Icon Variant Construct helmet review

Review
Icon Variant Construct helmet

Overall SBS Rating 68 /100
Reviewed by: James Tewnion
Review Conditions
Mileage
1500
Seasons
Spring
Motorcycle
Kawasaki KLX250S

The Icon Variant looks every inch an adventure helmet, but after 1500 miles I’ve found it to be much more versatile than that. In fact, I think the Variant could be quite comfortably worn on a sports bike.

In America it’s fashionable to wear helmets like this on sports bikes and now I can understand why – the peak enhances the Variant’s performance at speed rather than upsetting the airflow around it.

The sheer size of the peak, which extends all the way to the back of the lid, made me nervous as it looked like it would rip my head back at the first indication of a gentle breeze.

This fear was misplaced. The wizards at Icon have made airflow through the peak almost perfect and I cannot believe how stable this helmet is at motorway speeds. There was no buffeting or sign of it forcing my head back.

My only issue with the peak was the non-glossy rubbertone finish, which permanently looked filthy, even after I’d cleaned it. It showed fingerprints, road dirt and even water spots from trying to clean it.

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Icon’s other Variant paintschemes have painted peaks, so if you like to keep your kit looking perfect then maybe one of their other designs would be more suited.

Otherwise, I loved the look of the Variant Construct – the word ‘construct’ referring to the fact the fibres used in the construction of the shell are covered only with clear lacquer, making for a unique finish.

While this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I think it makes the Icon helmet stand out and makes it look ultra-modern.

Like most adventure helmets, the Variant’s peak needs to be removed to change the visor. Handily, the helmet comes with a dark visor as well as the standard clear one, so swapping them is a required skill.

The screws holding the visor in place are hidden by clip-in plastic covers. Removing the covers to reveal the visor screws helps make the visor change a slow process, which also requires tools.

The visor itself has a big aperture as you’d expect on adventure helmet and is anti-fog coated, which works well. Although I tested the Variant mostly in relatively warm weather, there were no signs of mist on the visor when I wore it on colder mornings.

Ventilation on the helmet is okay, but it’s not as good as other adventure helmets I’ve tried. There are plenty of vents, but they don’t appear to be that effective – half of the time I couldn’t tell if the vent was open or closed.

The interior of the helmet is lovely and plush, with stunning red cheekpads and skull lining. This is one of the most comfortable helmets I have worn, with no obvious seams or stitching and nothing that digs in.

It isn’t exactly light, weighing 1650 grams, but this never impeded my comfort and the weight is well balanced.

A huge chin curtain goes some way to keeping wind noise down, but without earplugs the helmet is quite noisy.

In addition to all of this, I like little touches such as the Icon logo on the button to hold the loose end of the retention strap in place, and the patterns printed on the lining. These make the helmet feel premium and reflect the price, which was just under £300 at the time of writing.

After six months with the Icon Variant, I’ve been very impressed with the overall performance. It’s a bit heavy and noisy, and the ventilation isn’t effective enough in my opinion, but the aerodynamics, comfort and looks are all excellent and I’d happily recommend the helmet to a friend.

68/100
Adventure helmet scores
  1. Vision
  2. Ventilation
  3. Fit & Comfort
  4. Build Quality
  5. Features

Features

    1. Removable lining
    2. Composite-fibre shell
    3. Chin curtain
    4. Peakless option
    1. Emergency cheekpads
    2. Dropdown sun visor
    3. Pinlock insert
    4. Speaker recesses
    5. Room for goggles

Vision

18/ 20
The visor aperture is big and gives a good outlook, but changing the visor itself is always a challenge.

Ventilation

7/ 20
There are a lot of vents, but I never got enough airflow through the helmet for my liking.

Fit & Comfort

19/ 20
The helmet is one of the comfiest I’ve had in a long time. It’s a bit on the heavy side, but is well balanced so it carries the weight well.

Build quality

16/ 20
I had no problems with the build quality on my review helmet, which is still in excellent condition, and I would expect it to last well.

Features

6/ 20
If you’re looking for features then other helmets will fit the bill better. This has the essentials but little in the extras department.