Dual-certified Compass Helmet Review

I’ve reviewed quite a few Triple Eight helmets, most of which are certified to the ASTMF-1492 and CPSC1203 safety standards. But there’s one particular bike helmet I’d like you to meet. And that’s what I intend to assess in the dual-certified Compass helmet review.

Without further ado, let’s see what the Compass helmet from New York-based Triple 8 offers bike riders, skateboarders, and commuters.

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Here’s what the dual-certified Triple Eight Compass bike helmet looks like:

triple 8 compass bike helmet

My First Impressions

When I saw the Compass bike helmet for the first time, I thought it looked well-made. But I don’t think bike helmets fashioned in the pro-level slopestyle design are the easiest on the eye.  And the Compass did fit in the mold of that helmet. But maybe that’s just me.

Still, I can’t say the lid is anywhere near something you’d need tons of motivation to wear. I’m just saying I like the classic skate-styled Triple Eight helmets just a tad better.

What stood out to me immediately were the super large vent holes that looked like the usual easy-to-get-caught-in-roots ridges. But that’s nothing unusual for a regular cycling helmet.

It Features 9 Airflow Vents Not 10

The helmet features nine large vent holes vs. just eight for most Triple Eight helmets. Well, it’s not 10 airflow vents as Triple 8 says on their website. Most regular oval-shaped bike helmets have way more holes with some boasting as many as 20 air vents.

So, how well do the 9 ventilation holes of the Compass helmet work? I’ll answer that down the road if you’ll stay with me awhile.

The Compass Helmet’s Shape

As for the helmet’s shape, the Compass does look somewhat less round than the typical half-shell skate helmet from Triple Eight. I formed the opinion that this lid was created to perfectly fit intermediate oval heads a bit better than other head shapes.

And that means most bikers and skateboarders in the United States shouldn’t have tons of challenges fitting this helmet. But that doesn’t mean round-oval heads would be uncomfortable wearing the Compass helmet. I explained how to determine your head shape for helmet fitment here because I figured you’d like to know your head shape.

Aside from the dial on the rear for helmet size adjustment and the visor which some helmets lack, everything else seemed pretty standard. The padding inside the helmet was thick, but it’s not like anything you’ve seen before.

Wearing and Fitting the Triple 8 Compass Helmet

My hubby Jason received this helmet as a gift from some dude at his work. That’s what you get when you have nice friends who never forget your birthday, people who seem to buy just the perfect gift for an outdoor enthusiast each time.

So, my SO slid this helmet on his head. And after doing a little magic with the easy-to-use fit dial on the rear, the helmet felt like a natural part of his noggin.

Unlike many bike and skate helmets out there, the Compass comes in one size. And its Adjustable Fit Dial System enables you to customize the fit the way you like.

It’s a one-size-fits-all certified bike helmet that’s designed to fit heads in the 21.5″ to 24″ circumference range. That means this helmet can accommodate heads that sit on the small side of fit as well as some pretty large melons.

Testing the Triple 8 Compass Helmet

Ok, testing a helmet doesn’t sound like something anyone in their right mind would ever set out to do. No one ever shoves a helmet on their noggin and says, “I’m going to test how protective this brain bucket is.”

But every time you strap on some head protection and go out riding, you know that anything could happen suddenly and change your life — forever.

Every mile covered, every jugged rock, every jutting root in the mountain trail, or that speeding car driven by a wasted guy who just got let go is an opportunity to test your helmet’s impact protection capabilities. In other words, everyone that said they tested their helmet was forced to do that by circumstances outside of their control.

So, has my hubby ever needed to rely on this helmet for protection in a bad crash? Fortunately no, but he’s taken small sudden spills that happen to mountain bikers of all riding abilities.

Jason’s bike one fine afternoon recently hit a small tree root when going down some technical section of A single-track. And he flew forward over the handlebars, heading downward, but the momentum wasn’t much.

