Six full-face helmets to get you ready for the road this spring
1. Arai Signet-Q: Arai asked a simple question: How to improve on the best-selling RX-Q? The answer? Make it fit more people. Enter the new Arai Signet-Q. Though outwardly nearly identical to the RX-Q on which it’s based, the Signet-Q’s interior is very different. Where the RX-Q is an intermediate oval shape, the Signet-Q is a long oval shape. Its many features include a fully-removable liner (including the neck roll), with removable and replaceable cheek pads for better interior cleaning. It also features Arai’s Brow Vent shield, which comes equipped for Pinlock visor inserts. Arai helmets aren’t cheap, but the great build quality of an Arai is obvious the moment you first try one on. The padding is firm yet comfortable, and the interior feels even more plush than the RX-Q editor Backus has become so fond of. And to customize the fit even further, the 5mm-thick pads in the top of the headliner can be removed if the shape of your head requires a bit more room at the top. Arai also offers cheek pads in varying thicknesses for a custom fit. Available in a variety of colors and graphics. Snell 2010 and DOT approved. Price: Starting at $609.95.
2. AGV K4 Evo: AGV’s newest helmet is the K4 Evo full-face. It features a soft Dry-Lex interior that is hygienically prepared with a sanitizing treatment and new skin-friendly fabric to decrease skin irritation. The interior is removable and washable, except for the neck roll. The liner is made with AGV’s 3D construction for more padding, and the Extra Quick Release System allows for shield changes of the anti-scratch and anti-fog polycarbonate 100 percent UV-resistant shield without tools in just a few seconds. The painted composite shell is made of HIR-TH (high resistant thermoplastic resin) and features a dynamic ventilation system for improved air flow, with a chin vent and two intake vents on top, along with two venturis in the back. This helmet is an intermediate oval profile, and has a regular double D-ring to secure the chin strap, along with a snap to hold the end of the strap. It’s lighter and a step up in comfort from the AGV K3. Available in a variety of colors and graphics. ECE 22-05 and DOT approved. Price: $219.95.
3. Joe Rocket RKT-Prime: The newest helmet from Joe Rocket is the RKT-Prime. The helmet features a composite shell and a hard-coated shield design that provides 95 percent UV protection. A two-stage closure mechanism compresses the shield into the eye port gasket. The shield can also be quickly replaced without tools thanks to Joe Rocket’s RapidFire system. Multiple optional shields are available, including one that is Pinlock-prepared. The Flow-thru advanced channeling ventilation system utilizes full front-to-back airflow to flush heat and humidity up and out, and features two intake vents on top and one on the chinbar. The interior is made of moisture-wicking and odor-reducing Bioceramic Nylex, and the cheek pads and liner are removable and washable. It’s also described as being a good fit for those with round heads. Snell 2010 and DOT approved. Available in a variety of colors and graphics. Price: Starting at $169.99.
4. Nolan N-85: The latest helmet from Nolan is the new N-85, a full-face street helmet. While we weren’t able to get our hands on one (they hadn’t hit these shores yet as we went to press in late January, though they should arrive in February) we look forward to trying one out. Features include the Vision Protection System, which is a short sun shield mounted on the inside of the shell that moves independently of the clear full shield and is operated by a rotating slider on the left side of the helmet. The sun shield is as thick as a regular face shield, providing real eye protection when used with the clear shield open. Made with a lightweight polycarbonate shell, the N-85 also features a fully-removable and washable Clima-comfort liner with wrap-around cheek pads for wind-noise reduction, and the cheek pads are separate for custom fitting options. The helmet is ready for Nolan’s N-Com communication system. Available in a variety of colors and graphics. DOT approved. Price: $249.95 (solid colors).
5. Bell Vortex: Bell has been making helmets since 1954, when the Bell 500 was introduced. By the 1970s, the company was known for its line of full-face Star helmets, and while they still make a helmet called the Star, the new Bell Vortex is the one we ordered. We’ve read positive reviews about it all over the web, most convincingly at webBikeWorld, which is still the go-to place for the most in-depth helmet reviews out there. The Vortex features the Velocity Flow Ventilation system, with three vents on top and one on the chinbar. The system is called FlowAdjust, and is built for maximum temperature control. The downside is that all that moving air adds up to a bit of noise, too, but it’s nothing a pair of earplugs can’t fix. And frankly, we ride with plugs in anytime we’re going more than a few miles, anyway. The helmet also features a lightweight composite polycarbonate alloy shell, contour cheek pads, and a removable, washable, antibacterial and antimicrobial interior comfort liner, along with integrated speaker pockets for audio speakers. The shield is treated with NutraFog II to make it anti-fog, anti-scratch and UV protected. And we almost forgot the coolest part: a magnetic keeper on the end of the chinstrap. Available in a variety of colors and graphics. Snell 2010 and DOT approved. Price: Starting at $179.95.
6. Fulmer AF E1: The latest full-face lid from Fulmer is the new AF E1. Fulmer’s Air Channel technology vent system features two front intake vents on top, along with one on the chinbar. We also love the plastic thumb grip that is cast as a part of the shield, making it easy to open and close, even while wearing winter gloves. It features a removable, washable interior (including the neck roll), a breath deflector and a UV-protective clear-coat protecting the paint and graphics. It uses a regular double D-ring closure setup like most helmets, and adds a snap at the end to hold the end of the strap. At a little more than a hundred bucks, it’s the bargain-price helmet of the ones we looked at here. Look for it at your local Fulmer dealer, as Fulmer helmets aren’t sold online. Available in a variety of colors and graphics. ECE 22-05 and DOT approved. Price: Starting at $107.95. MC
Visit the Image Gallery for photos of each helmet.