Founded in 1972 by brothers in a small garage in India, SMK Helmets has grown over the past 51 years to become one of the world’s largest motorcycle helmet manufacturers. The brand is relatively new to the U.S. market, but it offers a full line of helmets, including full-face, modular, open-face, and off-road models.
In the full-face segment, SMK’s top-of-the-line model is the Titan Carbon. (A non-carbon version of the Titan is also available.) For weight reduction and impact resistance, the Titan Carbon outer shell material comprises carbon fiber composite and energy impact resistance thermoplastic (EIRT). An inner liner consisting of multiple densities of expanded polystyrene provides additional impact absorption, and the helmet is both ECE and DOT certified.
SMK says its helmets are designed and wind-tunnel tested to minimize drag, lift, and wind noise. The Titan Carbon holds up in the first two areas better than the last. On a Yamaha MT-09 SP naked bike on the interstate at 80-plus mph, I didn’t feel much buffeting with the 3.7-lb size XL I tested, but there was noticeable wind noise, which increased slightly with the top vent open, but earplugs mitigate that.
In terms of ventilation, the Titan Carbon has a chin vent, a top vent, and four exhausts. Both vents are easy to open and close, but a middling amount of air flows through the helmet with them both open. The interior is more comfortable on a warm day after removing the chin curtain and breath deflector.
The drop-down sunshield comes down far enough for good visibility while allowing a small gap to make it easy to read instruments on the dash, but the tinting is too light to reduce sun glare much. The faceshield locks and unlocks easily with a pushbutton above the chin vent, and the shield can be removed with a pair of quick-release levers that are simple to operate. A Pinlock anti-fog insert is included.
The Titan Carbon has a hypoallergenic liner with moisture-controlled fabric that keeps my head relatively cool and dry, even in the low 90s. The liner is removable and washable, and overall, the helmet fits quite comfortably, with no pressure spots on my intermediate-oval head. The helmet is secured with an adjustable quick-release ratcheting chinstrap.
Overall, despite wanting more ventilation and a darker sunshield, the SMK Titan Carbon is a well-made, feature-rich motorcycle helmet at an affordable price. It comes in solid (no color) for $279.99 and the Nero graphic in red or blue for $289.99. Available sizes are XS-2XL.
The full-face Retro helmet features advanced impact absorption material, a Resil-coated antistatic and moisture-wicking suede and leather comfort liner, and a faceshield with a Pinlock anti-fog insert.
Unique to the Retro helmet line, the shield and side plates can be mixed and matched for a stylized look.
The Retro helmet is DOT and ECE certified, comes in sizes XS-XL, and is available in solid colors for $149.99 and graphics for $159.99. For more information, visit the SMK website.
We’ve all seen the commercials where the Most Interesting Man in the World says, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” Likewise, Arai doesn’t often release a new helmet, but when it does, it gets it right. More than 70 years of experience went into the development of the new Arai Contour-X.
As we’ve written about in previous reviews and in our “The Why Behind Arai Helmets” feature, Arai maintains a steadfast commitment to building helmet shells with a smooth, strong, round shape. As repeated experience among MotoGP, World Superbike, and other racers has shown, Arai helmets are designed to “glance off” objects, allowing them to maintain sheer integrity, resist deformation, and spread impact energy over the widest possible area. Every exterior feature of an Arai helmet is designed to break away so that the helmet itself will not catch on anything during an impact or slide.
The Contour-X offers excellent protection, comfort, ventilation, and aerodynamics. It features a new Peripherally Belted Complex Laminate Construction (PB-cLc2) shell that’s thinner and lighter thanks to a new fiber material and resin, yet it is just as strong as other Arai shells. The medium-size Contour-X tested here, even with the optional Pro Shade visor and Pinlock anti-fog insert installed, weighs just 3 lb, 9 oz – the same weight as the top-of-the-line Corsair-X.
Like the Regent-X, the Contour-X’s shell flares out 5mm around the opening to make the helmet easier to slide on and off. The bottom of the shell also features Arai’s Hyper Ridge, which improves strength and shock absorption and was reshaped for flatter sides to facilitate easy mounting of a comms system.
