Manufacturer: Tipperary/Phoenix Performance Products
Model: The New Sportage (Tipperary Equestrian Helmet)
Category: English Chaps/Boots/Helmets
Purchase: This helmet was purchased at my local tack store for just over $60.00. I originally tried it on at Rolex this year, and really liked its new features. I decided to wait until I got home to make a purchase, and ended up on a waiting list--it's apparently very popular, and production can't keep up with demand.
Likes: I love the idea of the removable and machine washable inner liner. The ventilation is indeed improved from the original model, and its new vents (for intake and outflow) definitely keep your head cool. The biggest improvement I see, however, is the rubberized brim and matte finish outer shell. The original Sportage was prone to scratching and the brims on several of my student's helmets are cracked or partially broken off--not only ugly to look at, but also sharp and definitely ineffective at saving face during a fall.
Dislikes: One of my biggest issues with the new Sportage is its size--I went from a medium to a large, and my head still feels squeezed. The older model was low-profile, and definitely did not give the now-common "bucket head" appearance. Another huge issue are the straps. There seems to be an inconsistency in the angle of attachment to the helmet, and in my case, they are angled so far back that the pieces that go along my cheek bone poke out like wings. Because the straps are fixed, there is no way to make an adjustment. This problem also makes the back strap seem too tight since it doesn't lie quite right, either. The final problem that I found with my one ride in this helmet, is that once the wearer starts to sweat, the removable inner liner sticks better to your head then to the helmet. Every time I lifted the helmet to scratch my head or shook my head in answer to a question, the liner stuck to my head and became unattached from the body of the helmet. Very annoying to have to unbuckle, re-attach the liner, and rebuckle--on a fussy horse, not only irritating, but also potentially dangerous.
Quality: Quality and construction are typical of Tipperary products. High end and functional. Unfortunately, the construction falls a bit short of expectation--I believe that a tremendous amount of research went into this product, and didn't make it all the way to production.
Summary: Great helmet and great features in theory. Usability of these features falls far short of my expectation--I love my old Sportage and will be trying to scrape up another to replace it before it needs to be retired. Any talk of a Sportage III?
Author: Heather B
Usefulness Rating: 2 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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