The middle of an August Bank Holiday heatwave is a good time to test the ventilation on a helmet
That’s when I first wore the Icon Airform, and when I found out just how much air flows through the helmet’s vents.
It’s the chin vent that does the work circulating the air around inside the helmet, up into my face, and around the edges of the chin bar also to the back of the helmet.
The top vent is easy to operate in summer gloves and gives good positive feedback when I open it. However it’s not as effective as the chin vent and it isn’t really possible to feel the air flowing through the overhead vent..
One issue with the chin vent, however, is that they’re three mesh-covered holes cut straight through the chinbar and a couple of times I’ve had bug debris come through and hit my face.
The venting is great in summer, but not so much in winter. Only the top vent is closable and the three chin vents are always open. This caused an unwanted draught on my top lip in cold weather, which was quite uncomfortable.
Airflow through the chin vents helps the visor stay clear. Although it doesn’t have a Pinlock anti-mist insert, I found the anti-fog coating on the visor adequate for cool mornings.
If, however if you regularly ride on cold days (under 5°C) in my opinion this isn’t the helmet for you. Having done this test in almost exclusively summer and autumn I took it out again for a few days in winter and found that below 5°C is too much for the anti-fog coating, causing it to get a residue on the inside and reduce visibility.
On the plus side, the substantial visor seal kept the inside of the visor dry in the wet weather.
I also found the internal sun visor to be very effective in bright conditions as it’s heavily tinted to help cope with low and bright sunlight. It’s not, however, anti-fog so in wet or cold weather one breath was enough to make it mist up, meaning I had to keep the main visor open to keep it clear.
The visor is held in the closed position by a pin on the left side of the chinbar that slots into a hole on the visor. This snaps shut quite solidly and once it’s sealed, requires a fair amount of force to lift.
While wearing summer gloves it’s easy to hook a thumb under the visor edge to release it from the pin and lift the visor. In thicker winter gloves, though, I didn’t have as much feel and found it harder to release the visor from the pin.
Visor removal is quick and easy, with small levers at the bottom of the base plates that pop it off with a satisfying clunk. Refitting is simple enough, holding the visor to the maximum open position and pushing the sides on.
The Rubatone coating on the model I tested looks good, but has its flaws, namely how it looks dirty very quickly, and requires a specific cleaning process.
Rubatone is a coating over the helmet which gives it a soft-touch, rubbery feeling, much like the finish on a lot of phone cases. If cleaned in the convenient way most people would wipe a helmet down, with a microfibre cloth and helmet spray, you rub the risk of damaging this finish, like I did…
I then read the book that came in the box and it outlined the specific cleaning method, involving warm towels and the inside of the bag supplied with the lid, which should be followed to prevent damage to the Rubatone finish.
Because I’d cleaned it a different way at first the coating on the edges of the top vent closure began to peel back, revealing the gloss layer underneath and making the helmet look a bit tatty before I’d covered 500 miles.
Recesses in the sides behind the removable cheekpads allow for intercom speakers to be fitted, and I tested it with a Twiins headset – where the speakers are slightly thicker than normal which didn’t present any issues and I couldn’t feel that they were there.
The area around the ears provided another of my issues with the Airform. While the cheekpads are soft and comfortable, the plastic backing on them gave me problems.
There seemed to be an excess of plastic near my right ear, and in time this began to abrade my ear, which made life quite uncomfortable when putting the helmet on.
This wasn’t helped by the shape of the chinbar, which makes the helmet quite uncomfortable to get on anyway.
The Airform helmet has a lot of appealing factors, not only for someone like me who’s just bought their first bike, but for anyone who wants to be cool and look cool at the same time.
It’s not practical enough in my opinion for year-round use, but as a spring/summer helmet for a younger rider, the Icon Airform is a solid choice with good looks, some impressive features and, at the time of writing this, a sub-£150 price.
With no Pinlock support but an anti-fog coating instead, sub-5 degree rides aren’t for this helmet, but as a summer lid – wide visibility and anti-fog coating to deal with cooler mornings – it is a solid choice. A dark tinted internal sun visor is useful for when the sun is low and bright.
Large vented areas on the front and exhaust port on the rear ensure you stay cool while riding, the ability to change the colour of the rear spoiler means you look cool at the same time. I found that the best vents on the helmet were the ones at the chin as they directed airflow in all directions. The vent above the visor however not so much, I wasn’t able to feel much difference in whether it was open or not.
Fit & Comfort
Moisture wicking fabric on the liner keeps any moisture away from your face on hot days, which is then flushed out through the exhaust ports on the back. The score is low because the plastic backing for the inner lining caught awkwardly on my ear and made it painful to put the lid on.
The helmet feels solid and rigid with a good premium feeling on your head. The D-rings on the chinstrap are solid along with the popper holding the slack up. The only issue I experienced was with the Rubatone coating on the model I tested peeling around the top vent closure.
It’s missing practicalities like a chin curtain and a Pinlock insert, and emergency cheekpads would have been a bonus.