Versatile and tour-friendly, the flip front helmet is a piece of kit that should be in every adventure bikers’ arsenal. Mike Beddows and Bryn Davies put 17 to the test…

For the adventure bike rider, the obvious choice of helmet is usually the dual sport style with a peak and an extended chin bar. While these certainly go hand in hand with the world traveller image, and are more suitable for forays off the tarmac, when it comes to long distance on-road touring, a flip front lid might just be the way to go.

Characterised by the ability to raise the chin bar above the visor (effectively turning it into an open-face helmet), flip fronts offer fantastic on-road performance and versatility, making them ideal for long rides or tours. Tasks like asking for directions, filling up at the petrol station, stopping for a fag, or simply chatting with your mates while you’ve pulled over briefly all become so much easier when you can simply lift the front of your helmet up and out of the way of your face.

While flip fronts offer all of the benefits of a full-face and then some, there are certain drawbacks. For instance, there seems to be more wind noise created in flip front helmets than in full-face designs. I would imagine that this is due to the spaces created by the detachable chin bar, and the best way to combat this is to make sure you wear your ear plugs.

If safety’s your top priority when buying a lid (and if it’s not, why isn’t it?) then you’ll want to check that the flip front you desire offers sufficient protection at the chin guard when it’s locked down. Flip fronts designed to offer protection with the chin guard down should pass relevant tests and receive a type P certification, which should be clearly displayed (usually on a tag on the chin strap). In a similar vein, those that have been designed to offer a decent amount of protection with the chin bar raised will be J certified. If a helmet has both P and J certifications then it is said to be dual homologated.

On some occasions, however, flip front helmets can be approved without P certification, meaning the chin guard doesn’t offer protection, and this should be labelled as NP (or non-protective). While not a deal breaker, this is something to consider when deciding on a new lid.

Safety aside, there’s one other consideration that should be taken into account before you start to look at desirable features like internal sun visors, and that’s the fit of the lid. Everyone’s head is a different shape, and helmet manufacturers can’t make a one size fits all mould, so when it comes to buying a helmet it’s worth the extra time taken to try them on. An ill-fitting helmet can cause all sorts of problems, from the annoyance of discomfort and extra wind noise, to the inability to protect you as it’s intended during an accident.

Once you’ve decided on a helmet that offers an acceptable level of protection, and it fits perfectly, then you can start to think about the inclusion of features you deem desirable, such as internal sun shields, ventilation options, Pinlock ready visors and the type of fastening strap. Check the next page for a full list of these features to see which you’d like.

Features of a Flip Front Helmet

A Word On Safety

All helmets sold in the UK and worn on UK roads must comply with British Standards BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI Kitemark. Those that don’t, must comply with UNECE Regulation 22.05 or comply with any standard set by a member of the European Economic Area, which offers a level of protection equivalent to BSI Kitemark.

The flip front is much the same as any full-face helmet with regards to safety testing, with the added complication that the front hinge must also meet safety standards to ensure it stays locked in the event of an accident.

If a helmet suffers an impact, the damage could be unseen, and a damaged helmet is next to worthless if it’s called upon to do its job in a spill, so it’s recommended that it be replaced if you drop it. A second-hand helmet may look perfect and seem like a good deal, but there’s no way of guaranteeing its integrity.

The government helmet safety scheme, SHARP, has lots of helpful information on its website about helmet safety performance (www.direct.gov.uk/sharp).

Flip Front Helmets And The Law

When we tried to find out whether it was legal or illegal to ride around with your helmet flipped up, we came across a lot of conflicting information, so we decided to ask Andrew Dalton of White Dalton, a specialist motorcycle accident claims solicitors, for his thoughts. He said:

“The use of a flipped up helmet is a very grey area in law. So long as it is on and buckled, then no specific offence is committed, but the law has not been tested as to whether wearing a helmet in a way which would fail the type approval is legal. If the court took a literal interpretation of the current UK law, then riding flipped up is legal. If a purposive interpretation is taken, that is the purpose of the legislation is to protect the rider, then a prosecution might stand. No higher English court has set any precedent.

My personal view is that, on balance, a prosecution would fail. However I would not choose to ride flipped up but my view has changed. I used to ride flipped up occasionally, but having caught a few helmet peaks and given my head a sharp rotation riding in dirt, l think the potential for rotational forces exerted through a flipped up lid’s leverage makes riding flipped up unwise, but each to his or her own. It’s just my view of the particular risk.”

