Scorpion EXO Belfast Review

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Scorpion’s answer to the Bell Custom 500 comes in the form of the Belfast Helmet. The Belfast is an open face, three-quarter helmet that comes in at around the $200 mark. With a focus on classic aesthetics, does this handsome helmet stand up against its more sporty competitors?

The short answer is yes. While the Belfast is generally a more expensive alternative to the Bell Custom 500, it has that retro coolness factor that makes it stand out. Read our review of the Bell Custom 500 here.

The Belfast is a departure from Scorpion’s current stock of edgy sport helmets, but rings true as a classic addition to the company’s premium branding. Keep reading for the details on this helmet.

ScorpionExo Belfast 3/4 Open Face Helmet (Matte Black, Small)

Ratings

Comfort:

92%
Comfort

Visibility:

90%
Visibility

Ventilation:

75%
Ventilation

Quietness:

89%
Quietness

Specifications

Outer shell material : Polycarbonate/Fiberglass

Shell size : XS, MD, LG, XL, XXL, XXXL 

Liner : Hand stitched napa and genuine leather

Weight : 2.62 pounds

Pinlock : No, but with a separate sun visor

Strap System : D-ring

Safety Ratings

DOT : Yes

ECE : No

SNELL : No

SHARP : Not tested


Shape and materials

The Belfast Helmet features a hand-laid, multilayered, fiberglass outer shell that comes in four colorways: matte black, metallic blue denim, pearl white and candy red. That’s two soft touch finishes and two glossy finishes, respectively. The outer shell is round oval in shape. On the wearer’s left side is a premium metal brand badge.

The pearl white colorway offers a more sporty addition of four painted grayscale stripes around the lower part of the helmet and the Belfast name in calligraphy on both sides.

Around the edges of the shell are black leather stitched trimmings separating the colored fiberglass from the foam and leather padding inside. The lining material is soft napa leather with genuine leather stitched accents around the edges. At the base of the shell is a genuine leather goggle strap to keep you from losing your goggles on the road.

Along the top line of the helmet are a row of snaps where you can attach a visor which Scorpion sells separately. However, there is a hidden, drop down sun visor included on this helmet. Unfortunately, the visor is only available in smoke.

The strap system is a classic double D-ring closure. On the inside of the straps are leather pads to protect the wearer from chafing.

The multiple size options are determined by the lining while the exterior remains the same. As a result you can have a similar look with different sizes without sacrificing on fit and comfort.

Things I liked

  • Genuine leather lining with hand stitching
  • Internal SpeedView sun visor
  • Accommodation for eyeglass wearers and sunglasses
  • Extended neck protection in the back
  • Sleek vintage look

Things I don’t like

  • Not a lot of ventilation or noise protection
  • Lack of chin protection
  • Goggle strap too low
  • Only one safety certification

Overall comfort

The Belfast is intended to be a well-fitting helmet that cradles your head like a memory foam pillow. The foam in the lining covers almost all of the head, and the napa leather inside wicks away moisture while providing a soft, non-chafing surface. There are fabric sections at the top and a small part of the sides of the lining which appear to be a polyester mesh like one might find on the strap pads of a backpack. While more breathable than the leather, this kind of fabric tends to irritate some and can pinch hair, so a natural fiber would be preferable for the fabric ventilation pieces.

The fiberglass shell means less weight to carry around with you without cutting down on protection. Fiberglass has the added benefit of allowing some flexibility, so it’s a little easier to get this helmet on and off.

For glasses wearers, the Belfast helmet has hollowed out sections so glasses arms can slot in without discomfort. This feature also allows the wearer to use separate sunglasses. The internal visor is far enough away from the face to accommodate glasses underneath as well. Both features can help keep your glasses where they belong, too. And the sun visor won’t fog up on you when you breath like a full visor might.

While the goggle snap strap is a good addition, it might be too low for some wearers. It can also be difficult to clean the lining as most of it isn’t removable. These helmets tend to run small, so choose a size up from what you would normally wear.

Visibility

You can’t beat a three-quarter, open-face helmet for visibility. Scorpion’s SpeedView sun visor is also a step up for this Bell Custom 500 alternative, allowing the wearer to skip bulky accessories if they so choose. The helmet cuts away at the sides so, unlike some other helmets, you get good peripheral visibility. That’s important if you want to ride safe!

Quietness

The snug fit of this helmet and real leather lining keeps road noise out. However, the foam padding doesn’t insulate that well so you might still get some annoying sounds.

On the left side of the chin strap there is a snap to keep the extra strap material out of the way and prevent it from flapping in the wind or hitting you in the neck.

Ventilation

While there are ventilation areas in the lining as previously discussed, this style of helmet isn’t the best if you run hot. The fiberglass shell doesn’t have any ventilation holes so heat and moisture will just pool underneath it in the foam padding. On the other hand, you don’t have a full chin bar closing you in so there is tons of ventilation for the neck and lower face area.

Safety

A helmet is only as good as its safety aspects. You buy a helmet to keep you safe after all. For the Scorpion Belfast, you can see there has been some consideration for the rider’s safety while trying to balance that with aesthetics. Rather than cut straight across the jaw line, the back of the helmet angles up on the fiberglass shell while the padding remains low to protect the back of the neck and head. The sizing also helps achieve a secure fit, while the double D-ring chin strap gives just the right amount of adjustability. Once you have the Belfast on you and are strapped in, it doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere.

It is worth noting that the nature of an open-face helmet means you don’t have the chin bar to protect you in the event you impact with something facing forward.

As for certifications, this helmet only markets its Department of Transportation certification. While no standard is necessarily superior, it’s not the best look to only have the bare minimum. For comparison, the Bell Custom 500 has DOT, ECE and Snell certification. This helmet is certainly cleared for sale and safe to use, though, and not being tested against a standard is very different from failing a certification.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the classic, retro look of a three-quarter motorcycle helmet but want a more premium alternative to the Bell Custom 500, look no further than the Scorpion Belfast Helmet. This helmet features hand-laid, multilayer fiberglass construction on the outer shell. On the inside you have hand stitched, genuine leather accents and a napa leather lining to keep you comfortable on a long ride. The vintage design is classy and perfect for fans of that look.

There are a couple of special additions that set this helmet apart from its competitors: an internal SpeedView sun visor and padding along the bottom back which extends past the fiberglass shell to protect the spine and allow for an attractive leather snap strap to keep goggles in place. It would be nice to be able to replace the inner visor with different colors or a clear screen for night riding, but the options for goggles and snap on visors mitigate this drawback.

While some of the lining can be removed for cleaning, it can be difficult to clean inside where moisture can permeate through the leather and into the foam. To keep things hygienic with this helmet, you’ll want to wipe down the leather regularly and frequently. The leather interior and sturdy stitching is going to last you a long time with proper care, however.

Belfast has the mandatory DOT certification but hasn’t been tested against the other major standards. While this doesn’t make it unsafe, it would be better to pass muster on more extensive certifications.

All in all, this is a step up in terms of quality from the Bell Custom 500. The additional features on the Belfast improve both safety and looks as well as longevity, though your options for customization are limited as the Belfast only comes in four colorways. The Scorpion Belfast Helmet’s improvements over the Bell Custom 500 justify the slightly higher price tag, and you still net a great helmet for just under $200.

Where to buy this helmet :