Scorpion VX-17 Helmet Review

JC Hilderbrand | May 31, 2006
The flat black VX-17 will look good with just about any gear or bike in your collection. It didn t show scratches as much as we first anticipated  but don t leave it sitting in the sun between rides or it ll cook your brain the next time you strap it on.
The flat black VX-17 will look good with just about any gear or bike in your collection. It didn’t show scratches as much as we first anticipated, but don’t leave it sitting in the sun between rides or it’ll cook your brain the next time you strap it on.

Helmets are the one piece of gear that every rider must have. Some people wear work boots and jeans and that’s ok, but any crazy kook who enjoys riding without a decent lid probably isn’t going to enjoy it for very long. There’s a ton of helmet-makers out there cranking out a wide variety of brain buckets for you to choose from. While the general rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for, manufacturers like Scorpion have been figuring out how to break the rules by making good helmets that weigh less than their price tags.

The Scorpion VX-17 Orion feels light in your hands and on your head. Weighing 3.25 pounds, the medium unit was comfortable at all times and formed to the knobby contours of my head quickly and comfortably, though it was a bit snug for a size medium. Our Editorial Director, Ken Hutchison felt his size-large was easy on the neck muscles as well and easily accommodated his different cranial structure.

“The VX-17 fits my big, round Charlie Brown-shaped head very well,” he says. “I wear a medium in Fox and Shoei, but I need a large VX-17 so it seems they run a bit small compared to some other brands.”

All you children’s labor rights radicals plug your ears, but like so many inexpensive things in this world Scorpion helmets are manufactured in China. The craftsmanship does reflect the price to some degree with a slightly ill-fitting mouthpiece and flimsy decal that was only half applied when it arrived at our office. But, the construction is solid and the helmet has all the necessary features like a removable liner, which is available in alternate color schemes, closeable forehead vents and

Ken elected to wear this red version  not only because it s cool  but because his chubby cheeks wouldn t fit in our smaller black model.
Ken elected to wear this red version, not only because it’s cool, but because his chubby cheeks wouldn’t fit in our smaller black model.

a padded chin strap.

The fiberglass/Kevlar Matrix shell held up to all of our branch busting, face mashing and the occasional fall from its perch on the handlebars. Inside is a comfortable Kwikwick moisture-wicking liner and cheek pads which do an admirable job of keeping your sweaty noggin dry during those tough rides.

“Since we spent some time on high speed roads I really had a chance to feel the circulation system working,” says Ken. “It does a decent job of flowing fresh air over your head. The liner is removable and customizable so that is a plus in a helmet in this price range. You can get custom colors and graphics which allows you to create a helmet as unique as you are. Personally, I like the black liners because it gets dirty and your goggles cover it up anyways – but if you’re into that sort of thing then Scorpion has you covered.

I’ve wanted a flat black helmet for awhile now, so I was stoked to see the Scorpion VX-17 arrive on my desk with that dull sheen accented by a chrome mouthpiece and visor bolts. Ken, though genuinely pleased with the graphics on his red helmet, couldn’t hide his jealousy over not being able to cram his head into the smaller flat black Scorpion.

“I really dig the look of this lid, especially in the red-black-white Orion version I’ve been wearing,” he says. It’s much cooler than the plain flat back version worn by Off-Road guy Jaycee.”

JC wound up with the short straw when it came time for the front-facing impact test. As it turned out  his knowledge of the subject and real-world experience made him perfect for the job.
JC wound up with the short straw when it came time for the front-facing impact test. As it turned out, his knowledge of the subject and real-world experience made him perfect for the job.

With an adjustable visor straight out of Batman Returns, the VX-17 has a different visual appeal than many helmets. At first I was worried about water dripping into my vision based on the size and angle of the visor slats, but after ducking through countless wet branches on the trail, it was definitely an unwarranted concern. The angular visor is designed to reduce lift at high speeds which, I was surprised to find, it actually does.

One of the first things I did on the Scorpion’s maiden voyage was punch a tree on an out-of-control descent. Heading Scorpion-first over the bars, the visor took most of the impact, but held up remarkably well. Some scratches and a crack near the mounting bolt was the extent of the damage. I would take another face-plant later in our testing, this time in the dusty confines of a volcanic-rock gravel pit. Again, more cracks in the visor, but despite being cracked in three places, the visor never came apart.

“Overall the helmet is pretty light and the paint and graphics have held up great under our torture tests through the past couple months,” says Ken. “I feel it’s on par with my trusty Fox Pro Pilot and it’s a nice alternative in the $200 range. For

Our enduro test provided the most riding time with the VX-17 helmets. However  they both went on our two-day dual-sport trip and it was our first choice on a few personal weekend rides with our buddies. We like this helmet.
Our enduro test provided the most riding time with the VX-17 helmets. However, they both went on our two-day dual-sport trip and it was our first choice on a few personal weekend rides with our buddies. We like this helmet.

that reason I have to give this helmet my blessing.”

When it comes down to the question of protection versus dinero, Scorpion makes it simple by delivering a very good product for a very reasonable cost. Yeah, we’ve got the world’s greatest job of testing motorcycles, but we are journalists and we work for peanuts. And that’s the raw, unsalted and unshelled variety. Our passion is expensive and dangerous, which means that any product like the VX-17 helmet that offers great protection for a menial price is right up our alley. Scorpion can go ahead and add a MotoUSA-approved stamp to go along with the ever-popular Snell and DOT endorsements.

Product: Scorpion VX-17 Orion
Color Options: Blue, Green, Orange, Red, Silver, Yellow, Flat Black
MSRP: $199.95
Buy It Now: Scorpion VX-17 Orion
Find Out More: www.scorpionusa.com

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JC Hilderbrand

Off-Road Editor| Articles | Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA’s Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn’t matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.