SPADA REVEAL HELMET
£69.99
www.spadaclothing.co.uk

At just £69.99 the Spada Reveal is by far the cheapest helmet in this group test, and as it bears the ECE R 22-05 markings, it still provides a level of protection required to pass CE testing. In the matte black style that we had in for this review (also available in a gloss black or white), the helmet looked very nice indeed, and if we were to rate on looks alone it’d be scoring very highly.

The flip front mechanism is very simple to use, both when lifting and lowering, though I have to question the strength of this part of the helmet as I was able to pull the chin bar out of its clips without pressing the release button and with little physical force.

Something that I couldn’t do on other helmets, that’s not too reassuring.

Considering the price of the product, for the most part, the helmet offers good value for money. The internal sun visor is super easy to use, it’s nicely sized and it doesn’t obscure the user’s view when lowered. The Reveal Helmet is also one of the lightest on test at 1,500g.

Ventilation wise, you get a decent sized chin vent, which is easy to use, two brow vents and a large closable vent on the top of the helmet. I found the brow vents to be tricky to use with gloved up hands, not just because they’re a bit fiddly, but they’re very stiff to operate. There’s no exhaust vent either, so airflow through the helmet isn’t as good as it could be.

The chin strap is of the ratchet variety, and while it’s simple and quick to use, there’s an excessive amount of strapping, so once you’ve adjusted it to a suitable tightness, unless you’ve got a neck like the hulk, there’s a good four-five inches of strap flapping around.

IN A LINE Stylish helmet for the price.

ABR RATING: 6/10

DUCHINNI D605
£109.99
www.thekeycollection.co.uk

At £109.99, the Duchinni D605 is the second cheapest helmet in this group test, and I’ve found it online for around £60. At this price, it’s a great entry-level lid for those getting into biking or looking to try a flip front helmet for the first time. Despite the low price, and the fact that it feels notably ‘budget’, it still passes all of the relevant safety tests to make it CE-approved.

The fastening strap, which is of the ratchet variety, is very difficult to adjust once in use so you’ll have to make sure the tightness is right before you click them together. As with most ratchet straps, to release you just pull on the red tag, but the D605’s system is fiddly and you have to pull hard, something that can be a hindrance when wearing gloves. The visor is easy to open and close, and there are six detents which allow you to wear it in various positions depending on how hot you’re running. A small vent on the chin bar helps with visor demisting, and two vents at the top of the helmet provide a good inflow of air though, again, they’re very difficult to operate with gloved up hands. An exhaust vent at the rear helps suck cooling air over the top of the head, making the ventilation options pretty good.

The internal sun visor is a nice addition. It is easy enough to deploy, and it sits in a suitable position (not obscuring view or hitting the nose). Retracting it proved difficult while on the move, though.

For such an affordable lid, the fit of the helmet was great for me and it felt very comfortable in use. I did find there to be quite a bit of wind noise and buffeting at motorway speeds, and this would get tiresome on a long ride.

IN A LINE A good entry-level flip front helmet that does the job.

ABR RATING 6/10

ACERBIS BOX G -348
£119.99
www.acerbis.it

Like the Givi X21, the Acerbis Box G-348 that we tried out for this review came in a fluorescent yellow which screams ‘see me!’ when out on the roads. It is available in different colours, but from a safety perspective, this is great. At Åí119.99, the Box G-348 is a nicely priced lid, and if you shop around you can find it cheaper than that.

At 1,600g, it’s not exactly lightweight, but it certainly isn’t the heaviest, and you can squeeze your head in without having to flip the front up first. In terms of the flip mechanism, it’s very simple to operate, and there’s a lock on the right-hand side which is designed to prevent the chin bar from falling once raised. In use, it felt flimsy and doesn’t stop the front from being forced down.

The internal sun visor is a welcome addition that’s easy to operate, however it doesn’t drop quite as much as I would have liked, with the bottom edge of the visor being right in my line of sight. The main visor is a bit clunky to open and close, and it doesn’t have Pinlock mounting points, though I found the chin vent did a very good job of demisting.

