Road, race, thriathlon, x-country, mtb, cyclocross, thriathlon. in-mould technology
- Two-size shell
- Anallergic removable and washable comfort liner
- Highly transpiring comfort liner
- Micrometric adjusting size system
- Height adjustment
- Longitudinal size regulation
- Inner protective net
- Reinforced inserts
- Internal reinforcing frame
- Ergonomic structure
- Aerodynamic design
- Multi air system
- High visibility reflective stickers
- Removable peak
The Airoh brand may be new to most people in South Africa, but for the crossover folk that ride enduro and off-road motorcycles will know them well, Airoh make one of the best adventure motorcycling helmets available and are trusted and loved for their features and fit.
I immediately recognised the italian brand and was eager to test the Viper Evo offering from Airoh. The aggressive styling and plush looking padding caught my eye. Importers of Airoh, The Peloton, offered me the opportunity to ride in the Viper long term and give them my feedback.
The styling of the helmet is good, its a relatively small shell so it doesn’t look big on your head, the shape of the inner is ergonomic and doesn’t press anywhere unevenly. The sizing is well covered by the smaller shell helmet from an Extra Small 53cm all the way up to 58cm, and a larger shell size covering 59-61cm.
The inner pads as you can see are a velvet brushed finish and give the inner a luxurious feel, something you can appreciate when wearing it. The forehead area of the padding includes a mesh for keeping bugs, and road debris out (having been stung by a bee in December, thats a great addition) The securing straps are also made from a soft touch nylon and are very easily adjusted, they move and flex well so they can conform without sticking out anywhere. The clip is a solid and secure feeling pinch to release type and the chin section includes a velvet over-wrap matching the inner. This is removable if you like but I have worn it as-is so far. I like that there isn’t yards of extra strapping to try tuck away, just enough and its also got a little rubber tidy to neaten the excess, as sparse as it is.
The helmet uses in-mould technology which creates a lighter overall product and allows for more vents and custom shaping to give you exactly what the designers want. There are struts between the helmet’s 19 vents and are secured with tiny torx screws that add strength while allowing Airoh to make bigger apertures without compromising safety, additionally the foam includes reinforcing framework to add to its safety. More on the struts a little later…
The rear ratchet secures the helmet around your head evenly and didn’t feel like it pressured anywhere specifically, or create tight spots. Its height adjustable in three positions so you can find the sweet spot in the back of your skull. Initially I had the helmet strap both too low and too tight and I got a little scratchy feeling from the base of the plastic, but once in the correct place that sensation never came back. The helmet doesn’t seem to need a lot of tension to stay put either, so you could keep the ratchet backed off one or two notches without it feeling loose or moving around. The shell shape and sizing also allow room for additional headwear like a cotton cap or fleece warmer in colder climates without trouble.
Out on the bike the helmet disappears on your head, you hardly notice feeling it, which is a good thing considering that on paper the 300g weight may seem like a lot compared to rivals in the upper end of the price scale, but in reality it didn’t bother the weight weenie in me at all, I appreciated the comfort above the few extra grams.
Its not billed as an Aerodynamic helmet but its definitely slippery through the air, the struts between the channels seem to direct the airflow and get rid of turbulence that would cause drag. It’s a similar theory and design to the Louis Garneau Course helmet that is claimed to be more aerodynamic than its competitors, so too does the Airoh Viper cheat the wind… without a wind tunnel to prove it, I cannot tell you its going to save you x seconds over y distance but what I can say is that when the helmet angle is perfectly aligned the air moving through it is perfectly silent – noticeably. it also seems to be lighter on your head in this instant so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find it helping you go faster.
I typically ride two and half to three hours and in this time I had no problem coping with sweat. The helmet cools well and the luxury pads are very good at moving the moisture off your brow and away from your eyes, so any sweat that does run off, does so on the outside of your eye-line. Its on par with other high end helmets I have used and better than most in this regard. The pads also dry out fast so I can wear it day after day without putting on a wet helmet. Sunglasses stow away easily and securely on the back of the helmet without the ratchet dial getting in the way. Testing two brands of sunglasses (Oakley Radarlock and Salice 006) in the front of the helmet was easily done, insertion was smooth and the vents easy to locate naturally, and nodding my head up and down to test the security was passed with flying colours 🙂
At the RRP of R2650 price point this helmet is very well specced, feels great and looks good. It comes in its own cloth bag and includes a peak, that is easy to install and remove and is just big enough without detracting from the racy look this helmet exudes. The Viper comes in three colours, EVO as tested in Red,White and Black, a Black/Carbon and a White/Carbon look which should cater for all tastes.
Overall a great quality helmet at a reasonable price that both looks good, feels good and may even help you go faster through the wind!
Weight – Heavier than some in this class
Chin-Strap may not be long enough for big heads in the smaller shell version