Oakley is best known for its eyewear but it also does a whole host of other cycling kit too, including a range of helmets for mountain biking, gravel and road. Oakley’s DRT5 helmet was developed in close collaboration with three-time World Champion Downhill racer and long-time Oakley athlete Greg Minnaar. Designed for general trail riding, offering extended coverage for the head, MIPS and some neat features including sprung hooks on the rear for sunglasses storage.
The DRT5 has been around for a few years now but it’s still a top-spec helmet and with the South African downhiller’s input, the DRT5 would be expected to offer the balance of cooling and protection needed to compete with the best MIPS mountain bike helmets, but how does it perform out on the trail?
Design and aesthetics
Excellent in-molding detailing assures that there are zero chinks that could lead to damage to the EPS foam liner during travel or storage. It’s super neat as well with all the edges smoothly finished and perfectly lined up, something we don’t always see even on premium-priced helmets.
The DRT5 has a thick EPS liner so the helmet’s profile is a little larger than other options. 13 vents provide cooling, five in the front and rear, two side vents and a rear-facing scoop on the top.
A Boa dial is mounted to the head retention systems cradle which tightens a TX1 Lace cable to hold the helmet on your head. There are three vertical positions to choose from and the cable is mounted to the front pad to provide almost a full 360-degree closure giving a snug fit. By opting for a cable, Oakley has limited the risk of the helmet interfering with your best mountain bike sunglasses.
Inside there is only a single X-Static fabric pad located in the crown of the helmet. There is padding across the brow too, but rather than using fabric, Oakley has specced a soft medical grade silicone which has channels to direct sweat away from the eyes. This should mean the helmet doesn’t get funky fast and is easier to wipe down if it does. While it might not look hugely comfortable we had no issues and if you don’t get along with it Oakley includes an X-Static fabric pad in the box.
The visor is easy to adjust, clicking through the huge movement range with a positive clunk as you adjust it between the six available positions. While it’s easy to position the visor where you need it, it’s also easy to accidentally move it too. The visor of the helmet is anchored on the temples of the helmet so if the visor does get bumped it can end up sitting at a jaunty angle.
At the back there is the Eyewear Dock, the sunglasses storage uses two spring-loaded hooks mounted in the vents to hold sunglasses by their arms. Oakley says that the big advantage of storing them on top is that they don’t impede the front vents. When not in use they sit pretty flush with the helmet’s shell, although the clips can be completely removed and replaced with two plastic plugs if you decide you don’t want them.
Ventilation is decent although the helmet relies on radiation rather than through flow so there isn’t a dramatic cooling effect when up to speed. There is some channeling linking the vents across the top of the scalp although the large MIPS cradle does limit this somewhat.
The retention system cinches up to offer a secure fit without ever feeling over tight meaning the DRT5 was comfortable enough to wear all day. While it looks a little alien the silicone pad is comfortable and I didn’t experience any pressure points or irritation. Although weighing in at 455g, it’s certainly on the heavier side if that’s something which you are concerned about.
Oddly the MIPS cradle seems to offer more slip plane movement than any other MIPS helmet I have used, which combined with the weight does mean the helmet feels like it wobbles around a little. It’s not particularly noticeable on the trail but it is there.
I’m a big fan of the Eyewear Dock as I find it frustrating to store sunglasses when not being worn on a mountain bike ride. While I probably wouldn’t trust keeping my sunglasses stored on the helmet on a descent, equal parts worrying about my sunnies getting snatched by a low hanging branch as I would be crashing onto them, the hooks do hold all the eyewear I tried securely enough when climbing and riding low-intensity sections. Storing them is more of a two-handed operation as well although with a bit more practice I’m sure I could master it one-handed on smooth climbs.
While the DRT5 doesn’t offer the ventilation levels that you might expect from a helmet that was no doubt designed with South African riding in mind, it still does a pretty decent job of keeping you cool though. Despite the weight, I found the helmet comfortable and the retention system offered great security, even when I took a fairly dramatic tumble through some heather.
The Eyewear Dock is a great feature whether it was getting your sunglasses off your face on a hot climb or stashing them when you nip into a cafe or shop for a mid-ride snack, plus it holds them safely and securely no matter the arm shape.
The price is pretty high too, especially when comparing it to some of the best mountain bike helmets around, however we frequently see the DRT5 with big discounts so if you can pick it up cheap it's still a great option.
Tech Specs: Oakley DRT5
- Price: $200 / £170
- Sizes: S (52-56cm), M (54-58cm), L (56-60cm)
- Rotational protection: MIPS
- Colors: White, black, green (black/red and Greg Minaar signature edition available in certain locations)
- Weight: 455g (large)