Here’s likely one of the most popular helmets in recent months in the sub $400 full face category (with full on graphics that is, basic colors come at a lot cheaper) and strong candidate for our list of the coolest motorcycle helmets: The ICON Airflite, which looks like straight out of a futuristic jet fighter movie. I guess that was on purpose, given the name 🙂
ICON’s been rocking the scene with their bold, unique and rather loud designs, and are one of those brands that people either hate or love. We… well, we’ve got to tell you the whole picture here, as there’s more that meets the eye.
Outer shell material : Polycarbonate/Fiberglass
Shell size : XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL
Liner : HydraDry material
Weight : 3.79 pounds
Pinlock : No
Strap System : D-ring
DOT : Yes
ECE : Yes
SNELL : No
SHARP : Not tested
Shape and materials
Ok, let’s talk about the shield, which honestly, is one of the main selling points for this lid and likely the reason you’re even reading this at all.
The way the shield goes down covering the center of the chin bar, sits and locks perfectly, and with the mirrored color options it definitely adds for some of the most fabulous looks we’ve seen on a helmet that’s actually DOT/ECE certified.
The standard polycarbonate shell comes in a total of 3 sizes for a total of 7 internal shapes, with the smaller shell covering the XS-S, next one M-L, and the larger one all the way to 3XL.
This helps keeping the proportions and not making you look like a massive lollypop. On their cheaper, entry-level spinoff the Airform, they went with 2 shell sizes and we all know what’ll happen for riders with a size XS-S head 🙁
Another little detail we appreciate is the material used for the tabs on the vents, it’s actually the same polycarb as the rest of the shell, so pretty resistant. This is an area many manufacturers cheap out on, then you drop your helmet one day, get unlucky to break the tab because it’s cheap plastic, and there goes one vent unusable and your brand spanking new helmet looking scruffy. Not a thing we’re fans of.
Things I liked
Things I don’t like
If features their HydraDry triple-layer liner we’ve so much grown to like specially for helmets on the least luxurious end of the spectrum, and double D ring strap system, americas’ favorite.
Another feature we really like is the cutout shape at the back of the helmet, which keeps it from tapping against the bulkier back protector from some jackets, allowing for a comfortable full-tuck position.
Let’s talk about comfort:
Props to ICON for a helmet that’s pretty neutral on terms of air dynamics, with no true push on any head position.
The faceshield we’ve so praised in terms of looks and quality of build, does come at a minor usability price and it’s that the tab to open it is on the middle of your chin, vs on the side as 99% other helmets, so it’s going to take you a minute to get used to it.
In terms of how well the lid sits on your head, we’re quite satisfied with the overall feel and fit, I’ve got an oval head and I had no weird pressure points straight out of the box, and the cheek pads fit very nicely too. All expectable stuff, but hey not every helmet delivers!
In terms of how easy is it to pimp and add stuff to it, the helmet does come with speaker pockets but the way the wall and the hard plastic piece from the check pads are built, it’s going to be hard to fit a clamp mount for an intercom without doing some DIY mods. Boooo. Otherwise, flat side wall for sticking a gopro or intercom mount
One of our favorite points about the Airflite is the bigger than usual FOV, which offers completely unobstructed views side to side and top to bottom.
Couple things about the Airflite Shield (the fancy name for the interchangeable shields you can purchase separately for a mere $50 bucks). The chrome/silver/full mirrored versions have a tendency to do some reflections if you ride directly against the sun.
Another thing to note (not like we truly think you’ll do this, but be aware) is that the visor is massive, so if you happen to open it all the way up while at high speeds (again, why?), be ready to get your head pulled back full strength because it acts like a boat sail!
About the drop-down sun visor, it’s a pretty straightforward one, available in 3 colors as far as we’ve found, comes with a big ass lever that’s easy to find and operate with gloves on the left side of the helmet, locks up, but doesn’t lock down (why? We dunno). Works as intended and adds to the whole jet fighter feeling. We like.
This is a field we’re always unimpressed with ICON’s helmets, as they are pretty loud when we talk about full face helmets. Some people disagree. Some people haven’t tried Schuberth or Arai helmets to compare. Unfair comparison, we know.
With a grand total of 4 intake ports (2 on the chinbar, covered but not blocked by the face shield and two at the top of the helmet) and 2 exhaust ports, the airflow on this piece is remarkable, but this has to do more with their exaggerated internal channels on the top layer of the EPS liner.
In comparison with the cheaper Airform we recently reviewed, you can actually close the chin vents with an internal lever, although with gloves on, the chin curtain comes so much in the way that you’re better off setting the lever before you ride. Annoying, but that’s the way it goes.
Also notice the sunvisor, when up, does block some of the airflow so it lowers the overall capacity to cool your head down.
In terms of safety standards met, its DOT and ECE, as well as JPS (though no sticker unless purchased on Japan) and nothing else. So, legal to use pretty much everywhere but nothing that we’ll get overly excited for (i.e. SNELL or SHARP)
Overall, we’ve got to give this helmet an average of 85/100 when we factor in the coolness of it, or 4.5/5 stars. It’s a solid value proposition with good bang-for-buck ratio for those looking for a helmet that’s different, yet usable every day.
TL:DR - The Airflite makes for a great, badass looking commuter and street riding helmet.
Obviously not an intelligent choice for those who don’t enjoy random strangers commenting on their gear, which I can tell you, is exactly what happens with this helmet. All. the. time.
Where to buy this helmet :