Arai helmets have always been a pleasure to wear, and the Contour-X goes even further with a new odor-resistant, brushed-nylon interior that’s removable and washable and features adjustable Facial Contour System (FCS-2) cheek pads that can be released to ease removal during an emergency. Inside, there are speaker pockets and a new neck-roll wire pocket for a comms system. Through short rides, long rides, and repeated donning and doffing, the Contour-X required no break-in and was comfortable at all times.
Ventilation is fantastic. The new system includes a total of seven intakes, all of which can be closed as needed: a 3D Arai logo vent in the forehead, two F1-derived tear-drop intakes on the crown, two brow vents in the faceshield, and a chin vent. There are also six exhausts: one in the spoiler, two on the sides near the back, and three in the neckroll area. Arai says the Contour-X offers better ventilation than the Corsair-X at street speeds, and I concur.
The round shape of Arai helmets helps them slip through the air smoothly, and the new XGR exhaust/spoiler pulls hot air out of the helmet while also enhancing stability and reducing buffeting at speed. I wore the Contour-X on a variety of bikes with and without windscreens, and it remained steady and comfortable.
The Arai Contour-X is a fantastic lid in every respect. It’s available in sizes XS-2XL, and pricing starts at $739.95 for five different solid colors (Blue Frost, Black Frost, Diamond Black, Diamond White, and Light Grey) and $889.95 for two graphic options (Snake Red and Face Fluorescent Yellow).
Is it the quality of the product itself, or perhaps the integrity and grit of the amazing team that contributes an unholy amount of time and energy behind the scenes?
I would counter all the above, but that a massive percentage of success has to do with exposure, marketing and distribution licensing…which is why we were so jazzed to hear that Tucker Powersports will officially be the dealer for an Aussie smart lid that’s been making ripples since the unit sold out in under 30 minutes.
Forcite – known for their recent drop to the bike community, the MK1S Smart Helmet – will purportedly celebrate debuts for their products in both Australia and the U.S., with everything becoming available by 2023.
Suffice it to say Forcite Co-Founder Alfred Boyadgis is excited to see what’s next for the partnership.
“We’ve created a motorcycle helmet that looks slick, and also packs a punch with cool features that lift the riding experience,” shrugs Boyadgis in the recent press release.
“This new partnership with Tucker Powersports promises to deliver as both companies look to the future of what’s possible in the motorcycle category.”
“We are constantly seeking partners and products that enhance the adventure of riding a motorcycle,” adds Marc McAllister, the CEO of Tucker Powersports.
“Forcite is clearly focused on that riding experience and on the future of our favorite pastime.”
We look forward to seeing what these two bring to the proverbial table; in the meantime, check back for updates, drop a comment below letting us know what you think, and as always – stay safe on the twisties.
Atlas 4.0 is the new kid on the block with striking, if somewhat intimidating looks that really make an impression. Although a bit noisy, it comes with a smart design, clever features, sturdy construction, and a matte black finish that will turn heads when out riding wearing this helmet.
Sizing & Comfort
Reader Rating0 Votes
Good choice of artwork and visors
Matte black finish is hard to keep clean
Internal comms can’t be managed on the go
Ruroc Atlas 4.0 Full Face Helmet Image Gallery
As a relatively new player in a busy market, Ruroc sure know how to get your attention. From the launch event in London’s iconic Bike Shed in Shoreditch to the delivery of the helmet, everything is on point.
The event was thoughtfully designed with a great exhibition walk-through displaying various artwork available on the Atlas 4 with helmets displayed for a closer look and feel. People were milling around admiring and checking out the helmets whilst having a drink and a chat.
In the main event area, there was a stage, a bar (always an integral part of any event), shelving with many helmets and a clothing display area by EngineHawk.
I was excitedly awaiting the delivery of my full face helmet to test it and I wasn’t disappointed. The branding is excellent and just opening the box is an experience in itself. They are a bit like Apple used to be in the world of computers. I must admit, the look of the helmet is very aggressive and in matte black, this is only accentuated.
