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Icon Variant Helmet Review

Posted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:00 pm
by Steffridesabuell
I purchased a new Icon Variant helmet for my personal use last week. Check out photos of this helmet if you haven't seen one before; they are very interesting. The Variant looks a lot like a dirt helmet, but it has a bubble-ish face shield all full face helmets. So you get the protection of a full-face, and the sun visor from the dirt bike world. Icon also went with the push-up dirt bike-style "nose"; not sure why they did that. Anyway, I've been riding with the Variant for a week now and here's what I think...
1. If you don't have really strong neck muscles, DO NOT buy a Variant! The first head check I tried at highway speed resulted in a painfully pulled muscle when the wind caught the side of the Variant and snapped my head around. Ouch! This helmet really catches the wind HARD if you're not facing perfectly forward.
2. Be prepared for really tight cheek pads. I'm sure that's to keep your head in place when the wind catches the helmet and tries to spin it around your noggin.
3. That pushed-up nose area takes up quite a bit of your viewport. Somewhat disturbing if you're used to a regular full-face with a large, open viewport.
4. Good points...The helmet has six air intake controls. When they are all open the Variant moves a whole lot of air. You can really feel the air flowing through the helmet.
5. In spite of all that air movement, this is a very quiet helmet.
6. The sun visor works pretty well to keep the sun out of your eyes, especially if you're commuting into the sun both ways every day, like I do.
7. The sun visor seems to have something of an airfoil effect. When facing straight ahead, the helmet feels very light. Perhaps the visor providing a little bit of lift?
8. The standard face shield is anti-fog. It's also so optically perfect that, when closed, it doesn't seem to be there.
9. The helmet liner is removable, washable and replaceable.
Bottom line: except for that neck-=snapping thing on the highway, I like it a lot.