A fixed chin guard helps to reduce wind noise, though it’s a shame that this is fixed and not removable for extra ventilation as is the case in some other lids. That being said, the standard ventilation options on the Box G-348 are good in their effectiveness but are very fiddly to operate with glove-dup hands. You get a well-designed chin bar vent, two brow vents and an exhaust vent which draws a great amount of cooling air through the lid.

IN A LINE A great looking helmet that has a few little niggles.

ABR RATING 7/10

MT ATOM SV
£139.99
www.tri-motive.com

MT is a company that’s well known for its budget helmets, and the Atom SV (on review here) is towards the top end of the company’s price range at Åí139.99. For this price, it’s a real bargain, ticking all of the requirements for a decent budget flip front, and it looks very stylish straight out of the box.

At 1,700g, the Atom SV isn’t exactly lightweight, but don’t let that put you off . This is one helmet where you can actually get your head into it without first flipping the face, and I’m sure that extra ease of use will appeal.

The main visor is a bit stiff to open and close, though this should right itself aft er extended use, and it’s not as smooth to operate as the more expensive ones in this group test. It comes with Pinlock mounting points, but you’ll have to buy the insert separately. The internal sun visor is also easy to use (push a lever to lower it, press a button to retract it) and it’s well positioned, providing a good amount of cover without obscuring vision.

The vents on the Atom SV are good, and comprise of a small vent on the chin to help demist the visor, a large vent on the top of the helmet, which is easily operated with a glove-dup hand, and a well-designed exhaust vent which can also be opened and closed.

I found the Atom to be very comfortable to wear. The flip mechanism is very easy to use whether stationary or on the move, though when flipped up it does seem to catch the wind an awful lot. While wind noise is a common complaint when it comes to flip front helmets, I found the Atom SV to be fairly quiet, even when traveling at motorway speeds.

IN A LINE A great, nicely-priced helmet.

ABR RATING 8/10

GIVI X.21 CHALLENGER
£149.99
www.givi.co.uk

The Givi X21 Challenger that we had in for review was supplied in bright fluorescent yellow.

It’s not a colour scheme I would personally go for (and there are other options available), but you can’t fault the fact that it will help make you more visible on the roads. At 1,550g the X21 is mid-range when it comes to weight, and at £149.99 it’s the fifth cheapest lid in this review.

While the flip mechanism is nice and easy to use, I found that the chin bar wasn’t as secure as I would have liked once it’s clicked in to place, and I didn’t feel comfortable riding with it flipped up, for fear of it dropping down and obscuring my view while on the move.

The visor on the X21 was a bit disappointing in the way that it’s quite stiff to use, though I expect this will loosen over time. Additionally, whereas other visors have multiple opening positions, the one on the X21 has just one, right in the middle between closed and open. I much prefer having multiple options here, as sometimes you may only want it up slightly to help de-mist the visor. The X21 does however, come with a Pinlock insert included as standard. The integral sun visor is nice and big, offering a great amount of coverage, and it’s easy and smooth to operate thanks to a well-placed lever.

Ventilation on the X21 consists of two front vents, one on the chin bar and another on the brow (both of which are easy to operate with gloved-up hands), and exhaust vents on the rear to help draw cool air through. A guard underneath the chin bar is positioned to help prevent unwanted drafts and to help lessen the amount of wind noise heard inside the lid.

IN A LINE A decent, well-priced flip front helmet.

ABR RATING 7/10

HJC IS MAX 2
£159.99 (£179.99 WITH GRAPHICS)
www.oxfordproducts.com

The HJC Max IS 2 is a fairly chunky and heavy helmet, weighing in at 1,750g for our size M. I’m not keen on heavy helmets as they put more strain on your neck while riding, something that becomes increasingly noticeable the further you travel. At £179.99 it’s one of the more affordable mid-priced helmets, and for the cost it looks to be an attractive proposition.

The visor on the IS Max 2 isn’t the best in use, being very clunky to open and close when compared to other helmets around this price point. You won’t find a Pinlock insert in the box as standard, but the visor does come with mounting points that will allow you to fit one if desired. The integral sun visor is easy to operate via a large slider on the top of the helmet, though it could do with being a tad larger to offer more coverage of the face.

In terms of ventilation, the IS Max 2 comes with a large anti-fog vent on the chin bar, which is easy to operate when wearing gloves. In contrast, the single top vent is operated by a small sliding switch which is very fiddly when gloved-up. Two exhaust vents on the rear complete to set up and allow air to flow from front to back relatively effectively.