Each helmet comes with a clear and a dark visor, and both are Pinlock ready. The shell is quite big, and I thought I looked like a bobblehead when I tried it on. The material on the inside is plush and lovely, the helmet felt secure around my face but it felt spacious around the top and back of the head. Presumably, this is because of the use of the new safety system and it took some getting used to.
To comply with the new ECE 22.06 certification the internal padding has been redesigned, hence making the fit tighter. Padding isn’t the only thing that has been changed.
To meet the ever-stricter certification, Ruroc are the first to use the super-polymer Rheon in a motorcycle helmet. This helps to reduce the rotational impact forces which is being addressed by the manufacturers in various ways.
The whole build and feel of the helmet is of high quality and it is comforting to know they have been redesigned to achieve the new safety standard. This, however, means that the sizing has changed, too and I had to go a size up for the helmet to fit properly.
Features and Specifications
My helmet arrived with their Shockwave audio system which was super easy to install and it is cleverly hidden in the back of the helmet meaning there are no protruding bits on the outside of the shell. The sound is excellent, clear and strong which made my first ride with some heavy music a joy.
However, with the buttons being so streamlined and at the back of the helmet, I couldn’t control the volume or switch the music off whilst riding. I wouldn’t be able to accept a call and the microphone isn’t active which means you have to press the button on the back of the helmet to talk to Siri.
Nope, that is not possible whilst wearing gloves.
I didn’t get the chance to try it with another comms brand so I cannot comment on a rider to rider comms. Not being able to control the sound system whilst riding is a bit of a flaw in my opinion.
Being a long-distance rider I would have liked the option of an internal dark visor to use with the clear visor rather than having to swap the main one.
The strap is magnetic which is unusual and to be honest, not entirely sure how I feel about it. I mean, it’s ace because there is no fiddling like with the D-ring and to undo it you simply pull on the red toggle. Of course, Ruroc have done their testing and it is safe and secure but it does take some getting used to and for you mind to trust it.
The field of view is excellent for those that have good vision. Unfortunately, I wear spectacles when riding so my FOV is limited by my glasses and their frames. However, take these away and you get an amazing field of vision. The side vision is wide and you can see so much more with your peripheral vision. The visor is well designed and looking down to the dash means only a minimal head movement.
The weight of the helmet is on a heavier side to what I am used to, at 1.8kg but the weight is distributed well and you don’t feel it even after a full day’s riding.
The shape of the helmet is big, as mentioned. There is more space at the top of the head but if fits nice and snug around the face and the back of the head. This makes it for a larger shape than most helmets on the outside.
Comfort, Airflow, and Noise Management
The first couple of rides were in sunny but extremely windy weather in February with temperatures not much above zero celsius. Despite closing all the vents the helmet is great at air circulation and I can imagine how that will be great in the summer months but I didn’t exactly appreciate it in the freezing cold.
Needless to say, my nose and face were a bit frozen at the end. The whole experience was one of comfort and I can imagine the good ventilation will be very much welcome in the warmer months.
There is a vent in the chin which opens and closes from the inside, one at the top of the head and two at the back, that are always open. Despite closing both, there was still a fair amount of air coming through and I didn’t think the vents closing system was very effective. There was no whistling from the wind like I’ve experienced it with some helmets but I do think this contributes to the helmet being rather noisy as you can’t stop the flow of air completely.
Naturally, because of the wind, the helmet was quite noisy however, it definitely isn’t the nosiest of the ones on the market. I always ride with earplugs and the wind noise was prevalent on top of the mountain. When I rode through the more sheltered areas, the noise drastically dropped which made the ride much more pleasant.
In my opinion, it is very much a short ride style helmet, perfectly at home in a city and for fun rides. I wouldn’t use it for long tours and it definitely won’t replace my favourite one. Whilst I do love the look of it I feel it is very masculine and I felt it was just a little too big and too aggressive for me.
The world’s first active noise-cancelling helmet bluetooth system for a range of helmets is now available for order with delivery expected later this year.
Developed by DAAL Noise Control Systems in collaboration with Nolan helmets’ N-Com Bluetooth intercoms, the DAAL DXL-5 can be ordered by clicking here.
