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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey friends! Well, “tis the season” as they say - no, not that season, it’s Sales Season, silly! Between Mothers Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Spring and now Summer, online motorcycle shops are having sales practically every weekend. And while I don’t really need any new gear, I have been looking for a helmet to replace my first ever adventure helmet, the top-heavy lid I bought from Cycle Gear.

You know me… I’m picky when it comes to gear, so there are certain criteria I’m looking to meet. I’ll be grading each helmet on the following points where 0 is bad, 1 is good, and 2 is great. Added all together, these areas total a potential score of 20 points (plus bonus points).

The Score Card
  • Cheap - (possible score of 2) Right at, or under $200. This is a one-season lid; I’m not looking to break the bank for a 3 month piece of gear.
  • Light Weight - (possible score of 2) Absolutely must be under 4lb (<1800g) or this whole exercise will be for nothing. I like my Bilt Techno Bluetooth Adventure Helmet, but the damn thing is just too heavy.
  • Comfortable - (possible score of 8) While being light weight will help, there are a few other things this new helmet needs to cover:
    • Airflow - It needs to provide plenty of airflow while protecting my eyes from excess wind or debris
    • Proper Fit - The interior cushions should be nice enough to wear all day without leaving marks or make my cheeks feel like they’re being squeezed by an over-zealous aunt.
    • Materials - The other two mean nothing if the cushion material is scratchy or just irritating.
    • Aerodynamic - I know these helmets aren’t meant for high speed, but the peak shouldn’t become a sail at the first gust of wind.
  • Comm Ready - (possible score of 2) Must have ear pockets suitable for adding speakers for intercom. I use my phone as a GPS, and don’t want to take my eyes off the road to hear the warning about the upcoming turn if I can avoid it.
  • Sunblocker - (possible score of 4) - There’s a couple of ways these helmets can protect our eyes:
    • The Peak - The peak needs to actually function as a shade, protecting from the dusk/dawn sun. I’ve seen so many of these visors that sit so high on the helmet, it looks as though they were stuck on just as decoration. I understand the peak on a traditional dirt bike helmet is to protect from roost, not sun, but these are Adventure helmets, not dirt bike helmets.
    • Interior Drop-Down Sun Shade - While it’s not common, an interior drop-down sun visor really helps on those bright days. Sure, I could wear sunglasses or install a dark visor, but one makes my ears hurt after an hour and the other limits how late I can stay out - and I dearly love night rides.
  • Shell Size - (possible score of 2) This doesn’t seem important to the average guy, but I have a tiny head (XSM). If the shell only has one size, the helmet will never fit right and I feel like a like Darth Helmet bobble-head from Spaceballs, and I’ll never wear it.
  • Accessories - (possible score of ?) No sense buying a helmet if it’s impossible to find a replacement face shield. But beyond that, if the helmet has accessories like a ratchet chin closure (love those!), or items that stretch it into more seasons (breath box, pinlock antifog visors, or chin screens), that’s bonus points!
The Helmets
Over the next week I will be reviewing 3 different helmets:
  1. Bell MX-9 - Score = 13 w/ .5 bonus points
  2. AFX FX-39 - Score = 9 w/ .4 bonus points
  3. Zox Rush SFX - Score = 15 w/ .7 bonus points
Helmet Review - all 3 helmets.jpg

Since this is a comparison post, unlike my standard format, these reviews will be using a score system rather than my usual Good, Bad & Ugly. In the end, I’ll post links to each review back here as they’re done to make it easier for future searchers to understand the competition and decide for themselves if they agree with the scoring.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Bilt Techno Bluetooth Adventure Helmet - the baseline review

So let’s start with a baseline review so you understand what started this whole thing:

Bilt Techno Bluetooth Adventure Helmet
This was the very first adventure helmet I ever bought. Until now, it’s actually my only adventure helmet. It almost, but not quite, meets all of my needs, which prompted this whole buying and review series. Let’s cover the points provided above:

