I have the new Defiant-X helmet from Arai in the house for evaluation and this one is quite the roller coaster ride. There are ups and downs across the board here which isn’t what I expected from a premium helmet maker like Arai.
Make no mistake the paint, graphics, and finish are superb and this Snell rated helmet is certainly tough and protective but close inspection reveals some minor issues. These would be more easily overlooked on a helmet at half the price, but at over $800.00 (USD) in this particular graphic version, I find these disappointing.
Scorpion’s latest entry in the full face sport touring helmet space is a carbon fiber, feature-filled orb of protective goodness. This lightweight lid has every option I can think of that would be useful for sport touring riders and does this in a stylish and sporty looking fashion. All of the features do of course add a cost in weight so while the ST1400 is relatively light, it is not quite the lightest in class.
This helmet has a lot to offer with only some minor areas that I feel could be improved / changed. One being the optical quality of the visors. Both visors are OK with the main visor being a bit better than the drop down sun visor but I would like to see less distortion here. Also I would like see some other color/graphic options other than the mostly black options available now.
I have handled a good variety of motorcycle helmets since I started riding in the early ’90s. I’m therefore a bit surprised to realize I’d never owned or tested a helmet from AGV. As part of my review process, I always read up on the manufacturer, even if I’m pretty familiar with them, in case there is some interesting fact I can bring to light.
Checking out the story behind AGV had me realizing how little I actually knew about this company. For instance, AGV founded in 1947 and the company made some very notable contributions to the motorcycle helmet world. They were the first put into production the fiberglass shell crash helmet in 1954 and they were the manufacturer of the first full face helmet worn at the Italian Grand Prix in 1969.
The K5 S represents the top end of AGV’s sport/sport-touring helmets with a moderately aggressive shape. The curves downward providing extra coverage up front. This particular example is mostly black with slim, angular graphics that make up the “Magnitude” colorway.
Being designed for sport touring, the K5 S has an internal drop down sun visor and the main visor is “pinned” for pinlock inserts. A clear Pinlock 70 insert is included so one can jump right into the fog-free goodness right out of the box.
I really like Shark helmets. There, I said it. I want to make it clear that I might have some bias towards these lids and I feel that bias is well earned. Shark may not be the most well recognized helmet manufacturer (in the USA, anyway) but they have been around a long time and their products compete well against their peers.
Recently I had the chance to review the Shark “Spartan” helmet for webBikeWorld.com and I leaped at the opportunity to handle a new bucket from Shark. The Spartan is their top helmet for sport touring, touring, and commuting use with a design geared towards upright and mild forward leaning riding positions.
Using a fiberglass shell, the Spartan offers lightweight while including comfort features like a drop down sun visor and a very comfy interior. This is all contained within a shell that shows the excellent paint and clearcoat finish that one should expect at the price point.
ADVRider.com member S21FOLGORE recently posted up a very informative thread on the popular adventure riding discussion board site detailing ways to deal with helmet “Hot Spots”. His post includes very detailed instructions on how to measure one’s head to determine the shape in a more specific way than simply round, oval, intermediate oval, etc.
He also details the issues with hot spots and demonstrates ways to address them. I am fortunate that my head shape fits in the general mold for most motorcycle helmet brands so I personally have not been affected by these issues. For those of you that do find most helmets uncomfortable to wear for more than 45 minutes or so I highly recommend reviewing the thread.
Even if you don’t have issues it is still an interesting read and the illustrations by the author are quite good. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find that your heads shape is different than you thought and you could end up making your current lid that much more comfy.
Scorpion continues to improve their class-leading 400 series helmets with EXO R420 and webBikeWorld recently sent me one for review. The R420 is more than just some new graphics and colors but instead is a rethinking of the 400 series from the inside and out. The internal shape has been changed as well as the lines of the exterior shell.
Solid construction combined with a Snell rating means one is getting good protection for around $150.00 (USD) and it looks good doing it. The EXO-R420 has a lot to live up to with the EXO-400 series helmets offering very good value as well as fit and finish that bests many helmets costing significantly more. My initial impression when handling and examining the helmet out of the box is that the EXO-R420 might very well be a worthy successor.