It’d have been a bad fall if he’d been pedaling hard. Luckily, it was a leisurely afternoon mountain trail session, one of those solo rides you do mainly to be with yourself as you unwind.

So, what happened? Nothing serious, fortunately. I’d have expected the visor to lacerate his face in some way, but it actually seemed to have protected his face to quite some extent.

Aside from a small cut here and a bruise there, he just dusted himself, hopped on the bike, and rode home. I should also have mentioned that he wore pretty decent knee pads. Plus, my so rides in well-padded Triple 8 shots even when it’s just a short recreational bike ride.

 ASTMF-1492 Skate and U.S. CPSC Bike Helmet Safety Standards

Triple 8 carries at least two helmets that lack any kind of certifications and a few others that provide different certifications. The Triple 8 Halo Water, Gotham Water, and the Snow Standard, for example, offer different safety certifications than the CPSC 1203 and the ASTMF-1492.

Every other Triple 8 skate and bike helmet offers dual-certified head protection. And the Compass stands stall in the dual-certified crowd.

This is a certified, multi-impact, versatile, soft-shell helmet. That means you can use it for biking, skateboarding, and a few other similar outdoor activities.

I don’t see that many skaters using this helmet in the skate park and other places, though. But I know quite a few (and have spotted many) mountain bikers who swear by the Compass helmet from Triple 8.

The foam padding in the bucket seems substantial. And that means there’s lots of certified EPS foam protection packed in there for when hard crashes happen. Look at the picture of the dual-certified Compass Helmet below.

compass helmet with thick eps liner
See how breathable and thick the grooved protective EPS foam liner is on the Compass helmet from Triple 8.

Doesn’t the helmet look like it could protect you against severe brain injury in the event of a horrible crash? Regardless of what you think about how much padding you can see, this helmet remains a dual-certified one.

That means the lid should keep your head safe and protected from violent mountain bike crashes. It should also be a great companion for when you’re riding urban bike lanes with potholes or when navigating city streets with tons of traffic. And if the worst ever happens and you collide with a car while riding your skateboard, you can be sure this brain bucket will do what it’s supposed to do.

This dual-certified impact-absorbing EPS foam liner makes this a multi-impact helmet. However, it’s almost always best to discard any helmet that’s taken a hard hit and replace it.

Is the Triple 8 Compass Helmet Bulky?

A helmet with more airflow holes tends to be lighter than one with fewer holes. So, if you think the Compass feels a little bulky, you’d be right….to some extent.

Triple 8 says that the compass resulted from lightweight and durable in-mold construction.  However, a few riders thought that this helmet was a little too bulky. For a helmet with 9 holes rather than 15 or more, that really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

To be constructed in-mold means that the outer shell and the inner protective EPS are molded together rather than separately. The exterior of this kind of helmet is a soft shell made out of polycarbonate.

Now, a helmet made this way may not offer phenomenal resistance against shell penetration. However, a soft-shell helmet like the Compass bike helmet handles impact energies from a hard crash really well.

But the impacts end up destroying the crushable EPS foam liner inside. So, don’t use this helmet post-crash no matter how broke you might be.

My hubby thinks it’s a lightweight helmet, but that’s likely because he’s a big man with a strong neck. Such a neck would obviously have an easier time supporting a head helmeted with the Compass or even a heavier helmet. Jason often forgets that the thing is sitting on his head during rides!

As far as helmet construction quality, this helmet appears well-made and sturdy enough. It seems and feels like the kind of bike helmet that lasts years. But at least one reviewer said their Compass helmet fell apart after a year of constant abuse.

Now, if that’s true, then this isn’t the worst helmet out there. Riders and bikers have seen helmets that broke after one moderately hard fall.

How Well Do the Ventilation Holes Cool the Head?

The Compass features 9 large ventilation holes drilled into the exterior and extend all the way to the padding inside. That’s why Triple 8 describes the Compass as having a grooved EPS liner that maximizes airflow, keeping things nice and cool inside the helmet.