It will cost 5990 Norwegian Kroner which is about $A930, €630 or $US680 and you will need to pay half when you order.
It is initially only available for use in the Nolan X-Lite X1005 helmet, but units will be available for other helmets probably from next year.
This device should be a huge safety and comfort boost for riders to avoid hearing loss and fatigue from dangerous wind noise frequencies that can reach 110dB or as much as an AC/DC concert, even in the quietest of helmets.
Critics should note that even though this is called an active noise-cancelling (ANC) system, it is actually a noise-reduction system.
Earplugs are a noise cancelling system. But on the road, they can be dangerous as they prevent riders hearing important noises such as car horns, sirens and screeching tyres.
The DAAL DXL-5 is more correctly referred to as an active noise reduction system that filters out the most dangerous frequencies caused by wind noise.
DAAL founder and CEO Dag Loe says it is also different to the noise-cancelling earphones we may be used to.
“Unlike generic noise cancellation headphones, our system is developed specifically to perform in the harsh and demanding noise environment inside a motorcycle helmet – and actually performs well for wind noise,” he says.
Active noise-cancelling systems generate a reverse sound wave of the background noise and play it through the speakers to cancel out the unwanted, harmful noise.
The DAAL system consists of a microphone next to your ear, speakers by your ears and am eight-hour battery in the back of the helmet. Total weight of the system is 150g.
Because of the various elements required, the system cannot be an aftermarket, retro-fit unit like most simple Bluetooth intercoms that clip to the side of your helmet.
Instead, the DAAL DXL-5 has to be separately designed for each helmet.
Apart from reducing noise, it connects via Bluetooth 4.1 class 1 to most smart phones, GPS and other Bluetooth devices including many other helmet intercoms.
The intervening years of the pandemic have no doubt interrupted development with delivery expected later this year for use in the Nolan X-Lite X1005 with more applications available from next year.
Dag says their goal is to make DAAL ANC available for as many motorcyclists as possible, regardless of brands.
“From a scaling perspective, universal aftermarket sales is the way to go,” he says.
“However, since there are some specific challenges regarding system-helmet integration that needs to be solved in order to make a product delivery at all – we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with an industry leader like Nolan (and N-Com).
“The basic form factor of the resulting product can in principle fit into any helmet (we are not removing any EPS, we are sticking to the standard 40mm shallow intercom speaker recess that you find in most modern helmets, and so forth).
“However the specific timeline moving forward is not yet set, seeing as we are currently in a period where our focus is heavily on learning from customer feedback and making sure we execute our deliveries properly!
DAAL claim production will be limited in 2022 due to the global component shortage.
Consequently, we have not yet been assigned a unit for review, but have been promised one when they are available.
I wear special earplugs to filter out the damaging wind noise, but still allow me to hear important sirens, horns and other noises, as well as my helmet intercom.
They work well, but I would prefer a less fiddly system integrated into a helmet like the DAAL system or the integrated unit in Sena’s Momentum helmet.
I’ve tried Bose noise-cancelling headphones under my helmet, but they are uncomfortable and can’t cope with the amount of wind and other noise developed when riding a motorcycle. It’s a much louder and more unpredictable noise environment than, say, on a plane where active noise cancelling headphones work quite well.
Given the amount of development time and specific research into wind noise for motorcyclists, this should be suitable for riders.
DAAL product tester and Norwegian enduro racer Pål Anders Ullevålseter says the reduced sound levels from the device provide a much more comfortable environment for the rider.
“I experience less fatigue when driving with DAAL ANC, and do not get the same pain in the ears that I do when I drive without it,” he says.
“It is easier to hear what is happening around you when you drive with the system, and by and large the riding experience is better.”
DAAL product designer Kjetil Grimsæth says their active noise reduction technology will, in principle, fit into any helmet without compromising safety.
“At the same time, DAAL ANC is self-learning and adapts to each individual user,” he says.
“This is built on the fundament of a controller core that has been developed to cope with very demanding noise environments.”
DAAL boss Dag says their product will provide a more comfortable ride as well as preserve their hearing.
“Many riders have been looking forward to being able to order noise reduction for their motorcycle helmet,” he says.
