Saturday, March 6, 2010

Scorpion EXO 1000 Full Face Helmet Review

Scorpion EXO 1000 Full Face Helmet Review

I had been riding with a half helmet now for quite some time. Riding with a HJC CS-2N half helmet in the cold or rain, which I did the previous winter, is quite challenging. So, this fall with cooler temperatures fast approaching, I really wanted to upgrade to a full face helmet. I saved up some money and used a coupon I picked up at the International Motorcycle Show and headed over to Cycle Gear to try on helmets. It too k me two trips and lots of reading, both online and in magazines, doing research in hopes of getting the most bang for my buck.

If you have never been to try on helmets it is an exasperating endeavor. Different brands fit different shapes of heads and the trick is to find one that fits your particular head shape and then find a model that has all the features you want. I tried on a bunch and settled on the Scorpion EXO 1000 Solid in Glossy Black.

Here are the stats from Scorpions website:

• Fiberglass/Kevlar™ Matrix Shell: Quiet, aero-tuned design for wind-tunnel tested comfort. EPS-lined chin bar for additional protection.

• AirFit® permits a rider to personalize helmet fit through air adjustable cheek pads.

• SpeedView® an internal retractable light smoke sun visor that eases eye strain instantly in varying light conditions without changing face shields, plus an EverClear® coating on both sides for a fog free ride.

• SpeedShift® quick-change shield system (patent pending): Easy, secure tool-less faceshield changes in ten seconds or less.

• EverClear® no-fog faceshield: Optically-correct shield with state-of-the art fog-free technology and anti-scratch hardened coating.

• KwikWick® moisture-wicking helmet liner and cheek pads: Breathable, easily removable and washable.

• Ventilation system: Adjustable, indexed front and rear vents with aero-tuned rear spoiler reduce lift, create vacuum and maximize airflow through helmet.

• Breath-deflector: Enhanced fog-free performance.

• Snell/DOT Certified.

Going down their list and commenting on features:

The helmet is not as quiet as I would expect for a full face helmet as far as wind turbulence is concerned, although my bike does have a windshield on it that may contribute to the wind noise. Keep in mind I ride a cruiser, not a sport bike.

The AirFit check pads I have never had to use. Of course, not being used to a full face the helmet, they felt tight on my cheeks to begin with.

The SpeedView internal sun shade has multiple issues. First it is not dark enough for the Texas sun and glare. It will fog up if deployed when cold blocking your vision. The shade deploys and retracts the opposite way you would expect. Moving the lever down moves it down and up moves it up, instead of the natural way a lever should work which makes it extremely unintuitive to use. It also does not come down far enough leaving a line across your viewing area and not dimming the lower half making it hard on your eyes. This may not be so bad if you ride in the sport bike position. Lastly it also has distracting reflections on the sides in your peripheral vision that makes you think something is inside your helmet when vehicles drive by. I found this last issue the most distracting and annoying.

I have not used the SpeedShift quick-change shield system as of yet.

As with most face shields the EverClear no-fog shield still fogs. I used Fog Off and left the lower and upper center vent open all winter. Also the Optically correct lens still distorts your vision around the edges.

The KwickWick liner seems to do its job just fine. I have been using a helmet liner on my head first before putting the EXO 1000 helmet on to protect it from my wet hair and small amount of hair gel I use in the morning before commuting to work.

The ventilation system appears to work just fine, although I have not tried it in the Texas Summer time with all the vents opened up. Still the thought of a full face helmet in the summer stifles my imagination.

I am sure the Breath-deflector must help some, but I’m not convinced it does a whole lot to stop fogging.

I like the fact that it is both Snell and DOT approved.

Transitioning from a half helmet a full face helmet does take some getting used to. It can tend to make you feel slightly claustrophobic, although your head, and especially your face, feels much more protected and secure, which it is. The pressure on your cheeks is different but after wearing for a season the helmet conforms to your face as it breaks in. a full face helmet is warmer when it is cold outside and extremely nice to have when riding in the rain. You will still need some extra protection for your neck when it is real cold.

A full face does make the ride a lot quieter blocking out a lot of the bike and traffic noise. It also restricts your peripheral vision some and you will find yourself having to turn your head farther to make sure lanes are clear before changing. The visor lock lever is too small, too easy to accidently lock and not glove friendly. Most of the air vents can be opened and closed with gloves on once you get the feel for their location.

The fit and finish of all the materials is stellar. The inside is extremely comfortable. The chin strap is unobtrusive and easy to use with a snap for the loose end. Thankfully, when it was cold, there was not a lot of air leaking up from the neck area.

For its first season of use the Scorpion EXO 1000 performed as expected. Aside from some operator error it did its job just fine. It came with a helmet bag and you can order a Scorpion reflective helmet sticker band if you can find someone with it in stock online. Torch gives the Scorpion EXO 1000 a M.M.M Rating of 9.0 on a scale of 1-10.

Ride on,

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