Monday, February 16, 2009

Vega XT Half Helmet Review

I started riding using a used inexpensive full-face helmet my oldest son found in a junkyard. It fit correctly and I had cleaned it up real well. It had no damage, just minor scratches and scuffs. My wife made the comment that the full-face helmet did not match the style of my bike. I was riding my 2003 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic, which is a cruiser. Honestly, I did not like the idea of riding around in a used helmet anyway.

Thomas Ramirez
I decided to start looking at all the local motorcycle shops for a new helmet. I was looking for a half helmet, D.O.T. and or Snell approved, titanium in color to match my bike. One day at lunch a co-worker, Thomas Ramirez and I rode to Full Boar Cycles in Hurst Texas to look at motorcycle parts and accessories. Thomas owned a 2008 Yamaha V-Star 650 Silverado at the time. Sadly, he has since traded it in on a 2006 Ford Windstar because fatherhood was calling him again. He hopes to replace it one day so he can ride once more.

I still needed to pick up a lot of riding equipment so I was browsing in Full Boar Cycles and pricing riding gear. I was in the helmet section and saw a titanium colored helmet that was close to the color of my Mistress. Mistress is my V-Star 1100 Classic. I tried on a size XXL and it was loose on my head. I had read that different helmet brands fit differently and have certain head shapes that they fit well. I tried on a size XL and it felt snug. I saw it had the appropriate DOT decal on the back. The price was reasonable and within my budget, (read inexpensive), so I purchased the helmet.

I had a brand new D.O.T. approved Vega XT Titanium Colored Helmet size XL. I also picked up an Echo Products Helmet Strap Quick Release while I was at Full Boar Cycles. This would make the chore of taking off and putting on the helmet a lot easier. The Quick Release itself meets all D.O.T. Snell, and N.I.J standards for safety. Here are the XT Half Helmet specs from the Vega Website:

XT Half Helmet

• Meets or exceeds DOT standard.
• Fiberglass shell in traditional shape.
• Available in 6 sizes (XS-XXL).
• Zip-on/zip-off communication ready wind curtain is standard.
• Adjustable forehead intake vents allow for proper airflow in all riding conditions.
• Plush "Wick-Dri" fabric interior with superior wicking properties.
• Includes traditional tinted 3-snap visor.
• Vibrant color choices including Honda™ Gold Wing™ color match.
• Fabric Vega logo bag protects your investment.
Colors available: 16Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL

Since it was summer time here in Texas, the first thing I did to my new Vega XT Helmet was to remove the zip-on/zip off communication ready wind curtain and store it in my saddlebag for cooler days. It zipped right off as advertised and then I easily removed the helmet straps through the holders built into it. Next, I installed the Quick Release on the helmet strap. It installed simply according to the directions. I adjusted the two forehead intake vents to the open position at the top and I was ready to ride.

I used the Vega XT Half Helmet to commute back and forth to work on my V-Star Most of the summer. The plush “Wick-Dri” fabric interior lived up to its superior wicking properties description. It would almost dry my hair in the morning after showering and then riding the short distance in to work.

The Vega XT Half Helmet feels sort of high on your head. The section from the top of your head to the top of the helmet shell is probably three to four inches thick. It feels slightly top heavy giving me the feeling of being a Cone Head. For those of you that do not know, Cone Heads were Aliens on the Saturday Night Live skits that had tall, bald, cone shaped heads. I’m sure that if this helmet was involved in an accident you would not complain of it being too thick.

What I really wish this helmet had, is larger or a few more forehead vents. The Vega XT Half Helmet only has two small separate vents at the front of the helmet. They each have a separate individual plastic slider to open or close them. The sliders would be hard to operate with gloves on. The air holes were small, about the diameter of a pencil. In the heat of the day my head would sweat a lot. It became apparent that the adjustable forehead intake vents were just too small to cool your head effectively, at least in Texas.

The XT Half Helmet had a nice black tinted three snap visor. However, the visor sets so far up, and not so far out, that it does not provide very much shade. At highway speeds the visor acted like a sail and caught the wind and moved the helmet back on my head. It was more apparent with a strong headwind coming at you. The only way to counter act the helmet from sliding back on your head is to tighten the straps real tight. Having to tighten the helmet straps so tight could be very uncomfortable on a long ride.

When the weather turned cool I re-installed the wind curtain and it zipped on just as easily as it came off. It did a great job of keeping my ears from frostbite. I have not had the chance to try out the built in speaker pockets yet. The exterior color, finish, and apperance looks good. The finish is durable as well. Once after dropping off my seat to the garage floor a small scuff buffed right off. Due to the smallish vents and non functional visor, on a scale of 1-10, I would give the Vega XT Half Helmet an MMM rating of 6.

Ride on,
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