The combination of very high sound pressure levels and unpredictable noise characteristics, as well as the need to simultaneously ensure safety, were the challenges DAAL had to solve in the development of DAAL ANC.
DAAL Noise Control Systems was developed in labs and wind tunnels in the tech-sphere around NTNU university in Trondheim, Norway.
They have received substantial investment from several successful fund-raising campaigns through the equity crowdfunding platform Folkeinvest.
Dag and co-founder Sigmund Birkeland also invested all their savings in the project and Dag even had to sell his motorcycle.
Australia’s first smart-helmet manufacturer, Forcite, has created an exciting cockpit-view race video filmed with their clever helmet.
Filmed in collaboration with Cam Elkins of Stories of Bike, Under Lights features the amateur racing event – The Summer Night Series.
Forcite spokesman Charlie Stack says it is a short story that explores the tight-knit community and culture that has formed around Australia’s newest and most exciting race series.
It is hosted by St George Motorcycle Club over four rounds under the state of the art Floodlight installation at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“St George Motorcycle Club started the series two seasons ago in an effort to bring something fresh and exciting to an otherwise stagnant Australian amateur motorcycle racing scene,” Charlie says.
“Driven forward by a raft of dedicated organisers, volunteers, and competitors, the series is quickly becoming a crowd favourite for Sydney based spectators, and the club hopes to grow the event in the upcoming season and beyond.”
Also showcased is Forcite-sponsored rider Aidan Hayes with his Forcite helmet providing a unique cockpit view of the close racing.
He battles his way through the field from a pit lane start to end in a photo finish, separated from a fellow rider by mere centimetres.
Forcite’s smart helmet is designed to deliver road alerts and visual and audio turn-by-turn navigation without a phone, enabling riders to see or predict things before they happen to avoid danger.
It also automatically records dashcam footage of multiple lanes without distracting the rider.
All the technology is incorporated into the helmet without the need for an externally mounted device.
Forcite Chief Executive Officer Alfred Boyadgis claims the helmet’s technology which warns of road hazards with flashing lights, can reduce the number of accidents and save lives.
The Sydney based motorcycle technology company aims to provide a safer, more dynamic motorcycling experience with it’s Forcite MK1 smart motorcycle helmet. The world’s first ECE 22.05 approved smart helmet has rapidly sold out every time it has been available.
Now, 1380 riders are using the Forcite MK1 on the road and track with 14,000 more registering their interest to buy.
In the ADV and dirt parts of the motorcycling world, there are about as many helmets available as there are bikes. Much like with sport helmets, there are features and considerations that are specific to this part of the market.
When we were looking to find the best picks for the 2022 season, we took an approach that considered not only the safety and protection aspects of the helmet, but also what features it included specific to the ADV and dirt markets. This is why some of the more heavily promoted and “popular” helmets may not be on this list, as with all things on MotorBikeWriter, we are riders too.
As well, we did our best with this list to bring forth examples that are available around the world, and not just in Europe, Asia, or Australia. The reasoning behind this is that there are so many different certification bodies for each area that if the helmet is certified as DOT, ECE, and other certification labs, then we’re pretty sure it’ll be legal in most nations of the world.
Adventure Helmet Picks For The 2022 Season
Priced under $300, these helmets are ideal for new riders or value-conscious shoppers.
Priced $300-$500, these helmets are feature-rich and offer excellent protection.
Priced $500 and up. The premium grouping of what is available in the Adventure segment.
A Note About Our Recommendations:
There’s a lot of fake “review sites” online today. We get it. We aren’t one of them. We’ve tested many pieces of gear. Helmets, jackets, boots, gloves, accessories, and more. We extensively and exhaustively test gear. We do not fluff reviews.
Entry Level Adventure Helmets (Priced Under $300)
Scorpion EXO-AT950 (ADX-1)
This helmet is easy to call the best modular, adventure helmet available for the money. I realize that flies in the face of what I wrote at the outset of this article… but it’s true! The Scorpion EXO-AT950 is known outside North America as the ADX-1.
It can be worn without the visor installed to make room for goggles while doing serious off-road work or remove the sun peak for when you’re doing sport riding. You get a lot of versatility from this safety hat.