In use, the helmet is comfortable to wear, and it performs well at motorways speeds with minimal buffeting. There is a fair bit of wind noise, though it was far from the worst in the review in this regard.

IN A LINE A decent mid-priced helmet.

ABR RATING 7/10

LS2 METRO RAPID
£179.99
www.ls2helmets.com/uk

LS2 have consistently been impressing us with the quality and affordability of their helmets, and the Metro Rapid is their entry into this test. It looks extremely stylish in the black and fluorescent yellow that we had on test, and at 1,550g and £179.99 it sits itself roughly in the middle of the price and weight range.

One thing I particularly likes about the Metro Rapid, was that I could easily put it on without flipping the front up, something that can’t be said for a lot of flip front helmets on the market! The visor comes Pinlock ready, and there’s an insert included in the box to prevent the visor from misting up. A sun visor is included, but in use it doesn’t drop enough, with the bottom of the visor sitting bang in the middle of my line of sight. This can be remedied by physically grabbing the visor and pulling it down, but that’s not something you should have to do.

In terms of ventilation, the LS2 comes well equipped. There are four permanently open vents on the front, as well as a chin vent and a further two brow vents. While the chin and brow vents can be opened and closed on the fly (even if the switches to do so are a bit small and fiddly in use), the other four can only be closed by using the vent covers that come included in the box. They’re a little tricky to remove, but they make the helmet versatile for use in different temperatures. A further two exhaust vents on the rear complete the effective ventilation options.

I found the Metro Rapid to be very comfortable to wear at all speeds, even when the face was flipped up I didn’t have any extra strain on my neck due to the great aerodynamics of the helmet.

IN A LINE A really smart looking helmet that performs well on the roads.

ABR RATING 8/10

CABERG TOURMAX
£199.99 (£224.99 WITH GRAPHICS)
www.cabergcares.co.uk

Back in 2014, Italian company Caberg broke the flip front helmet mould when they introduced the Tourmax. Before then, no other company had thought to make a flip front with adventure styling and features, but since then Schuberth and Scorpion have jumped on the gravy train for a slice of the action. Still, the Tourmax is the original, and at £199.99 it’s also the cheapest, but how does it perform?

While the proposition of an adventure helmet that offers flip front functionality is attractive, there’s no doubt that the Tourmax is more of a road-going helmet with a peak bolted on top. You don’t get the extended chin bar that’s so useful for extra ventilation when you’re working hard off -road, and on the Caberg the chin is restrictive, sitting very close to the face.

The helmet has a polycarbonate shell and it’s easy to spot the overall quality of the lid throughout. Despite the restrictive chin bar, everything feels well made, the flip front is easy to operate with a single hand, and the peak moves with the flip front to accommodate the movement.

The visor provides a large field of vision, and it comes with a Pinlock insert in the box as standard – nice. The internal sun visor is easy to operate via a large slider on the top of the head, though I would have preferred it to sit a bit lower when fully deployed.

In terms of ventilation you get five small vents on the chin bar which cannot be closed and a small vent above the visor, which is closed and opened by sliding a small tab. While there’s ample ventilation at the front, the Tourmax lacks any exhaust vents to create a nice cross flow of air.

IN A LINE A good quality helmet, but the chin is very restrictive!

ABR RATING 7/10

SCORPION ADX-1
£229.99
www.tranam.co.uk

Flip front adventure helmets are a relatively new phenomenon in the world of motorcycling, with the Caberg Tourmax and the Schuberth E1 also offering a peaked dual-sport lid that’ll flip open when required. At Åí229.99 the Scorpion is just Åí20 more expensive than the Caberg, and it looks like it could be a great, affordable choice for those looking for this style of helmet. Despite the additional weight of a peak, the Scorpion is roughly in the middle of the range, weighing in at 1,630g.

The model we had on test came in a plain white with a tinted visor (a clear visor is also available in the box), and it really did look the business. In use, both visors could be better though. They’re clunky to lift, and while there are a number of detents to keep the visor open in various heights, it strangely doesn’t find the position on the up sweep, meaning you have to raise it all the way up and lower it slowly until you find the desired position. It’s not a deal breaker, but it can be a nuisance. The visor comes Pinlock ready, and an insert is included in the box. The internal sun visor works well and is nice and easy to use though.

