Yeah, I know all helmets meet meet federally mandated safety standards, and I know that single crash doesn't really constitute scientific proof a helmet's safety, but I took a hard fall wearing my Smith Forefront and rode away. Here's what happened:
Wanting a change of pace, I took my fully-rigid Niner ROS 9 Plus out on the weekly night ride instead of my Ibis Ripley. All was going well on the familiar trail until the final steep and rocky descent. Lacking suspension and carrying more speed than I wanted, I took a poor line and put the front wheel straight into a large rock, stopping the bike dead and sending me into the air. I landed ten or fifteen feet down the trail on my left side. Time slowed as I fell, and I felt my head hitting the ground on my left side. I wondered if I would be on the morning news as the subject of a nighttime mountain rescue operation. The dust settled, and I gasped for air and noted pain in my shoulder and left hand, but no problems with my head. I got my lights pointed in the right direction, and rode the final mile or two back to the car and drove home. Once there I stayed up for a couple of extra hours and waited for the headache and dizziness of a concussion, but aside from the pain in my body, I felt okay and went to bed. A visit to the clinic the following day confirmed a broken thumb and rib and a sprained shoulder, but no head injury.
Inspecting the helmet post crash shows a deep dent in the left side behind the ear, where a road-oriented helmet would not have covered, abrasions on the shell, small cracks in the EPS, and signs of crushing to the Koroyd material. So, the Forefront is done, but it did its job!
Prior to its destruction, it has been one of the best helmets I have worn. It provides better coverage at a lighter weight than most XC-style lids, a great fit with minimal interior padding, a functional 2-position visor, and the best styling of any mountain bike helmet on the market. I'll replace it with another Forefront, but given the year I'm having, I may spring for the MIPS version!