Uvex FP 3 ReviewMay 21, 2014
- Neutral styling
- Good ventilation
- Compact form
- Silicone grippers are uncomfortable
- Only two shell sizes are available
With the Uvex FP 3 helmet, Uvex has produced a quality helmet (in Germany, no less!) with a compact form, simple styling and good ventilation. Since the helmet is only available in two sizes, those whose heads don't fall into the sizing "sweet spot" may have trouble achieving an acceptable fit.
A top-of-the-line cycling helmet with a compact profile.
Designed and made in Germany, the FP 3 exudes all the Teutonic qualities that one would expect, such as a no-nonsense design. The compact form features no extraneous elements: a series of simple, linear ribs swoop from front to back where they are abruptly terminated, not unlike a number of aero helmets from other manufacturers recently introduced. The colors and graphics reinforce the simplicity of the design. Like most high-end helmets, the polystyrene foam of the FP 3 is co-molded to a polycarbonate shell that extends under the rim of the helmet to protect the portion that usually gets the most dinged-up. A plastic reinforcement “roll-over bar” is visible between the foam ribs. Uvex uses a slim head cradle with silicone pads and grippers and a dial on the back to adjust tension. Though the straps are standard webbing, the buckle is a unique ratchet strap similar to those found on cycling shoes. This provides a simple way to adjust the fit when wearing a hat.
The interior shape of the FP 3 is on the oblong end of the scale: it ties with the Giro Aeon as the longest and narrowest. Of all the helmets tested, its shell is the thinnest at the forehead and the sides and the second thinnest at the top. This gives it a low mushroom factor. Despite the compact shell, the FP 3’s weight places it in the middle of the pack.
The FP 3 was definitely the most flattering helmet for my narrow, pointy head which made me think there was something to our shared German heritage. However, the thinness of its foam shell made me wonder how it would perform where the rubber– or rather, foam–meets the road. Fortunately, I never tested its crash-worthiness.
Contributing to its slim profile, the FP 3 sits low on the head which makes it incompatible with some sunglasses, including Uvex’s own SGL 202. I found that ventilation was good as was comfort until about 90 minutes into any ride when the silicone pads on the back of the head cradle would start to dig into my head. Regarding fit, my head was toward the large end of the small/medium version’s adjustment range. When bare-headed, the helmet fit very well. On cold days when I needed a hat, though, I maxed out the adjustment range and bottomed out on the shell. Had I sized up, the helmet would have fit with a hat but not without one since there is no overlap in the two shell sizes.
Though I really appreciate the clean look and low profile of the FP 3, the fact that Uvex only offers this helmet in to sizes is a definite drawback, especially for those that fall between those two sizes. When producing a helmet in a first world country, one way to save money is to produce only two different size molds–the German efficiency showing through.