When it comes to motorcycle safety equipment, nothing is more critical than what you put on your head. Our MCUSA gear locker gets a couple new models every season to try out, and a busy ’06 testing regimen, which included our ever popular Supersport Shootout and Superbike Smackdown, has given Editorial Director Ken Hutchison ample time to test one of the latest helmet offerings: the Icon Mainframe Hooligan Helmet.
The Icon helmet meets or exceeds DOT and Snell standards and has a retail price tag ringing in at between $250 and $280. As befits a helmet falling into that price range, the Mainframe Hooligan sports a sophisticated venting system and removable/washable cheek pads. A no-tool replacement visor system make swapping out shields a no-hassle experience, and a removable anti-fog breath deflector comes standard. The Icon Mainframe Hooligan’s shell utilizes a combination of fiberglass and Dyneema with dual-density styrene for the liner to keep the helmet light without compromising strength.
One critical thing to remember about purchasing a helmet is finding a proper fit. All the bells and whistles in the world won’t mean a thing if you have an ill-fitting helmet inflicting agony to your skull. Kenny found the Hooligan fit his cranium a little different than usual.
“The sizing is a bit on the small side,” says Ken, “so I wear a large in Icon compared to a medium in Shoei RF1000.”
With the proper fit in place, Hutch couldn’t stop gushing about the Icon and digs the helmet’s overall look. More often than not, the orange-flame design is on his noggin during tests and for any extra-curricular riding time he puts in on the street.
“I absolutely love this helmet,” Ken says. “It looks killer and everyone has something to say about it. At home my kids think it’s so cool because they can see their reflection in the chrome. During tests the photographers say it looks bad-ass and I have had a few folks say something about it when I have had it sitting at the table during lunch as well. So, public opinion is that the thing looks pretty good.”
Photo documentation that Ken wasn’t mistaken when he sensed that “I swear I can feel my mullet growing every time I see a picture of myself with this thing on.”
One feature on the Mainframe Hooligan which Kenny has found to be of particular good use is the visor changing system. There is nothing more frustrating than fiddling with a visor which should fit but needs to be wrangled and crammed until the rider’s blood pressure has reached artery-bursting levels of rage. The easy replacement system also features one of Hutch’s favorite accessories: the mirrored visor.
“The accessory visor works well with this particular helmet,” Kenny enthuses. “I personally think it’s so sweet, I swear I can feel my mullet growing every time I see a picture of myself with this thing on.”
As for durability, we are fortunate whenever we don’t have to test the full protection capabilities of our helmets, but for everyday wear and tear, the Icon has done just fine on the road. Hutch was much obliged to the full-face protection offered by the Hooligan after a recent at-speed incident with a rock, which kept him nice and pretty but left the helmet with just a slight amount of cosmetic damage.
“As far as the paint and graphics go, they’ve been solid so far,” relates Hutchison on the Icon’s resilience to every day use. “The chrome coatings in the old days were prone to peeling, but to this point the Icon has held up great. I did take a huge rock to the face mask a while back and the paint chipped about a 3/8-inch chunk, but I will take a chipped lid over a stitched lip any day of the week.”
The Icon Mainframe Hooligan has held up to everyday wear and tear and kept Kenny’s face nice and pretty during a nasty at-speed incident with a rock.
In spite of some plastic components we initially suspected of fragility, the Icon has held up during road trips and its occasional tours of duty at the Hutchison household as well.
“The plastic vents look like they might be susceptible to breaking, but I’ve been wearing the helmet quite a bit the last six months, packed it on trips and had it kicked around by the kids, and it is definitely hanging tough.”
Lest you think everything is all fine and rosy, the Hooligan didn’t measure up as quiet as some premium lids we’ve sampled.
“One of the only negatives is that the wind noise is a little more than I experience from an RF1000,” said Hutch. “But those helmets are another hundred bucks and, frankly, it’s barely worth whining about.”
So there you have it, the Icon Mainframe Hooligan offers up a solid helmet that will appeal to riders whether they are able to embrace their inner mullet or not.