The more expensive EXO-AT950 helmets are shod in attractive graphic packages all aglow in bright colour schemes that help get the attention of onlookers and keep you more visible in traffic as well.
It lacks the high-end or premium feel of the more expensive adventure lids and isn’t Snell Certified or built with any other unusual safety features of note. Some people refer to it as heavy and noisy when worn at higher speeds too. Regardless, this helmet has been a popular fan favourite for 6 years and should fit into most people’s budgets.
Scorpion is known worldwide as a reliable brand that gives you more features for less money.
Specs, Head Shape, & More
Head shape: intermediate oval
Weight: 4lbs or 1814g
Safety: DOT certification for the AT950, ECE 22.05 for the ADX-1
Sizing: XS to 3XL **Scorpion helmets often fit small so try before you buy or size 1 up if your head is at the far end of the sizing spectrum**
The In-Depth Review
Here’s a review from 2016 when the EXO AT-950 first appeared.
By the way, my sources at Scorpion tell me development is nearing completion of a new and improved AT950 that will be called the AT960. No official release date as of yet, but I would bet there’s a good chance we’ll see it in 2022.
I won’t try calling the MX-9 the safest helmet for the price, but I feel confident saying it could save a wearer’s life in specific kinds of crashes more so than many others thanks to the Multi-directional Impact Protection System.
This MIPS safety liner in the MX-9 is designed to minimize the especially deadly rotational forces sometimes experienced by the head and neck during a crash. That’s a significant factor to consider when choosing your helmet. After all, we don’t wear helmets to look good. It’s supposed to be about safety.
The price is very reasonable for what you get and might allow a buyer to splurge for the wonderful luxury that is a Transitions Auto-Tinting visor while keeping the final price well under $400. Wow.
Even if this helmet isn’t the quietest, lightest, or physically smallest available, those first two factors I mentioned above are huge PROs. The MX-9 Adventure MIPS continues wearing the mantle of fan favourite even after 11 years of the competition trying to unseat it.
This review is 11 years old now, but still relevant! I wonder if Bell is going to make a significant update soon to the helmet after this long? If so, we’ll make sure to get a sample to create an updated version of the review.
What if I told you it was possible to buy a brand new $499 Carbon Fiber Klim Krios Karbon adventure helmet for only $200? You can even install the Transitions Auto-darkening visor for the Krios Karbon on this Nishua Helmet if you want to spend another $150. It’s justifiable to do thanks to how inexpensive the Nishua Enduro Carbon Helmet is.
I haven’t personally seen this helmet or worn it, but I know many adventure riders have taken the leap of faith and purchased it with no regrets. I’ve heard that it fits much the same as a typical Shoei does, meaning slightly narrower on the sides and longer front to back. A true intermediate oval shape.
This Nishua helmet is claimed to weigh a gravity-defying 2.54lbs (1150g) with the visor and sun peak installed on it. Remove the visor and peak and the mass for a Medium size drops to 1040g or 2.29lbs. Interestingly the Klim Krios Karbon is listed at 3.25lbs on Revzilla’s website, but that would be a DOT-approved helmet which may truly be heavier because of some extra pieces necessary to get certified as such instead of ECE only.
If you live in the US and want to wear this Nishua on the road legally, you’ll need to live in a State not requiring DOT-approved helmets. You’ll also find that the vendor doesn’t ship to the US, so you’ll have to find a friend in another country to forward it to you or use an intermediary like ShipByMail to help. You won’t likely be able to get any warranty coverage or returns on it though, so think hard before buying.
If you live in Canada or anywhere else in the world that recognizes ECE-only certification you’re in luck!
There isn’t one on our site for this Nishua helmet, neither is there one for the Klim Krios Karbon. I don’t know how that happened but let me direct you to Revzilla’s review of the Klim Krios from 2016. It is essentially the same helmet for almost ⅓ of the price.