  • Cheap - (score 2 of 2)When I bought the helmet, it was a relatively new model. I loved the idea of the integrated Bluetooth, so when it went on sale for $200 instead of the normal $300, I had to jump on it. Now these are around $170, making it an excellent deal.
  • Light Weight - (score 0 of 2) This is the biggest fail of this particular helmet. While it hits the mark on almost everything else, the 4 pounds is just too much for my neck - especially when exacerbated by wind drag on the peak. If it wasn’t for the weight, I’d consider this helmet damn near perfect.
  • Comfort - (score 3 of 8)
    • Airflow (1) - Airflow in this helmet is adequate. There’s a vent at the top behind the peak and one on the chin - both of which can be opened or closed as needed. Airflow comes mostly from under the chin bar, so nothing special there.
    • Proper Fit (1) - When I first bought the helmet, the cheek pads were so tight I could barely get my head past them. But once past the initial neck hole, there is ample room. Once the cheek pads relaxed, the helmet is pretty comfortable.
    • Materials (1) - Nothing super special here. The material isn’t super soft or moisture wicking, but it’s not super cheap either. It’s comfortable enough to give it a point.
    • Aerodynamic (0) - Besides weight, my only other big gripe is how windy days really pick up the peak, wrenching my head back and forth with gusts. Steady riding is okay - even at highway speed. But I’ve had gusty days that really caught my head, wrenching my neck. It’s one of the leading reasons I stopped wearing the helmet. Unfortunately, the peak is not removable, so just riding without isn’t an option for me.
  • Comm Ready - (score 2 of 2) This is one of the places the Bilt Techno excels for solitary riders. The integrated blue tooth feature is awesome. It allows users to link to their Bluetooth device, whether it’s a phone, GPS, or MP3 player. I just used my phone and it worked flawlessly. While I think the speakers could be a little less tinny, almost universally, anyone who called me said they couldn’t tell I was actually riding the motorcycle. That’s a great microphone system!
  • Sunblocker - (score 3 of 4) This is another area where the Bilt Techno excels.
    • The Peak (2) - While the peak does like to act like a sail in wind gusts, at slower speeds or windless days the peak actually does its job and blocks the sun that’s sitting low in the sky.
    • Interior Drop-Down Sun Shade (1) - As a bonus, it also has an internal drop-down sun visor that is easy to operate. It’s not very dark, but it does help.
  • Shell Size - (score 1 of 2) The Bilt Techno isn’t the most sleek shell ever, but it’s not obscenely huge either. I do like the simple lines and functional peak.
  • Accessories - (score 1/2) Nothing special here. There are the standard replacement face shields in clear, smoke, and dark shades, but that’s it. It would be nice to have a mirror finish that helps block UV rays, but meh - whatever. There is, however, a thin piece of superbright reflective tape on the back spoiler, and one under the neck roll; they only show if you are looking up or down, but at least it’s something.
bilt-front.jpg bilt-side-composite.jpg bilt-interior-composite.jpg bilt-rear+top-composite.jpg

My final score for the Bilt Techno Bluetooth Adventure Helmet = 11 out of 20 with 1/2 bonus point.
 

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What ever you select consider it in Hi-Viz. I hope I never need my helmet to protect my noggin in a crash.
 

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If there's a dealer near you, consider trying on a Scorpion EXO AT950 Helmet . Flip up chin bar, inner flip up-down sun shield, easily replaceable shields in different varieties, some venting, and different colors, including bright yellow. It is NOT comfortable in humid heat (no helmet is, none of them). But I have found it good for the last few months I've been using it.

Not certain about installing headsets. I don't ride with those.
 

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I have an AFX and I love it. It is a different model, it is FX100. My neck has strengthened over time so I can't tell about the weight but wind drag is minimal. It seemed quieter than my previous helmets. I have 4 adjustable air vents, drop down sunglasses and a quick release. The one you have listed is one on my list. My hat size is 6 7/8 and I have chubby cheeks. The small fit me well and was snug without being to tight on my face. At some point I am also considering the AFX dirt bike style helmet also. I thought the price, fit and quality were all good. That is my 2 cents worth. Fit for your head is number 1. If a helmet isn't comfortable you won't want to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have an AFX and I love it. It is a different model, it is FX100.
I took a look at the AFX website and was impressed with the light weight of their regular helmets. According to them, the helmet most like yours is pretty light.
"A large-size FX-90 weighs 1.36 kg or 3.00 lbs"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If there's a dealer near you, consider trying on a Scorpion EXO AT950 Helmet.
I admit to looking at those pretty hard when they came out. I love the modular design and Scorpion makes some really nice gear. If it was on sale to put it in the same price range as the other 3, I would snap it up. But for this review, I'm focusing on the inexpensive helmets that are comparable in features. I'm afraid the EXO AT950 would just blow the others out of the water :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What ever you select consider it in Hi-Viz. I hope I never need my helmet to protect my noggin in a crash.
I hear ya loud and clear, my friend. ;)
 

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If there's a dealer near you, consider trying on a Scorpion EXO AT950 Helmet . Flip up chin bar, inner flip up-down sun shield, easily replaceable shields in different varieties, some venting, and different colors, including bright yellow. It is NOT comfortable in humid heat (no helmet is, none of them). But I have found it good for the last few months I've been using it.

Not certain about installing headsets. I don't ride with those.
We were just looking at this helmet. For what it does and all the rave reviews it seems a good value. It is com ready.
 

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Excellent thread!
I am looking to buy a new helmet and your criteria sound perfect for me.
I rented a bike while on vacation and they provided all the gear which included the AFX 39.
I thought it was ideal and was going to buy one... for the first 4 hours of my two day ride.

