Scorpion Exo 1100 Review

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Scorpion’s EXO 1100 is a mid-to-upper-tier motorcycle helmet that offers substantial protection without significantly compromising ventilation, comfort or a rider’s field of vision. The finish is tough enough to resist most scratching wear and tear, and the external and internal visor mechanisms are known to hold up well over time.

First and foremost, it’s a practical design created by riders for riders. It’s got a slick looks, but it’s not as flashy or fancy as some of Scorpion’s high end models. What the EXO 100 provides in spades is a high level of build quality and long term durability on which Scorpion has built their reputation. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the EXO 1100 a standout performer in its class.

Ratings

Comfort:

90%
Comfort

Visibility:

80%
Visibility

Ventilation:

60%
Ventilation

Quietness:

85%
Quietness

Specifications

Outer shell material : Fiberglass/Kevlar Matrix

Shell size : available in two sizes

Liner : KwikWick II

Weight : 3 lbs., 10.6 oz.

Pinlock : Ready

Strap System : Double D Ring

Safety Ratings

DOT : Yes

ECE : Yes

SNELL : No

SHARP : N/A, Not Tested


Shape and materials

The Kevlar/fiberglass matrix molded outer shell was designed and redesigned using wind tunnel test date. Not only does this method ensure superior aerodynamics to reduce drag, but it also helps significantly reduce external engine noise and wind noise.

The outer finish itself is protected under multiple layers of clear coat and other protectant, and it’s rare to see visible scratches or nicks in the finish. There are much more expensive helmets that don’t have nearly as high quality graphics and finish. The shape of the helmet itself tends to fit better for riders with round heads, and some may prefer to use a larger size shell if they have a more elongated head or a protruding jaw.

The strap is firmly mounted to the interior frame of the helmet via a pair of heavy duty D-Rings, ensuring the EXO 1100 stays firmly in place should you bail unexpectedly. Combine this exceptional design with high-impact resistance of its internal structure, reinforced chin bar and dual visors, and you’ve got one tough and sharp looking brain bucket. 

Things I liked

  • Top quality construction materials
  • Excellent finish durability
  • Easy to customize external visor

Things I don’t like

  • Poor line of sight/visibility with internal visor
  • AirFit can be difficult to adjust if you don’t have the correct size helmet
  • Chin bar can make it difficult to mount a communication system.

Overall comfort

This model comes in Large and Extra Large shell sizes, and both are well padded with a KwikWick II liner. Internal padding provides a snug feeling fit and wicks away moisture from the skin, allowing it to evaporate rapidly before being expelled via the helmet’s ventilation channels. The EXO 1100 also has Scorpion’s patented AirFit system that lets you inflate the cheek pads for a custom fit. The pump control is located directly by the chin bar, which can complicate installing a mic or adjusting the AirFit. 

The ear cutouts are large enough to accommodate Bluetooth speakers and headsets easily, and the bottom can easily accommodate clip-on or adhesive communication system microphones. The chin strap is likewise comfortable and stays in place firmly but not uncomfortably with some minor adjustments. Best of all, at just over 3 lbs.it won’t put extra strain on your neck and shoulders while riding.


Visibility

The EXO 1100 features a dual visor system. The external face shield protects riders during impact or from flying road debris. Removing or adjusting the detent of the external visor is easy thanks to the dual locking side control knobs. The interior visor provides basic eye protection and shade from the sun if you are riding without the external face shield or sunglasses.

When you drop the internal visor down using the external lever though, you may find the shape causes some visual distortion and the tint is fairly light compared to most sunglasses. Most users typically skip the internal visor and just use the external one or wear other eye protection if they are riding sans face shield. All in all, the eye port and shields are about average for a motorcycle helmet, not better or worse than others in its class.


Quietness

While it doesn’t exactly lock you away in an orb of silence, the EXO 1100 has far less buffeting noise and wind noise than most motorcycle helmets available at this price point. The designers clearly put a lot of thought into designing the outer shell to minimize these typical noise problems. That being said, smoothing out the aerodynamics externally seems to be the primary cause for the poor ventilation that can affect this helmet without some minor adjustments.


Ventilation

Here is my least favorite characteristic of the EXO 1100. It does allow air to pass into and out of the shell of the helmet at multiple points along the surface. There are detents, vents and sliders aplenty. Opening any of the ventilation points on the EXO 1100 increases the wind noise, but they don’t do much for actually cooling the helmet.

Perhaps it’s due to the superior aerodynamics of the shell, because air tends to pass over or around ventilation ports as opposed to passing through them. In short, this makes the ventilation on this helmet poor at best and feel stuffy at worst.

The best way to ventilate this helmet is to use the detent locking lever on the external face shield. This will lock it slightly open and improve the defogging/cooling of the EXO 1100 tremendously. I have a caveat for those who ride in the rain, too: the helmet’s shape and aerodynamics generate a low pressure area close to the chin bar.

In good weather pressure pattern isn’t an issue, but in the rain it tends to suck water up under the helmet along your neck and jawline. In summary, the EXO 1100 has subpar ventilation compared to other helmets in its class, and is less suitable for warm weather riding.


Safety

As a premier manufacturer or motorcycle safety gear, Scorpion takes safety certifications very seriously. The EXO 1100 is US DOT Certified and ECE Certified, but does not have a SNELL or SHARP certification.

Some states and localities do require that helmets meet SNELL certification standards though, and you want to check your local motorcycle and helmet laws to ensure that the EXO 1100 meets requirements for your state or locality of residence. 

Conclusion

All things considered, the EXO 1100 falls squarely in the middle of the cost-to-value spectrum for motorcycle helmets. The materials are top-notch, the external visor offers fantastic visibility, and the KwikWick II liner on all internal padding helps keep the interior from getting too humid.

Additionally, the EXO 1100 provides a decent noise level, lightweight feel and decent comfort for people with round heads and shallower jawlines.  You made need to go up a few sizes if you don’t fall into this category.

Conversely, the ventilation for this helmet is going to require some tweaking and modification to keep it cool in hot weather. Moreover, the internal visor has some serious fit and quality issues that make it effectively useless for most users. There have also been some complaints regarding the AirFit pads and the placement of the pump and valve to control them. The good news is that just about all these concerns can be resolved by choosing the proper size and tweaking the ventilation system a bit.

Bottom line, this is a good quality helmet that will keep your head well-protected on rides for years to come. Check one out if you’re in the market for a new helmet.

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