Saturday, December 1, 2018


First 'expensive' modular helmet 

Was contemplating for a long time in getting a new helmet since I got the Vulcan. It would be a modular mainly because I am wearing specs and it would get hot in the helmet while waiting in the traffic. The only helmet I have worn is the X-Dot 3/4 helmet.

For a long time I was leaning towards the LS2 which was within my (very limited and very little) budget. First I was thinking of getting the LS2 Metro Firefly, then the LS2 Valiant. Read and watched a lot of review about those 2 helmets until I came across the MT Helmets at the beginning of the year. I love the aggressive look especially their Atom SV line. 

Asked a few owners from the MT Helmet facebook page and they said the helmet is nice and comfortable. They have no complains about the fit and it is quiet. The additional plus side is that it is within the budget. The only downside is that there aren't a lot of English speaking reviews on the net. 

I also came across the Airoh brand and the only modular available in my little island is the Rides. Surprisingly it is also within the budget but as with the MT Helmets, there are little English version review of this helmet available in the net.
With the dilemma and no motorcyclist friends to ask I reached out for help from a Youtuber Sinbad683. Asked his opinion between the 3 brands and from his knowledge LS2 and MT Helmets are manufactured from the same company. Both are made in China and a friend of his told him that the quality of these two brands are not that great. He advised me to get the Airoh helmet as first choice, KYT as second (if available) and finally LS2 and MT Helmets as the final option.

Being curious as to how much a HJC modular helmet could cost, reached out to them and they replied the have one within my budget which is the IS-Max II. They directed me to their dealers in Penang but  they either have no stock or there are no reply from them. After reading reviews online I was more convinced I would get this helmet when I have saved enough. This helmet has lots of positive reviews. It is quiet, light and has tons of airflow which is one of my requirement since I live in a tropical county and humidity is a nightmare. I sweat a lot while wearing the X-Dot helmet. 

So my choices were down to Airoh Rides and HJC IS-Max II. After reading the Sharp safety website, I was leaning more towards the HJC as the helmet scores 4 Stars compared to the Airoh Rides which scores only 3 Stars. Also another advantage the HJC has over the Airoh is that the face guard stays close 100% where as Airoh face guard stays close only 76% of the time.

Sorry for the long intro to the quest for my helmet but I felt it was necessary to give a little background on the research I have done before acquiring a helmet or anything else in my wishlist. Before going to the review of this helmet, I would like to apologise for the photos which might not be from the best angle. I am trying  find a suitable space at home to set up for reviews.

First helmet which comes in a box

Sticker on the box which shows the size and type of helmet. This is a XL size IS-MAX II with the Dova style helmet.

In the box there is a pamphlet which is a review by Motorrad and the owner's manual.

First thing you notice when you open the box is the helmet in a dust bag. I find it weird that the bag looks inside out as the stitching are on the outside. Maybe it is designed this way to prevent scratches to the graphics.

Front, back and side view of the helmet. I would prefer it to be a solid white color for that added visibility but beggars can't be choosers. This is the Dova scheme which is matt black with silver and grey linings. For the Dova line it has other colors which will replace the silver but the black and grey linings will still be there.

Let's start from the front:

The visor has all the information about the helmet. It is the IS-Max II helmet with the XL size sticker on it. It has a summary of the helmet function on the sticker. It shows the face shield can be opened by using one hand, it has an internal sun visor (IS) and the airflow of the helmet. Also states on the sticker that the sun visor has 3 positions to it.

 The face shield or visor has 5 indentations. The top most photo is when the visor is fully closed. The second photo shows the first indentation mainly used when stopped at traffic lights to prevent the visor from fogging up. 

The chin vent at the front has 2 positions to it. Either push down to open (right) or push up to close (left). It is large enough to operate with gloves on.

Below the chin vent is a red pull lever to release the locking mechanism which allows the face guard to flip up.

The face guard flipped up. Not recommended to wear the helmet this way while riding. This is for a longer stop where you don't require to remove your helmet e.g. petrol stops, refreshment stops, ciggie stops, etc.

What makes the face guard stays close during the Sharp test is because of the metal pins which holds the face guard locks at its place.

With that we have completed the tour of the front of the helmet. Next we will be going through the functions at the top. The first one we will come across will be the top intake vents.

The top vent has 3 positions (shown in the above photos; circled in red). The first photo is when the top vent is fully open, second is partially open and the last photo is when the vent is fully closed.

The next feature behind the top vent is the visor control mechanism. There are 3 tabs position on the lever (labeled in the above photo) but the third position is mainly used to replace the visor. It is also hard to use the third position while riding as one would require to press and hold the release button while sliding the lever up to lock. The orange circle on the top is the release button which retracts the sun visor. It is a very smooth and quiet spring loaded mechanism.

Sun visor in the standard position which is the first tab on the lever.

Sun visor in the second position

According to RevZillaTV this helmet has 4 exhaust vents. In theory this will have a breezy effect while wearing but I have yet to test it out.

The internal of the helmet. The helmet liner has a plush look to it and it looks comfortable. I also love the smell of a new helmet. I also love the smell of freshly cut grass and new books too. I am weird like that. 

I wore the helmet a few times around the house. The longest I worn the helmet was about 15 minutes. The first few times it was on it feels like there was a pressure point at the back of my head and the cheek pads felt like someone was constantly pinching my cheeks. I removed the helmet and had a bad headache after that. It was just a few minutes of wearing it. I asked my friend Mr Google and I got some contradicting answers. Some of the answers was that the helmet does break in and just need to give it time for the foam to conform to my head. Others mentioned that the helmet might be the incorrect head shape which caused the pressure point and to get a new one. Some suggested to take the back of the spoon to compress the foam a little bit at the pressure point area or to sand/cut off a bit of the padding. There are also comments which mentioned that sometimes you would need to adjust the helmet while wearing it. 

I was hoping that I didn't have to any sort of modifying the helmet interior as it might compromise the helmet in case of a crash. I also don't want to get a new one as I don't have any extra cash lying around. I decided to try it on a few more times and to pinpoint the area of the pressure points and luckily there wasn't any. I did the helmet test to verify that the helmet is of the correct size and it passed all the test. As for the pinching cheekpads problem, I solved them by adjusting the location of the pads after wearing the helmet.

To be completely honest I was a bit overwhelmed when I first wore the helmet. I had to find the visor tab, the sun visor lever, the flip up pull tab mechanism, etc. There are so many things to do with this helmet. I was 'upgrading' from a simple 3/4 helmet to a modular helmet with so many functions.

Overall I am happy with this helmet and the sun visor is used very often as I ride to work with the sun in front of me. I might even have to replace it to a darker shade but for now it is good enough. The helmet vents really works. It was very cooling compared to the X-Dot helmet. You can feel the air blowing in from the top vent and through back.

The visor does fog up when stopped at traffic lights. Since I don't have the pinlock installed yet I had to flip the visor up. Sometimes I just let it fog up (not until I am unable to see) and see how long it takes to clear when the bike moves.

Remember to ride safe, be vigilant and keep the rubber side down

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