A great little strip of asphalt called Fairview-Kingston Springs Rd. Short but sweet!
I just realized how badly MotorcycleWords.com has been neglected by me over the past couple of months. Seeing as the weather has been less than “motorcycle-friendly” in my part of the country it is likely not surprising. Still, that’s no excuse for the emptiness and quiet that has descended on my humble little blog. So to get things warmed back up I thought I’d share some info on upcoming products I have in for review for webBikeWorld.com as well as some teasers for things on the way.
First up, I have one of the new Elipsol Air jackets from Pilot Motosport in house for review. This addition to Pilot’s lineup is a mashup of adventure styling and mesh airflow. I really like the styling of this jacket and in addition to light grey, dark grey, and Hi-Viz colors, they have a new “Sand” color which I totally dig. I’ve managed two short rides with it during the brief periods when it was warm enough but Spring is on the way and this review will be hitting wBW soon.
Sitting on the shelf waiting for warmer temps is a pair of riding jeans from Trilobite out of the Czech Republic. Their TON-UP riding jeans take a different approach than other riding jeans I’ve reviewed in the past as they do not have a separate lining for abrasion resistance. Instead, the denim used in the jeans is made from UHMWPE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) thread making it not only very durable but also much lighter than typical motorcycle specific jeans. The material is also very cool against the skin so I’ve been patiently waiting for Spring to show up so I can give these a full test.
In news not related to my wBW reviews, I’ve got a more installments of my “Risky Business” series of riding skills articles coming for 2018. I also am looking forward to announcing a new riding skills course that will (hopefully) be available later this year from a highly skilled motorcycle riding coach/instructor I’m lucky to be friends with. I’ll be posting up news about that as it gets closer to launch. If this is something you might be interested in attending please let em know so I can let you know when this is available.
If there were an official “household” name in motorcycle helmets, HJC would/could likely be that name, especially here in the in the United States. According to HJC, they have been the number one selling motorcycle helmet brand in the States since 1992 and has achieved this by offering a balance of good quality and reasonable price. As such, HJC has not been the most expensive or inexpensive choice around and has excelled at dominating the mid-range market.
My first motorcycle helmet was an HJC full-face model in 1993. I don’t recall much about it except it was black, full-face, and it did the job. I believe it was right around the $100.00 mark which fit well in my meager budget at the time. Since that first helmet I’ve had some other helmets from HJC but haven’t owned one in the past few years. When HJC provided a RPHA 70 ST for review, I jumped at the chance to check it out and see their latest and greatest.
So what is it? The Visor cat is a device one attaches over their left glove. This places a sponge, under a rubber squeegee/cover, on the back of the rider’s hand. Swiping to the right and then left, the squeegee/cover is opened exposing the sponge to the visor surface. Pulling back to the left brings the squeegee piece into contact with the visor clearing the fluid and grime soaked by the sponge. Within the Visorcat is a reservoir of cleaning solution that wicks toe the sponge to keep it soaked and ready to clean.
That’s basically the Visorcat in a nutshell. It’s not something I thought I would want myself but after seeing it first hand, they might have changed my mind. The only downside at the moment is that for riders here in the USA, there isn’t a distributor and so far. I did find that one of the UK distributors, Cupar Motorcycles is selling the Visorcat on eBay and will ship it to the States.
Dubbed “The Classic”, this helmet bag doesn’t look or function like your typical lid carry-all. Most helmet bags I’ve seen are pretty simple affairs made from nylon, polyester, or a similar textile. The Classic is made from full grain leather (there is a waxed cotton version too) and uses quality hardware like YKK brass (or gunmetal) zippers as well as heavy duty D-rings. The interior is lined with black twill cotton and an optional hounds-tooth pattern will be available for a bit of extra style on the inside.
The materials aren’t the only thing that set this helmet carrier from the rest. Neo and Sons make use of the empty space within the helmet for additional storage. I often carry my gloves in my helmet when I carry them around but this carrying bag has an integrated storage pocket that protrudes into the open helmet space from underneath.
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