Mid-Range Adventure Helmets (Priced $300 to $500)
LS2 Explorer Carbon
A lightweight in the ADV segment at just 1.38 kg (3.04 lbs), the LS2 Explorer Carbon’s shell is made entirely out of 6K grade carbon fiber. This is a flexible but very strong weave of carbon fiber of the same type that they make aircraft wings from, so you can rest assured that it is more than up to the job of protecting your head.
Adding to the benefits of the Explorer Carbon is the oversize, removable visor over an ultra-wide eye port that gives excellent peripheral vision. It will also accept almost any size off-road goggles you may have. The visor itself is 99% optically correct, UV blocking, and is of ballistic A-grade polycarbonate that will prevent gravel or road debris from penetrating. A drop-down sunshield keeps the sun out of your eyes, and a pinlock max in the box is the cherry on top of the excellent vision offered by this ADV helmet.
Ventilation is excellent with multiple front intakes, including adjustable crown and chin vents, flowing through multiple channels in the EPS foam inside the shell. Air is pulled out the back of the helmet by multiple exhausts.
Specs, Head Shape, & More
Head shape: Intermediate Oval
Weight: 3.04 lbs or 1,378 g (peak and visor installed)
Safety: ECE 22.05 and DOT certification
Sizing: XS to 3XL
A Note Regarding Mid-Range Helmets In 2022
Throughout 2021, we here at MotorBikeWriter have been keeping an eager eye on the ADV and Dual-Sport helmet market segment. What we’ve seen has been surprising, to say the least, as some of our favorite models such as the ADV AX9, the ADV cousin of the excellent ADV SportModular, have simply been discontinued by manufacturers and not replaced in their model lineups. After some investigation, it has come to light that the helmet industry as a whole has been affected by the current global pandemic, and the availability of the raw materials to make affordable but high-quality mid-range helmets have been directly impacted.
Thankfully, the supply line issues that affected 2021 are already being fixed, so keep your eyes on this page for an update in Q2 2022 as many manufacturers are expecting to either reissue helmets, or release new ones before the riding season.
Premium Adventure Helmets (Priced $500+)
Now we have arrived at the level where helmet prices feature undeniable sticker shock. Are these helmets worth the top-dollar prices? In my humble opinion, yes, but only if you are a person who;
Appreciates fine details showcasing the obsessive level of quality workmanship found in the handmade helmets of Shoei and Arai.
Rides upwards of 10,000 miles per year.
Appreciates the best technology, materials, and newest features
I feel like Arai in particular overbuilds their helmets so much that they could last twice the prescribed 5 years of time recommended as the serviceable period. That’s good if you plan on wearing them beyond that regardless of expert opinion on lifespan.
The Klim Krios Pro, Shoei Hornet X2 (Hornet ADV), and Arai XD-4 (Tour X-4),
Let’s just get these three out of the way first so we can check out a couple of new arrivals to this Premium Category.
These are the top three adventure helmets I’ve worn to date. Just pick the one you fit the best and there’s a 99% probability that you’ll be over-the-moon happy. They’re expensive, beautiful to look at, well-built, and they just plain do the job of protecting your head while also keeping you comfortable to a greater degree than the less expensive helmets.
Of the three I prefer wearing the Arai because it fits me the best while flowing huge quantities of air inside. I will happily wear the other two as well, though… it’s so, so, so, close.
Here’s a link to the three helmet comparison articles I previously wrote to tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about them. Three Adventure Helmet Showdown.
Now then, what else is out there you might ask? Suppose you want something different or Modular at this price point?
BMW GS Carbon EVO Helmet
I swear that I’m not a BMW fanboy (I ride a KTM!), but I like what I see in both new Adventure helmets announced in November 2020 for this 2021 merchandise lineup.
This is the fancier of the two new lids. Like the GS Pure, this GS Carbon EVO is very lightweight and has been wind tunnel tested to achieve above-average aerodynamics (quiet). But the Carbon EVO has a shell built entirely out of Carbon Fiber for extra strength which often leads to more wind noise.
Additionally, you get a MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) safety liner inside the Carbon EVO to give this helmet a higher level of protection against rotational forces in a crash.
