Fox Pilot (AGV) - First Impression - Cool!
sTeVe? made me do it ;) I was really keepin tabs on RMD for news of the Fox Pilot Helmet, but nuthin much was being said about it other than it was supposed to have great ventilation. So the very next time I went to the motorcycle shop to buy sparkplugs, this helmet just leapt off the shelf and onto my credit card statement. The helmet retails for $299 - about $200 less than the AXO which Merf likes (I looked at it and was also impressed - but I didn't bite at five big ones)
Truly this is a first impression, because I was at the track, on a chilly, misty Colorado Sunday, not raging through a Texas-style Enduro. But no matter - I break into a profound sweat at the thought of exercise - my current helmet is so hot on my head that I regularly cook my brain during the winter. Summer time causes brain damage, so I was definitely in the market for a cooler lid.
Unboxing this puppy, I was not particularly impressed weight-wise -- In my hand it felt lighter than my 3-year-old Answer M-7 (KBC) - but not by a lot. The most striking thing was the way it felt on my head - it feels light and balanced, and was an excellent fit! Supposedly the pads are already "broke in" and will not change in fit as you wear it. The shell is a fiberglass/kevlar/carbonfiber mesh that is clearly visible under the jaw liner.
The lining and pads have Dupont CoolMAX in them for enhanced wicking. The lining is fully removable and hand washable as are the pads. CONSULT THE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO REMOVE THE CHEEK PADS OR YOU COULD BREAK THEM OUT OF THE HELMET. I am sure they designed this to be complicated for a reason - probably for ventilation purposes.
The liner alternates fabric with ribbed cushioning and a fine mesh (where the ventilation channels are) and seems very durable (although Rebecca called me linthead after I tried it on). The front and rear of the liner have a flexible bulge sewn into them which allows you to tuck the ends in under a rubber retaining thingy on the helmet - fairly good design IMHO. For neat freaks - the liner (hard foam) on the jaw piece is fully removable and the jaw vent can be removed for cleaning/custom painting.
Speaking of which - the graphics are... well - the designer did not suffer from profound creativity - but they will not have your friends shielding their eyes from the visual noise either. Definitely livable - I would possibly paint the aluminum mouth vent tho...
The helmet does have two ventilation channels running front to back across the top and is not the typical round shape - but neither does it have fins on it ;) The air vents are just under the visor and cannot be closed - about 4 inches apart. There are also vents on sides of the helmet at the base, exit vents on the back and base. Air channels run through the foam from front to back with smaller channels running from those channels through the foam to the mesh portions of the liner. The rear vents take advantage of the aerodynamic low pressure zone to pull air through the helmet
The visor is easily adjustable by sliding a single latch mechanism forward an eighth inch, adjusting it, then sliding it back - none of those stinkin levers to stick up and get snagged or broken. The visor also appears to be a good combination - not too floppy or rigid. I doubt that it would shatter under most circumstances.
Now what you really want to know - "Does it work? Does it really keep your head cooler?"
After tearing it up on Sunday at the VDR track with RMEC's Mike Troast, Greg Gibson, Brian Penney, Jary Penney, Jeff Hernandez... (actually compared to some of these guys I wasn't moving at all), I noticed several things. Normally when I take off my lid in this weather - my head steams for a few while the excess moisture goes away - no steam. When I then put the helmet back on it is normally very cold and very wet - it was neither. When I stop riding my goggles steam up - no change there ;) But I never had profuse rivulets of water pouring down my face like with my Answer pressure cooker - even after hitting the main track hard enough to break out in a shirt-soaking sweat. The helmet was simply consistently comfortable - no blasts of cold air to my scalp and no pressure cooker effect.
I am very satisfied with it and look forward to those hot summer races to put this thing through its paces.