The chin bar vent is huge and can be opened and closed easily with gloved hands, and while the top vent also helps to draw a lot of air into the lid, it’s a little bit fiddly to operate as it’s located right being the peak. Coupled with the extended chin bar of the helmet (a feature of adventure and motocross lids), the ventilation options are brilliant, and an exhaust vent rounds the system off nicely. In use, there was extensive wind noise and buffeting at motorway speeds, but this is to be expected from all but the most expensive dual sport helmets.

IN A LINE A very good adventure style flip front helmet.

ABR RATING 8/10

AGV COMPACT-ST SEATTLE
£229.99
www.agv.co.uk

AGV is well known in the helmet market, and the company offers a massive range of lids in all different colour combinations and styles. The Compact-ST that we have on test here is one of their flip front offerings, and it looks fantastic in all colourways. At £229 we’re creeping into the more expensive products, but shop around and you can get this for roughly £180 online.

At 1,780g (despite being advertised as 1,450g) the Compact-ST is the second heaviest helmet in this group test, and it definitely feels hefty in your hands and on your head, something that will become noticeable if you’re travelling long distances.

Flipping the face of the helmet is simple, and once it’s lifted there’s a locking mechanism that’ll lock the front in the open position if desired.

The Seattle has adequate ventilation at the front, with a chin vent and two top vents that operate independently of one another. Unfortunately, the switches are tiny and aren’t easy to use when wearing gloves. There are also no rear exhaust vents, which limits the effectiveness of the ventilation. De-fogging the visor with the front vents alone takes a long time, but fortunately a Pinlock inserts comes in the box as standard.

The integral sun visor is easy to operate, and while it sits nicely in front of the face (not obscuring vision), I would have liked it to have been a bit larger. In use, the AGV lid performs well at motorway speeds, even when flipped up, which is desirable when riding along European roads in the middle of summer.

IN A LINE A nice-looking, well-performing helmet with minimal thrills.

ABR RATING 7/10

AIROH PHANTOM S LEAD
£269.99
www.bikeittrade.com

At £269.99 we have the Phantom S Lead from the Italian helmet manufacturer Airoh. Weighing in at 1,770g in a size L, it’s one of the heavier helmets on test, though it’s well featured and well designed throughout.

The visor offers a large field of vision and the helmet comes complete with a Pinlock insert as standard. Frustratingly, the visor only has one position for if you want to ride with it semi-open, and that’s bang in the middle of your line of sight, so you’re pretty much limited to wearing it fully open or fully closed. That said, the internal sun visor is very well designed, sitting perfectly and being easy to operate.

The flip mechanism is simple to use with one hand, and the Airoh benefits from the ability to lock the front of the helmet in place once it’s been lifted up. This is great if you’re riding in the summer heat, and unlike most other flip fronts, it doesn’t cause too much buffeting when flipped up. The chin strap is of the ratchet variety, and it’s nice and comfortable against the skin, causing no irritation at all during use.

When it comes to ventilation options, the Phantom S Lead is well equipped. A nicely sized chin vent can be opened and closed easily with gloved-up hands, and there’s a large vent on the brow which does a great job of sucking air in. On the rear there’s a large, closable exhaust vent, and a further small exhaust vent at the bottom. All of this combines to create an effective ventilation system that’ll perform well in summer.

IN A LINE A beautiful looking and well designed helmet.

ABR RATING 8/10

HELD C T-1200
£330.99 (£347.99 GRAPHIC)
www.held.de

If weight is your main concern when buying a helmet, then the Held CT- 1200 is the one for you. At 1,350g it’s the lightest product in this group test, and this really saves your neck on long journeys. The weight savings don’t come cheap, however, as the construction is 100% carbon and at £330 it’s one of the more expensive helmets on review. That being said, it’s a beautiful looking lid, with a really premium finish.

For the price, the visor could be better. There’s a great field of vision, but it’s clunky to use and there are few detents, meaning that there aren’t as many opening positions as I would have liked. The visor includes mounting points for a Pinlock, but the insert isn’t included in the box, which is a shame at this price. The integral drop-down sun visor is nicely sized and very easy to operate, deploying in one smooth motion and then retracting in the same way. The chin strap is of the ratchet variety, and is nice and easy to use and adjust.

