike yet, but we'll see.

If it wasn't for the visual distortion of the Discovery shield, I would have left with one of those in a heart beat. That helmet felt so much better even though its the "cheaper" version. I would have missed the sun visor, but the fit just was awesome. Such a shame about the optical distortion in that one.

I was really surprised that the two helmets are so different too. Their fit and internal shape is so different. I have a very oval head and I would almost venture to say the Discovery is the more oval shape and the Explorer has a more round shape. To my head, the Discovery was just so much more comfy. Obviously they aren't sized the same since I fit a L in the Discovery, but an XXL in the Explorer. The shields are different and where they sit. The Discovery shield only has 3 positions. Closed, middle, & full open. The middle position has some play so it can sit just above your eye line. Even in full open, the shield is still pretty visible in your FOV. Overall, the shield on the Discovery isn't as nice as the Explorer and of course the Discovery shield has the optical distortion in it. The Explorer helmet only has 2 true notches; full closed & full Open, but there feels like there is enough resistance in the shield that you could put it anywhere and it would stay? Not sure if that will last though through extended use? The Explorer shield also opens up further to almost be completely out of view. The front chin vent for the explorer is inside the helmet and reachable by your thumb. The Explorer has the sun visor which to me sits a little high, but we'll see how it works in the real world use. There might be some optical distortion in the sun shade on the Explorer, but it certainly wasn't as bad as the Discovery shield was.

For $100, the Explorer doesn't seem bad, but it certainly isn't a $200 helmet though. For $69, the Discovery would be a steal if it wasn't for that stupid shield.
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