BMW claims to have ensured this helmet has excellent ventilation and designed the sun peak’s shape to minimize drag and pull. The comfort liner inside has fewer seams in it to mitigate stress points on the wearer’s scalp and they’ve set up the interior to house the BMW Fit-For-All Bluetooth communication system. A Pinlock lens is included with the helmet and there’s also an outside spot to mount a GoPro or equivalent too.
Just as with the GS Pure helmet, I don’t know who manufactures the GS Carbon EVO helmets for BMW, but I’m trying to find out. I believe it could be Nexx because it looks similar to the X.Wed-2 (read the review here!) line of helmets, but I’m not saying that with nearly as much confidence as I did while linking the GS Pure/Airoh Commander bloodlines.
If you live in the US and want to wear this GS Pure helmet on the road legally, you’ll need to live in a State not requiring DOT-approved helmets. If you live in Canada or anywhere else in the world that recognizes ECE-only certification you’re in luck!
Specs, Head Shape, & More
Head shape: Unknown at this time (I’m guessing intermediate oval or neutral oval)
Weight: 3.2lbs or 1,450 g (peak and visor installed) and less when the visor is removed and goggles worn.
There isn’t a fancier or more refined modular adventure helmet on the market than this one from Touratech and Nexx. Yes, I would rank this Touratech ahead of the Schuberth E1, in case you’re wondering.
Every switch, button, or moving part on the Touratech shows high quality and is a pleasure to live with. The Carbon Fiber shell helps keep weight just under 4lbs which is significant considering the large sun peak jutting out from the front of it.
What makes this helmet stand out from the crowd (and surpass the Schuberth) other than the dashing good looks? The ventilation in it is phenomenal. I mean the only way to get better cooling in it would be to raise the chinbar and ride that way. It’s that good.
I love how quiet it is too. That’s a rare commodity to find in a modular helmet, let alone a Carbon Fiber modular helmet! Thanks to the wedge shape of the chin bar and aerodynamic sun peak this helmet cuts through the wind like the bow of a ship through water.
I’m also a fan of the visor and internal, drop-down sun visor lens clarity, not to mention there’s a Pinlock lens included with the helmet. It’s all very well done and the whole of it feels solid in your hands as well as on your head.
My only complaints stem from the unbalanced weight distribution (it’s chin heavy) and the fact you can’t quickly disconnect the sun peak as you can with nearly every other adventure helmet. The crown liner sometimes bunches up weirdly on me while I’m wearing it, leading to pressure points or hot spots.
I’ve encountered this before with the Schuberth C4 and C4 Pro, but can’t explain why it happens. If those things don’t bother you, this is one of the best modular adventure helmets you can buy.
Specs, Head Shape, & More
Head shape: Intermediate Oval
Weight: 3.9lbs (size Large) or 1770 g
Safety: DOT and ECE 22.05 certification
Sizing: XS to 3XL
The In-Depth Review
I reviewed this helmet last year and noted many excellent features along with very high-end finishes. No question, Touratech put a ton of thought into how they wanted Nexx to build this premium modular adventure helmet for them.
Like its previous helmets, I suspect this is made for the company by fellow countryman Schuberth helmets who make high-quality models that score well on independent safety tests such as the British SHARP helmet safety scheme ratings.
The most interesting and cleverst feature of the ECE 2205 and DOT approved Touratech Aventuro Rambler is its ability to be used on-road and off-road.
It can be transformed from a hybrid adventure helmet with peak and visor into an airy cross helmet with peak and goggles or a streamlined road helmet with little effort, all without the aid of any tools.
The Rambler also has the vital safety feature of red emergency pull tabs that release the cheek pads in the event of a crash so the rider doesn’t sustain neck injury when removing the helmet.
Aussie riders should find it comfortable in the summer heat thanks to the adjustable four-vent system and replaceable and washable COOLMAX inner padding.
You can wear it with the visor attached or with goggles which are not included. However, there is an integrated goggle strap guide to keep them in place.
The helmet comes in three outer shell sizes and it’s not super-light.
It weighs 1600g for the XS-S in on-road setting and 1750g in off-road mode.
The middle outer shell (sizes M-L) weighs 1625g on-road and 1775 off-road, while the large outer shell (XL-3XL) is 1650g and a whopping 1800g.