In terms of ventilation, you get a chin vent which does a good job of drawing air in, and a small top vent, though this is fiddly to open and close with a gloved-up hand. The CT- 1200 lacks any form of exhaust to help draw air through the helmet, which could be off putting for some if you’re planning on using it in very warm conditions.

All in all, the CT-1200 is a decent helmet if you’re looking to save weight, and this is thanks to the carbon construction. It looks fantastic as well, though it lacks a few features that would have made it an excellent choice.

IN A LINE Great helmet with a super light weight

ABR RATING 8/10

SHARK EVO-ONE
£379.99 (£349.99 NO GRAPHICS)
www.nevis.uk.com

The Shark Evo-One is unique in the fact that the chin bar flips all the way around to the back of the helmet, in a configuration that Shark calls ‘Jet Mode’. Once flipped all the way to the back of the lid, you can lock it into position securely. It’s a great feature and the best part is that the main visor can still be used while the chin is flipped up, something that’s not possible on the other helmets in this group test.

This functionality doesn’t come cheap though, and at £379.99 (£349.99 in a plain colourway) the Evo-One is one of the most expensive helmets in this test (though that’s if you opt for the graphic version). It’s also fairly heavy at 1,650g (300g heavier than the lightest).

In order to flip the chin bar to the rear of the helmet you simply press a button and lift it all the way round until it clicks in to place. Returning it to full face mode is a bit trickier, requiring two hands, but it’s something that you get the hang with some practice.

The internal sun visor is great. It’s advertised as being 23% bigger than the one found on previous models of the Evo-One, and this increased coverage is really noticeable when the visor is compared with others on test. It’s simple to operate (there’s a large slider on the top of the helmet) and doesn’t impede your vision either. The main visor is excellent as well, coming with an included Pinlock insert, and you can also use this when the helmet’s in Jet Mode – a fantastic addition.

My face felt very safe when riding in Jet Mode, with the padding around the cheeks providing a reassuring fi t. Out of all of the helmets in this test, the Evo-One is the only one that I felt comfortable riding at motorway speeds in with the front flipped up.

Ventilation on the Evo-One is also very good, with a large chin vent and two simple-to-use brow vents. The chin vent flipping the chin bar back the evo-one in jet mode easy-to-use sun visor slider does an excellent job of demisting the visor when required, and all of these are easy to use with gloved up hands. A large exhaust vent on the rear completes the well-designed ventilation system.

The Evo-One may command a high price tag, but it is effectively two helmets in one, and is very well designed.

IN A LINE Best on test, the jet mode feature is superb.

ABR RATING 9/10

X-LITE X-1004 E LEGANCE
£399.99
www.motogear.co.uk

Coming in at just a penny shy of £400 we have the X-lite X-1004. This lid has been a fi rm favourite in the ABR office ever since it was released, and before that the X-1003 was one of our most-worn lids as well. It sits itself at the more affordable end of the high-priced premium flip front lids, and for your money you get a very nice Italian lid.

The first thing worth mentioning is that the X-lite is one of the comfiest helmets that I’ve worn. The inner liner is nice and soft and there’s a very nice amount of padding to make it a delight to wear all day. I’ve covered thousands of miles in mine, and never have I once felt like I wanted to take it off .

The flip front opens via a ‘dual action double safety chin guard opening system’ to prevent any accidental openings. While it’s a bit fiddly initially, aft er a few opens it’s simple to grasp. The X-1004 is dual homologated, so you can lock the chin bar in place once you’ve lift ed it up, though the slide that does this is a little small and fiddly when wearing gloves. The visor offers a fairly good fi eld of vision, though there are better out there, and it comes with Pinlock mounting points and an insert included in the box as standard. Without the Pinlock in place, the visor does have a habit of steaming up rather quickly. The integral sun visor is very well designed and provides a great amount of coverage.

Ventilation on the X-1004 is superb. A large chin vent is coupled with another huge opening on the top of the lid, drawing in a great amount of cooling air, and these are closable with the sliders being a doddle to use when on the move. An effective exhaust vent completes the system.

IN A LINE A fantastic touring helmet.

ABR RATING 9/10

BMW SYSTEM 7 CARBON
£450 (UP TO £525 FOR GRAPHICS)
www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk

The BMW System 7 is a seriously nice-looking bit of kit, but it also commands a seriously high price tag. It is the third most expensive helmet in this review (coming just behind the Shoei and Schuberth offerings), and it offers a unique removable chin bar that turns the lid into an open-face helmet. Although branded BMW, the System 7 is manufactured by Schuberth, though that’s no bad thing as the German company is renowned for making excellent lids.