So, how did my biking hubby think about the ventilation capabilities of the Compass? With 9 holes rather than 15 or more as is the case with comparable bike helmets from other brands, he’d not expect exceptional performance from this lid.

When testing for this helmet’s noggin-cooling capability, Jason rode his bike through a hot summer day with the temperatures oscillating between 75 and 85. And he could feel fresh air breezing its way through the holes and cooling his head.

You likely won’t drown in a hot sweat when riding through the hottest days. But for winter riding, the Compass definitely wouldn’t be the best helmet considering you can’t shut those ventilation holes. A helmet without too many holes would be ideal for biking or skating in cool weather conditions.

Verdict: the ventilation was good, but not great. A more ventilated helmet would probably have been more comfortable. But sweating a little is such an affordable price to pay for tested and proven head protection, right?

The Visor 

This helmet features a visor, and this visor does help keep nasty insects out of your eyes. Dust too, to some degree. And I think it should offer a little face protection if you fell face-down when biking down some flowy mountain trail.

The visor is adjustable, too, but don’t expect adjustments outside of the 0.5″-1″ range. Triple 8 seems to have positioned the visor just right. And my hubby enjoys a decent amount of forward vision even when he lowers the visor all the way down.

At that price, though, I’d not expect this visor to be the best quality. But I’m not aware of anyone falling and having their visor shatter and lacerate their face or make deep facial cuts.

Note: Some users have received their Compass without the visor. While not having a visor may not be such a big deal, not receiving what someone promised feels like …well, deception.

Color Options

If you decide to pull the trigger and buy this bike helmet from Triple 8, be ready for some disappointment as far as the color options available. This skate brand offers the Compass helmet in only two colors, black matte and gun matte.

Now, black matte and gun matte may give this helmet that badass look that some skaters and cyclists crave. But you’d have to sacrifice a bit of visibility to have that, which doesn’t sound like a good idea. I sure would’ve loved to see a bit of variety as far as color.

The MIPS Version of the Triple 8 Compass

I saw what should be a MIPS Compass helmet on Amazon when researching for this post. And not surprisingly, the Triple Eight Compass Bike helmet with MIPS costs nearly double the price of the non-MIPS version.

The product picture at Amazon says this helmet offers MIPS protection on top of the dual-certified protection the regular version provides. If that’s true, you may (or may not) want to pay more for that extra layer of protection.

But is a MIPS helmet worth it? Opinion remains divided on this matter with some saying their MIPS helmet saved their brain in a hard fall while others believe MIPS is pretty much a cosmetic addition to already sufficient head protection.

This Multi-impact Protection System is supposedly designed to minimize rotational impacts that’d have otherwise ended up impacting the head.

So, what do I think about MIPS? It doesn’t matter what I think — at all. What matters is that being certified to the ASTMF-1492 and CPSC 1203 safety standards give the non-MIPS Compass helmet enough protective capabilities.

I’m convinced you’d be adequately protected riding your bike in the non-MIPS version. I believe that because credible testers and engineers at ASTM and CPSC have certified this brain bucket.

But if you’re OK with paying almost 100% more just to have that thin strip they call MIPS in your helmet, why not?

Final Thought on the Triple 8 Dual-certified Compass Review

Even though Triple 8 isn’t the most prominent brand on the mountain biking scene, they gave the biking community a decent dual-certified helmet at an affordable price point.

The helmet fits well, and its one-handed fitment knob on the rear helps a great deal when creating a custom fit. It’s well-ventilated, too, and it features a visor as well.

Triple 8’s MIPS version of the Compass helmet supposedly offers increased head protection mainly from rotational impacts. But the MIPS version costs way more.

I recommend the non-MIPS version because it’s dual-certified, well-made, and costs almost half the price. Grab this helmet now and let’s go skating!