Fox Striker vs. Flux 01

Last week, I received a new 2013 Fox Striker mountain bike helmet as a birthday present, and I immediately set about reviewing it. Then I realized that I’ve never reviewed the Fox Flux helmet I’ve owned (and loved) for a few years now. I figure it’s only right that I should compare the two. If you’re on the fence about upgrading, or are trying to decide on one or the other, I hope this will help.


The Striker (right) is Fox’s second cross-country / all-mountain MTB helmet, and they’re talking a big game about it. The Flux (left) was their first, and it was a huge hit in all the right departments: it fit well, it looked rad, and at $99, it was a bargain. At $119 retail, the Striker is still at the lower end of the high-end XC/AM helmet market, but it has definitely crossed the magical $100 mark, and at a distance, it’s still easy to mistake the Striker for its forefather. At first glance, they both have aggressive lines, tail spoilers, minimal visors, and huge horizontal vents in the rear. Take a closer look, though, and you’ll see that Fox has used the strong foundation of the Flux to create a completely new helmet. The Striker is rounder, more compact, and more angular than the Flux, with thinner buttressing and a techy honeycomb support structure in the back. The rear spoiler, which is a separate piece of plastic on the Flux, has been integrated into the design of the Striker, giving it a less cobbled-together, more polished impression. The visor is smaller and more streamlined, and the open-space-to-solid-material ratio has gone way up, giving the Striker a lighter overall appearance. The claimed weight of the Striker is about 50 grams lighter than the Flux, and while I can’t verify that with a scale (because I am neither a drug dealer nor a weight weenie), the old heft-’em-both-then-switch-hands test seems to back it up, and the Striker definitely feels lighter on your head. The difference becomes readily apparent in photos: place the two helmets next to each other, and the Flux starts to look a bit clunky, like an unfinished prototype, while the Striker looks ready to race. Some may shrug at the comparison, but I find the new design sleek and sharp, especially in the Matte Black finish option.


Fox Striker vs. Flux 02The Striker has 22 vents in total, two more than the Flux. One of the best (or worst, if you live in a buggy area) aspects of the Flux design was its massive front scoops, and at first I was disappointed to see that the two leading vents on the Striker are smaller. The appearance is slightly deceiving, however, because there are two vents on top of the Striker that are missing from its forebear. The open top should make a huge difference in ventilation at a standstill, and since the angle of the leading vent edges has been sharpened, the smaller vents should be better at directing air down into the helmet when in motion. The visor of the Striker is also vented, with four small holes that help channel air up and into the leading vents. Combined with the larger, wider rear “chevron” vents, the result should be more air flowing over your head to cool you off, and if you look straight into a mirror while wearing the Striker you can now see directly through it. While it’s hard to prove without a wind tunnel, that alone is a huge indicator of improved airflow.


Fox Striker vs. Flux 03If you currently have a Flux and you like the fit, you’re going to be stoked, because the Striker fits almost exactly the same if not better. I have an oval-shaped head that finds many helmets too round, with too much pressure in the forehead and not enough support on the sides. Such is not the case with the Striker. It fits well on all sides and adequately covers the rear of my head, and the straps are well-placed, with flip-lock side buckles that are easy to adjust. Padding-wise, the Striker has a bit more than the Flux, and the Flux’s single forehead pad has been divided into three, with a small center pad and two pads that enter from the left and right, presumably to transport sweat back around the head. Larger channels behind all of the pads should also improve evaporation. While I haven’t had a chance to really test the sweat management of the new design, I am looking forward to it; the large front pad of the Flux seemed to collect sweat to a point, then dump it all over your sunglasses right when you were entering a technical downhill section, and I’m hoping this problem has been solved. In my opinion, though, the best aspect of the fit in both helmets is the low profile; while many helmets (Giro, Bell) seem to perch atop your head like a disgruntled beetle, both the Flux and the Striker sit lower, surrounding your skull without making you look like Major Asshole from Spaceballs.


Fox Striker vs. Flux 04While a number of early reviews of the Striker (and the photos on the Fox website) show a new version of Fox’s Detox rear retention system, my Striker arrived bearing the old version, identical to that of the Flux. I’m guessing that negative feedback on the new Detox II system is the reason for this. Personally, I have no issue with the old design, but it may be a downer for anyone expecting brand-new everything on the redesigned and more expensive lid. It also leads me to the one gripe I have (or had) with the Striker: mine arrived with the straps hanging free from the system, meaning I had to unlace them from the helmet and re-thread them through the plastic lobes. My guess is that the new Detox II systems were hastily replaced with the older version before shipping, but nobody told the factory drones to lace up the straps. Now that they’re fixed the system works perfectly, but unfortunately, most customers will have no idea unless they also own a Flux and notice the issue (or happen to read this review).


It might be a little early to make the call on whether or not the Striker is really a much better helmet than the Flux. Personally, I think it’s a great update, and if a potential customer can compare the two in person I think it’s an easy sell over the older helmet. From an online consumer perspective, however, the helmets look very similar, and without the new Detox II system in the feature list I’m guessing most recreational riders won’t find the additional cost worthwhile. With all the satisfied users and glowing reviews of the Flux out there, perhaps the wiser move might have been to phase out the Flux entirely, slap a $110 price point on the Striker, and call it done (or call it the Flux II, honestly, because that’s what it is). For the time being, I’ll say this: if you are a serious mountain biker, you’ll prefer the Striker, and twenty dollars is not that much more to spend. If you have the Flux already and you like it, you should definitely step up to the Striker when it’s time to replace it. But bottom line, if you’re just getting into the sport, don’t have a ton of money, and don’t spend a ton of time in the saddle, the Flux is still a great helmet and a bargain for the price. has both helmets available now, with free shipping:

Fox Racing Striker Helmet

Fox Racing Flux Helmet