The main selling point of the System 7 is undoubtedly the fact that you can detach the chin bar should you wish, and while this is great in principle, I found it to be a fiddly ordeal. I followed the instructions to the letter and struggled with the small buttons responsible for detaching the chin. With practice I’d imagine it gets easier, but you’d expect a more user-friendly experience at this price.

Troublesome chin bar aside, the helmet is very good. The flip front is very easy to operate when on the move with gloved-up hands, and the System 7 is supremely comfortable thanks to the inner lining and padding.

The visor offers a very good amount of vision, and it comes fitted with a Pinlock insert as standard, which is to be expected at this price. The internal sun visor is both easy to use and well designed, offering a good amount of coverage and protection from the sun.

Ventilation-wise the helmet is adequate. The chin vent works very well, and a large slide vent on the top of the helmet is easy to operate and draws a lot of air in. Unfortunately, there’s no exhaust vent on the System 7, though I expect you’ll be wearing it with the chin bar removed on really warm days.

IN A LINE A unique take on a flip front helmet that performs very well.

ABR RATING 8/10

SHOEI NEOTEC
£499.99
www.shoeiassured.co.uk

Shoei is one of the most well-respected helmet manufacturers out there, and the Neotec is the company’s flip front offering. At a penny shy of £500 it’s expensive, but if you want quality, top-of-the-range safety levels and a helmet that you know you can rely on, then it’s one to look at.

The Neotec is a very nice-looking lid, and the design of the outer shell is responsible for most of that attraction. But looks aren’t everything, and the composite fibre construction has led to the helmet receiving a four-star rating from SHARP, the government funded helmet safety testing scheme.

You’ll immediately notice the luxurious feel of the removable inner lining and comfortable padding. I wore mine on a 13- hour ride and not once did I feel discomfort. The flip front is simple to operate, though it’s not dual homologated, so there’s no promises of it being able to provide adequate protection when ridden with the chin bar flipped up. The visor provides a great fi eld of vision, and it comes Pinlock ready with an insert included in the box as standard. The internal sun visor works very well, and it’s simple to operate with gloved-up hands.

When it comes to ventilation, the Neotec impresses. A large chin bar vent does its job admirably, and the big vent on the top of the helmet draws air in exceptionally well. Both are easy to open and close with gloved-up hands. The fastening strap is of the ratchet variety, and it can be opened and closed easily. If there’s one downside, it’s that I found the Neotec to be a little noiser than I would have expected from a helmet of this price. It wasn’t terrible, and there are far noisier helmets out there though.

IN A LINE You get what you pay for – a top quality helmet.

ABR RATING 9/10

SCHUBERTH C4
£549.99
www.tranam.co.uk

I know, I know, just look at that price tag! At £549.99 the Schuberth C4 is the most expensive helmet in this group test by a long shot, and when it costs this much you’d hope that it comes complete with a valet to park and wash your bike when you’re done for the day. The C4 is the latest incarnation of the German helmet maker’s top-spec flip front, replacing the C3, and while it doesn’t come with an expandable personal assistant, it does come loaded with everything you’d need in a helmet, along with excellent safety standards.

There’s really no denying the quality of the C4 from the moment you pick it up. You can just tell that it’s a well-made piece of kit, and it feels expensive. Everything from the composite shell to the plush ShinyTex lining is premium, with the latter providing a comfortable next-to-skin feeling throughout the riding day.

The flip mechanism on the C4 is, as you’d hope for this price, very easy to use and it’s so smooth in operation. The Pinlock-ready visor offers a great fi eld of vision, and the internal sun visor is near perfect. Ventilation is also very good, with a brilliant system that effectively cools you down on warm days.

One of the most appealing features of the C4 is the inclusion of an integrated antenna, pre-installed speakers and a microphone, meaning you don’t have go through the hassle of buying and installing a headset.

I found the visor on my model to be slightly annoying in the fact that it didn’t seem to want to stay half open at speeds above 60mph, though I haven’t heard or read any reports of this happening to other people..

IN A LINE It’s expensive, but boy is it a good helmet.

 

ABR RATING 9/10