Icon Airflite helmet review

Review
Icon Airflite helmet

Overall SBS Rating 88 /100
Reviewed by: Naomi Sesstein
 ADAM PIGOTT
Review Conditions
Mileage
11,000
Seasons
Spring-Summer
Motorcycle
Various

When I purchased my Icon Airflite I had just finished watching Battlestar Galactica. As soon as I put it on my head all reasoning flew out of the window. I didn’t care about its features, how much it was, if it would be able to go the distance I had in store for it, NOTHING. I just wanted to look like Starbuck and nothing was going to stop me!

Considering this was (stupidly) my main motivation for getting a piece of kit whose primary function is to protect my head, things worked out better than they should have done. It might have been love at first sight, but the love affair is still going strong.

Having used it for 1700 miles around Japan in the worst rain I’ve ever seen, then ridden 9000 miles in Alaska and Canada, where it had rocks bigger than my fist hurled at it, the Icon has proven itself to be a very reliable piece of kit.

Seeing as it was an important part of the buying decision, let’s start with the quicksilver colour. The shell gets a special finishing treatment, with silver paint applied and then sanded by hand to give each helmet a bespoke finish.

When I finally took it off my head, stopped pretending my bike was a starship and actually explored the helmet’s features, I was pretty impressed.

It’s lined with Hydradry padding, which is great for wicking away the sweat on a sticky day and it means it dries twice as fast when you give the linings a proper wash.

When it’s time to wash the lining or put a comms unit inside it’s as simple as popping the pads out and back in. Even I, a notoriously cack-handed individual, managed it with ease. Another box ticked for my impulse buy; things are looking good…

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I love the main visor. With most lids the visor stops short just under my eyeline, but on the Airflite the entire shield comes down over my face and covers the helmet’s chinbar to clip in at the bottom of the helmet. This fact, and the shape of the aperture, makes it feel like I have full wraparound vision.

Inside there’s a sun visor, something I rode without for years – and now it’s genuinely my best friend. The turndown tab for the inner visor can easily be found on the side – and both inner and outer visors can be swapped for tinted options if you want to knock it up a level in the coolness stakes.

Removable side plates on both sides of the helmet come off with minimal effort to adjust or change the visor. This version of the Airflite has metal grommets integrated into the helmet itself, making for easier on/off action than on previous Icon lids.

After riding for days off road in Alaska the dust got everywhere, but I found it super-easy to take apart the helmet and visor so I could clean it up.

It’s worth mentioning that the Airflite isn’t Pinlock-ready as standard, so I got myself an aftermarket stick-on anti-mist insert, which worked fine.

However, I have since found out that you can buy a proper Pinlock-ready visor and insert from Icon, so what may have been an issue was easily fixable.

In terms of venting, oversized chinbar channels flow air between the lining and EPS liner, with dimples cut out of the visor to allow for air to enter throiugh the chinbar when the visor us clipped shut.

There are also two vents on top of the shell and two exhaust ports at the back with an added spoiler. Despite all this I did find it a hot helmet, but it seems unfair to mark it down on that because I wear a balaclava to keep my long hair from getting tangled and messy. Vain? Maybe, but who likes helmet hair?

For the most part in Alaska and Canada I was riding with my main visor clipped in the upright position and my sun shield down, so the venting wasn’t really an issue for me.

Fastening the helmet is simple with a D-ring set-up and there’s a removable mesh chin curtain that’s easy to get in and out.

Another little feature I thought was natty was the earplug stash pockets, which are at the back of the helmet on the underside of the pads. If I’d actually remembered to put my earplugs in these pockets might have been handy, but alas they stayed where they always do – tucked away on my keys, only to be remembered once I’m sat on the bike and ready to go!

In conclusion, I found nothing on this Icon Airflite to fault. For an impulse buy that was based on nothing but looks, it worked out very well for me and I certainly put it through its paces.

I think it would have to take a very unique lid that dragged me away from this one at this point. I definitely get to have my spaceship helmet and look awesome wearing it too. It’s a huge thumbs-up from me. Over and out……

 

Naomi Sesstein is in charge of content for Magellan Motorcycle Tours and covers tens of thousands of miles while leading tours and researching new ones, reviewing kit for SBS Mag along the way.

88/100
Road helmet scores
  1. Vision
  2. Ventilation
  3. Fit & Comfort
  4. Build Quality
  5. Features

Features

    1. Dropdown sun visor
    2. Removable lining
    3. Speaker recesses
    4. Visor locking/holding tab
    5. Breathguard
    6. Quick-release visor
    7. Chin curtain
    1. Pinlock
    2. Emergency cheekpad release
    3. Composite fibre shell

Vision

18/ 20
Vision was great – as mentioned before the big visor allows for or certainly feels like it allows for a wider field of vision. The need for an extra Pinlock visor and insert to combat visor misting is a shame, however.

Ventilation

18/ 20
Again, it lost a couple of points as it was a little hot, however I wear a balaclava so it seems unfair to mark it much lower on this.

Fit & Comfort

18/ 20
I found it comfortable for the most part. It loses a couple of points only because when it was warm the lining did pinch a little. It’s possible the helmet comes up a little smaller than the usual.

Build quality

20/ 20
Not a single component has failed on this, even when rocks and dirt have been thrown at it – not to mention the huge temperature variations it has had to cope with. It was easy to clean, and putting it back together was a doddle.

Features

14/ 20
The plastic shell and lack of Pinlock and emergency cheekpads bring this score down.