Then I started to notice a tight spot on my forehead.
As the hours went on it got worse until I was stopping just to take the helmet off for a few minutes.
I ended up with bad headaches both days from the pressure point that felt like some diabolical torture.
I won't buy one because the shape isn't as long oval as I need.
It is interesting how much variation there is in skull shapes!

The AFX felt excellent at first and if I had only worn it about 3 hours I would have been sold on one.

I put black tape across the top of my face shield just above my line of sight which works much better for me than the peak/visor on any of my helmets.
One of my helmets has a drop down sun shield which was important to me when shopping but I have found I never use it.
I have to wear glasses so I use clip on sunglasses on my glasses which are much darker than the drop down.

I'm looking for a helmet that will let me use goggles without removing the flip up face shield.
The face shield works fine off road until it gets dusty and then I wish I had goggles.

I look forward to your reviews!
 

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The LS2 MX453 is one to look at. It is very light, very well built and vents pretty well. It also carries DOT and ECE safety ratings. My son has it and uses it as his MX helmet too he likes it so much. I have the GMax11d which I love, but it is a little heavy and the quality of materials is average at best, might not meet your requirements.
 

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I was happy to see Bell make a move in the adventure helmet market as my older Bell helmets always fit about right. But when I tried the MX-9 I was disappointed that the shape was long oval, imo, and didn't fit my more oval head. Overall I liked the helmet, the weight was about average and good features.
There was an AFX 39 and I think 41, but both were even more long oval shaped and didn't fit well again. The 39 had pressure points right away and I didn't wait to see if it would get more comfortable. The 41 fit a little better but I would not want to wear either for very long.
All three were disappointing because I thought they all look very functional and had good features.

The store I was at is a large store and has a lot of products to review, I saw an LS2 MX453, which I had never heard of, and tried it on. Right away it fit very nicely and the padding felt about right. The only thing I didn't like was that the shield had a bit of distortion in the lower middle of it. It has a pretty sharp bend to it. The AFX39 also had this same thing. I'm used to a much flatter shield on my road helmet and my present adventure style helmet's shield had none but it also cost three to four times more.

I ended up buying the LS2 and I like it. I can tell that it's not same quality as my Arai/Shoei helmets but it is built solidly and works very well.
It feels lighter when you are using it than a lot of other helmets. The airflow is better than my other adventure helmets but that only keeps me from using it when it's cold outside.
The LS2 adventure helmets are right there with the $100-200 helmets. I'm not sure if they still make the MX453. One other thing is it's one of the few fiberglass composite helmets in that price range.

I tried the Scorpion AT950 it fit well but it seemed more like a street helmet with a peak added. Nicer quality but heavier than the LS2. It's also only about $100-150 less than a noticeably nicer helmet. Plus it's about $100 more than price of the other helmets you are looking at.
Both of my more expensive helmets fit and feel better than the AT950 but they did cost more. The AT950 does allow you to flip up and have a drink or get a lot of air. Those two features aren't more important than fit or safety to me and that's why I have two helmets I like and trust more.

Bottom line is fit. If a helmet doesn't fit well it doesn't matter how much it cost or what it's made of or what tests it's passed. You won't like it or use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The LS2 MX453 is one to look at. It is very light, very well built and vents pretty well. It also carries DOT and ECE safety ratings. My son has it and uses it as his MX helmet too he likes it so much. I have the GMax11d which I love, but it is a little heavy and the quality of materials is average at best, might not meet your requirements.
Depending on the results of the three I have in the queue already, I'll give this one a try. It looks good and in general, other viewers have given the LS2 helmets good reviews. Thanks for the suggestion :)
 

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I bought a Bell MX-9 just for riding the T-Dub because it looked cool and was cheap. It's very nice except for the orangepeel clear texture on the visor that makes me look cross eyed because it distorts the vision. It was the fault of the anti-fog coating. So, I took the coating off inside and out with denatured alchohol. Now it fogs up a little but, but at least the vision is clear. Still deciding if I want to buy a new visor just to get the coating back, but the $35.00 price tag for a visor at Amazon.com makes me hesitate. The strong reason to buy a replacement visor is to get a smoked one so the sun glare isn't so bad in the evening. Might even go with a yellow tinted one. Opinions on that ?

Otherwise. the helmet fits okay, even though it pinches my cheeks in a bit. Lots of great airflow (keeps the fogging at bay). Love the look of it. The peak catches some air at 55 mph, but not terribly so. Maybe I should get goggles for it. Haven't tried them yet since the air flow is adequate. Hmmm... If I get a smoked visor AND clear goggles, best of both worlds!
 

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I just watched the Revzilla video review of the LS2 Pioneer and it sounds pretty good with the pros and cons for me to check out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I just watched the Revzilla video review of the LS2 Pioneer and it sounds pretty good with the pros and cons for me to check out.
LOL. Am I the only one that watches all his videos on 2X speed?
 
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